bored and lonely.. what are the edges?

summer feels like a time to be bored, to let the boredom flourish in the unendurably hot days that seem to last forever.

i feel loneliness creep into my bones, a familiar feeling. but not as familiar as the distracting and dopamine seeking i do as a coping mechanism.

avoidance, this is the typical strategy for the vicious duo that is boredom and loneliness.. it’s so isolating, it feels like an experience that’s only happening to you. well, me.

i’ve been meaning to write. or to be more accurate, i’ve been thinking about how writing would be good for me, of how i could be good at it if i just stuck with it. how it could liberate me from the thoughts typically confined to my headspace.

is it narcissistic to appreciate my own ideas? maybe it’s the love of thinking, of working things out. or more so mulling things over. problems are not often solved in my head, they’re picked apart.

what do i do with this loneliness that kickstarts my insecurity? i become hesitant, paranoid in my interactions, like i may say or do something “wrong.”

i just picked up a practice of doing a little dance when my perfectionism kicks in, when i get really down on myself for making what i perceive to be a mistake.

in my mind’s eye, this dance is kind of shtick-y, really poking fun at taking myself so seriously. almost like an “did i do that?” type moment where i look at the non-existent audience and gesture farcically. we’ll see if i remember to do so. an “oops” dance seems like the type of thing we’d teach a kid but never an adult.. and yet to me it seems like a means of resilience that’s as appropriate in adulthood as anywhere else in life.

there’s a part of me that’s resistant to this, poking fun at how seriously i can take myself. there’s a part of me that quips, “well life is a serious matter.” which is true.

what’s also true is that the serious matter of life demands levity to be digestible, to be, dare i say, enjoyable. i don’t know where i learned to feel guilty for enjoy life, but it seems to live in my bones.

there are some mistakes that do not warrant a silly dance afterwards. but let’s be real: most of the shit i beat myself up over does not matter beyond learning from it. i don’t benefit from berating myself, from replaying a situation in my head a dozen times to determine the exact moment i fucked things up. there is an obsessiveness to perfectionism that is wholly unproductive and unhelpful.

and this is what the oops dance is working against, what it’ll hopefully interrupt.

because fucking up can be silly. it can be the perfect reminder of how imperfectly human we are. it can connect me with all of humanity, with everyone who’s fucked up.

and it’s also just fun.

❤ ❤ ❤

loneliness.. how do i define the contours?

how do you describe an experience that is both mysterious and intuitive..? how do you put into words a knowing that you understand at a deep level yet doubt at a superficial one..?

identifying emotional experiences is often confusing.. because it requires a pause that i am not always willing to engage with.

oftentimes, i see it in my behavior before i feel it consciously. i recognize that i’m eating faster. wanting to share less. struggling to do things i typically enjoy.

i feel a heaviness that’s sunken in over the past few hours, the weight of loneliness not easily ameliorated.

my craving is specific — to be seen, to be felt in the way that only a close friend can fulfill.

and in that lacking, i feel exhausted energetically. and sad. it is not a sorrowful sadness, but one more akin to hopelessness. the opposite of feeling energized by life.

the desire for a distraction is an obvious one when feeling so down. and yet, when i feel like this, i have this intuitive understanding that the attempt to distract would only aggravate the experience. this is one that demands to be felt.

i don’t know what to do with this loneliness, what to make of it.. it’s both familiar and uncomfortable. it is tragic in its truth. it feels like one of the most honest human experiences.. this unmet need to be felt.

i remember writing about loneliness a while back and a friend pointing out a line that stuck with him. i asked,

how many people just on my block are experiencing this same thing right now?

which brings me to a point made in the Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed — it’s our suffering that connects us. this brings to mind a similar point made by Buddhists — engagement with our personal suffering helps us develop compassion for others’ suffering.

with that awareness, i still don’t know what to do with this loneliness beyond experience it. which, on second thought, is probably all i’m being called to do. but my american perpetual self-improvement brain wants to identify the problem in order to remedy it. wants to make this somehow my fault.

what an american inclination — to see a typical human experience as the product of a personal shortcoming..

i haven’t been writing much recently, and i feel conflicted over this. i can’t tell if i actually miss it or if my ego feels attached to consistency in the name of validity — e.g. i can only be a writer if i write every day/week/month/whatever.

i miss my people. the ones who make me feel like me.

this getting older is hard.. but to be fair, the being young was hard too.. i think i’ve always found life to be hard, at least as long as i can remember.. i can’t tell if this is a blessing, this sensitivity. all the while knowing it is both my power and my kryptonite..

i carry the weight of my humanity, along with that of others’. i am a capricorn, i am a goat. i am here for the long, grinding haul. putting one step in front of the other, keeping going.

i don’t know if i’ll ever make it to the top. and i guess that’s not the point. what is the point? best answer i have in this moment is presence, to experience it all.. to allow my humanity to be free to express itself..

i don’t know if i’ll ever stop associate feeling bad as being bad.. as doing something wrong.. tbd. lol

love y’all

much love, and good luck on the start to your week

the practice: digesting and integrating loneliness

horoscope offering for this week from the CHANI app:
“When I am lonely, I ask how I might serve others. When I feel isolated, I focus on the quality of each interaction. When I am lost in a spiral of self-pity, I recognize the bounty that surrounds me by naming everything I’m grateful for.”

“Just because you feel grief or sadness after making a decision, doesn’t mean you made the wrong one.” – Amanda E. White, @TherapyforWomen via @latinxgrief on IG.

“Existence has its moments.”- via @patsysibley on IG.

“…while I sometimes resist the work of writing, I resist my own psychic suffering more, and writing has become for me a primary means of digesting and integrating my experiences and thereby reducing the pains of living… There is no pain in my life that has not been given value by the alchemy of creative attention.” – Melissa Febos, Body Work

“The truth is that creativity occurs in clusters… It can be argued that successful art is built on successful friendships. It can certainly be said that friends are what enable an artist to go the distance.” – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Everyday

my heart feels weak, literally. over the past few years, i’ve had chronically low blood pressure, which although preferable to high, comes with its challenges:
– i black out very easily, especially going from a low to high position, which can make getting into a yoga flow pretty difficult
– my heart often starts racing for no apparent reason
– taking a hot bath can feel like a precarious endeavor
– when i get out of bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, this can cause my heart to race and make it nearly impossible to get back to bed (often for a couple of hours)

it’s strange, getting older and my body changing. in the naivete of my youth, i had this sense that how life was was set in stone. and i felt oppressed by this idea.
but as i age, i realize with more gravity the ways in which nothing can be held onto for very long. and learning that appreciating things for what they are in the moment is truly the secret sauce of life.
(and also so freaking challenging. i guess that’s why they say retrospect is 20/20..)

if it wasn’t already clear, i don’t really know what my purpose here, today, on the page is. i provided the quotes above, because they are some of the messages guiding me in this iteration of my life.

other things that have been on my mind:
– money (god, fucking money..)
– environmental collapse
– the dynamics of solo poly
– loneliness (my own experience of it, and others’)
– my desire to read more and the ways my reading periods tend to come in waves
– an intentional cannabis practice and cannabis justice
– my relationship with the trees and the land..

loneliness is an interesting one, because it’s not solved simply by the presence of others…
in my experience, it’s a strong desire to be seen and felt by another, for my existence to be validated and my life shared.

i went into nature this past weekend in the hope that communing with the land would alleviate my loneliness.
unfortunately, in the vastness of the earth, seeing far and wide with little to no humans for miles, it had the opposite effect — i was able to feel more viscerally my loneliness (and desperately wanted to get away from it).

this makes me think of Buddhist and Yoga teachings, and the general sense that we navigate our lives distracting with the best of our ability from our deepest pains, our most unfathomable wounds..
being alone with the land, i was able to hold more space for being both alone and part of.
and see with more clarity that my loneliness is a product of my trying to avoid the hardest truths of existence, which is that none of this lasts.
and yet, i am still called to appreciate every second of it.

i was reminded yet again that salvation is in surrender, in no longer trying to fix or avoid..
yet as much as i can feel this truth, i am still coming up against a lifetime of practicing avoidance.. i still have the narrative stored in my body that feeling certain emotions, especially intensely, is not safe and could actually destroy me.

i have rarely been modeled rituals and processes around feeling deeply hard emotions, or cathartic release.

something i have gained over the past year or two is the evolving understanding that emotions want to move through me — sadness is not trying to set up camp, happiness is not moving in.
these emotional experiences are energy moving through my body, my being. to teach, to guide, to nurture, to warn, and then to move on.

well, i’m running out of steam on my musings.

i would offer a prayer, but instead, i’m going to repeat the CHANI offering from up above cause it’s worth repeating:

“When I am lonely, I ask how I might serve others. When I feel isolated, I focus on the quality of each interaction. When I am lost in a spiral of self-pity, I recognize the bounty that surrounds me by naming everything I’m grateful for.”

i wish y’all the best on your journey today. maybe we remember every day is precious, sacred, and an opportunity to practice.**
**which doesn’t mean it’s not hard, terrible, heartbreaking, or unbearable at times. to paraphrase a previous mentor of mine, “we’re meant to feel every emotion, darling.”

(lol, well i guess i ended up offering a prayer anyway)

love y’all
❤ ❤ ❤

Can my pain be a gift to others?

“In order to succeed as an artist we must have two well-developed functions: our artist and its trainer.” – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Everyday

there are often days, like today, when showing up to the page feels beyond difficult, toeing the line of impossible, maybe even cruel if i’m entertaining my most bratty, reluctant self.
(with enough emotional distress, i can make myself feel victimized by almost anything, even other people’s victimization.)

the truth of the matter is that i need the trainer, or the parent (as i often think of it) to remind me that this practice will alleviate suffering, not add to it.

everyday, i wake up with something to release to the page – some worry, anxiety, insecurity.

i believe i’ve always been a writer, even the many years of my life when i wrote very little. a writer who does not write is a dangerous thing. our need to release grows and grows, and without our preferred outlet, we become restless, even reckless (at least in my case).

i’ve been revisiting a familiar pattern that has been hard to engage with — seeking out men who are clearly emotionally unavailable and disinterested in the type of relationship i want.
the point where it becomes truly toxic is the moment i clearly see their limitations, their unwillingness, and yet i keep pushing.
i don’t know if this is because i think i can change them, or because i want to abuse myself.. i imagine some combination of the two.

it is a pattern i’ve lived out time and again in my 20s. and it doesn’t take long to spiral into intense feelings of loneliness, desperation, and insecurity.

i start telling myself stories of how crazy i am, how desperate i am, how pitiful of a person i am, how no one could be attracted me in such a state. i start feeding off the emotional drama, getting that odd high of self-induced pain.
i come back for more and more (and more) until i feel weak and delirious, willing myself to stop. or more accurately, becoming too exhausted to go on.

it’s hard to not detest myself for doing this, to not continue to feed the self-destructive monster with the awareness of what i’m doing. i honestly believe it is the grace of something both outside of me and within me that gives me the resolve to stop.

it is often the love of others that convinces me to love myself, because i understand the ways in which my own self-love (or lack thereof) influences my relationships. and because i don’t want to live in a world of cruelty, i recognize that cruelty towards self is often where it all begins.

breaking patterns of self-harm feels like its own version of breaking inter-generational trauma/curses. rising above the narratives offered to women as emotionally desperate creatures, especially in relation to men, is no easy feat. there are many stories i tell myself that have been given to me and to my ancestors for so long, they can be hard to see beyond.

the truth feels nestled in that deep crevice discovered after peeling back layer after layer of stories around my behavior.
and in that core is the reminder that i am human like the rest of us. that i crave connection, security, the feeling of being loved. that that does not make me desperate but human. that loneliness is an element of this lived experience, not an indication of me being broken.

when i remember my humanity is reflected in all of humanity, the ability to be self-compassionate and kind becomes much more accessible. because it’s no longer about me, but all of us. i am reminded that my suffering is the suffering of so many.

laying in bed last night, decompressing from the emotional spiral i’d fallen down, i contemplated all the people in the world experiencing loneliness at that exact same moment as me. and then i thought, heck, how many people just on my block are feeling lonely right now?

this perspective is incredibly helpful. it reminds me i am not actually alone, that my suffering connects me with so many. it urges me to open my heart in those moments when it so desperately wants to close.

it prompts me to not take someone’s inability to receive me as personal, to consider their own loneliness and suffering as well.

it’s truly humbling in the most generous way, creating space to grieve without the unnecessary layer of feeling broken, wrong, or bad.

it gives me permission to be human, which is all i can ever expect of myself.

it reminds me that feeling pain is not a burden or a punishment, but a reminder.

and so i move forward, practicing the question, “can my pain be a gift to others?”

may i remember that love is acceptance of every detail of my humanity. that strength is acceptance. that inter-connectedness is the truest collective nature. that my ancestors hold me even when i cannot hold myself.

happy monday. love y’all ❤ ❤ ❤

the evolving lessons of rejection – learning to take responsibility for how i feel

everyday, i come to this page, uncertain of the shape my thoughts will take.

everyday, so many lessons; every morning, so many revelations.

i am tired, on multiple levels. i am navigating the waters of rejection, once again learning it’s depth, the feeling of it lapping against my skin, the fear of drowning in it.

rejection is an interesting experience, because it feels immensely personal and yet, when i really dig into it, i can see that the other person’s experience of me has little to do with me. and vice versa.

as someone practicing taking responsibility for how i feel (instead of falling into blaming, my historically preferred approach to pain), i am learning how to dissect my side of things and the ways in which i am hurting myself (or maybe simply the ways i am hurting).

for what seems like the thousandth time, i’m confronting the reality of my loneliness and boredom. along with the places these states takes me and the actions they tend to prompt from me.

i’m coming to terms with the ways i’ve infused my hopes and desires into my idea of this person. and also the ways in which i am not great at not getting my way.

as i’ve gotten older, i’ve gotten better, more skilled at not “barking up the wrong tree” — not pursuing someone who’s so clearly uninterested, unavailable, or both.

and yet there are still times when i just can’t help myself. when i feel captivated, intrigued by someone, and i have to have them, despite whatever they’d prefer.

i think this is the place i come to when i’ve been lonely for a good while, and avoidant of it. and instead of engaging with it head on, i become focused, even obsessed with the other person in the subconscious hope they’ll fix it for me. that i’ll be able to bypass feeling the hard feelings completely.

this rarely, if ever, pans out well.

it’s also a total objectification of the other person, turning them into a means to an end, instead of a highly complex and individualized human being with as many needs and desires as myself.

and then i villainize them, making them the object of my anger instead of truly grappling with my pain.

it’s a cycle i know well, intimately, really. it made up a lot of my 20s, and i’m setting the intention to not make it a pattern in my 30s.

but of course, this means the willingness to feel my loneliness, my deep, unmet desire for companionship. my fear of being alone.

i honestly don’t know how to grapple with hard feelings. i’ve spent so much of my life in avoidance of and distraction from them, honing the skill of intellectualizing my feelings instead of feeling them.

i’ve also found that trying to feel my feelings on demand to be a generally counterproductive experience. so oftentimes, i end up feeling them only once they’ve gotten so big, they’ve become a tidal wave that swallows me whole.

i took a somatics course this past fall/winter that could probably help me out with this — much like my experiences with yoga, i’ve found the body to be the entry point to hard, tangled emotions vs trying to think myself there.

because ultimately, feelings start in the body and then become stories we tell ourselves, often stories we’ve been telling ourselves for years, even decades. i don’t want to keep telling myself the same stories around rejection, ones that feed my insecurity, my blaming, my lacking.

i am learning the path of self-compassion, the willingness to hold my pain with tenderness and care in place of ridicule and shame. this transformation is not easy or simple (or even straightforward). i have a long history of using shame as a tool for change, and so learning how to grow and evolve without it has a learning curve.

the mantra i’ve found to be the most effective when i’m getting down on myself is: never a failure, always a lesson (a tattoo of Rihanna’s).

this is the best reminder i have (at the moment) that instead of beating myself up, i can learn and grow from what feels like mistakes.

it’s a very relieving perspective to have, very forgiving and understanding. it feels like the path of love. and it’s not a letting off the hook, it’s a transmutation process, turning the “bad” into something “good.”

well, i don’t think i have the capacity to keep writing, so i’m going to wish y’all a happy sunday and leave it here.

if anyone would like to share their own lessons with rejection, please do. collective wisdom is the most potent.

love y’all. stay strong and soft and tender and bold ❤ keep challenging the bullshit that’s been fed to us.

may we never forget our truest nature, as divine beings on their earth, interconnected, and interdependent. ❤ ❤ ❤