Sunday, October 26, 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

Thursday, October 16, 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

Sunday, October 12, 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.


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.


Monday, October 6, 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.