Wednesday, May 21, 2014

home sweet california

i never feel homesick for california until i get here and then i remember why i love it.

i just want to sniff the eucalyptus trees, eat tri tip sandwiches, drive around with sand between my toes and enjoy the warm sunshine and cool breezes.

it's all so familiar and quiet. pleasantly quiet.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

my comfort zone

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis

this quote struck a chord with me when i read it last night because it feels like exactly what i've been doing... locking my heart up safe, avoiding all entanglements... going to work, coming home, keeping to myself. and sure some days it's all i want to do. some days it's all i can do and harlow will never judge me... but it isn't really how i want to spend my life. 

everyone talks about leaving their comfort zone. yuck. my comfort zone is pretty small: a few friends, the temple, my house with harlow.... that's pretty much it. okay, so it's really, really small. when i think about leaving my comfort zone i immediately think of forcing myself to do all the things i know i'd hate or doing things that i know would make me feel unsafe and i think "no thanks, i'll stay right where i am." 

maybe i should add that the old me never really thought much about a comfort zone. almost immediately after high school i moved to the uk by myself. i didn't know one single soul on that side of the pond but it never made me consider passing up the opportunity. this me can barely go to church unless i know i'll have someone to sit with. the old me would sing, and act and paint without too much self consciousness. now i get nervous if people look at me or single me out because i feel like they must be able to guess my horrible secret. 

i really liked this article on leaving your comfort zone. 

"To experience life isn't always to face your fears and risk unpleasantries. It's also about doing all those things you're sure you'll enjoy."

that sounds more doable. 

i mean i know i'd enjoy going to the temple more so i just need to do it and stop worrying about my own self doubts. i know i'd enjoy making more friendships so maybe i'll stop avoiding everyone's eye contact and make an effort. i know i'd like to start doing more photography again so maybe i'll stop labeling that as something i did "before" and go buy some film. 

i know these sound so basic that it's laughable but... it is what it is and i'm going to start somewhere.

there are two things i know i need to work on: 

1. strengthening my faith. i feel like i've been holding steady but not growing and i know i need to make more of an effort. heaven knows i've certainly got the time. 

2. asking for help when i need it. there have been so many times, especially in the past few weeks, where i desperately wanted to call a friend and admit that something was wrong, or to crash on their couch because i was so anxious or to ask for a priesthood blessing... but i didn't. and it just added to my anxiety/depression/frustration.

i've also made other goals of a more cross-off-the-list variety and maybe not as grand: finish my book for book club, call my mom, buy more pepper spray, order a ballet beautiful dvd, etc.

and now a question: how to you set goals? monthly? weekly? yearly? any tips for keeping focused and accomplishing them? do you participate in the 101 in 1,001 challenge? let me know. 

photo by jennie prince

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

raw beauty

my friend pia posted on instagram that she would be posting a an untouched/un-photoshopped/un-cropped filtered photo of herself as part of the raw beauty talks movement. and my first thought was "of course she can do that, she's gorgeous."

but then this morning i read her post and read that she believes she's ugly. what? i've read pia's blog for years, followed her on instagram, and purchased her books. believe me when i tell you there is nothing ugly about her. everything is does is lovely and full of magic and tenderness.

anyway late last night as i was getting ready for bed i decided to snap one photo of myself and vowed that no matter what it looked like i'd post it on my blog.

i rarely post photos of myself and when i do i crop and filter like nobody's buisness... and they still look, well, you've seen them. the anticipation of posting a "raw" photo made me feel a little scared and extremely vulnerable. when i look at my own face i see all of the flaws and imperfections that i think most woman see in themselves. but if i spend too long in front of the mirror i start looking for answers to questions that haunt me. what was it about my face that said "weak" or "easy target" or "loser" or "worthless" or whatever it was that made those men choose me. the whole "selfie" thing has made try to look past my own inner terrorist and try to see something worthwhile. so when i do post a photo of myself, even if it's filtered to death, it's because for a second i saw something of my old self. or maybe a new self that i liked. that probably sounds vain and however you feel about selfies, mine are just for me.

so here's the photo. no make up, no contacts, hair a mess, a lovely new spot on my cheek:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

the last piece of my heart

so this is the last thing. the last confession or unburdening or whatever. it's been eating away at me and i don't know how blogging about it will help but maybe it will dislodge this brick that's been sitting on my heart squashing it into my stomach.

after i was assaulted i found out i was pregnant. i had waited too long for my doctor to give me the morning after pill but after awhile a good friend encouraged me to take a pregnancy test so that at least i could stop worrying about it. when i finally did i sat on the floor of my bedroom on the phone with a friend staring at the faintest pink line. if you're thinking: it could have been prevented, you should have been thinking clearly, i should have gone to the hospital right away... i could have, i should have. i KNOW. 

i know.

but then i had a miscarriage. people have kindly or naively or maybe hopefully said it should have been a relief... right? of all the things i felt through the pregnancy and after i don't think relief even made the list. there was panic and dread and fear and loneliness and guilt and more fear and more guilt. but i also felt robbed... again. i've spend a good portion of my life looking forward to having a family one day and all that went with it... the anticipation, the nerves, the excitement, the moment of finding out... it was always a happy picture in my mind. i know things don't always go as planned but and now more "first" experiences had been taken away by an act of evil and cruelty.

i also felt more alone than i ever thought was possible. i mean, after high school when i moved to the uk by myself and it dawned on me that i didn't know a single person in the country i was living in... that was lonely. but this was infinitely different. first, i hadn't told hardly anyone what had happened so how could i tell them this? and what if they didn't believe me? and what if they told me to get rid of the baby? or what if they told me to keep it? basically the inside of my head was a roller coaster ride that i did not want to be on. 

i never did find out the gender of the baby but in my heart and when i pray it's always a girl. 

some super honest thoughts: i thought about terminating the pregnancy, i thought about ending my own life, i thought about putting this perfectly innocent life up for adoption and i thought about keeping it. each possible decision broke my heart in different ways. it's hard to even explain my train of thought because it was too overwhelming. but there were these tiny moments when i felt... i don't know... not strength but maybe defiance. and in those small moments i wanted to love and protect this life growing inside of me. however her life started she was just as much mine as any other baby i'd ever have would be and i was just as much her mom. 

but then she was gone and i was heartbroken all over again. there were more questions: did i have the right to be heartbroken over something i was so unsure about? and if i was sad about the loss didn't that mean that i somehow wanted the baby? and if i wanted the baby didn't that mean that somehow the assault was ok? (of course i know that the answer to these last one is of course not but honestly my head was such a mess and these were the questions bouncing around.) and more doubts: maybe i'm not meant to be a mom, maybe the baby was taken back because i didn't love it enough, maybe i did something wrong, maybe the universe was playing some sort of cruel joke. 

and then there was more loneliness. how could i explain what was going on to anyone now? i had dug myself this deep, lonely hole and now all i could do was sit in it. sometimes i still sit in it. i'm probably sitting in it right now. how i feel about what happened hasn't changed much. there's still shame, guilt, fear, anger, sadness, loss and so many unanswered questions. i guess the questions are now a moot point because it's over. those decisions don't need to be made now... but my heart hasn't quite caught up.

plenty of time has passed and i keep thinking one day i'll wake up and be over it... all of it. but that day hasn't come. it sneaks up on me even on the best days and i don't know what to do. i had every intention of being super productive today but it was pouring rain and my scary neighbor is getting scarier and i spent all last night worry about him... so i've spent most of today wandering around my house listening vaguely cleaning, and listening to "hallelujah" (jeff buckley), "here comes a regular" the replacements, "i shall believe" sheryl crow, "broken down palace" grateful dead,  "calender girl" stars and "leaving town alive" bethany joy lenz... not the cheeriest playlist but these old familiar songs are comforting.

i want to move on. i don't want to be known as "the girl who was raped." ugh... that word. my birthday is around the corner and i want to start that year off with clear eyes and an open heart. i'm attempting to start the 101 in 1001 project (again) because maybe a long list of goals will keep me from turning into a complete hermit and give me some things to look forward to. that would be nice. 

and now, well... i don't really know how to end this post i've started. 

i guess i can end with thanks. if you've stuck with me this far then that means a lot. it's strange writing about such private and painful experiences and your kind words don't go unnoticed. 

the image above is from paper boat press through their instagram feed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

life lately

"foggy whirlwinds may be your intimate companions. being up-in-the-air could be your customary vantage point. during your stay in this weird vacationland, please abstain from making conclusions about its implications for your value as a human being. remember these words from author terry braverman: "it is important to detach our sense of self-worth from transitional circumstances, and maintain perspective on who we are..." 

for the last several months things have been fine. really, actually fine. not great, not awful but fine. and fine has been good enough. the last few weeks, however, have felt like one step forward, 300 steps back.

but i've faithfully stuck to my motto of "i'm fine" because it seems like the polite thing to do. i mean, honestly shouldn't there be a moratorium on how long you're allowed to feel bad about something? shouldn't i spare my friends the same old sadness? but saying "i'm fine" while there's a dinosaur dying a slow death in the pit of your stomach, or when all you want to do is lie down on the sidewalk and just stay there, or when you have to walk two blocks in the dark and immediately burst into frightened tears is no fun.

my solution for the last few weeks has been to hide out. keeping myself inside and busy with ridiculous things like ironing my bedding, spending way too much time on pinterest, vacuuming 4 times a day (no, really) and rearranging my bookshelves obsessively isn't really a great solution either. and i hate ironing.

my point: depression sucks. it's frustrating and boring and lonely and scary. hopefully it's just part of my weird "vacationland".

good natured friends have pointed out that i have a valid reason to be depressed and okay, yes, maybe that's true... but i don't want to be depressed. i don't want to spend the rest of my life ironing. and more than anything i don't want that reason.

the other day i met a friend at the park and she very pointedly but kindly asked how i'd been and as i opened my mouth to recite "fine" i couldn't do it. i took a breath and with a lot of embarrassment said, "i've been sad." to me it sounded so lame, pathetic and weak ... or like something a 5 year old would say. but i said it and then i waited for the dreaded pep talk. while there was a little pep talk what i got was kindness, listening, understanding and concern. one of the things she said was "weakness is not a sin"... as in being sad doesn't mean i'm faithless. depression is not a sin. anxiety is not a sin.

and so that's how i've been. sad. but saying it eases some of that sadness so there's hope.

polaroid by me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

little letters

dear spring,
please hurry up... please.

dear california,
i can't wait to see you again.

dear house,
sorry you're always such a mess.

dear old car,
thanks for hanging in there.

dear longer days,
thank you for the extra sunshine.

dear vegan/gluten free cookie dough,
thanks for keeping my sweet tooth in check... mostly.

dear harlow,
thanks for being the perfect pup.

dear pinterest,
i cannot quit you.

photo credit info unknown

Sunday, February 16, 2014

moon river

saturday morning i woke up sobbing and i have no idea why. waking up means i must have slept and that's a good thing and i don't remember having any upsetting dreams but there i was bawling like a baby while harlow sat on my chest and stared at me. we were both confused.

the only thought that my sad brain could focus on was that i wanted to watch breakfast at tiffany's.

i haven't seen it in a few years and lost most of my dvds in the move but fortunately it was on netflix and i immediately turned it on. two things - 1. moon river made me cry more  2. i do love that movie.

what are your go-to movies when you need a pick me up?

random fact: did you know you can still buy the sunglasses that audrey wore in the movie? They're Oliver Goldsmith's Manhattan sunglasses.