I’m Going To Live in a One-Room Cabin In The Woods, Alone.

 

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You guys. Did you read that title? I’m going to go live in a secluded cabin in the woods *alone* for a whole month. And that cabin is literally just one room. Just me, my books, some art stuff, some foods, and my thoughts. I am probably more excited than I should be.

The idea came about because I have been deeply craving moving to the country. I’ve been looking on craigslist and every time I find an apartment in the country my brain is like “NOT SECLUDED ENOUGH.”

I don’t know why I have such an intense desire to be secluded in the woods but that desire is not just speaking to me but screaming at me. I don’t want to totally upend my life to follow this desire, so I chose a more wise way of fulfilling the screaming desire. I’ve subletted my apartment for a month, and I’m renting a cabin in the Trinity-Shasta forest for all of October.

No internet. No job. Just me and reflection and creation. I think a lot of people do something like this after divorce. They often travel. I’ve done so much traveling in my life, I wanted to travel internally a bit. Finding my sense of creativity and artistic expression in the shadow of a very talented father has been a challenge for me, so that is what I will mostly focus on: art, writing, music, and healing. I’ve got books on the topic (plus many other topics), and all the art supplies you can imagine. This is going to be great…..

…..And also maybe horrible. Some really Bad Things have happened to me in the last year, and my thoughts have been somewhat tortured by these events. Without the anesthetic of Netflix or dates or booze or drugs or facebook, I think I’m going to have to face those thoughts head-on. And it’s going to be really uncomfortable. But also, probably, exactly what I need to grow past all of this.

Wish me luck folks. It’s gunna be a wild ride.

 

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Coffee and Becoming My Own Partner

When I was 20 I had a mentor named Henrietta. She assigned me homework one night: write down all the things you want your dream partner to be. I wrote a bunch of things….They’ll be a great cook! They’ll read a lot! They’re kind and loving! They dance! I returned this list of my dream lover’s attributes to her the following week, curious what the point of this exercise would be.

She read it, handed it back to me, and said, “Great. Now go become all those things yourself.” I’m sure I stared at her blankly at first. But 13 years later I think I finally, genuinely get it. We can’t look to others for what we want, we have to find it in ourselves. It’s a sentiment I have heard over and over again, but only in this singledom I’ve had the last while did it finally really sink in.

So I’ve been working on doing just that. In lots of little ways.

The last several years I’ve lamented that my partner never made me coffee in the mornings. I always watched my stepmom bring my dad coffee in bed when I was growing up, and I became really emotionally attached to this act. I taught Michael how to brew coffee but he never did it for whatever reason. Blake would occasionally make me coffee but we were usually still fighting from the night before and it wasn’t sweet, literally and figuratively.

Now all alone in my home I still crave waking up to the smell of coffee, not just for the sake of coffee but in my heart I crave it too. Like it’s a sign of being loved or something. So you know what I did? Today I went and bought a fancy coffee maker that I can program to make coffee at a specific time. So tomorrow, my coffee is set to brew at 6am. And I will wake up to the sweet, sweet smell of coffee I made (basically) all on my own. Because I am learning to make *myself* feel loved. This is a small step, but it’s on a path I’m really glad to be on.

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Precious, Divine Energy

This song. On repeat. All day. It carries an important message that really speaks to me right now. And I love supporting female Jazz musicians.

Lyrics below the video. Enjoy!

Esperanza Spalding
“Precious”
Love me or leave me but please don’t deceive me
And say you love me how I am
You love the way I fit some ideal
Not the real woman you’ve yet to understand
See love ain’t all heaven, and I am no angel
But I do the best I can

You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it lets you down

Now it’s no nice excuse but all the magic was used
Up on trying to uphold
Some kind of tame, flattering persona
That soon enough was getting real old
It takes more than pressure to change rock to diamond
Now all you have is sand,
Slipping through your fingers

You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it let you down

But I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of things you think are wrong with me
I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of what you think is wrong with me

Set you up, you say I set you up
Like I was different than what I am offering you now
Let you down, you say I let you down
And drug your heart around
Did you forget about
All of the love and the acceptance that you promised me too?

You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it let you down
You always wanted something more from my body
And said you needed something more from my loving
But all you got was me and that’s all that I can be
I’m sorry if it let you down
But I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of things you think are wrong with me
Me, I’m not gonna sit around
And waste my precious divine energy
Trying to explain and being ashamed
Of what you think is wrong with me

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Idea: The Facebook Breakup Package

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Ok, Facebook, here’s the idea.

Breaking up in the time of facebook is really, really hard. And I know you’re always looking for more ways to make money, since ads might not be doing enough for you. In my time of need I thought something up for you!

When we break up with someone who happens to be on facebook (everyone basically), you offer a “breakup package” for like $1.99 or something. It would include the following options that we could pick and choose from:

  1. Block the name. As in, we see zero posts or pictures that has our exes name in it.
  2. Use your face-recognition technology to block any pictures with the ex tagged in it. That way we don’t have to block all our friends in common just to avoid this from happening.
  3. When we “breakup” with this person, it’s “silent” on the news feed. It took me an hour to figure out how to hide the facebook breakup news last time I did it.
  4. If my ex has RSVPed to an event already, that event gets blocked from my news feed. I don’t want to go if he’s there, so just don’t tell me about it.
  5. Automatically untag or delete all pictures that include our ex in our photo albums.

That’s all the ideas I’ve got for it. Facebook, whaddya say?

 

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On Catcalling

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****Warning: profane language below.****

Yesterday I had an experience on the main street that runs through my neighborhood. I had been sitting in a cafe for a few hours, doing work, and afterwards I was walking home. A straight shot down Fruitvale Avenue. As I was walking, I heard a man speak up from what sounded like roughly ten feet behind me. Here’s how it went:

Dude behind me: Hey lady… hey mama…

Me: *Keeps walking*

Dude: That wasn’t very respectful of me…hey sexy beautiful woman, whatchyu up to?

Me: *Shakes head, keeps walking*

Dude: Fucking bitch, can’t even talk to me? Fuck you, you fucking cunt! Can’t even take a second to talk to me? Who fucking wants to talk to you anyway, you fucking bitch.…

He screamed more, and it sounded like he had gotten closer, so at this point I duck into a store and pretend to look at T-shirts for 20 minutes. I was shaking. I was scared. My mind was racing. How the hell does this still happen in this day in age? In a town I generally consider so “woke”?

His behavior was upsetting. For obvious reasons. He insisted on me talking to him because he “complimented” me, and when I didn’t give him the attention he wanted, he seared me. Swore at me. Called me the worst names imaginable. That’s obviously all deplorable behavior. I think we can all agree to that.

But what has stuck with me the last 24 hours, what feels even worse, is what went through my own head as he yelled at me:

  1. “God, I wish I hadn’t worn these cute-ass leggings.”

  I had felt pretty that day. I wore some boots, a little black sweater, and some fierce leggings. I felt great until this person was giving me horribly unwanted attention. When I was getting yelled at, I felt so painfully aware of my legging-covered butt wiggling around. I felt like I was some succubus who let all her voluptuous, sinful, woman-bits jiggle about simply to taunt these poor, innocent men around me. I had internalized Rape Culture bullshit into my own mind. Like, what do I expect for wearing something so sexy outdoors?

This is so not ok with me. I shouldn’t have to wear baggy or conservative clothing just to make sure that fuckheads like this don’t yell profanities at me. I shouldn’t have to tame myself in order to make sure I’m not threatened. His behavior is on him. Not me. You absolutely cannot blame my attire for what he choses to do.

I recently saw The Vagina Monologues with a male person I know knew. There was a monologue by a lady who had been sexually assaulted while wearing a short, black skirt. She wore this black skirt in the monologue and reclaimed her body as her own. Saying things like,“these legs are mine. Not yours, mine.” After the show this male person I went with *sincerely* said to me, regarding this particular monologue, “I don’t understand how she can wear a short skirt and then not want the attention that comes along with it.”

I *sincerely* said to him… “that’s a mighty fine beard you’ve got there. It’s just begging to be kissed. I mean, why else would you have it? We all know that’s what you want, so we all should be entitled to sucking on your face….right?” No. That’s bullshit entitlement. Yes you’ve got a nice beard, yes she’s got a great short skirt on, but y’all have to be *invited* in.

2. I want to yell back at him but I’m scared of looking crazy.

This is another thing that went through my mind in the moment. What if I just turned around and faced this dude, while he’s yelling at me, and scream at him to FUCK OFF….? What if I went storming up to him, called him a crazy ass mother fucker, like he was doing to me – what then? I was scared of doing that because I didn’t want to look “crazy.” If I did do that, I’m sure he’d be all like, “whoa look at this bitch, you’re fuckin crazy, I was just trying to talk to you….” In a perfect world, what I would have said to him was: “you are not entitled to my attention, dude,” but that would have been giving him attention, something I didn’t want to do. So I just shrunk up into a little, tiny, ball of invisible instead. But that makes me angry too. Why can’t *I* yell back?

3. I want to yell at him but I’m scared of getting actually physically hurt by him.

This is why I couldn’t yell back. As my friend Elly put it, if he can go from admiring me to cussing at me in five seconds, what else is he capable of? I’m legitimately scared of men on the street who call me a fucking cunt. Obviously. That shit is scary. I could have been physically hurt in a myriad of ways and I didn’t want that to happen to me. Just a perspective check-in: I’m scared for my life simply because I didn’t give a man on the street the attention he wanted. That’s some straight up bullshit and it’s not ok.

So there’s my experience. I know millions of other women can relate to this all too well. I’ve received this kind of unwanted attention all over the world, in every country I’ve been to, in every kind of neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, there is a power imbalance that plagues us and victimizes women and it’s despicable. I know a lot of men in my life that are equally horrified by this and I am grateful for them.

I suppose I would love to know, dear readers, what you do in these situations?

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Quick & Easy Method for Interpreting Dreams

I have been having a lot of dreams lately. I have always tried to use my dreams to gain insight into what I’m dealing with in real life.

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I figured I would share with you my method for interpreting dreams. I don’t really ascribe to the more complex dream interpretations that say certain things mean certain things (“snakes mean evil!”) because symbols mean different things to different people. So here is my method:

  1. What emotion did you feel? (The main one, if you could boil down your dream into one.)
  2. Where in real life are you having that emotion?

I’ve noticed this quick and dirty interpretation can give some pretty awesome insight. I had a dream the other night that there was a flash flood and I was desperately trying to get onto higher ground. The main emotion I had was fear. Fear of being overwhelmed. Then I asked myself, where am I feeling that in real life? I realized I am scared of being overwhelmed by all the emotions that I’ve had lately that are just coming up, feelings that I am in some ways trying to avoid because they are painful. Bam! Dream interpretation helped me understand myself a little bit better.

And now, when I meditate in the mornings, I imagine my emotions flowing by me in a slow moving brook instead of a massive flash flood. I dip my feet in, my hands, I sit in the brook. It’s been immensely helpful. Hope this quick and easy method helps you!

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Emotional Recovery: Simple, Self-loving Pleasures

This week has been rough. Breakups are hard, and I’m still reeling from one of them.

Remember how I wrote that thing about 13 tips for surviving a breakup? One rule I probably should have included is DON’T GET BACK TOGETHER WITH YOUR EX. It’s so rarely a good idea. This time, it got bad. Like, real bad. Tearing myself away was hard and terrifying and violent and all sorts of shit that life should not be full of. That was two weeks ago. I’m learning a lot about myself (why do I put up with crap I shouldn’t?) and a lot about ex #2 (narcissism is a bitch). Thank god he doesn’t read this.

A dear friend sent this spoken word video about what I’ve been explaining to her about my experience. The video is about gaslighting, a particular form of emotional abuse that I’ve had the misfortune of being victim to. It just took me a long time to realize what was happening. Have a watch of it:

All sorts of feels on that one. I’ve been researching my face off about how to move on after such a toxic relationship. The primary bit of advice I’ve found among all my research is to LOVE YOURSELF. Take all that energy you were putting in to trying to love your partner and re-channel it to yourself. So today? I took a day off work. Visited family. I went to a meditation group. Got an over-due oil change for my car. I bought a bunch of nice food to make a beautiful healthy meal. I danced a little in the living room. And I’m taking this emotional recovery one day at a time.

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