Manifest

The view from my balcony is always breathtaking. I feel very lucky to live here.

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of attending Camp Reset. If you’ve never heard of Camp Reset, you should really head over to the site to read more about it. It is life changing for many people who attend. I have to be honest, it wasn’t life changing for me… it was something better: life-affirming. I had been working on shaping my life using similar philosophies to that which can be found at Camp Reset and it was so wonderful to see it in action.

For far too long in my life, I’ve lived in worry and fear. I had convinced myself that I needed to worry about something or the worst possible outcome would surely come true. How naive was I? I have to admit that when I started the endeavour to eliminate worry, anxiety and fear from my life earlier this year, I had no idea what I was doing1. I had no idea whether simply pushing it away in those moments when I was too weak to face said fear/worry/anxiety would have the same effect as properly dealing with all those thoughts and emotions… but I must have done something right because I feel like I have been rewarded for all my hard work and patience. I think the key is to take the time to face those fears, hold them in your hand/mind/heart2, let them bring about all the emotions that they are going to bring out and then let them go. I won’t pretend to know if this will work for you, but I know that every time I have done it I have felt so fucking free.

Life is better than it could ever be, and yes, part of that has to do with the fact that I met someone amazing who I can call my partner and best friend. Before meeting him though, life had been pretty good already. It was a huge relief not to worry about every little stupid thing I might have said or forgotten to say to someone. It has been a huge relief to be able to own my choices and to not apologize for anything3, and to only take responsibility for what I am capable of controlling – my actions, and not someone else’s reactions to my actions.

This shift in my attitude helped me see the beauty in life no matter what I was going through. There was a lot of pain I had to process from my last two relationships4, and it would have been really easy to fall back into a depression. The shift made it so I could still enjoy my life, and only have moments when I needed to hole up myself up in my room, shut the curtains and all the lights and just cry into a couple5 glasses of bourbon. I’m happy to admit that those dark moments only needed said outlet every 3-6 months in the last year and a bit that I spent trying to fix or figure out all of that.

And now? Now, I’m free to enjoy the swooning that comes with a new romance that has begun with a ferocity I’ve only ever seen in the movies. We know we’re not perfect, but we seem to be perfect for each other, and most importantly we-talk-about-everything. Actually, perhaps even more critical is the fact that I don’t seem to have to say very much to him at all – I can say a few words, and he knows exactly what I am trying to say; no need for long explanations or anecdotes. Though we enjoy those at times as well.

Before I met him, I had been on the dating apps again for a few months. I had been on dates. I was even seeing someone (very) casually. They were all toads. Every single one of them. I like toads, don’t get me wrong. They’re cute in their own right but they’re flighty – and don’t leave any notes once they’re gone. All the while, I was ready to give up. Almost. I decided to employ the same attitude I had given to the rest of my life: don’t give a fuck, and just focus on what you can control. I could only control my attitude and how I approached each ‘date’ I went on. Remain in the positive.

How was I going to meet someone amazing if my attitude was less than so? So I focused on thinking about the kind of person I wanted to meet – kind, sweet, romantic, funny6, intelligent, hard-working, active, true (to their word), trustworthy, dependable, confident, generous and so-fucking-hot7…I could go on but I think I’ve made my point. I almost feel like Sandra Bullock’s character (Sally) in Practical Magic after she tore up her wishlist and was gifted with Aidan Quinn’s character (Gary)… minus the actual magical capabilities8. We are crazy about each other, are on the same page about what we want, and how we want to spend our time, and we talk about everything… soul-fucking-mates.

I know it doesn’t sound like it but I do try not to get too carried away… we are still brand new. There is a lot we have yet to learn about each other. I know better than to think we know everything about each other by now. My last relationship taught me that: no matter how well you think you know someone because you’ve spent almost every day together for a month, they can still shock you and show you their true colours. I have no red flags like I have with every other new start – mind you – nothing to make me think something similar is going to happen with Troy9, but I also know I need to protect my heart until I can really be sure. That will only come with time, however, I am extremely confident I have nothing to fear with this one.

What does that have to do with the title of this blog post? Just this: Believe that you deserve the life you want, and you will have it. Yes, you have to put in the work but you also have to believe it will happen or all your work will be for naught.

Footnotes:
  1. here’s a hint: for the most part, I still don’t[]
  2. whatever suits you best[]
  3. given I wasn’t actually hurting anyone[]
  4. both of which went horribly wrong[]
  5. okay, maybe four[]
  6. fucking hilarious actually[]
  7. that last one is NOT a joke[]
  8. though a girl can dream[]
  9. so not his real name[]

Living in dark spaces

I like low lighting; mood lighting, if you will. I like candles, and soft yellow light bulbs. I prefer the times of day when awesome shadows are cast on the ground. I dislike fluorescent, and bright white light bulbs though I don’t hate being out in the sun in the heart of the summer.

That’s real light though. What about the metaphorical light in my brain? What kind of light does my brain like to live in? When I was a teenager, it lived in a pretty dark space; a space filled with angst, anger and rebellion. I wasn’t cruel to everybody, but I wasn’t exactly afraid of conflict. During my first management role, I was called a bitch a few times1; though hindsight tells me that I was a mirror for behaviour & attitude that my so-called-friends2 would only display behind everyone else’s backs. It was a long time ago and I’ve learned a lot of lessons on how to properly treat human beings3 since then.

When I moved to Ireland, something changed. I found zen somehow. Maybe it was finally getting the love I thought I wanted. Maybe there was just something in the water4 in Ireland. Whatever it was, it worked and I am eternally grateful for it. Then sometime last summer, something changed. Something switched. There’s an event, there’s a person involved, but it’s a story I’d really rather not tell you. Partially because the person in question doesn’t need to know how much he changed my life for the worse, and also because I don’t even blame him for it. He didn’t do anything on purpose to hurt me. The cookie just crumbled that way.

There were also other incidents that contributed to the state that I am in. One where I don’t smile as much as I used to; where I don’t necessarily feel like being social as often as I used to; nor do I enjoy singing as much as I used to. I’m slowly making peace with the fact that maybe this is just how I am going to be from now on but that acceptance hasn’t made me want to stop trying either. While in conversation with Garret5 the other night, I came to realize that I have become more negative. It isn’t glaringly obvious, at least I don’t think it is because no one has said anything to me, but it is there.

Mind you, I’ve always “prepared for the worst and expected the best” so I didn’t notice that I was focusing the negative. Thinking about the negative possibilities of any scenario is just something I had always done. What I didn’t notice was that I no longer expected the best to happen. I expected the worst, and only saw the worst. I’ve stopped looking at the bright side. Right now, I think I have a million reasons to feel like my life sucks even though logic tells me that it doesn’t. So now, I’ve got to do something to change this way of thinking. I am tired of being sad and angry. It hurts my chest, it hurts my head.

I used to run a project called Three Smiles on Tumblr. A project that has stopped and started up again intermittently, and has been on hiatus for a while now. The idea was to think about three things that made you smile that day; three things that you were grateful for. Alex Conde even interviewed me about it. I think that now, more than ever, I need to start it up again. I don’t think I’ll be able to do Three Smiles a day like I used to – at least not right away – so I’ll start with one a day and go from there. I need this. I prefer living in sunshine.

I think the most frustrating part for me right now is knowing that I am better than this, but still being unable to turn on the sunshine in my brain and in my heart. To (re)start off this project my first smile is that I am still around to keep trying.

What are you grateful for today?

Footnotes:
  1. more than a few times[]
  2. at the time[]
  3. whether they are acting like human beings or not[]
  4. or the Guinness[]
  5. not his real name[]