confessions in my pajamas

confession: i was scheduled to be in therapy during this hour but the receptionist called to cancel my appointment yesterday, rescheduling for next week. i missed last week because i was in paris. three weeks between appointments loses momentum, desire, time, hope to heal what hurts before march’s trauma trigger anniversary. i reassure myself by saying, “that’s okay. your deeply held shame will hold until next thursday.”

question: who decides the standards by which “oversharing” is judged? if i discuss my eating disorder or incest the second or third time we hang out is that oversharing? and if so, why? because society shames us for our shame?

confession: my fingernails grew long in paris because i forgot to bring nail clippers. i habitually keep my nails cut short, an ingrained lesbian courtesy. i cut them this week. i wonder who i might be if i let myself have long nails, if i painted them pink, if i drank coffee everyday, if i went on a juice fast for a month and quit eating foods that require chewing. nevermind, i just imagined it–skinny, caffeine high, wishing i was prettier, anxious, and too weak to work out. i’ve done all that before, minus the long pink nails.

confession: kind actions intended but not followed through don’t add kindness to the world. for example, i considered going outside late last night since i wasn’t sleeping at 2am and scraping the snow off papi’s car so that it’d be done before he had to leave for work this morning. instead i sat on the couch and read.

confession: papi would’ve scraped the snow off my car if i had to drive somewhere this morning. i wish i would do the good i think to do, the good i can, since i want to live in a better-sweeter-kinder world and i know how to create that world if i’m willing to put on a jacket and go outside.

confession: i don’t want to put on a jacket and go outside today. i can think of a few things i can do from this chair to make the world kinder and i’ll start there.

confession: i feel like i’m in the sludgy muck of this trauma anniversary cycle, but it has barely begun. i know it gets worse for the next month before it gets better. i know i’m gonna want to quit eating. i know that alternating with not eating i’ll likely binge on junk food until i puke. i know i ought to avoid alcohol and coffee and diet coke and sugar. i want all those things, but listed them in the order from easiest for me to skip to most challenging for me to deny myself. i know i could go back to bed right now and sleep or not sleep for a couple hours to put off working today and the same amount of work will be accomplished before tomorrow whether i stay awake and do it now or get to it later because in spite of everything, i get my work done and work is only work, there’s always more. but one day there won’t be more. so today, while we are here, let’s do what is ours to do. mine to do is love you. i’ll keep at it, gently, imperfectly, without putting on a jacket or going outside, from this chair in my pajamas.

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confessions from paris

confession: i find every excuse not to sleep in paris (nightmares, angry dreams, insomnia, jetlag) because not sleeping means i walk all day and night.

confession: my favorite hour to walk in paris is between 5am and 6am when my fellow outdoor companions shift from drunks stumbling home to joggers going for their daily run. i walk through the hour of sunrise among quick-paced commuters. i walk through the morning hours’ increasing brightness until midmorning when i sit in public gardens with retired citizens and exhausted mothers of small children. i watch trees begin to bloom. i write poems in my head because i don’t have paper or pen. i meditate. i breathe. i return to my hotel, swipe a pastry from the basket in the lobby while dodging a disapproving look from the concierge (who are the pastries for if not for the guests? i wasn’t stealing; they’re free, i think…unless i’m wrong, which i might have been, but nobody said anything and i didn’t ask, just the dirty look…and others’ judgments don’t deter my hunger or my sweet treat compulsion), i lie down in my housekeeping-made bed, and i nap for a couple hours. after two hours of dreamless sleep, i ride the metro to a neighborhood at the far end of the city, step into every unlocked church to admire arches and stained glass, walk down unfamiliar streets, get a little lost in order to discover new adventures, and head towards the unfailing landmark of the river to follow the sunset back to the hotel.

confession: she asked how many times i’ve been to paris. i told her too many times to remember or count. in other decades, paris was where i ran when i couldn’t tolerate stillness. in this decade, paris is where i write best. every stay in paris, no matter the length, is too short. but every stay in paris puts me farther from something i can’t name inside myself, stripping away other parts of me, and i return lighter with jagged seams resewn, not better or worse, just different for a while and less familiar to myself.

confession: i spent the first two days of this week in paris choosing new stories to tell myself about the same old shit. i spent the next two days retelling the new stories until they felt true for me.

confession: you can change the story you tell any day, anywhere, any way.

confession: we went to a jazz club. we listened to two sets. we clapped when we were supposed to. we made fun of both drummers, their egos, their attitude. we relearned that “good jazz” isn’t danceable and because we are dancers, jazz isn’t our preferred musical genre. we moved upstairs, away from that night’s music, where dark red leather chairs and 400-year-old walls hugged us with echoes of music, conversations, and love affairs that predate jazz.

confession: years ago, in the final week before she moved away to attend graduate school, i promised her a trip to paris for her graduation gift. we were new friends then. we are old friends now. we each had a parent die in-between, timeline delays, and life interruptions. i moved from my hometown to hers. she moved back to her hometown after she graduated. we began our friendship across the country and continue our friendship across town. we postponed our paris trip until winter to celebrate the early spring that begins in paris, to celebrate her accomplishments, to celebrate whatever life brings us from here.

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confessions sustained by pork and beans

confession: the question this week that my therapist ain’t helping with is “how do i change the false core beliefs held in my cells?” she has answers but they are answers i’ve tried that haven’t worked for me in the past and aren’t working in the present. her answers aren’t the answers i need. i’m gonna have to find those answers for myself.

confession: cans of pork and beans and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches—this week i’ve been eating like the poor kid i was. i’m not a poor kid anymore but i carry that poor kid inside me every day all day and i feed her what she likes so i don’t have to think about food any longer than the few minutes it takes to prepare and eat those two things. the minorly rich adult i am worries about sodium intake and a lack of vegetables.

confession: i always want to delete food confessions to y’all. i ususally do. i defend the deletions by claiming that food stuff is boring, sad, repetitive. addictions are boring, sad, and repetitive. that’s their nature.

confession: my addict self will do anything to squash feelings of shame, but shame gains momentum inside every addictive cycle.

confession: i believe i’m rotten, wrong, bad, and forever fucked up. i’ve believed it from the beginning of my conscious memories. that’s excess go-juice for shame.

confession: even though i believe i’m rotten, wrong, bad, and forever fucked up, i also believe i am pure love and that my only mission is to multiply and serve as much love to the world as possible.

confession: i hold many paradoxical beliefs. i’m okay with that. rationality is overrated. so is emotionality; feelings lie. i don’t expect myself to make sense. i don’t expect you to make sense either. i’m intrigued by your paradoxes.

confession: freddie mercury was my age when he died. i was 18 years old when he died. the duration of my days on the planet now matches his. these facts give me much to think about. for example, am i in the middle of my life or close to the end…and if time is relative and time is speeding up, is it possible to be at both the middle and close to the end? would i rather be at the middle or close to the end? am i almost done living? do i want to be? whether i am at the middle or close to the end, what more do i want to do with this life?

confession: i’ve added one mini daily habit to my life this week. every morning when i get out of bed, as my feet take the first steps, i announce that today is going to be a great day. i believe in every great day because no matter what happens, i get to show up multiplying love in the world. you do, too, if you choose.

 

 

 

 

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confessions after the worst came true

confession: sometimes the thing we fear most happens. not usually. almost never. but once in a while, our worst fears manifest and guess what? either they kill us or we survive them. we’re all gonna die. this week i’m surviving.

confession: the worst thing i could imagine is something i was afraid had happened but i had repressed. turns out, i wasn’t imagining it…i was remembering…without admitting to myself that it was a memory and not a worst-imagined fear.

confession: the thing that happened was scary and shame-filled. it is over. i am safe now. i get to train my neural pathways to perceive the situation differently and experience my current safety.

confession: we don’t give ourselves enough credit for surviving the hardships. instead some of us have a habit of punishing ourselves for not knowing how to thrive better where we are. thriving begins with gently accepting what is and loving that, loving all the parts we’ve hated, loving all the less-than and not-enoughness we’ve judged. it sounds simple. it ain’t easy. gentle self-acceptance requires vigilant noticing without judgment.

confession: he knows he fucked up. he clings to a belief that he doesn’t regret any of the fuck-ups. there is wisdom in regretting that we didn’t treat each other more lovingly, that we didn’t communicate more kindly. there is wisdom in acknowledging and accepting our best behavior at the time totally sucked.

confession: he tried to support me by offering an out. i don’t want out. i want in deeper.

confession: there is an ex i barely think about, one i forget about, one i wish i’d never known intimately. this ex is the one that most frequently populates my ambient experience in the world due to social media overlap. i forget who i was when we were together. i have to forgive myself for not knowing better or sooner to have left or never to have gotten entangled.

confession: there is another i never entangled with but have loved afar for years. i hope my love travels into that one’s orbit and brightens the atmosphere without that one needing to know it comes from me.

confession: true generosity often transpires anonymously. i think the same can be true of love.

confession: she texted last night, our traditional greeting, the one that lets me know she is present and available and wants to play. i want to play, too. we have big fun through small adventures together. but i’ve been gone to all parts of the country this month, so our playtime will wait until next month when we make a grand excursion to paris filled with tiny moments of love, art, and discovery.

confession: you already know i want to take you all to paris, in real life and vicariously.

confession: one of my favorite things about the last three therapists i’ve had is that within the first three sessions each of them has unequivocally reinforced that i don’t owe my mother anything. they write metaphorical permission slips to skip the rest of this lifetime’s socialized daughter duties. they are my mother’s age or older. they have daughters my age or older. i trust their life experience and professional expertise. i trust them to help me heal what is broken between my mother and me by healing the brokenness in me without her.

confession: the brokenness directs me down a washed out gravel maze around a desert mountain that leads to an ocean and a lush green island within swimming distance. i learned how to swim when i was little. i got this.

confession: thanks for coming with me. we’re healing together. we are not alone.

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confessions of taking you with me

confession: do you know that sick feeling a few hours before you go to therapy for the purpose of poking around via bilateral brain-stimulation for repressed memories? if you don’t, it feels like an angry monster hiding in churning sludge in the bayou during a hurricane.

confession: i have to keep reminding myself that i want to do this healing work, trusting that the pain of reprocessing is worth it, and…dad is dead…and…i give myself permission to never see mom again…which means i’m safe from everything and everyone except the stuff trapped in my body and psyche and that’s why we’re going to therapy today. i say “we” because i’m bringing y’all’s love and support with me. y’all weren’t with me when the bad stuff happened but i know y’all are with me now which means i’m not alone anymore. the little girl that survived by dissociating and repressing the worst traumas was very very alone.

confession: a couple therapists ago, a wise one asked me to not-stalker-like stand outside an elementary school and a middle school and look at how young those kids actually are, how young i really was when the bad stuff happened. whew, that was a sad day. healing happens inside feeling that sadness.

confession: i have no objectivity about what i’m blogging today, but our lives our lived subjectively, not objectively, and this is a safe place because we’ve all designed it that way. thank you.

confession: this morning in the kitchen i stepped in something thick, wet, and chunky. not knowing if it came out of either end of either cat, i hesitated to look. it turned out to be almond butter instead of cat yuk and i’m designating that as a good omen for today’s undertaking.

confession: in a letter i wrote yesterday i admitted i don’t much like being human. i’d rather be an angel, unicorn, or dragon.

confession: two days ago i accidentally looked in the mirror (i try not to do that) and saw tired, deeply wrinkled eyes. i cried (hormonally amplified) because i judged my appearance as “old.” the crying lasted 31 seconds before i remembered my pep talk speech, “ growing older is a privilege many of your friends never got. be grateful.” i thought of specific friends i’ve outlived, sent love to them and gratitude for my aliveness, and went onto the next task that was mine to do. about 15 minutes later i was washing my hands in the bathroom sink and accidentally looked in the mirror again. i started laughing because that time all i saw in my eyes was love and light. that light is beautiful.

confession: in a sister-circle-of-three last week she told us something she liked about herself and asked us to tell her something we liked about ourselves. i don’t remember what i said in the circle, but i’ve been thinking of new things every day since that i like about me and i wouldn’t have noted them if she hadn’t asked. i’m passing her question to you, what do you like about yourself?

confession: i like that you keep showing up. i like that your heart continually opens wider-deeper-faster to love more and more.

 

 

 

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confessions of questions and answers

confession: i love her more than i ever loved myself at her age. i love her with all the love i didn’t and couldn’t feel for myself at her age and every age younger than hers. i admire and respect her with my whole soul. i tell her almost every time i see her (and i’m committing to you now that i’ll say it to her every time from here) that she is the embodiment of art. she is creativity. when she expresses a concern about living a creative life, i remind her that she can’t help but live a creative life because her essential beingness is creative. creativity is innate in her. creativity is innate in you, too. she listens. she hears me. she almost believes me. what about you?

confession: i did a practice session last night with the conversation i need to have with the ex-wife next time i see her. the person listening to me advised me to wait longer, practice more, clarify my “i” statements, and drop the “you” statements. yup, let’s do that.

confession: i have a destructive streak, consistently self-directed. but once in a while i fantasize about blowing up someone else’s self/shit/stuff.

confession: i wonder if i had been born (and socialized) as a boy instead of a girl if my destructive streak would have expressed itself outwardly rather than inwardly.

confession: with those who know me best, we joke that if i were born a boy i’d be in prison. we’re joking but we’re not kidding.

confession: of all possible futures available to me, i’m pretty sure i’m not gonna pick the best one, but i’ll never know since i only get to live the one i pick.

confession: i wonder what defines “best” in the above confession? “best” according to what criteria? i get to define the criteria, so why wouldn’t i choose the possible future that yields the most of what i’ve chosen for my focus? the answer to that not-so-rhetorical question surfaced immediately—fear. fear is the reason pretty much everybody doesn’t choose to live their best possible present or future.

confession: my consciousness developed in a marinating sauce of trauma. i don’t assume that my mind can come up with any non-fear-based possibilities relative to major life choices. it’s not that i “play it safe.” fuck that, i have a self-destructive streak, remember? every option i consider makes me question how it might hurt me or those around me. i don’t know what is “best” for me.

confession: since i just worked out all the questions and answers i woke up with this morning, i could delete these confessions, but what fun is that? thanks for accompanying me on the journey.

confession: i hope that my questions prompt your own questions that are most relevant for your consciousness today.

confession: if i think about living my life backwards from today until birth, i’d  choose differently in most everything. that’s the reason i’m trying to do everything differently from here…distrusting my habitual responses and rejecting the options my current consciousness offers up. dude, it’s exhausting but i’m trying to reframe it as enlivening.

confession: i wish for you the peace, clarity, and automatic unconditional pervasive love that i wish for myself (and everyone, always, amen).

 

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confessions between carb consumptions

confession: when i sit to write without an idea, the question arises, “where do i begin?” the answer is always the same, “begin anywhere.”

confession: when i don’t know what action to take next and ask myself what to do, the answer is always the same, “sit still until you know.”

confession: i’ve been sitting still most of this week.

confession: too often instead of sitting still when i don’t know what action to take, i walk into the kitchen and eat carbs i immediately regret after ingesting them.

confession: today i’m trying to keep my ass seated instead of walking into the kitchen. i lasted 15 minutes before i got up and opened the cupboard.

confession: i just sat back down and i already want to get up again and eat something, eat anything, eat-eat-eat to cover this anxiety except as soon as i’ve swallowed the last bite, eating increases rather than decreases my anxiety.

confession: i have a therapy appointment with a new therapist on friday. i chose her from the providers list because she does emdr, is grandmotherly age, and has a boy’s name. i’ve always liked chicks with boy names and when possible, i prefer grandmothers as therapists. i trust grandmothers more than most people due to their extensive life experience and the number of decades they’ve already survived.

confession: last night while walking in the windy cold he asked me, “how are your mittens?” i replied, “they want to move back to austin.”

confession: i met someone new last week, spent several hours in his company, and observed him consume copious amounts of bourbon. the next morning i concluded that he has a drinking problem. but then i remembered the number of drinks i could and would drink at his age and i didn’t have a drinking problem (it just looked like it every other saturday night).  i landed on an interim conclusion that i ought not make conclusions with so few data points.

confession: sometimes addictions don’t evidence themselves as addictions until one tries to stop. sometimes addictions are obvious from the start.

confession: i had a meltdown last week. it had been a while since i’d had a full-on meltdown (a couple years, maybe?), so long that i’d forgotten what my meltdowns look and feel like. if you had been in the room, you might have mistakenly perceived the meltdown was about reading light. with years of context you’d recognize that the meltdown was about nurturing one’s art and the point in a relationship where one has compromised too much of oneself.

confession: i haven’t decided upon a theme for 2019 yet, but i’m following the inspiration from this quotation by alan cohen, “ the more you let go, the faster you will move ahead.” for the past decade i’ve sought a gentle accelerated path. i want less stuff (internal and external). i want more clarity and space (internal and external). i want to go higher, lighter, brighter, kinder.

confession: i want for you what i want for myself (gentle accelerated path to higher, lighter, brighter, kinder) unless you want something else. then i want for you whatever you want for yourself as long as it doesn’t irreparably damage you. if you require intense pain to learn whatever lesson you need, then i support you…but dude…that shit is heartaching to silently witness.

confession: the best part of loving you unconditionally is that it doesn’t matter what you do, say, or choose, my joyful responsibility is to simply keep loving you…and i love loving you.

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