softening to myself | day 4 of depression

i’m writing because i’m committed to the practice. my fingers are cold from a chilly walk to the grocery store for lemon pound cake.

i no longer know what i want from a writing practice — it’s embarrassing how seemingly quickly i can lose the vision. or maybe more so taste the reality of it and then question if i actually want it.

James Clear was the one who said, if you want to write a novel, focus on the qualities of a writer — consistent and reliable.

the more i sit with this, the more i question the ableism behind the concept of “consistency“.. because the ability to be consistent is not something that’s granted to us all equally..

i came back from new orleans saturday night (remember my grand declaration about writing while there, lol) — the first few days back were mostly defined by exhaustion and transition. and then the past few days, maybe since tuesday, i’ve been experiencing depression.

it feels like day 4 of depression, when it just starts to get old – the apathy, the inexplicable exhaustion, the lackluster attitude towards life..

plus, i started getting vertigo yesterday, which continued into today. and let me tell you, what the actual fuck — i almost threw up from standing up.. so yaaaa, that’s why i didn’t write this morning. but i’m writing now, so brownie points for me!

i’ve been noticing a pattern of irritability paired with my depression, which for whatever reason i don’t remember noting so clearly before. i mean, it makes sense that if i’m not in a good mood it’d make me crabby, but it’s still interesting to observe.. because i’m generally low energy when i’m depressed. so mustering the energy to be annoyed surprises me.

i think maybe this is because when i feel bad i become more controlling and therefore annoyed when people don’t seem to be falling into suit

so ya, my depression makes it hard to be consistent. and ya, i know that routine is good for depression. but look, forcing myself to do shit when i’m depressed is just not the vibe.. i’m tired of guilting and shaming myself when i already feel like shit..

i guess my point is that our bodies are unpredictable. and genuine kudos to those who can show up no matter their condition, i’m sure they exist. but i’m trying to practice honoring the signals my body is sending, such as wanting rest, or hell, craving spontaneity.

i feel like there’s a social narrative around victim blaming people for what their bodies do, as though if we simply tweaked our lifestyles, everything would be fixed.. i’ve been one of those people. i’m often that person to myself..

these days, i mostly think life is just hard a lot of the time.. and some of us get off easier than others.. and the idea of “better” just doesn’t feel very productive..

i’ve been brought back to a principle i learned in a somatics course i took — that the role of the therapist is to be with, not to fix. yes, we can support, we can provide tools and skills, but we’re not here to fix. i remind myself that about myself — i am here to bear witness, to offer myself compassion, to move with intention.

so blaming myself for something i’ve been experiencing since i can remember is just not it. yes, sometimes tough love is called for. but when i feel like this, often what i need is to soften to myself.

❤ ❤ ❤

sending y’all love

finding home in our bodies (and its implications)

“Each day must remain an exploratory expedition. We must remain tourists on our home terrain.” – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way Everyday

what does it mean to remain a tourist in our home? when i wonder about what my home is, i land on my body, which houses the most tangible parts of me.

i want to highlight a difference here between being a tourist versus a strange in the homeland of our bodies — with my study of somatics, i have come to the understanding that most of us are disconnected from our body most of the time. and not by accident or some sort of individual shortcoming, but by design.

as someone who grew up christian, the dominant means of relating to my body was through shame. which was compounded by a capitalist patriarchy that benefits from me believing my physical form is never good enough.

so finding home in my body is a process, one i often forget about.

one thing i know about my body, a fact of it i often cannot escape, is my sensitive gut. my stomach is often upset, at least mildly, and despite years of trying to manage it, it still perplexes me.

upon reflecting in this moment on the hyper-sensitivity of my gut, taking into consideration recent understandings around the gut as the “second brain,” it makes more sense to me.
i’m such a sensitive person at a core, energetic level, that it makes sense that my gut often senses things my brain doesn’t in any given moment.

i’ve also become adept at hiding certain feelings from myself, such as anxiety, fear, insecurity. you’d think in moments when i’m incessantly reassuring myself of how not anxious, scared, or insecure, i’d be able to recognize the writing on the wall..

moments when i have the willingness and capacity to show up for whatever internal struggle is waging inside me, i eventually root down to the same place, over and over again: to the core experience of being scared.

i don’t know why, but it still shocks me. because on a day-to-day basis, i don’t consciously experience this fear. i guess that’s a survival adaptation or something..

but when i do tap into it, when i allow myself to feel it, it’s immense.
it’s a fear of death, of rejection, of never being good enough, of not accomplishing the things i want in life.

i mean, i think if i were to really sit with it, it’d all ultimately come down to fears of death and loss, whether literal or metaphorical (there are worst things in life than literal death, that’s for sure.)

and i’m learning how to love myself through it. not because i’m trying to be all gushy positive over here, but because it’s the only force i know strong enough to help me breathe through the weight of it all… such as environmental collapse – death on a grand scale.. death that has been taking over for decades now..

  • i read a lovely Medium piece that speaks to omnicide and touches on why it can so hard to put our finger on the immense suffering all around us (and its impact on us)
  • i also listened to an indigenous woman talk about the ways in which we experience the massive pain of environmental destruction, even if we’re in denial of it
  • i’m reminded of a tik tok in which the speaker reminded everyone that no one is okay, especially the ones pretending they are right now
  • and then a quote comes to mind: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”― J. Krishnamurti

i have newfound appreciation for people who are real about the times that we’re in, which is pre-collapse. we are in the midst of life as we know it winding down (crashing might be more appropriate), and a new world that we have no idea how to interact with, relate to, or survive in emerging.. it’s a mindfuck of a time, that’s for sure.

and none of us are prepared. correction: *most* of us aren’t..

it’s a very strange time, this sleepwalking towards apocalypse..

and yet, maybe that’s the most human thing to do..
OR more accurately, the powers that be are too good at distracting us, at keeping us so worn down we can’t see beyond the day-to-day grind of survival.. ya, i like that better, because it refrains from blaming the general populace for the corruption and destruction of merely a few..

i approached the page today with not much to say, not much to share — i feel out of it, foggy brained. so i’m grateful for how far i’ve managed to make it.

with that being said, i’m going to wrap it up here.

and i want to be clear that i don’t share all of this to be bleak or depressing or hopeless. i believe there’s so much room for the potential of what comes next. i understand the connection between destruction and rebirth, which we so desperately need..

i wish i had an offering for today, but for now, all i have is my love.. and my commitment to doing this with you, this scary life thing.

maybe together, we can be brave.

i’ll leave you with some words from Melissa Febos:
“I don’t mean to argue that writing personally is for everyone. What I’m saying is: don’t avoid yourself. The story that comes calling might be your own and it might not go away if you don’t open the door. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I only believe in fear. And you can be afraid and still write something.” – “In Praise of Navel-Gazing,” Body Work

how do we become the people we want to be?

“action has magic” – Goethe

“surrender to being a beginner” – Julia Cameron

how do we become the people we want to be?
(especially considering the vast limitations of present society, compounded by wherever we may fall on the social hierarchy..)

i think, subconsciously, that is the question i’ve been sitting with over the past 2 years.. the “pause” of the pandemic created space i previously never really had..

i grew up, like many aspiring kids, believing i could find happiness, peace, and my place in the structure of modern society.

i dreamt of being single and childless, working as a corporate exec.
(this might be a product of watching the The First Wives Club countless times as a child)

my desires have never been purely conventional per se, such as envisioning myself as a spinster, but they were socially acceptable enough. because i’d pair my more offbeat choices with ones that weren’t threatening to the status quo, such as being a workaholic and climbing the social ladder.
plus, then i’d be too busy to consider the ways my life might be lacking.

considering the state of the late stage capitalism we’re all experiencing, it feels like everyone, even people with class privilege, lives in survival mode, from a place of scarcity.

this makes me think of a point Rebecca Solnit makes in her book, A Paradise Built in Hell, in which she describes the mentality at play in our hyper-individualistic society:
“I will not feed you because I must hoard against starvation, since I too cannot count on others. Better yet, I will take your wealth and add it to mine — if I believe that my well-being is independent of yours or pitted against yours — and justify my conduct as natural law.”

it’s interesting (to put it lightly), the ways we have been manipulated to co-sign the exact mentalities that are destroying us, that are so counter to human nature. cooperation and altruism are not just kinder ways to live — they’re the most effective, sustainable ways of being.

but then there are those of us trying to practice cooperation and altruism in a culture grounded in and system structured around competition, selfishness, and isolation. so when that disconnect inevitably has consequences, people like to use it as fodder to point to why these approaches don’t work.

reading the above quote last night, a recent memory was brought to mind, one i still don’t know how to integrate:

i was in portugal with a lover and friend, feeling conflicted around not giving money to people begging. mostly because i felt like the reason we weren’t doing it was simply because that’s what other people were doing — it didn’t feel like we had a clear understanding as to why we were keeping our resources to ourselves.

in recognizing this, i gave a man some change at a crosswalk. he then proceeded to follow me in a manner that felt threatening to me (whether or not that feeling was based in actuality), calling after me, “sister, sister.” i ultimately picked up speed, wanting to lose him, uncertain as to what to do, until my friend got in his face to tell him to back off — not the ideal outcome, and one i’m self-conscious about.

which brought me to a tricky crossroads of processing — this man, seemingly homeless and struggling, potentially not from that country, was reaching out to me for help, which he clearly needed. and after having helped in a way that made sense to me, in being asked for more, i shut down, scared, intimidated, trying to escape.

which left me to wonder: what do you do when someone needs help, but you don’t necessarily have the resources to help them?

the most polished answer i have is to work to change structures — to create more systemic resources for people struggling. but this doesn’t quite satisfy me..

it’s a situation that’s left me dumbfounded, and also ashamed.

my uncertainty over what to do in confrontations with deep suffering is one of the reasons i struggle visiting big cities.. it’s not as though i’m unwilling to look directly at the suffering of the world, it’s the feeling of uselessness that comes with it, not knowing how to help or what the “right” thing to do is.

it’s a similar experience i have when reading the news — i don’t want to live in a bubble, in avoidance of hard information, but i can’t help but question at times how it helps.. which is why i’ve been working with a loving release practice: allowing myself to receive the pain and suffering, and then releasing it from my being as love, sending energetic care to those harmed (similar to a Tonglen practice).

then again, my energetic care doesn’t feed people, clothe them, house them, stop wars, comfort them in their grief — my current resources are spiritual, and the ones they desperately need are material..

it’s a situation i don’t have a clear answer for.. and i’m not really sure there is an answer.. i imagine it’s one of life’s big questions, one i could dedicate a lifetime to trying to answer (which i likely will)..

and the shame of being scared of someone who’s different than me and in need, who’s trying to engage with me for help, is a hard one to hold.

which reminds me that i need to pick back up Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s Hands, so that i can practice recognizing and ultimately releasing the physical experience of fear towards the other.

alright babes, i’m practicing creating a timed container around writing these posts, and it just went off. which means this is goodbye for now.

to offer a prayer i uttered to myself earlier:
thank you for another day on this Earth — may i remember to use it wisely.

much love.

❤ ❤ ❤

embodiment is a reclamation practice

i am continuing to learn how to show up for myself. to a better friend, a better lover, a better parent to me.

i am learning to show myself love, which continues to evolve my understanding of the numerous forms love can take.
i am learning how to integrate routine into my concept of love. because so often i’ve used routine to feed my perfectionism, and in-turn my sense of never being good enough.

i am learning how to forgive myself and how to trust myself.

i am walking the path of unlearning so many harmful narratives that have been infused in me, and the more i remove, the more i realize how immensely weighed down i am by them. such as what a “real adult” looks/acts like.

my therapist has offered me a new practice for when i’m falling into shame or feeling “bad” (my inner child experience of it). she asks:
who decided that? who decided that *insert behavior* was bad?”
recently, this has been related to my desires for casual sex and my practices around cannabis, which i’m expanding to treat the plant more and more like the medicine it is.

there are so many things, cannabis and sex to name a couple, that, as i become more aligned with myself, i realize are actually sacred practices for me.
which is ironic, because both of these practices have been historically villainized and denigrated in my life. so i am working to reclaim them as spiritual in nature.
(i refer to myself as a “recovering christian” these days, lol.)

in that same conversation, she later asked me,
“do you feel like you can trust yourself?”
which was a rather poignant question considering so much of my reclamation work revolves around believing i can trust myself, that it’s safe to trust myself, even necessary.

i am learning how to practice rigorous self-honesty, so that even when i’m doing a behavior that i associate with “bad,” i can stay present for it, engage with why i’m doing it, what i’m gaining from it, and what i might be compromising.

the practice of abandonment, of detaching from our bodies, feels so common these days, i wonder how many of us really recognize when we’re doing it. i can feel fired up in empowerment when i’m home alone, and then once i step into the world, i find myself falling into autopilot around the same defenses i’ve been using for decades.

and of course, this isn’t all bad — it’s appropriate to move from a place of self-protection in a world that is not inherently safe, especially the more marginalized your identity.
but i wonder what would happen if i learned to reach for a more expansive form of protection, if i could practice being open without being recklessly vulnerable…

i’m going to write a Medium piece on somatics soon, because i truly believe healing comes through the body.
to paraphrase Prentis Hemphill, “when you feel better, that is happening in your body.” so if our desire is to shift how we feel and relate to the world, it ultimately necessitates an embodied experience.

anyways, y’all, speaking of bodies, mine is asking me to eat something. so i’m going to cut it off here.

much love, happy friday.

the mantra sticking with me today comes via Ram Dass: “i am loving awareness.” may we speak it into our hearts and see what blooms in its place.

❤ ❤ ❤

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. ❤ ❤ ❤