Deep Breaths y'all...
we're all going through it in some way🦋
Breathing is helping ground me latley. My truth is I am both emotionally and physically depleted. It happens to the best of us, okay!!
When I started this Substack, on a total whim at the beginning of January, it felt like motivation had burst through the door and I had inhaled her through my open mouth when I gasped at her surprise return. I wasn’t expecting her, and I didn’t know how long she was here to stay, but I was grateful she remembered me. Motivation jolted my fingers with electricity and my first few posts came together quickly as if by magic. I never expected to receive so much affirmation about my writing and it fueled me to want to share more. My writing process is to word dump in my notes app, riffing off several themes, topics, and musings of mine. Then I sit down with intention to organize all those wanderings into something *hopefully* coherent. This month, I wrote almost daily in my notes app. I started on several things I wanted to share, but life keeps throwing curve balls at me and over the past three weeks, I feel like the air keeps getting knocked out of me each time before I’ve even finished recovering from the last blow.
Mid January, I was a storm cloud. I had been accumulating feelings, holding them in and holding them tight and I just kept getting grayer and grayer until I could no longer hold it in. Then monsoon season started and I cried every day, threw lightning bolts at my parents (who didn’t deserve it), blew myself into the corner of my bathroom, and sat in the darkness and sobbed. Yes, the same girl who was raving about hope and rainbows just weeks ago, it’s me. What can I say? I contain multitudes🤪
But in all seriousness, my therapist tells me this is normal. And human. Which blows my mind, because every time my pendulum is swinging from one extreme emotion to the other, I feel so impossibly alone. How terrible that other people experience this too. It sucks to feel my emotions this deeply. But also, what a gift to feel my emotions this deeply. This doesn’t make sense, and yet it makes all the sense in the world to me. My art is born from this ability, so maybe I’ll just shut up and be grateful?
Curveball after curveball, I find myself getting up and mustering strength I didn’t know I had in me to dust off my wounds and get back in the game. My faith is relentless. I don’t know where, inside of me, that comes from and I don’t understand how it works, but I’m grateful for it. I looked up what you call someone who perseveres… amongst many words, “stubborn” stands out. I guess I am stubborn when it comes to happiness. I stubbornly continue to reach for joy because it’s a safety mechanism for me. Optimism is a weighted blanket, which without, I feel despair.
But even as a relentless optimist, I can get to a point where I want to drop my bags on the floor of the airport, sit down with my arms crossed, and just give up. That’s me in rare form and in my defense, I’ve only actually done that one time. Giving up isn’t fun. But sometimes, you just have nothing left to give. Today I kind of feel like I’m right there: defeated, sitting on the floor of the airport, watching everyone bustle around me, knowing full well that this won’t accomplish anything but not having enough energy to care.
I realized today that my body has been in fight or flight mode non stop… probably since last August. There was that brief stint of time around November and early December where I was so peaceful, things rolled off me like water. But that feeling has come and gone and now I don’t feel angry, sad, or happy, just numb.
This month I’ve navigated sketchy ultrasound reports, important doctors appointments, almost booking jobs and then watching them fall through at the last minute, injuries, family birthdays, weekend getaways gone wrong, and all while prepping to go into surgery in 9 days. To say I was already tired, is an understatement. Then last week, my little fur baby, Clementine (my sun and my moon and all of my stars) had an accident and suddenly we were rushing to ER vets, booking neurologist appointments and monitoring him to make sure he wasn’t nearing paralysis. It’s been a heavy week.
While I’m so grateful for so many miracles and so much magic that has come through to cover us, and while I’m SO beyond grateful that he is showing a lot of improvement, I’m still here, fighting with myself to not invalidate my feelings and admit: IT’S BEEN A HEAVY WEEK.
I know, about myself, that I constantly invalidate my feelings and compare my struggles to others as a way to toxically motivate myself to keep going. Things like: “yeah, but you could’ve lost all your hair while having to do Chemo” or “at least your hospital helped cover your medical expenses'' are statements that I have said to myself when I start feeling sad about what’s happening in my life to, I don't know, humble myself? Force myself to be grateful? Gaslight myself into continuing to persevere? God, it’s so toxic. I deserve more grace than that. The truth is that, at any point in time, how I feel about something is entirely valid. I can’t control how I feel but I can control how I react. This is truth that I know and that I would say to any one of my friends. Yet, I forget to apply it to myself and instead, resort to being mean to myself.
Yesterday I briefly chatted with my friend about how it’s so easy to care for our pets and to be so patient and kind to them, but when it comes time to bring that same energy to ourselves, we throw those beliefs out the window as if we didn’t need them. I don’t want to be like that anymore.
I want to be as gentle and kind and nurturing as I’ve been to Clementine all week; feeding him little bits of water through a tiny syringe when he was too weak and in pain to take himself to the bowl. I want to pour love into myself the way I did with Clementine this week when the neurologist said he needs to be crate rested for A MONTH while we wait to hopefully avoid spinal surgery; so I decorated his crate with twinkly lights and photos and a million little shiny stars. Clementine deserves that, but so do I. And if I'm not willing to give it to myself, no one will think I’m worthy of it either.
I don’t even really know what I’m ranting about this time. I did warn y’all these would be both magical and chaotic moments of my life, so I guess this is me sticking to that promise. My mind wanders a lot lately. Sometimes I write it down, sometimes I sit in confusion. I never know how to ask for help, and I admit, I don’t do it often. This makes me feel lonely sometimes. Not really sure where I’m going with this—I had other things I’d been working on that I was hoping to share, but I didn’t have the energy to finish them so, I’ll save them for another time.
Sometimes you just need a biiiig collective virtual hug from all your internet buddies and this is me shamelessly asking you all to send me one❤️🩹
I’ll share 4 more things:
1.This is a little writing that I did sometime last year, when things felt really bleak and empty… I guess I didn’t need to preface it because I’m pretty descriptive with how I was feeling at the time lol.
She’s a black hole
I think the light’s gone out of me
I think I vacuumed it all up sometime last spring
when the flowers were blooming and I got the sudden psychotic urge to deep clean so I dusted the ceiling and polished the walls and vacuumed every last inch of my house looking for dust balls and imperfections but I think I just vacuumed up all of my joy instead.
I think it took a while to notice
my body slowly decomposing from the inside out
it’s like I turned out the lights but nobody noticed
I was too busy dancing with my eyes closed to see.
The dust came back
the dirt, the spiders
there’s no spark here anymore.
Science would classify me as a black hole now
there’s no more soil for anything to grow.
What happens when you mix every color?
Mud. Gross, dark, dirty, lifeless mud.
That’s all I am anymore.
They say you need darkness to know about light. They say you need sadness to know about joy. Well I think I know too much about this. I think I’ve written too many pages in too many journals that are all half empty and collecting dust up high on my shelf.
I forgot what color tastes like. I forgot what light feels like when it’s shining over me. I forgot what it’s like to see a rainbow.
The life and colors have been sucked all out of me.
Send me your thoughts and prayers. Well never mind, what’s the point? I’ve been asking God and praying for answers but I’m tired of shouting into a void.
It’s just me. Sitting here in this dark room. Mud on the floors. Stacks and stacks of sadness written in pen. Head on my knees, arms wrapped around me. I hate being cold. There’s no more tears to cry. I’m empty. When light gets sucked out of you it takes away your life. There’s no water to blossom emotion.
Just a dim heartbeat that echoes your soul.
2. Now here’s one about hope. Life is a constant ebb and flow of good and bad days and times and feelings; my writing reflects that in my life :)
I harvest my hope once a year in the summer
it grows tall like the grass in my homeland
and sustains me through the cold winter months.
One day a year I sit with myself and intention
lay a picnic blanket out on the grass
strawberries and cherries on red and white checkers
a woven basket in the sun
I sit and lay and cultivate the meaning of my life
why I’m here
who I am
what I want to be.
I let God whisper in my ear as little ants crawl over me
I breathe and I listen
and I take in the sun
I soak up the moonlight
and count the invisible stars.
Hope blooms brightly
blinding and binding me to the earth.
My toes dig into the soil as little earthworms wake
I harvest my hope on the life my ancestors left me
The soil is different here but my past is not
The future beams brightly
Wild flowers blow through the breeze
3. I wanted to share about a new friend I recently met on Instagram, her name is Rosalba. Back in early December, Rosalba reached out to me about her dad, Francisco, who had been diagnosed with a really aggressive and rare type of Thyroid cancer. She reached out to me before I had shared my own diagnosis with everyone and it felt a bit supernatural to both of us, when I told her about my past few months dealing with my own type of thyroid cancer. We began bonding over messages of love and hope to each other and when her father passed away a few weeks later, I was heartbroken for her and her family. I asked her if I could share the message she wrote me the day her father passed because I was so blown away and inspired by her words.
“He’s a part of the light now and the sky. After such a storm, the sun shined so bright for him and all the birds flew to his direction when I drove.”
When I read her words I was in awe of how someone who had just lost their father hours prior, could write something that hopeful. I know grief, but I couldn’t/can’t imagine the grief of losing a parent. I know we all grieve differently but I think back on the darkest moments of my life and how it took me days, if not weeks, to even think about the light, let alone how my loss was the sky’s gain. I was stunned by how strong she was as I thought about how her younger siblings would be looking to her for guidance on how to do life without their dad. I thought about how she didn’t ask to be put in that role, but God called her to it and she stepped up. Boldly. Bravely. Without thinking twice. I am inspired by Rosalba and her faith; in awe of her ability to direct her energy toward the light, even in what is probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of her light. That is relentless faith and I wanted to share her bravery and her light with you all because she is so special. If you feel called to help her family, I am sharing the link to her dad’s GoFundMe. I know they could use whatever help possible to cover funeral expenses and to be a support to them.
4. I came across this quote this week and it felt like a little nod from the Universe.
So much IS happening. It’s not all objectively good, but there IS some good. And “some” is something. If we focus our energy on what IS good, life will start to feel a little lighter. What do they say about “where attention goes, energy flows”? This week, as so much has been going on with my sweet Clementine, I did notice that as soon as I directed my energy towards the good things that were happening ( the neurologist’s availability, the options we were given, his interest in food returning, etc), Clementine seemed to start feeling better and better every day. I saw it happen in real time. This is the magic✨.
This week, or month, what has been your magic and what has been your mayhem? It’s so nice to know we’re not ever alone. In anything. Not in the good and not in the bad. There’s always people to relate with and share with. I’m grateful for this and anything you share✨
Feel free to make it a public comment or a private message to me. I am sending you love if you need it🦋
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