All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

Did this help you? If so, buy me a coffee here and keep the posts rolling!

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Stronger

Sometimes I find it hard to write when I’m away from my writing spot, and I sure am feeling the resistance today.

I’m sitting in my car in Anchorage and the sun hasn’t risen yet. It’s around 7:30 and will likely be around 8:30 by the time I finish this post. I’ve got at least two shots of espresso in me and still all I want to do is sleep. I would sleep soundly.

I think I am afraid to write outside of my usual spot in the basement because I now have bad associations with writing in the car. The last time I wrote in the car was when I wrote the the post about “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie in the parking lot at my old work. Here I am in a parking lot once again, it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m waiting for a friend to call, and I feel hollow.

I’m not yet hollow enough to cry, but I’m getting there. I think parking lots before sunrise are some of the loneliest places I can imagine.

The sky is turning dark blue, the world keeps turning somehow. I want to stop being so scared and be stronger, but my heart is still breaking from yesterday even though I don’t quite remember why my heart was breaking in the first place. I keep telling myself that I should be stronger than I am and beating the shit out of myself when I fall short of my own unrealistic expectations.

I want to leave Anchorage and go back home to the valley where I live, but that’s a long drive and I am not in a headspace where that’s safe. I don’t know how to calm down. I feel a great desire to be stronger than I am, as I have said before.

I beat myself up almost daily for quitting my old job. I feel I should have been able to handle it and I shame myself for not being able to.

I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish simple tasks that take 10-15 minutes for a healthy person to finish. I want to do things, it just hurts in my brain to even make myself move.

I beat myself up for being sad.

I beat myself up for still having waves of debilitating grief over my dad.

I beat myself up for oversleeping or sleeping too little.

I beat myself up for little things that I would give my best friend care and compassion for.

If she or my husband were hurting like this, I would do everything in my power to hear them out and encourage them to take it easy one day at a time. I would encourage them to talk it out with me and tell them to do only what they can and then help when I am needed or wanted. I would make sure that I hear them and make sure they didn’t think they were alone. I would be by their side.

It’s important to me that they are open with what’s going on because sometimes I can’t read them. My best friend is physically far away and sometimes my husband manifests pain differently than I do. So in the same way I want them to tell me what’s going on and keep me informed, perhaps I should listen to what my brain and body need. I need to rest, I know that for certain. I need to be easier on myself. Most of the people around me don’t expect of me what I expect of myself.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who understands what I’m going through. She gave me words of encouragement and said essentially that I’m okay to be where I’m at. I lost my dad three years ago, which is relatively recent. She understands the feeling of it being difficult to accomplish things that are simple to most. She understands me, and that is so important. She makes me feel heard.

So maybe I am strong even though I struggle. I would most certainly think a friend would be were they in the same situation. So why not me?.

Until next post,

Meg

PS. Happy Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself.

Life in Black and White

Me, taken last night.

Hello, gentle readers! Meg again.

I’m feeling far better this morning.

I’m rediscovering my love for photography. I love how it can convey a mood almost instantly. There’s a major difference between the stark black and white, high contrast photos I started taking later in the evening and the colorful ones I took earlier in the day. I lost that love for a bit when I fell into this most recent depressive phase, and it appears that it’s back with a vengeance. I love taking selfies, especially when I’m sad. My husband loves them, too. I think it reminds me that I’m human and actually look good. Taking selfies has also taught me to love my face, which I worry is lopsided at times. I no longer spend a large amount of time picking out imperfections, and instead focus on things I like, like my freckles and my eyes.

I love playing with all of the settings on my photo editing apps, and sometimes the final product is very different than the original. I try not to distort it too much, but at the same time, there’s much to be said for art and surrealism.

Another one of my great loves is writing, and I greatly enjoy bending pieces of reality into things fictitious and surreal. I do that a lot with my poetry. The meanings behind most of the pieces are very autobiographical and real, but they’re so wrapped up in metaphor that they require a little digging to reach. They are angular at times. They are weirder than weird. Consider this stanza.

“Sometimes the memories have teeth and claws

and sometimes so do the hands of children

I’ve done enough wandering on the edge of dark

and balancing on the wire

to tell the truth from nonsense

and to know the times they are the same.”

I wrote this stanza not to confuse, but to make the reader take a step back and ask themselves “huh?”. The poem in full came about while I had Blue October’s “You Make Me Smile” on repeat. That song alone is odd and beautiful, I took that oddity and ran. I tend to write poems or songs when I get a line or phrase that won’t leave me alone. Sometimes the feeling of another piece of art will inspire it, sometimes it will come all on its own.

I was walking back to my apartment from class one snowy day when the line “I was the sun” came into my head and wouldn’t let me go. That line alone was the launch point for Primrose Path, my previously mentioned fifth album. “I Was the Sun” was a two chord protest against the culture at the school I attended, yet most people saw it as a pretty song with pretty lyrics. “I was the sun, but I fell from my place. Now I must dance back to whence I came, I must dance in my own space”, the song begins.

I felt pressured to live in black and white. I was not embracing who I was, I was trying to become like everyone else. “I Was the Sun” was a breaking point for me. Soon after, the rest of the album took shape, and I became known as the girl with the ukulele around campus. Acts of quiet rebellion like that kept me afloat. I left the school as soon as I could.

After that, I felt free to pave my own way. Church became a thing that made me uncomfortable – any church. So I made friends of many faiths, and we listened to each other one on one. I communed with God in my own ways, which included listening to instrumental music and playing the piano on my own. I study the Bible off and on, and I have never felt more heard by God and the universe.

I have been pondering this question all morning:

“Would it help to treat and love yourself like you would a loved one who is going through what you’re going through?”

The answer is yes. If I were my own best friend, there are many things I’d say to myself that I wouldn’t say to myself now. I’d tell myself:

“Take time to know yourself.”

“Your feelings are valid.”

“I hear you.”

“Take it easy. You are okay to take a break if you can’t go further.”

“Don’t break yourself.”

“It’s okay to be happy.”

“It’s okay to cry.”

“Strength is not pushing yourself into a breakdown.”

“Life isn’t always just black and white.”

Life isn’t always black and white. It isn’t. I’m coming to realize that through my experiences with culture and my own brain. I’m not a failure because I make one minor mistake, and life isn’t black and white just because a group of people tell me it is. It’s fine to make my own path. I need to learn to become my own best friend.

Me in color.

Until next post,

Meg

Permission

Hello, gentle readers!

Today is a bit of a change of pace for me. Instead of wearing a button down or a neutral T-shirt, I am wearing a more femme striped shirt, a flower necklace that a friend gave me some time ago, dress pants, and my green lipstick. I am also not binding today unless the dysphoria gets super bad. I’m taking a break. My button down routine was beginning to feel more like a set of rules than something I actually wanted to do at the time. And that’s okay. I don’t have to dress a certain way for my identity to be valid. Louder for the people in the back –

I don’t have to dress a certain way for my identity to be valid.

Everyone, read that five times. Say it to yourselves. You are valid as you are, and so am I. I was grappling with that this morning, and I took to the blog. I came up with that affirmation. Blogging really helps me talk stuff out, even when things get hard. I even have a blogging playlist now. Blogging time is sacred time.

Back to the theme of having a set of rules to live by rather than what makes me feel good…

Whenever I find myself over-adhering to a set of rules that are either harming me or not going to matter in the long run, I’m starting to learn that it’s time to ditch that system and find a new one. This really should go for everything I do. When I’m trying to find something, I take a step back and move around the room trying to see it from a different angle. I think this can be applied to finding other things – a new mindset to try living in, an emotional or physical need that I can’t quite put my finger on, or even in my journey to be comfortable in my own skin.

I wasn’t going to feel comfortable in my own skin with the button downs this morning. So I took a step back and remembered that lipstick was another thing that felt good to wear. I played with it last night and found that it looked awesome with my new haircut. Yes, I got rid of my mop of hair. It was supposed to fit my more neutral look better than aforementioned mop, but instead I think I’m wanting to wear more lipstick at the very least. I am still me, and my style is allowed to change. It’s a human thing, I’ve found. I just need to give myself permission to change. I am who I am, and the way that I dress doesn’t mean I have changed inside.

I need to give myself permission to do a lot of things. I need to give myself permission to be judged. Some people just straight-up won’t get me, and as long as what I’m doing isn’t wrong, their opinions shouldn’t matter. I am who I am, and nobody gets to take that away from me.

I need to give myself permission to rest. I believe I’ve talked about having unrealistic expectations of myself when I’m depressed, and that those just make things worse in my head.

I need to give myself permission to not explain or justify my identity to those who willfully misunderstand it or have judged me for it in the past. If they want to be educated about it, that’s okay. But I don’t owe anyone an explanation who doesn’t truly need one.

I need to give myself permission to reach out for help to people who care and understand. There’s no use in suffering in silence.

I need to give myself permission to take time to find myself and not expect to know myself tomorrow. The progress I have made is something to be proud of. I didn’t realize that trying to kill my depression was like to bottle a hurricane and that instead I should find high ground and watch it blow over with a cup of coffee in hand.

I am valid as I am. So are you. Rest up, stay safe.

Until next post,

Meg