Dear “I Need To Know Myself,”

DEAR "I NEED TO KNOW MYSELF"

READ TIME: 10 minutes

Dear “I need to know myself,”

Relationships can be so difficult.  No matter what type of relationship; a father and daughter, friendships, or in your circumstance, with your long-term committed partner. I too have cheated in the past, and I commend you on reestablishing your relationship and working through the broken trust, the betrayal and the hurt.  That is no small feat.  You faced shame, self-loathing and depression.  You self-reflected and internalized and came to a realization that you still loved the man you hurt and then you stood vulnerable in front of him and asked for compassionate forgiveness.

I am sorry to hear this newly reignited relationship isn’t what you thought it would be. I’m sorry it’s causing you confusion and discomfort.  Here are some things that I hope might bring you some relief:

This pain is temporary.

You don’t have to make any decisions today.

You had mentioned wanting to know yourself.  That, if you did leave your partner, it was only to discover what you truly wanted and needed.  I will say, with understanding love, that you can do this regardless of circumstance.  Emotional work is similar to any other kind.  As an example, my husband used to say, “If we had more light in this apartment, I’d be able to do more work.”  “If we had thicker walls where I knew my music wouldn’t be heard by others, then I would practice more.” “If I just meditated regularly, went to yoga every day and ate a consistently healthy diet then I would feel more mindful.”  Those are all very likely and accurate statements.  However, we only have control over so much.  Circumstances won’t always be perfect. That’s like saying that in order for a flower to grow, they require the perfect amount of water, sunshine, space and nutrient-rich soil.  But sometimes, like in L.A., we see flowers sprouting from concrete!

Now, I’m not saying that you should stay in an unhappy relationship by any means.  But I am giving you permission to look for opportunity for change exactly as you are now.  Here’s a beginners guide to help you figure out what you might need to find balance in your life.  And this balance might eventually help you discover who you are:

  1. Am I in a safe place to practice self-love? (Is this relationship healthy enough for you to stay and work on yourself?)

If you do not feel like you can take the time to practice self-love in this relationship, then you may need to take some solo time to learn to love yourself.  Then try to figure out why and how you got into a relationship that didn’t place importance on self-love and personal growth.

  1. Back to the basics:
    1. Have I been drinking enough water?
    2. Have I been eating well?
    3. Do I get enough regular sleep?
    4. Have I done any form of exercise? (even a 10-minute walk a day)
    5. Do I get regular amounts of sunshine?

If you feel like you have not been taking care of these areas of your life, start slowly, and then monitor the progress.

  1. Below is a list of areas in personal life; what feels like it needs the most work?:
    1. Intellectual (am I learning, reading, expanding?)
    2. Mental (do I feel depressed, anxious, restless?)
    3. Emotional (have I felt erratic, chaotic, confused?)
    4. Physical (am I tired? Lonely? Does my body ache?)
    5. Spiritual (do I feel purposeless, aimless or stagnant?)

Each one of these areas is a key component to your self-love practice.  Each one has a new and separate solutions and a variety of ways to access the answers. If anyone reading this wants to know the best way to answer some of these questions – please reach out and I’ll write a separate post on how I’ve trained myself to look intently and honestly at these aspects of my life to find a more comfortable daily balance.

  1. What do I like?

This is a very important step.  Determining what you like, what you enjoy and how you can do more of it is crucial in understanding yourself. Do you like to bake?  When was the last time you did that?  Why has it been so long?  Can you do more of it, and regularly?

  1. How can I communicate this to others/my partner?

It’s one thing to know that you are taking care of yourself, to know that each area of your person is supported and loved by YOU and that you are fulfilled in the things you enjoy doing in life – and it’s another to TELL someone all of this and see if they align with you.  Being rigorously honest is not confrontation.  Let me repeat that for the cheap seats:

BEING RIGOROUSLY HONEST IS NOT CONFRONTATION.

Sometimes I talk to friends and they are scared to tell their partners how they truly feel or what they truly want because they are afraid of their reaction.  We have no control and no responsibility over other people’s reactions.  It is, however, our responsibilities as partners and as humans to say what we want, what we like, what pleases us and displeases us and it is up to the other human on how they choose to respond to this.  None of this has to be confrontational – we can be rigorously honest with love, compassion, kindness and empathy.

Once you meet yourself, it’s very easy to be honest with others.  It’s usually in the “space in-between” when we feel like we are confrontational because we want to place blame on them for not telling us what we want. Or we are so confused with our own internal systems that we can’t tell someone else what’s going on because we have no idea what’s going on!

The 5 steps above can take time.  It is a daily practice for me, but it took me months, if not years, to fully learn how to satisfy the various aspects of my personality. So be patient with yourself.  Be gentle, kind and patient.  No one really teaches you how to love yourself – unless you had kick-ass parents!  Most of us are just clumsily trying to figure it out on our own.  But, in my life, the best way for me to learn who I was – was by looking at myself openly, honestly, raw, and real. The shiny spots and the dark spots.  The kitty-shelter volunteer and the girl who had an affair with a married man.  The liar and the granddaughter that called her grandpa every Sunday for a year when he was depressed and lonely. No one is perfect.  We all have done something that we tragically wish we hadn’t – but I do not regret any step I’ve made on my path because it brought me closer to myself, closer to my universal architect and closer to you.  I’m more human and more myself today than I was yesterday.

I hope you find this helpful in getting to know yourself, loving yourself and being able to communicate more lovingly and authentically with your partner.  Thank you for opening up to me and trusting me. You are so loved.

Too-Personal Plane Poetry Pt. 2

TOO-PERSONAL PLANE POETRY PT. 2

Uncharted Territories
My hands are explorers,
my fingers chart sea routes along your wrists.
Before, I stood at a distance,
dipping my toes,
but now I adventure into
new uncharted territories.
My eyes, telescopes.
My lips caressing of your shoreline.
I want to travel into international waters.
Where there are no laws.
Where the waves peak.
Where I can taste your salt,
and the roughage of your break.
Desiring to be supported by your body
of water,
Cool my warm, basically naked, skin.

Ask Me Your Questions, Tell Me No Lies Pt. 2

ASK ME YOUR QUESTIONS

“We’re all told that we can make our dreams a reality, that you can turn your passion into your career if you try hard enough and never give up.  But in the practical sense, if you’ve put 4 years, thousands of dollars and then invested 10 years into a career, how much can you really expect to still go for that dream?  It’s never too late, but how do we decide when to transition and how to transition and if it’s a good idea and if we’re ready?”

First of all, thank you.  Thank you for reaching out, thank you for participating and thank you for asking such a wonderful question – one I’ve asked so many times, and still continue to ask myself.

I went to college to study photojournalism, a career I still admire to this day.  I also still cherish and delight in photography and I even get paid for it!  I’ve been published in newspapers and I’ve even received notes and had calls with National Geographic editors.  But, I’m not a photojournalist.  I work at a small Consumer Packaged Goods advertising agency.

I’ve dreamed of becoming a great many things – a criminal psychologist, translator for government agencies, a baker, teacher, and even a blimp driver (which turns out is just a pilot and requires way more work/education/money than I actually thought necessary).  Then, I wanted to become a photographer, a journalist, a graphic designer, website designer, and videographer.  So I did.  I studied, I spent tens of thousands of dollars, years of my life, and even more years of my life paying back the tens of thousands of dollars.

Yet, here I sit – a non-photojournalist.

I think it’s less about “transitioning” and “when it’s a good idea” and more about the making your dreams a reality part. I don’t consider myself a Director of Business Development at an advertising agency.  I consider myself a cat-mom, a stargazer, a wannabe poet, a yogi, a Buddhist, a photographer, a journalist, a see-er of the unseen, a friend, a wife, sister, daughter, aunt (none of this is in order, I feel like I should rearrange this list).

What I’m trying to say is, if you’re unhappy – change it.  I wanted to write, so I started to write.  I wanted to take more photos, so I started taking more photos and now I’ve booked so many gigs (paid!) that I have had to outsource to colleagues from school.  I want to do my graphic design, website design, videography and be a boss lady – so I work at an ad agency.  Sometimes you don’t really need a full-fledged plan just to begin.  You can just begin.

If the day comes where my photography can provide the type of lifestyle I want, then I will have a new choice to make.  If the day comes where my writing can provide the financial security that I have now, a new choice.  If the day comes where my infamous no-sugar, no-wheat, totally vegan pancakes (which are actually totally amazing) somehow land me my own cooking show, again, another choice.  Until then, I am responsible for my activities, the experiences that make up this human expression on Earth.  So, I’m doing all the things I wanna do – time, energy and sanity be damned!

Sit somewhere comfortable, somewhere warm and cozy and ask yourself, “what would make me feel fulfilled?”  When I asked myself this, my gut-punch answer was “I want to write and I want to photograph.”  So here I am, writing a post at 11:30pm before a full work day because I want to write and when I’m done writing this, I’m going to scour through my files for a photograph I took to post with it.  Find your gut-punch answer and then you’ll be surprised how much more time you suddenly have in a day.

Keep writing me, share your progress, your struggles, your successes and let me know what it’s like to fly a blimp!

The Original Song

THE ORIGINAL SONG

Inspired by Robert Frost’s poem yesterday, I wrote the following poem.  But before we get into that, I want to share a little bit about silence.  I spoke with my cousin last night who was distraught upon finding out her best friend had been hit by a car.  He was seriously injured, but alive.  She told me about how when she found out, she called multiple friends but no one answered.  She felt “alone in the universe, I just felt like I was left floating there.”

I remember this feeling back in my depression, I felt so alone and unheard, unwanted and living in fear.  Just as she was.  I explained to her that the unhealthy side of our brains, the parts of us unhealed, hurting, the addictions, the self-indulgences, the justifications, the instant gratifications, etc. That side always tells us bad things.  Our brains are hardwired to make us feel better – at whatever the cost.  When we were hungry as primal creatures, our brains would solve problems to get us nourishment.  When we needed shelter, we would creatively find a solution.  That has not changed, only our problems have.

We now need to be “perfect;” warm, comfortable at all times, loved by everyone, successful, eat the most balanced diet, post only the most beautiful pictures on Instagram, and have the most loving and adoring relationship.  This list goes on and on.  Our brain is constantly trying to give us the best solutions to all of our problems.  For those of us who have unhealthy tendencies; eating to cope with stress, suicidal thoughts, using sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. It’s very easy to let that side have the loudspeaker.  But there is another side.

The healthy side, in that moment for my cousin, was telling her to take some silence.  No one answered the phone calls, but the universe answered the real call. Be quiet in your grief, in your fear, in your hurt.  She wasn’t alone in the universe, because she was WITH the universe.  And this beautiful world wanted her to make a healing wish for her friend and for herself.  Sometimes, silence is the answer.  That is where we grow, evolve, learn and understand ourselves more fully.

Our greatest strength, our greatest wisdom and our greatest kindness is silence. That is our original song.  Silence and love.

The Original Song
Never have I met someone like you
Apologetically heroic while healing hearts.
Kind severity that stares straight through
Unabashed, unadulterated, a destiny long overdue,
Spoken softly, a secret of honey burns at our hearths.

Love letters left on pillowcases,
Sunsets seeping from the text;
A humanity overwhelmed with familiar faces,
Flowers filling up the blank spaces –
In between the places like lovers might suggest.

Words falling short and gracelessly falling out,
Inexplicable in nature, what a marvel you are
Like God himself is even devout.
The land lacking light, without and in drought
And then you, like Renoir, painted the sky with heaven’s first star.

 

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

"THE ROAD NOT TAKEN" BY ROBERT FROST

Today, for no particular reason, I find this poem to be quite significant.  Beyond the beauty, imagery and profound verse of this poem – I am left questioning many things.  At first read, this poem delivers the messaging of “Did I make a difference?”  With the final sentiments of “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” But upon further reading, and interpreting, I’m left with realizing that either way he chose to walk, the destination would have been the same.  (“Had worn them really about the same.”)

This poem, every time I read it, makes me feel very human.  Because whether we choose to be musicians, or poets, or a construction worker – in the end, we are all on the same path, with the same wear, heading in the same direction.  Universally human.  I have read before (in various opinions of this poem online) that “The Road Not Taken” tears apart the traditional view of individualism. Some might find this thought frustrating, defeating, inaccurate; saying that our choices do have impacts and make large differences in our paths.  I find this thought relieving, comforting and true in my world – regardless of the path and the small choices I make, I am among the collective human race.

This poem is not really about “Did I make a difference?”  It’s about the strive to make a difference. 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Ask me your questions, Tell me no lies

I woke up at 2:30am quite abruptly this morning.  While I was sitting in the dark, I thought of Purpose and Prose and what I’m really doing writing online.  I love poetry, I love sharing my poetry with others, but under my “about me” section I talk about how I want to help others.  And really, that’s why I feel I’m here, right now, as Emily in this world in 2018.

I went to photography school because I wanted to document humans.  I wanted to share their stories, and live many lives and love everyone with unconditional, limitless vigor.  But, I was raised in an alcoholic home where love was confused.  Learning to love from adults and a sibling who often were angry, hurting or alone was a challenging landscape.  However, I’m now very grateful for the abuse and the spectrum of feelings I’ve had in my life because it has only taught me how to love people out of their own darkness.

Now, I want to help YOU. 

I will be the first to admit that I am not a trained professional.  I have no counseling degree, and I am not a therapist. But, I’ve had 12 years of therapy under my belt and I have read pretty much every self-help book out there.  I’ve been to CBT Therapists, Somatic Therapists, I’ve been to Al-Anon, AA meetings (to understand the Alcoholics perspective), I’ve been to Love and Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings, and I’ve been practicing Buddhism for the past 3 years.  I also was a trained mentor and adviser to young girls and boys in youth homes and spent 2 years assisting them.  Lastly, I’m a human who has seen the darkest of times and who has survived and used those experiences as nutrients to grow into an even better person.  Those are my credentials.

I want to hear about your life, I want to hear where you want clarity.  I want to give you love and support and provide any form of assistance I can – whether that’s just listening, or if you want tangible life suggestions that you can apply to better yourself.  Are you feeling angry too often?  Do you have resentment towards someone?  Do you want to become a better version of yourself?  Are you constantly on a diet and it isn’t working?  Do you feel unhappy in any way?  Tell me about it – in as much or as little detail as you want.

Whoever sends me a comment, or fills out my contact box – I will write a post to answer your question/speak to you directly.  I can keep you completely anonymous.

I will still be writing my poetry, because I enjoy it – but I believe this is the “Purpose” part of “Purpose and Prose.”  I’m so looking forward to hearing from you, whoever you are, I love you already and I’m so proud of you for reaching out.

Anchor in Time

ANCHOR IN TIME

Anchor in Time
We have our own universe;
the space between the lines,
in the breath before the words.
The ethos that connect reality and dreams,
the dusk and dawn
the attraction of night to day.
A magnetic haul that lingers in our ocean.
We hear your heartbeat in my hand.
We are lovers, artists, romantics,
Our intimacy is cinematic.
You are my home in the heavens
and I am grounding to your spaceship.
Sometimes I think you’re too good for me.
Other times I hear, “Well, aren’t you two just the same type.”
Our meditation is an anchor in time.
And my grateful heart now lives in a world previously unseen.
You are so beautiful.

I am only here to have met you.