california air

I haven’t written in a while because I sort of went through a couple of weeks where I wanted to quit writing all together forever. I kept thinking, “why do I have a right to put myself out there? What’s so great about the bullshit I write?” I just sort of had this moment where I was convinced that me writing wasn’t only meaningless and a waste of time, but that it was also destructive and horrible. Like me writing was doing some kind of disservice to people. I don’t know where I got these ideas.

I was feeling insecure, neurotic, and I was beginning to question my worthiness for love. Why would anyone love me? What’s so important about me? I don’t blame people for thinking I’m full of shit (I don’t actually know for sure if people think that), I think I’m full of shit, too.

So, I went through all of this shit, and now I’m sort of getting over this idea that I am a total fraud. Here’s how I’m trying to do that: I’m trying to give myself more compliments. I am spending time with people who voice their support and love for me. It’s amazing how the people I surround myself affect my worldview and feelings of positivity or negativity. I just don’t want to spend any more time being disappointed because I don’t have approval from specific people. I get support and encouragement from so many people, but that disappears the moment I don’t feel loved enough by just one person. So, it’s tough to let go of that. I get so desperate for understanding and acceptance that I end up making a fool of myself.

I’m working on that by crying about it when I need to, and taking a bunch of deep breaths, and developing new boundaries. I get to make a choice about what kind of relationships I want to spend time on, and what kind of relationships breed negativity and tension. Why should I subject myself to such a twitchy situation?

It’s okay to feel shitty, man. In fact, allowing myself to just sit and allow myself to hurt is how I feel so wonderfully loved and joyful today. If I don’t process these feelings, resentment and sadness fester into questions about how valuable I am to others. So, the only way to get through it is to get through it. And it sucks and it hurts. However, because of all of this shittiness, I feel like I’ve climbed up a really tough mountain, and now I’m at the top looking at a beautiful view.

It’s been a tough year. A tough year for me, for this country, for this world. Ugh. What a year. I am in a lot of fear about what is happening to this country and I get pessimistic and negative. So, how can I spread positivity? How can I shine light for others? That’s tough to do when I’m having trouble finding my own light. The only thing I know to do is hold on tight to gratitude. Always grateful.

The last six months have been difficult. I’ve struggled hard. I wrote a bunch of vague blog posts. I do that because I don’t like to include specific people in my post, even though sometimes a reader close to me might know who I’m talking about. I try to be authentic and expressive while remaining respectful. I don’t always do a great job of that.

Over the last few months I ate a lot of donuts, and then I got really into working out, I did a lot of knitting, I bought a mandolin, I tried to become a hat person, I quit my job, I just started cross-stitching, I thought maybe I’d be the kind of person who would hike the whole PCT.

Some of these hobbies have stuck around. I love cross-stitching and I love my mandolin. I really like my hat, but I don’t have the confidence to pull it off in public, so I just wear it around my house. The thought of donuts grosses me out. And I still like working out but I’m not so obsessed with it.

I didn’t really want to publish this blog post on Thanksgiving because I’m about to talk a lot about gratitude and there are more days of the year where you can express gratitude than this one. So, whatever.

I am so fucking grateful. By practicing gratitude and deep breathing, I made it through a really tough time. One of those phases where I was like, “wow, how could anything ever get better? Everything is just going to suck forever.” And here I am, almost all the way through the darkness. I feel like I’m about to watch a really pretty sunrise.

Everything that has happened over the last six months helped me grow up. I have a much better sense of who I am. I felt like I was watching myself from afar. And I saw myself being strong, patient, compassionate. I have to be real and let you know that I was inspired by myself. I was so impressed with the way I kept my head held high. The way I got out of bed before 8 am every day and then immediately made the bed.

Here is a secret trick that helped express my rage. I was so angry. I was angry at the universe for taking people away from me. I was angry at myself for neglecting relationships that are really important to me. I was angry at the people who weren’t reading my mind and then giving me what I wanted (mostly affirmations and attention). So, I would go to my office and lock the door. I would set my timer for five minutes. I would put a huge pile of pencils in front of me (I have thousands of pencils from my teaching days, if you want any), and once I started my timer, I broke as many pencils as I could in five minutes. I channeled all of my negative feelings into these pencils. It has become one of my favorite coping skills. Highly recommend. It helped me feel my feelings and get the energy out. It is such a relieving coping skill, and it is not threatening at all.

I have a much better sense of who I am as an individual. For the most part, I am proud of the person I am. I’ll never be done growing. I’ll never be done learning. I will always make mistakes, and I will have to own the consequences and do my best to have those experiences guide me towards being the person I am meant to be.

I have to give a shout out to my siblings, to my in-laws, to my whole family, and to my friends who have given me tough truths, difficult conversations, unconditional love, donuts, hugs, and shoulders to cry on. I don’t exist without other people. And all of you shape me. You teach me. You help me grow. And whether or not we have spoken over the last six months, you’ve still made an impact on me that has helped me grow and learn.

There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.