Addiction, Anorexia, Archetypes, blue collar, Bulimia, character study, Death, depression, Dichotomies, Divorce, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Facebook, Faith, Family, Fear, Health Issues, introvert, Jail, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, Nostalgia, PTSD, Relationships, Running, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

doing good time

“Jen, I cannot talk to you right now.  I was sabotaged today.  I have to go.” 

I hang up the phone and sit at the counter for a moment thinking about what’s unfolding all around me.  A good friend in the hospital for mental health issues and other friends who feel much like me and the waves affect us all.  Who can I call now?  I can write.  I can go into my mind and sort through what it feels like to be two inches tall.  I think to myself about how we all have those we love and how we all hold back to cradle them gently in a heartspace that keeps them around.  Listen.  Just listen.  Eventually they come to that very idea that’s been gnawed by bottom teeth on a bitten tongue and lip.   I didn’t say what burned in my throat because it had to come from the choked throat of the love object.  The times when the words don’t come, when the lip becomes raw and red, are the times I write.  Wondering the whole time how many red and raw lips I’ve created around me.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed and become aware of my own stigma and the mountain I climb as one of my best friends does a stint in ye ol mental health jail.  She’s locked away somewhere in Massachusetts pumped full of drugs and unable to hear me when I tell her about “good time.”  Good time is doing what they say, not putting your paper towels in tiny bags, reusing your towels, asking to talk to a lawyer every 5 minutes.  Good time is nodding, taking your meds, remaining as quiet as you can stand, reading a book. Saying thank you.  But, she knows this.  She coached me through my longest stint of sanity this year. I read an article at 3:16 am about how it takes 11 times to leave an abusive relationship.  How do I start and stop to count when, like the mental palace in Mass, I’m in my own crazy farm of relationships. Forever going back to the big house of love pumped full of drugs.  I’m certainly not doing good time.

Free now, and another loss of meaning.  Deconstruction and analyzing pretty useless at this point.  In this present moment I feel pretty clear and I’m clear on what really helps me feel good.  Doing yoga.  Being quiet.  Reading.  Writing.  Helping others by listening.  Hearing a kid say “you are SO LONG!” Running so early in the morning.  Running more than 10 miles in the morning.  Not worrying about who I choose as my friends—mental illness ain’t mean nuthin.  Appreciating the weirdness in tiny spaces.  My truck and all it’s memories.  Doing good time is reading books about travel, discontinuing the hate of everyone and everything that is assumed to have created despair, diving inside, writing letters, moving the body, playing cards.  I can choose what I might do right now because there are a few feelings with which I can empathize. This unfolding is its own imprisonment and I can relate to those four walls.

I have to go.  I have to go away from whatever mental space has brought me here.  I don’t want to live my life scared of what one silly man thinks of me. I can still be so vulnerable and say I get so, so, anxious and angry.  I play the ice queen.  My closest friends are very odd and eccentric.  I really mess up with money stuff.  I yell when I get angry.  I grab cell phones, I posture. I’m embarrassed that I’m not smarter on paper. Most of my lovers do not please me.  I don’t trust anyone.  I’m working so hard on that last one.  Trust and love just melts away that anxiety and anger (rooted in hurt and fear), when I trust I become a goofball that’s excited for any time together, I listen and empathize, seek to understand, remain curious, speak clearly and softly, love gently and loyally. I’m very odd and eccentric, living in poverty, have a hole in my wall from punching the drywall in frustration, am worried about writing these words, but I know I am not sabotaged.  I can talk.  Right now.

“Calling it lunacy makes it easier to explain away the things we don’t understand.”

― Megan Chance, The Spiritualist

Archetypes, Basketball, Bible, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Faith, Family, Fear, Health Issues, Higher Education, Jail, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, Nostalgia, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

day five and six-my proudest moment and what I’m most afraid of

I missed yesterday. That will happen! I went to the UW basketball game and its always neat to watch the sport I used to love so very much. (I used to make my dad VHS record every and any game in the college men’s championships, and lose my mind in the basement watching).

I was going to try and cleverly tie the two topics but I don’t have to be clever at all. My biggest accomplishment is directly related to my biggest fear. I thought about detailing my college degrees—I’m a first generation student and it was a good thing to get done but I didn’t walk in commencement for either my bachelors or masters. It’s not something my family really values. I’m not upset about that—these degrees are to leverage social currency to help others, not to tack on my wall.

After the two paragraphs of porch talk I’ll get into it—my proudest moment was graduating from drug court. Well, Albany County Court Supervised Treatment Program. Nothing has been harder in my life, I’ve never failed over and over so many times trying to get something right, and I’ve never been so happy to have my life back.

When I was younger, I didn’t picture myself living past the age of 29 and “live fast, die young” was a lifestyle for me. I truly feel like drug court changed my life. It was really new to me to be so crappy at something—I’m hardly the best at anything I try but with hard work and guidance I can complete most tasks. Not drug court. I relapsed all over the place, finding myself smoking meth with other drug court participants all of whom are in prison now.

When I graduated I wrote a few lines about each person in drug court and the people who helped me graduate—including my probation officer who became human to me, the bailiffs who were always more kind than necessary, my counselor, lawyer, and even the judge who I had gotten crosswise with on numerous occasions. I now count many of these professionals as colleagues and friends. They helped me to see my own worth.

And now to my worst fear. I fear I will relapse heavily and go back to jail. I fear I will decide one night of fun is worth throwing my life away. I fear my job will find me out and let me go because I am a liability. I fear that I am bat shit crazy and I am just kidding myself that I could ever be a professional and help anyone. This is why I am not using my degree to be a counselor. Who am I? Who am I to help folks when I feel I am walking a life tight-rope? I’m afraid of being alone forever, in a cell, lamenting what I could have been.

But, I refuse to let these fears motivate me all the time. Of course I’m human and they pop up here and there. I have shown myself and others I am capable of rising from my own ashes. I am capable of my version of recovery. Fear is no motivator and I’ve been crippled too long by what others might think. And so I blog about my past. I blog about my future. And I give thanks for the now.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

-Fran Herbert

Anorexia, Archetypes, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Trailrunning, Universiality, Yoga

on your (my) worth

This post might resonate more with women but we are all sharing this experience, as humans, and it might ring true in any situation. Often, I hear women demean themselves in many ways, subconsciously or not. Our society is built in such a manner than anything that isn’t pleasant, immediate, and effective we dismiss. I can be any one of these traits on a good day, but most days it’s enough to wear a bra that makes its presence known, gripping and scraping the skin around my armpits because I’ve gained weight. It’s not pleasant.

I don’t think I’m fat. But I wonder. Sometimes, the universe aligns in shitty ways and the day I tell myself I’m fat is the day I’m told I’m fat. It is this perfect shitstorm of synergy and BAM I’m neither effective nor immediate. Pleasant is not in my worldview. The story starts to spin. Not in an empowering way that says “oh I wonder if I could nourish myself in different ways besides numbing myself with food” but it’s “you stupid fat fuck if you had any self-control or if anyone liked you, you might be skinny.”

This becomes my belief system and soon my vibe attracts my tribe. I begin sleeping with men who I know are no good for me. I begin to distrust everyone because I’ve let so many in and I’ve become so out of touch with my system, I don’t know what feeds me or what depletes me. I still want to assume good of people so instead of listening to the strong, beautiful, woman who says “this is not good for you” I seek to be liked no matter the cost. Here, have this body I trash anyway.

I let others deplete my energy, my life source. I create that. I’ve found that if I give myself space to forgive myself–to let myself know that I seek love just like any living being and that I will mess up–I can begin to see my worth. Okay, so I sought love. Big deal. I’m safe. We’ve all done it, and wow did I create an elaborate situation to feel loved! Isn’t that neat? I create a different narrative because I know this much to be true—I am worthwhile.

How will I respond to life now? Am I going to treat myself like the divine, wondrous, person I am so I become that person? Or am I going to create another story of lost love and addiction where the ending is always tragic? In any moment I have the choice to make my life show others what my heart has shown me—I am divine, you are divine, and we are all worth so much love.

“Cells are energy efficient because they use their energy to the fullest extent to survive. We waste our energy all the time. When we waste energy, we are throwing away life; because energy is life. That’s why, when it comes down to it…the real question is, “How do I respond to life?” Looking at how cells maneuver and live in their world supplies a template for us, teaching us how to move and live in our world. If we understand how cells do it, and then treat ourselves in the same manner, our cells are going to prosper. And if our cells prosper, then by definition we are having a rich and full life.”

Bruce H. Lipton

Archetypes, Asana, character study, Death, depression, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Mindfulness, privilage, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Universiality

the unspoken anne shirley

I’ve been struggling to know what to write lately—even how to approach blogging stylistically, which I’ve always thought was a strong point along with attention to detail and honesty (what do I know—not much!). I regularly delete posts on my Facebook wall along with blog posts I’ve deemed too scandalous. There’s a few haunting me right now, including one in which I mention my dick. No, I don’t have a dick. Yes, I want to work proactively to diminish binaries that separate us including mostly arbitrary ideas of dicks and vaginas. I have daily self-talks in which I shame myself for my past, shame myself for my thoughts, and wish I understood more of these social conventions, these unspoken rules. I’m perpetually offending. Wikipedia (crowd-sourced, dynamic, in the gray) defines unspoken rules as:

“…behavioral constraints imposed in organizations or societies that are not voiced or written down. They usually exist in unspoken and unwritten format because they form a part of the logical argument or course of action implied by tacit assumptions.”

So, what the heck is a tacit assumption? What are we assuming?

“A tacit assumption or implicit assumption is an assumption that includes the underlying agreements or statements made in the development of a logical argument, course of action, decision, or judgment that are not explicitly voiced nor necessarily understood by the decision maker or judge. Often, these assumptions are made based on personal life experiences, and are not consciously apparent in the decision making environment. These assumptions can be the source of apparent paradoxes, misunderstandings and resistance to change in human organizational behavior.”

This is the paradox of my life. Somewhere, along the way, in my own personal history I missed the boat about 7 billion times. I didn’t realize I was not supposed to invite people into a business or endeavor that is not mine. And unfortunately, people can choose to be very hurt by the things you don’t know. I lost a job and my passion over it. (friggin yoga, another blog post). I didn’t realize that I cannot talk candidly, expressively, or truthfully around most professionals. It’s not wanted, needed, and it really doesn’t matter.

I spent my graduate program in near remediation because I was perpetually docked in the professionalism area. Folks wrote about me on a survey after a conference saying I was bothersome, got up too much to pee, talked too much. I really throw some people off.  Yet, the exact (non)skill that hurt me during social interactions helps me inter-personally in counseling sessions.  Thank gawd these unspoken rules go out the window in therapy where saying that which hasn’t been said is suddenly healing.  My clinical work pulled me through my graduate program (watch as I invoke ego to feel better about paradoxically falling short).

Where was I during the development of these unwritten logical arguments, courses of actions, decisions, and judgments? I was doing drugs, drinking. I probably might have been having sex. Most likely, I was reading a book to try to connect to folks on my own terms. Books where unwritten rules are more explicit and develop through words, words I know. In a book, often the thoughts of the character are exposed, and I suddenly understand why Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables) keeps bullying Anne Shirley even though he likes her. Her red braids swing and her bangs puff out as she smacks him back which she wasn’t supposed to do not according to any rule but because she was a lady.  Gawd forbid.  And gawd bless, she did it anyway. She imagined her life and she created it exactly how she wanted to be. A few people upset along the way, but this Anne, she’s an archetype. One that I will continue to live.

“It has always seemed to me. ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, i was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond-only a glimpse-but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.”

-Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)