Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: #trust30

Artsy Version


Day 14 – #trust 30 – something about alternative paths… I actually like today’s post but I just don’t care to write… these “big picture” prompts are too exhausting to do day after day…

What about alternate personalities, like me in this photograph? Some fleeting, artsy version of me that attends parties where people sip liquor on the rocks and smoke cigarettes on the rooftop.

Last week, in an online class, my assignment was to take pictures of my reflections as a way to see how I am in the world. I failed miserably. It felt really difficult to take pictures of myself reflected in objects — made me think about how I relate to the world around me. Maybe that’s what I can start to see as my alternative path – some extra dimension of awareness.

Surprise: I like to run

The weekend flew by. We did a lot – went out to see Gustavo Galindo play, saw Super8, went to a wedding and a birthday party. Considering I’ll be traveling soon, it was sad that my days off went so quickly, but I’m hoping to find some quiet space this week.

Skipping Saturday’s prompt. Again, I understand Emerson focuses on trusting yourself and I love the quotes, but the prompts are getting a big redundant. Maybe I’m just not feeling creative with them…

June 12th’s prompt: Surprise 

When I think about being surprised, impressed and proud of myself, I think about the 10K I ran in 2007. At the time, I was working with an awesome woman who trains for half-marathons. She and her husband race 2-4x per year. This was crazy to me. I’d never been around someone who runs daily, especially someone who was specific and focused on her training schedule. I was inspired.

Being very much like her in personality, and needing something to fill my time after work, I began running. Never in a million years did I think of myself as a “runner”. In fact, it was only a few years prior that I even allowed myself to use the words “enjoy” and “working out” in the same sentence. Remember when we had to run 1 mile in gym class for the “physical fitness test”? I distinctly remember being told to run it again Junior year because I didn’t finish the first round in under 10 minutes. Pretty sure I’d rebelliously walked it, but still, it didn’t make me feel physically fit at all.

My co-worker helped me find a good schedule – this one worked for me – and another friend caught the bug with me. We started running together a few times a week and did our long runs Saturday mornings.

At first, I couldn’t trudge through 3 miles without stopping. My only rule was to “cover the mileage”. It didn’t matter if I walked, ran, sprinted, or crawled, each day I laced my sneakers and went for it. Cup of yogurt, slug of water, sneakers on, out the door.

I ran pretty much the same street, out and back, every day. I ran in Nike’s that someone had given me for free. No music. I ran to silence, the noise in my head, and the afternoon traffic.

I signed up for an easy 10K and gave myself 3 months to train for it. Pretty sure I didn’t miss a day. The routine became an anchor for me as I was in a new city, with a new job, and lived alone. I had something to fill my time, no thinking required.

The long run before the race went terribly. I was 3 miles from home when my whole abdomen cramped up. I limped back. Anticipation for race day grew. Total bundle of nerves. I made the mistake of eating way too much pasta the night before the run, and that glass of red wine was a poor choice too. Sleep was spotty and poor.

The morning of the race I felt dehydrated, heavy and way too nervous for what I was embarking on. My stomach was doing flips, my head pounding. It felt silly – All I’m doing is running a 3 mile loop 2x in Brentwood! – but it was real.

The race went fine. Thank goodness for my friend who lagged back to run with me. In an effort to take my mind off the anxiety, pain and competitiveness, I asked him to tell me about his home town, so a lot of the race is a blur of information about Rhode Island. It was a weird experience, but I’m so glad I did it.

I haven’t trained for a race since, but I do play with the idea. It’s so amazing to have a goal, a plan, and commit. It taught me a lot about practicing, giving yourself room to grown, and long-term commitment. And as someone who never thought they were a runner at all, it taught me that I can work to become more of who I want to be.

Running is now part of my workout culture – it’s something I do when I want and I really enjoy it. The next goal would be to run a half-marathon, and I’m seriously considering the one in Vegas in December, but we’ll see.

To respond to the prompt – this week I will surprise myself by taking time for me in the busyness leading up to my traveling.

Treat Yourself Like a Precious Object

My one sentence message that I’d like to share tonight for #trust30 is below. I’ve spent the past year and a half learning this and really living it only for the past 6 months. It’s taken from the Artist’s Way book.

Treating yourself like a precious object will make you stronger.

I grew up with my mom telling me “Put yourself first” but as she wasn’t the strongest example of this, putting everyone else before her own needs and care, I didn’t understand. It feels selfish and indulgent and just not OK to put myself first. Of course I want to be first, having everyone wait on me and my whims, but the reality is, I do all of the waiting. And this creates serious resentfulness. Like, I will scream at your in public or at least, I will have nightmares of screaming at you in public for buying the wrong peanut butter. Ya.

“That is the other side of selflessness: its tyranny.” Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

After some therapy work, I came to the realization that I wasn’t living my own life in my head. I was living what I thought everyone else wanted from me. So, I wouldn’t sit and watch tv if I wanted to because surely there is something more “important” like washing the sink full of dishes or cleaning the bathroom. I don’t go out alone because my fiance will be sad or my dog will be lonely. I make up excuses to not take care of myself. wtf?

I’ve had it before, the sense that even in the course of my most legitimate and daily actions – peeling a banana, brushing my teeth – I am trespassing. Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

Therapy, time, experimenting and the Artist’s Way book have all helped me figure this out for me. And the big picture starts to come into focus:

  1. I see how mean and hatelful people are towards themselves
  2. I see how that leaks out in their interactions with other people
  3. And I just want them to know that it’s OK and they need to take care of themselves.

I’m learning that we’re all imperfect, we’re all in this together, and it’s ok. WE’RE ALL OK.

(For more on the above, dig into some Brene Brown – Gifts of Imperfection).

Taking care of myself first, making time for me, creating boundaries that honor my self are truly important to the level of happiness and contentment I feel. For example, last night I could feel that old rage start to bubble up, though it was just at a “cranky” level. I whined my old mantra, “I’m just sooooooo tiiirrreeeddddd”. And I made a decision to get to the gym today, no matter what.

After a sweaty cardio session, I felt much better, and it renewed my energy to deal with a work issue this evening. Could I have dealt with that issue if I hadn’t worked out? Sure. But I would’ve been in tears, yelling into the air about how f-ing stupid my life was, blah blah blah… instead, I’ve been mildly annoyed but kept calm and, really, almost found it funny.

Me – finding something frustrating funny – UNHEARD OF.

So yes – that’s what I would say to a million people if I could. It’s an easy was to say “Love yourself” but it feels much more tangible and DOABLE this way.

Treat yourself as a precious object. It will make you stronger.

#Trust 30 – Days 8 & 9 – My Own Compass

Busy here. New job has and I’m running around like crazy. It’s not the “overwhelmed busy”, but that I’m off my game. So much to organize, get on top of, and learn, even down to the commute and how to make sure the dog is OK with our new routine. Adjustments. Throw in a Death Cab for Cutie concert (*awesomeness*) and you find me very tired and we’re only on Wednesday. Hopes to read, write and rest up tonight for the next two days.

I’m going to just say it now – some of these #trust30 prompts are just… ugh.

“What would you do if you were dying?” and “What’s the one thing you’ve wanted to do but never have?” It leads too all this big picture thinking which can make you feel oh-so-small and inadequate. How do you go from temp clerk to rockstar in one post? You can’t. I’m sure there are people who benefit from this type of introspection, but as someone who thinks a lot (probably too much) these drive me nuts. I think my last post for this prompt was off the mark for this very reason.

So, with that said, I’m skipping Dare To Be Bold. I understand the sentiment, love the quote, but it’s not my cup of tea. Focusing on my own small little life through the lens of these posts and I won’t worry about grandiose statements. I made a commitment and don’t want to back out now.

I missed yesterday’s due to that DCFC show, which was totally worth it. Thought about blogging from the iPhone but wanted to save the battery for pics.


To the self of 5 yrs ago: Things are going to get harder before they get easier, but that adorable little life you’ve dreamt of does fall into place. Every decision you’ve made and will make is perfect. Trust yourself more. LA was the right choice.

To the self of 5 yrs from now: I’m doing a shit ton of work right now and we know it’s been a fantastic improvement. How has this work here affected the you I am now? Has it helped me find music again? Has it helped me find God? Am I loving every bit of this life? Do I have babies yet?


Today’s prompt: Afraid to Do – What is too scary to write about?

Let’s see: sex, God, music, self-detriment, high expectations, the disaster that was being 17, being cheated on, homesickness, aging, other people, how uncool I feel, therapy, surviving cancer, our family dynamics, how much I love him…

Hell, what isn’t scary to write about?

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’d rather trust people’s versions of us then our own selves. We default to pleasing and falling in line with what they may think of us. We’re the only ones who can change that though. I need to get right with my past acts and my confidence in myself to be able to steer the ship with my own compass.

It’s the small acts that change your life… and I am still learning.

Add and Subtract

#trust30 here on a Sunday evening. The prompt made me angry at first. All of this “improve your life” bullshit, when the here and now is really what it’s about. I know because that’s where I’ve come from. I spent so much time pining for a better / faster / happier me that I was blind to my life as it was.

But, I hate quitting and I didn’t want to blow this challenge just b/c a prompt annoyed me. So I did some research to get the juices flowing.

Jonathan Mead – today’s prompt author – writes in “Preparing to Live” :

Trusting yourself matters, a lot. When we don’t trust ourselves, we prepare to live. We put life on hold. We delay doing what we want because there are more “practical” things to consider. We trick ourselves into believing they’re simply a necessary transition.

He also added this bonus to the prompt: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

Here, where the above paragraphs overlap, is where I’m jiving because I’ve spent the past year coming alive. Learning to trust myself, listen deeply, create art again, and open my mouth when I have something to say. I stopped with all the self-improvement crap and focused on how I’m feeling. How is that better or worse than yesterday? And coming to the realization that the UP & DOWN IS LIFE. I won’t ever have a life free of frustration or pain, just like I won’t create art without anxiety and fear lurking in the background.

The trick has been to learn that the world isn’t black & white as I believed. It’s so much grey. It’s not about doing all you can to prevent heartache or anger, but to honor a space for those times and to revel in the times when all is well.

So what areas am I preparing to live in? These #trust30 prompts keep lining right up with my life. I’ve been preparing to live in a new job – a position that was created for me and that no one has ever filled for the college in any city. I am absolutely the first. Which is awesome and f-ing scary. No pressure, right?

I’ve had to bide my time between my current position and the new one. Tomorrow is my first real day in the new office. Tomorrow is the day I stop preparing to take on this new position and I start actually being in it. I am full of excitement and raring to go…

Besides that, my life is fantastic right now, because I’ve taken so much time adding in the things that make me happy and deleting those that don’t. Maybe a list would sum it up best:

+ Added in +

  • Riding bikes
  • Eating healthy
  • Getting enough sleep, especially taking naps when needed
  • Writing / creating more
  • Trusting myself
  • Listening to myself
  • Sharing my story
  • Taking photos
  • Team work

– Deleted –

  • Gossip
  • Trying to rescue everyone
  • Trying to do it all myself
  • Refusing to ask for help
  • Looking at the glass half-empty (still practicing this one daily)
  • Pressure
  • Guilt

Maybe I’m missing the mark on this one but that’s where I’m at. Radically living outside the bounds of what I deem “my normal life” right now is still more than I can handle, but I’m finding the more I trust myself the more I’m willing to move down a path that only I can create. It’s pretty cool. You add in a little of what you enjoy and you take away a lot of what you dislike. Sometimes it’s about actually stopping an action, other times it’s about just altering your take on things. But I’m still with Ali Edwards, looking more for Rhythm than Balance.

I’ll pocket this one for sure, bringing it out again later, roll it around in my hands and know that this prompt is an amazing daily reminder for me to live MY life – no one else’s. And maybe reading more Illuminated Mind would help too.

#Trust30 – Day 5 – Alaska

Still going strong, though it’s only Day 5 of #trust30. Weirdly enough, today we got up early (and full of crankiness of my part) to attend one of those time-share presentations. The gist is you sit through a one-on-one spiel where they try to sell you a time-share property and in return you’re “gifted” a small vacation for “free”. Of course, nothing is free – there is the time spent, the taxes and parking paid for, and the difficult social exchange (especially for me) of saying “No” repeatedly to someone who does this to pay his bills.

We survived, with only a small sense of guilt, and two vacations that we’ll hopefully be able to plan and use before they expire…

This morning dovetails perfectly with today’s prompt as travel is on my mind.

We listed off our Top 5 travel places on a whim… thinking more now, I’d probably edit this list, but I’m willing to travel anywhere at this point, so this will suffice for now:

  • Alaska (me)
  • Italy (mostly Rome for him, Sicily / Tuscany for me)
  • Costa Rica (us, surfing)
  • Hawaii (us, just because)
  • Europe trip (us, everywhere)

While the unknown and chaos of traveling makes me anxious, I love the adventure of it, the newness and untethered experience of being out in the world. There are so many places I want to go in my life and I’ve gone to so few.

My parents vacation to relax. We’re talkin’ reading, sleeping, swimming on the beach from sunrise to sunset, with some restaurants, ice cream and amusement park fun thrown in. We do not sightsee. In fact, I grew up on Long Island and it wasn’t until I was 14 and a wonderful neighbor convinced my mom to take us into “the City” to see “A Christmas Carol” that we actually stepped into Manhattan as a family. I’ve done more traveling in the past 3 years with my fiance’s family than I have in my entire life with my own. This is not to knock my family – I love me a beach and a book – but to have made it to the age of 18 without having flown west of Ohio is just sad to me. So, I have the travel bug…

But for today’s prompt, it’s Alaska and my weird obsession with it visiting it. From my grandmother’s stories of her cruise through the region to my reading of “Into The Wild“, there is something pure that calls my soul to Alaska. I don’t know why. Maybe when my feet touch the soil, my bones will know.

Until then, I can only dream.

Current Challenge – Day 4 – #Trust30

While I’m doing well overall, there is a lot of chaos going on in the form of a few people dear to me being in the hospital. This is the time that I hate being 3000 miles away from home. And this is when I feel especially guilty about what I consider my own “challenges”.

For today’s #trust30 prompt, I’m to name a difficulty and rephrase in the form of a question. Then post that question where I’ll see it the next 2 days and journal a response. Seems reasonable, but my “challenge” feels entirely too silly in the face of all I know my family and friends are going through.

So, I recognize that this seems like a shallow difficulty, but I’d like to clarify that I don’t really mean that I’m not excited for my wedding. In theory, I’m so excited I’ll burst. The issue is not with “How to plan a party for 100 people?” and it’s not with cold-feet about the actual commitment of marriage (not yet, at least). The issue lies deeper, in some core place in my self where I am unable to picture what it is I really want separate from what everyone else is telling me I’m supposed to want. That pressure completely deflates any excitement that wells up. I’m left with the feeling of “What is wrong with me?” and that’s just no fun at all.


The Me That I Know I Am (#trust30 Day 3)

Today’s #Trust30 prompt is difficult. By asking me to explain a deeply held belief I share separate from my family and friends, I’m essentially forced to figure out what I believe 100% of myself. It seems that I don’t really think about what I believe as it doesn’t relate to others.

But here is what I could come up with in today’s small spaces…

My belief is that reading & writing – the physical actions – center and calm me in a spiritual way. This is not the greatly detailed “write your way to yourself” or anything new-agey. While I do believe that writing our thoughts out help clarify how we feel about what we are living, that’s not precisely what I’m getting at here.

No, what I mean is reading and writing are as natural to me as laughing is to babies or napping in the sun is for my dog. It’s something I do instinctively. Feeling volatile, cranky, wobbly, sad, happy, erratic, ecstatic, or scared… I write or I read, and lately, I do a lot of both.

These actions – my hand shepherding a blue pen across the page, thumbing through a book, seeing type come into sharp focus, hearing characters in my head, and replaying a scene from my day over and over – all suck me into such a flow that I am unable to describe it accurately. I – the one who worries about pimples and promotions and if my car needs gas – that girl – fades out into the ether and I’m left with the me that I know I am, when I take away the world and am left with only the “perfect sweetness – the independence of solitude.

#Trust30 – Day 2 – Today in 1 Sentence

I am participating in a lot this month – working on keeping a lot of creative-based projects to keep me grounded.

  1. #Trust30 is here. Daily prompts based on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writing.
  2. 1book140 is here. Twitter book club, reading Margaret Attwood’s Blind Assassin.
  3. Vein of Gold. After finishing the Artist’s Way, I need to keep some Julia Cameron in my life.
  4. And then, of course, Unravelling.

Today’s #Trust30 prompt is to describe today using one sentence. As I’ve finally moved office spaces, I can sum it up with this cliche…

Out with the old, in with the new.


Soba noodle lunch in my new office space with a splitting headache but happy none-the-less.