Present and (Un)Accounted for

Its funny.. One of the reasons my mind bristles at writing these blog posts is because it can’t stand the idea of writing another first person monologue and exposing it to the masses as though its published presence would have an effect on someone else’s life.

And yet, I am touched by the little snippets and parts of people’s lives that I experience constantly. There is something vain about posting these things, and perhaps there is a call for validation included within their worded confines, but most of all.. writing these thoughts just gives my thoughts a place to exist.

I’ve worked as many hours as possible since around the year I turned 16, freshly licensed and able to transport myself. When not completing paying work, instead I found volunteer work, activist work, or even just friend work to keep me occupied. This is a pattern I have succeeded in recognizing several times,.. and failed to fix several times as well. All the best strategies have been at my fingertips for several years, trends that have now exploded across our capitalism consumed country: yoga, meditation, journaling, etc..

At times, my own age doesn’t even seem real to me. I will be 25 in just a couple weeks, and I’ve been acting like I’m in my 30’s since way before my time. The mortality of it all doesn’t cause me much stress, but the reality of limited time and energy does. I have BIG dreams and plans, so much to do and the desire to do all of it right now. But with the occupation I’ve chosen, business ownership included, I’ve left little space for me to explore beyond the realms of familiar.

However, coming back to this blog, I’ve realized its important to me, because in my daily life I hardly have the time for all these thoughts to work themselves out and stop tangling within their own beautiful contortions. In fact, scarce is the time to devote the energy to this passion of mine, or the fantasies that I so desperately crave.

..To really be as present as I wish to be with others, I need to be more present with myself.

So where’s that start button? Oh yeah.. I guess it would be “publish”.

Thank you for reading.

My Awkward Embrace (and Emotional One Night Stands)

(from 9/26/16)

I don’t always say the right thing or follow the right formula.

Most of my 25 years of life, in the beginnings of my relationships with friends and lovers, I’ve taken what I have and laid it out on the table from the get go. A lot of what I have to show isn’t the prettiest, the corners of past situations or experiences often stained or torn at the edges, and the present definitely a bit cluttered. But I’ll punctuate it with my own hand crafted sense of humor when the goings get too serious.. unless this new person happens to share a lack of inhibitions about opening their heart, in which case we both tumble along.

Though I’ve gathered a slightly more conservative touch to this approach in the last few years, I realize again with a different angle that I’m just not good at small talk. I earnestly want to connect, be authentic, and be myself around others. I will admit that that I still have a long way to go towards authenticity, as sometimes verbal processing lends itself to a selfishness I don’t know how to avoid. But I’ve found that instead of pouring a drink to hang out and relate to others, I pour out myself, and I’ve done this my whole life.

If you are a friend, a lover, or a family member of mine, than you have gotten used to this awkward embrace of mine. Like the thoughts I have that I feel the need to clarify through questions-feeling energy and wondering where it comes from. Analyzing where assumptions come in. I read body language, tone of voice, and other little signs that all make me curious about the person I am interacting with. I am curious, analytic, and compassionate- so I tend to end up worrying at times.  I used to think that this was a bad combination of things, given to me through anxiety and trauma. But now I recognize that they are me. 

 Of course, the way I interact with people often leads me to emotional one night stands. Many a time have I shared a deep conversation with someone, the kind of conversation that gets your gut feeling funny and your head feeling light- the vortex of their desire to connect a great energy draw. They offer to me that they don’t normally connect with people this deeply; that they’re not usually so honest or open about what they are going through.

And then, they are gone.

I used to mourn and feed negativity into these situations. After something so intimate, its easy to cultivate a sense of loss. But through reflection and growth, I now see them more as beautiful, unique gifts of time- moments and experiences I share with others that temporarily embrace the world I want there to be: one where we can speak from our hearts, share our pain, and hold space for each other.. a place of listening and empathy.

Honestly, a lot of my  self-perpetuated anxiety has subsided by embracing my awkwardness, and I do believe that my willingness to share and hold space has helped bring a bit of the light into the world that I feel it needs. Being so open, it is quite a challenge though. It comes with depression at times, and exhaustion. That’s why its so important for me to hold onto my gratitude about experiences and to allow myself to remove attachment to them.

..Easier said than done.

But no matter what I experience, I still embrace my awkwardness, my openness, and my passion to hold space. My life has been so full because of it.

 

The exhale of vulnerability (11/7/16)

Sitting here, enjoying the soft autumn sunlight and the quietness of Monday morning, I find myself finally able to sit down and collect my thoughts and interactions from the last week. Much the same way I pick up the forgotten lukewarm mug of tea on my counter, and swirl it as I look down into its content, I find myself trying to look into all of these experiences, stirring them and trying to figure out this feeling is I have in my chest.

Vulnerability.

It is not something that I intentionally cherished growing up.

In a home where chaos and volatility saturated the air like an overly powerful oil diffuser, I learned to hold my breath in, tight to my chest. The best method of living there was more closely akin to survival, getting through the days, months, and years by existing as much outside of it physically or emotionally as possible. Breathing in would only cause your chest to burn and your eyes to water, and that made it much harder to get to safety.

When I put 8 hours of distance between myself and that house, those experiences, it became much easier to breathe. But the habit had been formed, and much the same way my body found it impossible to exhale under the storm of a panic attack, I found myself still wanting to hold that breath tight inside me emotionally as well. Inhale. Inhale. Inhale. The inclination to hold things in while I curled around them.

Do you recall elementary and middle school, when they loved to ask you: Who is your hero? I never had an answer to that question. I always skipped it when possible, or gave a vague response. I hadn’t found my heros yet.

Now, I can think of faces, voices, names. And beyond Brene Brown, they are probably not names you would be familiar with unless you live here in Portland with me. These people, they taught me how to be vulnerable: what it looks like, what it feels like, and its power. Ironically speaking (Or maybe not), a lot of these people practice meditation, and breath work. They are my heros not because of singular actions, but because of the way they live with intention.

I am grateful that I can sit here now, sleepy with the travels from my weekend, and find myself exhaling vulnerability. Recently, I have spent a lot of time having one on one conversations, able to bring my experiences to the table along with my compassion. I am grateful because many of these recent conversations have been with women, and historically speaking, those have been the most delicate and powerful connections in my life.

The joy that I am experiencing.. it is quiet, and bubbling, and unique. It is a lasting joy, the kind that you wake up with the next morning and still smile from. I used to think being vulnerable was terrifying, and in some ways, it still is. Not every time you choose to be open and vulnerable is well received. But it is always freeing. It connects me to my inner truth, and allows me to be present.

I am grateful for my vulnerability. I am grateful for my experiences. I am grateful for the strength and the peace that allows me to embrace vulnerability. I am grateful.. to exhale.