Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ON this very moment.

I think it's sort of hilarious that I sneak over to this blog to write things down that are sitting in my heart. I understand branding and the business of being a business just a little too well and so I never want to cross those lines on the mustard seed co blog. I like to keep that shiny and polished and brand-centric (you know, that is, when I actually write over there).

But this little space is so safe. Anyone who still reads it knows that I pour out my heart here, that I'm honest almost to a fault. And may I also say I think it's hilarious how many readers I still have? I can see those stats, you guys, and it blows my mind that people continue to come here to read. Thus furthering my point about authenticity - when we just are who we are, people want more. When we present something that makes sense and flows really well and we look great on, it can be give or take. I've always thought that this blog would be the one to "take off", if you will, if I ever actually was consistent. Because being our true selves is, like, the freaking jam. It's where success lives. (Hey can someone remind me of this sometime? When I'm forgetting it? Great, thanks in advance.)

Every time I get back to my apartment from being home in NJ, I have to take a couple of days to shake back into my routine and life here. And every time I get back, I try to remind myself to be gentle with the transition. "Try" being the keyword. Coming back to the city means being slammed with the reminders that I have no idea where I will be living in a couple of months, and I mean that in regards to city, state, and apartment, including my current one. I'm slammed with the reminder of what I want and how far I often feel I'm from it (and how close). I'm slammed with the reminder of the people and animals who need help, who need others, with so many sitting on the ground around me. I'm slammed directly in all of my senses with all of the awesome and scary and loud and exciting things that make New York City what it is. I'm hit dead on with where I want to be, where I am, what I'm working toward, what I'm running from. And, of course, I'm kicked in the gut and in my heart with the missing human in my life. Still. Daily. Every blessed moment.

Re-reading all of that now it's easy for me to think "well of course all of that at once can make a girl a little wonky for a day or two". But in the moments of living it, I just want to be past it. I want to know the future, I want a clear freaking answer on if I should move and if that's down the street or across the country. I want guidance and a big giant sign that says I'll be fine financially, emotionally, physically, and in so many other ways.

But that giant sign is faith, right? That's what we do, right? We keep taking these steps forward despite the fact that we are wobbling around in darkness, completely unsure of what's in front of us, with feet and legs that can't seem to remember how to move, and a pounding heart. We keep going. And the difference here is that many just stop. They feel the power of fear and they just stop. Even if they are urged to move for the rest of their life, they won't. They stay frozen and cave to fear. But we get to choose faith. We get to say that it is bigger than that paralyzing fear. And so there I am again, on my knees, face pointed upward, sobbing and talking and asking and praying and wanting and trusting.

And while it doesn't sound so fun, or feel so good in the moment, it is the only thing keeping me moving forward. And that is some powerful shit. The days I cross my arms and stomp my feet and say no to God and no to praying and no to trusting are so much worse than any handful of minutes spent crying on my floor. The times I spend thrusting a hand over my eyes and refusing to look at God and demanding that I know best are so much freaking worse than the terrifying moments of taking a tiny step forward when I feel God call me to move. It is so much worse when I pretend that I'm in charge. I'm not in charge, and neither are you. It's all Him. I grant that this sounds insane and ridiculous and terrifying but damn if it isn't true. It's insane how insane it is, because it is TRUE. And terrifying. And glorious.

The other day, I was walking behind a family in central park. People not from New York tend to walk in a straight line so they can, like, actually see and hear each other (what is that about?) and so I literally was forced to walk behind them as I caught my breath from the run I'd just had. In between my wheezing, I heard one of them say something about how he didn't understand why people run. Another cracked a joke about New Yorkers needing to run so they can run away from their crazy lives. And I thought to myself how that's not it at all. How it's the opposite. That we are running, full steam ahead, with everything we've got, toward our lives. We are the brave ones running head on toward it. We are running toward the amazing things that are on their way. We are running with each tiny, terrifying step.

I don't have any answers still. I'm like a one-woman detective team with my quest for "signs" - a certain song will play and I'm convinced it means to move somewhere, I'll see a certain word and I'm convinced it means to make that call, and so on. I honestly have no idea what's coming next and God is drilling that so hard into my brain you'd think I would freaking accept it by now. Sometimes I think He's like "hey Kerry, I'm running out of ideas here on how to get you to see that you cannot control your life or know what's happening next. Can you do me a solid and just surrender to it? Cool, thanks!" But even with absolutely no answers, and even with all this pain and fear and wondering and growth, I have this faith. And He calls me to take a step. And to take another. And if I'm lucky, I do it. Slowly, steadily. Step.

And step. And step. And step. And step.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kerry At The Moment; Or, Why Blogging Before Bed Is Dangerous

 I picked this photo because after you read this, you'll be looking at me like this ^^

Something is shifting in my life. You know that feeling? When something just doesn't feel right. Not in a bad way, just in an uncomfortable-things-are-shaking way.

This seems to happen a lot in my life, come to think of it.

The best way I can explain it is that my entire being is hitting the 'reset' button but unfortunately everything and everyone around me is still in hyperactive go mode and expects me to stay at the pace I've been keeping. I've found myself opening my computer to delete facebook roughly 17 times in the past two days, until I remember that I run social media accounts as part of my job. But I have zero desire to be on it. I have a constant urge to hide under my blankets until I can navigate this time of growth in a way that doesn't make everything else feel impossible. I'm so removed that I didn't even look at my phone for nearly the last 48 hours and didn't open my laptop once and I was so happy.

The most telling thing is that I have literally zero fucks to give about almost everything. It's like whatever change and growth is going on here with me is so big, so overwhelming that I don't have time for anything petty, drama filled, ridiculous, or minimal. Scratch that - I almost don't have any time or space within me to deal with anything else. At all. The handful of people that matter so much to me are getting my attention, plus my babydogs of course, but that's it. That's all I've got room for. It's making me a bit of a crappy friend but every time I start to want to remedy the situation, my inner voice tells me to hold tight, keep waiting, trust in what I'm doing.

I'm craving a really big change. An overhaul. I'm craving getting back to doing only the things that I love with my whole heart. I've recently had this realization that every single thing I decide to do, I do successfully. If I care about it, I nail it. Ridiculous things that I shouldn't even really be able to do, I'm doing or have done. But here's the other realization that came along with it: just because I'm able to do something well doesn't mean I should be doing it. I'm not 100% sure what that means yet but it was one of those realizations that stopped me in my tracks and those are the kind that come to fruition.

Is any of this making sense?

The most clear way I can think to explain it is that I got very lost somewhere along the way, trying to be everything to everyone and terrified that any further success would be tied to continued pain. In acting, in love, in everything. That if I got the things I wanted, I would suffer for the next few years because of getting them. But many a year later, and so much pain later, I'm now able to see that belief system as what it is: made up. False. A way to keep myself at bay. And now I've made peace with that realization but am still in the middle of the woods, looking around, like "okay, now what?" but in a way that sometimes is like "okay! now what?!" because it's exciting to recognize that I can literally do anything, that I succeed at anything I decide to do, and that I am so exhausted with pleasing others that I'm free in a way I've never known. But all the while, I'm still in the woods, still lost. Or at least, not found quite yet.

What is that horribly annoying saying about when you lose the most important thing in your life, you're able to do anything? It's a cheesy quote scribbled into thousands of teenager's journals and probably also pressed onto some walls with those removable decals. Anyway, you know what I mean. Wait - once you've lost everything, you're free to do anything? Is that it? (Is this the best post you've ever read or what?) That's where I'm at. I feel like the last 6 months were the most painful stripping away of everything that I'd decided mattered the most to me. It's actually still going on but I can feel it slowing down and also there's very little left so, you know. It wiped out people, relationships, situations, opportunities, etc. If you had any idea how many times in the past six months I've spent sobbing on my floor, talking to (yelling at) God, asking Him to please just show me what the hell He wanted me to do, you would send presents and pat me on the head every time you saw me with one of those pitying looks.

But the whole time this has been going on and I've been using up every tissue in the stock of boxes I had under my bed, there has been this calm voice telling me to keep going. Stay steady on this path, that it's good things that are coming. That this is a clearing out so God can work in my life in a new way that I cannot even imagine yet. That this massive amount of pain and uncertainty is exactly perfectly timed and I just need to trust it. When I'm totally calm about it, there is this peace I feel that I've never felt before ever and honestly, that part is maybe the scariest.

I'm not sure this blog post is even going anywhere. No, I know it's not. Part of me hopes that my friends who read it will maybe understand why I'm currently AWOL and that it has nothing to do with them but that it's too hard to explain over and over so I'm just not explaining. Part of me hopes that writing it out is just the next step in clarity. The other day I realized that the main reason I make art is because I desire for everyone to know they are not alone in their experience in this world. The struggles, the pain, the love, the bliss, the joy. The things we keep locked away in our heads or our bedrooms are actually things that everyone else is going through or has gone through or will go through. And if one of you reading this is nodding along, thinking of their own massive tissue causalities recently, feeling the way that I'm feeling, then that's why I felt the need to write this. For you. For us.

This is the part where I make the disclaimer that I am unbelievably blessed in so many ways that so many people will never get the gift of experiencing. That I'm not experiencing "real" problems, because I'm not! I still have most of my core family members, I still have my handful of lifetime best friends who stay steadfast with me while I'm in such a weird place, I have my health and the ability to see and hear and breathe and love. Sure, yes, have there been scary and painful things? Yes. Do I miss my best friend so much I feel insane most days without him to share all of this with and hear his input? Yes. Am I scared out of my mind about this large amount of unknowns? Yes. Have there been other things I'm not writing here because they are not your business? Yes. But still. Even without reading headlines of the latest world tragedies, I know how lucky and blessed I am and that all of this pain is leading to awesome. So don't go thinking I'm in pain and unbelievably self-centered. I may be a hot mess but I'm an aware, empathetic, praying for everyone hot mess.

I've been staying in NJ the past week and I keep falling asleep. Mainly after I meditate but other times, too. I've taken legit naps (something I never, ever do). I know this is my body managing the restart button that's happening. I know it's turning off so it can do what it needs to. Even in this moment, I am so, so tired. It's that deep kind of exhaustion that comes with massive life changes. Like I've got two miles left in my first marathon and I have no idea how I'm going to get to the finish line or how long it's going to take but there's this drive and truth and a voice that tells me to keep going, keep going, keep going. That it's not as far as I think.

So I keep going.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Is What It's Like: An Eleven Block Walk On A Night In June

This is what it's like.

It's only finishing half of my drink because we're at a restaurant on the corner of your street and I can't risk drinking more than a few sips. It's being proud of myself for siting there and only giving an occasional fuck about it, but mostly none at all.

It's nearly tugging myself up the street when I want to do nothing more than run directly to your apartment.

It's feeling proud of myself with literally each step I take toward my home.

It's less than two blocks in and passing the place we would meet at to grab a lemonade for me and a grilled cheese for you and feeling satisfied and sad in seeing the chairs have changed, like it was done in acknowledgement of our parting. I imagine management holding a meeting about it and laugh.

It's another two blocks up and passing the mexican restaurant where you fidgeted around as you spoke with frustration over this business, your insecurities bright. Where, outside, you wrapped your arm around me, tugging me in to you, still on the phone with your brother, whom I already loved without ever meeting. The place where I passed on seeing you later and wondering if that was The Night.

It's the place right next to that where we ate the last meal we had together. Where I insisted on dining with someone else soon after just so it wouldn't look like you anymore.

If I turn my head away from this place and look to my left, my eyes land directly where we sat and had one of the most important conversations of our time together, and probably the realest. A place I take myself to almost daily because it is my favorite regardless of your existence. Proof that you, nor anyone, can ever take away anything good in my life as long as I claim my joy to be mine.

It is just a few feet away from the spot where I saw you last, the amount of tears on your face only outweighed by the amount of pain and confusion covering it. A place where I walk my dogs up and down and back again and don't think of it as I laugh over their antics and say hello to the people I've grown to know there.

It's hitting my block and remembering you just spent all of last week working right here and not once did you walk the three minutes to my door. It's hating that I don't get to hear about the experience.

It's coming inside and distracting myself with social media and seeing one of your best friend's face pop up on my newsfeed, and another on my instagram, because I'm finally now aware that I'm an artist and our communities are overlapping far too often. Namely because they are the same community.

And this is just one night, one walk home, less than an hour's time.

This is what it's like.

It's choosing myself over you, every day, every minute.
It's talking to God about you every morning, praying that He works in your heart daily.
It's walking on other streets, other blocks, turning left instead of right, purposefully.
It's walking wherever I damn well please.
It's listening to old voicemails from you every time another boy kisses me, your voice coming through my phone like a blanket wrapped around my heart.
It's knowing, absolutely knowing, you think my newly acquired, varied, and consistent success and happiness actually has something to do with you; being self-centered enough to think you can make or break my career or life, confusing loving someone with thinking you know what's best for them, instead of recognizing the truth or asking me about it.
It's the amount of things I'm dying to tell you, share with you, ask about, piling up so much in my head that I would never remember them all.
It's finally learning, in the most awful way, how to undo the belief systems that told me I couldn't have you and my career, that told me I wasn't good enough, that told me what I was supposed to do and be and say with you, that had cluttered and covered me. It's unlearning all of them at the expense of my heart.
It's caring, it's not caring, it's caring, it's not caring.
It's the beautiful recognition that every time I said my happiness is within me is actually the truth. I had only mostly believed it then, repeated it often to soothe you and motivate me, but now basking it it like God has plucked me out of the darkness and threw me into the light. Because He has.
It's every random, crazy, never-thought-this-would-happen thing that is happening now that tells me each day that I do not know the outcome.

It's not knowing the outcome.

This is what it's like.

Monday, March 31, 2014

irreplaceable spark

if you're anything like me -

and when I say "me" I mean an actor, an artist, an entrepreneur, a motherfucking hustler, a self-employed human, or anyone who does not live in a world where paychecks come by the regular and anyone who has not eaten popcorn for dinner once or twice, laughing at the absurdity of it all -

if you are in fact anything like me then tax day is no fun at all. that was this morning for me. just the yuck of all yucks and while the knowledge that it could be massively worse is a comfort, it's the kind of comfort akin to a blanket thrown on a bleeding wound. not exactly going to fix the problem but makes it slightly easier to tolerate.

and I'm on my way back uptown today when that small voice offers some thoughts:

'this is ridiculous'
'enough is enough'
'am I doing everything I possibly can be to get what I want?'
'you should do more. try harder.'
'what are you doing this for anyway?'
'why are you choosing to live like this if you aren't going for it fully?'

(if you are anything like me then you know these voices. this time to qualify to be like me, you need only be breathing.)

so the whole team had showed up for the party: shame (present!), guilt (accounted for!), anger (here and ready to be mad!), frustration (yep), doubt (I think I'm here?), and all their other annoying cousins you definitely did not invite. except you did. sort of. so you need to be a good host and acknowledge them.

instead of falling into a great big pile of these ol' buddy ol' pals, I decided to say hello to them, acknowledge that they had arrived and quickly take my babies on a walk to our favorite place. and we had some good long chats on that walk, me and my babies and the sky and the shame team and God and my heart and all the friendly people who asked if they could say hi to the dogs. a good long chat. before long I was back to coaching and working and la-dee-da-ing and it was okay.

and then I saw this quote. and I thought fuck those shame thoughts, fuck those doubting fears and fuck taxes. taxes are those hopeless swamps. part of them anyway. and swamps are made for mucking through to come out on the other side, shake off like a wet dog, and get back to doing what matters.

so now. if you're anything like me and taxes have caught you in their swampy swampness (or another swamp like creature has caught you in this moment), please scroll back up and re-read this quote over and over until it has made itself a home in your heart.

what you are doing matters. what we are doing matters. keep listening to that steady voice that says you are on your path even if it looks nothing like the path next to you that's lined with roses and hundred-dollar bills. you don't know what actually comes with that path. you are on the right one. stay with it.

it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


**I wrote this awhile ago and promptly forgot to post it. Upon finding it, it still feels worthy of sharing. Add on a few weeks when you see the number 3. Add on a few things to my lists. Make them real good in your head, I won't ask.**

We were early on in our walk when Henry froze up. All it takes is a loud truck or a lot of people to stop him in his tracks. I knelt down and he ran directly into my arms, paws using my knee like a launch pad. I pressed my mouth next to his ear and quietly said, "You're safe, I'm right here. I got you, kid."

I looked up and realized I was directly under a large church. The message was not missed.

In the last 3 weeks, I have changed my hair color and started to grow out my bangs.
I've begun guitar lessons and begun conversations with musicians and producers.
I've started to work with a doggy behaviorist, finding myself carrying meatballs on each walk.
I've taken on a handful of new clients, more than I expected for the shortest month of the year.
I've gone out with other boys, seen best friends, had visits from people who live across the country.
I've seen three Broadway shows, one reading, and one where men made for gorgeous women.
I've taken myself to the MoMA, to the park, to Lincoln Center, out to eat, to get my nails done.
I've been in auditions, callbacks, on-screen with producers in other states, and recorded endless copy.
I've re-arranged my room, changed out the furniture, planted a vision board next to my bed.
I've purged items and papers and junk and clothing and books, donating to people and garbage cans.
I've had endless dreams where I am going up and down stairs, all types, in all places, always stairs.

We were still sitting on the fountain, my favorite place of all, in one of our Conversations. We must have been nearing an hour by then, the summer heat cooling down as evening was settling in. He was continuing on when he said something that struck me:

"I want to know where God is in our relationship."

It quickly became the second best thing he's ever said to me. The first, I realized, had been about God, too.

I was antsy tonight. Checking my phone every few seconds. Instagram, texts, facebook, emails, on repeat. I started to work and stopped a million times. I put on a new episode of pretty little liars, my favorite, but my eyes darted around, hands grabbing for the phone again, feet restless. I was mad at God and ignoring the calming voice telling me to pray, to talk it out. I kept picking up my phone instead, clicking back to facebook, when I heard it:

"What are you looking for? You won't find it there. Pray."

This time it didn't feel like a suggestion.

In the last 3 weeks, I've looked up apartments in other cities, way too many flights.
I've been given multiple gifts, from people I expected them from and people I do not even know.
I've been to church every Sunday at 12:30, usually running late because of course I am.
I've drunk dialed the safest people I could, the ones across the country, too far to meet up.
I've remembered why I hate drinking and don't do it.
I started on a young artists board with an incredible group of other artists, makers, creatives, thinkers.
I've soulcycled my little heart out, hitting each beat beat beat beat, singing along.
I've reached out to new voice teachers, joined a group to read plays just for the sake of reading them.
I've re-designed my website, re-designed my resume, submitted to endless casting breakdowns.
I've finally finalized plans for my business website and logo with my designer.
I've had amazing opportunities, exciting things that made me jump around with delight.
I've fielded questions about you in a way that has taught me the definition of grace.
I have been busy.

I know without a doubt that we are put into situations and frustrations and challenges to learn lessons and grow as humans. I also know none of us have any damn idea what is going to happen next in our lives, despite our desperate and strong beliefs that we definitely-absolutely-totally are planned and ready.

When I talk about following my gut and what I'm called to do, people are excited and on board. When I talk about God, sometimes some of those people are not so sure anymore. To me, it is the same thing. A voice, a calling, guiding me. When I hear "myself" I believe I'm hearing God's will. When I refer to my truth, it's God's truth, too.

For years, I have had this boy on a pedestal but God was not on one. Over the past year, it's started to shift. The pedestal was gone, choosing to stand eye to eye instead, a better view for both of us. I started to talk to God again, started to turn to passages from the bible, started to go back to church and started to really like it. I mean, I named my business after a passage that I love, that I felt called to use. I picked my designer based on a gut instinct that God wanted me to work with her. My life has actually gotten monumentally better in the past year and even better with each step closer back to God. Like, shockingly, surprisingly, mind blowingly better. But still, this boy, my whole heart, my eyes just as wide for him as they are for God. No, even wider. So it's really no wonder to me that I've been flipped up and over and shaken and set back down on the ground without my best friend next to me. It's no wonder that I'm being called back to God even louder now. It's no wonder that I'm being literally forced to replace my fear with my faith. It's also no wonder that I have peace in my heart despite the unknowns and worries coursing through my veins, through my mind. It's no wonder that I am still filled with pure love for him, despite confusion and pain.

And in these past 3-ish weeks, despite the endless list of what I have done, what I had not done yet was hand it on over to God. So tonight I did just that. Take it, lead me, bring me closer to you. Bring him closer to you. If you want us back together, let it be when we're both back with you. Give him the grace he needs to do the work he wants to do in his heart and on his life. Work in him. Work in me. Let him seek out God, that's where he can find me.

We all love a good happy ending. We all nod in agreement as we listen to people talk about how they just needed a month or two apart or a year or two apart in order to realize they didn't want to be apart. We chime in about how important it is to take the time to work on ourselves before being with our partners. But what about while that part is happening? What about the part where we're uncertain, fumbling around like baby deer, just trying to get our footing underneath? What about the middle section of discovering and questioning? The part where the lesson hasn't yet been made fully clear because we're still literally in it? What about the part where we're wildly uncomfortable?

I had caved and been talking out loud for a few minutes when Layla started to fuss, moving from my pillow down to the mattress, laying one way before flipping around to the other and kicking her feet into me. I leaned down to her and smoothed her fur, calming her down. "Can't get comfortable, huh? It's okay, I'm right here, you're okay. Shh, you're okay, you're okay."

The message was not missed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Nights Are Great For Love Letters.

photos from this week. mainly bc my computer quit and instagram is all I got for ya

Sometimes I just get these clear, calming thoughts. Most likely that's from meditation and the paradox process and, you know, God and the Universe and Nature and all of that. BUT it got me thinking. What if our future selves can reach out to us right now and send us little love messages? So I'm writing myself a love letter from my future, older, wiser self.

Because these are the things I do on a Sunday night and also because I would very much like to have a talk with her soon. Here's what I think she would say.

Dear Kerry,

Calm down. It's going to be just fine. All of it. I promise. Calm down.

It's actually a lot more fun to go through life not knowing what's going to happen next. Think about it: haven't all of the best times been things you never saw coming? Yes, they have been. I know that's true because I was there for them, too. I know it feels scary and uncomfortable right now but it won't always feel like this. I know you're worried everything is going to fall to pieces but it won't.

Spoiler alert: we absolutely get everything that is meant for us. All of the meant-for-us things are ours. We win! Yay! I'm not going to tell you what they are because I'd rather you enjoy the experience of your life as it happens but trust me, they are good. Really, really, deliciously, outrageously good. Keeping on that note, we do not get anything that is not meant for us. Another spoiler alert: by now we could give two shits about those things because they were not meant for us. And the things that are meant, that are ours, are so awesome that we can't even remember what those other things were.

You are really, really loved. You are loved so much you can't comprehend it quite yet and that's okay, but it's important you know this. I know you feel kind of crummy right now and I'm sorry. Think about every other time you felt sad, confused, or alone, and remember that each and every time that happens it turns you into a better person. You are not going to feel this way forever. In fact, you already don't feel this way all the time or even most of the time. Don't let the once-in-awhile feeling trick you into believing it's never going to stop.

You've already learned by now that you somehow just know things. You don't understand why or how but there are some clear truths that hit you hard and you simply know them. You know. Stop trying to figure out why you have this gift, stop judging if it's cool or weird and stop messing with your own head and convincing yourself you don't know or you might be wrong. When it comes to these things, you are always right and you do just know. Trust in it. Even, and most especially when it feels scary or hard to trust yourself.

Let him take the time he needs to become the person he wants to be. You can't do it for him, no matter how much you want to. He can't be with you until he figures out who he is and he can't figure out who he is with you by his side. Sometimes the best way to love someone is to let them wade out into the mucky waters by themselves to learn they can figure out how to get back out on their own.. instead of scrambling to build them a canoe and fashion them a life vest and yell like hell from the shore. I know you're scared he won't make it back out and I know you're scared he won't return home to you. But even with all of that fear, you have to let him figure it out on his own. Put down the life vest. He did the same for you.

You're actually doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Keep working on giving yourself that credit. Be nice to yourself. You're listening to your calling, and creating the life you want for yourself and that right there is enough to throw a freaking party over. You're living in New York City and you're making it work somehow and that's also worth a celebration. Keep working from the place of serving others and you cannot lose. Remember that gifts are meant to be shared. Quit keeping most of yours to yourself, that's called being selfish. God gave you these gifts for a reason. And sing more, would you? You like to sing.

Just wait until you see how great it gets. Every experience, every pain, every fear was totally worth it to get us to where we are now (something you can already understand, right?). Keep swimming. I love you!

an older, wiser, incredibly beautiful, still not modest, but happier than a pig in shit,

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day & The Best Love

obsessed with the brilliant max wanger and his photography skills

I always have these mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. Part of me thinks it's really freaking stupid. I have never seen the point and believe we should love fully, loudly, wholeheartedly each day. But the other part of me sees all the people walking around the city hand in hand, the gaggle of men carrying bouquets of flowers alongside their briefcase with exhaustion all over their face and yet they remembered to stop and grab flowers. The high school students carrying bags with stuffed animals spilling out, chocolates tucked under their arms, and little ones with heart stickers on their faces, book-bags  sweaters, worn proudly to show the world they are loved. And that makes me think it's a pretty okay day after all.

Because at the root of today is love. Love. That delicious, necessary, lesson-filled love. Sneaky devil that one. We deserve love. Let's start there. You and I and everyone we know and everyone we don't know deserve massive amounts of love from the world, from community, and most importantly, within. And how do we do that? I only know how to answer that for myself.

Loving myself looks a whole lot like getting up and brushing my teeth when I'm dead tired and am already face first into the pillow.

Loving myself looks like figuring out what boundaries I need and creating them.

Loving myself looks like 45 minutes of intense spin class as many times a week as my wallet and body can handle.

Loving myself looks like stretching, arms over head, feet moving from flex to point and back again.

Loving myself looks like finishing the emails even when I don't want to, and knowing the difference of when I don't have to.

Loving myself looks like taking a night off to stay in.

Loving myself looks like actively silencing the critical and negative thoughts in my mind and encouraging the positive ones to get louder.

Loving myself looks like two furry nuggets running circles on my bed, paws pressing onto my face, and putting my notebooks/phone/laptop aside to play for a bit.

Loving myself looks like eating. Actual meals. More than once a day.

Loving myself looks like the delicate and difficult practices of forgiving myself and not judging myself.

Loving myself looks like two meditations a day, every day, nonnegotiable.

Loving myself looks like knowing the difference of when to pick up the phone and when to not pick up the phone.

Loving myself looks a whole lot like picking me, standing by me, and not abandoning myself for the people or opportunities that come along and tempt me to leave myself behind, waiting.

Loving myself looks like a smile as wide and as real as I've got, a greeting in the bathroom mirror, knowing my beauty does not live in my make-up bag.

Loving myself looks like taking risks, living out of my comfort zone and trying the scary things.

Loving myself looks like throwing out what I don't need anymore, donating what I can, cleaning the bathroom when I'd rather do anything else in the world. 

Loving myself looks like a gentle reminder that it is definitely not my turn to buy the paper towels, the hand soap, the swiffers.

Loving myself looks like allowing others to help, accepting the hand extended toward me, seeking it out when needed.

Loving myself looks like a new haircut on a whim, changing the color just because I feel like it.

Loving myself looks like listening to my gut.

Loving myself looks a whole lot like my favorite places and the faces of my favorite people directly in front of me.

Loving myself looks like a phone on silent, a laptop shut.

Loving myself looks like opening a book and reading the words, turning actual pages, getting drawn in, while the television remains off.

Loving myself looks like marathons of pretty little liars because I can and I want to.

Loving myself looks like a brisk walk in fresh air to reboot my mind.

Loving myself looks like a pedicure and my heels far away, in my closet, and slippers as a replacement.

Loving myself looks like a morning hike in the warm sunshine, going as slowly as I'd like.

Loving myself looks like paying down credit card debt but trusting when it's necessary to spend on things.

Loving myself looks a whole lot like the word "no". Firmly.

Loving myself looks like admitting when I'm wrong and holding my ground when I'm certain.

Loving myself looks like the ability to hear your side, your story, your words, your fears, and not take them home with me.

Loving myself looks like a paintbrush in my hand, paint smeared on my skin, a canvas coming to life.

Loving myself looks like staying when I want to run.

Loving myself looks like honesty.

Come to think of it, what always drives me nuts is when incredible people are bemoaning how they don't have anyone to spend Valentine's Day with. They DO. It's themselves. They have the best date in the world and they are missing out. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Love can only spill out of us after the well is filled up within. And ignoring the beautiful, wonderful, amazing date you have waiting for you will not make any others to get here any sooner.

So tell me, what does love look like to you?