No I’m not talking about unclogging the pipes to your toilet but the pipes within your mind and body. I know this is starting off weird, I feel it too. Let me release the toxins of these thoughts through this post - I swear, I’m done with the toilet talk for now. Had to throw that last one in there.
Recently I’ve been working on trying to let go of the thoughts and trauma that are still hanging onto me, weighing me down, clogging up my mind and heart with heaviness. I’m finally at this place where enough is enough and I just want to be released of it all. Life is short and I don’t want to be backed up, stuck on things that are not doing me any good.
As I’ve been writing out my heaviness and talking about it with my therapist, I had this realization that I’m angry. Not just angry but fucking pissed. If you know me that probably doesn’t sound like me and that’s because I’ve spent my whole life smiling, being bright, and loving. I am all of those things but I’ve also been that person with all the things that have hurt me. It’s been the way that I’ve been able to survive and get to where I am today but it has definitely taken its toll. It has finally clogged me up mentally that there is no place for it to go other than face it head on and see my true feelings for what they are. Anger.
Last time I wrote I had a homework assignment for us all:
Give yourself a hug in front of the mirror and say nice things to yourself for 3 minutes.
Did you do it?!
Tell me you didn’t smile? At the very least maybe you smiled because you felt a little silly. If you didn’t do it yet, that’s okay. Maybe you need to sit with the idea first before you take the leap and remember that self- love comes in different forms.
I’m going to share a story of self-love from the other week. I have to give a shoutout to my friend Shawnee for making me see it.
Let’s talk about hair.
You might be thinking- really, this is what you are going to talk about for this post? Self-love and hair? Yes, yes I am. For me, there has been a lot wrapped in my hair. Let me explain.
My mom would cut our hair and was not gentle about haircuts or styling hair. I don’t mean just when there was one of those bird’s nests of a knot in your hair, I mean always. Lots of pulling and tight buns. My head always hurt and the haircut or style was rarely my choice. One thing was always guaranteed, tears.
Skip to high school. My parents were going through a nasty divorce, my mom wasn’t around, and there wasn’t much money for food, let alone cosmetics for a teen. I found solstice in my girlfriends. Which fortunately and unfortunately meant box dying kits and me doing whatever color they thought I should do. I didn’t know what looked good on me - I couldn’t trust myself to make that kind of decision because that trust had been broken many years prior. Oh, the many colors I had.
Then there was my first boyfriend in high school/college and once again, he liked my hair long and dark and so it went. My hair was long and dark.
Couple more years go by and I start developing psoriasis. One of the places I had a major inflammation was on my scalp which made my hair fall out in clumps so I was forced to cut my hair SHORT and couldn’t color it.
On life goes, I break up with my long-term boyfriend at the time, still struggling with my psoriasis, and I move in with some family and once again, let someone dictate my hair color and style. My hair color essentially matched another person. It was never what I wanted and it never felt like me.
Here we go, Peace Corps in Ukraine! I thought, this would be my chance. I would get the color and style I wanted. First attempt, orange. GARFIELD ORANGE. For the love of god, how is this happening? And no, I don’t have a picture. Maybe I do but I can’t bring myself to share it.
Now ... 7 inches shorter and a little brighter ... This is me, for me.
In my yoga classes I often like to focus on self-love and this is because it’s a concept I’ve been working on for awhile and is one that has been so hard to embrace. I can’t tell you why it’s still a work in progress when rationally, I know it’s something I need and everyone needs for themselves.
Self-love and acceptance is everything.
I think there is a part of me that needs that overbearing person to force me into a hug and say, “Just let it happen! LOVE YOURSELF”. You know the kind of person that I’m talking about. The one that would hug me so tight and is so full of life that I couldn’t help but laugh. Who would make me stand in front of a mirror and point out all of the wonderful things that we see in the mirror.
you have to nurture and come back to. It’s the most important relationship you’ll ever have AND the longest one. This might seem like a silly thing to do but let’s just try it.
We have all the love inside of us that we are looking for. Kind of mind blowing. I’ll promise you that I'll work towards this as long as you promise yourself to work towards letting that love out, too. The cool thing is, that love isn’t going anywhere, so when you are ready, it’ll be there. Let’s not wait too long though because I’m sure this love is pretty amazing.
Was there a moment or time in your life where you felt like you weren’t being heard?
Maybe you were trying to help someone or you were trying to help yourself but it felt like no one was listening.
When I was younger, I felt like that often. I wrote this a while ago when I was in a place of unease and felt like I had no voice. These were the thoughts and voices in my head. And let me tell you, things got crazy; my thoughts were running rampant. I’m sharing this with you to let you know that you are not alone. Have you had these kinds of thoughts or moments? The ones where you felt like everything around you was spinning? I’ve been there...
I feel like I'm shouting and no one is listening to me. Can they hear me? Am I not loud enough? What is wrong with me; why can't they hear me? Don't they see what is happening here? This isn't how things are supposed to be.
I tell people how I feel and they don't respect it. They brush off my feelings; they brush me off. Did I not actually say it or did I just say it in my head? Did I say it wrong? What didn't they understand? Were they not actually listening? Do I have it wrong? Should I not feel that way? Why don't they trust what I say? I follow through with what I say and my feelings match my actions. What did they actually hear? What is wrong with me?
The ones that have listened took things from me. Were they actually listening to me? Were they pretending to listen? What am I saying that is making them think that this was okay or what I wanted? Why did they not actually listen? Am I not good enough? What is wrong with me?
I encourage them and try to walk alongside people but they don't move. Don't they see that I believe in them? That I love them. Do they not feel it? What am I not saying to them? Why do they ask me to tell them things and then they don't listen? I know it's hard to make changes but why ask if you don't want to know? It’s gotta be me. What is wrong with me?
I'm screaming in pain and leaking out masses of sadness but no one is listening. No one hears it. It feels like it is ringing in my ears, it's bleeding from my mouth...these words. It's hurting. I just want someone to listen. Can't they hear the hope in my voice for them to notice? Why won't anyone listen?
What I know now…
Hunni, maybe just maybe, no one is listening to you because the one person that should be listening isn't.
That person is you.
There is one person in this world that can understand you, listen to you, and love you unconditionally. That one person is you.
Have you taken a moment to just stop and listen to yourself? Be your own best friend and when it feels like no one is listening to you, be that person for yourself. There is something inside of you that needs to be heard and loved; give yourself that, even if it’s just a little bit.
As I was falling asleep the other night, thinking of all the things I needed to do in the morning, I started to feel the tension in my chest and anxiety kicking in. I knew I had to give myself a reality check because there was no way I was going to be able to sleep if I started going down this path. I reminded myself that I don’t have to do it all. Which then made me wonder, why do I feel the need to do it all? Where did that come from?
For me, I really thought I was going to need to sit with this for a while but the answer popped in my head about a minute in. It all started when I was a sophomore in high school and I wasn’t at a great place academically and mentally, and home was messy. I was not coping well and it showed. I had a turning point (which I’ll share another time) and it was in just a moment that I made the decision to not go down the path of darkness and I had my solution! My solution was to keep myself so busy and to do it all so that there would be absolutely no way I could spiral down into the darkness….
Well of course, avoidance doesn’t work any better than running away! Being busy doesn’t take the pain away. It doesn’t make the demons go away. If anything those demons become PISSED and they will unleash their wrath when you least expect it, I learned this the hard way and I’m happy to say that I can look back at that version of myself and smile. She was just surviving and doing what she could with what she had. Why was she doing it? She was doing it out of fear - fear of having to sit in the darkness with her demons. She didn’t know if she could make it, she didn’t know if she was strong enough.
Don’t get me wrong, sitting in the darkness with the demons is still not my most favorite pastime and the fear is always lingering but I know that I can and need to do it. I know that trying to do it all is a sign that there is a little demon on my shoulder saying, “Heyyyyyyyy!” and that little fucker isn’t going anywhere until I sit with it, there is something that the little guy is trying to tell me. It might be that work is stressing me out, that I’m worried about a loved one, something from my past is bubbling up, or my depression is rearing its ugly head.
Now I can sit with it and not in the darkness but in the open, in the light.
You are worthy and enough to not have to do it all, all the time. When you are busy, people often ask, how do you do it all? The right question is, why do you do it all? Can you sit with yourself long enough to give yourself the love and attention you need?
If you are going to do it all, do it all for yourself and no one else.
Someone told me recently that even when good things are happening, remember to take care of yourself. Some of you may be thinking, that’s kind of odd. Why would you need to take care of yourself? Life is taking care of you. You should be basking in all the joy, the love, the beauty - oh, the list goes on.
Well, I can tell you that is all very true but what is also true is that shit can and will hit the fan, for some of you.
Oh the comradery is so strong! Don’t get me wrong, this is a dark, dark place; what is different though is you have a sense of belonging with your trauma. You don’t feel so alone because you know this trauma, you know what they are going to say, think, and feel. You’ve been through it all together and you’ll always have each other.
Now, when you are strong, fierce, and brave, that same trauma is PISSED. It turns into your anchor. Holding you down as your heavy reminder of who you are, who the trauma expects you to be. It says, you cannot forget about me - I was here on your darkest days and by the way, you still aren’t worthy.
You have this sense of confusion, frustration, anger, and you feel lost. And to top it off, not only are you experiencing all these things, plus whatever joy is currently happening, but you are also seeing the trauma more clearly than you ever have before. You can see that trauma for what it truly is and yet, you can’t let go. It’s part of you and even though you are so very strong right now, there is still a tiny bit of doubt in you that believes this trauma. There is a bit of truth that the trauma holds.
There are a lot of things running through your head and your heart is full of so many emotions - making you feel stuck and more alone than you ever have before. It’s a confusing place to be and it’s a confusing place for others to understand.
I think I’m at this place right now.
Right here, right now, as I’m writing this - I don’t know what the exact answer is yet. I mean, I kind of do - I know that I need to sit here with this for a while because it’s not going anywhere. The answer for sure is not to ignore it. I’ve tried that and it comes back with a vengeance and bites you in the ass, so check that one off the list of things not to try. I think this trauma and part of me needs a little care and a little attention. Have you tried that?
For now, let’s try sitting with it - not forever but for now. And remember, we are not what has happened to us.