“You can’t force anyone to value, respect, understand, or support you, but you can choose to spend time around people who do.” ~Lori Deschene
I always felt somewhat different from my family growing up.
I didn’t have a terrible childhood—I was certainly loved, cared for, and looked after—but despite having two siblings, a mother, and a stepfather (who raised me), I seldom felt a sense of belonging and often times I felt very lonely.
Growing up I could never quite put my finger on what it was that was different, but I just knew that I was. I knew …
“Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” ~Sonya Parker
On August 4, 2022, I buzzed off my long, thick, luscious hair.
I marched up Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon, walked into Take Pride Barbershop, and sat in the chair with the most badass barber. She quelled my last-minute fears and boldly took the clippers to my never-shorter-than-shoulder-length hair.
It was instant liberation.
I had finally worked up the courage to do so after four years of internal debate and worry, which went something …
“The butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame, just as you should not look back at your past in shame. Your past was part of your own transformation.” ~Anthony Gucciardi
Before I finally grew the courage to walk away from my boyfriend, I contemplated walking away many times.
There was the time that he had ghosted me for a week without communicating that he needed space. Then after promising me a timeline for telling his mom about me and our relationship, when the time came to do it, he made up another excuse. And there were …
“The best apology is simply admitting your mistake. The worst apology is dressing up your mistake with rationalizations to make it look like you were not really wrong, but just misunderstood.” ~Dodinsky
It was January 2016 and Baltimore was in the midst of a blizzard. Outside, the city was covered in a three-foot blanket of snow. Inside, we were having a blizzard party. My boyfriend, five friends, and me.
We’d been coloring, listening to music, dancing, and playing games. Already, I knew it was one of the most cozy and fun nights of my life. Everyone was happy. The energy …
“Detachment is not about refusing to feel or not caring or turning away from those you love. Detachment is profoundly honest, grounded firmly in the truth of what is.” ~Sharon Salzberg
A few months ago, my father informed me that he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although he seemed optimistic about the treatment, I knew that hearing such news was not easy.
After a few weeks, I followed up with him. He ignored my message and went silent for a couple of months. Although his slight ghosting was common, it made me feel ignored and dismissed.
In the meantime, I …
“One of the greatest awakenings comes when you realize that not everybody changes. Some people never change. And that’s their journey. It’s not yours to try and fix it for them.” ~Unknown
In 2021 my father died. Cancer of… so many things.
Most of the events during that time are a blur, but the emotions that came with them are vivid and unrelenting.
I was the first in my family to find out.
My mother and sister had gone on an off-grid week-long getaway up the West Coast of South Africa, where there’s nothing …
“I can bear any pain as long as it has meaning.” ~Haruki Murakami
I’ve always felt like someone on the outside. Despite having these feelings I’ve been relatively successful at playing the game of life, and have survived through school, university, and the workplace—although, at times, working so hard to ’survive’ has impacted my emotional well-being.
I have been lucky enough to have healthy and supportive relationships with a few loved ones who have accepted me as I am (quirks and all). To anyone else I’ve come across, I suspect I’ve been perceived as inexplicably normal and inoffensive.
Like many …
“When you turn the corner / And you run into yourself / Then you know that you have turned / All the corners that are left.” ~Langston Hughes
Nearly two years ago I left a long-term controlling and abusive relationship.
I didn’t know that I was in one. I just knew that I was desperate.
Abusers take everything away from you. I don’t just mean your money or your home or your children, although they take those as well. I mean everything, including your sense of self.
Toward the end of the relationship, I wrote in my journal: “I …
TRIGGER WARNING: This post briefly references sexual abuse.
“Never hold yourself back from trying something new just because you’re afraid you won’t be good enough. You’ll never get the opportunity to do your best work if you’re not willing to first do your worst and then let yourself learn and grow.” ~Lori Deschene
The year 2022 was the hardest of my life. And I survived a brain tumor before that.
My thirtieth year started off innocently enough. I was living with my then-boyfriend in Long Beach and had a nice ring on my finger. The relationship had developed quickly, but …
“We’re all just walking each other home.” ~Ram Dass
Living in the hyper-individualist society that we do, it’s easy to forget our obligation to those around us. Often in the West, we are taught to prioritize ourselves in the unhealthiest ways, to ‘grind’ as hard as we can to achieve wealth and status.
We are taught, between the lines, that our first responsibility is to create a ‘perfected‘ version of ourselves to such an extreme that it is alright to forsake our relationships with others to accomplish it.
From day one, it is embedded in us that it …
“The problems around us are only compounding. We will need to rediscover our trust in other people, to restore some of our lost faith—all that’s been shaken out of us in recent years. None of it gets done alone. Little of it will happen if we isolate inside our pockets of sameness, communing only with others who share our exact views, talking more than we listen.” ~Michelle Obama
I’m up at the American River, one of my favorite summertime spots. I have a ritual of floating down it, then hiking back up the hill to my clothes. I love how …
“People only see what they are prepared to see.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Abuse is a funny thing. I don’t mean humorous, of course.
I mean the other definition of funny: difficult to explain or understand.
Abuse shouldn’t be difficult to understand. If someone is mistreated, we should be able to clearly point a finger and proclaim, “That is wrong.”
But not all abuse is obvious or clear-cut.
I was abused for most of my adult life and didn’t know it.
Let me state it again: I was abused and didn’t know it.
I only saw what I …
“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” ~Roberto Assagioli
When I was a little girl, I used to wonder what my father was like. Was he a nice man? What did he look like? Did he think about me? Did he love me?
But, above all I wondered why he left.
I used to make up stories about him—one time I imagined him as a voyager traveling to foreign lands and picking up small gifts for me in every new place he visited. He met with the locals and would learn new trades and …
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~Mother Teresa
Routines are important to me. I rely on certain things to bring me back home to myself; to feel clear and open in my mind, body, and heart.
One of the activities that bring steadiness to my life is swimming. It’s one of my greatest pleasures. There is something magical to me about the feeling of water on my skin, the repetition of the arm strokes that calm my mind, the sound of my breath that relaxes my body, and the …
“We need to learn how to navigate our minds, both the good and the bad, the light and the dark, so that ultimately, we can create acceptance and open our arms and come home to ourselves.” ~Candy Leigh
Divorce is so common that my son, at a young age, asked if my husband and I could divorce so he could have “a mom’s and dad’s house too!” And my daughter agreed because then “we could get double presents on holidays!” Given my experience as a child with divorced parents, I assured them, “Guys, divorce is not really that much fun.”…
“We are hard-wired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” ~Brené Brown
In relationships, I have always felt more comfortable being on the sidelines rather than center stage. I liked playing the supporting role to many people’s leading roles. I am good at it; it’s the career I chose for myself as a life coach. However, personally, constantly staying in the role of supporter created resentment.
I felt unseen and unheard, and many of my relationships began to feel one-sided—with me listening and holding space for them and …
“If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be looking for someone else to fill the void inside you, but no one will ever be able to do it.” ~Lori Deschene
I was a simple girl who met a complicated boy and fell in love. It was unrequited. I loved him with all my heart for six months, and acted like a teenager with her first crush. It was humiliating. I did things that I should never have done—the incessant texting, calling, arranging meetups, and what not.
Embarrassment doesn’t even cover the emotions I feel now. There is also a …