Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: emotional

#30daysofdresses – day 10

In where I lose my shit…

I look pretty put together in this pic, but this is the day I hit a wall.

Yesterday I mentioned feeling like crap and turning to the women who I admire for support.

After I took this photo, I drove across town for a meeting. The kind of meeting where you wonder why it was planned b/c the people in attendance don’t seem to care much. Or forgot you were coming. Or have to leave early.

It’s hot, and you’re sweating through your dress. Again. And you’re wondering when you get to go back home, but the drive home is a whole other story, because now it’s sweltering in your car, and there’s traffic and you’re gonna sit in some pretty blazing sun traveling west.

I planned to take myself out for lunch after the meeting. Take advantage of the void moon. Try to fill the well.

Found parking, ordered food, took a table. And found I’d made the mistake I often do in public places – I sat near the LOUD TALKER.

Now you could argue that everyone has the right to speak to their table-mate in public places. That I am just being sensitive and overreacting.

And you would be right.

Because I sat there – still completely overheated from the weather and the car ride, a headache pressing on my temples (didn’t realize it then, but I hadn’t had any caffeine the whole day), and now extra on fire from the chili I ordered – steaming with anxiety, trying to read a book…

The woman next to me blab on and on about how she “cried for two weeks when they had to turn down a house in Malibu”. #killme. I texted Stephanie to try and make a joke out of it: accidentally sat next to the quintessential 40 year old Santa Monica mom who won’t shut up about primrose water and full moon yoga.

I moved tables. And then I gave up and left.

Before I even got to my car, the hot tears began streaming down my face behind my sunglasses.

I cried the whole 1/2 mile home, in the garage in my car after I turned it off, in the house on the couch with the dog, and then finally upstairs in my bed. I cried like a torrential rain, a tidal wave. I cried the way toddlers cry when you get the trifecta of a meltdown – hungry, hot and tired.

And I felt sorry for myself. My head was killing me, the day felt like a waste, the $11 I spent on lunch sure was, and why couldn’t I stop crying? Why do I always feel like such shit some days?

I was mad myself. Mad for being sensitive, for not being able to adapt, for exhaustion and emotions and feeling so raw and overwhelmed by the simplest things.

And then I remembered. Highly sensitive person.

Heidi and I chatted about being an HSP – did I identify as one? I had said no, that the term felt weak and a bit much, and I wasn’t that sensitive actually. I was resourceful, practical, tough. None of this needing special treatment BS.

But again, I turned to books and downloaded The Highly Sensitive Person and felt myself come home a little:

The biggest cost to us of being highly sensitive, however, is that our nervous system can become overloadedWe simply reach that point sooner than others.

“HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. They do it whether they are aware of it or not.

If you are going to notice every little thing in a situation, and if the situation is complicated (many things to remember), intense (noisy, cluttered, etc.), or goes on too long (a two-hour commute), it seems obvious that you will also tend to wear out sooner from having to process so much.”

Page after page, I could feel the grip I had on myself loosen. Here was someone telling me, assuring me that what I was feeling had a cause, that it was manageable, and the best piece: “To sum it up again, you pick up on the subtleties that others miss and so naturally you also arrive quickly at the level of arousal past which you are no longer comfortable. That first fact about you could not be true without the second being true as well. It’s a package deal, and a very good package”

I can look back over the past few weeks and note many causes – mercury retrograde, the lead up to the full moon, the eclipse that evening, work, events, hormones. And I can list all the reasons why I maybe started to feel better – the release of emotions from crying, the rest I kept taking finally being enough, talking to my therapist, my friends, H…

But whatever the cause of the down cycle and whatever the cause of the upswing… that evening, I finally started feeling normal again.

And thank goodness for that.

Dress is Forever 21. Shoes are Mudd, and no surprise here, think I bought them Kohl’s.

Note: I wrote this on Thursday about my experience on Wednesday. Currently, I am feeling better and I hope you’re having a good weekend. xo

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#30daysofdresses – day 9

The little yellow belt is back…so are the boots. Clearly the best $17 I’ve ever spent at Kohl’s.

This dress is my straight forward style – comfy, navy, and an interesting neck and hemline.

That’s it really.

If you’ve been following along, I haven’t been doing so well. As I write this, I’m feeling better, but the start of the week was rough.

But how to explain it to you?

I wake up rested, even happy, to be laying in bed in the dark – the cool desert air coming in, the cloud cover of the westside hiding the sun, and then some thought hits me, and anxiety. Can’t even tell you what the thought is.

Or I feel fine, and decide to vacuum (Carter’s fleas may be the death of me). And as I’m vacuuming, the drone of the motor, the rhythmic back-and-forth, the dog circling me unsure, I start to feel pissed that the carpet sweeper is broken, that I have to vacuum before work, and my mind races through all of these injustices and bam, I’m crying instead of cleaning.

If I could explain it, maybe I could fix it.

But I’m also learning that there’s nothing to fix because I’m not broken.

It just is.

If this dress is straight-forward me, then turning to books is my typical approach to feeling insane. The day I wore this dress I started reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. My friend Steve calls her one of my saints. That evening I watched part one of Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Another of my saints. I watched videos of Pema Chodron on Youtube. These women hold up a light when I’m in this deep darkness. Anything to know that I’m not alone.

And I gathered three things:

1. “Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a questions of engagement.” ~Brene Brown

2. Elizabeth Gilbert saying that we have three different voices in our head. The child, throwing a tantrum because they’re exhausted. The older sister, who we think is the voice of our highest self, saying things like “why do you keep doing this to yourself?!” but, Gilbert said, if there’s any of this ::wagging her finger::, that is not your highest self. There is no judgement from your higher self. And the actual higher self she seeks to listen to, which is full of love, grace and support. The voice that says “I love you” and that’s it.

3. Pema Chodron saying that even she experiences times of meditation where she feels like her mind is crazy and the thoughts do not stop. But even if the experience of meditation that day isn’t great, it’s the post-meditation feeling that matters. That her meditation practice “opens more room in (her) mind”.

I wish I had better answers for myself so I could pass them on to you, but all I can do is read, jot down my notes, let the crying come when it does, and be gentle with myself.

 

The Great Gatsby

Forgot to include this in my recent obsessions last week, but OMG if I am not obsessed with the newest Great Gatsby movie. We saw it a few weeks ago, back when I wasn’t feeling so hot. Of course, the doomed love story didn’t help my mood.

The costumes, the set design, the acting and the music. I loved it all.

And there’s something so heartbreaking about Gatsby’s love, his obsession with Daisy, and his inability to let the past go.

I am a die-hard Leo DiCaprio fan, and am continually impressed with the roles he’s taken on recently. But this one, Gatsby, was a throw back to his Romeo and Juliet days. The unadulterated  naive and pristine love Gatsby has for Daisy… it’s devastating.

So I wanted to share this Lana Del Rey song from the soundtrack and the movie… because putting this on repeat gets me as close to that emo-teenage girl we’ve all been sometime in our past.

This article from the Village Voice blog – Lana Del Rey’s ‘Great Gatsby’ Greatness: Maybe Her Second Act Actually Doesn’t Suck – sums it up for me.

For good measure: did you see the Tiffany Jazz Age collection?! I even tried one on… eek!

Ode To SoCal

 

When I first moved to LA, things were cool. Newly graduated and living 3,000 miles from my family and boyfriend, I basically was freaking out. But the city was huge and I did what I could to explore, meet people, find a job.

Once the job was secured, life calmed down a bit. Kind of. The sublet I lived in was perfect, romantic even, and I started running to fill my free time. But as is habit, I put way too much pressure on myself. I had yet to learn the SoCal way of living – which is, just live.

A job and apartment change found me working and living alone. This could’ve been the perfect time to dig down into what I really wanted to do, to lounge and relax and pursue personal goals of anything I wanted. But I was paralyzed. I didn’t allow myself to do much of anything.

Then H moved to LA, we moved in together, and things moved along. I decided to get a therapist and focus on myself. This was an immense move, one that I thank my past self for. I wouldn’t be where I am today if she hadn’t hung onto that idea with both fists.

Soon after, we moved to a different part of the city, one where it was was cooler, our apartment was nicer and I could ride a bike to the beach. I tried giving myself some space, and a break. We adopted Carter. I took up photography for the first time in years. I started this blog. Somehow, all of this personal work influenced my professional career and I was promoted into a brand-new position created for me. Then, Henry proposed and we were on to that whirlwind.

And all the while, Los Angeles in all it’s entertainment industry, hippy-beach-culture, sunny days and warm nights was growing on me.

When we were on our honeymoon, and people asked where we were from, I wanted to say Los Angeles like I’d grown up here. It felt like home. So much of the east coast work-is-your-worth-must-not-stop culture was fading into the background.

Now I know much of this has to do with me growing up, taking responsibility for my life, and the beautiful leveling out of things that happens as one nears their late twenties… but I think I would be ignoring a major factor if I didn’t point to Los Angeles as a supporting character in all of this.

And now that my sister lives here, I can see that change happening for her too. She’s brighter, happier, more active. That’s us in the photo above, on a hike, right near her apartment. She’s got the mountains, I have the ocean.

Something about this city allows us to be ourselves and enjoy life deeply. And I am so grateful for that.

Monthly Nutshell: June 2013

Boy ‘o boy, do I feel like this past month beat me into submission. Hence not many posts. But then there were lots of posts, thanks to the idea of an editorial calendar (found via Ann-Marie‘s blog, which I am so digging). Like, duh, why didn’t I think of this sooner?! But now that I have, any idea posts go straight into Google calendar and when I have the urge to write, the ideas are all there – both guiding and motivating me, FTW!

So, yeah, June you weren’t the easiest month, but I guess that’s just how these things go.

I remember welcoming you in – and even that day felt a little blah.

We set up the patio garden, finally. And saw a few tiny tomatoes coming in.

There was routine and welcoming summer early.

My parents visited LA – their first trip with all three of us kids living here in SoCal now.

H and I bought new furniture after a raucous day out with friends drinking mimosas. Much to Carter’s dismay, the old furniture was put out on the curb for free.

I tagged along with H to work a few times, up super early to be in Malibu by 8am. This changed up my routine and gave me some much needed ocean communing time (see photo above).

Posted an update about my hair cut, which I am still on the fence about.

Bowled the high score of my life, which included a turkey!

Thought about and posted a Summer Manifesto. Plan to update that as the weeks go on.

And I participated in Day In The Life, which helped me reconcile a few things again. Emotions always churning, life always moving along…

How was your month?? xo

Day In The Life: Live Is Being Lived

Lately, I’ve been up and down emotionally. When this happens, I never know exactly why and therefore randomly try things to help me feel better. Most don’t seem to work and the best plan is just to wait it out. Monday was anxiety, Wednesday was frustration, and Thursday was something close to depression.

But when I remembered it was June’s “day in the life“, I perked up. Here was something that could anchor my day. Something that would remind me to notice the moments and to choose the “better” task hour to hour.

So, I went through my day, taking photos. And I remembered my horoscope from Astrobarry last week:

In case you haven’t noticed by now, Pisces, the horoscopes I’ve been writing you lately have been pretty fucking awesome. They have mostly centered around accepting yourself for who you are, right here and right now (instead of mooning over what could’ve been or might someday be), and just reveling in the giddiness and gorgeousness and general good-time feelings wherever and whenever you can find ’em. Now, I don’t want to be a sugarcoating bliss-ninny and give you the mistaken impression that everything in life will be sunshine and rainbow and tutti-frutti ice-cream cones from here on out—hell, I bet even at the best of times, there are still some things that are functioning poorly and/or mainly serve the role of ‘giant pain-in-the-ass’. And yet, here comes a year full of Jupiter-in-the-5th, starting early next week, which is one of the loveliest astrological happenings a sign can experience: an increase of encouraging planetary energy in the house of love and romance, children and child-like wonder, pleasure and play, and all leisure-time activities which bring creative self-fulfillment. Raise the roof on that one, dear fishy! While this will not magically remove all bumps-in-the-road or thorns-in-your-side, it does support you whenever you take steps to improve your appreciative enjoyment of the world. Knowing you, the hardest part just might be determining what you most genuinely enjoy… without unduly considering everyone else’s preferences and pressures. Doing more of what you really really love, by the way, is an incredibly attractivequality.

And I focused on doing what I wanted to do.

This is the hardest thing for me. I may seem all bad-ass and confident, but sometimes the slightest look from a friend or word from H can send me off into the hustle for worthiness.

This week had plenty of that as I prepared for my annual review. Even though I just received a promotion, even though I rock my job, it sent me into a panic. Thoughts swirling about if I’ve done enough and will make the cut. If I’m liked

But I kept my focus on taking those photos. And the ideas from above: “just reveling in the giddiness and gorgeousness and general good-time feelings wherever and whenever you can find ’em… pleasure and play, and all leisure-time activities which bring creative self-fulfillment“.

And I realize now as I write this that the act of taking these photos, of noticing my life, gives value to where I’m at, allowing myself to do what I want with these precious minutes I’m given each day. And it brings creative fulfillment, which brings me deep happiness with myself and my life.

*The picture of the 3 of us on our family walk is my fav

—Related—
Ali Edward’s Day In The Life
Susannah Conway’s e-courses, especially Unravelling
Liz Lamoreux
Brene Brown

Surfacing

It seems part of the “thing that gets me in its grips” is terrible pms. I felt awful this weekend, just as I did a month ago. Wednesday I took a bath and a nap, Saturday another bath, and while I rallied to go out, I ended up crying that evening.

It felt gut-wrenching and stupid at the same time.

There seems to be no way around it right now. Exercise and sleep help, but the anxiety through my bloodstream pumped up my heart. Yet I was too exhausted to run. In fact, I skipped most of my scheduled runs last week, including my long run.

And then, somewhere yesterday afternoon, it started to dissipate, and I felt better. And today I felt pretty great. It sucked that it overlapped a weekend, but I was also glad I didn’t need to take a day off. The hang with my friend on Friday helped, but it carried through most of the weekend.

All I can do is mark these moments, record what helped (baths, sleep, hugs) and wait it out. It seems silly that I can’t do anything to prevent it or lessen its hold on me, but not fighting it seems to be the fastest way out.

With 4 weeks of travel coming up, and a bunch of events, I’m hoping I’m on the upswing.

Surfacing.

How do you deal with these (monthly) mood swings? Any tips? xo

 

 

Asking For Help

Thursday I took the day off. It was bliss, as each day day off is. To lift the burden of work from my mind is really something. It’s not just the relief of not having to go to the office or check email or meet with people, it’s that my brain can relax, all thoughts (aka panic) about what needs to be done when can be placed in a different corner of my mind. I feel calm, yet giddy. And I feel loved.

I’m struggling again.

Thursday was pretty awesome. I wrote, jogged 2m alone, took myself out to a cafe to write / read / draw, went food shopping with my sister and relaxed. Crazy enough I found snowflake dishes for a steal at the thrift store AND even won a Polaroid camera from Impossible Project! An awesome day, for sure.

But the demons, or whatever you want to call them, are there, lurking. I feel this fight between my righteous Type-A self and my loving soul – one wants perfection, routine and Success, the other wants to be alone on a beach or indulge in a creative project. I certainly don’t have the energy for the first. Everything feels like an energy-suck right now. And I keep ignoring the latter in order to placate the former. (Note: this is not smart)

It all piled up into painful words and tears Saturday morning. Another Saturday with work, more of my time sucked away from me. I picked a fight with H, as I always do in these moments, believing somehow that if he could just help more, love me more, listen more, I wouldn’t feel so terrible. And while I would love more of all of that from him (what girl wouldn’t?) it’s not his fault I feel this way.

It’s my fault. Or at least, it’s my responsibility. I’m the only one who can make me happy.

Getting my words out into the open with H relieved some pressure, as did a small text convo with my sister about feeling so blah. I don’t feel entirely healed, I know this is just something that comes and goes. My friend said, for her, it’s 3 months on, 3 months off. For me it seems 2 months on, 1 month off, but maybe there’s a larger cycle there I’ve not pin-pointed yet.

Writing this is asking for help. Talking to H and my sister is asking for help. Taking a day off is helpful. But I know I’m struggling with something. I know intuitively I have the answers, but my brain wants to rule the argument, pick things apart (me) until it comes to some logical conclusion…but there probably isn’t one. I have good weeks and bad weeks, we all do.

To quiet my logical mind, I need a brain-dump of To Dos and projects. Then, if I have the energy, I can break those items down into one thing per day. But mostly I need to give up the ghost, trust things are going just the way they should, and focus on creating, even if it’s at a very small level.

What do you do when you’re feeling down? How can you tell the difference between the blues and something more? xo

 

Untitled

If I could, I would also be wrapped up in a blanket on our couch. That old depression whatever has a hold of me and it doesn’t matter that I have to drive into Hollywood today for work. Or that it’s Saturday. Or that a real day off and a fake day off (more later) and a note written to H in request for help do not seem to be making a difference.

It’s all I can do to not get in my car and drive till I feel better. Ever have days like this? xo

This Grateful Season – Good Again

Feeling better, finally. Which is exactly what I’m grateful for today, but it means more. It’s comforting I’m here again, back to “normal”, at the end of a few weeks of not feeling so awesome.

My therapist asked if my moods are related to my accomplishments.

“No.” Straight answer. Accomplishing things keeps me humming along, but if I’m already down, completing tasks doesn’t do it. I’m not happy because I’m productive. I’m productive because I’m happy. And I’m happy because I’ve taken the time to recharge.

Each time it’s different but it always comes down to just giving in to whatever’s going on. To stop being so hard on myself. To stop fighting and surrender.

This time it was finally allowing myself sleep as much as I wanted. And then staying up as late as I needed. To working on an e-course and creating collages and doing yoga. To having a few drinks. To see the ocean. To getting time to cuddle with H. It took a few days to balance out, but tonight is the first night I feel luxuriously sleepy before midnight and confidence was coursing through me all day.

This is not a new lesson. Back in April I was discovering how doing what I want brings so much more pleasure to my days. Before that, I experienced a serious down time in January. That turned out to be a shame storm. I run a cycle of confident energy, then down, panic about being down, accepting it and then, back up again. It’s not dramatic – I always function, there’s good in each day, but there is a thread of this gray through things. And yet, I always bounce back… after I allow myself the space, time and care I need.

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!