Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: worthy

Keep Your Shit Together

So, how does one act like they have their shit together, when they don’t?

Is there something in the way they carry themselves, the words they use, the fingerprints they leave (or don’t) on glasses they sip from (or don’t) on tables they wipe clean (or don’t)?

You may think I have my shit together because I value self-care. Because I went for a run this morning, after I wrote in my journal, before I showed up for 3 meetings and called a few caterers for an event. The event that, every year, makes me feel like I don’t have my shit together. (Here is 2013‘s and here is 2012‘s)

And each year, I think, I’ll do better this time – and I rally the troops (it’s just me) and make lists, send emails, gathering my courage… and still, something goes wrong. Someone nit-picks and no matter how many people are in the room, how much applause there is, the response is – we can do better next time. But all I hear is, you will do better next time which really means you didn’t do good enough this time.

I’ve done enough work over the past 4 years to know that my work is not my worth. That even if this event crashes and burns, even if it is cancelled for reasons of horrible planning or no one RSVP’d, I am still worthy of love and connection. I am still worthy of being here.

But it still gets to me, y’know?

Do you know this feeling? Do you hike up your pants and strap on your highest heels and show up and smile, only to see yourself deflated post-whatever? Because you weren’t good enough?

Because I’m pretty sure I have my shit together AND stuff still goes wrong. That’s the point isn’t it? Showing up and facing whatever it is because no matter how much we prepare, we don’t know until we’re in it. Like, knees deep, maybe even waist-high IN IT.

So, how do you do that? Well, I can only tell you what works for me…

  • I make a list of everything involved in said issue and organize it to be tackled in a logical approach
  • I vent to people who believe I’m awesome and also understand what a shit-show this thing really is
  • I actually keep up on my self-care practices (for me: writing, running and reading)
  • I say “no” to other things that could splinter my energy even more
  • I tell big, dramatic, funny stories to people about how ridiculous it all is going / feels
  • I ask for help
  • I allow myself to feel how I feel because there are some things my logical brain can’t process
  • And I  reassure myself to trust – because my version of the outcome is usually a small, often marginalized version of the possibilities that are out there… and if I can just use the above points as support and keep feeling my way through, the actual outcome will be so much more magical than I imagined.

I know this list won’t always be the right combination. Because just as I catch on to what works, my life changes, and I’m back to being in a new situation, learning new things. Like right now, with this big event coming up. It’s bad enough it’s a pain, but now I am completely revamping it due to the usual venue being booked.

But I digress…

I will keep you posted on this event, and how things pan out, if you will share with me what works for you. I would love to hear about it. I think it’s important we compare notes. What does it mean to you to “have your shit together”? How do you keep you keep it all together?

xo

Worth Something

The anxiety started yesterday – a combination of things. The over-stimulation of NYE, lack of sleep, moon in Leo, the holidays (and vacation) ending. But my schedule today wasn’t supposed to be crazy. I planned to ease back into things. So why did I feel so panicked?

I didn’t know. I could give you the above list and 10 more items, easily, but it wouldn’t change the fact that I felt anxious.

I talked it out: with my sister via text, my mom via phone and with H in person. And I gave myself a break. It wasn’t easy. I’d just spent 9 days at home, reading, sleeping, running, relaxing, so why on earth would I need another lee-way day, another nap, another hour of reading? Didn’t I have enough rest? Couldn’t I get my ass moving faster? Wasn’t there something I was supposed to be doing?!

But I gave in. Instead of dragging myself through errands, we went out to lunch. And when the taco place was closed, we ordered pizza. I was along for the ride, giving myself space to feel shitty.

And magically, I started to feel better.

Of course, these moods don’t go away with a snap of the fingers. I wasn’t surprised when that grey cloud was still following me around this morning, but I figured I’d go with it.

I stuck to my morning routine – vitamins, water, morning pages, and a run.

Since H is still on vacation, he could take care of the dog, giving me the morning to run alone. The schedule said 3 miles. I didn’t want to skimp, but last night I told H “I don’t have any idea how I’m going to run 3 miles tomorrow”. Bah. I felt tired, thought I’d eaten poorly and worried my feet would be a mess from wearing 4inch high heels for 8 hours on NYE.

But I wasn’t going to miss it. After 40 days of running, I’m addicted to that high again. In the entire span, Thanksgiving to today, I’ve never once regretted going out for a run, even if the run itself was shit.

In my morning pages, I wrote:

So many open loops, but I’m trying. Life is an open loop, but I’m making progress. I am ME. That’s all that matters. I’ll feel better after 40min of running, I’m sure. Life is good. I am blessed. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel cranky. I can be as cranky as I want. I can feel what I feel – it’s all gray scale anyway, right? Excited and apprehensive about my run. Knowing that coffee with a friend this afternoon will make me feel good. Onward really – the days flowing by. I just need to float on, wade a little, and get those miles in. And as Patti Digh says: Lower the bar. You’ll feel better

So, I went out for my run.

And don’t you know, it was the best damn run of the last 41 days. It was chilly and bright, I was alone with my podcast and my feet pounding the pavement. I went a little bit more than 3 miles, feeling fucking amazing the entire time. I would’ve gone farther if I didn’t have work.

And after that I felt better. No more gray clouds, no more weepy feeling. In fact, the rest of the day I felt invincible, best I’ve felt in days. Unbelievable. You can blame runner’s high, I know, but I think what really did it was two things:

  1. Allowing myself to feel what I felt, no pressure or beating myself up to feel a specific way
  2. Keeping to my routine

This up and down of my moods is something that worried me in 2012 – leading to panic that something is wrong with me if I don’t feel awesome. But what I learned is that each day has it’s own reasons for being the way it is. I don’t need to understand that on a logical level. My job is not to analyze or perfect, it’s to live. And so much of life is a gray area, a mixture of feelings that is tightly knotted together to the point where we don’t know what we feel.

And then we worry what we’re feeling is wrong.

And then we think something is wrong with us.

Nothing if wrong with you. I repeat, nothing is wrong with you. You are allowed to feel what you feel, and feel it deeply. There are things in this world our brains can not possibly explain to ourselves the way our body or our feelings can.

If I learned anything in 2012, it’s to trust that what I’m feeling needs to be felt (not wallowed in or attacked), but just felt. And that what I feel is worth something.

Fragility

Tucked into an armchair with cookies, warm milk, the pup and Harry Potter book 4. I realize this makes me seem 8 yrs old, but that’s exactly correct. That tiny-voiced, pure strained of me inside is crying out for attention, naps, and warmth.

Time has passed – I have not written. The holidays were both purely enjoyable and utterly exhausting. Looking back, it was a blur. Wedding planning was accomplished, flights departed and arrived, gifts were exchanged. Sadly, the trip disintegrated into drinking each night to numb out the anxiety. I dream of a full 10 days at home with the fiance and dog and holiday celebrations. Some day…

But, that’s not where I’m at right now. Now, even more time has passed – the first month of the year is almost over – and I find myself knocked out again. With two major events in 4 days, and lots of administration in town, the pressure I put on myself was reminisce of the old days. As in, back when I thought my work was my worth, the hustling was ridiculous, and the pressure unreal. All internal, I may add.

You can tell me my star is shining bright (as a colleague did), and yet, I see myself at the bottom of a black hole.

Here’s a small list, since I can’t get into all of it right now:

  • I’m super sensitive. Tears have sprung forth from eyes that were, moments prior, shining with happiness. It’s a deep, wet cry that shuts off slowly. A cry of exhaustion, of surrender. (Requires loads of tissues.)
  • I crave warm milk, especially before bed, and copious amounts of tea. In better news, I’ve stopped putting sugar in my tea, tuned into the blood sugar fluctuations and effects on my mood.
  • I want it to be snowing and cold out, so I’d have an excuse to hibernate and cuddle in. At the same time, I want to stretch out in patches of sun and bake.
  • I have a small idea of what narcoleptic symptoms must feel like – my energy levels change rapidly, going from “cruising along” to “passed out” in the matter of minutes.
  • Sleep has been really deep and delicious, but accompanied by stressful dreams, one where I was bleeding to death and another where I was escaping a city being bombed (can we say, not a relaxed mental state?)
  • I feel a drawing-in that includes not wanting to be social, answer emails or pick up the phone. Quiet and still seem to be the right way.
  • In general, I just want to be left alone.

And look, I get it – I can see where most of this is coming from – the events, the pressure, the opposite-yet-equal reaction from being on on on  to literally shutting off. Yes, I managed the stress of the past month better than the me of last year could’ve, but it was still demanding, pulling on reserves that were already low. Things will even out, even if it doesn’t look like “bouncing back”.

 

Counter-Productive

{This post is for #reverb10’s 12/2/10 prompt, but our internet locked up all last night, so it’s going up now}

The emerging I wrote about is true. I’ve gained some footing in the past year. I’m starting to pull myself out of the huge ditch that I thought my life was and seeing it as the gift it is.

I am a miracle, fine. I survived childhood cancer, yes, but we’re all miracles. And how the hell did my upbringing convince me otherwise? And what’s worst is – regardless if I’m perfect (which no one is) I still believe I’m not enough.

I take in panic, anxiety and worries about how I’m not living up to some unnamed and ridiculous expectation and absorb it into my own head as if it’s how I really feel. The truth is, I don’t even know how I feel because I’m too busy absorbing other people’s bullshit.

What gets in the way of my writing? The belief that I am not enough. That doing something that is expressive and satisfying and FEELS GOOD isn’t a good use of my time and makes me a waste of a human life.

Why fill up pages of a journal if you’re not going to DO anything with it? Why put down 750 words a day if you’re not editing it? Why do ANYTHING, really, if there isn’t some sort of productive outcome? (Even though I never take the time to define “productive” or “successful” before I begin, so I have no idea where I’m going and when I want to stop, I can’t because the bar is raised higher. And with a bar that lofty, I don’t even start.)

What gets in the way of any creative work that I deem rewarding? Calling it “stupid”. That there is a huge part of me that thinks writing /music / photography is such a bullshit waste of time. “I have better things to do,” my head says, but I don’t. I really don’t.

It’s Resistance.

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Emergence / Presence

My word for 2010 is emergence.

Grand Canyon

Jupiter was in Pisces, Saturn moved out of Virgo. I felt myself expanding, gaining confidence and beginning to learn who I really am.

A few weeks ago, I was worried that I had wasted this year, but then I started listing events.

Travel, which was a goal for 2010: We took trips to Utah, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Diego, and multiple trips to the East Coast (MA, PA, NY, FL and NC).

Lots of firsts: I flew in a helicopter, drove an ATV, started therapy, hiked Angels Landing, slept under the stars, shot a shotgun, rode a horse, launched another event, and established this blog.

Huge life events: We adopted a dog AND got engaged.

And my favorite accomplishment of 2010? Finally liking peanut butter! (haha)

I didn’t participate in Bestof09 but I followed along as Gwen Bell reviewed her year. It inspired me to make some general goals (?) for the coming year. Now I’m excited to be fully in #reverb10.

And that brings me to my word for 2011 – Presence.

Honestly, it just came to me, but it feels right. With all of the emerging, thinking, feeling and living I’ve been doing, if there’s anything I want it’s to live my life more fully. To not be concerned with the past or the future, but to be fully present now.

To exist in the now. Companionship. Self-assurance. Calmness. Enough. To be fully in my body, my life and for that to be enough.

Pups

Grand Canyon Morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere, Out There

Today’s horoscope suggested that, when having trouble expressing myself, I turn to art. I have yet to do that exactly, but I did take myself out for coffee and start my new journal. This came my way while journaling: If I appreciated my life and myself, wouldn’t I treat it / me better?

Um… what?

There is a tension in me that says something like that all.the.time (again, bit of trouble expressing myself today). It says, “You are not doing enough with your life, what a terrible waste of potential you are!” and the other says, “You need to appreciate what you have and be happy with the life you’ve been given”. Guilt for not doing enough or guilt for not being happy that I already have enough.

Where does this shit come from?

And talk about mixed signals. Those churning thoughts above were mixed with the lovely sentiment from DreamLab today – that my life is this amazing thing just waiting for my loving hands.

“…your one precious life. If you dare to love it, to hold it with kind regard even, you will do it no harm.”

And I asked myself: How can I loving hold my life in my hands? A flood of feeling came back of being a passionate and emotional 16 yr old, someone who knew what she wanted and yet felt such chaos. Someone who knew that living her life would do it no harm. The person I was before everything felt too difficult to feel anymore.

photo-2

No I feel like I just don’t get it. I’m here. My life is wonderful. But I’m upset every day for my lack of contribution. Depressed because I have no community. Upset because I want a fuller, more meaningful life.

There must be a place somewhere for me. Some type of deep involvement to be created or found via writing, creating, and connecting with other people and their stories. Something that isn’t so shallow or boring. Some way that I can make a difference.

There’s gotta be a way.

Instead of Just Living

I’ll be honest, Monday holidays are tough for me. Today was exactly like other weekdays, except the relief that I didn’t need to check email. It comes with an alone-ness though. Most everyone else is working and I have absolutely no money to spend on a *fun* day. Instead I had a normal day – gym, write, eat, errand, petsit. Every day is a “normal” day – what changes is my level of panic. What’s interesting about today though is how I was able to combat the anxiety.

Panic came when I was told I had to convince someone else of my accomplishments. Panic came when I wasn’t sure I could fit it all in. Panic came when I wasn’t sure I purchased the right gift for my sister. Panic came when I worried I wasn’t doing enough.

But then…

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Since April…

Since April I have:

  • adopted a dog (Carter Cash!)
  • camped and river rafted in the Grand Canyon
  • flew in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon
  • took a business trip to Boston
  • and another business / family trip to the East coast
  • developed new friendships
  • created boundaries in another
  • went camping in a parking lot
  • started therapy
  • let go more and more about my job
  • tried salsa dancing
  • joined the gym
  • started this blog
  • gotten engaged (!!)

How freakin’ exciting is all of that?!

I’m feeling much better than I was in July. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my bad days, but I can feel a weight lifting. Or some results from trying to put myself first. This is a small celebration – a birthday hat or a noise maker – a quick marker pinned to a map that says, no matter how much my life is a wave of ups and downs, I am blessed.

Carter cuddle...

Feed the soul...

Embrace space

One Blog Post Away

I started posting hours ago and then my draft disappeared. Gone. (Stupid Mercury retrograde) It had something to do with the mental struggles of my day – how on paper my job looks like a precious gift that I keep trying to return. How I have co-dependent tendencies. How today I tried to disconnect from the pressure I put on myself to do something when there is nothing to be done. And I feel a whole lot better.

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Why Are You Here, Right Now?

It is much harder to put something off than it is to actually do it. We talk, think, try to come up with a new angle, improve the plan, clear the clutter, get more sleep, stay up later, put more time in or take more time off – the cold truth is, if we just DID whatever IT is, we’d be able to move on, free and satisfied in our accomplishment.

IT can be many things – call the repair man, make the doctor’s appt, read that book, talk to someone about something important, quit any number of substances, write a few pages, finally step into the gym… What keeps us from anything we think we want to do (but just can’t make ourselves do) is RESISTANCE.

“Resistance is monumental; I feel it like a massive brick of fear… I also know from experience that the alternative to doing my work is a hundred times worse than the pain or fear of doing it.”

~Steven Pressfield  { More Here }

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