Anxiety, Again

It happened again.

Anxiety wrapped me up so tightly I must untangle myself with scribbles that you are kind enough to read.

Socializing leaves me aching with regret for the words I said wrong and the words I didn’t say.

I feel like a failure, even though I know that is a harsh conclusion, I feel it still.

I feel inept, like no matter what I do I won’t ever feel comfortable in social situations.

Even though I have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, as is more common in females. Even though I have worked painfully hard to hide my differentness, my social awkwardness rarely stays below ground for long.

In the game of whac-a-mole, the moles keep popping up no matter how many I whack.

Self-love, self-compassion, forgiveness, humor, perspective, reassurance that I belong in this human family, in this world, that I am enough, that I am worthy of love, as we all are: these are the treasures I have gathered along my journey.

These are the treasures I hope you find and cherish as well. They must be carefully cultivated, nourished and loved.

May you feel nourished and loved.

May you rest on the shores of peace.

Inhale what you need. Exhale what is no longer serving you.

All is well, even when we are under cloud cover, the clear sky remains above all.

For the duration of my whole life, the sun has never stopped shining- there were only times that I couldn’t see it.

The moon is a reminder of what I don’t see.

Maybe everybody feels this way sometimes, and it is normal and ok.

May I remember that I am blessed beyond measure even during the uncomfortable moments of this human journey.

Storms will rise, then pass.

May my breath be my anchor to weather me through until I see the sky of blue again.

Good

I no longer strive to be labeled as ‘good’ by others

Like a trained fucking dog

I don’t want to act sweet
When I feel salty and bitter
I never wanted to fit into a box
Or stay between the lines
I don’t even belong indoors
I am a wild, free woman
If that means I’m not the angel you thought I was
Then light up the fire and brimstone
Too long have I carried the burden of trying to save the world while looking cute and put-together
Always satisfying other’s needs like plugging holes in a dam and I’m about to burst
I tremble and ache to let go of the many ropes which bind me
So many roles to play and expectations to meet
No wonder I have no time or energy left for me
I am the only person I can save, and my liberation doesn’t require fake smiles or insincere social pleasantries
To live my best life
I must aspire to be more than simply good
I must liberate myself from the ribbon I am wrapped up in
Rip off the docile doll’s dress and burn it,
Warming my hands and illuminating my night
I must feel my body and ride the waves of my emotions with shuddering ecstasy
You want me to be good
But I want to be better

Sleep Talking

Long ago and far away
On a bus grinding through the night
The air thick with sweat and grime
All we had was time
Beer and ice cream on my lips
Bitterness and liquor on his
The man next to me said that I was afraid of talking in my sleep
He overstepped the boundary that I failed to establish between us
Sometimes when I wake up alone, I wonder if my lover heard me sleep-talking and left me to wallow in my past
I want to tell him the truth about my life, but I fear that he would stop loving me,
or worse- rehash it endless times and tell his religious family who would judge me as a hell-bound, lying, baby-killing whore
They’d be right, in a sense
I have exchanged sex for money and I’ve had 3 abortions, each one horrible in its own way, but not as bad as being stuck in an abusive, disempowering situation
Judge not, motherfuckers
I don’t want any man to judge the decisions I’ve made about my body
Least of all a man who is financially dependent on my career: a profession which swallowed my fetuses whole
My past is nobody’s business but my own
I don’t want to be given a hard time for the hard times I’ve already been through
I’m trying to heal and move on
I’m trying to meet myself with compassion for the trauma I’ve endured
I am strong and tough and vulnerable and delicate
My dark secrets are at once more innocent and scandalous than my jealous partners imagine
I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore so I stopped being pregnant
You weren’t supporting me by being broke and leaving me shamefully unmarried
I didn’t want to spend the weekend with you so I didn’t
I regret the weekend away because the other men treated me both better and worse than you, but I love you- painfully clear now that the hormonal storm of pregnancy has simmered down
Why do I set myself up for drama and disaster? I’m trying to heal but your rehashing of the past dredges up emotional detritus, dragging me back
My old stress addiction dies hard
I clamp my jaw
My teeth grind like a bus in the night
I pray that I didn’t sleep talk last night

Blue Glass

I am not OK

I’ve spent a life time lying,
Sticking to the script, saying that I’m fine
I learned as a child to be truthless
Because honesty only got me neglectful rejection
And beat-downs, ruthless
I was trained to be out of touch with my feelings
For a decades, I’ve been reeling
Coming home to my body, battered and bruised
Healing deep emotional wounds
In my family, failure was not an option
I prayed, even as an adult, for adoption
Periodically I stumble through patches of suicidal ideation
Homicidal visions to destroy all of creation
Just to find peace
Do you know what I mean?
I make ends meet, though I’ve stolen and cheated
Swimming upstream, never defeated
I don’t trust anyone with the truth about my life
I don’t want to rehash it, don’t want to unravel it
As a teenager, I used to beat off to Gravel Pit
I am not Ok, and I am Ok with that
I should probably ‘get help’, but the thing about people
Is that they make me uneasy
Can you blame me?
You can shame me, but whatever you are thinking,
I’m sure I’ve done worse
I seem Ok, like a high-functioning addict
Storing up empty bottles in my attic
Just to see sunlight shine through blue glass
Behold the beauty of my realized potential at last

Our Mother’s Face

We thought we could improve perfection, Mama

When we drew lines across your face
Highways of asphalt scars connecting the
Clusters of concrete wounds on your cheeks
High rise buildings offering every luxury but you, Mama
We dig into you without asking, Mama, pounding into your bedrock
Even as you gently rock us to sleep each night, as if our actions are alright
We are the ones who refuse to turn out the lights
We don’t hear your wisdom, Mama, which you sing softly even now
We boast loudly but when do we listen, Mama?
We are shaken to the bone when we drill into you, Mama
Between fracking and petroleum, our hearts are in pandemonium
We make ourselves ill when we poison your blood
Dumping debris into your waters
We choke as we pollute your lungs
Pouring smoke into your atmosphere
We share a single circulatory and respiratory system with you, Mama
Our shortsighted deeds will always come back to haunt us in spades
We drink from your abundant cup, rarely satisfied that we have enough
We pretend to be separate from you even as we depend on you for our every breath, from birth to death
We think we know best but we haven’t fooled the rest, only ourselves
We act big, but we are dust on your mighty shoulders, Mama
Our mother has the most gorgeous face
Deep blue-green eyes and a sparkling smile
Bathed in rich brown skin, holding the miracle of life itself within her
Her beauty cannot be improved by anything man-made
To thrive, she needs only to be loved by those she loves unconditionally, by us
This is her divine lesson of self-love
Caring for the Earth is caring for ourselves
We spring forth from the Earth’s womb, are nourished by her breast, and remain connected to her indefinitely by an unbreakable umbilical cord
Though we mistreat you, we love you and we need you, Mama
You are the only oasis in the vast desert of the universe
We feel calm and content when we are close to you, Mama
Words are not your language
We must show our love for you through actions
Spending quality time with you
Living simply and sustainably
Voting with every transaction
Passing legislation to protect you from destruction by our hands
We have injured you too many times in the name of profit Mama, which only robs ourselves of true wealth: clean air, water and soil
We can’t buy more of you in any store, Mama
When we hurt you, we hurt ourselves more
You wait patiently for us to learn, even as we pillage and burn
You demonstrate how to love more completely, Mama, but that does not excuse our transgressions
This Earth Day, may we pause for reflection on our self-centered predilection
May we hold you in the center of our heart, where you always belonged from the start
Though at times we get distracted, more of your children are treading softly on you each day, Mama
May I be one such child of the Earth, and help others so inspired do the same
Your health depends on what we do today
May we lift our faces to you and see our collective dream come true

Samurai

Before I knew how to love,

I freely offered up my heart

Blind shot in the dark
I was the one who dropped my heart on the floor
From my open hands
Not knowing that I had smashed through a door
Not knowing what I would gain
Not knowing what I could never lose
No one seemed to notice, no one intervened
As I set out on my own
Lifting the veil, stepping through the screen
It wasn’t easy
I made every possible mistake
Burning my fire to fulfill other people’s desires
I was able to do everything and anything,
Because I already felt dead
From the heartbreak which split and throbbed in my head
I flipped circus tricks in the strangest of beds
Unscripted, I drifted
I met so many people
I worshipped under unconventional steeples
Life is my book, my science, my art
It all started when I sacrificed my heart
Everyday I learn how to love more
Love myself, my life, my family
Love even the dregs of humanity
Those who have yet to wander away from themselves
Those who have yet to realize who they really are
Because they cling so tightly to their identity
I’m privileged to live like a Samurai; at once warrior, servant, and free

Labels

Labels

I was labeled cute

I was labeled sweet

I was labeled shy

My anxiety and depression went unrecognized, intentionally overlooked by those with the power to help me when I was a child. My social anxiety drove me to act as anyone but myself.

My parents had not accepted and confronted their own anxiety and depression, and they trained me to follow their approach to life: suppress your feelings, be only what others want you to be.

I was labeled smart.

I was labeled hard working.

I was responsible.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. I took responsibility for everyone else’s feelings. I took care of other children when I was still a child myself.

I was labeled a slut and a tramp by teenage girls.

I was labeled a tease by teenage boys.

I didn’t know how to say no, I didn’t know how to not lose myself in the desires of others.

Sometimes I was glad for the non-verbal language of physical affection, although I was just as incompetent at saying ‘no’ physically as I was verbally.

I was labeled an escort, a call girl, though I was just trying to make ends meet, girl.

I was labeled a graduate, with latin honors.

Though I worked as a prostitute, survived unnumbered abusive relationships, including the abusive relationship with myself, now they call me doctor.

What my patients don’t know is how much I’m still learning everyday- learning how to take care of myself as I ask them to take care of themselves.

In my daily practice of being my best self, I practice un-labeling through non-judgement.

Labels limit our minds.

Labels snap a stagnant picture from the moving scene, robbing us of the limitless possibilities of the present.

My Yoga Teacher

My yoga teacher said

May you live in the heart
May you light up the dark
May you live in the now
May you flow with the Tao
May you bless up
And never come down

My yoga teacher said,
‘Our generation is the smartest one yet, we have all the information we could ever need at our fingertips, yet we still aren’t enlightened- we can’t take 3 steps without melting down’.

True, however:

What I wanted to say to my yoga teacher after class, but didn’t due to my lingering shyness was that we are in the process of becoming enlightened, and yoga teachers are an important part of the sacred process of enlightening others, whether they realize it or not:

One by one, enlightened people share their light with others
As if passing a flame from candle to candle
The glow grows without end, multiplying infinitely.

Sharing our inner light with our fellow beings does not diminish our own glow, but builds a safety net in case our own flame is temporarily blown out- we have a friendly neighbor with a bright source to rekindle us again.

Because we have paid it forward, we have propagated a culture of generosity and abundance.

Let your light shine.

Yoga is a key part of my healing journey. It has changed my relationship with myself and with the world.

To my yoga teacher, I bow in deep gratitude for how they share their light with the world.

To all teachers everywhere across time and space; thank you, and namaste.

Dear Body

Dear Body,
I am sorry.
I am so sorry that I yet again knowingly harmed you and put you at risk.
I let a bare penis inside you, belonging to a man I barely knew.
Then I washed my morose down with several pints of ice cream.
I know damn well the risks of unprotected sex, and of ice cream.
And yet, and yet, how many times, body?
How many times will I humbly ask for your forgiveness.
Henceforth, body, may I treat you right.
Please body, forgive me tonight.
Sincerely,
Me