someone take away the turtle chex mix

I want to clear up a few things that happened this week–mostly because I’ve been asked about them–and I just want to be transparent about my life.  Not that I owe anyone explanations or anything, but because that’s what I committed to myself to do here.

ICYMI, earlier in the week, I made a pretty huge decision about my career–the fact that I’m not going to pursue counseling/therapy and nonprofit management as a career.  Mostly because I’ve been chasing those goals for quite a while, and during the chase, I kept banging into walls–kept losing my passion for it–and worse–found myself not living my life to the fullest because of that chase.  It limited me in a lot of ways because I was trying to make that happen with limited resources.  I felt like a hamster on a wheel.  And worse than that, after really thinking about it, I realized that while I love aspects of these things–and yes–they seem perfect–like TFA–they’re not right.  Why? Because I was taught to fix things, and for me, that’s a toxic need.  It makes me focus on other people’s shit rather than my own.  And, quite honestly, as selfless as I am and want to be, I kinda need to be a bit selfish to heal the crap that’s been in my life.  It’s self-preservation–that idea that you can’t help others, truly, till you help yourself.

Years ago, I threw myself full-throttle into a similar career (teaching), and I was so convinced it was mine.  Until I started doing it.  While I loved parts of it and was really good at it–I felt like I was drowning every day.   I realized pretty much immediately that–if I did this work–I would die.  Probably literally.  It was a humbling, devastating experience for me to give up on that.  But I really had to–and it disappointed lots of people–which is really the worst for me.  And it disappointed me.  Did that mean I was a bad person?  I made peace with that decision, but it took a long time, and I still sometimes question it.

The thing about what I do now is that I have this tendency to not accept things I don’t actively choose.  I like to be in control.  And it’s made my life much harder than it needed to be.  It took me leaving my career and then coming back to it to see it for what it was.  But I was right, it wasn’t exactly right–but that didn’t mean the entire path was wrong.  And actually, I’m in the best place to do things that don’t rip out my heart or steal my soul–things where I can be me and not give all of myself away.

And to clarify–it doesn’t mean I’m going to to give up my goals about helping others.  It just means I’m not going to bastardize it by being paid for it.  It means that anything I do will be done joyfully and freely.  And I’ve already found a great volunteer opportunity supporting a crisis hotline.  I can do these things on my terms.  That’s key for it to be healthy for me.

I can’t do everything, but this will allow me to do more things that I do love in ways that don’t burn me out.  And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and far less stress.  I might even get to travel again because I’m not saving every penny for tuition.

Something else happened this week, and you probably didn’t see it unless you’re a Twitter friend.  Being private on Twitter has cut out a lot of BS for me, even as it has limited the experience–but honestly, the crap that comes with that experience is more toxic than the good things about that experience.  I’m pretty choosy about who I let follow me on there–and who I follow back, especially.  With the world being what it is, there’s a lot of noise.  I’ve noticed that–while there are some good folks on the Twatter, there are also a lot more who fall into the brand versus bully dichotomy.  Luckily, I don’t really know a lot of bullies.  I’ve easily rid myself of them, but I have dealt with quite a few self-promoters.  And, well, there isn’t much wrong with that–really–if you’re transparent about it–and really, no judgment, but I’m in a place in my life where I’m realizing I get to choose what comes into my consciousness and what doesn’t belong there.

Since I joined social networks, years ago, I came to the table with one goal in mind–honest connections.  And being the people pleaser I am, I’ve often compromised on what I’ve accepted from people because I didn’t value my own needs over other people’s wants.  That didn’t work out so well for me, and at varying points in my life, I’ve had to set down some boundaries.  It started way back when I violently rejected Myspazz and took a lot of flack for it.  I lost “friends” over it.  But you know–I realized they weren’t friends.  I’ve put in a lot of work with my FB to make sure it reflects what I value, and unlike most people, it’s a healthy place for me.  But Twitter hasn’t been–not for a while–and I often deactivated because of it–rather than just unfollowing people.

So, this week, I did it.  I unfollowed, with lots of warning–telling people who were lurkers to say hi if they wanted to stick around.  Being clear about who I wanted to be in this little community of mine.  Namely, saying that–if you’re here to brand yourself–fine–but interact.  Don’t just respond to me because you feel obligated to–or you want me to read your stuff.  I can tell when things are genuine, and when they aren’t–probably more than most people–and it just doesn’t sit well.  And if there were friends who hadn’t been on, I told them to catch me later when this shit mattered to them.  But I’m placing those boundaries in the sand.  So, I purged–and got some tit for tat that just confirmed what I already knew.  And I’ve found that I’ve been actually seeing things I value more, and I’m able to interact more meaningfully because I’m not hurt or angry all the time.

This whole thing–both of these things–seem small to some, I’m sure–but to me–they’re huge.  I’ve really come to this place of not giving a shit about what others think of me–or even what I think of me (and trust–I have a bitchy inner mean girl).  But I’ve done a lot of work to be healthier, and the pain of sitting in people pleasing hurts much worse than the discomfort of being me.

I’m no longer chasing things that aren’t mine.  The things that are mine will show up for me without me forcing them to exist.  You might call that acceptance.

###

So, glad I got that out–even if it took a lot longer to say what I wanted than I intended.  Of course, nothing is ever a quick little aside with me.  You know this.

I feel like I’m actually in a good place right now.  Which is so odd to say given that–a few weeks ago–my heart was so heavy and I was actually as close to depressed as I get.  Life is still life, and I’m still working on a lot of shit.  But I feel solid in myself.  That said, like everywhere, I feel like this place has gotten a bit heavy–which is why I’ve been trying to bring more music and more of my actual writing into this space.  That will continue–though I’m not going to be too perfectionistic about how often I share.

I feel like–with all the bullshit right now–it’s really easy to get caught up in the mindset that everything is an outrage (and it probably is)–but I think that’s a bad mindset to embrace.  Especially if you’re a sensitive soul like me.  Such things make it easy to indulge anger and depression.  It’s easy to give up.  Like all things, there needs to be balance–even if it feels like betrayal.  The thing is–these chaotic forces thrive on our rage and grief just as much as those things can be catalysts to counteract.  There is such a thing as using beauty and humor to fight back as well.  I noticed that, for me, since the election, it’s even more important for me to indulge in art and music and words.  It’s more important to be in Nature and to find intimacy where I can find it.  I’m prone to being a melancholy fuck, a lot of the time, but for me–so much of my healing and joy come from those outlets.  And well, a lot of times, here…I indulge the melancholy too much.  So, I’m going to start sharing more things here that help me–because they may help you, too.  It may be frivolous discoveries.  Or music.  Or things I’ve written that matter to me. It may be photos or art I’ve discovered.  I’ve been working with a lot of self-help tools, so maybe I’ll share those things too.  And maybe I’ll share stuff I’ve learned to cope with shit through therapy.  I’ve been really drawn to video stuff lately, too, so maybe I’ll vlog a bit.  We’ll see.  But I’m going to share things that have made a difference to me.  Because we all need to dance and laugh and be stunned by the beauty of this world–especially when there is darkness and orange men in office.

Today, I’m going to indulge some Q&A because I love questions, and what better day than a Sunday for lazy meanderings.  🙂

###

So, of course, I read Thought Catalog.  What self-respecting INFP doesn’t?  And I stumbled upon this.  Share your answers, if you’re so inclined.  Or email me.  Whatever.  It’s cool.

50 Questions to Ask a Girl If You Really Want to Know Who She Is

1. What’s one thing that’s happened to you that has made you a stronger person?

Having my heart broken.  Being rejected by people I loved, who I thought loved me just as much.  I have always considered myself a pretty strong person, but love was the one exception–mostly because I was so committed to being vulnerable there.  I have a pretty thick skin, doing the work I do and having survived the shit I have, but my relationships have been the one place where someone could really gut me.  And oh, they did.  They really did.  Learning how to accept that rejection without holding on to anger and bitterness has been pretty transformative, though. And it’s really helped me know what I want and who I really am–and what they’re missing out on–which is quite a lot, frankly.  The fact that most of them are not even in my life anymore is sad.  Mostly because of whatever they’re holding on to.  It’s not mine.  I’m clean.  Took me a long time to realize that.  I’ve also realized that I really am someone who is ride or die with people, even if they hurt me or choose not to be in my life.  I am still always there for them, if they choose that path, and that says a lot about my own inner strength than it does about our connection.

2. What’s one thing that’s happened to you in your life that made you feel weak?

There’s something that happens when you see your parent as weak and frail.  Something that breaks inside you that makes you realize all the ways you’re weak and frail.  I think, for me, that moment of seeing my mother in the hospital after her initial heart event was that moment.  It gutted me and made me question my competence in everything.  It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been through it.

3. Where is one place you feel most like yourself?

Near water.  It doesn’t even have to be an ocean or lake.  A bathtub works.  I’m just infinitely more calm, more at peace, more playful–more introspective.  It’s a holy feeling.

4. Where is your favorite place to escape to?

This little place called Silver Thread in southern Colorado.  If you’ve ever been a friend in any capacity, chances are we’ve roadtripped there.

5. Who do you think has had the largest influence on the person you are today?

Oddly enough, considering I only had him in my life for six years–my Daddy.  And most of that was because of his absence.

6. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I don’t know that I would change anything, really.  All of these things that I find challenging about myself got me here.  All of those things allowed me to cultivate the good things–maybe the best things–about myself.  I struggle most with the controlling, perfectionist side of myself, but a lot of it is just learning how to honor it.  So I wouldn’t change it, but I would love to be better at managing it, so it doesn’t become malignant.

7. If you had one day left to live, what would you do first?

The silly thing is–having witnessed someone’s last day–I don’t know that I would live it any differently than any other.  We try to infuse meaning and joy into these things, but really, it’s just the normal shit that means the most.

8. What decade do you feel you most belong in?

The 90s.  I miss it.

9. Who are you closest to in your family? Why?

It used to be my Papa and then my Uncle Everett, who have both been gone a while now.  I think the closest family member is one of my female cousins in Arizona.  She reminds me of a very religious version of myself.

10. Who is the one person in this world that knows you best?

I don’t think anyone really knows me well anymore.  My roommate thinks he does, but there are so many things I don’t share anymore.  I have a few good friends who know versions of me, but very few know the whole story.  I think that’s why I sometimes struggle with relationships.  I really do want to be so well-known and understood, but that takes time and lots of work that most don’t invest in.  Friendships and love interests are so fickle and fleeting these days.

11. What is your favorite quality about your best friend?

I don’t have a best friend.  Feel free to show up, potential best friends.  I’m not looking for you.

12. When you were younger what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

See prior blog entry.  🙂

13. If you could identify with one fictional character (from a book, show, or movie) who would it be?

I always identified a lot with Alice in Alice in Wonderland.  Just for her curiosity.  Hope Davis’ character in Next Stop Wonderland is maybe a closer match–but she’s a bit too quiet.  (hmm…two wonderland references).

14. Do you easily accept compliments? Or do you hate compliments?

I am learning to accept them and say thank you. It’s weird because I am fascinated by what people notice about me–because it’s something I can’t really predict, usually, and tells me so much about them–but at the same time, I hate that people are noticing things about me.  Makes me wonder what else they notice that I don’t want them to notice.

15. Is your favorite attribute about yourself physical or non-physical?

Ooh.  I think it’s a tie.

16. What is your favorite physical attribute about yourself?

I have an expressive face.  I also like that my blue eyes take people by surprise.  I could do without the comments and questions about my hair.  Yes–it’s all mine.  Yes–it IS thick.  Yes–that is my natural color.  Or (when I dye it)–no–I’m not brave.  It’s hair.

17. What is your favorite non-physical attribute about yourself?

Who I am when I’m “weak.”  A near miss once told me I was at my most beautiful when I finally let him see how broken I was.  It took a lot for me to let him, so that comment always has helped me open up to people.

18. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Sorta–yes.  But not directly.  Like–you can be infatuated with someone at first sight and that can beeline to love.  That totally happened with my ex.  First time looks ever really mattered that much to me.  (And yes, it was that same ex I mentioned yesterday).

19. Do you believe in soul mates?

Not anymore.  Not really.  Or at least, I don’t call it that.  I think there are souls out there that have work to do with us.  I think they’re attached to us and are in our lives when we both need each other until we don’t need each other.  They’re not like all the other souls, but I don’t think that makes them ours either.  Or at least, I think my soul is a free agent.

20. How seriously do you take horoscopes?

Not too seriously, but I do read them and have felt they hit the nail on the head at times.  I can’t deny that an important relationship was totally predicted by a month of horoscopes.  And, generally, the portraits are true.  I’m an absolute Leo.  And most of the interactions I have with others line up with their signs.  Though the love shit is nonsense.

21. Have you ever been in love? How many times?

Yes.  A few.  The thing about love is that it evolves.  So, what was love for you at one time may not qualify later based on loves you had since.  It’s still love, but maybe–if you met it again–you wouldn’t claim it.

22. What makes you fall in love with someone?

Oh, that’s complicated.  Well, I have to be open to it, and they have to be open to it.  If there are obstacles there, from the get go, it won’t happen.  You might think it happened, but it’s something else.

Infatuation–that’s about chemistry.  Chemistry is weird.  It’s unpredictable and uncontrollable.  It sneaks up on you.  For me, it’s this weird giddy feeling combined with comfort where I can’t help but be myself.  It may be accompanied by being enamored with their physical whatever or their superficial personality traits.  But eventually, that deepens…there’s a turning point somewhere where it stops just being fun, and you start being serious about it.  For me, though, that seriousness translates to a deepening of the fun but a lot of emotion attached.  Love is easy to fall into.  But I think even that first blush of it is also easy to lose and the real love comes with showing up every day–even when it’s hard–and not giving up on them.

23. What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?

Oh, that’s everything.  Vulnerability is letting my shell blow off.  It’s removing all the masks and admitting to all the shit that’s embarrassing or hard or just junk.  Just being every bit of the beautiful, ugly, heartbroken mess I can be.  It only happens as part of a choice.  It may be a specific choice or a choice of how you’re going to live.  But sometimes, it’ll sneak up on you.  When you are you’re most broken, you have no filters left, really, so you can be inappropriately vulnerable.

For me, vulnerability shows up when I run into familiar pain.  It’s there with children and the elderly and people who show up for me.  It’s there with every animal ever.  I’ve really committed to being vulnerable in all situations, so I actually am easily intimate with people–which can freak them out or can make them assume our friendship/whatever is more than it is in that moment.  Vulnerability is rare, so it startles people.

24. What’s one thing you’re scared to ask a man, but really want to?

Do you want me?

25. If you were a man for a day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Fuck all the things.  Seriously.  It seems like their version of sex is just way more interesting, and I’d want to see how it all feels–just for the fact that I’d like to be better at understanding it so I could be a better lover.

26. What do you find most attractive about each sex?

There are certain body parts, ahem.  Um–I think, beyond that–it’s all connected to strength for me.  Like while I tend to go for guys who are maybe not the biggest, tallest men ever–I like guys who are strong.  Who make me feel safe.  Like–hey–he’s a man.  Who can fix the shit I break all the time.  Haha.  Emotionally, ironically, the most attractive thing is when a strong guy is vulnerable.

27. What’s one thing you’d love to learn more about?

Oh, God.  I want to learn about everything.  Are you kidding me?  I can’t choose one thing.

28. What is something you’ve never done that you’ve always wanted to do?

Get married and have a family.

29. Why haven’t you done it yet?

Haven’t met the right person.  Came close a couple times.

30. If money didn’t matter, what would your dream job be?

Money doesn’t really matter.  See previous blog.

31. If you had off from work today, what would you do?

I do have off.  It’s Sunday.  I got up WAY too early.  Ate a boatload of Turtle Chex Mix (crack, y’all).  Bought some aromatherapy body wash that I shouldn’t have bought (such an addict–too much shopping this weekend).  Cuddled and chatted with kitties.  Caught up with social.  Wrote this.  Plans are to feed, medicate, and water cats, clean the catbox, take a really long bath, eat leftover tacos for lunch, and Netflix into oblivion.  It’s gonna be a busy week.  I need to steel myself up for it.

32. What was the last thing that made you cry?

My uncle dying.

33. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

Probably Rilly trying to lift my kettle bell with his head.

34. What is your favorite memory?

I don’t know that I have one anymore.  I guess the one I’m in, if it involves people I adore.

35. What’s the last thing that REALLY embarrassed you?

It’s been a while, but probably the condition of our apartment when the cleaners showed up when we moved.  It was bad after all the packing and men in and out.  I think I literally had PTSD triggers form from that goddamn move.

36. What is your biggest fear?

Not gonna say because part of me thinks you will it into existence if you say it out loud.

37. Do you have any regrets? What’s your biggest one?

I do.  I would have said goodbye.  I would have been vulnerable instead of shut down during tough times.  I would have fought for things more…or let them go with more grace.  Hindsight is bullshit, though.

38. Have you ever broken a law? If you haven’t what is one law you’d love to break?

Yes.  Jaywalking, of course.  Speeding–like REALLY speeding.  Like–how stupid are you…speeding.

39. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Loved a narcissist.  Haha.  Oh, and jumped off a cliff.

40. Would you have a conversation with a stranger?

That’s actually my job.  Do it all day.

41. Would you tell a stranger they have toilet paper hanging from their shoe? Or their dress tucked into their underwear? (Or anything else that is embarrassing to be seen in public)?

Yes–and all kinds of other things.  I’ve done it all.

42. What’s your favorite joke?

I don’t have favorite jokes.  I just laugh at stuff.

43. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

More cat, but I love both.  I pine for a doggie friend.  We can have them here, but we’ve maxed out our cat allotment.

44. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

One that’s not endangered or dependent on humanity to protect their habitat.

45. What’s one show, movie, or book, you’re embarrassed to admit you enjoy?

Oh, I’m not embarrassed at all.  I own that shit.  There’s a long list.

46. How do you think your parents would describe you as a child?

Opinionated, painfully shy, a good girl, the protector, the advocate, funny, smart as hell, driven, Mama’s shadow, Daddy’s girl, stubborn as fuck, not a morning person, a fast walker.

47. If you could go back to any age or time of your life, what age or time would it be?

Probably age four or five, just to see both of my parents again.  And maybe to help that little girl prepare for what was coming.

48. What’s something you believe in that not everyone else does?

Guardian angels, holistic medicine, acupuncture, rolfing, Chinese medicine, therapy, science.

49. What’s one thing you would say that makes you unique from other people?

I am really forgiving of most things.  I don’t hold grudges.  I show up for people who have hurt me.  I walk my talk.  I’m a nice person who can be a raging asshole, though.

50. What is one thing you feel your life is missing?

External love.

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