Monday, February 29, 2016


As you may or may not know, I am striving to become my most authentic self (I mean, that's why I have this blog!).  To me, this means knowing who I am, the things I stand for, and being myself without fear of judgment from others.

I am slowly coming to know myself through this process, which is crazy because I've lived in my own body, in my own head, for nearly thirty-one years.  You'd think that I would know myself pretty well by now, and in some ways I do.  I know my favorite foods are my favorites mostly because of texture and not flavor (it's why I prefer Rice Chex above all others, or rice krispy treats, or rice crackers).  I know that I don't mind doing dishes.  I know that I love cats.  But those are basic things about me, things that my friends find out relatively easily.

I've had to do a lot of soul-searching since college.  I'm not the kind of person who can learn life lessons from other people.  I usually have to get out there and try something before I see it's not for me.  Like in 8th grade, when I played softball.  I was good at judging when to try to swing for the ball, but I was useless at everything else.  Most of the time I just sat in the outfield, watching the game.  I couldn't throw.  I hated running.  I didn't want to learn the rules.  I just wanted to have fun.  That attitude stayed with me through high school and my early college years.  I liked learning, but I wanted to only learn things I was interested in, which meant my grades suffered terribly.  I couldn't find anything that I was desperate to learn about, which led me to bounce around in different classes in different majors.  If something didn't take my fancy right away, I gave up on potentially switching to that major.  I felt stuck in my spiritual life too; I gave up practicing Catholicism as soon as I could, but never really found anything that I liked better.  I felt lost, in need of a guide.

Little did I know that I am the perfect guide for me.

We are all the perfect guides for ourselves.  Only you know what can make you feel good (by good, I don't just mean a temporary endorphin rush, I mean something that makes you feel thrilled to be alive, makes you feel in love with your life, makes you feel like acting more positively).  Only you know what makes you feel alive.  Maybe it's music.  Maybe it's sports.  If you like it, do it.  If you don't like it, don't do it.  To me, that is what being authentic is all about; one is true to oneself.  You are living without fear of judgement (or at least with the idea that others' judgements of your actions are reflections of them, not you).  I think this is the hardest thing for people to do nowadays.  To live authentically is to invite judgement into your life, especially with the internet. 

Slowly I started to find classes and friends that made me feel good.  And not just good in an immediate kind of way.  Good in a long-term, positive influence kind of way.  I found others who accepted me without forcing me to behave in a certain way.  I could finally admit that I really enjoyed listening to Britney Spears without the fear of being rejected.  I could laugh and get really excited without feeling like no one understood.  I discovered classes that I was completely in love with (medieval history, poetry, and language).  Slowly I came to know more about myself.

This emotional and spiritual journey is exactly like peeling back an onion.  I really think that people develop layers in order to hide their true selves from others because they have had their true selves rejected time and time again.  If only we can stop others from seeing our inner layer, maybe we can stop ourselves from getting hurt.  But knives can slice deeply, so we keep building up our defenses.  Eventually there are so many layers that we are lost from who we once were, separated and alone.  We want someone, anyone to understand us, but who better than our very own selves?

You are so capable of loving yourself, of being enough just for you.  I think this is the greatest secret in life, the secret that no one ever talks about because no one ever really knows.  If you love yourself, if you slowly start to peel back the painful layers, you can expose something wonderful, something bright that others had no idea existed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rainy Daze

Whew.  I sort of fell of the face of the earth there for a little while.  Did I warn you that would happen?  Winter tends to hit me pretty hard, and my fall was actually pretty busy (playing Mario Kart and Super Mario 3D world on the new Wii... among actual work) this past year.  Ah well.  It's coming to close on February and it's time I dragged my butt out from its squirrely hibernation.  I can feel spring on the way, and it's making me super restless, especially on days like today.

Rainy days feel sleepy and slower than the bright sunny ones, and are perfect for curling up on the couch with a blanket, a book and a bottle (erm, I mean glass) of wine.  Some people like rainy days.  I am not one of those people.

I mean, I sure do like curling up on the couch to read.  If I had a fireplace, I'd like it even more!  But rain means only one thing to me; cloudy skies.  Where is my sunshine?  Rainy days toss me into a torporific depression.  I can usually get myself moving if it's dark outside and if I have strong enough coffee (which, thanks to my tenure at a coffee chain, I know how to make perfectly strong coffee).  When it starts to get lighter out, and all there is is a gray ceiling, I sink into a gray despair the exact color of the clouds, and cannot be roused from it easily.

Yesterday was a glorious day of sunshine and happiness, fifty-degree weather and playing outside with kids.  I had a great day yesterday.

This might seem like a metaphor, and though it is not exactly one, I can still use it as one.  See,  February kind of marks a special time for me.  It has been one year (ish) since I decided to quit my job at said coffee chain.  It has been one year of self-discovery, of learning to listen to my inner voice, and attempting to be truly me.  As you may or may not know, I decided to begin a gratitude journal in January of last year.  Each night, I would write down ten things that I was grateful for, either from the day or exactly in that moment.  Some things were silly and simple, like "piles of warm blankets" and "my cats purring next to me" and "grateful I don't have to wake up at 4am!"  I was trying to rewire my brain.  I had become stuck in a spiral of negativity and self-hate, and I was ready for a change.

It wasn't always easy.  Growth is one of the hardest and most painful things to do.  There are certain aspects that keep coming back around; I thought I had dealt with that issue (my self-worth), that it was solved and tucked away neatly into the corner of my mind.  I'd be glad and grateful and happy and relaxed.  Everything was perfect, and I knew that I was never going to feel bad ever again.  Then I'd get angry or hurt or feel lacking and all the neatly bundled issues would tumble off their shelves and I'd have to sort them out again.  While this gets tedious and frustrating at times, I have noticed that the more I have to put them back in place, the more I find that my issues are becoming more manageable.

It hasn't been a slow, steady upward momentum from last year either.  I grew in starts and stops (mental, emotional, and spiritual growth is just as exhausting as physical growth)  I am still capable of feeling just as rotten, just as angry.  But I have noticed that those negative periods don't last as long.  I have found ways of dealing with my emotions constructively.  Most of this is only doing things that I feel necessary (ie, showering, working, feeding my cats) or things that I really want to do.  For example, when I left my job today, I decided to come home and write a blog post.  I really, really wanted to do this.  And I feel a whole lot better even now than I did before I started writing.

Back to the rainy day metaphor.  I have a lot of good days (sunny ones) which are punctuated by some negative ones (rainy days).  But, (are you ready for some cheesy pie?) I have come to find out that while the clouds block the sun from me on the rainy days, the sun is still always there, smiling down at me from above the clouds.  All it takes is getting into the proper mindset.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Self Love

Do you love yourself?  Unconditionally?  Even when you're a spaz or when you make a terrible mistake or when you hurt someone's feelings?

How many of us can truthfully answer yes?

This is the journey that I am on right now.  A spiritual teacher suggested it.  She said the best thing that any of us can do is to practice self-love for an entire year.  Constantly ask yourself "what would someone who loves herself do?" when faced with decisions.  I decided to start on the fall equinox, which was almost six months ago.

How's it going? I am still struggling a little to get my intuition working.  Right now it feels like my ego and my inner child are two squabbling children who don't know how to share the flingin, flangin chalk.  It is exhausting trying to re-parent myself, to monitor my internal mood, to try to just do things that make me happy.  My ego has been screaming out for so long that my inner child has just stopped trying.

I think it's working, though.

I have so much more confidence than I did at the beginning of 2015. I'm starting to believe that I am worthwhile, that I actually deserve to be happy.  I know that I have a long way to go still, to becoming the person that I deserve to be, but I honestly cannot believe how far I have already come since January, when I decided to practice positive thinking and gratitude.  I can't even believe how far I have come since 2012, or even 2010.

The best thing I ever did was get out of a toxic relationship.  Not a romantic relationship, although that had its major issues as well, but a friendship.  Something that can be even harder to get out of than a boyfriend/girlfriend situation.

I think part of the healing for me is not pretending that I am some sort of saint or martyr for putting up with bullshit.  It was not fair of her to treat me the way that she did, but I also was not supremely innocent.  The biggest step that I made in my healing was to forgive myself for reacting the way that I did, to realize that I hurt feelings too, to realize that yes, I allowed it to happen. I needed to take ownership of that in order to be free.

I saw her, recently, at a mutual friend's wedding.  I had made such a huge deal about it in my brain, but Miss Toxicity didn't even come over to say hello to me.  She didn't acknowledge my presence. Yes, I was nervous, and yes I was worried, but I wasn't going to make a big deal about it. I got more worried about dressing up to go see my best friend the next day than I did about that wedding, because I realized that I don't care what Miss Toxicity thinks anymore.  And that is the most self loving thing that I could do.