can i be self-honest without being self-critical? reflections on evolution of self

hey y’all, welcome back. it’s been a while..

i was recently reflecting upon/ruminating over my lack of consistency/follow-through. at my ability to be inspired and to then lose the thread once inspiration dissipates.

i reminded myself of a storytelling open mic i’ve tried to established more than once. or collaborations with friends that only lasted a month. or the somatics certification i got that i have no idea how to apply to my life. or my fleeting consideration to be a death doula. or having a freaking consistent writing schedule.

and so i began reflecting, sitting with the feelings of anxiety and disappointment, the sense that i was an incompetent failure. and a question emerged: can i practice self-honesty without falling into self-criticism? instead of falling into despair over all my perceived shortcomings, could i instead use the self-knowledge to evolve?

so i began evaluating ideas i’ve had that have played out and ones that haven’t. to try and work out what are the throughlines of what works and what doesn’t.

i can’t say that i’ve come to a place of intense clarity yet, beyond an understanding that i need accountability and purpose. i need a reason for doing something, and i need someone holding me to it.

i’ve recently been reconsidering human design, and my designation as a projector — the idea behind a projector is that they can’t create energy themselves. instead, they help guide the energy others create. the idea behind this nature is that you “wait to be invited” as opposed to imposing yourself on others.

maybe that explains something about the role that i’m supposed to play in the development and fruition of ideas.

but of course, this raises more questions than answers… i don’t want to think of myself as a person who doesn’t follow through, as someone with great ideas that never goes anywhere with them.

so i’m left at a standstill, trying to work out what i’ve been getting wrong. and where to go from here.

i don’t believe some people are just inherently incompetent. i believe, as diverse beings, we all need different resources and environments to succeed. i’ve recently been craving community and a mentor (to be fair, i’ve been craving these for a while, but i’ve revisited them with increased intensity during some soul-searching).

i need education, i need guidance. i don’t know how to create it myself, how to do it myself. and i guess part of this honesty process is accepting that that’s okay. that in this fiercely individualistic and entrepreneurial society, i don’t need to “prove” myself by doing it on my own.

and i guess that’s why the projector framework brings me comfort. instead of it being some lacking on my end, some lack of discipline, it becomes about my nature. it’s not a framework of “i suck,” but “i’ve been going about this the wrong way.”

so what are the conditions that will allow me to live out my purpose, to utilize my unique gifts in the name of the collective good? this is the question that’s been haunting me. and the more i strive for it, the more lost i become.

so instead, i follow the breadcrumbs of what interests me. i read/listen to the people who call to me. i take notes. i try to participate in my own education. i do tarot.

and yet, the confusion and anxiety remain. despite distractions or temporary balms.

i think about how this purpose-seeking is one of the greatest acts of faith i’ve experienced — to continue to hope, to believe. in spite of no (easily discernible) evidence in its favor. to trust in the process.

i’ve been coming to terms more and more recently the role doubt plays in faith. learning to understand that having doubts is not a sign of a lacking faith but of a healthy one. this relationship i have with Spirit is a living, breathing thing, so therefore fluctuations are natural.

but fuck does it hurt sometimes, those crushing thoughts and feelings of not being good enough, the fear of never being good enough. it’s enough to devour you, to keep you from ever even trying.

on an semi-unrelated note, here’s an image that’s been inspiring me recently:

two concentric circles -- one reads "discipline," the other "surrender." they overlap, which reads "flow"

much love y’all ❤

¿why is stepping into our truths so f***ing scary?

this is the question stirring my soul as i sit with The World in reverse.

The World is the final card of the major arcana of the tarot. it is the place you end up at the end of a long journey that begins with you as a fool, naive to all that the world is gonna throw you way.

as you emerge from this journey, you re-enter the world, better off for it: more whole, more mature, more aware, and wiser.

pulling this card reversed indicates there is tension at play, resistance to stepping into the world as a truer version of ourselves.

the journey of the major arcana from The Fool to The World is one we’ll make many times in life. it is a cycle that ultimately brings us closer and closer to ourselves, to a more concentrated sense of purpose during our time here.

the calling of this card, to take what i’ve learned and apply it to my external experiences, scares the shit out of me.

there are many things i can write about with confidence to strangers that i fail to articulate to some of the closest people in my life, such as being poly, queer, a cannabis lover and advocate, a writer, a poet, a dreamer, a romantic.

i learned early on in life to protect myself from the judgment of others through learning how to adapt my external-presenting identity to whoever’s company i was in.. i could be the cool girl, the good girl, the smart girl, the funny girl, the articulate girl — whatever the situation called for, i’d put on my mask and perform away.

allowing my truth to shine outwards means coming to terms with people’s discomfort and resistance to it, because people are often off-put by someone bringing their full humanity into a situation.. i know, because i’ve often been on the other side of this — sooo threatened by the person who doesn’t shy away from who showing up fully.

grappling with this, i’m reminded of a phrase offered to me by a woman in a 12-step program, “it doesn’t all need to happen today.”

i take solace in knowing that authenticity is a process. it can be incremental, done in small doses so as to not overwhelm, to not terrify my inner child who feels like being more honest around others could destroy us..
there are lots of small choices that make up this big experience of life, and it is in these small moments that i’m being called to move the dial..

i am learning and i am open, and i am leaning on my spiritual allies to guide and hold me through it… i’m sure i have many queer ancestors who did not have the ability to live their truth, to reveal the fullness of themselves, and so i move forward with a sense of redemption and reclamation in their honor.

“may you be a force of resistance and revolution where you go,” is a phrase that evolved from a comment made by ashe phoenix about how if we want to live in a queer-friendly, weed-friendly world, we need to bring that energy with us everywhere we go. because in-turn, we give others permission and inspiration to do the same.

so ya, being authentic in a world that does not want me to be is freaking terrifying. i’ve avoided it for so long, convinced it may kill me. because let’s be real, it could. being a threat to the status quo is inherently a threatening place to be..

but the thing about The World card is it’s not about just showing up alone in your truth — it’s allowing this to be a catalyst and a compass to help us better find our people, our community.
resistance is not a simply solo experience — it’s about the ways our internal revolution translates externally…

so that’s what i got for now.

as far as a public offering, this is what i’m practicing today:
– may i be present in moments when i am being called to show up more fully as myself.
– may i recognize that no moment is too small to be a truer version of me.
– may i remember this will not happen in a day, but that every day is an opportunity to practice.
– maybe i also honor the truths of others — that in creating more space for myself, i can in-turn create more space for others to show up fully, honestly, and authentically.

much love, happy monday, and good luck 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

addition > subtraction — focusing on developing new habits (instead of breaking old ones)

i’m struggling to write, and i’m trying to parse out why. i think in part, because i’m not coming to the page with a willingness to be fully honest and open, which seems to be a prerequisite for writing for me.

i don’t know how to write without bearing it all, without putting all my shit on the table for me (and any other observer) to look at.

i’m having an internal struggle, trying to rationalize a decision i made last night, which was to smoke despite being in a 21-day “reset.”

i’m sure part of my response to the decision is guilt and shame (because there’s always some element of guilt and shame when it comes to smoking), but i’m also trying to honestly assess its impact (like feeling more foggy this morning, my thoughts being less clear, harder to form).

i’d gone a week without smoking, and there have definitely been shifts in its absence, such as an increase in anxiety.
i think this is in part because of withdrawal from a substance that helped me enter a restful, chill, pleasurable-focused state. and also because i’ve put a decent amount of pressure on myself to work out my life in this three-week period.

so between those two elements, i’ve been feeling a substantial increase in anxiety and overwhelm, both emotional and existential.

i did some research yesterday on how to be successful writing on the internet, and if i’m being real, i got exhausted just reading the freaking list.

beyond it being a lot, which as a capricorn, i can ultimately handle, the harder thing to grapple with was my willingness — not to work hard, but to do the type of work it called for.
my general sense is that it would require me to do things i am pretty adamantly not into, such as self-promotion and social media. i came to a place of clarity that it’d mean committing to building community online, which i am very uncertain about.

since leaving a 12-step program, i’ve become acutely aware of my need for community, and i’ve been in search of filling that void ever since. but the idea of doing that in a virtual sphere does just not turn me on. (no shade to anyone who’s found community online — i’d be happy to do it if it felt right for me.)

so inevitably, when i feel an influx of stress, it’s often paired with the desire to smoke. because this is the knee jerk reaction of a habit:
cue – stress/overwhelm
craving – desire to smoke
response – smoking
reward – feeling less stressed

i’m not going to deny the habitual nature of smoking as a factor for why i reached for it yesterday, because it clearly is. but honestly, the reason i chose to smoke was to get perspective, which is often what brings me back to smoking — the ritual of it is where i turn when i feel like i need to take a pause, shift my perspective, and create space for contemplation.

in taking a break from smoking, i realize i don’t really have practices to fill this void. there is, of course, writing. which i started to do yesterday and lost momentum.
there’s venting, which i also sometimes reach for but is dependent on the other person’s capacity or willingness to receive me.

i was able to recognize that i probably need a meditation practice — something that would offer me the space to shift perspective in order to allow for contemplation.

but feck, meditating when i’m anxious feels nearly impossible (and maybe isn’t really the vibe). i mean, my mind is racing, so the idea of telling it to stop, or to practice not engaging with it feels like a tall order.

the other option is physical activity, which probably makes more sense with anxiety, because it allows me to release excess energy.

i can recognize that i don’t want smoking to be the only tool i reach for when i feel overwhelmed, need a shift in perspective, or want to enter a contemplative state.

and i’m reminded for the umpteenth time to focus on addition instead of subtraction. that instead of obsessing over not smoking, to dedicate that energy to finding what i want to add in its place. this is the general crux of habit replacement anyway — you don’t just focus on removing the “bad” habit, you find something that you can sub in that serves a similar purpose (that offers you that same reward).

so, here’s to practicing something different.
now to determine what to reach for instead.. i’ve definitely been going on more walks over the past week, so that’s an option. i could also jog, call someone, write..

that’s the best i got at the moment. if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to lmk.

i honestly don’t have many tools around anxiety, so i’m learning how to expend that influx of energy.

and hey, maybe i’ll get super fit in the process (lolol).

anyways, i’m running out of steam.

i hope y’all have had a pleasant start to the week. or at least not a shit one.

may we remember that life is a process, that everyday and moment is an opportunity to learn and grow. and that sometimes, we’re simply surviving. and that’s okay too.

love y’all

❤ ❤ ❤

compassion fatigue: a personal case study

my sister is in the midst of recovering from a surgery with a decent recovery time — about 6 weeks.

we’re about a week in, and already, i feel the compassion fatigue setting in.

i am struggling to be present for both her physical and emotional needs.

today she has been doing something i now realize is a pet peeve of mine: pouting. in her defense, it’s for totally valid reasons: she’s in constant discomfort and consistent pain. her body is totally out of whack with all kinds of weird sensations and aches arising in it.

and i know exactly what she wants — for me to go “poor baby,” wrapping my arms around her, holding her, rubbing her hair, telling her everything’s going to be okay.

the thing about being a highly empathetic is you understand on a visceral level the exact ways you’re disappointing people.

and ya, it sucks, because i just can’t give it to her. i myself am recovering from being sick, and i can feel the fatigue and exhaustion continuing to reside in my body.

i can offer the love language of acts of service but less so quality time and physical touch.

i’m tapped.

being a caretaker feels like work, and on top of that, i’m not accustomed to spending so much time with someone else.

i’m used to spending 8 hours of my day alone – solitude that makes me a much more pleasant person outside of it.

and the thing is, she deserves compassion. she deserves all the comfort she craves. but i can’t be the one to offer it to her. and it fucking sucks.

and on top of my inability to satisfy her in this way, i find myself getting annoyed, resentful at her ploys for sympathy: the groans and moans and whimpers. it fucking grates on me, makes me even less inclined to be any source of comfort beyond meeting her physical needs.

so ya, compassion fatigue.

in a previous iterations of my self, i would be beating myself up for not being a better bodhisattva. for not finding the willpower and willingness to give her the nurturance she needs.

but at this point in my life, i’m much more willing to accept my limitations. to accept the fact that i, one person, will not meet all of her needs.

and although the guilt is very real, it’s not my fault. the expectation for one person to meet the needs of what was once the role of a community is a failing of modern society.

she deserves a parent, a friend, an elder, a spiritual leader, a peer, etc who can offer her that which i cannot. but instead, due to present conditions, she has emotional needs and desires that will simply go unmet.

and i don’t know if i mentioned it yet, but it fucking sucks.

but i just can’t beat myself up for not being her everything.

i mean, i’m pretty much writing this to lighten my conscience, so clearly there is residual guilt i’m working through in real time.

but the thing is: i’ve walked the path of denying my limits, my needs, my boundaries, and it has led me to bad places. ones that ultimately made me unhelpful to everyone in my life, unable to show up for anyone.

so maybe more than anything i am sad. sad for her and for everyone in a similar position. and i wish i had a solution. but community isn’t built in a day, and it’s generally hard to come by these days.

so what option do we have but to accept things as they are?

but man, it really does break my heart. i so wish i could be that for her. and i’m also so relieved that i can give myself permission not to be.

i know what it feels like to feel like shit and to just want to be held and cared for and to not have it. it’s a hard place to be.

and it breaks my heart…

it breaks my fucking heart.