I never much dreamed of settling down. Wings over roots was always my preference. I had a conversation with a student today as I waited for my car retrieval from valet. She was very pretty, a senior majoring in both English and Spanish. When I asked her what she wanted to be she said an arty conscious warrior mom. I liked her immediately. She said she was debating between applying to graduate school or buying a plane ticket and just traveling for a year, living abroad in some Spanish speaking country. I encouraged her to go. I told her graduate school would always be there and it would be all the better with a few years of life experience. I told her the world was dying to be explored and now was the time she had to be selfish, young, wild, and free. She could do anything she wanted to do, so buy the ticket. Follow your heart and trust yourself. I hope she listens.  I hope she goes.

And just as I told her to follow her heart, I’m noticing what my own is communicating to me. I’m craving roots. Five years ago all I wanted was to see the world. And though there are still many adventures to take, and I will take them, it has become of equal importance to me to love where I come home to. I have always know San Diego was not my forever place. What I didn’t know was that Atlanta would be. I’ve begun to picture my home. And…it doesn’t scare me to consider that this home I would have would just be mine. No roommates. No partner. Just me. 

  It’s exciting to picture my living room with my soft sectional and large chairs perfect for curling up. Peonies and fashion on my coffee table. Vintage art and magazine covers mixed with photographs of friends and family. An office where I keep oil pastels, charcoal, my laptop in a chair with a blanket and a bookcase with only the books I simply cannot live without. Kate Spade quotes and diplomas framed. A bedroom with my California king bed, the one thing SoCal I will never shake. My hand carved Chilean rosary hanging above and a shelf of pictures, and trinkets to jog my memory should I ever forget. A guest room for when my sisters spend the night. Oh and my favorite thing, a kitchen where I will cook beautiful meals for people I love. There I will pour the wine, season the chicken, chop the vegetables, steep the tea, soothe the soul and double the laughter. It will be the heart of my home. 


And if it never comes to pass that I share the place I call home, I want to be okay with that. I am not building it “so they come”. He comes. I am building it for myself because I am here and I’m ready for something that’s mine. 

Another face of depression

…very sharply it struck me that each time in my life when I’d experienced depression, it was when my life had gotten off track and I had deviated too far away from my Self. Depression wasn’t the cause, it was the consequence. And if I allowed it to be, it would serve as an opportunity to go totally insular and, for lack of a better phrase, get my shit together. 

I was doing a lot of things that I didn’t want to do. Not only that, I was devoting a lot of resources to doing them. But what depression does is it puts you in survival mode. And when you only have a little, you’re a bit more cognizant of how you ration. This time is hell, but maybe it’s a gift. What are the things worth getting out of bed for? Who are the people worthy of my truth? Where are the places I can go to rejuvenate and put my soul at ease?   

It’s hard not to feel…like I should know better. Like I should’ve seen the warning signs. Like I should have listened to my guy back in June. Or May. Or February…but what I have is this moment right now, what am I going to do with it? For right this moment I’m going to continue laying in bed, in the dark, and crying. I won’t silence myself when I feel a physical jolt of discomfort with having to talk or engage with others. I won’t stop my tears, if they feel like dancing. I won’t feel guilty for indulging in solitude. I am giving in to everything depression wants right now. Quiet. Isolation. Darkness. Cleansing. Peace. And when I announce that to my body, my heart slows to a rhythm I recognize. If my sadness is pervasive, what happens if I roll out a red carpet for it? What happens if I proclaim with conviction that I am sad, I’m out of balance, I’m mentally unwell but I am working on it, I’m giving myself time, and I’m going to be okay? Even if I don’t know when. Even if I don’t know how…

The freedom in even writing that splintered a dam within me. That is the kind of radical freedom I was missing, I was denying myself. And I don’t want to fight it…Zachary was right. There’s an opportunity to grow and to learn here and I’m going to take it. 

It seems I am someone who requires, or has previously required extremes. I needed to tiptoe around self-destruction in order to understand self worth and value. It tells me that I’m otherwise too desensitized. I’d lost touch…but I recognize this as a chance to fix it. Depression is my wildfire. But scorched earth isn’t permanently barren. Nature has a way of restoring balance. And so this is my restoration. Maybe that’s the other face of depression. 

The Only

I have two sisters, but so much of me can be explained when it’s discovered that I spent many years as an only child. Even though I’ve had my sisters for over half my life at this point, there is still so much of me that was solidified in those first 12-13 years of life as an only. 

I saw the worried look on my therapist’s face when I asserted to him that my “plan” for the weekend was to not do anything with anyone. He doesn’t know me or understand my context. Depression or not, I was sorely in need of time to myself to reset and recharge. Quite frankly, I’d exhausted myself by being social and pretending or maybe trying to fake it til I made it to happy. 

I got into the shower today and tried to name it. Wanting it to be anything but depression. Even though I knew exactly what it was. This sadness I said out loud to my own ears is gripping and pervasive. Unsure of how to maneuver through my university to take care of a few things without being too seen, I said very little to anyone. Until I saw Zachary…who, I think, knew. He’s magic like that. I told him very briefly what was going on. He asked me if I’d considered giving into it? I told him I should because clearly it was going to win anyway. 

Solitude and even depression, he said, it teaches us something. Even in the week since I called attention to my own severe unraveling, I’d learned a great deal. I learned that I was ready to go home and not fleeing or running but because I need family near me and it’s time. I learned a great deal about relationships…how expectations can set up great disappointments. I learned about acceptance and forgiveness, of others and myself. And while the lessons aren’t complete, I’m beginning. That in the face of a darkness who has a vice grip on your spine is enough for me to trust that “giving into it” may not be a bad idea. 

So right now I’m laying in darkness. No music no television no one else but me and the whir of my fans.  I am actively avoiding my roommate, nothing personal, but I just so need this time to be. And I realized also that I was starting to resent situations that asked me to be anything other than what I was, which was sad. Being sad alone for me is okay, but with others it becomes a burden. I don’t feel the weight of my grey when I am alone. So I am keeping to myself. 

I still don’t want to get dressed. I still don’t want to talk. I could not be more over sunshine and warm days. I wish it would rain for a million different reasons. I still want to cut off all my hair, I cannot promise that I won’t. I am taking it hour by hour. 

When you’re an only, you get to be selfish without being called selfish. You get to be a loner. You get to be autonomous and who cares if you’re moody or don’t want to wear pants? There is no audience to play to…and that’s your preference. 

So I’m having a tea party for my depression and I. It’s more Morticia Addams than Emily Post, and that’s okay. There is an opportunity to learn something I’m missing…I’ve been missing. 

Maybe the first lesson is to not try to be something I’m not. Maybe the second is to accept my mess. Maybe the third is to listen to my life when it speaks, even when I don’t like the song. 


Sometimes the only thing you can be certain of is that you are not yet ready to give up, and sometimes that one thing saves your life.

I spent a lot of my week and weekend in relative silence.I’d reached the tipping point for my own emotional well-being and had officially entered “not-okay” so I was desperate to hear instructions on how to at least get back to the border. What rang most prominently in my mind was a conversation I had with Rose this summer where I told her everything I’d been going through this year. From my story she told her own about harvesting grapes for wine. I am paraphrasing but here is what she shared with me:

Environmental factors matter a great deal in the ripening of grapes. If, for example, a grape does not get enough or gets too much light or warmth from the sun, causes the fruit to go into “survival mode” and thus has an effect on the grape. Sometimes the effect is that grapes do not fully mature and balance sweetness with acidity and they can be too much of one or the other. So the product is much more concentrated.  Similarly, as our environmental factors around us grow extreme, we, too, go into survival mode. This can greatly influence our ability to balance and can cause a sort of concentration of our own product.

Her story resonated with me because I explained to her that due to my own turmoil, I was no longer able to devote much attention, if any, to those things that did not have some sort of energetic return. I saw it as a welcomed consequence of being low-on-fuel. It is interesting to see where you invest when you only have a little, in both a figurative and literal sense.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 12.21.36 PMSo this weekend, I was faced with evaluating my investments. Some are still up in the air, some remain protected and important, and others are in flux. What I have become more clear on is what I can and cannot continue to invest in. In another conversation with Rose she mentioned our similarity in controlling the energy in a room for our own survival. Again paraphrasing…”We” she explained, “use dress as a means to harness attention and it is our way of feeling less scattered or pulled or bombarded with energy because our appearance was crafted with an intention for who would be in the room.” I had never considered this before and still find it quite a brilliant analysis of how the emotionally sensitive survive social scenarios. Yet, everything about it made and makes so much sense. By any means necessary we, and the emotionally sensitive in particular, must protect our vitality.

It is what much of my current turmoil boiled down to and it is perhaps what my break down called to my immediate attention. I had not been protecting my energy. I had allowed my emotions and thoughts about myself as a result of my sexual assault begin to redefine who I believed myself to be. I was devoting too much time to others without allowing for or properly asserting my need for reciprocal nurturing. I was allowing my emotions to rule me, dictating my thoughts and actions. I was becoming sedentary, mean, and withdrawn as a result of the stories I was choosing to believe. I was staying in a job I knew no longer serviced me, I was stunting my own creative growth and all of it collectively threw me into a wall at 100 miles per hour.

We are not out of the woods yet, but in the wake of the crash I am looking around and trying to make sense of what happened. Last night I laid in bed and began speaking to the light at the end of the tunnel. I allowed myself to imagine the process of my dissertation work from the call to participate to the defense and walking across the stage. I let the joy of fortitude to fill my body. I imagined accepting a job offer that excited me and had promise for growth innovation and challenge. I assured myself that I was qualified for the position and let the pride of accomplishment to fill my body. I imagined relationships both platonic and romantic where each party took responsibility for his or her own actions and role in the partnership. I allowed myself to assert that I was worth more than silence or the skilled incompetent belief that “not-being-good-at-emotion” was reason enough to avoid it. I allowed the richness of love given and love returned to fill my body.

When I woke up I did so with a recollection of my conversation with myself. I did not have access to the endings yet, but I insisted to myself that they were possible and that I was worth trying for them. And I am.


It sounds dramatic to say last night was the first time I really missed my last relationship. In many ways it is untrue, in many ways it is absolute. Losing the little piece of heaven that would have been ours didn’t make me miss it. That time was the only other time in recent past where I remember hurting this much. Then, I was grateful for the solitude. Especially since it was a secret I kept from him for many years. Shielding him from the hurt I felt and relieving him of the responsibility for in any way comforting the woman who had just walked away from him, cutting our red ribbon. 

Last night as I lay crying and feeling the sort of sadness that can only be described in shades of grey I had one pervasive thought: I wasn’t supposed to be out here alone, I was supposed to be out here with you. Down came yet another flood gate and seemingly I cried myself to sleep and awoke with the headache to prove it. I wasn’t angry with him. I wasn’t even angry at myself, I was angry I was alone. I feel like my tears fall invisible and into a void. It’s as if no one wants to look directly at me for fear they might have to assume some responsibility for my healing. I don’t want anyone to fix me. I just want someone to be there. Here. 

I was having a discussion about death with a therapist whose population is hospice patients. She said sometimes all people want in the end is a witness, that in and of itself is powerful. I explained to her it was the only substantial reason I could think of to get married. But I suppose even in partnerships, people feel my kind of loneliness. Some venture to say it’s even lonelier to be bound and still feel alone. Though I think either way is pretty terrible. 



It helps if I think of self as a character. Narrating my present: She lie in bed crying and holding herself trying to make a list in her mind. Mom. Kelly. Melissa. Grandma. Mom. Kelly. Melissa. Grandma. She kept repeating the names over and over to herself until she found her breath again. Mom. (Inhale) Kelly (Exhale)…She tethered herself to their memories and nailed the stakes into the ground. That’s why you wake up. That’s why you stay. 

It made the realization that I’m really unwell easier to digest. It scared me that I’d begun to develop an indifference to vitality. And no matter how loudly I seemed to yell it no one seemed to get it. For all the good intentions I She still felt desperately alone. “I would check in every day, wouldn’t I?” She asked herself. But it did her no good to get angry. She understood and knew that her friends loved her. It was just, at present that love wasn’t enough. She wasn’t entirely sure that anyone’s love would have been. It’s not quite dissociative. It’s just how I’ve managed to cope while my body feels under attack. Mom. Kelly. Melissa. Grandma. They were my reasons. To not only wake up but to get up and to keep trying. I want so badly to quit. I’m so tired. Whatever l belief that I am special has all but been extinguished I’m trying to hold tight to the idea but…and the heartbreak just continues. 

But she can survive this. She has before. These are pages in one chapter but this is not the whole of her story. It helps if I think of it that way. Then I don’t feel so sad about my sadness. 

Three days in Paris 

Just settled in to her new home, or home for at least the next 45 days, she collapsed onto her small bed. The wooden frame creaked and moaned as she adjusted herself, face to the sunshine. Three flights and a rental negotiating arbitrated by broken French and likely way too many euros, she was finally able to exhale into the present moment. Running her fingers across the delicate white quilt which covered the small mattress, she closed her eyes and craned her neck upwards as if straining for the light. And promptly, as if on cue, as soon as she took her next breath she began to cry. Sadness had followed her from the Pacific and across the Atlantic despite her best efforts to leave it in storage. The tears that flowed began to pool in her ears and would eventually find themselves creating a small damp outline on the powdery pink sheets. It was not how she imagine her first moments in Paris, there was no baguette, no wine, no Eiffle tower or handsome French suitor. There was only her and the pieces of her brokenness collected from the break up, the rape, the loneliness, and the lack of healing time had not sufficiently cauterized. 

I closed my eyes yesterday and I saw her there on that bed, me on that bed. All alone with nothing but the infection of my splinted wounds. Was it a work of fiction to write her/my story? After all, it has yet to happen. Nor may it ever. But each time I closed my eyes and took a breath in, I could feel the knots in the quilted comforter, smell the old cedar and the light from the sunshine flooding the room. The light…it was clear, however not the warmth. 

I haven’t left the bed yet. In my Parisian fantasy. It’s been two days and all I’ve done is cry and ache. Even through the night…

In the same clothes she wore when she arrived, her head turned towards a knock at the door. “Bonjour, Madame!” The voice felt like a large ice bath and she froze on the bed unsure as to whether or not she should speak or feign being asleep. She heard the footsteps walk away from the door and slowly she rose from the bed and walked over to the door removing her clothes along the way. Naked as she came, she received the plate of fruit and from her guardian angel. Plucking a handful of grapes from the vine, standing she slid the tray of food across the threshold with her toe and latched the door again. Exhausted from such a display of social niceties, she retired to bed never minding that the sun was high and she had been hibernating for three days already. She threw her naked body across the bed and allowed herself to feel the warmth of the sun on her skin as a blanket. 

Immediately she thought of him and his hands wrapped around her as he pulled her lungs to his heartbeat. The rhythm of their song was unrecoverable, and she hates herself for failing to remember that prior to the craving. “Stupid Girl.” She said out loud to every crevasse of her being. And then she rolled over and allowed herself to lay down to rest. Wondering if she would see anymore of Paris besides the walls of this bedroom. “Eventually,” she comforted herself. Then she closed her eyes and cried herself to sleep.  



I’ve been housing a profound sadness. I don’t really want to talk about it; I did last night with Annie but I do believe that is the last I’ll ever specifically discuss it. What I am learning from it is that there is a great need sometimes to be your own heroine and save yourself. I do not mean that in a isolationist, severed from the world type of way. I mean that sometimes you have to give yourself the comfort, the compliment, the reprieve, the reassurance, the patience, and the love. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 6.40.10 AM

MP is going through a hard time right now and in talking with her its brought up a lot of the emotions I’ve felt and feel about P2AD, which is never easy. I am not sure the echo of that break does not still reverberate within me. Actually, I know that it does. Knowing someone so intimately…I can hear his reaction to every story I tell, and conjure the smell of his cologne if I allow myself. And when I consider what happened and how, it always moves me to tears.

I try to not let the things that happen in my life that sadden me or disappoint me to craft any meaning about who I am. I would be lying if I said I was any good at it, though. I allowed P2AD’s treatment towards me to define me as a person who spent the next 18 months looking for redemption through self-sabotage.  Who I became was not his fault, it was my own…and I have no regrets about her. That version of me was in response to believing the worst in me was all of me. I don’t feel that way anymore. But it is likely that I needed to meet all those facets of myself to truly be able to love and appreciate all of me. All of her is not gone, she too is a knot in my wood. Ted often says I am on the hero’s journey. Trial after trial testing my grit and my fabric; will I make it to the other side?

Before we parted I believed the very best in me. Perhaps this was why his leaving was such a blow to my heart and my ego. After our end I have believed the worst in myself, and now I am quite content to believe in both. It is difficult when it feels others around you are not so willing to do the same. I’m frustrated and disappointed when friends claim to not know how to comfort me, when my should served as their pillow more times than one can count. As if I can only be if I am always happy smiling and put together.

It is even more difficult when they do affirm both your light and your darkness and you still can’t feel it. I have allowed my heart to scab over a bit too much. With a general inclination to take care and comfort, I’ve found myself hardened and more selfish. Is this a bad thing? Not entirely. But I have to remind myself that it is okay to be both. In fact, the belief that I am ever one and not the other is simply a lie

I want to take the trip we planned together, only by myself. Thinking of it brings a flood of emotions, but I just let them pour over me. It is likely that I’ll think of him in Italy because I think of him everyday. I may fI’ll empty silences with his breath, but maybe only until I realize what I am doing and then I will listen for my own rhythm.  There comes a moment when you stop holding your breath around corners hoping he’s there. That is when you give up the fairy tale and the hope of prince charming coming to rescue you from your pain and you realize his absence has given you the opportunity to know yourself better.

And then you grab your shit and walk down the tower steps and out into the woods looking for your own new adventure. DemocraticCountryRoad-long goodbye

…And nothing else. 

I’ve spent the last few days with a knot in my stomach. When Ted told me he watched and liked the video (of me asking for help) I felt a flood of shame wash over my face. I thanked him, and changed the subject. It brought on a lot of intense emotions…joy for those who donated. I am always so moved when people affirm me in this work in particular. I believe it is because I am so unsure of myself. I am trying to feel a sense of competence and confidence, but to be honest I’m not there yet. So when someone else sees what I see, or just trusts in the clarity of my vision for my vocation, I am overwhelmed.

Conversely, for all of those who didn’t say anything about it I project my very big insecurities. Which…I am trying so hard not to. I won’t even give voice to all the things I’ve thought others must be thinking. I will simply say it’s not nice.

It is bitter work not to make either the good nor the bad projections say something about who I am as a person nor about my relationships NOR about my ability to create this space for myself professionally. I keep in mind the quote from Liz Gilbert never be ashamed of having your heart broken, it means you tried for something. Of course, that does require me admitting that my heart, is, a bit broken. I had hoped for a different outcome. And over the past few days I wondered if there was something I could have or should have done differently…or maybe I never should have asked at all.

But that’s not right. I prayed about it. And if what I’ve been given so far is all that I’m given, let the record show that I am still so grateful. Also, I am extremely proud of myself for not ripping the video down at the first sign of discomfort (which came immediately after posting it). This is a test in remembering who I am and not attaching my indenting to things that come and go, are fickle and may changed. Not even relationships, for they too

 deteriorate. All of that is ego.  I have to take a breath and I have to find that peaceful being inside with a messy ponytail sitting draped in white by a riverbank deep in meditation but smiling from deep within her roots. That is me..Self. And she is at peace, not embarrassed. She is grace, not frustration. She is love, and nothing else.

A story of worth AND An ask for help

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.38.05 AM

I must say this was a top 3 most vulnerable moment for me, but I had to just own it…Thank you all for supporting me as you have over the years and thank you especially to my friends who helped me to acknowledge that asking for help is OKAY and I don’t have to apologize for daring to believe in the power of my dreams. Check out the video, here. Love you all, sincerely.