Frozen

I just keep hearing Idina Menzel singing the words to me, let it go, let it go! For her in response I had a million reasons why I couldn’t. Yet when I play them back in my mind they seem awfully insufficient and dull. Why do I want to hold on to the things (and people) that hurt me so badly? Is there ever a good reason for it? 

The best explanation I could come up with was that, I’d come to understand myself through the lens of that pain. In relation to that ache. And if I dared to let it go then I wouldn’t have a grip on who I was anymore. Only that was not true. That was only what the short sighted ego would lead me to believe. My soul and truest self knew better. 

Let it go, let it go! 

Over and over the words played in my head whenever the painful memories came to mind. There simply wasn’t going to be room enough to hold both the old hurt and anything new that should come along. And what if that which was to come was good? Was I willing to sacrifice the opportunity to hold joy for my doggish determination to continue housing pain? 

Sex Lessons

I got into a few conversations about sex yesterday with different people. In each exchange we discussed the complexities that exist in this primal act and how much more it can mean beyond physical pleasure and release. I noticed a struggle I had internally as someone who loved to discuss sex openly but yet shied away from it because of what it can mean to be a woman who loves to discuss sex openly. I didn’t feel like a slut or a whore or even the slightest bit promiscuous but many of my actions were spent dodging and avoiding affiliation with those words. Does it make me anything in particular if I openly admit to enjoying sex? 

In one of my conversations I explained to a friend how much I’d learned about myself, and how I’d grown through sex. It taught me about accessing myself, becoming open and available. It’s taught me about acceptance. It’s taught me about sharing and compromise. It’s pushed me to explore different mixtures of my masculine and feminine energies. It’s taught me trust and also how to better listen to myself. All of these things and yet if anyone were to ask me how I learned them, would I dare to share? 

I recognize on one hand sex, by and large, is extremely taboo in our culture. Despite the fact that everyone is having it (or at least enough people to continue propagating the species). However, for a woman to openly own her sexuality, sensuality,  desires and pleasures it often comes at a price of her reputation and her character. 

In behind the scenes footage of the making of Beyonce the visual album, Pharrell told Bey that her singing the song Rocket was going to set women free. She talked about her own hesitancy to release such a forward and sexual song, among others on the album. She found her own peace around it stating she was a wife and a mother and gave herself permission to access her full sexuality. Well…I am neither a wife nor a mother. Does it make me a slut if I decide to do the same? 

Releasing the shame around sex is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to begin to truly enjoy sex. And for me, I couldn’t hold the idea that I was wrong or bad, sullied or soiled in any way and still have positive sexual experiences. So I let them go. Sexual freedom has taught me how to be myself more fully in other ways as well. I’ve grown into my voice more, become less timid and afraid to say how I feel. It’s taught me how to hold steady in my truth. 

I wished I could’ve felt this way earlier in life. I wish I hadn’t been so critical of my own and others’ sexual expression. I wish I had not bought into the idea that a woman who likes sex is bad. I wish I had dismissed the idea that a woman’s worth is inextricably connected to sexual purity and the virginal ideal. I wish I didn’t feel OF COURSE men rape, because they’re taught by our society that they should be the sexual aggressors and women are the coy and naive conquest who really does want it, despite what she says. 

Recently I made the assumption that the man I love would not accept this part of me, my sexually open self. We discussed it and he made it clear that that was not the case, and it only felt weird because I was perceiving it to be so. Of course he was accepting of sexual me. He was accepting of me, period. And that part of me shows up despite even my conscious efforts to keep it at bay. I wish I didn’t assume people would judge me for being who I am. 

One of the ways I want to surrender this year is to my Self. I want to be and exist in my own full glory. That includes being sexy sometimes. That includes being sad and happy and powerful and yielding, too. I want to surrender to being human and thereby having access to the full human experience. I don’t want to house shame around pieces of me, lest of all my vagina–the Mecca of my ability to create. I no longer want to wish I had or hadn’t. I am ready now to trade wishes for will. 

Sunglasses and Crowns

Sometimes life presents little time posts, small hints that let you know you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. It’s the night before I fly back to San Diego and I found myself unexpectedly emotional. Laying in my sisters bed wishing there was a way to somehow pack my family up with me in my checked luggage. Tears dampened the pillow case as I explained my sadness to P2AD, and it’s root cause. 

I’m sad because I feel better here. I am nervous to leave because I was falling apart there. I was falling apart because of anxiety. I have anxiety because of PTSD and I have that because I was raped. It was like a gust of cold wind slapping me in the face as I told him the abbreviated version of my 2015. He was sorry. I cringed. I hated those words. I tossed them atop of the pile with all the others and responded with gratitude. I couldn’t stop crying so I said goodnight and left him with my ill shaped thank you. 

I set my alarm for 5am and then changed it to 5:45. An hour was plenty of time to throw shit into a suitcase and toss on a dress with UGGs. I didn’t care about my hair or make up. I knew the hardest thing I would have to face in the morning was saying goodbye to my mother. 

Hours prior we lay on the sofa, full of popcorn and wine watching This Is Where I Leave You. After a funny scene with Jason Bateman and Adam Driver getting high in the Temple basement I pointed out to my mother that Adam was wearing sunglasses and a crown. She smiled. Two hours before the movie I asked her if she’d seen the Dave Chapelle meme posed with money and a crown. I googled a picture and tried to replicate the pose while wearing her fur coat (an item I was wearing to lift my spirits). “You don’t have sunglasses on!” She told me. I searched the house unable to find a single pair of sunnies. Sad, I settled for my regular glasses and poised with my fur and my crown I snapped a photo and showed it to her side by side with Dave. She smiled telling me I was crazy. 

“Mom! I’m clairvoyant! This is exactly where I am supposed to be right now.” She just said okay but I knew I was right. Jason was home to mourn and deal with loss and so was I. And just like the characters in the movie, tomorrow morning I would leave and I would carry on with my life. 

I saw the crown and sunglasses and knew God was telling me I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And even though I am sad to leave I know that too is the right thing. I like when God sends me signs but I must say that my heart always knows when it’s right. My job is just to be quiet and listen and every now and again keep my eyes open for the time stamps. 

Oceans

I used to feel bad for wanting more. Small servings of mediocrity I trained myself to like the ache of hunger.

Quiet tones and hushed voices, don’t be a bitch. Don’t ask for much. Be gracious for what is offered and give yourself the rest. I feasted on the meal of so-called sufficient women. Framing my foreclosed self appraisal as sexual independence.

Too afraid to ask for what I wanted yet alone demand it. I settled. Over and over again accepting crumbs for companionship. Moans for meaning and pools for oceans. But now I wanted more.

Unable to quiet the growl in my belly any longer my soul cries out for sustenance. I wanted to swim the depths of someone until my lungs cried out for air and even then I would dive deeper, forcing evolution I’d learn to breath in new ways. I wanted to be lost so completely in the wood of him. I wanted volumes of words to be written on just our breaths alone. I would dance to songs of our silences and float downstream in the rivers of our laughs.

I wanted to explore the galaxy of us, his moons and my sun. Wedding new stars and birthing planets which held all of us and the possibility for that which only our composition could create. I wanted to taste limitlessness on his lips.

I willed our chance meeting determined that I would not fear him when I met him. That when I looked into his eyes and saw the deep blue of an infinite universe I could hold steady and meet him with my own guiding light.

Our alchemy would be such that we spoke a language indecipherable by others. I would mix poems and lyrics with riddles and rhymes and he would laugh knowing exactly what I meant. Answering and adding his own allusion and alliteration, finally my heart would cry out…more.

I’m Available for Heartbreak! 

My word for 2016 is surrender. It was my word three years ago and it’s back again, only with slightly different context. After the hell that was 2015 there came a point when I could no longer hold all my pieces. It was as if God designed it that way so I would have to employ serious discernment on what to continue holding and what to let go of. When I dropped my heaviest burdens, the peace I felt was indescribable. It was then that I knew I needed to sit down and carefully sort through “my shit” before I moved forward. Not only that, I would need to surrender the things I could not hold to a power much more capable than me. In other words the title of 2016 is Surrender: Letting Go and Letting God. 

With my peace came a need for truth-telling. A sort of radical honesty that helped me to better understand what I was holding and how it had come to pass. With some things I noticed patterns and I then had the opportunity to ask myself, “is this how you want to continue? If not, what do you need to do to change your outcome?” It wasn’t as simple as actions or even thoughts. I wanted to completely change the mental terrain in which some of my most undesirable patterns had been allowed to flourish. 

For example, I have a nasty habit of allowing men in particular to treat me poorly. I can’t simply say, I’m not going to allow this anymore! Because it’s subtle. It starts as an icky discomfort and me wondering if I’m overreacting or misinterpreting. And over time it slips into long periods of hurt feelings and insufficient apologies. I forgive them for this reason or that, but I’m left feeling somewhat displeased and disgusted with myself. I ask myself what am I gaining from this? Is attention worth it? Sex? Companionship? Anything to soothe the ache of loneliness… It was then that I realized Surrender also meant opening myself up to heartbreak. 

When you develop a relationship with delayed gratification, giving up “right now” pleasure for long-term peace, it can sometimes hurt. You can feel things you don’t want to feel and sometimes turn to vices and addictions to get it of. Our egos are fragile and tell us we can’t endure it but our soul knows we can. Our soul is not afraid to try and fail because failure is part of success. Our ego tells us we cannot survive heartbreak and we must do everything in our power to avoid it. So, I had to say no. Here I am, and I am available for heartbreak. I am strong enough to withstand it. I am resilient enough to rise from it. I am courageous enough to try again. Because I am focused on something bigger than the hurt of this moment. 

This year surrender requires me to believe something different of myself entirely, not just my actions. I think this is why the word came back to me. It was time for another level of the work to be done. Triple loop awareness, it was time to change my consciousness; alteration and upholstering of the entire contexts which held both my blessings and burdens. I needed to understand who I’d been believing myself to be because it was she who had found herself in this predicament. Then I needed to come to terms with who I really am. Dropping the pretense and being radically honest with myself. I had to love myself better. I have to love myself better. Because I truly believe that we show people how to treat us. It was time, it is time for me to stop accepting crumbs for meals. I am worth more than that. And if someone else can’t see it, that’s okay. Because I am available for heartbreak and I’ll survive that rejection. And that of any others who dare to appraise me for even a penny less than what I am worth. 

Nodding off 

What I knew was that in the past I held back too much for my liking. I had been so afraid of rejection or judgment that I’d forgone even trying to avoid the pain. I told myself I wasn’t being stupid, I felt like I was being true. Honest. 

I told him he intrigued me. I thought I could like him and I thought if we both dropped our acts, we could like each other. I wasn’t sure if he was ready for that. I wasn’t even sure that his was an act. Perhaps he was as distant as he sometimes felt. But, I wondered, do kisses lie? I had an inexplicable warmth being held by him. I could recall it by memory and though it was fleeting it was delicious. 

I had an awful knack for seeing past a persons scars. For seeing them in all their potential and for looking at them square in the eye and viewing who they really were. I often grow impatient waiting for others to get a glimpse of themselves as I see them right away. It’s not uncommon for us to miss our own magic. I Saw him. I did not know his whole story. I didn’t know his reasons. But I knew he had a good heart and he was much softer than one might ordinarily anticipate. 

Maybe, I considered, it was a selfish act. To want to feel as though my love were worth the vulnerability and that my care was worth the risk of heartbreak. Did I need to feel worthy that badly? I acknowledge that it could be true in part. I also acknowledge that it may be partially true that I simply felt something with him I hadn’t in a really long time and I wanted to feel that again. Often. 

Stupid girl, I’d sometimes call myself for knowing the odds were against me and acting anyway. Nodding to both the side that knew better and the side that dared to try anyway. Does courage assess risk? 

I closed my eyes and saw us back on my couch. Me holding him close…and I let myself fall asleep dreaming the reality I longed for. At least in this moment. 

Magic

I’d just told Eb I was feeling lonely. And then my mother came and sat beside me and put my head on her chest. I closed my eyes and listened to her heartbeat. The first sound I’d ever heard. I am not sure what the opposite of lonely is, but now I feel that. 

I wanted to kiss him again. I never wanted to stop in the first place. We did the dance around one another but now here I was standing still. I opened my hands and closed my eyes and only time will tell if he will meet my gesture with his own. 

I can remember the day my sister was born. We weren’t supposed to hold her in the beginning and in many ways we have been making up for it every since. And now she’s a young woman experiencing love for the first time. I want to hold her in my arms forever and shield her from anything that might hurt her. But instead I let her go, telling her I love her and covering her with kisses. 

After I acknowledged that we weren’t going to see one another over the Christmas break, he seemed okay. It was yet another sign to me. That and my own hesitancy. Grief over a life I no longer wanted that felt like breathing glass. I was relieved to finally stop. 

Love Story

“I’m not exactly a commitment-phobe, I’m just commitment cautious.” It was one of the stories I’d been telling myself for years, and of course it was true so long as I wanted it to be. 

I’ve been in a somewhat complicated, somewhat organic process of discernment. Deciding to retire some of the old stories I’d been telling myself that no longer worked in service of the life I wanted to lead. My love story was one of them. In asking myself what I truly wanted, I found some relationships harder to maintain. Though I struggled to hold on to them, I had also become increasingly more curious about what might happen if I let them go? 

One came wrapped up in a beautiful gift box and a thick red satin bow. It looked like all my childhood dreams come to life. That husband, that home, those kids, and quiet suburban splendor. Only, I searched myself and couldn’t seem to find the joy for it. Why wasn’t I happy? Wasn’t this everything I ever wanted? 

I contemplated the possibility that perhaps I didn’t trust it. History has told me that at some point the other shoe will drop and your breath will be taken away, and not in a good way. I knew you would do this. I forced myself to lean into the discomfort. Daydreaming about a wedding I didn’t want to begin a life I no longer craved. It was a little too safe. A little too provincial. A little too much like the dream and nothing I could hold in my hands. 

And then one night I remembered who I am, today. Stood fully in my present and faced my fear head on asking the hard question: is this still fantasy or is this real? He had no answer and that was all I needed. I packed up that story in a box of other beautiful things from my childhood and I tossed it into the ocean on a drive home. I said to the water, I am not yet ready to leave you. And she crashed against my feet in sweet agreement. 

I wanted love…I want love. But not at the cost of who I am. Not at the expense of my spontenaiety.  Not without regard for my love of travel, an unweighted life full of laughter and artistry. I wanted long conversations about any and everything. I was no longer afraid to open my mouth and did not like the timidity of my old self. I never wanted to go back there. I needed someone who respected my wants and heard me when I spoke, and even when I did not. In fact, I wanted someone who listened for my pauses and spoke the language of my silence. I did not want a grand big life, I wanted a deep rich life. 

So my story changed. But in a way, it didn’t. The words before read of a girl who was unsure of her own heart and asked the world to tell her who she was. My story now is of a woman who knows. 

Kisses well earned

“…but he doesn’t deserve to kiss you.” were the last words she said to me. I didn’t respond because I wasn’t sure how to. I didn’t like the definitiveness of her statement. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, and so I rebutted with silence. 

When I woke up this morning it was still on my mind. I wrestled with the idea of holding my body too sacred a vessel, if there was such a thing. But I bucked against the antiquated and patriarchal notion that a woman’s value was in her discriminate virtue.  However, I also understood the idea that there was and should be a process of discernment for those with whom I choose to exchange intimate energy with. I was torn between what I wanted and what I deserved. 

It seemed like a silly conundrum to be in. Why wouldn’t I want what I deserved? Why were those two things contrary from each other? I considered him…every cell in my being wanted him. Parts of him. For specific purposes. I was beginning to see the conflict, and more aptly I was beginning to see myself. 

Was I willing to be taken in pieces? Essentially, if I were soliciting that I was also offering it. I’ve found that relationships are the very best mirrors we have. And what I was sure of was that I wasn’t giving all of me to anyone because I sure as hell wasn’t receiving it. It was all splintered. 

I forced myself to reconsider her assertion. “…he doesn’t deserve to kiss you.” Then I thought about the fact that he already had. For those moments we exchanged the pieces of ourselves that we were willing to give and none of the things worth giving. I’d wager to say that we both felt a pull to give more. He backed away from it and I questioned, both of us still clinging tight to the good shit. 

Who does deserve to kiss me? I didn’t ask her but I asked myself. I thought about my patterns. My penchant for emotionally unavailable men. My knack for being equally elusive. I wanted someone who kissed me when it felt right. Just because they missed my lips or thought of how much they loved me. I no longer wanted quiet admiration or the dramatic guesswork of ambiguity. I wanted to love and be loved out loud. 

I touched my lips and remembered his on mine. Soft bites and how knowing he seemed to be of the things that I liked. And I thought even that wasn’t enough. It didn’t sustain me and immediately after the moment passed, I was thirsty again. I wanted more. I needed real nourishment. So, I turned towards the sun and began to open. 

Look At Me 

The first lines from “I am changing” my favorite song from the musical Dreamgirls. Only I was saying them to myself and no one else. 

I’d reached a point where I was so saturated that I could not hold one more thing. I was filled to the brim and spilling over with fear and anxiety and tears were uncontrollably escaping my eyes as if there was an exodus. I felt I was breaking. It was in that moment I felt like I had to give up. Only…I was never one to quit things. Never one to walk away. Never one to call it or close and door and burn a bridge. Why, then, would I start now? 

I wasn’t giving up on me, I explained to myself, I was giving up on holding myself solely accountable for fixing it when clearly I did not have the capacity to. I had overwhelmed my system and was short circuiting. My mother asked if I was having a mental breakdown and I couldn’t find the words to tell her ‘no’. Maybe I was, and if I was what did that mean? 

In that moment I decided very clearly I give up. And I opened up my arms and released every problem, every worry, every trouble to God. 

I can’t hold it anymore. I can’t suffer from it anymore. I am tired. I can’t house this sadness. I can’t board this pain. I can no longer accommodate this fear and this doubt is no longer welcome. So take it, because I can hold it anymore. 

The irony is I never should’ve been hoarding it all to begin with. Faith taught me better, but a hard head makes a soft ass–my mother always says. 

I’m the days since the release I haven’t had a panic attack. I have felt joy in a way I couldn’t access before. I have felt the soothing calm of nothingness. Which feels like silence after a cacophony of unrest. It was a breath of air felt in the deepest part of my lungs. It was the sunshine on my face after months of rain. 

Look at me, I am changing.