A Clock is a Clock

Hey all, can you believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve told y’all about my emotions? I know you are all desperately waiting to hear how I’ve been holding up since my last blog. You know, the one where I was an anxious hot mess. Yeah, that one. Well good news, I am doing FABULOUS now. I know that sounded a little sarcastic, but I am being completely truthful with y’all- as always. 

The real question though, is how did I go from an anxious hot mess back to a confident boss babe in a matter of two weeks. Well, I am sure I can attribute it to a lot of things, but I would say the number one contributing factor was *drum roll* LISTENING AND TRUSTING MYSELF.

After my last big relationship, I had a really hard time believing myself. I was convinced that I didn’t know anything and that I could not, under any circumstance, listen to my instincts. That, my friends, is the result of being lied to by people you love and trust. Your internal meter for what is right and real gets twisted and begins to resemble The Persistence of Memory by Salvado Dalí. Reality just melts and it feels near impossible to get it back to its original shape.   

This is the result of trauma. 

Trauma bends our reality and alters our brain and, to be honest, f*cks sh*t up. So, how do we get them back to that original shape? How do we unf*ck sh*t up? Where is that place where a clock is a clock and there is no question about it? If you read my blog, you know what I am about to say… therapyyyy. You’re welcome. That is how we get reality back to its shape. We have a professional person guide us back to the spot where we trust our gut, where a clock looks like a clock and therefore is a clock. 

My therapist guides me through my body, eyes closed, with full trust in her and in myself. After my last post the first message that I listened to from myself was that I needed to speak with my therapist. I am not kidding. I posted my blog at 5 and then went to therapy at 6. Before I had a therapist I would convince myself I was fine. I wouldn’t listen when my body was literally pouring out tears uncontrollably or my brain was saying things like “nobody loves you”. I didn’t listen when I would eat until it hurt to avoid feeling anything else. Once I started listening to myself, all the pain I felt was still there, but it was healable. That pain was no longer an abstract, never-ending “this is just how I feel and I can’t change it” part of myself. You can only heal when you know what you are trying to heal. 

So, let’s circle back to that session of healing and how I got back to feeling stable. I fired up my laptop, hit the FaceTime button, and waited for my therapist to answer. I could feel the anxiety coursing through my body as I sat on my floor with my laptop perched on my bed. By the end of the session the anxiety was minimized, near gone. She helped me release the ties I was holding so tightly to. It was a beautiful exercise in release and I encourage you to try it if my description resonates with you.  I closed my eyes and she said “I want you to picture that relationship, the one that hurt you. Where can you feel it?” Without hesitation I saw a tight rope, thick and strong, tied so tightly to my heart it was strangling it. Each time it pumped, I could see the rope tighten. She wanted me to look at the memories that painted the rope. The good, the bad, the ugly; see the rope connected to that person. Then, she wanted me to cut it. 

I hesitated. I couldn’t cut it. I wasn’t ready. I was sobbing, not quite sure that I knew how to be without this part of myself. I was scared that letting go of that pain meant moving on and moving on meant finding someone new; scared because I didn’t know what any of that truly looked like. In the calmest of voices she said “only when you are ready Sarah.” And then the most beautiful healing imagery appeared: 

Baby Sarah. 

She grabbed my hand and whispered ‘we could cut it together.’ That little face of mine, with big dreams, staring up at me just wanting us to be happy. My sobbing slowed as we picked up the pair of golden scissors together. I squeezed her hand as I began to cut into the thick rope. It didn’t budge at first and I looked down at her again and she looked up at me as if to say “keep going” and I did. I cut again and again and again. Each cut made the rope fray ever so slightly. Then it happened, as if I was watching my own cartoon version of what I was doing, the rope slid to the floor, his end back to him and my end back to me and my heart started to glow like the sun. I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath until the rope broke free and I took a huge gasp of air. It almost felt like I had been holding my breath for the last two years. I opened my eyes and saw my therapist looking back at me. She said “I am so proud of you.” Those words again, setting me free. I said I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do it and she interrupted me and said “Sarah, if you weren’t ready to, we wouldn’t have done it.” That was the power of listening to myself- knowing when I’m ready to let go, ready to heal. Just as important as knowing when I am not ready. 

So, I spent the last two weeks remaining in tune with myself. I took a break, I ran away with me for the summer. I did not go upstate though, I went to Wisconsin. (Solid Hamilton reference in case you missed it.) I rented a car, drove 14 hours there and 14 hours back, got a COVID test before and after, and was able to be in tune with myself. My wants and needs were met every inch of the way.  I stopped everything that was giving me anxiety and I just lived. I took a break from this blog (not that this blog gives me anxiety, but I do feel the pressure of deadlines and wanting more people to read, etc.). I had dance parties in my kitchen with my roommate; I watched TV; I read a book; I took my antidepressant every day; I listened to me and trusted what I was hearing. 

So, here I am refreshed. My head is clear and my heart is … free. Of course, it’s all a practice and I’ll forget to listen and/or trust myself again, but that’s what learning is all about. We fail and we try again and again and again until we no longer have to think about. Until listening and trusting myself is as second nature as obnoxiously quoting Hamilton is. And please remember, it is more than okay to fail and forget and to make mistakes. If we didn’t we would be robots and we wouldn’t have feelings and this blog would be meaningless.

Plus, without the mistakes I’ve made along the way, I’m not sure this blog would even exist. Scratch that, I know this blog wouldn’t exist.

A[wo]men

arms spread,

eyes closed.

drop back

into a vast sea of yourself.

deep, powerful, real.

-trust falls

The Opinion of Others in the Context of Me

Hello and welcome to day 10 million of lockdown. I’m your host, Sarah Lorraine Robinson, and on tonight’s top stories we have murder hornets and rain. Let’s send it over to Tracy with the details.

Okay, so there is no Tracy and I will be damned if I am talking about anything with the word murder in it today. There is actually something much more important to discuss and frankly more vital to the world right now: Mental Health Awareness Month. This is absolutely one of my favorites months. Not only because we celebrate the ending of stigma for mental health and because people are especially honest and brave during this time; also because it is not too hot and it is not too cold… all you need is a light jacket. May has great weather.

In all seriousness though, this is something that is near and dear to my heart. Mental Health Awareness is all my blog is about. I celebrate everyday in the conversations I have and the own way I take care of myself. Mental Health, at least for me, is a constant, ongoing focus in my life and I feel so lucky to work in a profession that allows me to follow that passion. To all my fellow mental health professionals I just want to honor you and say thank you for working to end the stigma. This work is so very needed.

For this weeks post there is something specific I wanted to talk about when it comes to mental health. I was scrolling through instagram the other day, for several hours as one does during quarantine, and I came across a picture that said “who are you without the opinion of others?” I stared at the post that was just written in bold, black letters; no fancy image drawing my eye in, just plain text, and I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t look away because I didn’t know how to answer.

I am, in layman terms, a people pleaser. I want people to like me, constantly. I am always concerned about how I am making other people feel. I spend A LOT of time and energy wondering what other people are thinking of me. Honestly, it can be one of the most exhausting parts of my personality. Who am I without the opinion of others? My own brain didn’t even know how to comprehend this question. This led me into a downward spiral. I spent literal days pondering this question. Eventually, the only clear idea I could start to see was that my mental health apparently lies directly on top of the opinions of others.

Well, then I became even more disappointed and when I become disappointed in myself I become mentally abusive. ‘What is wrong with you, Sarah? Why aren’t you stronger? Why don’t you know who you are? Can’t you just stop being a people pleaser? Can’t you just think for yourself? It’s no wonder you are depressed. You only care about other people. Do you even really matter?’ See what I mean by a downward spiral?

I’ve gotten a lot better at those thoughts being momentary and drifting in my life. I hear them out and then they float on by. This time though those voices started to make a connection for me. What are the opinion of others in the context of me? In reality, I don’t know. I’ve never been told by a person they hate me. I’ve rarely received negative feedback. I’m sure they are out there- the haters that is- but I haven’t spoken to them directly. So, this tells me that the opinions of others, those opinions that I am so terrified to hear, are actually just the projection of my own fears. This, my friends, was a lightbulb moment. Of course I am going to think a bunch of random people, who I don’t even know, hate me for a variety of reasons, because apparently I hate me for a variety of reasons. Okay, I don’t hate me, but there all these fears I have about myself, just like any normal human person. I.e. I’m scared of being annoying, so what do I think people are saying behind my back- that I am annoying AF.

What if I were to then change that narrative? What if instead of being scared that I am annoying, I am excited to be brave today? And then maybe someone else gets inspired to be brave today. What if I focus on the things I am striving to be and not the things I am striving not to be? CAN YOU IMAGINE? I can. Over the last day or so I have been trying to do just that, focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. I have to admit.. it has done wonders for my mental health, even in just two days. I’ll provide you an example from my morning run:

I woke up thinking about how today was a running day. The last time I went for a run, I wasn’t able to complete my goal and I became frustrated. This was coincidentally a day I was really thinking about that damn quote. I remember that run being filled with thoughts of ‘how would I run without the opinion of others? would I run at all? why is the sun so damn bright today?’ yada yada yada. So, today I used my new approach. I thought about what I wanted. I didn’t say things like “I don’t want a repeat of last time.” Instead I said things like “I really want to make this goal. I bet it will feel good to meet it.” I even (and this is real hippy dippy, so get ready) imagined myself finishing the goal. That’s right, baby, manifestation at it’s finest. This all led to me being gentler during my run. I said things like “I know you can do this. It isn’t a race, so take your time. You can complete this at any pace you’d like.” And guess what? I did it. I finished my goal and felt so freaking fantastic.

If we add this all up, I guess what I am trying to say is that in reality my mental health did not lay on top of the opinion of others. My mental health was and is about the opinion of myself. It’s those voices, the inner child wounds, the narrative we tell ourselves- those are the opinions we are hearing. The strongest people I know, the ones that could be told to their face that they smell bad and look ugly and they just shrug it off and say ‘eh, guess I wasn’t their type’, they are the ones that have those strong inner narratives.

I am working on that inner narrative. I am working to understand that the most important relationship I have is the one I have with myself and that the opinion of others are irrelevant in this context. If you find yourself in a similar position, always wondering how others see you, try taking some time to sit in those fears and then flip them on their head. What do you want to be? Not, what do you not want to be. And as always if that sounds like too much right now, just try for a moment altering one small word or opinion.

You may be surprised on the impact even the smallest changes can make.

A[wo]men

boom. boom. boom. boom. boom.

it helps to know your heart beats,

only for yourself.

-where to start when changing the narrative

Body image, trauma responses, and a pandemic, OH MY!

c/w trauma, binge eating disorder

Hello all! I hope this post finds you in a space that is ready to read. If not, perhaps put down the device and take a moment for yourself to create a more suitable space. I take no offense, please take care of yourself. For those of you that do find yourself in such a space to read, I welcome you!

I’m currently sitting at my dining room table as my skylight windows are drenched in what can only be described as a bleak, gray, uninviting day. I would also describe this as the perfect writing weather- nowhere to be, no rush to get outside, just a strong desire to process. So buckle up friends because today we are driving full force into it: Body image, trauma responses, and a pandemic, OH MY! So, let’s get into gear, shall we?

This last week or so has been rough. I had a shift in mindset and I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened. I was sitting on my phone, for longer than I had intended, scrolling through social media, and this old voice comes into my head. ‘You’ll never be like them. They are popular and beautiful and you will never be them, so stop trying. And they certainly don’t want to be like you.’ I couldn’t seem to turn the voice off. Running, which has been my solace throughout this pandemic, couldn’t even shut it down. It just played over and over. This voice has been a dear friend of mine for some time even though I used to be really harsh with her. “SHUT UP!” I would usually yell, which only made it louder. I now use a different approach. I respond gently and inquire what is coming up, what memory or pain is there?

There were plenty of memories and pain. I knew I was having a trauma response (hence the skipped blog post last week). I had stomach aches and I recognized them from a mile away; I got them all the time as a kid. This is known as the mind-body connection, wherein your body hears what your mind is saying and responds to it (i.e. sadness leading to stomach aches). I have gone through different types of trauma in my life and there are a few warning signs that let me know a trauma response has been triggered. First, my inner critic starts up. Second, are the stomach aches. Third, is this overwhelming desire to eat until I can’t feel, which then masks the stomach aches. No longer do I have to think about the feeling I am having, but rather I can focus on the self-induced pain I have caused by eating too much.

This is also known as Binge Eating Disorder, something I have suffered from for most of my life. Actually, I would like to instead say, something I used for coping with most of my life. Albeit, not a healthy way of coping, but a coping skill nonetheless. The thing about binge eating though, is that it all connects back to that initial thought, right? Because when I eat too much, I feel like a failure, which then makes me sad, which then makes me have stomach aches, which then makes me want to binge eat. It’s a cycle.

So, this brings me back to that harsh vs. gentle voice. Since I now know and recognize all the signs, I am able to process a little differently. In this last week, I had a lot of reflection time. What is coming up, what memory or pain is there? This pandemic has brought up a lot of hard memories and pain. Memories of feeling alone. Memories of being a teenager and feeling like being here was just a little too hard. A lack of direction and needing guidance. Pain from broken relationships. Thoughts about loss of love. It was baby Sarah again, just wanting someone to hold her.

I would like to note that as I am writing this, tears are splashing onto my table, flowing from my cheeks like a waterfall. Not because I am sad, no; I am crying because there is a release happening. It’s like being under water for a long time and then getting to come up to the surface for air. There is that mind-body connection again, my brain processing and my body responding to it. In this connection, I’ve learned that the best way to heal from past experiences is actually embracing how my body is responding, not shaming it.

I’m also crying because my younger self only knew shame. Now, knowing that there are other ways to understand oneself is equivalent to taking in that first big breath of air. Shame was something I learned young and specifically from how I presented my body. I remember being a young girl and “developing early” as they say. My boobs grew in fast and my butt was always bigger than the rest. Something I now embrace, but as a kid I could only feel shame about. I remember wearing outfits that would hide and distract from the fact that my body didn’t look like the girls in my class. My friends were all thin and blonde and kids. I was thicc, had boobs in fifth grade, brunette, and had to grow up too fast.

I guess this is all to say that quarantine is bringing up these feelings in me again. I can feel baby Sarah isolated and alone, but instead of feeling shame I go to the source and I examine it deeply.  So the source came from when I was scrolling. What was I seeing as I was scrolling? This thicc body of mine has been a source of jokes for many people lately. Memes draped in images that look like my body, with words that express fear of being like me. Posts about eating too much because there is nothing to do, when my stomach knows what overeating really feels like. These images have hit the core of baby Sarah and that inner critic. However, after exploring it more I found that these things have not made me feel shame, what they have made me feel is lucky that I now know my worth. That I have had time to examine my body outside of what others think it should be and I have found pride in the creases and lumps and dips and highs and lows. I remind baby Sarah of all the things this beautiful body has brought us. This life I have is all thanks to the body that got me here.

I say to her now:

“Baby, we don’t feel shame for this body anymore. We still feel a lot of things all the time, but we do not have the space for shame. Brené Brown once said ’empathy is the antidote to shame’ and we hold that antidote inside. We are superheroes, healing ourself. We still feel a lot of things all the time, but baby shame is no longer one of them. There is a pandemic and people are sick. We are healthy and surviving. I know it feels easier to focus on our body because it is a space we can understand, but if we are going to do that we are going to use our antidote. Baby, we don’t need shame, we need understanding and self-compassion. It’s okay that we felt triggered, we experienced some tough things, but guess what? We made it through and we will keep making it through. Baby, we do not have the space for shame.”

In this quarantine if you are finding yourself responding in ways that you don’t like, try not to yell “shut up!” Maybe try a gentler approach. Gather your empathy that you so often share with others and turn it inward. You deserve love and understanding as much as anyone around you does. Perhaps, you’re having trouble knowing how to be gentler and that’s okay too. Just try starting small, like saying ‘shh’ instead of ‘shut up’ and maybe those words eventually turn into ‘I love you’.

But for now, just remember, you are a superhero with the antidote for shame right inside of you.

A[wo]men

**Side note: with this blog post I am doing a giveaway! To enter:

  1. Follow my instagram account- sarahlorrainerobinson
  2. Follow my friends instagram account- sopowart
  3. Tag a friend that you think would enjoy reading this weeks blog and use the hashtag #awomengiveaway on a photo on my instagram page.

You will then be entered to win $50 via Venmo and a painting made by sopowart (see featured image for painting). Winner will be chosen Friday 5/1.

SHUT UP!

SHUT UP!

SHUT UP!

“I can’t.”

they whisper.

“but maybe,

if you held my hand,

i could change my tune.”

-how to approach yourself

 

 

Our Own Best Ally

Hello friends. It feels like it has been years since I last wrote even though it was only a week ago. The reason for this is I had the… FLU… dun dun dun. It was awful. I didn’t leave my house for two days, everything hurt and I thought my life was ending. Obviously, I don’t do very well with being sick. Most of the time I use my sick days for mental health needs or bad headaches. I don’t usually get puking sick. So, when I do I am a total wreck. Today though, I am feeling totally better and it feels good to be sitting in front of my computer in a Starbucks, in public, even if I am sweating profusely because that is the most I’ve moved my body in awhile. It is a nice change of scenery and my body is happy to be in a different setting as well. I love my apartment, but one can only watch so much Netflix. Didn’t know I had my limits until now.

While I am excited to be writing, I also know I don’t want to push it, so this may not be the longest post. I am just going to listen to my body, trust myself- a practice I have been working on for awhile and through this flu was reminded of.

While I was sick a lot of things came up for me and some of those thoughts took me aback and I want to process them with you all because I have a feeling I am not alone in this. As someone who has been through different eating disorders and struggled with my body I sometimes get these automatic toxic thoughts. For instance, when I started to puke my first thought was, ‘well, I bet I’ll see the scale go down at WW’. As soon as I thought it I felt sad. Sad that those thoughts still consume pieces of myself; sad that I was trying to justify my bodies pain; sad that I was even thinking about weight in that moment.

I then took a deep breath. I rubbed my stomach and I apologized. I said how sorry I am for thinking that way. I then dove into where that thought came from. This was also a way for me to not think about my nausea for a brief moment. I sometimes struggle with this idea of honoring all my thoughts when in those moments I want to beat those thoughts with a bat. I know though that they are there for a reason and I need to give them the space. So I asked myself “why did you think that?” I took another deep breath and closed my eyes. Maybe WW is too much for you right now? Maybe I watched too much romantic reality tv shows and feel gross compared to them? Perhaps dating is bringing up a lot of insecurities in myself and I tend to equate thinness to love? Perhaps, I feel guilty about not being at work and I want to think about anything other than not being there? This went on for a while. I just let all these thoughts cross my mind and swirl in and out. I sat there for about 15 minutes with a million thoughts crossing.

Then, I opened my eyes and sat in front of the mirror. My sick face, drooping, white, sickly; my eyes bulging and blood shot, unable to stay closed due to the fact that I needed the toilet every 30 minutes; my hair drenched in sweat, stuck to the sides of my face. I just sat there looking at every inch of myself, reminding myself that my body takes care of itself. I am sick because something needs to get out and my body knows that. I thought about how powerful that is. How innate it is for our bodies to just care for us, no questions asked. So, I used that when I looked in the mirror. I said out loud “I want to take care of my body- innately and unconditionally.” Those other thoughts are just leftovers from a time I didn’t trust my body.

I then got up and puked.

After I finished that up, I laid on the couch and rubbed my stomach. I called my mom and told her how much pain I was in and she told me to just rest and that it will pass and, of course, she added “if it doesn’t pass in the next few hours, go to the ER.” It did pass though. Just like that thought, the pain subsided. I rested and healed just as I knew my body could.

Yesterday, during that healing, while my body felt like it got run over by a bus, I decided to do some Yoga with Adriene for illness. It was nice to gently move my body and stretch out the parts of myself that were crunched up for 24 hours. The thing I loved the most though was how the video ended. She said when she is sick she uses the affirmation ‘my immune system works perfectly’. With our hands at our hearts we both repeated those words. As I spoke those words into the universe, I recalled my moment from the day before. A sense of relief just wafting all over myself.

I think all of this is to be a reminder that A) things are always changing and B) we can/should learn to trust our bodies more. I used to push those thoughts away, not give them the time of day. Now, letting myself explore why I had that thought and all the things that came along with it allowed me to realize that I am not in that same place. It gave me a moment of self-reflection that I wouldn’t have gotten if I just shut it down immediately.  I suggest learning to trust yourself- I promise it feels so much better than being an enemy of yourself. “They” always say you are your own worst enemy, but I would argue that we are our own best ally. 

I would also argue that we could all do better at washing our hands.

A[wo]men

a reflection
in the water,
in the mirror,
in the window,
in the puddle,
in the broken glass.
always-
you
-wherever you go.
rooting for you.
-your number one fan

From the Year of Change to the Year of Stability

Hello loves, I would first like to start off by thanking you all for the kind words after my post about Alex Wolf. I am so happy to hear all the people that also want to live their life like Alex. As I continue to follow those words, I would also like to share that this will be my last post of 2019. Taking a bit of winter break for myself and focusing on building more stability and grounding. I will return in 2020 with more to talk about and *fingers crossed* more interviews. So for today, I would like to do my own year in review. Thank you, Spotify, for the idea.

My greatest hits of 2019 include:

  1. Travel Girl  (feat. Hawaii, Rhode Island & Myrtle Beach)
  2. Ending a Relationship (feat. my ex)
  3. Alaska to New York
  4. Goodbye first job, Hello new job
  5. Got a new therapist, who dis?
  6. Dating (half of NYC)
  7. Oops, I got robbed on the train
  8. Forever Missed (feat. Alex Wolf)

I am officially coining 2019 the year of change. There were so many ups and downs. Constant, life changing events were thrown in my direction. I would like to say I handled them with grace and ease, but I absolutely did not because I am human. I stumbled about as if I were a new born dear trying to walk. It was not pretty. I find something quite beautiful in that ugliness of living though. A bit of a contradiction, I suppose. Yet, it simply is the epitome of human life to fall and get up and fall and get up. It is how we learn to do most things in life. How can that not be beautiful in its ugliness?

While I reflect on the past and the ways that I careened through the year, I would also like to look toward the future. Typically, each year I make a list of things I hope to accomplish. I know, v. original. I went back in my blog for 2019 to see what my list said… There was no list. When 2019 began I was in a deep, deep depression. The future seemed bleak and if I remember correctly the only thing on my list was to heal. A to-do that I believe is never quite finished. We are always healing from new marks that find their way to us. Though, as I make my way to the end of 2019, I am in a completely different headspace. I now have the tools to help the healing and the wisdom to know that nothing is permanent. Things change, always.

With that being said, I want to highlight some changes I hope to see in 2020:

  • Learn a new hobby (knitting?)
  • Continue to work towards obtaining my LCSW
  • Reduce CC debt by 50%
  • Travel (Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, Maine, Spain)
  • Build strong relationships
  • Run a 5k
  • Fall in love with myself again, and again, and again
  • Write more
  • Scroll less
  • A new president

If 2019 was the year of change, I would like 2020 to be the year of stability. All that change I went through was vital to my own growth; however, I want to feel more grounded as I enter this new year. This is also why I intend to take a break from writing for the next month. I plan to use that time to focus on my goals and come up with a concrete plan. I was a bit willy-nilly with how I moved through the world this year. I was very much reactive, rather than proactive. It is my hope to now become proactive. A trait I believe is curated as we age. In 2020, I will become 30 years old. Another decade will have passed in my life and I hope by the time I get there I understand myself in a deeper way and care for myself in the way I care for others.

They say we are creatures of habit, so I am encouraging us to create a habit of self-compassion this year. Let’s become so in love with ourselves that we can’t help but feel safe and stable in our own arms. Coin this year whatever you feel you need to move forward. Perhaps you need change, perhaps you need stability, perhaps you need something totally different. Just remember that your path is for you. Figure out what you need and let it guide you.

I will greet you all again in January, until then spread love to yourself and to others.

A[wo]men

it’s me

in the dew of the morning

in the dark of the night

through the forest

and the depths of the ocean

in the sunshine &

the moon

love & heartache

growth & regrowth

i am with me through it all

-you are your best partner through life

 

Life Updates

Okay, folksies, I want to first and foremost apologize for my missing post last Sunday. I was travelling and honestly the thought of writing a blog post while on a ferry sounded like it would hurt my head, so I left my laptop behind in hopes that you would all forgive me. I feel like you do because my readers are kind, loving, gracious humans, right? Great now that that is out of the way I have some v. important life updates.

Number 1: My posts may become more irregular. I know this is not very convenient and I apologize for this. I am hoping to post at least once every couple of weeks, but I also don’t want to make any false promises. You’re welcome. Why is my writing going to become more irregular? I have some super exciting news! I am teaming up with my good friend and co-worker as we start work on WRITING A SHOW! This project is something my friend Beth has held onto for a very long time and one of my greatest passions is watching TV, so it just seemed like a good partnership. We started writing last night and honestly y’all, I think it could really be something. I am not going to give the deets away, but I will keep you updated on progress and such.

This project is something I have desperately needed because life has been a tad stressful these last couple of weeks. I have had two days that I just couldn’t function. I felt as though I was in a haze. I am usually pretty good at checking in with myself and figuring out what I need and that has not been happening in the last few weeks. My sister is going through some pretty tough things right now and the hardest part is knowing that I can’t be there for her. Living away from family is tough. Living away from them on an island is tougher. It is strange that as a child I used to dream of living far away, changing my name to Mia, and falling in love with a British boy. (Way to many Mary Kate and Ashley movies encouraged this). Now, as a 27 year old, I find myself calling my parents daily and crying because I am homesick. 13 year-old me wouldn’t even recognize this B. I do feel lucky though, in the sense that technology (as much as I bemoan it) gives me the ability to transport home. I can video chat, text, and call to get pieces of home that tide me over before I get to go visit again. And for those of you wondering, my sister is doing as best she can for now, she was having a tougher time than usual over the past couple of weeks. She is a tough cookie though, so I know she will make out of this battle. #fuckcancer

I also feel lucky because I have people here that are beyond supportive. The great part about working for a mental health organization is that they understand that mental health is important! (Not always though and those orgs need to get their shit together.) My supervisor encourages me to take the time I need and that makes a world of difference. I also have really solid friendships that I am forming and feel comfortable talking about the things I am going through. It feels like only a short while ago I was writing about being friendless and struggling to fit in. Now, this little/big island feels more and more like a place I could stay as each day passes. This may also be due to my other life update… I’ve started seeing someone! See, I told you life has been a little crazy. He has been incredibly supportive and helpful as I struggle with being away from my family and the work/life balance we all work to achieve. I am not going to say much more than this because as much as I am an open book, he is not, and I would like to respect that. I will say though, he makes me very happy.

Which brings me to my last life update: Work. Work is busy and fun and sad and exciting and tough and every other emotion I could think of. I am still loving it, but I am not going to lie, it is a little overwhelming. I have nightmares about my kiddos and their families constantly. I try to disengage after work, but some days are harder than others. When I was sitting in school and my teachers constantly talked about self-care and burnout in the field of Social Work I thought I was hearing what they were saying. I clearly did not. Self-care is sort of a trigger word for me now. Feeling stressed about not doing self-care, I’m pretty sure, is the opposite goal the word is looking to achieve. I’ve begun to replace it with self-compassion and that has helped. Compassion allows me to see myself as I see my clients: human. I think that is where the haze came from the last two weeks. I was avoiding the feelings I was supposed to be feeling all under the guise of self-care. I didn’t want to accept that I make mistakes or that I can have bad days or that I can’t help everyone. I am trying to be better at looking at myself as I do my clients. What strategies will help me get through today? Today I choose to do 1 minute of deep breathing, leave space for me to cry, and call my mom.

Oh and in case y’all forgot, it is Mother’s Day (quick go call your moms too!). I feel obliged to tell you all… I am not a mom, I am not pregnant, and I don’t own any pets. However, most of the mom’s I know are the mitochondria of life. (The powerhouse of the cell, for those of you forgetting your high school bio class.) I have the absolute pleasure of getting one of the best mom’s known to womankind. She does what needs to be done, sometime in sacrifice of herself. She has shown me kindness, love, and compassion. She has taught me the power in vulnerability, the strength in weakness, and how to multitask like a badass. So, I conclude this post with a poem by Nayyirah Waheed:

my

mother

was

my first country.

the first place i ever lived.

–lands