My Own Safe Space

Last night I realized some heavy truths about myself.

I’ve been reading the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This is one of those books I’m going to have to read over again once I finish it. It’s full of hard truths and mind grenades. It’s shaken up the way I think, process and live. It’s shown me that as strong and progressive as I think I am, I still play the victim to so many things I think I have no control over.  I have more control than I think I do, it’s that I choose to shift blame so that I don’t have to do some heavy thinking/decision making.

If how people treat me is their fault then I don’t have to do the hard thing and walk away, which is something I’m not very good at. I have a fear of giving up before it gets good. 

Anyway, this book and trying to change 34 years of the same thought processes helped me realize some things about myself last night.

The first realization is that I don’t like to admit that parts of me might be broken. I realized I avoid it because I have a fear that if I admit that something is broken it will never get fixed. Let’s just take a minute and take apart how ridiculous this sounds.

If you break a bone, let’s just say you broke your arm, you and/or a doctor need to identify and acknowledge that it’s broken in order to start the process of fixing it. If you ignore it and act like it never was broken, guess what? It’s never getting fixed.

I have to acknowledge the broken parts so that I can begin the process of healing.

The second realization is that there are three parts of me.

I imagine the first girl to be broken, sad, hurt, and curled up on the floor inside my heart.
She is the one that wants to be pretty, perfect, loved, fearless, happy but lives in crippled fear that she will never be enough to be any of those things. She is beat down by the hurtful actions of others. She is victim to thoughts inside her head.

The second girl is the outer shell of me. She has confidence. She knows her worth even if it’s not always clear to her. She looks for happiness herself. She builds her own life. She is strong. She is safe. She is her own advocate. She is warm. She is kind. She is healthy. She loves big. 

The third part of me is the loudest and most aggressive. She sits at the top of my head yelling obscenities all day and into the night to the broken girl inside my heart. She is anxiety, anger, self-loathing, hate, negativity. She creates headaches and depression and loneliness and fear. She attacks the broken girl inside until she feels she will never get up, never heal, never be okay.  She silences the happy, confident girl by making her feel like she’s a fraud, like she’s simply just covering up the broken girl inside. She can’t really be happy when there are still things wrong with her.

But last night I realized the “outer shell” of me isn’t fake. She’s very much real, and she’s the real me, and she needs to stand up for herself..not only to other people, but to the mean girl inside her head.

So often we look to others to make our brokenness feel safe. We long for someone to wrap their arms around us and allow us to be broken for awhile. We want someone to acknowledge our neediness and tell us it’s okay to just be sad. We want someone to take care of us.
And while sometimes that happens, and sometimes there are people there for us like that, most of the time those kind of friendships and relationships don’t exist.

That’s when it hit me that it’s up to me to create a safe place for myself. It’s up to me to make me feel loved and accepted. It’s up to me to defend myself against the constant barrage of negative thoughts I hurl at myself.

I am my own safe place. I need to value myself enough to advocate for myself.

I say I love myself but do I really? Honestly, I really don’t because I have justified the self abuse, I have justified and allowed abuse and negative behaviors from others.

Imagine this scenario: you walk by a friend that has been going through a lot. Maybe she’s grieving death and heartache and life has broken her. You see there’s someone sitting next to her and they are belittling and berating her. They are telling her all kinds of hateful things about her looks, the way she lives her life, calling out every mistake, cutting her down…just spewing pure negativity and hate. Your friend looks miserable. She looks like she doesn’t want to go on, and like she’s about to sink to the floor in despair and just give up.

What would you do? Would you walk by? Would you tell yourself you’re not enough to help? That someone else needs to stand up for her and comfort her because you’re just a fraud?

God, I hope not.

So why don’t we defend ourselves….from ourselves like that?

Last night the real me, the confident, kind and loving me did for myself what I do for others.

I wrapped myself in love. I created my own safe space. I acknowledged the broken and hurt girl inside me. I held her, using my love as a shield from the mean girl in my head, telling that hateful voice to shut the fuck up. I defended myself. I turned the love I have for others on myself. I was there for me. And for the first time in a long time I felt loved, comforted and safe. I felt strong, fearless and peaceful.

And I did that all for myself. I am capable of feeling that way without the help of someone else. Sure, it’s important to have friendships and relationships to rely on but we can’t expect them to do for us what we can and should do for ourselves.

It was an eye opening experience and one that I know will take discipline and time to make a habit, but I have a feeling it will be life changing.



It’s been awhile.

I forget that I need to write and that it helps me.

I seem to remember this on the nights that I need to process something and either there is no one to process it with, or they aren’t available for whatever reason.
That’s when I remember I have the insight within me, I just have to pull it out somehow. So maybe if I just start writing it will come to me.

Just….feelings. We spend so long wanting them. We spend so much energy hiding them. We are afraid of them. We want them. We don’t want them. We don’t know what to do with them. We deny them. We hide them. They show up at the worst times. We mask them with anything that will make us feel better. Humor, drugs, alcohol, working out, working a lot, keeping busy, building walls. Building fucking walls.

I don’t know about soulmates and all that but I do know what it feels like to be completely and unabashedly myself with someone and I like that feeling. It’s a good feeling. It’s just nice. It’s easy. It’s home.

And as good as that feels it makes me sad and a little bit angry. Or honestly it’s something that’s made me angry for the better part of a year now and I don’t know how to process it out of my system. I know what I should feel is gratefulness to know what it’s like to be loved and accepted like that. I know that it should give me hope that I can find that again in the future. But mostly it just makes me sad that I even know what that feels like because it creates this longing that I hate dealing with.

And so here I am. Me, who tries to process things and heal. Me, who has worked hard not to close off, build walls, or shove pain aside. I’m looking on the other side of a year still not knowing how to deal with this complicated shit. I don’t know how to explain what it was. It started out not being able to put it in a box so I don’t know why I expect to put it in a box now.

And so I guess I don’t have answers or insight on this because there’s no box to pull it out of, there’s no box to put it into. (That’s what she said. Sorry. I know it’s not the right mood but I can’t help it).
But seriously, I wish I could define it and put the lid on it and lock it away. Apparently time hasn’t made a difference.

I’ll end with something someone told me recently.

Feel the pain. Let it rise. But let love rise higher.

But what if feeling that love just hurts too?

I’m just so tired of hurting.

The Pain Shines Out My Eyes

Do you ever find yourself suddenly aware of how little you know yourself?
I don’t just mean taking the time to be introspective and self aware.
I mean this shocking realization, this dangling in mid-air feeling, where you don’t know how you’ve gotten this far in life being the person you’re supposed to be.

There is a moment where I feel outside my body, looking at a shell of a human who is only made up of little bits and pieces of memories. It’s a disconnected feeling. Disconnected from people. Disconnected from the life I’m living. Disconnected from my past to the point I don’t recognize the person attached to the memories of my childhood.
Simply disconnected.

It’s these startling moments of clarity where I feel like I’ve been suddenly dropped into someone else’s life.
I look at her and think, “Is this you? Is this the body you inhabit? Who’s life are you living?”

It’s happening more and more lately.

I can’t help but wonder if it’s because I feel like I’m doing all the wrong things. I’m adjusting and surviving in a world that demands I be tougher,  impeccable, and less of ME. It’s a world where you can not expect anything of a person, while they expect you to be everything.
I’ve shoved the person I wanted to be aside because she can’t exist.
There is no room in my world for hopelessly happy, for dreamers, for wistfulness.
This is life:
I adjust.
I survive.

The wanting.
The emptiness.
The hopelessness.
It all leads to a place I do not want to be again.

The striving.
The perfection around me.
The inevitable rejection of being cast aside for something better.
They lead to a place I don’t want to be again.

I go numb.

I go to bed at night with every thought and feeling of the day’s pain coursing through my body and mind and I chant “it doesn’t matter” until I’ve soothed myself into a restless stupor.

It does matter. It does matter. It does matter.

Whatever I’m feeling, that’s a hint that something isn’t right. But instead of acknowledging the pain and categorizing it and finding the true source I tell myself that I’m not right. I am the problem. I am not enough. And I have said that often enough that I believe it.

I was this person before and I don’t want to be her ever again.

But in a world that demands otherwise how can I stay soft and loving but at the same time put myself first? How do I do this without hardening my heart? I love. I love a lot. Not necessarily in a “strings attached, need commitment” kind of love, but in a “I love the complex intricacies of my fellow humans” kind of love. People fascinate me. And maybe herein lies the source of my disconnect. Society is disconnected. Do other people understand we can love just to love? It seems love has to mean something, it has to go somewhere, it has to mean promises, it has to be labeled,  and so love scares most people because it carries with it too many pressures. In an overstressed, overworked world we don’t have time for love because we think it’s going to demand even more from us.

And because most of the time I seem to be the only one okay with vulnerability I find myself secretly loving people simply for their unique presence in my life.

And so I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit
Every day with someone new  – Hozier

For awhile I’m content with all the one-sided love swirling around my life. It’s okay because I find happiness in loving people and listening to them. But there are times I am empty and I can no longer hide from the fact that I also want to be loved in the same way, to be noticed and loved and appreciated for the unique traits that make me who I am.

On a rare night when the world is still, the moonlight is soft, and I’m alone in my room with the wind softly blowing my curtains, I allow my eyes to reveal what I spend all day masking. The pain. Not in the form of tears, oh no, I have willed those away. But a release of the sadness I have hidden from the world, and even those closest to me. The pain shines out my eyes.

In these raw moments I can feel everything to the very depth of my core. I can feel every cell in my body as I curl into myself under the unbearable weight of the pain washing over me. I don’t hide from it. I can’t hide from it. Because as much as it hurts I want to feel it all. For in this moment of bitter clarity I am completely and entirely myself, in all its ugly and glorious misery.

The pain shines out my eyes.

And know you’re enough….

I can’t currently afford therapy….and sometimes I forget how therapeutic music is for me. Not just listening to it, but singing it and playing it for myself. So tonight I dusted off my old piano and gave my new favorite song a try.


A heart on the run keeps a hand on the gun you can’t trust anyone
I was so sure what I needed was more tried to shoot out the sun
Days when we raged, we flew off the page such damage was done
But I made it through, cause somebody knew I was meant for someone

So girl, leave your boots by the bed we ain’t leaving this room
Till someone needs medical help or the magnolias bloom
It’s cold in this house and I ain’t going out to chop wood
So cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

Put your faith to the test when I tore off your dress in Richmond all high
But I sobered up and I swore off that stuff forever, this time
And the old lovers sing “I thought it’d be me who helped him get home”
But home was a dream, one I’d never seen till you came along

So girl, hang your dress up to dry we ain’t leaving this room
Till Percy Priest breaks open wide and the river runs through
And carries this house on the stones like a piece of driftwood
Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

So girl, leave your boots by the bed we ain’t leaving this room
Till someone needs medical help or the magnolias bloom
It’s cold in this house and I ain’t going out to chop wood
So cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good
Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

The Tornado

It hit again. It’s like a tornado. I know the triggers now. I can see it coming. But I never know how bad the destruction left in its wake will be.

The pain of rejection, loneliness, hopelessness, and not feeling good enough whirls violently through my head with a speed impossible to slow down during my alone time.

The busyness of work masks it. The mindless sweat and determination of my almost daily two hour gym sessions masks it. But I can’t always be working, and I can’t work out all day long.

When I feel it coming I do my best to protect myself from it, much like one would take shelter from an approaching tornado. But sadly, sometimes there’s only so much protection I can provide myself and it’s still not enough. And I fully feel the shame of it not being enough.

The pain and the wanting it all to end hits me at once until I’m left sobbing on the floor with nothing left to hold on to. I tell myself this isn’t reality. That I do want to be here. That I do want to live. That the situations triggering this episode probably aren’t as bad as they seem right now. That I’ll wake up feeling better. But none of that helps. It only makes me feel worse. I feel shame that my mind has escalated these situations. I feel shame for the feelings I have. I am ashamed of my feelings. I know this is a symptom of my childhood where I was taught to shove away all feelings except for happiness. I know this is a symptom of my twenties when I decided I should be chill so I became the girl that could fuck you and leave you. I have worked so hard in the last few years to change this but it’s still not enough. I still don’t know what to do with my feelings.
It’s a cycle of pain, shame and emotions that I can not deal with.

We all hear the things we are supposed to do. Love yourself. Don’t let your worth be determined by or tied to others. If you don’t make yourself a priority no one else will. If you don’t love yourself first no one else will.
Do you know what that creates? Perfectionists hating and shaming themselves because no matter how much they try to be a healthy person, people still suck. Life still sucks.

It’s a fucking vicious cycle.

I text this to a friend:
There’s nothing left for me.
I don’t think I was meant to be here this long.
There’s no point in this struggle when I
literally have nothing to hold on to.
What’s the fucking point? To be stronger?
I’m tired.

Those words aren’t meant for attention. He knows that and that’s why I can confide in him. They are truly how I feel.
I’m currently numb and kind of devastated because usually I wake up the next day grateful that I was talked out of my pain once again. Grateful to still be alive. Scared that I almost succumbed.
But this morning nothing has changed. I still feel that way. I am weary. I don’t want to be here. And it doesn’t even scare me.

Respect | Or How Not To Take Shit From Anyone.

Going into the new year I knew I wasn’t going to make resolutions. I never do. Mostly because I don’t like to do mainstream things. I like to rebel against the norm. Try to be different and all that jazz. Mostly I don’t give a shit.

But I kept seeing things for “find your word of the year” and “focus on your word” and I thought that was a nice idea but how do you find a word that means enough to you that will help you change?

Since November I’ve been focusing on consistency in my life and have gotten back into the gym. I find sanity in the solitude of working out, surrounded by strangers, but in my own little world of music and sweat. Confession, I am the whitest of white girls but I love gangsta rap. The shittiest gangsta rap. It makes me feel badass and hardcore. I walk out the gym feeling like a baller. Hustle, Hustle, Hustle. HARD.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I’m trying to be the healthiest version of me, mentally and physically. I’ve also started doing yoga at home. I found the most awesomest yoga instructor on Youtube. She gets me. I feel like we’d be good friends. She says things like “That’s what she said” and then giggles because it’s so not a “zen” thing to say. Anyway, my new BFF, Adriene, during a yoga video said something like, “Find your intention for today’s practice. Why are you here on the mat? Even if it’s just one word.”
The word “respect” immediately came to me. That’s why I’m here, that’s why I’m STILL here, that’s why I’m working on my health. Because I respect myself. From there I thought about that word a lot for a few days. It’s a common word, but a word we usually reserve for everyone else but ourself. We are taught to respect elders, those in authority, our peers, etc. But do we respect ourselves? Have we learned that?

I don’t need resolutions because the more I learn to respect myself, the kinder I’ll be to myself. The less crap I’ll put in my body. The less shit I’ll take from others. Respect is the foundation for everything else. Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.
I don’t need to make anyone respect me. It’s not something that I have to earn, or that others have to earn. I only need to focus on what that word means to me, how I’m going to put it into action, and how it will change me from the inside out.

Everything else will fall into place around that.



I’m trying want to try to find motivation again perhaps for the first time in my life.  I need motivation to better my life because I can’t keep sitting back waiting for my life to get better.

How long do I give myself a “safe space” to be sad and grieve? Where’s the balance between healing and playing victim? Am I just continually finding ways to feel sorry for myself? I want to feel happiness more often. I want love and family. I want a full life with social events, and traditions and friends to do with them.
I have no roots from moving so many times.

I feel so many things: despondent, listless, tired, with no dreams or goals.
Sometimes it hurts to breathe. Sometimes it hurts to live.

I struggle finding the point in all the struggle. I’m starting to hate my job. I hate my life. I hate that my family turned out the way they did. I hate being sad and depressed all the time. I know some of it is the holidays. It’s not the best time of the year for someone already struggling with divorce, depression and anxiety, not to mention removing numerous toxic family relationships from my life this year.

My house is too quiet. I decorated for Christmas anyway. I hung two stockings because one is too depressing to look at.

How do I find a desire to do more for myself? How do I do better and be better? How do I value you myself enough to rise above all this when all I want to do is stay home in bed and cry?

How do I start over?

Above all, love.

Written October, 2013

The world is cruel and life doesn’t slow down to allow you to grieve. 

You’re just left to hold it all together as you attempt to go on with “normal life”.  In the beginning your life changes completely. It’s literally having half of you ripped away. There is no getting over it. There is no “time heals all wounds”. Cliches are stupid. Only you and you alone have to deal with your grief. Don’t get me wrong,  the love of friends and family is a wonderful, vital thing. But when you lay down at night it’s just you and your thoughts and your pain and it’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to fall asleep and how you’re going to wake up.

That last day. 

I stopped by after work to do his laundry. When I got there he saw how tired I was and said I didn’t need to wash his things, but the laundry room was on a different floor and I knew I could get it done easier than he. In between loads we talked a lot, a lot more than our usual comfortable silence. I was humming a song I had heard earlier and he started to sing the words. So I googled the lyrics and we sang it together, him laughing about how terrible he sounded, and me lying and saying he was great. We talked about how that song always reminded him of first dates, and how the girl’s parents always liked him because they knew he wouldn’t touch their daughters….”Well, in THOSE places”, and he laughed.

He talked about having lunch with a 101 year old lady, and how he had never thought he would live that long, but how he was thinking maybe he wanted to so he could see great, great grandchildren. He said he wanted to live another 40 years. I said, “Dad, that’s 112!”. He was like “yup, I can do it”.

After I got all his bedding washed and dried and remade his bed. I grabbed a small piece of paper off his desk and a red marker and wrote “Sweet dreams, father dear. – Daughter #4”, and placed it on his pillow. (I found that note stuck in a picture frame on his wall after his death. I put it in his casket with him)

At his doorway I gave him a long hug. I had been so stressed out and just needed a long hug from my dad. I walked out the door, took a few steps and turned right back around and gave him another hug. It still makes me cry. I’m so glad I gave him that extra hug.

As I walked down the hall I heard him call after me, “I’m watching you”.

I turned back around, saw him standing in his doorway watching me, laughed and called him a creeper. I turned around, got on the elevator and that’s the last time I saw my dad.

November, 2013

All I can think about is that I’m putting leftovers away but I’m not setting aside an extra container to take to my dad’s tomorrow when I get out of work. I’m not going to ride my bike up the sidewalk to his building and smile and wave at the elderly strolling around outside. I’m not going to walk in the lobby and up the stairs and down the long hall. I’m not gonna knock on the door and hear him fumbling around and calling out that he’s coming. He’s not going to answer the door with a “hey, pretty girl”, a grin and a bear hug. I’m not going to tell him I brought him treats. I’m not going to open up my backpack and hand over containers bearing food made with love and with him in mind. He’s not going to have a gleam in his eye, as he peruses what I’ve brought before putting in the fridge, pretending he’s not excited about the food.

I’m not going to sit on the couch for a bit before heading home. He’s not going to interrupt our conversation to say hello to a squirrel. He’s not going to tell me about his day, or the lady across the hall, or who he sat with for lunch. He’s not going to tell me some memory of his childhood. He’s not going to hug me goodbye and tell me he loves me. He’s not going to send me off with his infamous “be good and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught”. He’s not going to tell me to tell my husband he loves him and to take care of me. I’m not going to give him one last squeeze. He’s not going to watch me walk down the long hall. I’m not going to feel that ache of having to leave him alone again. I’m not going to walk down the stairs, say hello to the all the ladies gathered, climb on my bike, and ride away.

Now: September 28, 2016.
Three years now. I don’t know how that’s possible. I feel like I have lived a few lifetimes since then. Life has not been easy, but it’s still been beautiful. I learn from the memories and the life of my dad. Be quiet. Be steady. Be unshaken. Live in the sunshine. And above all, love. I want to talk to him every single day. I still go to pick up the phone to call him. I still think about what Christmas/Birthday/Father’s Day present to get him.
My life has adjusted around the grief. I wear it comfortably now. I welcome it.
He taught me what I needed to do to go on without him. Above all, love. That was the example his life gave me. And that’s what I will continue to do.

the world is only ours

Warm lips press against my temple. Wake up, they whisper.

I breathe in the familiar scent of him.

He is here and I am here and for the moment the world is ours and only ours.

A hand at the back of my neck another one roaming down my back, I am pulled closer until our bodies are melded and time stands still.

For now. in this world of our own making, time is suspended in a tantalizing twist of breathlessness and passion.

His lips seek mine, soft and tentative at first. There is some sort of magic in our connection that makes that every first kiss feel like the first time I kissed him.

His lips pull me in again. A sound catches in the back of his throat and I am falling. Tumbling.
Into this world where I am safe.

The usual chaotic, anxious spinning of my thoughts slows down until there is nothing else except this moment with him. I live for the moment. I live in the moment.
I live for these rare moments when I am fully present.

My eyes slowly blink open.
The curtains are drawn, and the morning light is just starting to peek through.
He is here. I am here.

Hi, I whisper.

and for now the world is only ours.

Accept Yourself {finding balance}

Maybe we aren’t meant to completely change the things about ourselves that we don’t like.
We focus all this energy and time into forcing ourselves to not do what comes naturally to us, and for what reason?

Maybe instead of exhausting ourselves trying to change our thought patterns we take a step back and we accept ourselves.
Accept yourself.

That line came up in a conversation with a friend last night. Accept yourself. We hear so much lately about body positivity and loving how you look, but do you love how think, feel and love? Do you accept the way you do things? Do you accept the way your mind works or do find all your inner flaws?

I am an empath. I don’t say that in a superpower kind of way. I simply devote much of my time and thoughts to what other people are feeling. Almost everything I do, I do with someone’s feelings in mind. I feel the feelings of those around me, and those I love the most. It is exhausting. I’ve been trying to stop myself from doing it and frankly that’s exhausting as well.

In the same conversation with my friend, he said this:

“So you’re trying to focus on stopping something that is exhausting, which in turn is exhausting you and making you feel bad. Accept yourself. This is what you do. Maybe you don’t want to, maybe you would like something different, maybe it’s not who you ARE. But it’s what you do. So we are told to fight it, fight everything that comes naturally to us instead of taking a step back and looking at it without judgement.
Maybe it isn’t good or bad. It’s just something you do. Like who you love. Maybe it isn’t good or bad, it’s just something you are doing right now. Instead of focusing on the judgement call all the time, maybe look at the feelings and values surrounding it. Accept what it is and where you are at right now.”

Instead of trying to stop myself from doing what comes naturally, instead of quitting cold turkey, I need to find the balance. It’s not a bad thing to feel the feelings of those around me. But it’s not good if I never take account for my own feelings. It’s not good if I don’t even know what I feel because I’m feeling someone else’s feelings.

Accept myself. Accept the way I think and feel and process and find the balance.

There is peace in knowing I don’t have to fight against who I am.

Today I accept myself and all the love that I have for so many people.