Making Sh*t Happen.

I’m about to go on a Manifestation Retreat. Where I will spent a week in the jungle at a beautiful place with amazing people. Before that I’m going to spend 3 uninterrupted days in Santa Monica. I haven’t been able to spend as much time there on my previous trips to LA. Circumstances that were out of my control happened, and well frankly, Shit Happens. I’ll be spending time with my cousin, who after a long time of not being close, we have reconnected. I am grateful for that connection being strong again. She was there for me during a period in my life when I felt like I had no one and even if we aren’t in each others lives in the future, I will always be grateful for the guidance, support and love she has given me. So needless to say, I’m really fucking excited about having three solid days with her. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for about 6 or 7 months now. It’s a big event, and a potentially huge trip for me. It has the potential to be life changing if I really open myself up to it. I can walk out of it a different person. I like to think I have a decent intuition, and it’s been going crazy with this trip. Like I have the sensation that something big will shift and will change. I really really hope that feeling is right. I’m ready for a change.

 

I’ve been thinking about manifesting. I’ve been reading articles about it and trying to wrap my brain around what it is. I suppose the basics of it is that you wish (maybe not the right word) something into your life. You welcome this presence of something, whether it’s a better job, a relationship or more money. You can manifest whatever you want. I’ve been struggling to come up with something to manifest. Whether I should want to try to figure my life out, or finally figure out what I want to go back to school for. Or if I should even just manifest the idea of knowing what to manifest for. In one of my late night brain scrambling over thinking sessions, I got to wondering what I would really want. I mean REALLY want in life. What the one thing is that would make my life worth something, give it some meaning it doesn’t currently have. I got to thinking about family. About the family I have, and the family I want. How I spent a lot of time hating my family. Hating the blood in my veins and where I came from. I viewed my family as a diseased dysfunctional resemblance of a family. We were just people who were related by blood, we aren’t family. For some reason the word family never really struck any kind of a chord with me. Growing up everyone in my immediate family was on different pages and while I knew that in some way we all loved each other, it never really felt like my friends families did. Where everyone knew what was going on with each other, and knew each others favorite colors and television shows. Those things that might seem trivial but in reality can bind people together.

 

I got a box of my grandpa’s genealogy research. He had always been very into it. When my grandparents lived in Texas, my grandpa had a wall dedicated to it. He had the family tree on his side, as far back as he had been able to go back, and he was always ready to talk about the people on it. He loved our ancestors, and the stories that came with them. I like to think in those later years of his life that he truly loved the idea of family. Not that he didn’t before, but maybe that growing older had softened him to a point where his years as an Army Officer weren’t front and center, where his emotions were a little more readily available. I wish I had listened to those stories better. But I was a kid, and honestly, didn’t give much of a crap about it. I listened as well as I could and remembered bits of it, but only now do I realize how cool it was that he had taken years to find those people and those photos. The research he had done hadn’t come out of thin air. He loved family. I know I have a tendency to idealize him, and to view him and my grandma through rose colored glasses, but despite the flaws that were there. They were good people. They did love their family and they managed to love each other for 73 years. 68 of which had been spent married. That’s such a rare thing, and I’m proud of the fact that I am a byproduct of that in some way. That because these two people loved and continued to be together through good and through bad times they stayed. They didn’t run at the first sign of trouble. Because of that they created a family. It was not perfect, not one family is, but at least to me, they managed to create something that was unconditional love. That’s what I felt from them. Even when grandma was starting to disappear into her Alzheimer’s and grandpa succumbed to his pancreatic cancer. They still fought and loved.

 

I find myself wishing that my parents could have been that. That they could have made it work like Grandma and Grandpa did, but it’s not a fair comparison. They’re very different people, and they had very different circumstances to overcome. Now, I am grateful that my parents didn’t stay together, trying to keep a sinking ship afloat. While the aftermath of it all was the beginning of the most painful and difficult part of my life, it was the right thing, and it made it us better people. I was very resentful towards everyone after my dad left. I still can’t bring myself to say anything but that. It felt like he left like a thief in the night, and while I have talked to him about it and can understand his reasons behind it. It hasn’t lessened how I feel about it. I’m not going to try to alter my feelings to make it easier to understand where either parent was coming from. I felt that way for a reason, whether or not it’s right, it’s how I felt, that the only justification I need for it. I was angry after that, and hated the idea of family. I hated happy families. I hated sad families. I hated families point blank period. They all could fall off the face of the earth for all I cared at that point. I’m happy to say that I don’t feel that way anymore. I think if anything that whole period has now made me more grateful for family. Even though the extended family I have isn’t really close. They are still my family.

 

Through the thinking about what I want to manifest. I think it’s that. I want a family. I want that family that I craved when I was in the pits of despair. The family that I resented for being close and knowing each other, for supporting each other. I think, maybe for selfishly, I want the chance to break some cycles that I know I have the possible capacity to continue. I want to be able to right some wrongs, and to be able to give my kids what I didn’t have. It does sound like stuff that a lot of people say, that they want to give their kids what they didn’t have. But it’s not about giving them a better education or giving them better toys or being stricter than your parents were. I want to give my kids the chance to live their lives without looking over their shoulder wondering when the other shoe will drop. I can’t protect them from the demons of depression and the grip of self doubt. I can give them a better foundation. From the bottom of my heart, or maybe my toes, (that’s how deeply I feel this) I want them to never ever EVER have to question if they are loved. I want them to know every single second of every single day they live and breathe that they were wanted and they are loved, forever and unconditionally. That the only thing I want for them is to find something that makes them happy and gives them joy, to do that. Not to have to spend their lives feeling alone and isolated, wondering through that veil of darkness, if they were an accident. I would even be so bold as to ask for a partner to have this family with that has the same want. To have that family that never stops loving, never stops caring, never stops supporting, even through the shit. I would wanting to have a love like my grandparents to it, but that feels like a very tall order. It’s probably not, but my brain will tell me that it won’t happen. That I don’t deserve it. That I’m not good enough. It’s the fucking trickery of depression. I have my brain wired in a way that it will probably always try to tell me that I only deserve to be alone and miserable. At a young age, I resigned myself to the idea that I would be alone forever and be sad. That my only companion would be depression and that fucked up comfort I took from it. I’m starting to see that it’s not the case. That if I can get myself to a point where I’m ok with myself and I recognize that while I’m not the best, the richest, the prettiest, the smartest, or the whatever you want to put there, I am so much better than I give myself credit for.

 

 

So maybe that’s what I’ll try to manifest while I’m on my retreat. Recognize how good you are, how much better you are than you give yourself credit for. Maybe I’ll even give manifesting for that family a try. Whatever I put into it is what I’m going to get out of it.

So I’m gonna put on my big girl pants, break down some walls, and take a huge leap of faith. I might have to crumble a little, but out of that big things can be born.

 

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Let’s make some shit happen.

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The Creature

As of late, I’ve been struggling with words. They have been escaping from my grasp. The are like specters that appear to be solid, but when I reach out for them, they fade into a fog that withers away. They camouflage themselves into the backdrop, becoming invisible. I am still able to feel their presence. The energy they produce doesn’t go away. But I am unable to reach out, to grip them, and force them onto the page. I only have bits and pieces of what I know I need to say, but I will attempt to be positive about it. At least I have the bits and pieces, somedays that’s a comfort. There were years where there was nothing. Not even the feeling that they existed was there. In those years there was nothing but a huge void, a vast gaping hole where they should be. Being able to feel the presence, even when I can’t use them, is a consolation on the harder days. Those days when I don’t even want to shake the feeling of sleep. I just want to remain in my haze, the realm between dreams and reality. I want to avoid it all. I want to do what I am so good at, pulling the covers over my head and ignoring everything. Retreating into that part of my mind that I keep locked away for those avoiding days. That little bit of myself that no one else gets to see. The bit that I carved for myself, and myself alone. 

 

Avoiding was part of my survival. Diving into the deep end of my depression mixed with pulling the wool over my eyes was how I kept surviving in some kind of half life. I was breathing and my heart was still beating, but I wasn’t a person. For a long time, I felt like my insides had been scooped out and left on the side of the road to rot. I felt like a shell of a human. I didn’t have any wants or dreams. I had the bare minimum for needs. But there was no driving force to give my life any kind of meaning. But I was also at a place where the darkness was my comfort, it was all I needed. Why would I ever need anything outside of that nourishment? Why would I possibly need to try hard in school and go off to college and make a life for myself when I had that comfort? That was not a great mindset to have, but when you feel like you’re in between a rock and a hard place, you pick either the rock or the hard place. I picked the hard place and put the rock aside for those especially hard days. The days where I could beat myself into a (figurative) bloody pulp. I learned how to hate myself, how to hate my existence to the point that I was able to get good at tearing myself apart. I hated who I was, and most of the time I still dip my toes in to that pool. I’m not at the point yet where I can look in the mirror and be completely happy with what I see. I don’t honestly know if most people hit that point where they are. Most of the time I’m okay with what I see. I still nitpick about my appearance or those flaws I hate or the cracks in my personality that still feel like huge gaping holes from trying to piece together my broken soul. There are days where I am good with it. I can accept that I am not broken like I was. But I still feel like I am not able to give enough to the world to feel connected and accepted by others. I still have the fear that if I let people see inside it will be like the mobs in Frankenstein running from The Creature. I read Frankenstein around Halloween, and I felt for The Creature. He had no say in his creation, and how his personality was. He was half-hazardly created out of remnants of people who had long since passed, and he was sewn together in hopes of creating a new life. People ran because they didn’t understand. All they saw was a monster. But I think what he really wanted was to be accepted, to connect and to be loved. 

 

I used to feel like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, the unfeeling cold exterior with no heart underneath. Now I feel like The Creature. I feel like I’m trying to assemble my personality and my soul from bits and pieces that were leftover from before I was broken, and with new pieces I’m not entirely sure fit. Like The Creature, I just want acceptance, connection and love. I want the unconditional appearance of these in my life. I know I’ve kept myself from them out of fear. You teach yourself that it’s easier to avoid them, to circumvent the rejection rather then try because it’s less hurtful. Honestly, it doesn’t work that way. I’m just denying myself all of it. I do have the fear that people will run away screaming if they see who I really am. But I deny because I don’t think I am deserving of it. Deserve is such a tricky word. But depression will trick you into thinking that you deserve these shitty things, and don’t deserve these good things. When in reality, you have done NOTHING to be denied those basic things that humans need. We need to feel accepted and loved. We need to connect with others. It’s a easy concept to understand, but god, is it fucking difficult to put into practice. I’m trying to dismantle these walls and fences I have put up as protection. But I as start to break them down, I realize how much I had really put up. There are more layers than I even knew existed. I keep pulling and breaking them down and find more and more layers of protection. I realize that I will need help with it. I need more than one sledge hammer to take down those thick brick walls. It’s always going to be a challenge to keep them from popping back up and keeping myself locked away. To keep my heart under lock and key, and to remind myself that people will not run away screaming if I show them who I am. 

 

 

 

 

Circus.

I am a Three Ring Circus. The beginning, middle and end of all the events of my life are being played out all at once. I feel like I am the contortionist in the center of the circus. That part of how I have learned to survive is by moving my body into unnatural patterns plotted out by external forces. That I have no say over any of it. That I angle myself to keep others progressing, while completely ignoring myself. That while I look complete on the outside, I am empty inside. I feel like my being has been hollowed out into the universe to be nothing more than floating remains of a person. That who I should be is nothing more that a ghost, a figment of possible potential that will never be fulfilled. 

 

It’s usually possible to be able to remove yourself from that situation to a certain degree, you can allow yourself to view portions of your soul with different eyes. So that you can see that you are not empty, you are just disconnected. Broken, dismantled or fucked up. However you want to phrase it. We are all disconnected for some reason. Some more so that others. We carry everything from joy to pain in us at all times. We are everything, and we have the capacity to be much more that we allow ourselves. But, just because we are aware of it and actual allow ourselves to see parts of it, doesn’t mean we remove ourself from that pain. Sometimes we get so stuck in it that it becomes our main way to life. It becomes our default mode. Some get stuck in ego, some get stuck in joy, and some get stuck in sadness. Some get stuck in indifference. Just floating through life not really committing to a particular feeling. They just are. Nothing more, nothing less. 

 

I got stuck in sadness. Which masqueraded as anger and then hatred and it finally settled into a joint love affair with depression. I always thought that depression and sadness were the same. Only to realize later on that they are very different. Sadness allows us to still see the world, we interact and survive. Depression debilitates us. It forces us into a tunnel vision view of the world, we don’t see anything other than our pain, and our suffering. We don’t see how it affects us, and how it affects those around us.  Our sights are stuck in one position, pain. 

 

Pain a universal feeling. Every person will experience it at some point in their life. To varying degrees and different types, we will all feel that compressing crush of pain’s grasp. Some will acknowledge that pain, and some will succumb to it. I have tried hard to fight it, and initially I denied it. If it doesn’t exist, then it’s not a problem. The depression only got repressed and bottled away, which in turn made it worse when it came back. I still have bottled up depression coming out sideways. Random days or minutes, there it is. Random trigger, there it is. I can’t control that, but I know that each time it comes out, there will be less in my stores. I don’t welcome any of it, not like I used to. I used to live in the ether, and revel in the pain. I felt that it made me better. I didn’t realize that fighting my way through it was the way to better myself. To acknowledge that and to say that I own it. It doesn’t own me. That’s part of how I’m trying to better myself. I’m trying to realize that the BS I’ve force fed myself for years isn’t the truth. It’s the truth spread out for me by the depression. The Not Good Enoughs, and the Never Gonna Happens, are lies I told myself. I have to learn how to love myself. I’ve had no problem giving love to others and extending kindness to them. But to myself? That’s just seemed like a joke for a long time. I don’t know if it’s starting to seem like less of a joke now, or if it’s actually an idea I can get behind. But I just know that I’m at the tipping point of a change. I’m fighting the change. I’ve never done well with upheaval. I’m a creature of comfort. I find a way that I like and I keep it like that to the best of my ability. So letting go of what has kept me going, what has been my default survival mode, scares the absolute sh*t out of me. I want people to hold my hand through the process, but they can’t. They can be supportive from the outside, but internally I have to be the one to pull the plugs and cut the cords. I have to be the one to clean and reorganize it. 

 

I have to be the one to dismantle the Circus. To tell the performers and the animals to find a new job, and to clean up the remnants of it. To find something else to replace it with. Something where I don’t feel like I have to bend myself into comfortable and unnatural angles. So that I don’t have to play these roles anymore. I’m tired of contorting myself. I can feel my emotional joints starting to loosen with wear, and my bones start to crack. I am getting too old to continue with it. It’s time to retire, and find a new hobby. 

 

 

 

Connect.

I’m about three weeks out from doing a writing and yoga retreat with a woman who I’ve admired for the last year or so. Her writing is open, raw and brave. I read it and am constantly amazed by both her and the writers she choses to publish on her site. They are always at a high caliber of writing, and the capacity they all have to bare their soul is a thing I am in awe of.

(Jennifer Pastiloff at the Manifest-Station. Go check it out!)

So here’s the thing, I’ve been published on it. I’m on her site with those writers, and am in awe of that. But for a completely different reason, I feel like I’m a little kid who got invited to sit at the grown ups table because there was an empty chair. I can look at my photo on her site and still feel like it was some kind of a fluke that she read what I had wrote and was actually impressed enough to put it up.

Why do I never think it’s good enough? 

I could get into a whole long rant about my childhood, and how X and Y happened so now I have it in my head that I’m not good enough. I could reference the things I’ve spend half my life talking about in therapy. I can rave about those stupid thought that have kept me both alive and half insane for most of my existence. Does it matter to why I am the way I am? YES! Does it require being brought up every time I talk about it? Not really. Sometimes it is a necessary thing, but sometimes it just feels like opening up old wounds to pour salt in it. That’s what it feels like today. I can’t live in that place all the time. I can’t live in the past and those nights. The ones where I can sit in the dark, and feel so utterly alone, that I wonder if I made a noise if the Universe would even hear it. The ones where I feel so small and insignificant that what I write will have no bearing on anything, will carry no weight.

That’s where I screw myself over. I am so focused on the outcome of the writing. On the weight it could possibly carry with someone else. On the ability to have people connect with it. Mainly, I want people to read what I write and have them think I am good. I want people to say I am good. I want the reassurance of it. Which feedback is always important, but you need to look at the reasons behind why you want it. To you want it to help you become better at your craft? Or do you want it because you want someone to acknowledge that you exist and that you matter? I always end up with the second one. I would rather take a “It’s good!” over a proper critique. Because I know that I’m still so open to rejection and know how deep that cuts me, and I can’t handle it the way I maybe should. (Should is a tricky word) I always told myself it was because I was worried about content more than craftsmanship. Which isn’t entirely a falsehood. I do prefer to read something that’s at least well written, but has honest and heartfelt content. I want stuff I can connect with. That I have a strong drive to do. To connect.

I think that’s what most humans genuinely want. We want some kind of connection. Some of us don’t care what shape it comes in, a spouse, a friend, a child. We want to feel genuinely connected to another human being. Some connect to art, and some connect to  words. Some connect with nature and some connect with science. We want something to help validate why we are here. Why we are here on Earth, breathing the air and sharing the land. We crave connection. It’s part of the human existence.

I know I have connections. I can feel some of them starting to slip though. I don’t think anything happened, it’s just the natural progression of life. People change and so do you. Sometimes you dance around each other for years before you realize that maybe your connection isn’t as strong as it once was. You go that way, and I go this way. It doesn’t mean that you still don’t care about each other, but you’re locked out of that connection for whatever reason. I have a lot of friends settling down and beginning to carve out lives for themselves. They have connections or are creating them to the lives they want. I will never stand in the way of that. But I can’t help but feel a little (okay a lot) jealous that they are capable of it. I feel like I’m not most of the time. I feel like I’m capable of dreaming about it, but making it happen? PFFT! I don’t have that talent. But that’s the problem of living in your head more so that living in the flesh and blood world. You drive yourself up the wall over things that maybe aren’t that big of a deal anywhere but in your head. Or you spend your life looking for a specific connection that might never come, so you ignore those that could be amazing if you tried.

I like to pretend that I run off my instinct and go with my gut feeling, and most of the time I do. I will go on an impulse and buy a book or go out with friends. Sometimes it pays off, but sometimes not. Some times the night out is good, other times not so much. Sometimes that book changes my life, sometimes not. I think what drives that is the urge to connect. That I think maybe this time it will what I’m looking for. The problem is probably that I’m actively looking for it. You know how when you want to wear a pair of pants or a sweater and it magically disappears? Then when you stop looking for it, then you find it? That’s what it’s like. You look for it, and it hides from you. Because it’s not time yet.

That does little more that make me frustrated. Patience is not something I have in spades. I can exercise it when I absolutely have to, but I can’t really sit still and wait for something. It just drives me up the wall. So I’m sitting and waiting for a connection? Typing that makes it sound …. I don’t know .. silly? I certainly do feel silly saying that. I feel like sometimes that I have two brains in my skull.

The Rational One – that’s calm and collected and completely understanding. The one that seems so Zen.

The Irrational One – The one that’s akin to a toddler having a temper tantrum and sugar rush. The one that’s screaming things that aren’t true and is on the verge of having a breakdown.

I think I live in the ether between the two at the moment. I’m somewhere between the two at any given moment, but then something will be said or read and I will launch into the Irrational. “Why can’t I be good like them? Why can’t I WRITE LIKE THAT?! Why can’t I be loved like that? Why am I alone?” All of this is only exacerbated by the years of trickery and deception at the hands of depression. Made worse by fanning the flames of self hatred and feeling ‘unworthy.’

That shit is getting reaaaaaaaal old.

How do I find a comfortable spot between the two? How am I able to morph them into one brain again, and make the irrational more balanced out by the rational? At this moment, hell if I know. This is how I know I need to start getting out of my self and have a good look around. I need to start actively seeking out good connections.

It’s time.

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