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.

the very best timing

Sup! This blog post is coming to you from a lady with a fever wavering between 101 and 102, after a lovely day of throwing up and crying.

Hopefully this week I’ll have some more answers after my cardiology appointment. On Thursday I’ll have a recommendation from my doctors about what I can do work-wise. I’ve come to some sort of weird acceptance of the worst case scenario.

I’m working half days at work until I get the verdict from my doctor on Thursday. I went to sleep last night thinking, “alright, this week I am going to give it my all. I am going to work hard each day and be fully present. I am going to listen to my body when I need a rest and I am going to be a total rockstar about that.”

I woke up this morning and immediately threw up. I thought, “okay, that was weird. Probably anxiety, I’m good.” I got ready for work, threw up a few more times, and then went to work. I lasted approximately 45 minutes at work before I decided to call it and go home.

Upon arriving home I spent the day thinking, “okay, this probably is more of a stomach bug than anxiety.” The day was pretty much, drink water -> throw up -> cry -> go to sleep -> wake up really thirsty, and on and on until Jonny got home with a thermometer and I learned that this is probably your typical 24-48 hour stomach bug.

As Jonny put it, this is comedically bad timing. And yet another thing that is completely out of my control. I’m 90% sure that this is completely unrelated to the unexplained fainting stuff. It’s just a random stomach bug that came at a really bad time.

When I did a 4th and 5th step about all of this sick/work stuff the other day, I found that I tend to overvalue myself at work. So I’ve been praying to be put to my right-size. And my Higher Power is like, okay dude, here you go.

I keep thinking, “okay HP, I get it, are we cool now?” And my HP is like, “eh, I don’t think you really get it, here’s the flu.”

There’s nothing I can do. I just have to let life keep going and I have to let work stuff unfold and I have to be cool with whatever happens. Or get cool with whatever happens. And that sucks and I don’t want to be cool with it, but I really don’t have much of another option.

I read a book about leadership recently that said sometimes the way to our goals is not a straight shot. Sometimes we think we know the way, and then that way doesn’t work out and we get to our goals another way. And sometimes along that new way, we find that our goals have changed and things are better than they ever would have been if they had worked out the way we thought they were supposed to.

I’m in that shitty spot right now where I’m resisting change, refusing to let a new path happen, convinced that I know what is best. I wrote this whole blog post and didn’t throw up once, so I’m pretty sure I’m cured and everything is cool now.

not figuring things out

Last week was a difficult week, and I didn’t write at all. I barely wrote in my journal. I couldn’t bring myself to it for some reason. Writer’s block by boredom, I guess.

Really, it wasn’t that boring because I was in so much distress the whole time. In an attempt to see whether or not I have epilepsy, we tried to induce a seizure. I did not like the process at all.

The wonderful thing that came out of all of it was how loved I really feel. So many people came to visit me. They went out of their way, paid for parking, went through the maze of the hospital, so that they could come sit in my room and be there for me as I expressed my discontent. I laughed and cried and felt truly grateful. I usually have a wonderful feeling of gratitude in my bones all the time. I didn’t have that last week, so my Higher Power brought it to me in the eyes of the people who care about me. (Thanks y’all, I would have bailed on day three if it weren’t for your love).

After 7 days in my hospital room, I was discharged. It was found that I probably do not have epilepsy. 7 days, and that’s all we know. I’m glad we ruled it out, but I’m discouraged that my time did not reveal any more results. Next up, cardiologist.

I’m trying to be okay right now. I’m trying to accept the present moment and the not-knowing. However, fear is running the show right now and I’m having a hard time getting out of this sinkhole.

My higher power, I keep telling myself, is going to teach me something through all of this. I keep thinking, “dude, what are you trying to teach me, and why are you trying to teach it to me like this?” Of course it is possible that I am so stubborn, my HP had to get me to stop moving to teach me something, and this was the only way it knew how. That’s the only rationale I can think of. Or else I don’t have a higher power, and AA isn’t real. I know that’s not true, so I have no option but to trust. Not a bad option to have. I’m trying.

I worked a 4th and 5th step with a friend yesterday and it was really revealing. It revealed that I have a lot of anger. Underneath that anger is my fear of not being good enough, my fear of how people will see me, and my fear that I will eventually go completely unacknowledged as time goes on and the world keeps spinning.

I resent myself for calling attention to all of this. I resent myself for making a simple statement one day – “hey, I keep fainting. Is that weird?”

I went to a meeting last night and shared about all of this. Honestly, there were a lot of newcomers in the room so I wasn’t completely candid. I definitely expressed my fear, but I made it all sound much more hopeful than I actually feel. So, I didn’t feel better. After the meeting, Jonny and I connected with a friend we hadn’t seen in a while and that was nice. That sort of made me feel better.

I read steps 6 through 8 in the twelve and twelve over and over again until I could fall asleep. I didn’t stay asleep long. It’s 2:15 am. I was super hungry, so I got cheesecake from UberEats. I am going to go back to bed until I need to wake up to go back to work.

figuring things out

Things have definitely been weird lately. I’ve been having this weird health stuff going on and I have no idea what the deal is. I don’t want to write about it much because it freaks me out, and I don’t know how much I should tell people. I don’t know what’s going on, so how I can explain to people what’s going on?

I hope to be writing a lot in the next week. I’ll be in an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, having my brain looked at to see what is causing my fainting spells. It might be a tiny bit of epilepsy.

I’m grateful to be on the road to answers, but I’ve been asking so many questions over the last month, and none of them have been answered. I’m careful not to get my hopes up.

I’m just really frustrated with this. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and that makes me feel really disconnected from my body. Like I can’t control my brain. It’s frustrating. I got two concussions in ten days, I went to the ER twice in three days. I landed on my concrete floor and got a terrible black eye. I’m just fed up.

And I hate to sound complainy. I keep saying that it’s really not a big deal. All of the people I love are very worried, and that freaks me out. It’s a whole new level of accepting love from other people, and that feels uncomfortable. It also feels calming, to know I have so many people around me, praying for me. I can feel that love.

It sucks to not be able to work. I think that’s where most of this frustration comes from. It’s awesome that I love my job, it’s wonderful that I miss hard work. I never thought I would get to place where I felt capable and empowered by a work environment. Since I don’t have my work right now, I’m having to turn to other things to give me strength and purpose. Writing is one of those things. I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve been reading books about leadership, goals, and how to empower others. That makes me feel really good.

I haven’t driven a car in three weeks. Rock climbing became my “thing” outside of work that gave me a lot of strength and happiness. I can’t do that right now, and I can’t work out. I’m doing everything I can not to slip into depression. I stay seated most of the day, if I walk too much I might faint, and I can’t do another trip to the ER. So, we’re basically holding our breaths until Monday. Thank goodness I only need to go one more day without having a fall. And then I’ll be safe. That’s really nice to know. And it’s great for my family.

To know that I could fall at any moment and get any injury is scary. And it scares Jonny, and it scares my friends. It hasn’t really scared me until the last few days. I haven’t fallen in like five days, so I keep thinking, “oh no, if I stand up right now, is it going to happen again? I’m due for another one, what if the next fall down the stairs is worse than the first three?”

I haven’t wanted to write about this, because I don’t want my frustration to sound like self-pity. I am full of gratitude. I am full of fear. And I just don’t know how to express that. I’m trying to meditate a lot and accept where I am. Resisting the present moment only adds more frustration, and it doesn’t change the truth of what is going on.

So, I’m trying to accept the moment exactly as it is. The same way I do with people. I just want to love this moment unconditionally, and try to see my Higher Power in it. What will I learn from this? What will be revealed? I want to maintain this attitude of curiosity. I am surrounded by people I love. I am grateful for the support, the “don’t worry about anything, we will take care of it” encouragement, the visits from friends, and the most loving and patient husband.

Soon, we will have answers. We will be closer to understanding what is going on, and I will be back on my feet. I will come out of this having learned something amazing (I don’t know what that is yet). I have already learned a lot about really disliking a moment, and living in it anyway. Sitting in that uncomfortable space of not knowing, and letting my fear exist instead of shaming it.

This is definitely slowing down. The slowest I’ve ever been. And I just need to sit in that, be with it, and let the next right thing unfold. I will keep you posted, I’m sure.

I’m trying not to use the word “boring” as much, because that’s all I’ve been saying about this experience. Instead, I can flow with the slow, and explore the world going 5 miles per hour instead of 100. So, this next week won’t be boring, it will be revealing. It will be a different kind of adventure. I am so grateful.

staying slow

I feel so grateful. I have been practicing daily gratitude for almost five years, and I’ve never felt this grateful. I also feel really happy right now. It’s interesting to feel happiness and pain at the same time.

I’ve been struggling lately, and I have so many people reaching out to me, visiting me when I am stuck at home, and supporting me no matter where I am on any given day.

And at first, I was completely embarrassed. Right now I am having trouble living up to the expectations I have for myself, and others are carrying me through this wave of uncertainty. I was embarrassed because I truly cannot bring my A-game to my daily life.

I’m letting go of embarrassment now, and turning it into gratitude. (or at least, attempting to do so)

I have been living in self-reliance for so long. I think I was in denial of it at first. So stuck in denial that I didn’t even realize it until my therapist suggested it. I have this attitude of, “leave me alone, don’t carry me, I can take care of myself.”

But the truth is, right now, I need others. And that just feels odd to me. That others are offering to take some of the weight off my shoulders, and I am giving it to them.

When I teach self-compassion, I do the common, “what would you someone who loves you say to you in your time of shame and struggle.” Currently I’ve been asking myself, “what would your higher power want for you?” And the reality is, my higher power is within me. When I sit and get quiet, I know what I need, despite the fact that what I want is the opposite. And I’ve just been trusting in the spirit of the universe and staying true to what I know I need. Letting others know what I need is difficult, but I am trusting my truth and letting them take pieces of my burden.

Sometimes I feel like a badass warrior princess because I am showing up and doing what I can do, and not doing what I am not able to do right now. Sometimes I think that’s really badass. Other times, it makes me feel like I am weak to let others help me. On an intellectual level that that’s not true. However, I can’t help but feel it when I really want to do something and I have to let that something rest in someone else’s hands.

I’m working on all of this. I am just so full of gratitude that I have people who love me enough to watch me struggle and to do what they can to make that struggle hurt less because they love me.