days of my life

I didn’t mention this earlier this week, but I recently did something called a past life soul regression therapy session with an intuition coach I met a couple years ago, who I’ve worked with in the past–to great success. I know–crazy woo. This session came a couple days after I had a pretty challenging therapy session with my long-time therapist wherein I basically defined a huge part of my spirituality as rooted in scientific principles–but yet–still–completely woo and also quite Buddhist (which has mostly been self-discovered, rather than taught).

I don’t know why, but that feels important to say–to share–that I am someone who believes and is inspired by scientific ideas. How I see life and how I live life is molded directly by the things I studied over 20 years ago, and these principles hit me at my core–along with a lot of faith-based ideals from the Jesuits about how to be a critical thinker and a decent human.

I’ve always felt I contain multitudes, and often, these multitudes contradict and expand even as they retract. These are things that are mine. They may not apply to you and you are free to be whatever you want and need to be in my presence…and I will ask that you give me the same grace.

So, I’m going to share more about why I signed up for this–because I was a skeptic and wasn’t quite sure it was going to be beneficial. However, I trusted the practitioner–having had an amazing experience with her last year in workshops based on building self-trust. Those workshops gave me a sense of community with other women and also linked me back to the parts of me incredibly linked to writing. It allowed me to deeply support others and be supported–just by being me. It showed me what relationships could be with other people and has helped me deepen existing friendships and get over my own obstacles there.

But I’d done reiki before and had no benefits–thought it was possibly BS–though the person doing it seemed ethical and good at her work. Maybe it would have been different had I committed longer. Maybe I wasn’t in-tune or open enough to receive it. I also was not convinced I could be hypnotized because I have a hard time even staying in my body–my mind rarely shuts up–and even when I’m meditating–a big part of me getting benefits from it is just accepting that my mind is going to have a field day once I’m still. The timing also wasn’t ideal–but it was what she had open–and I had to accept it. Also, cats. So, I knew there’d be obstacles.

I did this for a few reasons–1) though some things are crystal clear and vivid in my mind, most of the time I spent with my Daddy as a kid is held behind some wall that was erected both by a head injury and emotional trauma. There are lots of things I just don’t remember, and I wanted to see if maybe we could access some of that. 2) I’ve had a lot of doubts in my life about my path–while I’ve always felt I’m here for big reasons–I’ve had such a hard time figuring it out. And I’ve had a hard time trusting myself in all ways. 3) I believe I’ve inherited a lot of generational trauma–and I wanted to see if there were connections there.

I was surprised by how easy it was to relax and noticed that being on camera was not conducive to that–whatsoever–so I asked to turn that off. I’m discovering more and more that Zoom culture isn’t for me–is not a way for me to stay connected and be present–so I am now firmly standing my ground and not doing it unless absolutely required. There’s something that gets activated in my brain that throws me out of my body and into analysis mode.

While I’m skeptical about many things, I pride myself on being open-minded, and I’ve done other supposedly woo-woo things that are now core parts of my healing toolkit. I tout them to anyone who will listen because they changed my life. I wasn’t sure what to expect–but my practitioner told me it might feel like I was making shit up because the same part of our brains responsible for imagination are activated in this process.

That said–it was super relaxing to spend 4 hours in a meditative state. I felt completely normal–though I did fall asleep at the very end. I guess I was expecting something quite different than what I experienced. It wasn’t like getting into a time machine. She’d guide me to wherever and then ask me questions–and every time–I felt this insane pressure to grab onto something in my brain. The intial something was peppermint–not a smell, but the word. And when I said that out loud, I was suddenly in my childhood home–and I knew it was that place because of a brown blanket on the couch. And then my mind sort of filled in the details. We talked about how my dad was making chili and hot cocoa and I was alone in the living room as my parents cooked. We didn’t interact with them at all. I didn’t see them–couldn’t smell anything–but I knew what was happening.

I won’t get into all of the things I experienced or that we talked about. But we went back to the womb and another happy childhood memory and we visited a past life in what I think must’ve been a Scottish town. There were all these familiar stories and details interspersed with things I am now pondering–that are interesting and connected to other things–but not in any obvious sorts of ways.

I don’t know if this was my mind just grabbing facts of what I know to be true–and then building worlds around them. It felt a bit like that–and it felt difficult. It was not easy to do this–and in many ways, it felt false to me. But I can’t deny that–whatever it was that I saw in this experience–my intuition was leading me there. And the insights DO have real meaning for me and it has helped me feel calmer and more sure of the decisions I’ve been making–and will eventually make. So, did I get what I came from–mostly yes–and I would recommend doing it just to experience it and see where your mind takes you. Is any of it actually true? I don’t know. It might really be something my intutitive mind just created so I could get where I need to be. It’s still worthwhile. I didn’t have new experiences related to my parents–it was mostly just confirmation of things I already knew and remembered vividly. Things like my home as a kid was welcoming and warm. That despite the challenges they had, my parents did their best. That I was a quirky ass free spirit and an artist. And I am still that person because they let me be that way.

I do feel like there are very direct connections between who I am now and the women in my life. That the act of being a woman in a world that wasn’t kind to women has been a big part of my life–and that I have never followed the ideals prescribed to me. I see very clear patterns of tolerating ridiculous suffering followed by escape and then transcendence. Meaning-making. And healing. But also a pervading loneliness and–even in connection–disconnection. I was left with a very clear message that I’m here to heal people–but also that healing people includes healing me–and that is very much rooted in community and other humans–which still proves challenging for me.

I’ve been struggling kind of a lot lately with where I am from a heart perspective. I feel as though I’m in a transition period of discovery and healing and growth where I don’t really know where I want to be–which is uncomfortable. I’m not afraid of discomfort–and am used to it, really–but I do like to know where I’m going…and it’s particularly hard for this reformed control freak to not know something. But I don’t because I haven’t experienced a lot of what I’m drawn to or what I think might be better. And until I do–I won’t really know.

There are some things I do know. Traditional forms of monogamy have not been working for me. And it’s not just specific to shitty men (though none of them were really shitty–just incapable of meeting my needs consistently). They did shitty things, often, sure–but I’m not apt to just throw someone away completely based on that. They are fine for others; just not for me.

When I was younger, I was taught that monogamy was it. The standard for love. And I grew up believing in it–believeing there was no other way. I also grew up being a jaded AF, yet somehow also hopeless romantic–which is something that probably destined me for much heartache. The relationships I saw in my world were not good relationships. They were toxic. They were tragic. They were codependent and heavy. And yet–they were also genuine and significant. So, I was taught two things–that love was worth every sacrifice–but that it would destroy you. My relationship history certainly reflects all of these things. There are boatloads of moments rooted in betrayals–from others, but mostly myself. But also depth and kindness and the kind of shit people write books about. And this is why I have these patterns that reflect the trauma I’ve been through–these waxing and waning dirths I go through where I’m in hibernation–hiding from the sun of love’s light–or I’m caught on fire–sacrificing every damn thing just to feel warm.

When I moved to the Bay Area, I thought a lot of silly things–namely that this place would reset everything. That a new place with new people would somehow allow me to get all that I wanted. It was silly because there was no self-ownership there. There was a lot of blame. Oh, the men in Denver are shitty. They’re this and that. I only found more of the bad here–with way more openness to nonmonogamy–which ironically closed more doors to me–the serial monogamist. And all the guys I liked either weren’t nearby or were nonmonogamous. Because let’s be real–few things about me are actually monogamous. Friends have joked about how I’m a flavor freak–how I have so many interests and passions and etc that no one can keep up. So, how on Earth will this woman ever just be okay–forever–with one guy?

And that’s not even accounting for the independent part of me that doesn’t even like sharing a bed with someone else–though intimacy is great. I just like to sleep, too, and I like things that are also just mine.

After my last engagement, it really became clear how out of sync these traditional things were with what I actually wanted and how I live my life. I kept thinking that had we not been monogamous–things with many of my exes would have ended much better–if at all. That the things things that tore us apart were not these huge unsolvable things–but actually things we were set up to do by a society that wasn’t made for us. And that I never really chose any of it. I just kept doing it because I didn’t realize there were actual choices.

So, living here has expanded that for me–what I thought was possible and what I thought I knew about myself. It took some doing to get there–another failed monogamist relationship that was particularly traumatic and gutting–and continued on up until a couple months ago–in its toxic crap ways. Because I was still sopping up all of that–I attracted more of that when I allowed more open versions of things to happen. So–I experienced more of the negative sides of the other way of being–and as I explored–many things felt wrong.

My last few relationships have run the gamut and have been uniquely challenging–to say the least. But on the other side of my last relationship (which was monogamous)–I am now back to thinking that maybe monogamy and conformity isn’t what I’m looking for at all. I never wanted marriage or children until a few years ago–and now that increasingly it doesn’t look like I’ll be having a kid of my own–I’m questioning my own beliefs more and more.

What it mostly comes down to is that I want a life built on community. While I want the freedom to choose to be independent and alone–because God, I sometimes love those things–I don’t want alone or independent based on other people’s definitions of it. Because–to me–it’s not about isolation. It’s about options and choices. What I truly want is deep connection–with literally everyone in my world. I have no patience for flimsy relationships–no matter who they’re with or the functions they serve. That is why I broke up with my ex. I want consistent, meaningful interactions based on choosing to be there–and respecting the person as just as important as I am. No obligations or unfair expectations or false idols. Just people caring about each other and showing up in ways that make sense for them. And I get annoyed by this hierarchy we have of our partners being the center of everything. Even family is somewhat toxic because it fuels this idea that we’re not all family. I want everyone to be my damn family. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all treated each other like the people we deem most important? Of course–families can be shitty, too. I get that.

So what does that actually mean? I’m not sure. Again–I haven’t ever experienced any of this in any meaningful way. But I think I’m going to start by rejecting behaviors where my needs are disrespected. I’m going to reject men who treat me like something they own rather than a woman capable of making her own choices. I’m going to be friends with men–and I’m going to share the things about the people I care about when I do because they delight me and it makes me happy to share joy with the world. And if that makes you jealous–please move along. I’m going to spend a lot more time honoring the parts of me that need attention instead of constantly apologizing for their existence.

I’m sharing this because I know I’m not alone, and sharing any of this is how others feel less alone. It doesn’t have to make sense because some of it doesn’t make sense to me. But it’s what I know to be true for me, right now.

what if normal never was?

This thread sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling since starting my new job, which coincidentally, also coincided with my state lifting restrictions–even though our numbers continue to go up–despite the increased numbers of vaccinated folks.

I’m halfway to vaccinated and will get my dreaded second dose of Moderna on Tuesday afternoon. I get to drive to Gilroy for it. I’m particularly not excited because my first shot, while relatively uneventful save a nasty bruise and some mild warmth and pain at the injection site, was followed, three days later, with what I can only guess was a flare of my chronic illness–particularly those affecting hormones–which led to lots of happy (not) fun times for me. I’m still sort of off, almost a month later–often feeling feverish, with abnormal things happening left and right. I’m not really all that surprised by this. Western medicine has never really considered people like me as people they should consider.

Somehow, because I was sicker than most–and more at risk–I have to drive farther away while my roommate easily got his shot here in town–just a week after I did–though he had no sickness whatsoever. It makes me a bit angry–though I’m also grateful everyone in my household will soon be “safe.”

What does “safe” actually mean, though?

I’ve been noticing how people are doing a lot of what I used to do as a kid. I was never “normal”–never safe–but I learned early on that it didn’t matter what I was. It mattered what everyone else wanted us to be. So, I either had to conform or be further traumatized. So, instead of telling the truth of who I was and the life I was living–I had to deny reality to an extent–I had to deny my feelings. I couldn’t talk about anything real. I had to look around and pretend I didn’t see or feel all of it.

I see these people now, getting back to normal–and I see a whole lot of people disassociated from their lives and feelings. And it might be okay for a while. But we’re going to see a lot more cPTSD and a lot more suicides that seemingly come out of nowhere. We had a mental health crisis before all of this started. I’m terrified to think of what’s coming. And what’s scarier still is that the people tasked with helping all of us are also in their own crises. Having dated a therapist, during this pandemic, I’m pretty sure we’re all drowning.

In an odd way, my losing my job at the very start of the pandemic was such a damn blessing. I was insulated from having to be productive and having to be “normal.” I could leave whenever I felt like it. I could sleep all day. I could grieve. And even better, I made choices that kept me in my body–that made me face grief head on. Taking my death doula training, returning to school, and traveling by myself? All fantastic choices. I think I made them because I knew what could have been, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

Now that I’m back to “normal”–working again–that ill-fitting shoes thing feels even more true than it did before. I’m working at a level I never have before–completely outside my comfort zone–and it’s been hard to be productive or to really think anything I do matters. But it does. I’ve been reminded that a few times–in ways that have been really surprising. Who knew the current situation in India would be so much a part of my daily work life, for example? Not me.

I’ve finally felt like I’ve gotten through the worst of my transition back to this odd life I’m living now. I hit a bit of a self-care rock bottom that really convinced me that the normal I thought was mine before is completely unsustainable now, and I’ve had to insert some big ass boundaries with myself to keep myself from going back to the hustle that is so abnormal for any kind of health for me. I’ve been so much better to myself since then, and even though my legs are shaky in that respect, I’m so much of a better everything because of it. I’m lucky that I can do these things–that I have some control over my work life.

###

I’ve been grieving lately. In a weird sense, getting a job has been a loss because it meant losing parts of my new life that I really loved–things like traveling and freedom. It’s made it clear to me that I cannot do this work long-term, and that I won’t. But for now, it’s a means to that end, and that’s a good thing. It’s also teaching me about the boundaries I’ll need–and the commitment to self I’ll need to install–before I’m ready to pursue that new life.

I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from loving people too. Though does that ever stop once you do? Probably not. It just becomes background noise. I’ve recommitted to getting to know this person I am now–because we’re all different, right? I’ve enjoyed my new friendship with an ex I dated twice, who is now a great friend–and I wonder if maybe that was all we were ever meant to be. I’ve let go of others. Including the last two–which is complicated and hard. I’m still angry at the last one–mostly because of his superficiality and how he never quite showed up like I did. I’m not a fan of people who waste my time, and despite my need–always–to make things clean–I am choosing to not be his friend right now, though Facebook indicates otherwise. At some point, you have to let people choose you for a change, and when they don’t, you have to let go of the rope.

There’s a new love interest, though, I’ve chosen not to pursue it. I have my doubts, as I always do, but moreso than usual, and I’m just not in the space to allow any of it to even begin. I’m too exhausted, and my life requires so much of me now that I don’t have anything left to spare for things that may be half-assed. I’m going to be single until someone shows themselves as worthy. And I’m never chasing a man again. For any reason. I’m chasing myself.

Probably my favorite show for a while now has been Younger, and I recently binged the entire first half of the 7th season in one night recently. I belong to a Facebook group of fans who all were bitching about this season–the final one–which was shot during the pandemic. A couple favorite characters–my favorite character, in fact–are missing this season. It wasn’t planned, and there’s a huge hole. But the other thing happening is that the plot isn’t following the standard romantic comedy formula–you know–the one where you love someone, and it’s enough. Or you’re in a triangle and you struggle to choose–but eventually do–and it’s this tragic will she or won’t she.

(Spoilers ahead).



I’m enjoying this plot line because, um–I’ve basically lived it in 2020.

What happens when you love two people–like genuinely adore both of them–and you can’t be with both for whatever reason? What happens when, despite loving them both, both of them don’t quite fit? And yet, you still love them, and somehow can’t let go completely? Even though you want to. Even though you have no choice really.

It’s irritating to me that so many people are equating Liza holding to her ideals and not giving up on herself as giving up on true love. As a betrayal. When, really, any love worthy of anything is rooted in one’s genuine need to be self-directed. The thing is–I’ve liked both the love interests and have oscillated between the two myself. And to some extent, my own love life has been this back and forth between the good idea and the bad idea. While they were great for a time, ultimately, neither were right and abandoning what isn’t right–no matter how right it could be, at times, is not giving up. You might say–it’s the ultimate hopeless romantic act. And yea–it sucks. I’m there right now. I wish I could be that girl who settles. That person who can get past the small incompatibilities. Someone who stubbornly holds out for that person to change–even when I know they won’t.

But when you’ve watched someone die–when you’ve seen them die alone–not ever getting what they wanted…you learn two things: 1) It’s better to die alone and not completely fulfilled than to use someone else as your life raft; and 2) Your life is more than the silly limits you put on yourself.

It’s uncomfortable being over 40 and single. People expect certain things from you–especially if you’re a woman. And it’s lonely. You learn real fast how to be with yourself–how to accept yourself in ways you never thought possible. But you also learn to recognize the real thing–in you and in others. And you learn that nothing is worth the suffering associated with the almost thing.

I’ve learned so often that what I want and what I need are such different things. I’ve learned that where I end up is full of detours, and though I have my intentions, sometimes, I end up bawling in parking lots–completely terrified. But I always have a great story to tell. And I always have me.

I don’t know about you, but I’m hell bent on being anything except normal after this crazy ass time. For those of us who survived, we should fight for a different normal that isn’t about rejecting reality or fearing feelings. In my life, it means doubledowning on boundaries, being with the people who actually show up for me, and letting go of anything that feels like it dishonors the life I’ve fought so hard to continue living.

maybe, you’re not so normal

I’m going to preface this by saying I am probably the most exhausted I maybe have ever been in my entire life–including the time I took care of my dying Mama and the time when I almost died and was recovering from surgery. We’re talking deep in the bones, soul-level exhaustion, y’all. Here’s the thing–when you’ve been unemployed for a while, you start compiling a long list of things to do. With COVID, that list got very unfocused and long. Staying inside, the house got messier. The pets seemed to do more bad things. We acquired hobbies and stuff. So much damn stuff. And we hadn’t ever addressed all the crap that happened when we moved here because we’ve all literally been going nonstop and then boom–this bizarre detour–that came with hefty mental health burdens.

Needless to say, a lot of the stuff I wanted to do while unemployed, I just didn’t do. They ended up being practical things like finally unpacking all the crap in our living room and organizing my bedroom–both of which have been incredibly stressful things for me, taking up massive mental real estate. Just the thought of them–things I have to step around on the daily–makes me want to hide or run to Aruba.

I don’t really regret how I spent my time, mostly because it’s why I’m probably still sane–but I do wish I had more time to address these practical things. That said–when it became clear that I was probably going to be getting a couple offers–and the time in process moved very fast–I tried to get a jump on these practical things–which was exhausting and I was also sick–with a sinus infection that I’m still dealing with. (It’s not COVID). Anyway, I kinda failed–miserably–and now, I’m in a familiar place of feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Here’s the deal: I just finished my employment law class on Sunday night (which has inspired me to look into law school for civil rights law after my counseling program ends–what??). I just started a really really really demanding job that makes my last job look like preschool; there’s a VERY high learning curve and high expectations–and the person I backfilled left a mess–and I’m still not trained–but doing the damn job. I’m 5 days into a 10 day antibiotic course for the sinus infection from Hell. I haven’t slept well in about 3 months because I was in a brief (and now defunct, but friendly) international relationship with an avoidant comic book artist. My damn ex who keeps coming back came back again. I’m back online dating and actually having better luck–imagine that. I’m dealing with my cat, as always, and transitioning her onto new treatments. (Going well). Trying to stay sane while California never gets its COVID vaccine shit together. Trying to clean the house and organize and finally make this place feel like home. Become a plant mother. Paint shit because I bought all the paint. And establish a cooking routine because I have no time to go anywhere for food because of this job. Oh, and in the course of all of THAT? I think I might have ADD.

Now, this is not necessarily a new might. My roommate–who has ADD–has suspected it for a long time, and a friend actually said he thinks I’m a fucking case study in ADD. (HAHA). But I have always unilaterally rejected the very notion…mostly because all the ADD folks I thought I knew were men, and I’m not like them in their ADD ways. But it was the damn executive function stuff that started me thinking–whoa–maybe I am. The thing is a lot of my supposed ADD symptoms are things that are easily attributed to my chronic illness and my mental health challenges (namely, PTSD and the anxiety that goes with it). Trauma is very rough on a brain. So, I always thought my shit was more about those things–not ADD. But I found out that my best friend has it–and she’s on medication–and talking to her–I was like–Holy whoa. That could be me.

My symptoms seem to most impact my executive functioning ability–and my ability to take care of myself–which has ALWAYS made me feel worthless and like a horrible failure at life. And man, is it ever impacting me right now. It’s gotten to the point where I know I can’t do it by myself the way I have been. My life is too chaotic now–even with a 2 month break from school. The thing is–I learned a lot of coping skills from being a female and from being a people pleaser. It helped that I had a very supportive mother who also was anal about routine and cleanliness–so mine never spiraled in the ways it has for my roommate, for example. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need help.

So, I am looking into finding a psychiatrist to get tested–formally–and hopefully get treated. It’s daunting and crazy for me to think about–and I have no idea if it will even help–but something has to change.

eleven and a half

So, I’m not even going to explain or apologize or whatever. (Why do I always feel like I should?).

Honestly, I haven’t felt like writing here. Tonight, I did. If only to mark a milestone–as one does. Today came confirmation that I had passed all the everything and am officially amongst the employed again. Almost a full year since the betrayal that ended one other chapter. It’s mildly sweet to not only have exactly what I need from a job, but to also have had two wonderful offers–for the most money I’ve ever earned in my life–and the ability to do something new and challenging. My self-respect feels like it’s leapt tall buildings–but mostly, it just feels good to be seen. To not have to hustle. To just be me.

I’m damn good at what I do. I start Monday. I’m nervous, but excited for the open doors and the freedom this new chapter will afford me after such a nervewracking year.

I’m also excited that I’m volunteering as a guest poet for a favorite nonprofit. I’m still pursuing the death doula stuff, on the side–though that’s more challenging than I ever imagined it would be. I’m halfway through my MBA program and thinking about law school. I still have plans to become a counselor–though, with the new job, that becomes both easier and harder.

Love continues to be both ever-present and elusive. I continue to be frustrated and hopeful–but also impatient. As always. And whenever you’re too big for your britches, you end up dropping a huge bottle of rose on the floor–while lugging a heavy cat–somehow not soaking her–but dousing yourself. Then cutting yourself on a rogue shard you somehow missed and making your bedroom look like a damn crime scene. There may have also been a separate incident involving a cabinet and my head as well as a giant tub of au jus.

Oh, bother. I’m alive. So are you. We might just make it, after all.

all of it is you

Monday was a weird, tough day for me. I couldn’t sleep at all and was feeling off all day. Then, one thing after another happened. I got a lot of small things done–important victories–but I felt this kinetic shittiness in my body–the kind that used to be a daily thing in my world before I started therapy. It was this nondescript stress in my body–this physical need to cry or scream.

It’s not entirely unusual for dead Mama week, but it hasn’t been a thing for me this year. This year, I’ve been this even keel. And it didn’t require me to numb or disassociate–though I definitely have had moments of those.

To be honest, this off feeling started several weeks ago, right before my ex showed up again. I was so down–that kind of down that makes it hard to crawl out of bed. I had this sense of him–this inner knowing that he was going to appear when I least expected. The calls would come, and I wouldn’t answer–afraid to–but knowing it was him–knowing what he wanted–knowing what would happen if I answered and if I went. Deja vu. But worse–choosing your own groundhog day.

The night he called, and I answered, was a particularly rough night where I felt I had nothing left to lose. I was in such a dark place, and I couldn’t crawl out of it–so much so that the self-respect I’d fought for after our last meeting went right out the window and I justified it. I justified being a fool. I justified using his body as a way to forget. And it was exactly what I needed–but when it went as it always had–I found myself losing a bit more respect for myself–though I felt so much better. Feeling better was what allowed me to finally make better choices–but not before I gave others choices they didn’t deserve and I found myself right back where I started–this neverending cycle of me bashing my face against walls.

###

Earlier today, I watched this tarot thing on YouTube because of the whole Saturn conjunction thing. I’ve gotten into tarot a lot this year, out of some way of tapping into my intuition. It’s been part of a whole course of things I’ve tried to feel things because I felt my brain shutting shit down. So, I’d go on road trips so I could smell the ocean and forests. I’d sign up for virtual meetups. I’d take workshops. I’d dance any which way I wanted. I ate whatever the Hell I wanted too. A few weeks ago, I started writing in a journal–physically writing up exercises I concocted or finding them. I started meditating and doing whatever I could to tap into my own wisdom and move the energy. But a few weeks ago, I sort of stopped that. It happened when I stopped that torturous friendship and when I met someone new. I stopped even bothering to get up and do things. I gave myself full permission to eat all the sugar and sleep in all day. The household chores would wait. Granted–I WAS injured and also had a bad sinus infection–but this was a pattern. I recognize it now–but even though I knew I was off–I couldn’t drag myself away from doing it. I realize now that I was punishing myself for giving up. For choosing something that made me happier.

Anyway, the tarot thing today was spot-on. Warned about something I’ve suspected and called out my part of the nonsense. And I realized something about this year. This year has been the Universe testing me…who are you, really? Are you the girl you’ve always been–the girl you say you don’t want to be–the girl you don’t respect? Or are you the woman you’re claiming? The one everyone else thinks you are? The one that all your dreams and hopes require you be? And that is what has kept me stuck. That same girl who dropped everything to feel something? She’s what I’m afraid of. Because if I really am that girl–I can’t do anything of those things.

Here’s the thing, though–something I’ve learned after boatloads of therapy…that girl I dislike so much–that girl I don’t respect…the one who is pathetically allowing this shit to continue when she has full power to stop it? Like it or not, there will always be a part of me that IS her. And I can’t bully her away. I can’t will her out of existence. That’s been me this whole year–trying so hard to be “good.” To manage her–I have to let her feel all the damn feelings. I have to let her make the dumbass mistakes. I have to self-destruct a bit, sometimes, too. I have to love her and value her–because she isn’t all bad. She’s the hopeless romantic who never gives up. She’s the nurturing caretaker. She’s fun AF. But she can’t take over because she’s not who I’m becoming. She can’t be where I live. But to do that–I have to allow her to exist–but make it safe for her to exist. Meaning–she can be all those things–but only for the right people. And the right people will love her too. So I have to listen to her–acknowledge her–give her managed bits of what she needs–and then take back my power–because I don’t live there anymore. Because I don’t want to. And that’s not my path. It was a path that was chosen for me. And it’s time to make better choices.

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My Mama and my Daddy loved each other. Of this, I have no doubt. And in some ways, they were good for each other. But she always felt he saved her, when–in fact–she saved herself. He just threatened to leave. He just gave her an ultimatum. The whole drama triangle is alive and well in their story. The codependent dance I learned so well–and the one I’ve recreated my entire life–in almost all my love relationships.

But never once was I fully me in any of those relationships. And coincidentally–I never once felt actually loved. Which makes sense, I guess, because I was never me. I was always some watered down version. Some crafted person. Some thing I thought they needed or wanted or expected. Some stereotype of who I thought I was. Never ever fully me.

I never respected my mother in love. I respected her in her life–as the strongest–best woman I knew. But in love, she was stupid–she was lesser. She showed none of the strength or the backbone I admired so much. And I vowed to never be her. And yet–just like her–I’ve dated people with addictions–men who cheated and lied–men who needed me to be less than. Men who avoided. And I’ve been that dumb fucking girl who keeps going back.

But it started breaking this year–even as I repeated that codependent nonsense of all the shit I’ve always been. It started breaking with my ex. Even though I let him come back–I didn’t make it easy. Even though I wanted to hate him–I didn’t shut down. I opened up–I accepted him instead of trying to change him. And I showed the fuck up–being vulnerable in ways I never had–maybe foolishly–but he knew me. Maybe better than anyone ever has–and maybe that’s why I kept letting him. Convincing myself it was something about him, when–really–it was something about me.

Maybe I opened up because I finally knew myself. Maybe I finally accepted myself. Maybe I finally owned all of it–the good and the bad and the shit I hated.

With the near miss–same–only opposite. I didn’t accept that my experience of him had to be my experience. And yes–that made me stubbornly disbelieve he was that person–but it also meant I spoke up–loudly–when I was mistreated. I didn’t let it go. I didn’t jump on the grenade. I walked away often–I just didn’t stay away. Until now.

I’ve somehow managed to stay away from these people who baffled me all year. These people who I connected with because I was more connected with myself. And I’m realizing that it was never about them. They were never the point.

Lately, I’ve been getting to know someone–and for once in my life–I feel like me. Not because I’m trying to impress or trying to make something be something. But because the me I am now bubbles out–even when I’m off-kilter and flailing in the life I’m fighting so hard to live. Maybe all of it is me.