breathing

There’s a lyric to a song that says, “all that I know is I’m breathing, all I can do is keep breathing.” That’s all I’m trying to do right now. Keep breathing. And it’s the only thing I’m certain of.

Since I was 15, I’ve been making 10-year plans. Mapping my goals and the steps it would take to get there, deciding on big careers and identities. I’ve always had some kind of plan for the future. As I’ve grown a bit older, I still make 10 year plans, but I do so with the understanding that everything will likely change. And when any changes have happened, I get excited because I get to sit down and re-write my 10-year plan. I have an entire binder dedicated to this process.

What I’m getting at is for the first time since I began this habit, I don’t have a fucking 10-year plan. I don’t have a plan for what’s going to happen three hours from now. I don’t have a plan for my next six months.

Right now, my biggest goal, the number one thing I am trying to achieve: see how long I can go without wearing a bra.

It’s cool and it’s the worst thing ever. I’m calm and I am losing my mind.

write more

I want to write more. To chronicle this time in my life. I feel like I have hit puberty all over again. Only, this time is worse and the growing pains are more painful.

I’m getting pretty good at leaning into uncertainty. I am learning to say things like, “maybe I will go,” instead of, “I am going to go.”

I really don’t know anything. I have no idea what will happen next. So, how can say with confidence what is definitely going to happen?

I found that I have spent about the last 6 months being exhausted. Any free time I had I spent sleeping or rewatching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. I’m not kidding when I say I have watched all 7 seasons 6 times over the last 4 months.

I tried to tie my identity to work. I tried to tie my identity to what I thought a wife is supposed to be like. I let go of who I am. I stopped being curious. I let go of what I love, of what my hobbies are. So much so that I do not know what I like. I do not know what my hobbies are. I don’t know how I want to spend my time.

Now I have an opportunity to explore the world of myself. I stopped doing my self-compassion rituals because I was happy and loved myself. I have learned the hard way that self-compassion takes maintenance. I learned this because I am so deep in self-loathing. I woke up a few days ago, looked in the mirror, and said “I don’t like you.” It was sad and I proceeded to go to my closet and cry for a while.

I’ve started to say “I love you” in the mirror again. I’m writing myself notes. I wrote myself a love poem the other day. I might put it on here, but I am too nervous to do that right now.

I took the TV out of my bedroom. For some reason, I didn’t like movies. Now, I am curious about watching super popular movies that I have not seen. Most of the time, when people ask me if I’ve seen a movie I say, “oh yeah, totally. But it was so long ago that I barely remember it. Great movie, though.” I’d like to watch one movie that I have not seen every week. Other than that, I am done with TV. I use it like I used to use weed to numb out and chill for a while.

I preach a lot of things. I talk a lot about the importance of letting go image management. But I realized that image management is all I do. Posting on social media all the time about how great my life is. My life actually is great, I just work hard to let people know that I am just fine and everything is under control.

The truth is, I don’t know myself. I stopped being connected to my true self. My life is not going wonderfully and nothing is under control. I am powerless. I also feel empowered to work on myself. I feel like I am a badass warrior princess, conquering my little world and loving myself again. All I can do is love me, focus on me, be a good friend, feel everything I need to feel — scream, cry, laugh, relax.

scream, cry, laugh, relax.

broken open

For the first time in my sobriety, I have no plans for the future. I have no idea what is coming. So much of one year from now depends on one day from now. That is how I am living each day. Trying to see what will happen, in the midst of an impossible fog.

I am living in complete uncertainty. I feel like the ground has been ripped from under me. I had all of the pieces of a happy life. There was promise and hope for my future in each facet of my life.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that every one of those things is gone now. Like that structure of a life never existed. It was made of glitter, and I sneezed. Now there’s just a whole mess of glitter flying everywhere, with no purpose or direction. I know, I know, I have so much promise. But right now, I am feeling the hurt. That’s where I am and that’s what I need to do.

I turned 26 on Tuesday. And that is very young. I am very young. I feel even younger. I feel completely clueless.

This type of mass destruction of a life has not happened while I’ve been sober. Not even close. Not even a little bit.

Why do I need certainty? Why does it kill me to not understand?

Here are the books I’ve read: “Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change,” by Pema Chodron, “When Things Fall Apart,” by Pema Chodron, and “Welcome to the Universe,” by J. Richard Gott, Michael A. Strauss, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Because when I don’t have answers, I must seek them. And most of what I’ve learned is that there are no answers. Even during the times when I think I’ve had answers, I didn’t, really. Answers are an illusion. There is no certainty.

But that does not help me. Because fuck uncertainty, I need something concrete. I need to know. I must know. I am so resistant to all of this. And suffering is caused by resistance to the present moment. I know, I know, I know. But fuck that. I don’t like it. So I need to change it. This is where I am right now.

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to change what is happening. Because I can’t change other people. I can no longer be the stage director my life. I can no longer be the actor, trying to adjust everything to suit my needs.

Sometimes, I am peaceful. During meditation, I sit in the uncertainty and I do not react to it, I simply allow it to be. I give it space. And I feel good for about 30 seconds after my meditation, and then again I see the giant tidal wave of horror crashing through my life and fucking everything up.

I am sad about big things — Hurricane Harvey, Nazis, etc.
I am sad about little things — I went about 6 weeks without biting my nails once, and now I’ve started biting them again.
I am sad about things that seem gigantic but are actually little. However, I am not at a place where I see them as little. I have no perspective.

I have a lot of awareness about what I can do to lean into this uncertainty, I have heard suggestions about what I can do to empower myself in this moment. And I just feel too defeated. Stuck in self-pity and fear.

So, I’ve decided to do one thing. I have decided to start spin classes at Soul Cycle. Because I know that being active helps me. And when I go to the gym these days I just lift weights and start crying because I have no idea what I’m doing and it is a good representation of my life — trying to hold something heavy, and then losing my breath and realizing that I am not as strong as I want to be.

Despite this darkness, I am determined to hold my head high. There are a few things I hold on to: my parents, a couple of solid friends, gratitude for the fact that I am alive, and this piece of writing from Albert Camus:

My dear,
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.