Pansy

Pansy

As I hovered the mouse over the button, my hands seized up and I was overtaken with the “devil shakes”. Shaking and freezing, I held my breath and closed my eyes and almost vomited on myself as I clicked the mouse. It sailed away, into the wild blue sky.  No take backs. I didn’t calm down for a few hours after that. I needed an electric blanket and hot tea to cure the devil shakes. And next month I would do it all over again. Saints preserve me.

This happened a few years ago when I promised myself I would submit my writing once a month to somewhere, a contest, or a magazine, or some other third thing, and by gum I did it. Yes, I did. For two whole months, I did it. So, twice. I submitted two things.

This was not the first time I submitted my writing somewhere, but part of a writer’s job description is submitting, and apparently, I had a hard time with that. Before my once-a-month goal, I had years between each submission.

Judging from my reaction, submitting was terrifying to me. But what was I afraid of? I can only speculate. I could say I was afraid of rejection, but that wasn’t it because the goal was only to hit the submit button. I didn’t really have any expectations beyond that.

I did eventually get two rejection letters from my little goal, one from each submission, and I was quite proud of them. I had never gotten a rejection letter before. They made me feel like I accomplished something. I even thought it might be cool to collect rejections, but I was so freaked out by the submission process that I soon “forgot” about my goal.

This might make me sound like a super pansy writer, and I am, but I have also worked as a journalist and a copywriter several times over. I also published a book (Roxanne in La La Land by L.A. DeVaul for the interested ones) and I currently work for a publishing company. But that is all a different kind of writing. It is writing out of necessity. When I write from my soul it changes things. I become terrified.

It is one thing to write something when someone is waiting for it, and it is another thing entirely to write something meaningful in my free time, then give it to someone who never asked for it and wouldn’t know if I died tomorrow.

At the publishing company, I read through submissions (an ironic job). And I am often struck by the bravery of the people who send in their work. Some people refer to all the other places they submit and how the rejection is getting to them, but I admire their rejections. They are submitters. I am a pansy.

While pansies are beautiful flowers, I would like to be the kind of pansy that grows through sidewalk cracks. Instead, I cave looking at the submit button. I want to be more like those submitters who have collected enough rejections to create a life-sized paper mache home. I am easing my way into the writing world with blogging. I am about to hit the publish button (not as scary as the submit button).

 

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Change

Change

There was a time when I swam every day. Diving into the cool water, adjusting my goggles and stretching into the stroke. Glug glug glug, breath. Glug glug glug breathe. Back and forth. Counting the yards. Thinking of nothing. I swam for hours.

I didn’t know it then, but I was trying to swim away from my life. After I swam I would eat a 3 Musketeers and ride the bus until it brought me back to my starting point, then I would get off the bus and walk home.

At this time I was in a relationship with someone I fondly refer to as “the meanest guy in the world”. We worked together at a job I didn’t like and every day after work he would call and ask me to come over. I hadn’t yet learned how to say no. So in order to avoid him I would swim and ride the bus. On the occasion when he did catch me at home, I would go to his house and stay for hours, then walk home across town much too late in the evening for my early morning shift. (I also had a hard time saying, “I have to go.”)

Now that many years have passed, I understand that the relationship was hard to let go because he would be just nice enough to keep me coming back. When he thought he had me he would be the meanest guy in the world, and when he thought he was losing me he would be the nicest guy in the world. I also wanted to be with someone mean.

Being with someone mean gave me permission to be mean. We would have shouting matches where I would say all the mean things I had been saving up. All the tension I felt would be released. Shouting until my face throbbed had a cathartic effect on me, if only momentarily.

He was also kind. And when the meanest guy in the world is kind, you cling to it. I clung to it. And despite all the times I told him to leave me alone, and I never wanted to see him again, he always called a few days later, laughing and joking and pretending like nothing had happened. And when someone acts like they want you that much, it is hard to be mean.

So I swam and I rode the bus and I ate 3 Musketeers (a candy bar which I never liked much and still don’t, but that kind of sums up my life at that time); and eventually, after so many afternoons of me not being home when he called, the meanest guy in the world called me in the evenings. Then he resorted to stopping by for a friendly visit. His visits always left me feeling glad I didn’t see him more often. Eventually I moved and didn’t tell him. I haven’t seen him since. But he did come to me in a dream once.

In the dream he talked a lot about nothing. He told me he was gay now. And he complained about the abusive relationship he was in, and how they kept breaking up and getting back together, and how this time it was final, and how his boyfriend was such a jerk. And I knew he was the same as he ever was. I hadn’t missed a thing since we lost touch.

Years later, I suppose I can say all that swimming and bus riding really did take me away from the life I didn’t want. I swam away from the need for drama, or the idea that drama was interesting. I swam away from the belief that pain made me deep and romantic. I swam toward a life that is peaceful and beautiful, where I am free to be kind. A life I wouldn’t have been prepared for in the past.

P.S. I am now married to a very kind man. I told him if we had met years ago I would have been mean to him then because I felt the need for one party in every relationship to be cruel. If I had been with him in those days, I would have been the cruel one. He responded by saying, “I would have let you too.”

I’m happy to be here, I swear

You probably know this isn’t a perky blog. Well, today I’m feeling even less perky than usual. So the question is: What do I wear and how do I blog when I’m feeling so under the snuff?

We’re about to find out.

Despite feeling groggy and bleh today, here I am dressed and facing the world, or at least the dentist, with my very unperky energy.

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That is my numb-after-dentist face.

Maybe this blog should be called: What to wear when you want to be naked.

Leggings again, and because they are the semi-see-through ones, I wore little shorts underneath. Giant mint sweater with cowl neck. The light gray shoes connect the top and bottom of my outfit. Pale and pale. And once again, top-knot and no makeup.

So there it is, comfortable, low-maintenance and pregnancy approved. Oh, that’s right. I’m pregnant. I guess I haven’t told you yet. It’s a boy. Pregnancy makes this whole fashion thing much harder.

Next week: what to wear when you keep getting bigger. Spoiler alert! The answer probably has to do with leggings (but maybe I’ll surprise you again).

P.S. One of these days you will see me wearing makeup and looking a little happier to be here, but only if it’s genuine. This blog is about honesty and if I honestly don’t feel like wearing makeup or smiling, dadgummit! I won’t wear makeup or smile. (But I would look seriously freaky if I smiled in this picture. Dentist Face!)

P.P.S. Anyway, I guess that’s all for today. But seriously, even though I’m unperky, I am really enjoying being here. Maybe this blog soothes me. Maybe I’m healing from my desire to hide and things are really changing for me. Wow…this is kind of exciting. Maybe you will witness my chrysalis emergence, along with my swelling stomach.

Stay tuned…

Feeling Sort of Beautiful Today

Well hello, fellow philosophers; so we meet again on this fine feathered day.

Since my last post I have had a bit of a journey. Perhaps I will tell you about it, or perhaps I will begin somewhere else. There is so much to say, how do I begin? I suppose first I will start with this:

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That’s me. Today. This blog is about fashion and healing (and other stuff too). When I started this blog, I thought I would be motivated to get myself all gussied up because I would be taking a picture of myself every day. Instead, I just quit blogging.

The problem is that some days I don’t want to get all gussied up. Some days makeup feels messy instead of beautiful. Some days comfort is more important than fashion. Some days wearing clothes feels like a chore. And that is just part of the package of life.

The question is: how do I embrace these days and still go into the world without feeling like a slob?

So let me dissect my outfit for you.

I am wearing a large, loose super-comfy shirt with navy leggings and gray ballet flats. I look like my outfit took some effort, while staying one step away from pajamas. I had on a navy cardigan earlier today, but now that I’m relaxing at home, I threw on my periwinkle hoodie. Both are really comfortable and go with the outfit, one just has a more casual vibe than the other.

As for the hair, the top knot is always a low-maintenance favorite. I like to keep mine a little wild while others might like a neater, smoother bun, either one is quick and easy.

With a pair of earrings and a bracelet or two, I would look a little dressier and still not have to wear makeup. And yeah, this is my makeup free face. Some days my face just wants a wet wash cloth swept over it to feel fresh and beautiful.

So this brings me to my point:

As women, it is important for us to feel beautiful. Sometimes we think we will acheive this with more makeup, or a smaller dress size, or better clothes, or having more money, or getting more men to fall in love with us, or whatever our thing may be, when in reality, feeling beautiful is simply a feeling. We can choose it or not choose it and it doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with us or not.Beauty is a feeling that has nothing to do with what we look like.

Which brings me to my second point:

But before I get to my second point, let me tell you about a little journey I took since we last met.

I knew I wanted to feel beautiful, but that proved to be more difficult than just deciding to feel beautiful.

As I tried embracing my beauty, I found my pathway blocked by a fearful little girl. She didn’t want to be seen or noticed. Feeling beautiful meant coming out of hiding, and she wanted to stay hidden. I had to face her and hold her and ask her what she was so afraid of. I could explain this process to you but it would be tedious and dull and that’s not what I’m doing on here anyway.

The Hollywood ending to this story would be that I emerged from all of this like a phoenix from the flames, glowing like the north star. But this isn’t Hollywood, nor is this the ending. This journey has uncovered layers. I have healed myself enough to come somewhat out of hiding (hence the ability to blog again) but I haven’t cleared all the layers yet. I still don’t hold that constant feeling of beauty in my heart the way I want. But I’m working toward it.

I’ll keep you updated.

Coming Out of Hiding

Coming Out of Hiding

While I would like to pretend that these last few months we have been apart have been a beautifully relaxing sabatical of sunshine and daisies, only part of that is true. 

But before I tell you about these last few months, or even the last year, I would like to confess something I didn’t know when I took my leave of you.

As I said before, I have started and stopped many blogs over the years. Something kept me coming back but something else kept pushing me away. I always liked the idea of blogging, but not the reality of it. Why? I asked myself. What is chasing me away? Well, my friends, I just may have found the answer. 

I have spent my life hiding and blogging is visibility. But as a writer I can’t thrive without visibility. 

I could do a big cheer and say, “I’m coming out, baby! This time it’s for real. This time I’m a new woman and I’m ready to be seen.” But that might be a big lie. The consciousness is a new thing, but I’m not sure about the how or the why of hiding. All I know is I’m writing this blog now. 

It might be the first of many. It might just be the beginning of another bloggless sabatical. But I’m here now because my soul says blog. I like listening to my soul. 

We are getting to know each other lately, my soul and I, and it’s a beautiful thing. We’ve had an on and off relationship over the years. We talked a bit here and there and I always thought about stopping in and talking more, getting to know her better, but life is busy and she is not demanding, so I neglected our relationship. But things are different now, not that life is easier or my soul is louder, but through a series of events I have learned my soul knows so much more than my ego or any other part of me so I might as well listen. I’ve learned listening to my soul first instead of last saves a lot of time, because no matter how much we think we can ignore our souls they will always be heard in the end. 

So the question is, how does one hear ones soul? And when you do hear it, how do you recognize it? The answer is: I don’t know. The path is probably different for everyone. But who knows? I don’t pretend to be a teacher, I only relay my experiences and the people who hear can take it however they want. 

What I have been doing is just meditating and saying, “I am hearing my soul, I am.” After enough time I started hearing and recognizing the voice of my soul. I am still working on our relationship, but it’s definitely getting better. 

So, like I said, a lot has happened in the six/seven months we’ve had apart. Perhaps I’ll get to all of that eventually, but for now all I will say is: I have blue dread locks now. 


 

Naked Soul Sunday

Naked Soul Sunday

 

So much to say. I guess this will just be a really long post.

Here we are again, my friends. Really, I really have so much to say. Where do I start?

This blog was supposed to be about my personal healing journey and how my healing would manifest itself in my wardrobe choices, hence the picture of moi with every post. (I’m not sure if you knew that, but I’m telling you now. Fashion and healing and all that jazz.)

Anyway, I have done lots of healing since starting this blog. I have gotten lots of personal insight and made drastic changes in my life, not all of which have been documented here, but I liked the idea and the purpose of blogging and sharing my story with a big vague audience, who may or may not exist.

Has my wardrobe changed in this process? I’m not sure, I haven’t been paying much attention, and as you can see, I have looked pretty subpar in most of my photos. “Smile,” people say. Oh yeah, a smile. But it always feels strange to smile at a camera. I smile at living things, not machines.

Besides all that, I usually blog during pajama hours, so really the whole fashion thing has fallen by the wayside, but whatever. I didn’t start this blog with lofty goals in mind. I just wanted to do it, so I did. I wanted to write from a vulnerable place to a big vague audience, who may or may not exist. I probably had other purposes in mind, some conscious, some subconscious, but I can’t think of them now, and it probably doesn’t matter that much.

Perhaps I seem strange today. You might be thinking something is wrong and I cried in weepy tears over my morning bowl of oatmeal, and this blog is a vague cry for sympathy. But I don’t appreciate sympathy, so I don’t do anything with sympathy in mind.

(Seriously, please don’t give me sympathy, even if you think I deserve it. I really hate it. I don’t give it well, and I don’t take it well. Really, seriously. I mean it. No sympathy for this girl. Understanding is nice, sympathy is crap. I really hate it. I don’t think I can reiterate how much I dislike sympathy. Just. Don’t.)

So, what I was saying is that I may seem different, like something is wrong, but nothing is wrong, and I didn’t even eat oatmeal for breakfast. I ate a bratwurst with mustard, and it was delicious. So I wasn’t crying into my Wheaties like you might imagine. But I am strange today, I am feeling quiet, yet wholly myself. Which brings me to the whole purpose of this post.

I have done a lot of introspection and healing over the past three years, but most especially during the past few days.

I build things up and tear things down. Yes, I do. Yes, I do. This may seem like a terrible way to be. We build to have a finished product, then we sit on the porch drinking our iced tea, admiring our work, and feeling good that we are no longer building. But I enjoy the process of building and of tearing down. In this process I learn what is important to me. I notice my patterns and weaknesses. I see new paths open and understand which ones to follow, at least momentarily. So that is a pattern of mine.

During these past few days, I have seen my patterns more clearly than ever before, like the building up and tearing down thing. I have brought into question everything I thought I wanted in life. I have pulled all my patterns out of my backpack and set them out before me. As I look at them, I notice which ones are serving me and which ones are not.

I notice I live inside out. I have been too vulnerable to a big vague audience, who may or may not exist, and not vulnerable enough to those close to me. I have been spreading my naked soul around instead of keeping it centered and whole inside of me.

As I focus on healing more, and living with my soul centered inside of me, I realize this blog might not be serving me anymore. There, I said it, we are breaking up. I know this might be hard on you, but I have to do what is right for me, and this is right for me. I told you I was a builder up and a tearer downer, what made you think this would be any different? But with my soul centered and whole, I have no need of spreading it around on this blog. Sorry, I really did love you while it lasted. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

It might not actually be permanent. I’m not totally sure yet. And another thing, maybe it is time to sit on my porch with iced tea and enjoy my handy work instead of looking for the next thing to build up or tear down. Maybe it is valuable to embrace both ways; understanding that some things need to be torn down, while seeing that other things are better left standing. We shall see.

I am looking forward to seeing where all of this leads, but you, you big, vague audience who may or may not exist, you won’t be along for this journey. This is a journey of one. Naked Soul Sunday has just ended.

Thank you for coming with me thus far. I hope your own journey’s fare as beautifully as mine has.

Namaste.

Blogging Like Eminem

Photo on 9-3-15 at 8.35 AM

Most of the time I don’t sleep well, except when that drugged feeling comes over me and I can’t get vertical.

Yesterday morning when I woke up at four, I decided for the first time that I wouldn’t count the hours I’ve slept, judge them as not enough, and try forcing myself back into REM mode. Paradoxically, this relaxed me and helped me fall back to sleep.

This morning was different. I woke up at five feeling electrified, I knew there was no hope of going back to sleep with my body buzzing like it was, so I got up.

I went into the living room, turned on youtube, and played my favorite dance song, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

I danced in my dark living room with the balcony door open and the wind blowing in. “Thrift Shop” ended and an Eminem song began, so I danced to that. That ended and another Eminem song started, I danced to that too. I kept expecting to cancel the flow of music and start up itunes so I could pick and choose my music, but somehow Eminem had intoxicated me. Song after song played, his metallic voice stabbing me with each word while the sun rose outside and my body crumpled to the floor.

No longer able to dance, I stared at the temple glowing in the distance, crying while Eminem rapped his story with raw vulnerability.

Now for something sort-of different.

When I was fifteen years old I had a dream that I was standing on a road going out of town. I wasn’t bored or longing for anything, I was just looking.

Then I saw a guy coming down the road. He wasn’t anyone I knew in real life, but in my dream I vaguely knew he was a member of the town returning from somewhere.

When I saw him I had an intense desire to talk to him. I wanted to hear his story and tell him mine, I wanted to touch souls with him. I went out to greet him. We said hello and I had so much to say I didn’t know where to start, so we just stared at each other for a minute.

Several girls noticed his arrival and they started gathering around him. I was pushed to the side as the crowd got larger and more active as the girls talked and giggled and preened jostling for his affection. Eventually I found myself outside of the group, the guy was smiling at all the girls and seemed to have forgotten about me. I couldn’t compete. The guy didn’t even notice as I faded and disappeared from view.

I always remember that dream because it symbolizes my deepest feelings, the feeling that I don’t have anything to offer different than anyone else, and my quiet, uncompetitive nature basically guarantees I will be ignored.

But as I have worked on this blog, and this morning as I listened to Eminem, I am understanding that it’s not about the guy at all. I don’t have to compete with anyone, I just have to tell my story, my raw, real story.

I have hidden myself, afraid my story was too simple, or boring, or my voice would be lost in the crowd of women. But it doesn’t matter whether anyone hears my story, it matters that my story is told. This blog is about revealing my story because it is time to come out of hiding.

As everything changes in my life and I look down that road leading out of town, people ask what is next for me. The answer is this: blog like Marshall Mathers. Hone my craft to be clear, honest, and raw. That is all I know right now. When I know something else I will do that. But for now, it doesn’t matter whether a guy comes down that road, or whether we touch souls, or whether he remembers, or even notices me. What matters is that I am not hiding, so the people who want to hear the voice of my soul can.