The Vulnerability in Knowing

I know that I’ve been absent for quite some time here. There has been no new writing, no spam posting of edited pictures on social media, and a barely-noticable, quite sparse presence on the book of face.
I haven’t been creating like I used to, for months… and that’s okay.

“We’re all on a different timeline.” has been repeated over and again and it makes me wonder. In the multiverse of five billion minds, where will paths cross, intertwine and split again, all creating what we know of ourselves?

What exactly started the chemical reaction of learning more of myself, I don’t know. The healing does not come like a cleansing rain. No, it comes like a nuclear explosion, laying waste to all you’ve ever known. It leaves you in what looks like ruins, flaws and brokeness exposed.

There is no painless way to know yourself.

Before uncovering the foundations a soul stands on, hours, days, months are spent digging through the rubble. Research on radioactive events, in our existence, is never truly over. So it is, sorting through fragmented memory, to find insight into a reason for every element of ourselves.

Clarity is supernatural and what you once thought of in black and white, washes away. Contrast can only do so much to see within, when even our brain-matter is gray. Such is the struggle, when it is realized that previous you-s no longer exist, and you are pressed to give answer to questions insidious persistence. Steady retort is buried under the debris of all I have been and have yet to be.

Long story short, I’ve been learning about myself, pursuing healing, and wrestling with the unknown. When you think about everything you perceive yourself to be, what do you find when the past is pried open and the patterns of of your personality are tracked? Getting to know someone, with all their flaws and idiosyncrasies, takes intention and vulnerability. You are worth getting to know yourself that way.

Access to the Heart

New Year ‘22

Hello, and happy new year!

So many of us have been struggling this past year and many, just wanted 2021 to be over and done with. I admit, I have no expectations of situational improvement for this year of 2022. The empathetic exhaustion is just too real and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Now, I didn’t say I’m expecting the worst. No, I just don’t have expectations.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have plans, goals or things to focus on. I’m determined to continue growing even more than this past year. I’ve resolved to buckle down on a spending structure to save for a house of my own. The appointments, already working on my health, are densely populated over the month, and creative pursuits are still on the to-do list.

There isn’t really a “new year, new me” operation in place, just a “more me, still growing” kind of thing. I’ve begun reading, soaking up truth first thing in the morning instead of clearing social media notifications. If you have any kind of social media addiction, escapist scrolling, obsessive opinion posting or other, I think you will agree with me that it has become a hard and fast habit. With any habit, it is HARD to change. Even if I’m still half asleep and the words I’m reading don’t make sense, I’m choosing to start my day that way, instead of scrolling because it eventually will break the unhealthy habit.

This year is going to be a lot of choosing. Choosing to keep myself to my budget, choosing to prioritize my health, choosing to focus less on consuming digitally and more on creating, learning, and caring. It is comforting to know that no matter what may happen this year, I can still choose joy. The amazing thing about joy, is that it isn’t an emotion. I can be in pain, depressed, anxious, or heartbroken and still choose joy.

Do you struggle to process your emotions? I know I do, especially the negative or “bad” ones. I try to find the solution to them instead of feeling them, try reasoning with them instead of processing. Happiness is great. Everyone wants to be happy, but what it took me years to realize is; it’s not the same as joy.

Joy is a choice and hope is waiting. A simple enough thought, but truly challenging for me when I look at it closely. Did you know that the Greek word for hope, elpis means expectation, trust and confidence? Hope isn’t wishing but instead waiting for something that is guaranteed. What do you hope for? While you are waiting, do you choose joy?

Today was fine. It started out quite nicely. As the clouds turned sunshine into gloom, and I was left alone with my thoughts, unrushed, I wasn’t excited to keep going. My goals struck me as pointless and my pain crept in to whisper that there is nothing to wait for. But… I remembered my reading from this morning, about joy and hope. Admittedly I may have been a little too excited about new word meanings in ancient languages at the time. The point is that I was able to choose joy. I’m not happy right now but I’m waiting for the time that I will be and choosing to find the opportunity for growth, the good, and taking one step at a time.

What do you think friends and strangers? The structure of this post is a bit scrambled but did you relate? Maybe you disagree. Either way, I hope your day is lovely and your life is joyful.

Until next time.
R&C

Determined to feel alive

If I am going to keep hanging in the balance of waiting for my perfect future and being open to growth and change, I might as well be in a good relationship with myself.

Essentially, I have a four year time frame to make some big changes. Four years left in current wonderful apartment, four years to save, to decide, to make moves. I want to buy a house. Where that house will be is not concrete. Do I want to stay in my home state, without family? Is there enough here to keep me, or will I end up settling somewhere else, with or without the support system of my parents close by. I’m fortunate to have a close relationship with them. There is no way of knowing if I will meet someone and form a romantic relationship before then either, and that would be another factor, of course.

I was taken on a wonderful date today. It felt good to dress up, grab a small, fall-special coffee after being cooked a delicious breakfast of buckwheat pancakes from scratch with eggs and bacon and then head to my favorite dirt trail.
The autumn colors were stunning and I didn’t rush my pace, taking in the uninterrupted beauty around me. There was some kind of company event using the park, with signs on the trail so the path less taken was…taken. It led the way, wandering through a field of waving grass and then skirted a group of birches. We’ve had a few storms this past month or so and fallen trees or sawed off roots were not a surprise to see. A large stump, the partially charred trunk lying close by, arrested my attention without a second glance. I almost put an end to the child-like glee that sprung up inside me, but why should I have? There was no one there to worry about boring or embarrassing. Doing my best not to disturb too much on my way through the dry, taller grasses, I arrived at my destination properly pleased with myself. The simple happiness that accompanied clambering up on that big stump was so soothing. It was large enough for me to lay on and stare up into the perfectly blue sky. No anxious thoughts came to plague me. I was able to just be. “This would be a perfect place for a date.” I thought, but the friends I had reached out to were already busy so I was alone. It was about then, that I realized I could be my own sort of significant other until the person meant for me appears. I want someone who values me and makes me feel safe but I don’t do that for myself much of the time. With that in mind, could I be intentional about being in a committed relationship with myself? It sounds strange, but the idea of value and self-love is at the bottom of it.

After appreciating the situation for a bit and finishing the walking circuit, I finally visited my favorite tea shop. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get a personal pot of fragrant tea, a slice of tiramisu, and settle myself in one of the Japanese-style seating areas with tatami mats and low tables. Sure, it still crossed my mind that it would be nice to share this with someone, but it’s also a near-perfect place to write. A violin version of Merry-Go-Round of Life floats quietly through the space, mingling with quiet discussion and clinking of tea dishes. The small chalkboard sign at the counter states “no wi-fi on weekends” and electrical outlets by my seat are covered up. All the better. There are few places to create this atmosphere. Precious tea dribbles onto my journal page as I burn my mouth on the complimentary refill. I’m glad it is thick paper.
Usual melancholy is waiting under the surface of this rest. Hauntingly nostalgic piano music makes its ripples, prodding at my thoughts of both future and past again. I want more days like this, where I am determined to feel alive.

I’m going to stop apologizing for the delays or absences in my posting and instead focus on what I do bring to this place. Life is full of confusing ups and downs. All I can do is my best.

Thank you for being here strangers and friends.

Eventually

Hello dearest friends and strangers,

I have once again spent more than my usual time away from you this week. It’s been difficult to have motivation or inspiration.
Yesterday, I accomplished a massive amount of cleaning and was expecting to feel happy and pleased with myself but instead, sunk into a gloom that I could not understand.

Maybe it was due to finally having “free” time, not a jam-packed weekend schedule. Maybe it was the quiet that I crave during the week, finally sinking in. Whatever reason, there was no escaping my thoughts. Losing myself in social media scrolling didn’t distract me, instead it pulled struggle to the front, forcing me to process what I didn’t even completely realize I had been avoiding.

There is a trend where people show all the hard work and pain that they’ve been going through and then, as the music swells, say or show why it’s all worth it; what they are moving toward.
I’ve lost that. I know I have purpose. I know I have value. I just don’t have an end goal to grasp. My dreams are lackluster. There is no obvious path that I am following. The five year plan question that management ask in interviews has always been difficult for me but I honestly don’t have an answer right now.

As I look back at all that I have gained, everything checked off my ever-growing to-do list, I wonder why comfort doesn’t come with all the blessings. Will anything ever be enough? Will I ever be enough, not for others, but for myself?

Take a deep breath. I’m not looking for you to answer. Just know that, if you’re troubled by your own apathy and numbness to your life, your future, you’re not alone. Keep going. We’ll get there eventually.

Beautiful and Tumultuous

The wind is making the trees dance in the setting sun. Spinning seeds find their way to me from an empty sky It is not quiet, yet it is peaceful. When this type of breeze makes my hair caress my arms and strands cross my face, I feel as if I must be important, strong. There is no booming, no cracking or roaring. Instead the power is quiet, soft and still beautiful.

I wonder if the wind has ever known where it’s going. As far as I can tell, it just goes. I want to be like the wind; beautiful in my collected chaos, freely fulfilling my purpose, not worried about where I’m headed.

The Dream

Though my dreams and aspirations have become somewhat fuzzy these days, I realized that a core desire still remains.

My “what do you want to be when you grow up” answer has ranged from being a mother, to being an event coordinator, to being an author, to teaching English in Japan. Realizing that I currently don’t know what I want to do and that my interest in any previous 5 year plan has flatlined, is both discouraging and confusing.

Years ago, one of my dear cousins and I were looking for locations to do photo shoots. Various abandoned buildings presented themselves but one lives in my memory, solid, to this day. It was the most beautiful brick instrument factory. Sun reflected off of the large multi-glass pane windows, vines climbed the exterior elevator and the sturdy front door: stained glass window and rich finish on the dark wood, provided contrast to the pavement and metal.
It was for sale. We dreamed of buying it and renovating the inside to be full of conduits for potential. There would be various bedrooms, a library, a professional level kitchen, a music studio, art studio, dance studio, workshop and room for more. The building was large. The vision was that people with cohesive personalities and interests could live there in community and create through the different avenues. It would be our place.
Of course neither of us had much money at the time and the lot was bought by someone else. I don’t know what became of that building. I’d like to think that the new owner did something beautiful with it instead of knocking it down and building cookie cutter condos. In my mind, it is what we dreamed it could be.

My more recent idea for a small business, I’ve realized, would fit into that fantasy as well. I want to create experiences for people who, like me, are stuck in the 9-5 grind and wish they could live a different life, but can’t. Boxed escapes brought to you not just by me, but by partnering with local artists and other small business creators. One of the reasons it hasn’t happened is because it requires a massive amount of prep, organization, community and time.
A different dear cousin is visiting me this weekend and she spoke of her roomate, an author who “collects” other artists. People supporting and working with each other, like minded, creating beautiful elements that, as a whole, reach the desired outcome. It brought me back to that dream of the abandoned instrument factory.

Admittedly, these particular people don’t fit what society deems normal or typical but there is a richness in individuals working to understand each other and support growth, even painful, in each other. It’s not something that I’ve felt comfortable sharing here before but I am what some call neurodivergent. It roughly means that my brain doesn’t work the typical way. There are a lot of people who fit into that descriptor and it’s still highly stigmatized. When we are able to share with like-minded individuals, unafraid to be ourselves, it is so beautiful. Safety to exist as you actually are in a community is not something that everyone has the occasion to value on the same level. Meaning, if you fit into societies expectations, you aren’t consistently putting energy toward presenting yourself in a way that is comfortable for others.

I may not know my solid, attainable dream for my future right now but I do know that having the support from people who understand me, and the ability to create and essentially share my heart with people in that way, that’s the dream.

Thank you for reading, strangers and friends.

Pinterest board for the factory is here.

The long way home

Whenever I saw signs for the “scenic route” while driving, I was never interested. Only more recently have I found the value of taking the road not suggested by GPS as the fastest or most direct. What a map or navigational system can’t see is what one can gain from going that way.

Taking the long way home, shifts my brain from rush to reflection. I wouldn’t have even seen the sunset spreading across the sky if I had taken the direct route. I wouldn’t learn all that I am if I was already in sight of my destination.

Not every trip is meant to hold that extra few miles but sometimes those extra few miles hold something precious, otherwise missed. I know, I’m being very vague and cryptic but this is the thought that struck me. Being told that I don’t have the same timeline for my life as everyone else, has never had a pleasant ring to it. Patience is a virtue but I never asked for practice.

Maybe what I’m trying to say, is that I’m still alright, even though I can’t see home. Though I am wandering, I’m just taking the scenic route. If my life followed the timeline that I see so many others following, maybe I would miss that gorgeous sunset. What am I missing by not paying attention to or valuing this extra stretch of road?

You’re not wrong, if you’re on a different path than me, a straight shot to the top. I hope though, that you’re able to take moments into your own hands and hold them. Give yourself the freedom to take the long way home; literally or figuratively.

Be well, strangers and friends.