I’m undone, I’m undone

I bought
a box of mini chocolates
shiny new shoes
earrings and hair clips
a facial mask
oil drops in a small glass jar
black purses
a black-tie-affair

I sat in
a bath
and every ounce of
every feeling
I was afraid of feeling
sat with me
under skin
in places I can’t claw
or cover
and damn me for
feeling so damn human
fragile
and unfixed
tension locked in
jaw muscles
shoulder blades

I can’t fix
my sleeping
these pills
my feelings
but lord
I keep trying to
drown them
in hot
soapy water
that smells like
eucalyptus
and desperation

darling
why can’t I stop
dreading
this
endless
ache
I’m undone
I’m undone

breathe in the storms

I sit in a 
quiet clarity 
these days 

like watching a storm 
off in the distance 
gently 
sit through the rumbling 

warm 
wrapped in a blanket
wary 
nonetheless 

making ends meet
meeting the cracks 
that need mending 

making space for hope 
to heal 
right down 
to the core 

breathe in the storms 
they’re less lonely 
the longer you watch
and weather 
them 

the transitive property of courage

During the snowy beginnings of 2019, I buckled up and dug into curating my top life values.

The work was guided initially from a book club I was leading at the time for Brené Brown’s, “Dare to Lead,” but lasted far after the book discussions ended.

I was given the advice to limit my values to two – no more, no less.

I initially made a list of five, and finally narrowed it down to three. (As a counterphobic enneagram six, I’m not too bothered by following rules that don’t work for me.)

1. Courage

2. Honesty

3. Warmth 

“Honesty” and “warmth” felt like coming home to myself; hummed deep in my core – I felt alignment and belonging in my bones.

“Courage,” however, was a stretch value for me. I wanted to be more courageous – so I set it as a vision to accomplish through perseverance.

After the snow melted into a buttery, warm spring I experienced loss that changed everything.

A seismic disruption that pulled me apart.

I spent

days
weeks
months

looking for ways to put everything back together.

But broken doesn’t neatly repair.

I clung to “warmth” and “honesty” as guiding lights and told myself
I wasn’t strong enough
brave enough
mentally healthy enough
to keep claim to “courage.”

So I quietly limped away from owning “courage;” let it drift coldly like the frozen leaves I crunched on walking into Fall.


It can be tricky to hear the universe whisper to you over the building sounds of self-repair.

But it remains persistent.


For weeks I had internally been cringing at the mention of confidence.

One afternoon I was reading an email about a new book launch and a small line stuck out to me

stopped me
in my
tracks:

Confidence comes from claiming our truth.

I made myself stare this idea down. Re-wrote it on a sticky note to keep chewing on later.

I was definitely working my ass off to claim my own truths. Sharing untold stories on friends’ couches, in new digital spaces, through my fledgling manuscript.

I did some rough mathematical calculations based on the initial sentence and finally made eye contact with my broken self.

if confidence = courage (in my opinion)

and truth claimin’ = confidence

by the transitive property I was already seeking courage.

Huh.


I had a choice to make. 

I could continue to ignore what was hurting and perpetuate “disappointment” with myself (shame monsters can be scary to face)

OR 

forgive myself. 

Softly. 

For giving up on my own strength for a little while. 
For keeping love from myself when I needed it. 
For being afraid and running from yet another painful thing. 

I re-wrote the prompt to read: 

Courage comes from claiming your truth. 

When I’m nervous or scared you better believe I’ll be repeating this to myself silently (or not so silently – I have an unconscious habit of mumbling when I think I’m alone).

It’ll be a trust-building exercise with myself. 

To stay
when I want to run. 

To feel strong 
when the pain is aching
and the doubts grow louder.


How do you see life values at play in your own life?

contentment

I want to smell and feel warm rain.
I want to wear thick sweaters.
I want to wake up somewhere new.
I want to feel chest static and contentment.
I want to drink cups of coffee out of loved mugs.
I want to chase mist mornings
and quiet peace.
I want to bake sourdough bread.
I want lots of dog naps
in cool sheets.
I want to sleep in to morning light.
I want to understand through my hands.
I want to hold my friends’ babies.
I want to explore greenhouses.
I want to eat plates filled with cake.

wake up call

I had a low-key
pull-the-emergency-break
wake up call recently.

I woke up hungover
my keys
car
ID
debit card
strewn across the city
(the last two irretrievable for days).

A paralyzing moment
where I could finally give
several fears names.
Descriptors.
A bleary clarity.

(I considered hiding it all, telling no one, walking straight into the jowls of shame and self-loathing.)

Instead, I called some friends.
Cringed,
explained everything.

Not one single drop of shame fell from their lips.
Only compassion.
“?!?!??!?!?”s along with me.
Immediate offers of help.

Did I still take a stress nap later?
Oh, heck yeah.

And then
I let myself admit what I was
afraid of.

I’m afraid that if I let anyone see
how fucked up I still am by grief
people will take away
the big dreams I’m running down.

I’m afraid of being vulnerable
and in love with someone again.


I made everything hush.

Took a hot bath
stared down my notebook
(myself)
in candlelight
and confronted
what I had been avoiding.

The realization that I couldn’t answer
“what is love?”
or even list the ways
I accept love.

I had erased all boundaries
in the pursuit of
friendship
acceptance
(aka LOVE)
until my personal belongings
were scattered across a city
and I was literally stuck.

I’ve subconsciously been struggling
with boundaries
valuing those around me
much more than myself.

Not sure if it’s because
I can’t forgive myself.
The darkest shit I won’t
say out loud.

(I feel like glancing over my shoulder just writing this.)


I focused.

Figured out what boundaries
I need to put back up.
How to receive love.
(Game-planned scenarios to help make it happen.)

Focused on my top two values.

Realized one is not greater than the other.

Warmth without honesty is self-betrayal.
Honesty without warmth is disassociation with life.

If a scenario forces me to be
dishonest with myself,
I’m saying no.

Repeating to myself: just because I do something to “help” someone else, doesn’t mean it’s not still self-destructive.

I’m focusing on my center of warmth.
(Including for myself.)

I have a book to finish.
An EP to make.
Relationships to sustain.
Dreams to make happen.

And I may still cry
during my commute every day
because that’s part of
“love,” too.

throw a penny

I learned how to be with someone new 
who didn’t talk or walk or even look like you 
I tried to make sense of what it meant 
said goodbye to years and hopes spent 

throw a penny over your shoulder 
don’t look back until you’re older 
if you think you might regret it 
you’re allowed to feel and end it