Vulnerability is Sexy

Alright, I’m going to go full-out-honesty here, and I am ashamed of some of what I’m about to say and how much it’s likely held me back. We all have self-limiting beliefs however, and I’d challenge you to evaluate some of your own!

I used to have this idea in my mind of what a “man” was and what made him worthy of being a partner. I thought that what the outside world could see, actually mattered. What kind of job he had, what kind of vehicle (truck) he drove, what kind of music he listened to, how he dressed, how old he was (heaven forbid he be younger than me), all seemed to weigh in on my decision making in whom I would consider dating. Ethnicity never seemed to play a role, but I always preferred them in boot cut jeans and a camo hat with country music playing through their lifted truck stereos, and he most definitely needed to identify as a straight male to fit into this nice little box I unknowingly cut out for myself.

I’m here to share how wrong I was to make these judgements – although somewhat typical in nature for a small town girl like myself – and I’m so glad that I opened myself up to being wrong. In fact, anyone who really knows me knows that I actually kind of love to be proven wrong in a healthy way because it means that I am constantly growing and shifting my perceptions of what my life should look like and instead embracing what I actually want my life to look like.

Guess what?! Embracing what aligns with your soul, feels good in your heart, and leaving the worries about appearances behind is incredibly freeing and fun!

Being a strong, independent woman is very important to me, but on the other side of that, everyone has different needs both within and outside of relationships and expressing those needs is incredibly challenging for me. I’m so afraid of being seen as needy, that if a guy doesn’t understand my needs the first time I attempt to (not always so clearly) share them, I shut down. And then I’m upset because my needs aren’t being met. Now, all the guys reading this are probably thinking, “no wonder you’re single we aren’t friggen mind-readers,”. They would be right. 

I am so grateful to now see that none of what I used to care about matters.

How other people view my relationships, doesn’t matter.

What kind of vehicle he drives, or if he even drives, doesn’t matter.

His physical age, doesn’t matter.

Identifying as a cis-gender straight male, doesn’t matter. (For the purposes of this article however I have continued to use the term “man”.)

The world is changing for the better; as a collective we are rising and gone are the days that men needed to work the farm and provide for the family while the wife stayed home with the children. Do I even want children?! Growing up everyone just assumed that because I was female I would want a husband and babies. Women all around are coming out and sharing that they wish they’d never had children, not because they don’t love their children but because it may not have been the right life-choice for them. I recognize, that there is a difference between having a child and being a parent; I don’t want to do it if I’m not truly ready to be a parent. And guess what – if I never have a child, nor become a parent, I will still be just as valuable of a woman. Those who are rising are not those who are stuck in their old beliefs, they’re those who are standing up for what they believe in and for the rights of others, challenging the patriarchy and societal norms.

And baby, I’m ready to rise.

I’ve never been one to go easy on men; a defense mechanism that can come off strong and stand-off-ish. I’m certainly not one to bring up the ways men have had it hard in life, especially while the world is busy rising above an entire patriarchal system, however, when it comes to emotions and vulnerability, men have had it tough and I love that that’s beginning to change. I love that I am beginning to change.

I am a financially, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually independent woman and dog-mom. While Dixie (my french bulldog) lovingly embraces and falls in love with every person she meets, I do just fine on my own in my cozy little comfort zone! In fact, it’s being with someone that’s the challenging part. Allowing someone to see the vulnerable, broken pieces of me that we all have, and trusting them with my heart, is terrifying. Allowing myself to trust that another person will uphold their part in a relationship, especially a man, feels almost impossible. I know, however, that that is my fear talking and I am doing my best to consciously choose each day to trust. I’m learning to let life take the lead.

It turns out that boot cut jeans and camo hats aren’t really what turns me on at all anymore. I need a man with emotional intelligence. Someone who not only wants to have the important, world-changing conversations and can contribute to them in a valuable way but whom also challenges my old, self-limiting beliefs and societal views in a healthy, positive and patient way. Someone who isn’t afraid to call me out when I’m stuck in old patterns or self-limiting beliefs, or making decisions based on fear. Someone who encourages me to grow. Someone who creates space for me to show up exactly as I am. Someone who shows that they genuinely want to know what my needs are and then truly tries to meet them. Someone who is strong enough in himself to allow himself to be vulnerable, honest, raw and real with me.

I want to create space for and truly honor that vulnerability and honesty; the strength that it takes one to allow themselves to be that way. Society puts a lot of pressure on men to be tough and hard-shelled which, in my opinion, could make it incredibly challenging for them to open up not only in a relationship but also about any personal battles they may be fighting on the inside. Men have mental health too and we need to make space for them to be open about those internal wars. Men have demons and baggage just like I do that they carry with them into their relationships that they may need help unpacking, and that’s totally okay, why shouldn’t it be?

A true partnership is not always going to be equal. Sometimes I’m going to need lifting up, other times my (future) partner is going to need lifting up. I’m starting to see that it doesn’t really matter how you define it, as long as each person is taking care of their individual physical and mental health, and is willing and able to catch the other person when they stumble, maybe that’s all the foundation really needs to be.

Gone are my needs for societal norms (or getting there anyways) and my idea that your “tractor is sexy”. But baby, show me communication skills, emotional intelligence, some raw vulnerability, honesty and realness, damn. Now that is sexy.

Be Intentional

This weekend I showed myself how easy it is for me to slip away from my alignment with love and my truest self, and fall back into the place of fear that I’ve spent the vast majority of my young life living in.

I have spent the last few years, though more so in the last year and a half, beginning to unlearn everything that my societal and familial dynamics have taught me throughout my life and uncovering my true self. In doing this I have shed many fear-based ways of thinking and have found myself more in alignment with love and light and everything that is good in the world. To achieve this I have used a combination of techniques including, but not limited to, affirmations, meditation, energy healing, therapeutic touch, personal development reading, emotion code, crystals and different forms of healing ceremonies.

Everything is energy, and all energy vibrates at a different frequency. Thoughts and words are energy which is why affirmations have helped me so significantly and why I have reminders of them all over my house, and, my newest being an addition to my body, “be intentional”.

For so long I floated through life as a victim of my circumstances.

When I am intentional however, with my thoughts, words, energy, actions, choices, relationships, and decisions, everything shifts.

I was surprised this weekend when one bad doctor’s appointment and not enough rest (although the appointment really did feel like the most devastating moment I’ve had in a long time) pushed me so quickly and effortlessly to shift right back to that place of fear. Pushing away people whom didn’t deserve it, letting small, insignificant details effect my perceptions, and without first realizing it, taking it out on someone who means a lot to me and didn’t deserve it.

It’s because these shifts don’t happen permanently or overnight. I have to do the work every day to stay on a positive track, remind myself of how much I’m worth and how capable and strong I am. I have rewired my brain to think more positively, more naturally; however, 27 years of negative thinking is not undone instantly. Every time we think a thought, the wires in our brain that are triggered when we think that thought, grow stronger and closer together. Therefore, the more times we think a thought, the quicker that thought becomes our natural reaction.

Combine this with quantum physics and thoughts and words being energy, along with energy attracting other energy based on their vibration levels, and you have a powerhouse of healing and manifestation abilities available to you right in your own brain. The understanding of this hugely increases the possibilities in your life and your ability to overcome obstacles becomes significantly easier – if you’re willing to do the work.

I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I have come an incredibly long way from the fear-based, mentally and physically ill, trauma-centered, self-harm addict that I once was and I have done this by being intentional; by intentionally looking at every thought or feeling I could pin-point, finding a positive alternative that would attract more of what I desire, and intentionally using these positive shifts in any way I could.

Buried Emotions Never Go Away

“Feelings buried alive never die” – I’m pretty sure that’s a Wayne Dyer book that has been sitting on my shelf since my awful teen years but has never actually been read.

I’m learning through my life though, that that statement is undeniably true. Maybe if I’d actually read the book while I was trying so hard to bury all of my own trauma and feelings, I could have possibly avoided the illnesses that took hold of my body a few years ago – or at least assisted my body in fighting them rather than hindering it.

My body is teaching me so many lessons. Beautiful, excruciatingly painful lessons that I wouldn’t ever want to give up. It is so common for people with histories like mine to become chronically or life-threateningly ill at some point in their life. This is not a coincidence. I know that this can seem really far fetched for some people, and I’ve tried explaining it to some of the people closest to me and they’ve scoffed it off like it can’t possibly be accurate, but I’m living it. I know it to be true in my body like I know my own name. It simply just is.

Emotions or traumas that are not processed and released, that you believe are gone, are not gone. They stay trapped inside your body wreaking havoc on your immune system, central nervous system and every other part of your body until they come out in the form of physical illness. (I’m sure that this can vary, and I am not a doctor or a researcher, I am simply speaking from my own experience and from what I’ve witnessed in my friends and communities of chronically ill people).

Recently I have had so much unexpected crap coming up to finally be processed and released once and for all! (I hope!) Over the past year (or more, though likely less consciously) I’ve been slowly working my way through the thick sludge of emotions and experiences I’ve had trapped and buried for so long. Some of it since early childhood, others from later teen years or into my twenties, and some that likely aren’t even mine and are simply generational traumas that may have been trapped in my lineage for generations upon generations.

Most recently what’s been coming up for me has been the most jarring because it involves someone that I always had on a pedestal and never expected to be upset with let alone have the strong, ugly feelings that I’ve had arise. This is someone whom I know is always doing the best he/she can, and I never expected to feel like that wasn’t good enough. In my eyes this person is always doing more for others than he/she is for themselves, and is practically a saint. So you can imagine how shocking it was for me when all of these deeply buried feelings of abandonment, grief, denial, not being good enough, and more all came bubbling to the surface out of seemingly nowhere. Let me tell you, its a hard fall when you realize that the person you idolized and thought was super-human is actually just human themselves with their own set of crap to process and cope with. Imagine that – humans being human! I know, it shouldn’t be shocking, but, sometimes it is.

A friend told me today that he heard a psychologist say, “if you have a memory from the past come up and you have an emotional reaction to it, then you haven’t processed it and let it go,”. I 100% agree but I would also add, if you have a memory come up and you feel a shift in your body somewhere, then you haven’t processed it and let it go. It’s just buried deeper than your emotional self is allowing you to feel. For example, I have certain situations in my life that I’d like to think I have processed and released, but I know that when I think of them I feel an ever so slight shift in my pelvic muscles that tells me I haven’t done as much of the work as I’d like to think I have. Other ones trigger a subtle pain in my left shoulder and down my arm, while another triggers my sciatic nerve.

I have spent practically my whole life trying not to feel. I can remember feeling so incredibly terrified of my own mind, never wanting to be alone with it. I spent months, if not years, sleeping on the couch with the television on because I couldn’t even handle laying in bed waiting to fall asleep without a distraction. In fact it was my most feared time of day. I would distract with almost anything – friends, books, television, food, social media, sex, other people’s problems. I surrounded myself with people who had bigger problems than me or who were toxic so that I could focus on them and not myself. I would get involved with emotionally unavailable men or men who were bound to only do harm to me because that’s what I felt safe with. They would allow me to continue burying my feelings and give me lots of drama to focus on in the moment and distract with. The way they lived their lives and the way that they treated me aligned with my very low self-worth and enabled me to stay stuck in my comfort zone of burying my feelings, experiences and traumas while processing as little as humanly possible.

I would like to think that since my most recent processing and clearing was so unexpected and unpredictable, that that means that all of the predictable stuff has already been cleared. Unfortunately however, based on the slight shifts I feel in my body when I think about some of the more predictable things, that doesn’t seem to be true. I haven’t found any particular rhyme or reason for why what comes up at what time to be cleared, or in what order, but that’s okay. As I create space for each trapped emotion or event to come up to be cleared and released, I find more tools and more trust in my ability to process and clear the next ones as they arise. I have no idea how long it takes, and I imagine that it must be different for everyone. What I do know, is that throughout this process I no longer find comfort in the negative, self-limiting things that I used to find comfort in. I now find comfort in things that either allow me to sit in the uncomfortable, feel all of the feelings, process whatever I need to, however I need to, or allow me to release them and move me forward in a positive, healthy direction.

I no longer find comfort or self-worth in someone else’s bed, or in a bottle, or in a knife to my arm. I no longer feel the need to distract myself regularly from my own brain. I stand strong in my sense of self and no longer lose it in other people or relationships. I am the peaceful warrior of my own internal battles and I sit calmly and securely through my internal storms. Each time I sit in the uncomfortable and allow the emotions to be processed and released I heal myself a little bit more.

Heart Space Card Reading

Angels and ancestors Oracle cardsIncredibly accurate and comforting reading for myself on my new cards that I’m very much connecting to. 💚

I have such a hard time allowing myself to be vulnerable and trusting myself when it comes to my love life. (I’ve been known to make some poor choices!) Over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of work in and around my heart-space and man has it been painful. Clearing out the old and all of the shields to make space for new.

For this spread I grounded, connected to my heart-space, my intuition, my subconscious and to source and asked where I’ve been, where I currently am, what I need to do to move forward, and what the end result will be.

High Priest • where I’ve been
Connected to my inner divine masculine as I learned to protect myself. Recognizing I had the power to change my life, taking charge and moving forward with determination, purpose and intention. Keeping a clear distance between myself and others.

Winter • where I am now
Recognizing and honoring my own needs. Undoing all that society has taught me in order to bring my true self to the surface. Resting and embracing that everyone – myself included – is as individual as a snowflake. Taking some time as a lone wolf, preparing myself before a pack that I can thrive with enters my life. Doing everything I can to be at my best, getting comfortable in the unknown and trusting that my inner light will guide me on the darkest nights. It’s time for me to be the alpha of my own life.

Mother Earth • what I need to do to move forward •
Grounding and connecting to the goddess within myself to shed the old, negative self-limiting beliefs, knowing that I am protected and nurtured as a child of the earth. Allow myself to be vulnerable and seen. As she roots me and surrounds me with motherly healing and nurturing energy I unearth my sense of strength and return to my natural centre of clarity and openness. I am being guided to make only choices of love and no longer of fear. I accept that deep down I do want to be loved and cared for, and that I have the ability to love and care for myself. Feel the feelings of being loved and cared for and those vibrations will attract all that I desire and more.

Medicine Mother • what the outcome will be
I will be comforted, standing strong with faith in my own inner knowing and sight. It is okay for this chapter of my life to come to an end to make room for new beginnings. Moving forward I will know what I need to do. In loving and respecting myself I release my old patterns and honor what I already know.

Immense gratitude to these cards, the gift of these messages and to my inner self for persevering and now, for having the courage to let go.

Let go; Have gratitude; Create space to receive.

Thanksgiving, is not an easy holiday for many people.

All of the gratitude, giving thanks for family and friends and the life you have isn’t very much fun if you don’t feel like you have any.

Now, I’m the first to find gratitude in any situation so I definitely believe that there is gratitude to be found, however, I do feel the need to acknowledge that it comes easier to some than others, and that it didn’t always come easy to me.

For a lot of years Thanksgiving felt like abandonment. It felt like a yearly reminder that my parents had better things to do than to spend time with family. Likely they simply want to make the most of their recreational property and enjoy using it every long weekend and holiday that they can. As a teenager or young adult though, it can be easy to lose perspective on that.

I didn’t go to my aunt and uncle’s for whatever reason, for quite a few years, and instead I jumped around to whatever friends-family invited me to theirs. I always had a great time learning new traditions and I fully embraced all the love that I felt was lacking in my own, trying to soak up every last ounce – so much so that I likely resembled a stray dog, absolutely starving for love and affection.

This year I did it differently. I filled my weekend with so much love and kindness and connection that I even have extra to spare. I don’t feel like that empty, bony, tattered stray that suddenly feels love and never wants to let it go for fear that they may not receive it again; holding on so tightly that the insane fear and need for control end up causing it to all fall apart anyways.

I feel whole today. That’s not a feeling I’m overly familiar with but its good. I feel that I am enough, today. Exactly as I am.

And this is because I have filled my cup. I have surrounded myself with emotionally intelligent people who give and receive love so freely that you just know you’re going to be okay. My future looks brighter today, and I’m grateful for that.

I started my weekend with a girls night with my friend Jamie, she fills the cup of everyone she’s around. Her beauty and light and willingness to love is a gift that she shares with everyone she meets. We talk for hours and fill our bellies with pizza and never get bored until suddenly its late and I need to go home. I leave with a full heart and knowing that we will do it all again in a few weeks with just as much to share all over again.

Saturday I started off my day with coffee with an amazing young man, Guy. Despite the many challenges he has faced growing up in foster care, he has devoted this time in his life to advocating for other youth in the system and reminding everyone that they are enough. That they are worthy of love. That the challenges that they face right now do not have to define the lives that they live for their future. This is a man who at only 25 years old is so secure and stable within himself and his own network of friends who are family, that he is able to see the love and light in everyone. Even the adults who hurt him, it seems. And that, to me, is a feat. That is Everest, my friends.

Straight from that beautiful meeting I went to an incredible afternoon filled with silence, women, meditation, painting, intention, and love. I am not a crier, and typically at these things I don’t feel that it is my place to share, even when asked. So I shocked myself when, as I’m sharing my brief writing “there is beauty in letting go of the need to control” I start to hear my voice crack and more words coming out of my mouth, thanking all of the women who surrounded me for their motherly energy that I so needed to be enveloped in. Even as I write that I feel a lump start to form in my throat again and I don’t even know anymore if its from the sadness or the beauty of it all. Likely, both, as I’m starting to find that those two often come together.

Saturday evening I got to meet my friends new baby girl, Thalia. Oh-em-gee she is amazing! Poor mamma was so stressed, as new mothers often are. I suddenly got the call to be very intentional with my energy. Like anyone in a heightened state of stress, it is hard for new mothers to put all the fear aside and be intentional with their energy. People who love me have done this for me many times when I can’t do it for myself and this was my turn to do it for someone I love. And it was beautiful. Baby calmed down, mamma calmed down. This perfect tiny human slept on my chest for almost two movies (Pocahontas 1 & 2, so it doesn’t really get any better than that 😉 ) and I enjoyed every second of it. The light and love and innocence that babies exude is undeniable and irreplaceable. They are the best things in this world and, I believe, when loved and nurtured, can potentially be our greatest gift to the world. No matter how you end up with a child, if you can influence them to love the planet and everything on it, there is no greater gift to the future of the planet than that. I am grateful for every moment that I will get to spend in Thalia’s life and I cannot wait to see how her and her parents grow, and who she becomes.

As if my weekend has not been good enough or filled with enough love (I feel like I’ve had a years worth of love and light and healing all piled into one amazing, transformative weekend!) I am currently waiting for my brother to drop off his 7-year-old step daughter Emily so that we can spend the afternoon before Thanksgiving dinner, painting mandalas. I am going to use the video* that Tama (one of my teachers) recommended to me to teach her how, and I am looking forward to three straight hours of loving goodness from this incredible child that lights up my family’s life in so many ways. Her bravery and fearless ability to be her true self is something I can learn from.

Just when I think this weekend can’t get any better, I receive an invite from a beautiful indigenous friend, also my amazingly talented tattoo artist, to join her and her mother for a New Moon ceremony tomorrow evening. I’ve been saying a lot that the synchronicities in my life recently are unbelievable, and I cannot think of a better way to finish this long weekend than to spend it in ceremony with a mother and daughter, of our indigenous community, sharing with me their ways of ceremony and inviting me into their love, light and healing practices.

This weekend has reinforced in me the path that I am currently choosing for myself. Letting go of the past and many of the people in it is a painful process; but it is a necessary pain if I want to move forward in love and healing. Perhaps I don’t have to fight so hard to force the people that I think are supposed to be in my life, to be in my life. Perhaps, maybe if I allow it, there are a lot of incredible people who are everything I need and more, just waiting for an opening.

The video for teaching children mandala painting can be found here.

Tama and more of her workshops can be found here.

Why am I still fighting?

Why am I still fighting?

This is a question that I asked myself a lot during my last rounds of treatment while the medicine was making me so ill every day, on top of fighting this horrendous disease, and the truth is, I didn’t always have an answer.

I remember being so confident that this wasn’t going to be a big deal. I remember thinking that if I could get through the mental health challenges that I overcame as a youth, then I could do anything. The truth is its way harder than I ever thought it could be.

The lack of access to healthcare for Lyme patients is unbelievable. I mean, I literally would not have believed someone if they’d explained it to me prior to me experiencing it. I never would have believed that it could truly be as atrocious as it actually is. People exaggerate, right? Is what I would have silently thought.

Tonight, as I sit waiting for the sauna to heat up I am feeling accomplished and pushed to my limits about today’s meal prep, while also feeling guilty that the last of the dirty dishes are filling up the sinks – knowing that my body won’t likely allow me to do more today than I’ve already done and that my roommate will wake up to a dirty sink in the morning. The reason I pushed so hard today to meal prep is because treatment starts again tomorrow – the same treatment that I couldn’t tolerate last time due to daily vomiting. As I’m trying to shift my focus from absolute dread and fear to a more healing mindset, I must think about my why.

Why am I still fighting?

I’m not talking about just to live or to just keep fighting because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

Why am I still fighting?

What am I going to tell myself when I’m laying in a pool of sweat on the bathroom floor sobbing in pain at 2am, that is going to give me the will to keep fighting this disease?

This question makes me dig into the deeper depths of my core and look at what I really want out of life, the things that I’m so afraid I may never receive or accomplish that it’s hard to even admit to myself that I want them, because somewhere along the way my inner child picked up the idea that wanting them would make me vulnerable.

I could ramble forever with adjectives and creative wording to make you forget that I’m avoiding the question, however, why am I still fighting?

I’m still fighting because I want to continue this journey and continue learning and adding value to my mind and quality of life.

I’m still fighting because I want to experience love. Real love. Solid love. The kind of love where two people make a genuine, loving commitment to catch the other when they fall. The kind of love where needs are met and compromises are made and laughter is had. The type of love that is patient, humble, and kind.

I’m still fighting because I want to see my brother grow old. I want to see the man he becomes.

I’m still fighting because I want to see my niece grow. I want to support her through her teen and young adult years, and influence the woman she becomes.

I’m still fighting because I want to hear my future baby’s first cry. I want to hold her/him/them in my arms and experience my heart expand.

I’m still fighting because I want to support someone in a positive, life changing way.

I’m still fighting because I want to be a foster mom.

I’m still fighting because I have a gift in my experience and in my voice, and I want to change the future in a positive way.

I’m still fighting because I want to continue to expand my consciousness, and to see how far I can go.

I’m still fighting because I want to connect deeper with the earth, and see where that takes me.

I’m still fighting because this planet needs more light-workers, not less of them.

I’m still fighting because I still have so much left to learn.

I’m still fighting because I still have so much love to give, so much kindness to offer, so much beauty to create, and the world needs as much of that as it can get.

If you are fighting a battle of your own, why are you still fighting? If you aren’t fighting a battle of your own, what do you want out of your life? Have you ever seriously looked at that? Have you taken the steps to put it into place for yourself?

What are you fighting for?

I Surrender

love, wedding, bridesmaid kissing brideDo you ever think to yourself, what the fuck am I doing with my life and what do I even want?

My views on what is truly important in this life and what makes a person valuable have changed significantly since getting sick. I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, as it is a message that one will often hear from someone who has gone through a near death experience, a life-altering accident, or terminal or chronic illness.

I never believed that I would be good enough if I couldn’t do everything on my own. It’s one thing to be independent, but its another to believe that you are not a valuable human being if you need help sometimes. I took this to such extremes that I put myself in scenarios where I was the main care-giver, house-keeper, and money-maker, responsible for my partner, his two kids (part-time), and my dog. It never crossed my mind to value what I was sacrificing. I believed that it was exactly what would make me a valuable person. I had people who needed me, and I was willing to do all of this for them because in my mind, that’s what was going to make me good enough.

What it really did was break me. Because while I was willing and sacrificing, it wasn’t appreciated. I was still reminded that without him I’d never make it. That no one would ever love me again if I left him. That if I couldn’t manage my 3 businesses, myself, and take care of him and his children (one with different needs as he’s on the spectrum) and my dog and our home – at 23 years old – he was sure to reinforce my belief that I wasn’t worthy.

What does it even mean to make it? Do you hit a certain number in your bank account and suddenly, you’ve made it? Made it where? To what? Do you get married, make and raise beautiful babies, in your single family home with a yard and a white picket fence and a dog and a mailbox with your family name on it and suddenly you wake up one morning and you’ve arrived?

I’ve been living in the illusion of fear for so long now that I forgot what love was.

Most of what I’ve done in my life has been for this illusion, this image of what I thought my life was supposed to be. I thought being a housewife was supposed to be for people who would be taken for granted in exchange for being able to rely on someone else for income. I thought disability was supposed to be for the dying, the completely disabled, or the lazy. I thought family was supposed to be a burden.

What the actual fuck was I thinking and who taught me that?

I thought that overcoming my endometriosis, depression and anxiety was about being stronger and pushing through, so life gave me panic disorder.

I thought that overcoming my endometriosis, depression, anxiety and panic disorder was about being stronger and pushing through, so life gave me a “new best friend”, who later turned out to be my rapist and gave me PTSD and vestibulodynia.

I thought that overcoming my endometriosis, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD and vestibulodynia was about being stronger and pushing through, so life gave me a mentally and emotionally abusive boyfriend who I let break me and that’s when I ended up with Lyme and co-infections.

I thought that overcoming my new diagnoses of borrelia burgdorferi, babesia microti, bartonella henslae, ehrlichia chaffeensis, rickettsia, west nile, coxsackie virus, Epstein-barr virus, parvovirus B19, and microplasma pneumonia, was about being stronger and pushing through, so most recently we’ve discovered that I have “latent Epstein-barr virus and persistent Lyme (borrelia burgdorferi) in round body form” with a “Fatigue Severity Scale score of 59 [which] is markedly elevated and consistent of a severe level of fatigue. As I have previously documented, I believe that her severe and persistent level of fatigue justifies her being identified with a disability and that disability is likely to be chronic in the context of her presentations.” (Excerpts from my most recent report from my Governor General Award-Winning Internist in Calgary, AB)

What if none of this was to teach me to be stronger?

What if part of my issue and my blockage in healing is my stubborn mindset stuck on the undying need to be better, to be stronger, to push through, to overcome everything on my own?

What if this was to teach me to give in, to surrender? To stop trying to control every little piece of my life and to give those pieces room to fall into place on their own; to learn to lean on people; to learn how to ask for and, more importantly, how to accept help; to not judge myself or others in their own struggle or coping mechanisms or ways of healing. To give up the image in my mind of what I thought my life was supposed to look like and to instead create a lifestyle that works with what is in the present; to understand that the people who taught me how to think and how to live are also just doing their personal best and they don’t necessarily have it right, or that what is right for them may not be right for me; to take action based solely on what feels right for me instead of letting what I think is right for everyone else impact my decision making; that sometimes the people whom we believe that we need in our lives are not really meant for us at all, and that although it is scary, its okay to let them go.

I have fought my life so hard for so long to keep to the image I thought I was supposed to have, only to now realize that maybe it’s not what I ever truly wanted at all.

This realization is a long time coming yet it also feels very sudden and unexpected. I pray (also new to me), that this is the revelation that gives me the confidence to take action and change the trajectory of my life.

I spent the last 6 days up north with some really beautiful people who make conscious decisions every day to love and support one another. My cousin just got married, and for the past 9 months for the first time in their 8 year relationship she has played the role of a housewife. She cooks for him, cleans for him, makes his lunches and he works his ass off and supports them. And they seem to genuinely make this work, because, get this – they both appreciate the other and everything they do, and they show it! Wow. Why did I not think that was possible?! I genuinely, wholeheartedly believed that that was not a real option for anyone who wanted to be happy or good enough. And I am so grateful to have been proven wrong because it is helping me to see that a lot of the views and beliefs that I have or have had in the past are super fucked up and weird and yet also probably very common.

I am sure that I don’t need to explain how I’ve been proven wrong about my past beliefs about disability.

Probably one of the hardest pieces of this realization is that all I’ve ever truly wanted is a family who is able to show how much they love and appreciate me; how much they value me. A family who wants to spend time with me, even if I am unable to do what they’d normally do. A family who wants to learn how to support me and to teach me how to support them. A family who not only wants to show up for you, but is able to, and does.

Maybe this family doesn’t have to be blood. Maybe it isn’t about the individual at all but about their willingness, ability and commitment to unconditionally love. Maybe, as I’ve witnessed recently, it can be one or two or three people who just commit to being there for one another and allowing each other to show up exactly how they are, however that may be. A few people who truly value one another, exactly as they are, and show it. A few people who never let each other forget how much they are loved. A few people who do the work – for themselves and each other. Maybe family doesn’t have to be a burden; maybe it could be the most beautiful and precious thing you ever have – perhaps its the only thing that is truly real and the only thing a human truly needs.

So this is me, surrendering, asking the Universe to help me trust, and praying that love catches my fall.

Thank you Kai, Cam, Cindy, Dustin, Ken, Brittany and Cheyenne for showing me how you unconditionally love each other and work together to support one another each and every day. Kai and Dustin you have built a beautiful, loving family for yourselves, DNA not required. Thank you both for showing me what love looks and feels like in my body.