We Asked People With Gender Dysphoria How They Take Care Of Themselves ~ Sarah Karlan

Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed News

The uncomfortable feelings that come with gender dysphoria can really throw a wrench in your day-to-day life, making even simple tasks seem impossible. This type of dysphoria is often defined as a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because the gender to which they were assigned at birth and their gender identity don’t match up. When your body and mind aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, it’s easy to feel pretty low. 

We asked people to tell us what they do to make themselves feel good when they’re stuck in some serious dysphoria blues. Here’s what they said:

1. Escape for a bit into your favorite playlist.

“When my dysphoria gets bad, I take out my guitar and play music. Sometimes I like to play my own music, music I wrote. Mostly I just cover songs. When I play, I feel like I’m in my own world, just my mind, my hands and my guitar. I escape into a little space inside my head and fill it with music.”

— Anonymous

2. Take a moment to point out a few positive things you love about your body.

“I am nonbinary, but I was assigned male at birth. Whenever I experience dysphoria, I usually turn on some music and just let my mind clear. I’ve also found that it helps to tell myself, out loud, that my body does not define my gender and to point out things about my body that I do like. Just because I have big hands, doesn’t mean I’m male. And I know I love my eyes. I have to remind myself that there are still positive things about my body.

Something else that works for me is talking to one of my good friends. They know that sometimes I feel awkward in my body, and they can help reassure me that I’m 100% awesome even though my body doesn’t exactly match how I feel that day.”

— Anonymous

3. Cuddle the crap out of a furry friend.

‘I’m nonbinary. Some ways I’ve found to help cope with dysphoria [include] wearing an outfit I know I look good in (it boosts my confidence a lot) and listening to songs I can sing along to. I also like repetitive tasks, like putting CDs or books into alphabetical order or making bracelets. It gets me out of my head, helps me focus on other things. Quite often it gets overwhelming, though, in which case sometimes just having a bit of a cry and a sleep helps. Oh, and cuddle a pet. Pets don’t care what gender you are. I’ve never in my life known a transphobic dog.”

— Anonymous

Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed News

4. Pamper yourself with comfy clothes, your favorite makeup, and lots of chocolate.

“I’ve had gender dysphoria long before I knew I was nonbinary but i just didn’t know how to describe it. Some days I can control it; other times it’s impossible to control. it makes me hate myself, but it’s not very strong most the time. To make myself feel better I wear comfy clothes, do my makeup and make myself feel like the person I am inside. Also chocolate is a great quick fix ;)”

— M.

5. Find someone you look up to — if not out in the world, then on YouTube!

“My best way to cope with dysphoria is quiet indie music or watching YouTubers like Uppercasechase, a trans guy who is pretty far in his transition. Seeing trans people who are far into their transition gives me hope that everything will be okay. Watching YouTubers who are transgender and talking about it helps to know I’m not alone and gets rid of the feeling that I’m the only one feeling like this. It really is a great feeling knowing you’re not the only one.”

— Arthur

6. Take a peek into the past so you can appreciate how far you’ve come.

“As a trans guy at about 8 months on T, it really helps me to look back at older photos from when I wasn’t so far along on my journey and look at how far I’ve come. Old photos are super cringy to look at but they definitely make me feel better about where I’m at now.”

— Jamie

Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed News

7. Slow. Everything. Down.

“About a year ago, I would probably not have known what dysphoria even was. Well, now I do, and I’ve come to experience it from time to time. It can lead to self harm and anxiety, so it’s not really fun. Usually I get through my bad days by trying to talk slower and quieter, as that usually makes my voice sound a little deeper. I usually let my mind drift off to my favorite playlist,s or maybe try to talk to friends of mine who might have the same problem.” 

— Nate

8. Surround yourself with people who understand or may be going through the same thing.

“The struggle is absolute hell, especially in mine and many other cases of being in high school, a tough series of years on its own — figuring out your true gender or how to embrace your choice in gender can be really hard. Most of all, avoiding bullying [can be hard]. But what I like to do is surround myself with friends who are typically dealing with similar struggles with sexuality or their gender as well. If things continue to get worse, I highly recommend a warm blanket, a desk to hide under, some sweet movies, books, or rad tunes. Also candy and shizzle come in handy.”

— Anonymous

9. Focus on the amazing things your body can do, rather than what it looks like.

“I’m a trans woman but I didn’t have major issues with body dysphoria either before or after transition. I think a big part of the reason for that is because I trained for a long time in modern dance, which focuses so much on what your body can do rather than what it looks like. So I knew that I wanted to be a woman, but I didn’t carry with me a lot of the body image baggage that goes with. I enjoy being a powerful, athletic woman whose body doesn’t conform to idealized beauty standards. Anyway, I know that very few people’s bodies do.”

— Meredith Talusan

10. Take a time-out.

“I’m a trans guy, pre everything, and my name is Emmett. I’m generally very dysphoric, but some days are worse than others. On my bad days, which is usually when I’ve been misgendered a lot or when I’m menstruating, I tell my best friend and she calls me “lad” or “sir” and makes comments about how masculine I am. I also bind every day, and sometimes I pack with a sock pinned to my boxers. I tend to make tea, talk in a deeper voice, and wear all men’s clothes when I’m feeling dysphoric too. One of the best things I do for myself is take breaks and make sure I keep myself safe.”

— Emmett

Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed News

11. Pour your feelings into a notebook or blog.

“I write. I have to stop the hollering in my head so I put it all down on paper. Then it isn’t as real, they stop being consuming emotions and they’re just words.” — Kaleb

12. Find out what clothing makes you feel good and own your outfits.

“As a gender-nonconforming person, my body image fluctuates on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel femme and sometimes I feel butch. There are times when I feel a little trapped, like on social occasions when I’m expected to be femme when I don’t feel like it, like for weddings or formal interviews. On those occasions, I usually try to wear at least one item of clothing that I feel like doesn’t conform to standard binary gender norms, like a necklace I identify with masculinity, or boxers under my dress. It makes me feel like I’m still genderqueer even if there are times when I don’t feel comfortable being seen that way.”

— Anonymous

13. Escape into a long and luxurious shower.

“I’m genderqueer and experience a lot of dysphoria around my monthly cycle […] but I like to get as cold as I impossibly can (open a window, take off all my clothes) and get into a really hot shower or bath and wash away the cold. 

I also live in my hoodie when I’m feeling nasty and it feels good to be toasty and wrapped up. ” 

— Karen

Charlotte Gomez for BuzzFeed News

14. And make sure that shower is nice and toasty!

“Whenever I’m feeling dysphoric, it can be hard to do simple things like shower… so what I do is, before taking any clothes off, I turn on the water really hot so that all the mirrors in the bathroom and fogged up and I can shower and get dressed without seeing my reflection.” 

— Aleksander

15. Remember to be easy on yourself and on your personal image of yourself.

“On days when I’m feeling particularly dysphoric I tend to look at pictures that show the diversity of cis peoples’ bodies so I can recognize that although to me some parts of my body feel out of place, to a bystander I wouldn’t stick out at all. I think anyone that experiences dysphoria needs to realize that our perception of ourselves is quite often very skewed.”

— Evander Ribton-Turner

16. Write these steps down and repeat as often as needed.

“If you are dealing with dysphoria right now..

1. Take a deep breath. 
Relax, allow yourself to think straight. 

2. Have hope.
One day this will be all over. We feel depression because we see no future, but I promise there is one. 

3. Express how you feel. 
If you need to draw, write, play sports: Do it! Find something that you like, and express your full emotions while doing so. 

4. Talk 
Talk about how you feel, whether it’s to a friend or even to yourself! ( No, you’re not crazy. ) Talk: You need to say how you feel, and what you feel, and make goals for yourself. 

5. Understand what you’re feeling. 
Listen to yourself and understand exactly what you’re feeling. We all as humans have goals and have places in our lives we would like to be. Don’t feel alone. 

6. Remember you are important. 
Your trials and struggles in life are here to make you stronger. You’ve made it to this point. You’ve done it be proud of yourself. Love yourself. You are bold, you are beautiful, and you are important.”

— Travis

17. Make a goddamn kingdom of blankets and rule the land of cozy!

‘When I get bogged down with gender dysphoria I tend to hide in my room under blankets and hope it goes away. Or, I will wear baggy jeans and sweatshirts to hide my shape — which admittedly isn’t the smartest idea when one lives in California. But in all reality you need to be kind to yourself during this time. You are still you, you are valid. Just because your body doesn’t look like what you or society expects it to, it is still beautiful, and it is still yours.”

— Anonymous

Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed News

18. Sweat it all out at the gym.

“I’ve been overweight most of my life, but especially after puberty. It’s been hard, because society is not kind to people who don’t fit into their beauty standards. I often struggle with feeling good enough, attractive enough, and just… enough, on top of this dysphoria. This year, I started taking care of myself. Investing in me is investing in my work! I’ve found that good nutrition and exercise has helped tremendously. My mood is better, I feel healthier, and it’s something I never really believed I could do, but now I know I can.” 

— Rhys

19. Avoid spaces or people that will bring you down.

“If you’ve been feeling really dysphoric for a while, spend a day dressed as your stereotypical biological sex. You’ll feel awful for the day, but the day after when you dress as your actual gender will be awesome. Avoid transphobic places and people as much as possible (certain friends, YouTube comments in general) and go to places that understand and affirm how you feel (Tumblr, safe spaces). If there’s a certain activity that makes you feel less dysphoric (shaving, using hair gel), do it!”

— Anonymous

20. Remember that you are allowed to feel this pain, but don’t let it get the best of you.

“I have experienced gender dysphoria for years, and it is far from fun. But there are many ways I make myself feel better! Sometimes, I put on that one outfit that I know looks flawless. I write down a list of all of the things that I love about myself. Maybe I watch that new episode I have been meaning to see! I always do something that I love doing: This small distraction can take away from the pain of gender dysphoria. The most important thing? Know that you are allowed to feel this pain, and that you are beautiful and amazing.”

— Anonymous

http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/gender-dysphoria#.ayKkDp8ayv

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8 Things I Am Too Old For ~ Michelle Combs

I’m too old for this shit. — Detective Roger Murtaugh 

If I look back 25 years and think about the information available to me then compared to now, I realize why my ADD brain swirls like one of the cheap pinwheels my husband puts on our deck. 

I was still decades away from caring about headlines that had to do with aging. Back then, I just scanned headlines in Cosmo for 3,609 Ways To Please Your Man articles.

Hint: Say yes. That’s really all it takes.

For the record, I just lied. I never scanned for those articles. They annoyed me all those years ago. Now I find them unworthy of contemplating.

Today? I can read one of thousands of articles on aging ranging from reasons it sucks (no it doesn’t) to age appropriate ways to wear eye shadow (you can have my black eyeliner when you can pry it from my cold dead fingers)

I love getting older. I spent a life time filled with self loathing. I gave that up. I gave up feeling stupid, because I’m not. I gave up beating myself up over being awkward. I’m socially anxious. That’s who I am. There are a lot of us. We’re a tribe. Well, a tribe whose members prefer to keep to themselves. I have replayed times when I’ve said or done something embarrassing literally decades after it happened. I’m done with that. I’m done worrying about how I look. I spent decades worrying about every gray hair and every bulge.

I stopped dying my hair over a year ago. I won’t lie though, I still worry about the bulges. But see? That’s the other thing, I’m cool with that as well. I accept me for who I am. Who I am right now is someone who would like to be a little less squishy. I am all about self-acceptance. And that is very nearly true.

My mind doesn’t understand that I’m 52-years-old. It still feels 31. My body, however, is fully aware of the number of years it’s lived.

There are things I am too old for. Time does change a person and I am finding that it is easier to accept these changes than to fight them.

These are things for which the ship has sailed:

1. Shutting up — I no longer want to keep my mouth shut when I see an injustice. Or feel one. It’s not that I never spoke out, there were times when I did, but it was usually on behalf of someone else. Not for myself. I’m done with that. I don’t know how much good it will do, but if I get treated like shit, I’m going to shout about it.

2. Worrying how I look to others — My husband and I had breakfast at an upscale cafe this morning, well, upscale compared to Waffle House. We were going grocery shopping afterward. My hair would have looked okay if I hadn’t run out of dry shampoo, Also, it’s possible I was wearing jeans that should have been washed three wearings ago. But really … jeans don’t ever get dirty, do they? There were four women sitting at the table next to us and every one of them was wearing an infinity scarf. I had a brief moment of panic. I kind of looked like a pan handler and my husband … well, he definitely looked like a pan handler. What would the infinity women think of me? Then I decided that their opinion of me wouldn’t change how my bacon and avocado omelet tasted. For the record, Waffle House has better coffee.

3. Guilty Pleasures — I no longer have any guilty pleasures. I just have regular pleasures. I don’t feel guilty about liking Lady Gaga. I don’t feel guilty about reading every Stephanie Plum book and I certainly don’t feel guilty about getting obsessive about a TV show and watching it over and over. I have moved on from Supernaturaland Doctor Who. I am currently re-binge watching The Walking Dead. Because Daryl.

4. Uncomfortable shoes — Screw wearing uncomfortable shoes. I also don’t care if my socks match or not. If they mostly match, that’s good enough.

5. Making excuses for my messy house — You know why my house is messy? Because I don’t feel like cleaning right now. Also, it’s messy because I’m unorganized and a bit of a slob.

6. Accumulating stuff I don’t need — I cannot convey how much I am done with this. Nearly everything we have isn’t necessary or entertaining or comforting. We have less than two years before our youngest graduates and starts college. During that time, it is my goal to relieve ourselves of at least half of everything we own. Maybe more.

7. Spending unnecessary time with people I don’t like — I actually started this one a few years ago. I used to go to lunch a few days a week with a group of coworkers. I don’t like them. They are mean, petty, and we don’t share the same interests. One day, I looked at them while they squabbled over sports or politics or a work project and thought what am I doing here? And then I stopped having lunch with them. Life is too short to spend unnecessary time with douche twizzles.

8. Finding the good in every person I know — Sometimes, people are assholes. I’m sure, even with the biggest asshole, if you do enough digging, you’ll find something good about that person. But why would I do that? Why have I done that? I don’t want to waste anymore time than I have to on unpleasant people. People make their choices. If they decide to be insufferable, then so be it. I no longer feel compelled to find something attractive about people like that. I just want move on from them as quickly and painlessly as possible.

What are you finding that you are too old for? I’d like to grow this list.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-combs/things-i-am-too-old-for_b_8182622.html

17 Adorable Photos of Dads Doing Just About Anything for Their Daughters ~ Christen Grumstrup

1. This dancing duo 

 

2. So he was little red riding hood 

 

 

3. Twins! 

 

 

4. This trooper: 

 

 

5. This dad who got real creative 

 

He would most likely do anything for her

6. Tea Time, anyone? 

 

 

7. Or this dad who decided to brave a One Direction concert. 

 

Earplugs and all. 

8. Just playing princesses…of course. 

 

 

9. You can paint my nails while I play video games. 

 

 

10. This team… 

 

 

11. that can get through anything 

 

 

12. These two cuties getting their breakfast on. 

 

 

13. This dad who is just going with the flow. 

 

 

14. This guy taking one for the team 

 

 

15. More tea, anyone? 

 

 

16. Besties 

30 questions to ask your kid instead of how was your day ~ Sara Goldstein

When I picked my son up from his first day of 4th grade, my usual (enthusiastically delivered) question of “how was your day?” was met with his usual (indifferently delivered) “fine.”

Come on! It’s the first day, for crying out loud! Give me something to work with, would you, kid?

The second day, my same question was answered, “well, no one was a jerk.”

That’s good…I guess.

I suppose the problem is my own. That question actually sucks. Far from a conversation starter, it’s uninspired, overwhelmingly open ended, and frankly, completely boring. So as an alternative, I’ve compiled a list of questions that my kid will answer with more than a single word or grunt. In fact, he debated his response to question 8 for at least half an hour over the weekend. The jury’s out until he can organize a foot race.

Questions a kid will answer at the end of a long school day:

  1. What did you eat for lunch?
  2. Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
  3. What games did you play at recess?
  4. What was the funniest thing that happened today?
  5. Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
  6. What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
  7. Who made you smile today?
  8. Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
  9. What new fact did you learn today?
  10. Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?
  11. What challenged you today?
  12. If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?
  13. What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
  14. If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
  15. If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
  16. Did anyone push your buttons today?
  17. Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?
  18. What is your teacher’s most important rule?
  19. What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
  20. Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?
  21. Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
  22. If aliens came to school and beamed up 3 kids, who do you wish they would take? Why?
  23. What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
  24. When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
  25. What rule was the hardest to follow today?
  26. What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
  27. Which person in your class is your exact opposite?
  28. Which area of your school is the most fun?
  29. Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?
  30. Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?

 

https://medium.com/synapse/30-questions-to-ask-your-kid-instead-of-how-was-your-day-26be75072f13

I’m an Adult and I Have No Idea How to Make Friends by Kate

I have no friends.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. That’s actually a hugely hyperbolic statement. Who do I think I am? I do have friends. They are some of the greatest people to exist on this planet. I worship the ground they walk upon and the air that carries the vibrating energy of our group chat messages. My friends are the best.

It’s just that my friends don’t live in my city. They don’t live in my country. They don’t even live on the same continent as me.

So, disregarding the people I have only been able to virtually communicate with for the past year and a half, I have no friends.

And that’s a weird, uncomfortable feeling. For a lot of folks, you go through your first 21 years with a warm and fuzzy cushion of friends. You have your childhood friends and your high school friends and then maybe you have your college friends. You meet them in your neighborhood because your mothers arranged a playdate, or they sit next to you in first period band rehearsal, or you partner with them in some morning TA session and discover you both hate the same people. These are your friends, and they sort of just happen, and it takes very little effort on anyone’s part, because the paths of your lives magically create opportunities for friendships to ferment and brew.

And then you’re thrust into the rest of your life, the one that exists outside of academia and is for all intents and purposes “real,” and suddenly you don’t know how to make friends. You know how to make dates. Because really, you have the best friends in the world that any gal could possibly want. You’re not really looking to fill a gap in the friendship circle. You’re looking to fill other well-known gaps, right? You’ve got apps for hookups and sexy meetups and specific weird little kinks. It takes 17 muscles — which is nothing in the context of muscle movement — to tap twice on a screen, and those two taps are all it takes to gain yourself a sexual partner for the evening, or the rest of the year. But does that app find you a friend? No, not really, not unless it has benefits.

This is knowledge that has terrified me to my very bones. I know how to find a partner. It’s stupid easy to do, and it takes very little effort on my part besides downloading something on my phone or making a profile on my computer. But I have no idea how to make friends. None. I don’t even know how I made all my friends the first time. It’s not like I was following social cues or particular rituals. I didn’t find them on an app because they were 0.5 km away from my current location. I wasn’t thinking about the best way to have a meet-cute, or practicing my brooding looks so we’d lock eyes across a room and never let go. They just… happened. And now that I’m in a city with no friends and no leads and no classrooms full of shared experiences, I have no idea how to replicate those experiences.

“Okay, well, just go out. Meet people in pubs or something.”

But people who are drinking aren’t usually trying to make friends. Most of them would rather get laid. And if they’re there to ‘make friends,’ it’s kind of weird. Even in a country of friendly pubgoers, there’s a fine, fine line, and it’s usually been crossed by 10 PM. Plus, alcohol doesn’t make me feel more comfortable or friendly, it just makes me want to sing Bruce Springsteen and think about how much I miss all of my friends.

“Join a club.”

What kind of club? The magical more time club? Dude, I am working. I am working all the time. I am Bette times thirty thousand this month, I have time for nothing and I am fucking in an elevator or something, it’s hot in here. I am so busy that I can’t even remember what my outside interests are, or whether or not they would have an associated club.

“Do a sport.”

I cannot do a sport. I am bad at the sport.

“Just talk to people. It’ll naturally happen.”

I am impatient. And lonely. And sometimes I realize that saying thank you to the bus driver was the extent of my non-work social engagement for the day, and I feel really bad about it.

I am in a wonderful relationship. Being with that person is super awesome — there is no denying that we love doing things together and I never get sick of her, like, ever. But I’m an adult person, and sometimes an adult person wants to do a social activity with a friend. Or maybe that adult person wants a group of friends to just hang, or take a walk, or go to the pub and be silly. It feel so, so sad and kind of pathetic when I type it out, but it’s true. I don’t know how to make friends, and yet something inside of me desperately needs to make friends. It makes sense, but I still feel this weird little shame about it, like I’m not adulting right. Other adults must have lots of friends, right? And other adults must be able to just live independently and do cool stuff by themselves, right? I know it’s bullshit, but the crazy thing about life is that the bullshit sometimes feels exactly like the realest thing that’s ever been real, and it sticks to you quicker than mud.

So, I have a proposal: I’m going to try to make friends. I’m going to do it for me, and for the rest of us adults who are adulting in places without friends, in new jobs and new lives and totally befuddling social situations. But I’m going to do it with apps and technology, so that the process is replicable for the rest of you. I’ll record my experiences and rate my success at each stage. You’ll see me try four different methods, and you’ll figure out if that method might work for you, too. More than likely, this will be humiliating for me on multiple levels. It will no doubt get awkward. But this will be very entertaining for y’all, so I do what I must.

Here’s to meeting people, making friends, and successful adulting! And not spilling something on the other person when we interact. Prepare for spillage on this journey.

http://www.autostraddle.com/im-an-adult-and-i-have-no-idea-how-to-make-friends-302706/

The Pillars of Suffering by Giovannah P

I sometimes think that I was “given” the struggle of depression so that I could understand where darkness and wickedness come from. When people intentionally hurt others it is because they too have been hurt, it comes from a dark place of unresolved pain. This explanation in no way excuses the behavior it just adds some perspective. When people unintentionally hurt others it is due to ignorance. In my life I have been exposed to both on a deeply personal level.

My Aunt is the pillar of unresolved pain, in my experience the more devastating of the two. Throughout her childhood she felt bullied, unworthy, and never good enough. She was left with a desperate need to prove herself, to have everyone know that she too was of significance, important, and worthy. How she went about proving her significance was devastating… she sought to claim familial power and control through bullying and manipulation. Now I will not discuss what she has done to others, but I will share what she has done to me. For a very long time I was one of her targets. As the eldest daughter to the eldest sister and the closest granddaughter to her mother, I represented something to be conquered, controlled, and broken. If she could break me, she could break what to her I symbolized.

As the second oldest she was always compared to my Mother. And in her eyes she thought my Grandmother,her Mother, never really liked her. She didn’t perform well in school and would get caught lying about class assignments; which at the time and in the culture was a no no. She grew up feeling small and hurt, and she used that pain to fuel what she would later become as an adult.

So she took her anger out on me, but I was only one of her targets. She manipulated and bullied others as well. She even manipulated my Father against me. As a child, I distinctly remember the feeling of getting double teamed, being constantly bullied by two key figures in my life. The bullying didn’t begin to desist until I knew how to placate, until I learned to be the small quite one, until I understood where I belonged. She could not break my Mother or her Mother, so she went after me. By winning over me she had conquered over something…

The second pillar of suffering is ignorance. My Father is a good man but gullible and he has had to fight is own demons. As the eldest of seven children my Father was often the man of the house. His Father was a trucker driver, never really home, and ended up leaving the family when my Father was in his late teens. So he has had his own struggles, his own battles to fight. And when it came to raising a precocious and rebellious young girl he was lost so he relied on what he knew…heavy discipline and conformity. There was no room for my personal and individualistic growth…there was no space to grow in and nowhere to grow to.

It has been a struggle and continues to be a struggle. Did you ever get the feeling as a child that there was no one at your side, no one in your corner? Not only did my relationships with my Aunt and Father make for a toxic environment I would often get bullied at school by both students and teachers. All of this, I believe, is what led me to begin experiencing depression as a teen. I think I had finally had enough, had finally begun the process of giving up. I remember very long days of lying on my bed in my darkened bedroom playing with matches, fire, and rubbing alcohol. As I look back at it, I imagine that the fire must have seemed a live to me at a time when I didn’t feel so; at a time when I thought that my life would have served a greater purpose if given to someone else.

Although I am a work in progress, and working at the project of me, I still remember those feelings and sometimes they find space to reemerge. And I bring up this struggle because within in me has lived the pillars of pain and ignorance, the pillars of suffering. Pillars I inherited but was not born with. But instead of bullying others I chose to self-destruct. I bullied myself. I was/am a walking open wound exposed to salty wind and hard rain. I have OCD, Anxiety, and Depression. I am overweight, make poor eating choices, and mark my skin. But beyond that my mind is on repeat with continued messages of self-hate, disgust, and disdain.

Its all in the Tea Leaves by Candice Ashley

As I enter my mid-twenties, tons of milestones are happening all around me. Not to me, but around me. Co-workers, acquaintances, random people on the street and friends are getting engaged, married, pregnant, dream career promotions and buying houses. While I am chugging along at turtle speed. Summer is almost upon us, seasonally and is here socially for my mid-twenty year olds out there. I feel like I am spending all my time “working” on me, meditating and being open to revelations, and reading the tea leaves in the mug that is my life.

While the past year has brought me much growth and awareness, I am still striving for the inner peace. I still feel gut pangs and ego bruises with every other milestone happening to people around me. Maybe this is the plight of the self involved product of my generation.  My one consolation is that I am not jealous or envious. I am truly happy for the recipients of these grand events. They are embarking on a new exciting adventure. I am just puzzled as to WHY I am not on the adventure train too! I know I will get there, but I just want to know the time, date, year and place as to when.

I remember being younger and hearing older people say “your twenties will be the time of your life”. And now most twenty year olds I know, myself included, can’t wait for it to be over. The wandering, the thinking, and the stride making towards the (future) life you want to have. Then again I am a part of an interesting sect of young people who are plagued with notions of forward thinking. In my mind I need to figure out who I am now and fast. I don’t want to be 35 and then just realizing, holy sh**t, my life currently sucks! But in the words of Bikram Choudhury  “ You’re never too old, too late, and never to sick, to start from scratch once again“

Life’s Doodles by Dani.Love

I walked by one of my bookshelves yesterday
Skimmed through to see which to read next
I found myself reaching for one I have already read
Was it that good?
Perhaps
Out of habit?
Perhaps
Whatever the case may be it had me thinking
About what you may wonder
You see.
I have a habit of holding on to the old
Beliefs
Friendships
Clothes
And choices of food, books, ect
Even when these things no longer serve me
I embrace them like they can provide a miracle
Even when these things have hurt me
I turn to them like they will ease the pain
Even when I am rejected and forgotten
I begged for my spot like it will shine a new light.

Old habits die hard they say
But these habits are killing me slowly
Day by day
Minute by minute
Breath by breath
I feel suffocated by what I’ve become accustomed to
Rejected
Mocked
Misunderstood
Taken for granted
Judged
Used
These things I’ve grown used to
I made excuses for
I wrapped my body in them like a security blanket

Fear of what’s on the other side
Loyalty
Love
Consistency
Communication
Honesty
Acceptance
Patience
Trust
New habits are sometimes hard to embrace
New territory can be scary to step into
New people start to seem questionable
Especially after you have endured what you’ve become accustomed to
But this life of mine depends on it

Approaching 30 in a few weeks
I need a new religion
Up until now I’ve just been existing
It’s about time I lived
Exhale
Embrace my birth right freedom
To be me
Openly
Boldly
Those that matter will add to the reminder
That I’m perfect as is
Even in my own darkness
They will see my light
And I will be reminded
I am infinite source of strength, love, and joy

Walked by the bookshelf today
Blindly picked up a new book
Dusted it off
The feeling was strange
The potent fear of uncertainty running through my veins
Hands trembling
It was hard to breath
I chanted to myself
“Your happiness depends on it.”
I curled up on the sofa while chanting
“Your happiness depends on it.”
I exhaled deeply
Opened the book
Slowly
To my surprise
The pages were blank
Confusion filled me
I flipped through the pages
All were perfectly blank
From the left side of my mouth
A smiled appeared as I remembered
This story is mine to create
And from this day forth, I will create it from my core
Which is love.

——–

Inspiration behind the words (outside of my recent life experiences)

“People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.” –Nicholas Sparks (from The Rescue)

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