30 Days of Truth, Day 30: Write a letter to yourself, telling yourself everything you love about yourself.
I know it’s sometimes hard for you to see it–but believe me when I say, you’re kind of amazing. You always think the best of people, and you are friendly and kind. You care deeply about what happens to others. You could spend all day just listening to their stories, their experiences, their joys and heartaches. The news, or a sad scene in a movie or book, is enough to bring you to tears. It is a pretty remarkable trait–being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes, and feel what they feel. You are also understanding. You don’t care as much about what someone has done, as you do about why they did it. If they had a good reason, if their motives were pure, or even just misguided, it is easy for you to forgive.
That said, you are also learning to take no shit. Throughout your life, I have watched you slowly develop this ability. You do not necessarily cut people out of your life when they hurt you, but you will put up boundaries where necessary, and will let the people in your life know what is and is not acceptable.
You are also finally starting to realize that you not only deserve better from teachers, employers, friends and family, but from lovers. You are starting to let go of the fear that you will never find another person to love, who loves you the way you deserve, and realizing that fear is a terrible motivator. You are becoming stronger and more courageous.
Aside from how you relate to others, you have a lot of marvelous traits that are all about you. You are creative and easily inspired. You think deeply about just about everything and can get lost in your own thoughts for hours. You are exceptionally curious–you love to learn new things and gain new insight and understanding. You laugh easily, and as serious as you are about the things you’re passionate about, you also love to let loose and have fun. You are a wonderful blend of carefree and intense, mysterious and candid, passionate and mellow, silly and brooding.
You kick ass in the kitchen. You consistently wow people with your specialty of gourmet-tasting comfort food. You devour books like they are oxygen, and you’re a pretty good mom too! Your children adore you, even though they drive you mental and you occasionally lose your shit, because you respect their individuality and encourage them to ask questions and be whoever and whatever they want to be.
And you’re pretty. You don’t look the way you always wish you looked, but trust me, you are beautiful. You have been owning that more and more, too. Ignoring what society says is sexy or beautiful or fashionable, and deciding for yourself that you are kind of fabulous. You are shaking off the desire to be objectified. You might enjoy hearing that you are attractive, but you do not want someone who is with you solely because of what you look like when they bang you, or how you look on their arm out in public. You are realizing that you have value on the inside too, not just on the outside.
You know how to laugh at yourself. You don’t care that you look ridiculous when you dance. You will even be silly and laugh during sex, because sex is play. You are a wonderfully sexual person. You love to fuck, and you own it, but you aren’t letting it own you, anymore. That is pretty incredible.
You are unique, and you refuse to be categorized, boxed in, labelled, belittled, put down, forgotten or ignored. You don’t give a shit if people don’t like you–you learned a long time ago that that’s their problem, not yours.
Hey, you. Remember this. You are not finished yet. You are a masterpiece in progress. But if who you are now is all you ever are, that’s okay. You’re kind of amazing.
30 Days of Truth, Day 29: What is one thing you wish you could change about yourself?
This was a tough one. Not because I can’t think of anything I want to change about myself, but because there are too many things.
I think I have it narrowed down to two things that kind of go hand in hand. 1) I need to trust my intuition more, and 2) I need to have more confidence in myself.
I second-guess myself a lot. This leads to me doing things that my gut tells me I shouldn’t be doing, because I do not trust my gut. I have learned from bitter experience, that my intuition is usually right. I may not be able to pin-point what I feel is “off”–I may not be able to name it or put it into words–but from now on, I am going to give more credence to my instincts.
I also need to be less afraid to pursue my dreams. I often shy away from taking risks, because I am afraid of either pouring all my energy into something and having it not pan out, or of ending up looking foolish. I need to swallow those fears and just go for it. Submit a story to a publisher. Start a photography side-business. Work on effecting changes that are needed at work, in my community, or in the world. Even if it’s possible I will have to fight–and even if its possible that I will fail.
30 Days of Truth, Day 28: What would you do if you got pregnant, or got someone pregnant?
I have had three unplanned pregnancies. I used birth control, but apparently the combination of my husband’s biology and mind is extremely potent. The first two pregnancies, I continued, and I have my son and daughter to show for it. The last one, I terminated.
It hate that word–“terminated.” It is ugly. I still have conflicting feelings over my decision. I am pro-choice, and I am also pro-life. I do not like abortion–I mean, who does? But sometimes it is the choice that will cause the least amount of harm for the greatest number of people.
That’s where I was. I don’t regret it, though it does make me sad to think about. To find peace, I look at it this way: If I had never become pregnant, the person resulting from my third pregnancy would not exist, either. So the outcome is the same–I do not have a third child. There is no third person in the world with my DNA. No additional sibling for my children. No additional baby for me. It hurts to think about it, but I was not physically, mentally, emotionally or financially able to handle another pregnancy. I just couldn’t.
To read more about the experience, click here.
30 Days of Truth, Day 27: What is the best thing you have going for you right now?
30 Days of Truth, Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.
I struggle with depression. I have ever since junior high. And ever since then, I have fought off the overwhelming impulse to end it all–to just bow out. When I was a teen, I couldn’t handle the pain of rejection from my parents and peers. I was lonely. Even when I did have good friends, I still struggled with sadness. I did not feel like I was good enough. I struggled with being bisexual, for a good long time. It is something I felt made me broken. My hormones were out of control, and this too made me feel like something was terribly wrong with me. I was constantly horny, and because of stereotypes about males being the only ones with appetites like this, I felt sinful–even if I didn’t act on my impulses with anyone but myself.
Every so often, in the wee hours of the morning at a sleepover, friends and I would open up. It’s safer in the dark. I slowly began to realize that I was not all that unique. We were all horny. We all thought about sex. We all thought we had the libido of teenaged boys, even though it turns out that we had pretty typical libidos for teenaged girls. But I still felt wrong. Dirty, and wrong.
Mainly, I just felt like living was an enormous effort.
I engaged in cutting for awhile. I tried to numb it with weed and liquor. My parents sent me to counselors who I refused to talk to, because I couldn’t. Back then, my feelings could not be expressed verbally, but only through writing. I was desperate to tell someone “I cannot tell you out loud, but I can put it to paper for you to read”, but I couldn’t bring myself to say those words either.
Depression has been a lifelong battle for me. Somewhere around the age of 19, after slogging through 6 or 7 years of hellishness, I took myself to the doctor. They prescribed one medication, and then another, and before long I had one that worked. Things got worse before they got better, but once it regulated in my system I found I could handle life better. I no longer flew off the handle. I didn’t internalize every little slight or every setback. I was able to finally engage in life.
I have been on meds for ten years this fall, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Though I still get depressed, usually the week before my period, I can manage it. Even when I have longer bouts of depression, brought on by life events, I can force myself to just keep swimming. There are times I know I would have benefited from being hospitalized, but thishasn’t happened yet, and I’m hoping it never will. One thing I have learned from all of my depressive episodes is that it will eventually pass. I will not feel like this forever.
When I want to give up, it is simple: I just don’t. I just choose to live. Life can be unbearably painful, but sometimes just the simple act of breathing in and out is a triumph.
30 Days of Truth, Day 24: Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs.
I am not going to make a playlist for anyone else. . .but I will share some songs that tell the story of my life. They will likely not be in any kind of order, because it’s late and I just don’t have the organizational skills for that!
Royals, by LORDE describes how I feel about money.
“And we’ll never be royals. It don’t run in our blood. That kinda lux just ain’t for us. We crave a different kind of buzz.”
Love the Way You Lie, Pt. 2 by Rhianna describes the relationship I am apparently still getting over. (The linked version features the original song writer–have a listen!)
“On the first page of our story, the future seemed so bright. Then the saint turned out so evil…don’t know why I’m still surprised.”
Say Something by A Great Big World describes how I often feel about my marriage.
“Say something, I’m giving up on you. I’ll be the one if you want me to.”
Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap describes how I felt when I was leaving religion, and everyone tried to convince me that I just needed to trust god, even when I didn’t see how I could.
“Whatcha say? That you only meant well? Well, of course you did. Whatcha say? That it’s all for the best? Of course it is. Whatha say? That this is just what we need? You decided this. Whatcha say? What did you say?”
Raise Your Glass by Pink explains pretty well my not-giving-a-fuck about being deviant.
“We will never be anything but loud, and nitty gritty, dirty little freaks.”
She Says by Ani Difranco will always remind me of my first girlfriend and first love.
“She says forget what you have to do. Pretend there’s nothing outside this room. Like an idea she came to me. But she came too late, or maybe too soon. Please try not to love me. Close your eyes, I’m turning on the light. You know I have no vacancy, and it’s awfully cold outside tonight…”
Away from the Sun by Three Doors Down describes my often-present depression.
“Now again I’ve found myself so far down. Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place, I’m so far down, away from the sun that shines to light the way for me, to find my way, back into the arms that care about the ones like me. I’m so far down, away from the sun again.”
Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks always makes me cry, because it perfectly sums up how I feel about my kiddos.
“They didn’t have you where I come from. Never knew the best was yet to come. Life began when I saw your face. And I hear your laugh like a serenade. . .”
And finally, Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow describes the somewhat amusing but ever-terrifying fear that NO ONE is strong enough to be my man!
“Nothing’s true, nothing’s right. . .so let me be alone tonight. Cause you can’t change the way I am. Are you strong enough to be my man?”
30 Days of Truth, Day 23: Something you wish you had done in your life.
I want to travel. I have a serious case of wanderlust. It’s not that I’ve never been anywhere–I’ve been to Quebec, Banff, and Jamaica. I’ve taken a cruise through The Bahamas and The U.S. Virgin Islands. I’ve spent a summer in Malibu Canyon, and visited Disney World in Orlando. I’ve sung in Chicago and New York. But there is so much more of the world I have yet to see, and sometimes it is a physical ache.
I want to go wine tasting in Napa. I want to snorkel in New Zealand. I want to eat pasta in Italy, and wander through the streets of Santorini.
I want to see an elephant in it’s natural habitat. I want to learn about other cultures through immersion instead of books. I want to experience something beyond my own window.
I need to lay in the grass and watch the Northern lights. My life will not be complete until I have gone Whale Watching in Nova Scotia.
Of course, I know my life isn’t over. I still have a chance to do it all. It just seems that the more responsibilities I get as I move through life, the harder it is to take off. How can I go to Kenya and Japan, when there’s a job to be at, homework to help with, Christmas presents to buy, and the kids need new shoes?
I harbour a ferocious jealousy towards anyone I know who was travelling while I was studying, working, getting married and getting pregnant. It’s true what they say–you’re only young once.
I wonder why I was in such a hurry. Why checking the boxes was so important that I didn’t realize where it would lead and what I would be leaving behind.
I haven’t given up. But it has been five years since I have been anywhere, and the explorer in me really wants to come out. So I look at options that are more doable.
The cherry blossom festival in Washington instead of Japan. Glacier Park, Montana–you could almost convince yourself you’re in Iceland.
I wonder if I will leave as soon as my kids do. If, fifteen years from now, I will hoist a backpack on my back, say my good-byes, and just take off.
Life is full of surprises–I know that as well as anyone. I don’t know what our situation will be tomorrow, or next year, or five years down the road. Maybe we’ll turn into a “normal” family who can actually afford to go places together. Maybe I’ll win this week’s jackpot (of course, that would actually require buying a ticket). Maybe I will get a better paying job. Maybe my husband will. Maybe we both will.
One way or another, my wanderlust will be satisfied.