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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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.

The Greatest Love Story

The Greatest Love Story

Good morning from the broken hearted.

I heard someone say once that our hearts cannot actually be broken. Our hearts are invincible. But sometimes they really feel broken. Maybe it is the same principle as a germinating seed that cracks open to sprout. Maybe our hearts break open as we grow. And that breaking hurts.

In the past I have been afraid on this blog. I have been vulnerable. But today I want to create something new. I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll recognize it. We’ll see.

Now it’s time for a little story.

Several years ago my husband and I were separated. One morning as I laid alone in my twin sized bed, staring at the ceiling, I realized I had been here before.

I was living in another basement (I hated basements). I was feeling hopelessly alone, once again. And I worked at another mediocre job that paid barely enough to survive.

I had experienced all of these things too many times to ignore. Almost as though I had been living my life in a circle, going around and around. And the common denominator in this circle of life was me.

Somehow I had created this life for myself and set it on repeat. I wasn’t sure how I had created it, but I was the one in charge so I was the only one to blame. This also meant I could create something different if I paid attention to my choices.

Thus began my journey of creative intention.

You might assume I’ll get all magical here and tell you how I’m living the life of my dreams making millions while living on a steam boat off the coast of Fiji. But that is not where this story ends.

This story ends (or maybe it begins) with me waking up this morning, a little too early for these tired eyes. Staring at the ceiling of my third floor apartment, I work at a job that is actually pretty great, but I am alone, again, still. Bitterly.

Perhaps I chase men away. Perhaps I don’t really want to be with anyone. I thought I was doing things differently, but I still end up with the same thing. Feeling very sad about all this makes me want to do something about it. And the answer is the same answer it has always been, write.

Writing is the answer. Writing will save you. And yet, I run from it.

I fall into writing’s open arms, weeping, and saying it is all I’ve ever wanted. Then I chase it away, saying its not good enough, or I’m not good enough, or I lose the fire and I’m just not feeling it, or a whole host of other things.

Writing is the rocky romantic relationship I can’t get off the ground. Circles and circles. Maybe when I have a healthy relationship with my writing, healthy romance will show up for me. No matter how cruel or pathetic I am, writing always forgives me.

So I’m starting here. I want to forge a new path for us, my writing and me.

Perhaps this will become the greatest love story ever written. Perhaps. Anything is possible.

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Exhausted but semi-hopeful, and yes, that is a cold sore of stress

I’ve got my writing face on

It is true, I’m writing a book. For the first time in two years, I want to write a book. I have my idea. I have my outline. I am in the process of expanding and organizing my outline. But every time I sit down to write, all I want to do is blog. Maybe that’s the resistance, but I suddenly have so many blogging ideas. Maybe I’m more comfortable blogging. I have instant gratification. I get likes and followers and comments. I know what I’m doing with this blog and I can feel accomplished after one hour’s work. Published. Yea!

While this blog has been an unveiling of  vulnerability, and a place to expose my writing, and express my ideas, writing a book is all that times ten, and I don’t even get any likes, followers, or comments after a day of writing a book.  I don’t even know if it will be worth reading.

So there. This blog is the result of sitting down to write my book.

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My dream vacation

Welcome, new year! That exclamation point has way more energy than I do right now. Not that I’m sick or tired, I’m just not feeling particularly exclamatory at the moment. But that is the beauty of writing, I can create emotions that I’m not even feeling.

Speaking of not feeling, I keep thinking about blogging, then I stop myself because I think I have to be funny or interesting, or informative in order to please you invisible readers out there. But this is my blog, dangit, and if I want to write about how I dreamt I was swimming in the Hawaiian ocean at night while coast guard helicopters flew overhead shining lights on me telling me to get out of the water because it is too dark to swim, I will write it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to visit my blog.

So after a week of making fake new years resolutions, I am now making a real one. My new years resolution is to blog even when I think I have nothing to say. And yes, I blog about fashion and healing. And yes, I post pictures of myself with every blog, and maybe one of these days I will actually post my whole outfit. But even if I’m feeling ugly and my hair is a frizz ball, like today,  I will still blog and post a picture.

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It just might not be of me.

Not feeling so hot, but sharing my art anyway

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I thought a lot about art since I read “Linchpin”, and also since my last post.

I have a lot to say about art. I guess I’ve rejected my art impulses for so long that now, when I’m allowing myself to let it out, it’s a flood.

So like I’ve said before, I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer, but I was afraid of writing. I wanted my writing to be perfect. I wanted so much from myself. I would criticize other writers while choking my own writing.

This blog has helped me let go of some of that. With this blog I’ve focused more on sharing my art than perfecting it.

And then I got this job… now I write everyday all day. And I don’t really have an editor. I’m just released onto the program, write whatever I want, and a week later it goes public. And because there is so much to do I don’t have much time for editing at all. Sometimes my mind is blank, sometimes I write stiffly, and once in a while I write something I’m really proud of. But no matter how I write, it has to go live on the deadline.

In the past I would have felt freaked out and self-conscious about this whole set up, and I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable at first, but since I didn’t have much choice, I have since let my art go. Since doing this, I feel more like a real artist than I ever did when I was trying to be perfect. I feel liberated. I know everything I write won’t be perfect and a lot of it might not even be good, but I’m doing it and releasing it over and over, and that is a place of power.

After my last post I thought a lot about the art I’m sharing with the world, and I realized fashion is a kind of art. When I put effort into my appearance, that is art. It’s not because I look perfect, or even good, it is simply about making an effort to share my best self with the world that day.

So after my last post, I got dressed in an outfit I enjoyed and went around town with my husband. I found strange feelings bubbling up like, I’m supposed to be more attractive than everyone else and because I’m not, what’s the point of trying? I felt like I was supposed to act stuck up because that was how people expected me to act. I had to keep reminding myself that my appearance was a form of art I was sharing with the world, not because I look perfect but because creating art whenever and wherever I can, brings light and joy to the world.

But I’m still working on that one.

Metamorphosis

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In the last three days I have started three posts and not finished any of them. Today I am starting a fourth.

Once upon a time I was skinny, then I gained weight, and then I lost weight, and then, recently, I gained weight again.

I knew I was on the heavier end of the spectrum, but I didn’t know how heavy until I weighed myself yesterday for the first time in two years. Lots heavier. I was shocked and upset by the number on the scale. For the rest of the day I thought about my weight. The truth will set you free, right? But I didn’t feel free. I felt upset. I never thought I would weigh that much again.

I had done so much emotional work on myself and expected the weight to melt off when I hit the right emotional issue causing it. Apparently I hadn’t hit it yet. Apparently I was fat again. Apparently my self-worth was wrapped up in a number on a scale. But I couldn’t help it. I wanted my body to look great, feel great, and fit nicely into my clothes.

I knew all the stuff people say: “Love your body as it is.” “Exercise and eating right make you feel better.” Blah blah blah. That is easy to say when you are losing weight and feeling good about yourself. But what if you are feeling fat? What if you are gaining weight and don’t fit your clothes comfortably anymore? What if you look in the mirror and say, “Yuck!”?

I thought about all these things yesterday after the scale incident. I thought about what I could do to lose weight, exercise more, eat less fat and sugar. And I felt the same futility I always do when I’m feeling fat, diet and exercise are a suffocating struggle that yield very little result, leaving me feeling helpless once again.

Eleven hours later, as I prepared to undress for the night, I saw my body in my full length mirror. “Not fitting,” I said. “My body doesn’t fit me. My body doesn’t fit my clothes. My body is not beautiful. I feel heavy and ugly.” I avoided looking at my body as I undressed, but then I remembered gratitude.

A while ago I discovered the power of gratitude, but recently I have been working on feeling grateful for everything, especially when something upsets me. I find something to be grateful for within that thing and then my whole perspective changes. But here I was, being ungrateful to my own body. How cruel of me.

I undressed all the way, then stood in front of the mirror. I looked at my body. The first word that popped into my head was, unacceptable. I have always told my body it was unacceptable. My mid-thirties body had lumps and bumps and discolorations and scars. I looked at it and said, “You are perfect. Thank you for being perfect.”

My body sighed and said, “Thank you.”

“Thank you,” I said again. “You are perfect.” I said it again and again. “You are perfect. Thank you for being perfect.” With every thank you, my body released tension. That was all it needed. It didn’t need diet and exercise to lose weight so it could be loveable. It needed to be loved right now. Loved and thanked for all its hard work.

As I thanked my body, it transformed before my eyes. What looked like a frumpy unacceptable body before, was suddenly beautiful and perfect.

Thank you for being perfect, body. I love you.