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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pop! the cork

My mom has always been able to show love without any expectation of anything in return.  Not only has she always been generous with her time, energy, money, and hugs, but she used to pack my lunch and put notes and stickers in it, write me notes in lipstick on the bathroom mirror, give me little presents that she knew I'd like, drive me to dance classes, horseback riding, cheerleading, acting, gymnastics, softball, soccer, summer camp or whatever else I wanted to try.  She served me food only for me to complain about it.  She would wait with me for the school bus so I didn't have to wait alone and then she'd run back inside right before it came.  I pulled her out of bed in the middle of the night, more than once, to cry about how stupid boys were while she herself was fighting melanoma and my dad lay sick in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant.  Even though I’m certain she was exhausted, she hugged me and patiently let me cry into her chest as I’d done as a small child and for that moment I was a normal teenager and she was a normal mom and I forgot that death was always leering at my family, just around the next corner.

I could go on and on listing the generosities of my mom and perhaps I should, but the point of this post was supposed to be to say that I wish I were more like her.

I want to love like that.  I want to write notes, to give hugs, to unabashedly tell someone how absolutely gorgeous I truly think they are without any sort of expectation of those things in return.  I want to play, be silly, ceremonial, and dramatic without expectations of others to join in, unless of course they want to.

Then, of course, I feel that old choking sensation.  Just at the base of my throat below my voicebox, beyond that lump.  

Emotions get stuck.  I get stuck.  I gulp all of that down into my chest, where it presses against my ribcage for days and weeks and months.  And years.  

I wonder why my chest hurts, why my tummy hurts.

I used to write poetry.  Looking back on one part of one poem in particular I think it is perhaps about the release of this very thing I dream about being able to do.  Here is that poem.  I still think it is one of my favorites...

in my naval, golden and bubbling
Sweet champagne
that sparkles up to my throat where it rests, corked and quiet

Every kiss, a sip
Is it luscious on your lips?
Does it tingle on your tongue?

Pop! the cork
The world is thirsty

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anatomy of a Dream

I have dreams a lot, several a night that I actually remember.  Many of them are strange dreams, some of them are very psychedelic, beautiful, complex, and unclear in their message if there is a message or meaning at all.  Some dreams are really funny and make great anecdotes.  Some would make some really impressive novel or movie plots.  However, some of them are fraught with emotion, the kind that are demanding my attention to something with which I need to address in my subconscious.

Last night’s dream is even difficult for me to write out- it wants to stay stuck in my throat and keeps my chest tight and protected.  Therefore, it needs to come out, but I'll keep it short.

Let me start by explaining that I had been watching Grey’s Anatomy up until about two weeks ago when I realized that I was getting way to emotionally invested in these people that aren’t even real, and it was draining me.  After all, I could be using all of that wasted empathy on real people.  I was watching for so long because much of Grey’s feels very comforting to me.  I love hospitals, I spent a significant amount of time in them growing up and the medical drama of it all feels so familiar.  As comforting as it may seem at first, it is also not healthy for me.  So I stopped seeking comfort in the medical drama drug two weeks ago.  Hello, my name is Ashley and I'm addicted to medical drama.  Hi, Ashley.

The Dream
I dreamed that I was pregnant (gasp!), even though I had an IUD.  There was something very wrong that would kill me if I didn’t have surgery immediately.  However, I needed to decide if I wanted to keep the fetus or have it terminated during surgery.  I chose to terminate it. 

My parents were there in the hospital with me for little bit, and I remember that I kept asking my mom to call Andy to tell him what was happening.  She did, but she told me he was busy and couldn't come.  I tried to text him, but the nurses kept taking my phone away and giving my IVs.  This theme continued for what seemed like hours before the surgery.

I was absolutely terrified and alone- I had never had surgery of any kind before.  The doctors were very kind and one of them was particularly comforting and funny.  Just before he put me under, I remember thinking, “I’m sorry potential human, but this is the right thing to do.  I’m not your mom.”

When I woke from the surgery, I was both sad and relieved.  (*Note:  in real life, I’ve never had to make that choice, my heart goes out to all the women who have had or will have to make that choice.)  The very handsome doctor was there, and Andy never showed up, so when the handsome doctor told me he’d fallen in love with me (that happens all the time, right?) I naturally decided I was in love with him too, but I needed to “take it slow.” (Oh brain, even in the most serious of circumstances, you make me laugh.)  The next thing I know, the director yells, “CUT!”  And we wrapped up filming.  Apparently, this was all just acting.  The entire cast walked through the parking lot near the filming location to what appeared to be an amusement park, where we then celebrated finishing up with filming.  

“In real life,” the ladies on the cast told me, “the handsome doctor is an ass but he has a great British accent.”  I said, “I lived in Britain and I’m pretty much immune to the accent.  Also, I made out with him for two days filming and he’s a really good kisser.  So, he's cool in my book.”

I’m a bit with Jung in that I think dreams can point to a greater evolution of the relationship between the ego and the unconscious and attempt to create a better balance within the brain, but I don’t think dreams are always necessarily this.  Sometimes I think it’s just neurons firing.  However, there are dreams that are so obvious once I describe them out loud or in writing, I don’t need a psychoanalyst to get the meaning behind them.  This one was like that for me.

This dream has several levels to it that I want to go over and each theme has different levels of meaning behind them.  How do I know what they mean?  It’s an individual process and when you hit upon a meaning, you know because it resonates.

The Terminated Fetus:
The death of a dream.  Yesterday, I spent some time talking with an old friend about her health and how it’s causing her to cease to be able to do what she loves, something she has spent her entire life creating.  The life she’s created, as well as a future dream of what would have been, is being killed.  I’ve had similar experiences (for example, moving back from Wales) although not to the same intensity as she is experiencing.  It is a long, painful, confusing, and continuing grieving process.  My heart is with her and this is fresh on my mind.
The childfree choice.  At the same time, this is also about my choice not to have children (for which I have many reasons including simply… I don’t wanna.).  This is a stance in which I sadly need to constantly defend.  It has hit me, since turning 35, that it really is not going to happen for me.  I really haven’t “changed my mind” nor am I even creeping towards a life where a child would fit.  I’m almost actually relieved that I might just “get away” without having one, as though I actually hadn't let myself recognize how powerful it is to really have a choice.
Tying these together.  What I have been recognizing is how powerful my body is, how powerful I am, and how much potential my life has.  We do not have to use absolutely all of our potential and turn it into reality - good Dog that sounds exhausting anyway!  I personally need to give myself permission to have the right to exist knowing that I will never, nor can anyone ever, live out his/her/their full potential in this one lifetime as an individual.  So I hereby say to myself, "Dear one, stop feeling bad, guilty, defensive, and ashamed about the things you'll never do."  If I need to grieve for it because it's something I've carried with me for so long, by all means, I'll grieve my little heart out, but I'm giving myself permission to NOT "have it all" - whatever the fuck that even means.

Andy Didn’t Show Up:
Fear of abandonment.  Seriously just my standard, cliche, "oh it's you again" fear of abandonment - alive and kicking since 1981.

The Handsome Doctor:
The hero.  Again, I think this has to do with unused, forgotten potential.  If I’m sticking with Jung, the handsome doctor is really an aspect of myself- a recognition of my own hero/savior/healer inside of me. 
A bit of grieving.  It is also potential love that will never be fully realized.  By choosing Andy as a partner, I am actively NOT choosing all the other potential loves that could be in my future.

Or it could be that sometimes a handsome doctor is just a handsome doctor.

The Film
An illusion.  Maybe I think all of life is just an illusion anyway?  Maybe we’re all just sort of souls wearing meat sacks?  I don’t know, but there are many times in my life, whether right or wrong, I feel like a performer. 

Dissecting the really vivid dreams can be extremely helpful for me.  Sometimes, I cannot figure them out either because I’m not really ready to see the meaning, or they just plain don’t have one.  Other times, like in this dream, I feel like I know myself on a deeper level. I get in touch with some inner wisdom that I need to hear or it reveals deeper wants, needs, healing or balance that I having been paying attention to.  The moment where I recognized that "I can't do everything in this one life and that's okay" was, and is still, extremely liberating.  I didn't even know that this was bobbing around in my subconscious, subtly contributing to feelings of guilt every single day.  Whew, glad that's been brought into the light!

And sometimes, my dreams just pure creative, entertaining energy.
I mean, really, the only handsome doctor I want to make out with in real life is Dr. Andy, PhD.  :)

Do you dissect your dreams?  Do you find any clarity or meaning in them?  

Friday, May 20, 2016

PMS: Pretty Much Sucks

Yesterday, I had a bit of a mental Shit Storm.  There were some really good things to come out of it, but as it was happening, I felt like I was in a warzone in my own head, cowering from the rapid shrapnel of stinging thoughts.

It so happens that every month around this time in my cycle I struggle with PMS.  (Yes, it’s real and anyone who says we’re making it up (and I know some that do) is automatically setting himself up to receive its wrath and rightly deserves it.)  This change in hormones, just like any drastic change in body chemistry, is Your Body On Drugs.  Mostly for me, this means my depression (and sometimes anxiety) flares up.  Sometimes, it presents itself as anger.  No not anger:  RAGE.  I mean the kind of rage that actually scares me, that could do real damage, where I feel a thunderstorm of destructive energy take control of my mind and body.  I can usually keep it at bay, conscious that the anger is a result of hormonal cold front creating an energy surge.  The anger is sometimes directed outwardly.  For example, I have been the closest to breaking up with Andy during this time of the month, nearly convinced of our absolute wrongness for each other, only to come back into the light after a few days and realize just how off my perception had been.  I have definitely lashed out at friends, most of whom thought I was incapable of lashing out, but usually the rage is directed at myself.  This month the roulette wheel of destruction landed on me.
I’m not exactly sure what the trigger was, but I think it was the moment JT (I only wish he were Justin Timberlake) came into my office, interrupted me in the middle of something requiring great concentration, and asked me to do a huge list of things.  Seeing things through the PMS filter, I took that to mean he thought I didn’t have enough work to do, that he thought I was just sitting around wasting tax dollars because he also clearly doesn’t know all that my job entails (that last bit is actually true).  I’ve gotten angry at JT in the past but it never results in anything productive, so I think my brain automatically directed that anger inward.  That’s when my inner Abuser got really loud.

This Abusive Voice turned on me, viciously declaring my worthlessness, my laziness, my stupidity, my absolute Brokenness Beyond Any Repair. 


It was LOUD.  And I believed it for a few hours and I struggled to hold myself together.  Until I pealed myself away from it far enough to recognize it as not who I am, it is not speaking the truth, but merely one voice.  I cried walking back from lunch, feeling the pain as though someone I love deeply and desperately just betrayed me, punching me in the gut.

I felt wounded all afternoon, but I knew I could hold it together until 5:30 when I would be at the barn and find comfort and quiet in the horses.  And I did.  As I walked out to get the horse I was riding, a huge mare with a giant head and kind eyes, I could feel my chest expand to take in full, easy breaths again.  Her massive shod feet clomping on the driveway slowed my heart rate and calmed my mind.  I had a workout of a lesson that was more like a meditation because I was concentrating so much on my present tasks that the rest of the world, and that Abusive Voice, fell away.  The little things stood out more to me then.  I gave the mare peppermint treats and I focused all of my attention on the softness of the mare's velvet nose, her sweet peppermint horse breath, and giant stomping hooves.

I drove home, walked up the stairs to my apartment, and opened the door to let Abby out when Andy came bounding up the stairs, his long legs skipping steps, excited in the most Andy-ish way.  When he hugged me, I let his hug smother what remained of the Abusive Voice.

As we sat on my couch later last night, each of us reading our books, I sank into a deep relaxed state of calm that earlier yesterday I would never have believed I could feel again.  Andy’s presence calms me, it has from the first time we ever cuddled on his giant green chair.  His presence feels like respite, peace, and safety.  All that intense pain I had experienced earlier in the day transformed into gratitude for the horses, for the people in my life who make the horses possible (especially Jenn), and for Andy for loving me so thoroughly in the ways that truly matter.  He reminds me, when I forget on my own, that I am loveable.  He reminds me what love looks like, love for another and love for oneself.  Through this I remember how to release myself from my own pain.  No, having a person doesn’t prove that I am loveable nor does it make me any less responsible for my pain (I could argue it makes me more responsible for dealing with it), but Andy is my person and as such is the co-creator of my life and my future.  Andy’s presence matters; his thoughts, his feelings, and his life philosophy get intertwined with my own in ways that have made me more balanced and more solid within myself.  I am so proud of myself for shaking off the Abuser yesterday and I will remind myself, the next time it begins to shout, that I pulled myself out of a potential trench of depression and that it’s okay to need guidance in the form of horses, dogs, friends, great loves, whatever I need to climb out of it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Please, Please Me

I've had a rollercoaster of a six months.  I quit my well-paying job, I travelled in Europe for a month and enjoyed the presence of Bettina, I moved to Indiana to be with Andy, I started a part time job just to quit and take a better one, and I've been at that new job for just over three months now.  

Throughout that time, I tried really hard (and usually failed) not to feel bad about doing what’s best for me.  Quitting my safe job to travel and nourish my relationship with my partner was wracking me with guilt for a very long time.  How dare I be happy and choose fulfillment over safety.  Oh that voice is such a drag.

It’s not just that I feel bad about doing what’s best for me necessarily, but a lot of it is that I think a lot about the other people this affects.  For example, after quitting that part time job, I thought about the new people I'd met and what they do, how they’d ordered my business cards, introduced me to groups of people, and the work I’d already taken over from others.  I think about how their days were going to be inconvenienced because of me.  I am grateful that I’m considerate of others, but there must be a balance.  

“Do you just walk around all day thinking about other people’s feelings? How do you get anything done?” 
- Schmidt

There is still a big part of me that is also concerned about what the others will think of me, although that part of me is shrinking almost daily.  Bettina and I have talked a lot about this because we both tend to go about our days people-pleasing, usually subconsciously.

Now HOLD ON.  Please don’t take this as some sort of “I’m a martyr, poor me” talk.  I’m not a victim and neither is anyone else who is a people-pleaser.  It is a CHOICE, however, sometimes we’re not aware that it is which is why it’s really important to talk about these things and point them out in yourselves and in your close friends who also struggle.  Here is a quick rundown about the habit of people pleasing:

People-pleasing isn’t…
about you caring truly about the well-being of others.
making you a martyr.
other people’s fault.

People-pleasing is…
poor boundary setting.
about yourself, your need to be loved and accepted, your codependence (if that’s what you want to call it), or whatever else you discuss with your therapist or dog.

People-pleasing results in resentment and pain.  Even though I know this, it’s difficult to stop in the moment.  In the past, I have changed many habits that no longer served me with awareness and intention and I know this is no different, however, that does not mean it is easy.  

Awareness helps.  If I’m in the middle of icky resentment, pain, or beating myself up, I try to remember to ask myself, “Hey tired little lovely bunny, are you doing this to please others, or out of respect and consideration for others?”  I really do talk to myself like this.  The more rotten I’m feeling, the more sweetly (sometimes ridiculously so) I try to consciously speak to myself, although it’s not always easy.  And I’ve noticed that when I’m involved in a romantic relationship, I often replace this voice with a very mean one, but that's another post. 

I also have really supportive friends, like Bettina, Ashlee, and Katherine who all experience this, talk about it, and most importantly LAUGH about it.  Making fun of ourselves in a lovingly teasing manner is the best way for me to lighten it all up and put it into perspective.  

Feel free to share your people-pleasing addiction tendencies below and share any ways you help yourself through it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Like a Record, Baby

Every day, for years now, I’ve been waking up feeling lost, a wide painful chasm in my chest that I continue to fill and refill with the huge lead task of trying to figure out why I am here.  At the same time, I believe that there is no reason why we are here, I believe if there is to be any reason, we bring it.  This is a bit like trying to comprehend the vastness of the universe or the void of nonexistence altogether, but much less inclined to inspire wonder and awe.  Since my human mind has no capacity to comprehend the dissonance, it spins in an infinite feedback loop.  My brain works like a skipping record and if I could only pick up the needle the insanity would stop, then I could enjoy the moments of existence.  I could sigh, dream, and hold the hands of those I love.  I do get some sweet moments, when I’m riding horses, doing yoga, laughing with friends, writing, or kissing my dog that the skipping stops.  These brief interludes of bliss comfort me during the times that the skipping record is turned up so loudly I sometimes fear relief will never return.

Although this is neither the first nor last time I've experienced cognitive dissonance in my belief system, I think there is currently one major reason my mind record keeps skipping.  I’ve been resisting, in my own way, something about myself for a very long time.  I suppose, like many people with depression, anxiety, and other mental illness, resisting aspects of myself goes along with the general belief that something is “wrong” with me.  That, however, is a post for another day.  This post is for a specific aspect of myself, one that when nurtured makes me fulfilled and healthy in mind and body, but one which I continue to resist or ignore as unimportant or “wrong”.  Why do I do this, even though this exact quality has been shown by research to make people live longer, happier lives?  Yes, there are data from Harvard, who has the longest running study on happiness and health to date (you can read about the study here.).  The data have shown time and time again that the key to long, healthy, happy lives is in our relationships- specifically our closest relationships and our sense of community and belonging. 

Despite knowing that I value more than anything my relationships and my sense of belonging and community, I continue to resist it, blast it as unimportant, claim that this can’t be IT, that is just too easy for me.  In my low moments I ask myself, “Why can’t I do anything MORE.  Why am I not DOING anything meaningful?  What about my career?  Seriously Ashley, what the hell are you doing with your life?  All these other people are…” blah, blah, blah… skip, skip, skip…

I continue to waste so much energy and time looking for that “thing” or those “things” that I’m “supposed” to be doing when I could be investing that energy into the people I love.  Don’t get me wrong, I DO dedicate a lot of energy to my relationships, in fact I think more than most people, but why can’t I let who I am be enough?  The people in my life, creating a sense of belonging are and have always been the key to my happiness and health.  Yet despite my efforts to tell myself that I am enough the way I am, I still wish, that I had a different mind; a mind more organized, more innovative, more intelligent, more business savvy, more driven, more gifted, more of society's definition of success.

We are bombed with information everywhere in our society telling us that success means we need to be rich, famous, powerful, innovative, pretty, glamorous, thin, and driven.  I’ve known for years that deep down I do not want that to be my definition of success, but since I have not yet come up with a specific alternative definition, I don't have another record to play, my brain continues to abide by the old definition, spinning and skipping away. I need a new defintion of success.  Sure, I want to "have close relationships" be a “good person” and I want to be “happy” but what does THAT even mean?  

It makes me sick, causes my depression and anxiety to skyrocket, when I try to follow society's definition of success.  I am happiest when I prioritize my relationships, my sense of belonging, but AT THE SAME TIME I don't see that as a valuable trait for one to have in this world.  Therefore, my record is continues to skip.  I’m ready to set myself up to feel good, to play a better goddamn record.

So please tell me, how do you define, or WANT to define, success?  What are the things that bring you bliss, and are you truly valuing them?  Do you think those qualities are important in society, and why?  Where are you placing most of your physical, mental, and emotional energy?  Where is your record skipping and when does it play smoothly?  In short, what the hell does your record sound like?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Every Badass Needs a Crossbow

I’m so tired of being afraid.  Or rather, letting my fear control my brain the way it has been.

Indulge me for a moment so I can review.  Most of my childhood and early adulthood was not ruled by fear at all.  I wasn’t a particularly fearful child, if I wanted to do something, for the most part, I did it.  When I felt fear I always thought, “Will I regret not doing this?” and made a decision based on that.  Of course, I didn’t know enough to be afraid of many things I probably should have been afraid of, but that’s part of the beauty of being young.  I rode horses- did pretty dangerous things on horses, mind you- with my best friend.  I played rugby against women twice my size.  I travelled alone, I tried new things, I went cliff diving, I went white water rafting, and I moved to new places.  I made choices that made me happy.

In 2011, when I moved to Wales, of course I was scared.  Again however, it didn’t rule my thoughts or my decisions.  When I returned from Wales however, the way my brain had been working seemed to change.  If you’ve ever seen that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when her friends bring her back from heaven after she dies, that’s how I felt.  I had changed, and everyone and everything seemed to be the same.  It wasn’t a bad thing that they were the same, it was just that I didn’t know how everything fit into my life anymore.  I didn’t know what I wanted and I felt like I lost who I was and I was terrified.  I was lost.  This feeling has continued and is still continuing today.

When Andy and I started seeing each other at the very end of 2013, I began a life-long process of “dealing with my shit”.  There was no more analyzing from a safe distance why I picked the relationships I picked. I wasn’t going to make excuses for myself any longer or pretend that my fear of intimacy and commitment were out of my control.  I began to do the scariest thing I have ever done.  I’ve EVER done.  Ever.

I let someone in to see everything about me.  When you do this, life offers you a marvelous chance to grow… and it is fucking hard.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I had so many fears triggered in such intensity that I almost couldn’t manage anything but going to work and dealing with my fear.  In the past, that would have in the past sent me running for life, but instead I let them bubble up.  These things are the fears that I’d never really looked at before.  The fear of being truly seen, the fear of abandonment, of not being good enough, fear of verbal abuse, fear of manipulation, fear of pain and hurt, fear of death, shame, etc.  These things came up time after time, and they still do.  All of the fears that I never allowed myself to recognize were finally able to scream at me, and I was forced to listen because I wasn’t willing to walk away from this amazing man.  I also knew very deep down that I deserved to get to the other side, I deserved love and intimacy even if I didn’t see a way through the fear and the pain.  I sat through hours of ugly crying on my bed, clinging to my dog, and saying over and over “I’m so scared.”  I looked at it and I sat with it.  I still look at it and I still sit with it.

But lately something has changed.  The fear has sort of taken over a bit.  I’ve let it bubble up for the past two years because it needed to come out, I needed to look at these things so that I could be in a healthy relationship with someone.  But now, it seems like it’s been running rampant in my brain for awhile.  

I’m so not okay with that.

Today, as I was driving in my car, the thought popped up, “I’m really fucking tired of being scared.  I’m DONE.”  I felt my inner Lara Croft taking over again.  She is a badass and she is a part of me that I need right now.

I’m DONE letting fear tell me that I can’t start my own business.  I’m DONE letting fear tell me that Andy’s going to leave me.  I’m DONE thinking that I’m not good enough.  If I want to do something, I will figure out how to do it.  I want to write and bounce business ideas off my friends.  If I don’t know something that I need to know, I will learn, I will take classes, I will ask questions.  I want to kickbox again, so that I can physically feel like I’m strong and brave on the outside again.

And I want a goddamn crossbow.  

When I was young and I was afraid, I just didn’t look at it and instead protected myself from dealing with fear by avoiding intimacy and love.  Recently, I’ve looked at all that fear I was ignoring and built a solid foundation with Andy, but I have also been letting the fear rule me.  Those approaches, although they served me well at the time, are not serving me anymore.  So, I’m doing what I always do:  adapt.  I’m going to look at my fear and I’m going to hear it out for a moment because fear is just trying to protect me.  I’m righting this down to remind myself of this feeling, this mindset.  Not everything fear says is true, but maybe the fear has a point.  I can hear it out in order to help minimize risk, but I’m NOT letting it be the sole decision-maker.  It will get a voice, but it won’t be the voice. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going crossbow shopping.  Every badass needs a crossbow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

There Be Dragons

You know what's really hard about both getting what you want or not getting what you want?  The results are basically the same.  There is disappointment if you thought that’s what would make you happy. 

If you did get what you want, it makes you no happier than you were before getting it.  If you didn’t, you’re heartbroken.

Oh but then, dear friends, you get to go through the grueling process of figuring out what to do with that, now that you know this life truth.  The process happens slowly for some and quickly for others, and others still will never know this process even exists.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get disappointed and heartbroken enough in your life to begin the process of discovering real joy.  

First, you feel the quakes of heartbreak and the emotional vertigo of disappointment.  You begin to analyze the moments of the past that lead you here, and wonder how on earth you’re going to navigate your way back to solid ground because between where you are now and where you want to be, there be dragons.

Slowly, you realize that your ruby slippers took you to happiness time after time, but you were so busy thinking about how you don't yet have what you thought you wanted, that you didn't notice all of the beautiful, perfect, tiny moments of laughter and love.  

When your heart was broken, you didn’t acknowledge that the hole in your heart made room for the friendships that pour in.  Those moments when your dear friend was holding your hand, catching your tears, and calling you beautiful, something incredible and gentle was happening that couldn't happen if you instead chose to cry alone.  You let your friend see you, really see you, and she didn’t recoil, she didn’t run, she didn’t let that hole in your heart scare her away.  

At the time, you weren’t looking at the incredible beauty in those moments.  You were trudging down the path of a mediocre present so focused on an imagined future glory and fulfillment that you walked right past, without noticing, the generosity of the human heart, the bravery of friendship, the ways in which love can keep expanding infinitely.

But you can do that now.  You can recognize that joy happens in these terrible and terrifying moments.  You can see that, whilst going after goals is important, the happiness you think is at the end of the road is actually with you step after step, if you’re willing to open yourself up and look.  You can be both brave and gentle in friendship, knowing that the other is uncovering her many layers along with you.  You share your shame and she can hold it gently between her fingers like a dandelion and together you can let the seeds of shame float away in the breeze.  You can also witness the strength and resilience that you inspire as you in return help set her shame free.  

It's true, heartbreak and disappointment bring pain, but they also can bring incredible joy.  If you chose this path to solid ground you will traverse unfamiliar and dragon-ridden lands to experience this kind of joy, but that’s where the really good wine is anyway.

Snail Steps

Snail Steps