Becoming Your Own Savior

To anyone looking at me from the outside, you’ll see a slim-bodied but fiercely spirited, confident, smiley-faced young woman with laughter always close to her lips. Many people I’ve met have christened me “Sunshine”, and I try to live up to that nickname.

I post my fair share of positive social media posts to showcase the sunshine in my heart, however, I’ll be the first to admit that all is not always as bright and happy as it seems. Depression and anxiety take their toll on my mental health and my scrolling of social media does little to calm their intensity. In fact, with a society that encourages people to showcase their best selves (#livingmybestlife, #blessed, #neverworkadayinyourlife), some experts believe social media may shoulder a significant impact in the increase in depression rates.

In my case, a smiling face does much to hide body-image issues along with every single negative, self-shaming phrase that woman and men alike have been known to deal with inside their minds. Sentences that pass uninvited through my mind run the gauntlet from “not enough” to “you’re too much” and usually include some form of “you’re no good at anything“‘; “why did you just say such a stupid thing“; “everyone else is better than you at_____” thrown in for good measure.

Sunshine, indeed.

The result of all of these thoughts coursing through my delicate mind is that I’ve dealt with more anger and rage issues than I care to admit (though you’ll never see me act out on any of them) and many nights have been filled with suicidal thoughts that never fail to leave me curled up in fetal position on the floor, balling my heart out and wishing for an escape from my self-inflicted torment. None of these confessions should leave you concerned for me; I’ve got grit and determination and true joy within me that helps me always, always, always rise from the pile of negativity that would see me shamed and broken.

Every human is faced with opportunities to decide to take a step out of whatever it is that holds onto and weighs them down.

I’m taking that step now.

I’m no longer going to allow my mantle of negativity to weigh me down. My hope for every human is that we all reach a place where we no longer put up with whatever lies our inner demons have told us and we find ourselves standing triumphantly in the light of acceptance. Acceptance of our sorrows, our shame, our shadows. I am no stranger to this place of acceptance and self-love, but I have had to remember the feel of that place again and again, rising from ashes anew each time I replace my fear with joy. Each time, I have stared down my brutal excuses for not living up to the brave woman I know I am. I have realized that opportunities and open doors have always been at my feet, I’ve just been too afraid to take that next step. Trust me when I say I know what it’s like to be frozen in fear. But so too do I know what it feels like to fully say ‘yes’ to an experience that I instinctively know is right.

Saying ‘Yes’ to that next step looks different for everyone, but the results for each person are remarkably similar. We lay down our excuses and extend out our own hand to pull ourselves up from the despair that’s blanketed us. We are all our own saviors, as we are all our own jailers.

True beauty follows true commitment.
True transformation follows when what was is burned down to lay bare fertile ground for seeds that are yet to be uncovered, to expose what will be.

I am finding that when one lets go of tightly-held fear (of life, of success, of self-discovery), it does not disappear. Joy simply grows to take up more space within the spirit, preventing fear from taking the reins of control. Resistance no longer blocks your creative energy from making things happen. When resistance is melted away, finally, finally your body and soul can breathe together and see what is truly possible.

For me, my next step involves choosing to do something terrifying. I’ve decided to pursue an impossible (to me) adventure and participate in Race the Wild Coast in 2020. I will pursue this adventure and use it as a tool to create a more honest way of sharing on social media. We all look at what everyone else is doing and think we could never be that perfect or achieve what someone else has; we view it as unattainable for ourselves.

I want to showcase the struggle inside a seemingly perfect shell. I want to show that there’s pain and sorrow and self-destructive thoughts mixed in with the good and the beautiful and that despite those thoughts, we can all make it through to the other side.

It just takes one step to get started.

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Unapologetic

I won’t apologize
For the How and Why of me
I won’t apologize
for the wit on my tongue
or the openness of my emotions
which flow from my touch
as ink flows on parched paper

I won’t apologize
for the weight of my words
which have the power to
weigh you down or lift you up
depending on where you let them
settle in your body

I won’t apologize
for my falling apart
or my joining of seams,
(both require something sharp-edged
and one should not fear of the outcome of either)

for both hold potential
for creation of something new
which is to be celebrated
and not feared

I won’t apologize
when my gaze doesn’t give
the answer you want
or when my words fill you with
desire
fear
sorrow
joy
inspiration

and if you don’t
know what to do with
the emotions I stir up in you
then I bow down to your
fragile yet insistent humanity

I won’t apologize
for lifting another woman
up instead of casting the
first stone
and I sure as hell
won’t tell her
what she should
do, be, wear, create
for her life is her own
and sister, I celebrate you

I won’t apologize
for taking what I want
and leaving what you need
I won’t apologize
for not telling you where to find me
and not leaving you a map
but letting you find your way
with tentative brushing of fingertips
along rocky spine and pale skin

I won’t apologize
for the way
in which I love

For it is with all of me
And it is powerful

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Productivity

Productivity
Waxes and wanes
Sometimes I think it follows the moon
There, it is waxing but
shrouded by clouds, it exists
Just beneath the surface
And shows its face not
Here we see the clouds pass
And once again
Productivity allows
Its gentle light
To show me what
I should do next
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Mornings with Dogs

morning Photo courtesy of Alex Kotomanov on Unsplash

My soundtrack of choice
every morning is 3 sets of
4-legged toes tapping
behind me.
I walk through the house
searching for a clean shirt,
a pair of shoes,
my stranded cup of coffee.

The longer I go from
room to room,
the more insistent the sound
of tapping toes.
At last I find my shoes
and they stir themselves
into a frenzy
of rearing legs and sneezing.

A mad rush to the door,
the cat dodges
left and right
to escape the
onslaught.
Three noses push at the
storm door until at last I fling
it open.

They burst
triumphantly into freedom
only to end up in
the front yard
with heads swinging
to-and-fro as they
stare about,
wondering where to sniff first.

One lays down on the driveway,
another sniffs idly after
a buzzing bee,
the third just looks at me
in confusion.
It is a poor climax
to what promised to be
a great adventure.

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On finding joy again

Seeking community
Seeking to be a wildflower,
Singular amongst a field,
Yet full of a sense of belonging
And knowing she is beautiful

I have spent days idly sitting
Holding my hurting heart
In too-small hands
Raindrops running down
The window to my soul

Where is the wildflower
Waiting to burst forth
In a righteous field?
Questions filled my mouth
Like ash and dried me up

Yet my Soul allows this
She settled around me
A cloak protecting
My divinity, keeping me whole
Until I could quiet myself once again

And one day I remembered
That I still have hands
Capable of reaching out
Both to ask and to give
Of my body’s gifts

I ask and I give
And then suddenly I find
Myself lending hands and voice
To sing devotion
And experience Joy

My voice is full and my eyes send
Tears of gratitude to my heart
Where they bathe her and thank her
Continued devotion to my body
She is a daffodil

I join my voice in Holy
Communion the best way
I know how- I sing with the choir
And marvel at the voices
Separate, and holding

Their own distinct beauty
But together, we are a field
Of wildflowers
Singular in our beauty
And a miracle to behold together

Some are new blooms
Just starting to understand how
To take the sun’s offering
Nourishment to coax
The bloom into showing

Others are starting to
Wither and show their age
Yet still they raise
Voices higher to give thanks
To our own personal God (or Soul)

In this field of beauty we show
The true meaning of seeking
Holiness, together
Yet separate and we all sing
Hallelujah

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The need for change

Let me in

Oh God, let me in

Let me in so I can follow
the internal thread of desire down to its source
Show me that hidden entrance to my heart
the entrance that, once found, is lost to me no longer

Let me remember that heart-pound, that quick shaking of limbs
that tells me loudly

YES

Yes. This is it.

A catch in the throat
and an up-welling of tears…
The kind that can’t be stopped

And why would you want to?

For if, like me, your tears taste of truth
then we should go in.  Together.
Just to remember that we are not alone

We stand together, on legs made strong
with Love and compassion
And our hearts that beat in tune with Love
cannot be stopped

Tell me, what is stronger
than the pull of metamorphosis?
The need to change
that cannot be denied

And why would you want to?

Because all we ever do is change
Change with season, age, wants, needs

We need to change in order to grow.
We need to desire in order to change.
We need to open in order to desire.
We need to accept in order to open.

Must I go on, or have you had an epiphany?
A glance out the window
A searching of your face in the mirror
A quiet contemplation

Love never changes
And when you remember that,
I pray you will remember how it feels
to fall down in gratitude instead of sorrow

Sometimes, all we need is to answer the knock at our door.

Let me in.

 

 

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a poem of sorrow

Bitter winds remind me
of how frail I really am

This is no poem of great strengths
hidden inside a misplaced footstep

This is a poem of all the ways
in which I fail

This is a poem in which
disenchantment reigns

Here I  lay down the words
words that are seeds sown in fragile soil

Words which remind me
of how very human I am

Head bowed, hands still
I lay my sorrow here

In front of this place
of resignation and acceptance

That we can’t always be
in a place of great certainty

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An end is just a beginning of something new

Sometimes there is no magic ritual
no lighting of a fire and placing objects in sacred orientation

Sometimes there’s just packing up what was
and moving into what is

Maybe there are tears
maybe there aren’t

Maybe you hurt
maybe you don’t

But all  things come to an end
in their own time

All you can do is accept the end
when it says it’s time

Pick up the bones
and piece together something new

I think you’ll be surprised
at what you can create

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true love

True love is listening to all those voices in your head
tell you that you’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough,
beautiful enough, man enough, woman enough
and then telling yourself that
You Are.

 

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love

If you can feel all the ways
in which I love you,
then you know all the ways
in which I love myself

-compassion

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