Most of us who are full-time artists are go-getters.
We’re ambitious. We’re talented. Some of us are perfectionists, and some of us are fueled by tangible results. We should be. It’s wise to pay attention to what propels us and to take note of what knocks us back a few spaces.
What about when we see nothing?
How do we respond when there’s little harvest yielded from the seeds we’ve sewn?
Perhaps it’s hard to remember that you don’t need to automatically measure your capacity and strengths by how many lives you’ve touched, or how many hearts you have (or seemingly have not) mended solely by the numbers you are presented with.
For entrepreneurs, self-starters, coaches, trainers, surgeons, volunteers, anyone who is driven by positive results, it can be hard to realize that numbers are only half the battle. Sometimes, we unconsciously wrap up our worth into the results given back to us.
The loud, the proud, the bold, all of us who will not be silent, can accidentally forget that because we are the voice of the voiceless, our audience, our dear friends, our readers, our students, are the quiet ones.
They matter most. We are fighting for them. We raise our voice for them, and they will, of course, not be the first in the room to clap, speak up, or reciprocate the verbal praise that we’ve extended to them.
But, their silence does not measure their level of gratitude.
God is also silent.
No amount of SEO, analytics, or traffic, can measure the gratitude someone feels in their heart when they feel truly heard, valued and recognized.
So, when you think about giving up your counseling career, your podcast, your book (for the umpteenth time) gently bring your attention to the quiet souls in your life. They are cheering you on. They need you, and their value can never be measured in numbers.
If not for you, for them.
I love you. You’ve got this.
It’s always been hard for me to do something for myself, mentally. I give myself a hard time. I don’t always cut myself slack.
I forget that my past mistakes, and even my present situation doesn’t necessarily determine outcomes. I forget to remember that compasses can be redirected. I forget to remember that I am not what my harsh inner voice tells me. I’ve always been quite bad at talking back to the loud inner critic and telling it to pipe down, and going on about my day. This anxious feedback loop is tiring.
I know that I’m capable of stopping, looking both ways, and then crossing. I know that you and I have the capacity to bear the world upon our shoulders as we take responsibility for the lives we lead.
What I don’t quite get is why a head so full of ideas, and words and everything that makes life worth living, can feel so dull.
At this time, I feel dull and uninspired and I haven’t known just what the thing was that needed an outlet. So I sat, and I felt guilty… for sitting! Man, our brains can really do us in.
I’m working on that. Instead of punishing myself, I will instead remember that:
Busy doesn’t always mean productive. I will try my best to remember that my value is the same as everyone else’s intrinsic value, and that even the most dynamic, adaptive and exploratory people can take a minute to be… bored, without it meaning their life has lost value.
It’s okay to enjoy myself. This one is hardest for me. I don’t know why fun is sometimes awful when fun isn’t something you’re used to having.
It is so hard to move forward when it looks like you’re going backwards, or dancing with stagnation. I suppose life is a cha-cha and not a line dance.
And sometimes, it is really hard to look on my past actions and feel as though I’m an okay person. It’s hard to choose to be good to myself when I’m overcome by the weight of uncertainty, or when I feel as though I’ve done something wrong. (Most of the time I’ve realized later on that I wasn’t guilty of anything but being too hard on myself).
Maybe you feel this way, too?
I guess this is the part where I say that it’s okay to feel these very human emotions, and let you know I’m here for you.
Yes, I am here for you, and we will both be okay.
This time though, I wanted to take this time to say thank you.
Thank you for reading this blog, and sharing in your time and existence with me. If you hadn’t, chances are high that I wouldn’t be here expressing myself if I didn’t feel like I could.
Thank you for giving me the space to share with you – to be human with you.
Thank you for the opportunity to create dialogue where there would otherwise be silence.
Thank you for doing nothing with me, even when that’s the hardest thing for you to do.
I can relate.
Just a friendly reminder for the both of us:
You are not your actions. You are more than tasks, duties, and checklists. Sometimes the best thing to do, and the most⁷ important thing we need to be is here. Right here. Breathing, living, and accepting that life wont always be acceptable, or tolerable, but choosing to show up for it anyway.
You’re not doing as bad as you think you are. If you’re satisfied, enjoy it. We don’t get our seconds back.
How’s it going? Today is June 9th, 2019.
I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to rest these days. (Rest doesn’t come easy for me at times; I’m working on that).
I have a question for you, and I am genuinely curious to see your answers.
I’m in a group on facebook where other women with Cerebral Palsy come together to share their experiences, joys, and to ask questions we probably couldn’t ask in ‘real life’.
In the group I posted a question:
How do you find purpose if you’re unemployed due to a physical or mental illness?
I’ve been struggling with this because I feel as though I’m in a constant state of letting time pass, or overworking myself when I decide to take on an art project, writing project, or a writing class.
To say that I am unsatisfied would be a lie. I’ve come far from where I was a few months ago, and I’m not ungrateful in the slightest. The scenery is different; it is beautiful here.
Now, I just have to figure out a new routine here, as a disabled person as well as an introvert.
This is why I wanted to ask you, the person reading this, how do you find purpose if you are disabled; or if like me, you are still searching for that fulfillment, what are you passionate about?
I’m so excited to hear what you have to say! Hopefully, we can learn from each other. I’ll see you soon.
As much as we all dream of meeting our potential, it will not come without sacrifice.
Sacrifices that we, as people on a mission, could never dream of until we are faced with them. When we think of success, we tend to think of a precise line. Success is anything but linear. When we pray for success, it’s not that our prayers go unheard, it’s just that we are responsible for our next steps.
This is where it gets tricky, though;
Sacrifice, never seems like sacrifice in the moment. I have found that sacrifice usually presents itself as ultimatums, and impossibility.
As an example: In an earlier post, I illustrated the fact that in order to move, I had to do the impossible: I had to choose between my two dogs in order to move to my new apartment. I had to move in order to get a fresh start, mentally as well as financially.
I was unable to make that decision at an earlier time, and as a consequence of my indecision, I was faced with it again.
It was time to decide, would I do the unthinkable in order to get a fresh start, or would I stay where I was, because of my resistance to change?
It was not easy leaving my chihuahua behind.
This pain we are asked to face, I believe is why we sometimes stay where we are, even if change would be good for us – because we aren’t willing to lose. In turn, we also forfeit our right to choose.
I can’t blame or shame anyone for that. Letting go of anything – routine, our children, our parents, our habits, at times even our entire identity, is devastating.
There is no manual for letting go. There are no easy ways; there are no ways to avoid the pain of letting go.
As humans, we are wired to choose pleasure over pain – that’s the way our brains are. Our brains are also geared toward habitual ways of being, like drug addiction. Nobody wants to let go of something that makes our world easier to deal with – even if it causes us pain and ultimately, death.
We know that resistance is futile. We know. We only let go when it’s time to, and it’s never the right time to say goodbye to a friend, lover, or family member.
Success looks nothing like our daydreams.
If I could paint a picture of what the road to my potential looks like, it looks an awful lot like indecision, on top of a mountain of self-reflection.
At best, there is recognition and pats on the back. At worst, it’s a whole lot of facing ourselves – our demons, our loneliness, maybe even the fact that we aren’t as nice and charitable as we see ourselves.
That, my friend, is the cross we must bear. When we are pondering pursuing our potential, when we are thinking of our art being published, when we imagine ourselves on the shelves of our local bookstore, or on our local news, we must then ask ourselves what we are willing to lose in order to make our dreams a reality.
This is my question for you, dear reader,
What are you willing to lose, or choose?
In the comments, you can feel free to tell me about some of the choices you’ve had to make to get where you are. What was the impossible choice, what was the outcome? I’d love to hear from you.
Remember to subscribe if you dig these posts. Just hit that button on the right side of the home page.
I love you.
You’re Safe Here.
Trauma said to my self-esteem:
"Hatred of self is the currency for love that would otherwise be freely given."
Except, all of that hate doesn’t equate
Love — that which is freely expressed.
To my soul, Commitment confessed:
"Abandon ship! To love and be loved is too big a risk."
To my heart, she cried:
"I love you. I’ll show you."
I’ve been walking a tightrope ever since.
Here I am, at 5:46 A.M. in my friend’s spare room. I have not slept. I have not slept because within me, there is a gigantic screeching harpy who is threatening to devour my soul, unless I write something.
Even then, this feathered creature will most likely not vacate my insides until I’m satisfied with at least a few sentences of whatever it is I’m striving to convey for you.
The thing is that I love writing. I also love technology and the far-reaching web of the internet. Thus: blogging became my outlet. I am grateful; I’ve discovered a lot about myself through this blog.
I have gained so much more than I ever thought possible. When I started this blog, I was in quite literally the worst possible mental state one could possibly be in.
I was choking on my own anxiety. I had only just recently decided to rip the metaphorical duct tape off of my mouth and to finally, once and for all, begin telling my truth.
I kept a lot of the things that were causing me pain deep within my psyche thinking it was the right thing to do, quite honestly, because I didn’t want to be the loud-mouth who made everyone look bad or feel like shit about themselves after reading about how gloomy, hypervigilant and distrustful I really am.
Second, there are not a lot of people (or at least that’s what I assumed), that would understand why I so desperately needed to carve out a safe space on a blog through writing, or by recording videos in which I overshare my fragile existence and overestimate people’s attention span as well as my inability to hold said attention.
But, with my wife’s permission, I told our story. I wrote about how I started this blog with the hope that more people would be compassionate towards transgender individuals and their families. Even though that’s only like ten percent of what Welcomehomehealing.com is meant to be, it was the catalyst for freedom of expression, the tail on the donkey, the straw that broke the camel’s back, etcetera etcetera.
I’d go on about covert abuse, power imbalances, codependency, generational negligence masked as stoicism and how it all hit me in the face after years of thinking I was the one who wasn’t good enough, but that’s really not the point.
My point is that I was in a really bad way. I had no out. But I had the internet. I believed my voice could still move mountains and it was at this time I was forced to use my mouth, written words, and blog to liberate myself from hell. I could only use what I had at my disposal – my laptop and our story.
So I wrote and wrote and kept recording videos and kept putting my heart on display until I met the people I needed to meet, who then became friends.
I also wrote about the nasty childhood wounds that are still pervasive to this day. I wrote about my miscarriage. I wrote about how I’d put every cent into creating this space of safety for others, like me, who just couldn’t seem to find a lifejacket in times where they couldn’t wake up without being drowned in tears and sunlight.
Because I was true to myself, because I risked everything, because I had faith that someone, somewhere would resonate with our message and what we stood for, I do not live in my car.
Because of the kindness and generosity of others and a whole mountain of faith and high hopes, I am safe to create a life for myself and my partner, and not the other way around.
I have you, the reader, to thank for that. If you are reading this, please know that I love you and all will align as it should.
Words and truth helped me find a home. A blog, this blog, is the reason I now live right next door to a dear friend. If you hadn’t read it or attempted to understand, I’d probably be a little less… cozy.
Love and compassion have been in abundance more than ever before, and though it is a lot to take in, I would never dare complain.
So thank you… thank you for liking words so much that you read my letters and ramblings to you. Keep writing, there’s much more to gain from expressing lived truths than monetary value.
Write because you want to and because you deserve to. It’ll take you places. 😉
Trigger Warning: Anxiety, Suicidal Ideation, Stress, depression
If you’ve been following me for a bit, you might know that Welcome Home Healing (hey, that’s this blog!) is a friendly corner of the internet. We talk about the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy, depression, and all kinds of things. I’m also a volunteer crisis counselor for CrisisTextLine.
In every day life, and in the volunteering I do, I talk about suicide, debt, substance abuse, personality disorders, chronic illnesses, divorce, death, child abuse, and all kinds of sticky topics on a daily basis. By no means do I ever feel desensitized to talking about these things, however, they’re not necessarily shocking or surprising to me, and I’m grateful that I can have honest dialogue about such difficult issues.
Honest and open dialogue has the ability to prevent hurt feelings, relationship difficulties, and the most preventable cause of death: death by suicide.
I’ll explain more about this, and how you can be receptive to someone who is having thoughts of dying in a future post. Right now, I’d like to show you what happened when I told my wife that I wanted to die.
Some of you might know our situation and what we had to leave behind in order to get our lives back together, but if you don’t, here is the condensed version:
I come from a traumatic background, she does too. In 2014, we got married as husband and wife. In November 2017, after finding out I had PCOS, we suffered a miscarriage. Early 2018, she came out to me and told me she wanted to start Hormone Replacement Therapy, as one major source of her distress had been caused by Gender dysphoria. We were in the throes of family issues, and trying for our second child.
In 2017, we entered Marriage Counseling, and we decided that we are better together. We have remained committed, and yes, we still love each other very much.
As you may have already guessed, I’ve sacrificed more than enough to make our marriage work. Do not be mistaken, my wife has as well. We have sacrificed and prioritized each other, and somehow, we realized that it’s a waste of time to resent or be permanently angry at each other.
Sounds stressful, right? It is. So, when stress and the inability to cope decided to come knocking at my proverbial door, I began to truly feel like living was much too hard and that the future would look better without me. In short: I wanted to die. This was only a few nights ago. Tonight, I’m glad to be alive.
I didn’t call a counselor, I didn’t text anyone – I went to the one person I’ve been through a lifetime of events with in just a few short years. I went to my wife after recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation in my head. I went to her, I said:
“I don’t want to scare you, but I really need to talk. I really need someone. This is serious.”
Immediately, she stopped what she was doing, and we went to our bedroom. I sat up, and let her in. I told her that things had gotten out of hand, and that I was really overwhelmed and sad. I told her that I wouldn’t hurt myself but that the thoughts of suicide had gotten too heavy. I told her that I was having trouble handling everything we’d gone through and that I’d felt like a fool for letting things get so messy in my head. I told her, that yes, while I was confused and scared by everything, I had also been upset with her too, but that I still loved her and that it was time for us to really think things through – or put everything to bed, including our marriage.
I thought she’d shut down. I thought she’d minimize the situation, and I’d go to bed feeling sad and unheard. But man, when I tell you she showed up for me, she really showed up.
She listened to me. She validated how stressful things had been on me, and she owned her part in being the creator of a portion of that stress. She sincerely apologized and said she would always be there for me.
In response, I LET MY GUARD DOWN. Holy crap you guys, (and ladies, and humans) I am such a guarded person that sometimes I forget I’m the one who constructed that wall. I forget that she can’t do her job as my spouse, if I don’t sit down, shut the fuck up, and OPEN THE DOOR FOR HER. LET DOWN MY WALLS AND SHE CAN HELP ME. How can she know what my needs are, if I hadn’t asked her for help?
So, I’m sitting there, like, “Wow, yeah I forgot to make room for two, didn’t I?” I also opened up and owned up to my portion of the mess we had created. And hours had gone by. I was talking and talking and crying and she was too. And then I realized, once more, THIS IS WHY WE ARE STILL MARRIED. THIS IS WHY IT DOESNT MATTER IF SHE’S MY WIFE NOW, RATHER THAN MY HUSBAND. BECAUSE WE SHOW UP. CONSISTENTLY, AND WHEN IT MATTERS MOST, WE HANDLE THINGS WELL, TOGETHER. BECAUSE, MORE THAN ANYTHING, SHE’S MY FRIEND.
She’s my friend. She’s my friend. <3
I had just told my wife, my absolute best friend, that my anxiety was getting the best of me, and that the world she exists in would be better off without me.
She listened to me, without interrupting me. She listened to me, and then she validated my feelings. Afterward, we began to talk about our next steps, and then we collaboratively problem-solved. Sometime later, we held each other, like always. We got up the next morning, renewed and looking forward to the new life we are presently making with each other.
Now, 90% of the resentment and frustration we held onto is gone. Simply because now I know that she does love me, and that she does listen to me.
(90% means the major hurdles. 😉 it’s a fake percentage I used for demonstration purposes).
As for my wife, she got to see me, the real me, in my rawest form. She got to see me breathe for the first time in a long time. She got to see me, the me that is unwound, lackadaisical and creative, a fellow gamer, and as always, a sucker for love and happy endings.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you feel unheard, invalidated, ashamed, afraid, please know it’s okay to talk about it. I am here.
You can also text HOME to 741741, and you’ll be connected to someone who cares, and someone who will listen and be there for you.
I’ll have my resource page back up soon, if you are in need of other connections.
I love you.
You’re safe here.
It’s no secret that I have Cerebral Palsy. It’s also no secret that I’m well-spoken, and can function well, as far as in terms of cognitive processes. Basically, I’m self-sufficient and I can think pretty darn straight and logically.
It is rough living in the in-between of anything, especially in terms of abilities. I just got off the phone with a resource provider in town that basically told me, in so many words, I speak well so therefore I dont seem to need assistance and that I should make sacrifices in order to be independent.
After every sentence I spoke, after she collected my info, she kept saying I could “tap into resources”, (as if, as a disabled person with an extremely small support system, I haven’t exhausted all of them already), or that we could “do a Google search” online for odd jobs or other ways to bring in income.
I had already told her we had to trade in our car, we had to move, sell everything we owned, I put down cash for a deposit as well as first months rent on my own FROM SELLING EVERYTHING I OWN, and you mean to tell me, even though you haven’t seen me or my wheelchair (that I have to make payments on), that I need to sacrifice more? Yeah, no.
There’s nothing left to sacrifice, and I’m proud of that. I’ve done more than people on two legs would dream of doing, including risking everything to pave a path for myself.
In the South, there was no assistance for me. I lived without it for years. I’m not going to pretend I’m not disabled so that I can keep up with the Jones’s. I’ve been there and done that.
The simple truth is, we are all subject to aging, ailments, disability, and death. We will all have to experience being in need of care, and we should face that with humility. Otherwise, we’re in for a rude awakening and a huge blow to our pride.
I wouldn’t have sat on the phone with this person for over two hours if I had other options to consider at the moment, and she should know that. Where are the people that mind their own business?
It wasn’t like she would give me the space to say that yes, I was rejected from over 200 job positions BECAUSE IM DISABLED AND THEREFORE HAVE GAPS IN WORK EXPERIENCE. She wouldn’t let me speak but offered ‘advice’.
Please, if you can make someone hire me for a steady job, let me hear about it; because I can for sure say I dont want to be on the phone with someone who talks down to someone just for calling them.
Power imbalance much?
Go work in robotics or some shit, or better yet, go be a social worker and help someone less fortunate than you with all that knowledge you seek to possess, lady. Please let me live.