Monday, October 27, 2014

emotional fly traps

when I was little, maybe 8 years old, I was sitting in the car with my mom. it was biloxi, mississippi. it was summer. it was HOT. so we had on shorts. I looked over at my mom and noticed aloud to her "my thighs are like less than half the size of your thighs!"

I don't remember what she said back. I don't think she was upset at all. she probably said something like "that's because I'm an adult." but I know that on some level I must have felt some hurt from her. because I still feel bad about that comment.

I am a sensitive girl; I hold things close to my heart; I feel bad for unintentionally hurting others. and i get hurt easily: by others and by my own doing.

there is someone in my recent life who has continually hurt me. I kept resisting cutting him out of my life, despite the pleading of many other friends. "all my friends don't have to like each other," I thought; "I'll be friends with him even though he isn't treating me well; at least he acknowledges he wants to do better."

yes: I now hear it. that sounds like someone in a domestic abuse situation. and emotionally, it kind of was. you know how it's always easier to comment on someone else's situation; how it's always easier to find the flaws that are a little more distal? seeing (or hearing) the harshness of this situation took me a long time, but finally figuring it out is good for me in more than one way.

what's he do that's so hurtful? he jokes about my attempts at romantic relationships. it got worse over the past few weeks as I started to stop joking back with him when he called me a slut. I began to notice how bad I felt after each snapchat that insinuated I'd have sex with anyone; after each uncomfortable call where he joked that I must be out on a date.

so I decided to put myself first: I'm removing myself from this "friendship." I feel sad about this. but also proud.

why have I constantly defended someone who treats me badly? why did I immediately respond to the negative way he spoke to me? I didn't grow up with critical messages from family or teachers. I've never been in an abusive relationship.

well. except the one with myself. and that's the emotionally abusive relationship that is hardest for me to see and/or admit to.

the way he spoke to me is how I often talk to myself. I'm quite judgemental and critical when it comes to, well, anything I do. so I guess it felt pretty natural and almost comfortable for me to receive those types of messages from him.

the reason I need to limit contact with him is because I internalize what he says to me. even though i don't agree with his judgemental view of my life, I find myself starting to believe him. it's almost impossible not to believe something you hear over and over.

the same thing happens in my own head: when I say something negative in my head often enough, my subconscious starts to really buy into it. and sometimes I'm shocked when my subconscious says something like "I am not doing enough." I think "who said that? why would you think that? where did that idea come from?" and then I realise I put that idea there. I'm the one who silently judges myself hundreds of times a day.

so hearing the messages from my friend didn't dissuade me from being friends with him. but when I found myself internalizing the judgements of my friend, I was finally able to recognise that i needed to limit contact. he wasn't changing; he wasn't apologising. but I could take control.

and loving myself enough to change that is the first step in limiting contact with my judgemental self.

i listened to a podcast interviewing ellen burstyn today about survival. and it ended with this: "I’ve learned a lot from my plants. I learn that if a plant’s not growing, it’s dying, and that growth is a state of health."

I choose to keep growing. and, to my mommy: sorry for what I said when I was 8. xo

Friday, October 17, 2014

guess i'm going to be a new yorker

writing this makes it public. official. i'm actually going. i am moving to NYC. the big apple. the city that doesn't sleep. the melting pot. the center of the universe.

shocked? me too. i have never really thought of myself as a NYC girl. and i LOVE sydney with a passion... like it is my favorite city in the world; i've never felt at home somewhere like i do in sydney.


so wtf am i doing? well. i got an amazing job offer from the CUNY school of public health that i could not turn down. which is so so so fantastic.

and scary as anything.

making this decision has been one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. i had at least four iterations of my pro/con list. i talked it over with everyone. i talked to my life coach. i went to see a coffee ground reader. i made a decision and then changed my mind. i went to see an energy healer. the thing i was most fearful of was that i would make the wrong decision and end up regretting it.

but how did i actually make the decision? i didn't. the decision made itself.

i had thought about it over and over. i went running and went through all the future scenarios. i talked about it until i couldn't talk about it anymore. i felt like i just couldn't make this decision, that i was incapable. so, instead, i did yoga. a lot of yoga. and then one morning, lying there in savasana after class, the decision came. it just kinda appeared in my belly really. this feeling of "yeah, i have to go." then i laid there and cried my little heart out. and then i facetimed my sister: i knew she would be overjoyed that australia hadn't stolen me for good.

when i talked to lydia about some hard decisions she was making, she told me that sometimes you can't force a decision; you can't make it until it is ready to be made. and then? it will manifest itself. she told me that, and i went, woah, YES; that is exactly what happened with the new york decision. it manifested itself once the decision was ready to be made. that's not to say i didn't think about it (TONS). but it couldn't be forced. no matter how many times my friends kept asking "did you make the decision yet?"



so. things that helped?
--every single little conversation with every friend and family member. (too many to list; thank you all so much!)
--this TED talk. (thanks nyree!)
--mish reminding me over and over that i had to make the decision for ME.
--matt saying "moving to NYC doesn't mean you can't ever live in sydney again."
--anthony promising to look out for me in NYC.
--my sister's pregnant belly.

things that made it the hardest to choose NYC?
--having to tell kitty i was leaving: i have never felt so nervous to tell someone something. i didn't want to see the look on her face. i didn't want to have to hear her cry.
--losing regular contact with adi, my co-founder of big sisters' club.
--thinking about leaving my PhD students that i love: don't worry hayden and mandy; we will figure this out.
--leaving a yoga community i love (yes, this means you, kel).
--realizing i would be doing it alone. <--this might have been the scariest
--and dreading leaving a place i call home; a place i love; a place and culture i've come to embrace.

recently someone asked me where i grew up. my stock answer is: i don't have a home; i grew up all over the US. but when i was asked a week ago, i said: well i did most of my growing up right here.

and that's the truth. i came to sydney newly married, a fresh PhD, and still pretty naive about a lot of things. i'm leaving quite a different girl. or rather, woman, i suppose. the amount of things i've learned about myself, my relationships, and the world in general, while in sydney ensures that a piece of my heart will always be here.

and so. if you're a friend in the states: i'll be back in january; come to NYC!! if you're a friend in sydney: start to try to see me A LOT. if you're a friend who has always wanted to visit me in sydney: HURRY THE FUCK UP.

but wherever you are, you know i'll keep in touch. i'm good at this "my life is online" thing.

“and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." --Ana├»s Nin xo

Monday, October 13, 2014

i don't believe you

warning. not an actual blog post. just a rant really.

i haven't really talked to one of my best friends in a week. i tried to call a few times, but i never got through. tonight we finally talked. i wanted to know what was going on and i explained how i felt ignored. i was told that the reason we hadn't been talking was because of a photo i sent that was unappreciated. or rather, the interpreted context was unappreciated. but the interpretation was not correct. classic he said/she said really.

after chatting for 45 minutes, i was left feeling worse than before our delayed talk. mainly i felt betrayed that one of the people closest to me didn't believe me. one of the people who knows all the things about me. someone i tell my deep-seated fears and share all my anxieties with.

i'm not sure why i believe everything everyone says, regardless of the level of my relationship with that person. it could be me being gullible, or it could be my eternal optimism about humanity. but whatever the case, if you tell me something, i will straight up believe it. especially if you're a good friend.

and so of course i'm hurt: i don't feel nurtured or cared about by this friend. of course i feel like i'm being judged. of course i feel pretty fucking shitty. because i don't feel like i'm getting the same respect that i offer out.

-->another reminder of how every relationship in our life takes effort, i guess.

i then rehashed this conversation with two other besties (umm, duh). advice back: blog it out. and: i don't need that in my life; let go of the friendship.

1) so i'm blogging. i don't feel like i have something to say; i'm just trying to cleanse.

2) i can't just let go of someone i care about. i had a friend do that to me when she felt like i didn't fit exactly how she wanted me to respond to a situation. eventually we got to be friends again, but i know how badly that felt. just because i don't like the response i'm receiving right now, i'm not willing to cut a friend out of my life.

but what am i supposed to do?

this morning matt arrived from the US for a week's vacation. i'm super psyched he's here. he reminded me of my mantras from my energy healer. (in an affectionate making fun of me way.) i re-read them today after he mentioned them. and the part that is ringing loudly right now is: I feel safe expressing my truth now that I'm detached from the outcome.

practicing.

speaking my truth as i feel it right now. detaching from the outcome; just putting it out there. because that has to feel better than this.

#aimtrue

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

things are just things

my life seems to be all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows at times. and i guess i am pretty lucky. but i had a hard week last week: friends going through traumatic things, my mother is quite ill, and i was just a bit wrung out from offering love and support back out to the world. so much so that wednesday night when a casual friend asked me how i was doing, i started sobbing. and in art therapy thursday night the only way i could describe my emotional state was this: "my soul feels dehydrated."

i tried to quench the inner thirst through a yoga jam friday evening and by planning catch-ups with friends and a play date with my favorite four-year-old for the long weekend. half way through the long weekend, i was starting to feel a bit more 3D: things were sunny and happy, and i had lots of fun things planned for the rest of the weekend.

and then my friend's car was broken into. while parked behind my house. the back window was smashed and a lot of valuable items were taken.

ok. go ahead. get all the "you live in redfern" jokes out of the way. and then i'll try to refrain from telling you how safe redfern actually is and how i have friends who have had things stolen in every corner of sydney.

so after photoing the car and filing the police reports (yes, i totes snapchatted the forensics guy dusting for prints), i went about the rest of my day. rushing off to a friend's and then getting to the yoga class i had to teach. i was sad for my friend's losses, but i thought i was fine. i was feeling guilty about the robbery happening while he was parked at my house, but i told myself over and over "this is not my fault."

and then, while teaching yoga, i referenced the break-in and started crying.

it wasn't about the stuff. my friend didn't seem that upset about the things either. material items aren't what we're all about. and they aren't what really matter. so what was tugging at my heart?

i couldn't verbalize it at the time, but i think it was mostly about feeling violated. of being afraid to believe that the world isn't always a beautiful place. of realizing that karma doesn't mean everyone is always going to be nice to us. of remembering how unfair things can be.

pic stolen from here
i talked to my friend lisa about this, and she told me about how she had felt that way after her car had been broken into once (not in redfern). she also told me that she quickly returned to feeling "normal" afterward. i grabbed on to that bit of information.

maybe the world isn't perfect. but the more i thought about it today, i realized that my life-view hadn't actually shifted. i have a lot of magic in my life: just this afternoon adi and i practiced being mermaids at the pool. how can you beat that?

things are just things.
not everyone is a unicorn.
but i still believe in miracles.

#charmedlife

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

shining up my details

each time we make a decision, we create history. we affect other's history. we create our future. and we affect each other's destiny and future.

those little decisions, those little details, matter just as much as the big ones. in fact, i've recently realized that they probably matter much more. the details happen every day. and that's how we can really make a difference in our lives.

make the bed every morning: create order and peace.
keep your nails filed: create neatness and beauty.
sign off emails with something personal: create connection.

little details exist over and over. eternal opportunities for creation.

in yoga, paying attention to setting the foundation and to shining up the edges creates beautiful poses. i taught headstands in yoga tonight, and i had a student tell me that he had never tried one in 12 years of being a gymnast and teaching gymnastics. but through the details and intentions we set, he did his first headstand.

woah. it works.

i was talking to a bff tonight and off the cuff she said "i hate myself." and i thought, "god, how many times a day do you create that in your life?" i've done the same thing. i noticed a few months ago that every time i looked at my phone and it didn't have any notifications, i'd say to myself, "nobody loves me!" when i heard myself say this over and over, i was creating that. i had to re-train myself to say "i have lots of friends who love me; it's just that none of them are contacting me right at this moment."

and with that, i started to create more self-acceptance and love. i shifted. and shifting those little details makes a very real difference.

last night i binged and purged. just a little bit. but it sucked. and it left me feeling depressed and like a failure this morning. but you know what i did before i binged and purged? i reached out. i asked a friend for some reassurance. (thanks babe.)

that was a change. a little one, but a change. that little detail mattered. and i'm proud of that little detail. and being proud of that detail helped me get past the rest of it.

i think i reached out because i had a bff reach out to me last week. i remember feeling so proud of him. so thankful that he asked for help. and so hopeful for him creating the rest of what he needs.

kelli asked us saturday what we wanted to create in our lives. i want to create grace. beauty. heartfulness. love.

details.
create it through the details.
try this one kk: "i love me."
try this one c: "i have so many friends here that care about me."
i'm gonna try: "good job, spring."

Monday, September 22, 2014

ruts

my bestie asked me to call her hairdresser and schedule an appointment for her after she had to cancel one last minute recently. i said "sure," because i knew that i didn't like doing things like that. she asked me to pretend to be her, which i did. little did i know how poorly this salon takes to cancelling appointments. after chatting with the first woman that answered the phone, i gave information about "myself" to book "my" new appointment. i was then quickly put on hold while a new person came on the phone. the next person to talk to me started by stating "my" full name sternly. i knew "i" was in trouble. and i freaked out.

when i feel strong negative emotions, or when i think others will put negative strong emotions on me, i resist. and i put up cushions and cushions of softness and avoidance to prevent myself from experiencing these things. i was talking about this with someone recently and she asked me why was i so afraid of people being mad at me. i said, without thinking, "i guess it's because someone might be mad at me and not like me any more and leave me."

woah.

so, yeah, what am i actually afraid of? being left.

we can go back to the millions of times i moved as a child to understand what leaving friends behind over and over did to my psyche. or we can examine the two 4 year plus relationships i've had and the break-ups that involved them leaving me and not telling me (yes i'm serious).

or we can simply say "no one likes feeling left; no one likes feeling alone; no one likes feeling lonely."

my ink droplets, following
the path of least resistance 
but the danger i fall into is that i grab onto the path of least resistance. just like water droplets that will find another existing pathway and follow it instead of making their own. that existing pathway is the easiest. so i avoid potentially upsetting someone. i put up cushions so that i don't feel any uneasiness of my own. i try to make everything ok for everyone so that everyone is happy. i follow that already-created-path. because i'm used to it.

i fall into a rut.

but kelli gave me a reminder saturday night. she said we should be like YEA... RESISTANCE... I CAN GROW!!! which is what #miraclesnow and gabby taught me: be grateful for what we can learn from our fears. and it's also what my energy healer told me: when you feel those uncomfortable feelings, take them as a SIGN that you need to change something.

it's the same lesson over and over, but in different words: "don't avoid. feel. do. evolve."

so why do i keep forgetting this lesson? i don't know. (yet.) but i do know that i see lots of my friends forget it. one of my BFFs in yoga the other day PUSHED and pushed through the practice; ignoring body signals and feelings of tiredness. the result was not pretty (crash landing anyone?)... but it was just the physical interpretation of the same lesson. there was no acknowledgement there: it was "nope. gonna ignore that. gonna do what i always do instead."

and when i saw it in yoga, in someone else, i cried. i recognised this for what it was when it wasn't me. but when i do it? shhhhh. avoid. let's not acknowledge that, k? k. thanks.

it's sad when we avoid what we need. when we avoid what we feel. when we avoid what can be an opportunity for more in our lives.

when i was in my marriage, and unhappy, i wasn't going to do anything to change it. i thought "this is where i live now," and i wasn't going to even try. i resigned to it. i used to wish for ANYthing to come along to change the situation for me: even an illness or death. i was desperate for something to get me out of where i was--but i couldn't see a way out on my own.

last week i had a friend express almost that exact same sentiment to me: she said she wished sometimes that a certain person in her life would just drop off the face of the earth. why? because the situation she was in with this person seemed hopeless to her. she didn't know how she was going to get out of it; how she was going to change it; how she could ever be happy.

part of all this is that avoidance. part of it is not wanting to feel those strong things. part of it is being afraid of being alone. and part of it is just being stuck in a rut.

who new ruts could be so fucking heartbreaking?

so?

change the pattern; shake it up:
feel what's happening.
forget about the fears.
react in a new way.
and then: let your heart sparkle;
be glitteringly happy.

that's the plan anyway. xo

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

through your eyes

i was at a birthday party a couple of nights ago talking to a friend i don't see very often. he gave me a few compliments that were hard to hear--because they were so genuine and nice.

like SO nice. i kept saying "really?!" to things he was saying, and he kept saying "oh, come on, you know this; i'm sure your five best friends tell you this all the time!"

when i repeated these things back to kitty (still in disbelief), she said "umm, i tell you that ALL THE TIME!" oh. hmm.

three lessons here: 1) we don't tell our friends genuine things enough. 2) sometimes we may not hear or believe the things our very best friends tell us. 3) we often have no idea how others see us.

if you asked me how i see myself, this is what i would say: i'm just a girl.

sure, i know i am talented and have a lot of good qualities. but everyone has their own talents. and everyone has some great qualities. so i guess i just don't really feel that special most of the time. but it's really a strange thing to hear yourself described by someone else. luckily for me, it was also positive.

there's this old episode of "this american life" that i love so much i've listened to it a few times, and i never listen or watch things more than once. this episode is haunting, but amazing: it's called see no evil. the episode is all about pretending that things are ok and ignoring things that are uncomfortable--on personal, business, and national levels. in the first segment, there is a family struggling to see the bad in one of their loved ones. even when that something is really bad.

why is it that we can only see the most amazing things about our loved ones but we struggle to see those things in ourselves?

there's this exercise in gabby's 40 days book that has you look into the mirror and say things to yourself as if you were saying them to a best friend or lover. the exercise is quite confronting, and hard to get through. i've gone back to this a few times to try to get it "right." but it's always hard. (i dare you to try it.)

telling yourself those nice things, and believing them, is something that takes practice. we can do it on the mat or off. we can practice cultivating inner strength and power by breathing through a challenging yoga pose or by breathing through a difficult conversation.

after seeing kanye friday night, i taught a theme in yoga about stepping up to a stronger more powerful version of yourself: like believing SO MUCH in your inner strength and power. but not for ego reasons (yeah, i'm calling you on that one kanye). when we truly believe in ourselves, we can do more; we can give more; we can become more; we can inspire more.

we can manifest miracles.

and it's important to do. hard work... but super important.

practicing believing what i hear. love to you N for your words saturday night. i actually heard what you said. and it means a lot to me.

sharing the love back. words to KK you may need right now: you're smart, intelligent, genuine, kind, caring, loving, and loveable. to A going for a job interview later today: you're going to rock it. #nodoubts and to all y'all: you have it inside you too. xx