Documented Explorations of the Chaotic Mind

 

 

 

Thank you Katherine Hudson.

I bet you don't know who Katherine Hudson is. I didn't either. Until today.

Katherine Hudson is Katy Perry. Her 'real' name. 

Now the only reason I know this is because as of late I have been on my phone so much plugging my life away that I have come to rely on Youtube videos to keep me stimulated during long car rides and lonely work breaks and instead of goofy parodies or cute animal videos I would look to celebrity interviews. Now yes I admit I have a strong guilty pleasure for entertainment news and drama...but my reasoning for tuning into these random interviews was more so for inspiration and even education as I pursue some of the things these people have accomplished. Along the way of finding interviews with people I can actually stand, I noticed a video that promoted Katy Perry Therapy Session. 

I was intrigued.

As a strong supporter of therapy and all things self help, I wanted to know what kind of show Katy Perry was putting on while promoting her newest album. And no, I haven't heard nor do I really plan to. HOWEVER!

Right off the bat I was very open to the man she was talking to. I never name names here (except well Katy's...) But for the sake of integrity...he is the the Viceland Therapist. (figure it out on your own time). The Viceland therapist possessed an energy and an attitude that I was instantly attracted to. And Katy Perry sat across from him as her always on and always quirky self. That is until he told her to sit back.

The girl couldn't physically sit back and relax without him telling her to. 

Something about this resonated with me. So the session opens up and they discuss Katy/Katherine's past: grew up around religion, strict and professional upbringing, repressed sense of self... and as I am listening, I'm familiar with this info so I am waiting on the good stuff. And all of a sudden the pair begin discussing some type of 'angel card' that Katy had 'picked' a few years back. I can assume these are holistic cards that promote or inspire some type of life lesson or sentiment that ultimately provide some type of awakening or appreciation. I've used them. And they work. But I am a believer so... maybe it depends.

ANYWAY. The card Katy picked was authenticity. A word I've heard many times before.

The conversation continues and as it does we start to see Katy Perry diminish. Suddenly the pitch of her voice gets higher. The body seems relaxed but also tense. The eyes start darting around in thought. And the tears can't be held in.

Katy has given into Katherine.

She begins to describe that though she had a full childhood, at some point in her young age, her evolving was cut off. Katy was thrusted into a world of chaos and professionalism. Add religion into that and yah...I can understand why wearing whipped cream on your boobs and singing songs about magic seemed appealing. Her youth was expressed through this public image. With the addition of access and publicity, that youthfulness is now being channeled into temptation and extravagance. So they go through the notion that Katherine Hudson is the inner dork. She is the one that loves family, affection, intimacy. But Katy Perry is the star. How does one blend the two? How does one of the biggest pop stars in the world turn off the show and just be?

I'm asking myself the same question. So I don't have an answer. 

But it's why this random little Youtube video inspired me to write today. Because I get it. I've been there. And no, I am not nor have I ever been an international pop star. But I for sure lived behind a name before rather than exposing my authentic self. And heck even after months of exposing myself, somehow I was able to fall right back into the machine of life and forget about this. Forget about my commitment to my authenticity. Forget about the work it takes everyday to be confident and choose happiness. It is the easiest thing in the world to be in a therapy session and really open up and feel safe...and then notice the clock and it's time to leave and you wipe the tears and check your face in the mirror because the rest of the world needs your Name. Needs your mask to be up. It takes work every day to take the mask off and to use it in times of need. 

The last few minutes of the therapy session, Katherine is holding back tears then Katy pipes up and makes a joke about her looking like a hot mess and checks her makeup before sitting down to make a comment that the internet will destroy her for that last clip. The one where she was the most authentic. The one where she was truly honoring the part of her that no one gets to see. The part that she keeps dormant. Because Katherine's ego Katy decided that the time was up on being vulnerable. 

To be honest, I feel bad for Katy/Katherine. I was very empathetic to her until she ended the session by making a comment about the internet and checking her face. Because she has to get up everyday and decide to be Katy Perry, and why would she stop? That kind of situation destroys people. It kills people. We live in an age now where we have EVERY tool and platform to expose our true selves. But we don't do it. We use these opportunities as means to exploit and create ourselves. And trust me, I am not immune to it. But like I said, it is easy to forget.

I haven't written in over a month. And before that I had written once a month. I look back at the beginning of this year where I was writing EVERY DAY. But I forgot about it. I forgot to honor my authentic self. Life got in the way. Friendships changed. Relationships changed. Work changed. And no, I don't fear change as much as I used to. But I see how fast it comes now and it swept me off my feet. 

I forgot to do this. To honor myself. 

I had several encounters the past couple days that really inspired me. They were brief encounters with both new and old friends. I share a special bond with each of them. There is something bigger we understand...a soul connection if you will. And though I have been surrounded by brilliant and loving people this entire year, it fueled me in a way I had been neglecting. A spiritual tune up. A reminder of where I have been and what I want to be doing. 

No, I don't live up to whatever reputation I had as an adolescent (thank god) but there was another mask that I was wearing even through the healing process that was the start of this year. The start of this. 

I am still looking for balance. I am still between my Katherine Hudson and my Katy Perry. But what has changed in recent days that I had been ignoring was that I let myself tune out again. I can't ignore it anymore. 

Something has been missing. And it's the fulfillment and joy I get when I am tuning into myself and my needs. Not for the other people around me. Not for the work. Not for the praise and recognition of how I handle that. But just for me, knowing that my authenticity has been challenged and having to find and honor it again is a place I am happy to be.

And I am thankful that Katy Perry decided to share her personal therapy session with the world. Because it reminded me to do the same.

Life doesn't stop or slow down when you need it to. So I am back to working with this and not being swept under the wave.

I can't promise this will be every day, but feels good to be back.

 

I'm Not Busy.

Wow guys. It has been a minute. And you know what, I've missed you.

I can't wait to get back to writing again. I can't say it hasn't been a priority, but sometimes life takes hold and time is scarce and trust me, I am already pulling a Taz running around to accomplish all on that is on my plate.

I have learned a new mantra as of late. Instead of saying 

I am so busy

I now say my life is so full.

I have learned that by saying busy we are in some ways demonizing the stress and the work load that bogs us down daily. By saying full, I am glorifying the opportunities and the potential I have to make progress on projects and intentions that I hold dear. Don't get me wrong, I still catch myself saying OFTEN that I am too busy, really, busy, always busy.

But the flip side of that is being stagnant. It's being bored. I am a little bored of all the work I've had to do lately. I want nothing more right now than to disappear and live in an enchanted setting where all I have to worry about is the food, drink, and company I have around me. The love of my life is off in the world doing such things. And I am at home working. But I remind myself, the work now means the payoff later. So I sit here patiently. 

Grateful for the lessons, opportunities, support and work load. Because it means things are happening. It means I am growing. And it means my life is full.

Hoping to get back here before another month passes me by. I have some big stuff to share with documented explorations. 

May your life be full. And if you find yourself getting too busy, take a day to slow down. The work ain't goin anywhere.

Ladies and Gentlemen...

So I just watched the last episode of Girls. 

Holy shit.

 

If there was ever a moment that Lena Dunham did it for me, it was the series finale of Girls. I'll save my ode to Lena for another day, and no I'm not a huge Lena Dunham fan. But I can't deny, the girl and I have things in common. This documentation exists to celebrate the ending of one tour and the beginning of another. 

I learned a lot on the regeneration tour. 

It was a time I dedicated to really understanding. Understanding my choices. My demons. My realities. It was a chapter in my life that I had been anxiously awaiting. A time where I knew I would be confronted with my true nature and my true desires. A time where my defense mechanisms and walls would come down. A time where I would get it. Where I would grow up.

And before I dig myself into a hole, I'll say this. I am not grown up. Not all the way. Whatever that even means. And I still make mistakes. And I still make choices I don't always understand. And I still revel and celebrate how young I am and how old my soul feels and everything in between, but for the sake of this, I have grown. But I'm no full blown grown up. Not yet.

So, the regeneration tour.

It was in this 'phase', 'chapter', 'lesson', whatever you want to call it...or rather however it resonates best with you...that I was to open myself up and get vulnerable. Get honest. Get humble. And get real. For my loved ones. For my dreams. For myself.

I am selfish. I have always been selfish. But it's not all my fault. There are many circumstances and moments along the way that have shaped this quality in me. But here's what I know now.

It's mostly my fault. Or rather, my doing.

It was mostly my choices that led to me another lesson *cough mistake cough*. But I accept that now. Love, friendship, work ethic, parenting, personality and family. You name it, I covered it. As if I were touring cities across the country, I toured through pretty much every aspect of life that I could. I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to divulge every dirty detail of all the happenings of my life the past 8 months. It was a long tour with a lot of gory and glory stories.

My recent roommate would joke that my life was like a movie. The things that occurred within a week of my life maxed many life quotas. Maybe not in scope, but in proximity and timing. But I have decided that for now, I'm going to keep all the details to myself. I will say though there's been some pretty big stories:

The time with the tribe that lit up my world and also taught me the biggest lesson of friendship so far. The time I got a brother I wish I always had. The time I  realized I couldn't live without the brother I got. The time I found my creative potential. The time I almost settled for safe. The time I fought for the the love of my life. The time I had a dog for a week. The time where my fingerprints didn't go away. The time I finally admitted what I had always felt and always thought but never had the courage to say. The time I stopped trying. And just lived. The time I saw myself. As I really am. 

It has been constant suffering. Constant failing. Constant tears. Constant loss. 

No this didn't happen to me. I ran into each experience face first like a kid to processed sugar. Every foundational piece of bullshit that supported my life up to this point was erased. One by one. Every aspect of my adult being was screaming to be exercised. You don't know something until you have lived it. So I live it. I live it all. Because then, I actually know.

But then something started happening. Deep DEEP down, I felt something I don't think I had ever truly felt. And that was happiness. Not manufactured happiness. Not the Instagram worthy happiness. Not the fleeting perfect day happiness. No, I felt the confusing bitter sweet unfamiliar but known to the soul core kind of happiness. I was finally living authentically. Things that I always wanted to happen started happening. It wasn't the life I imagined for myself. It was better. Because it was real. For those who have been reading for awhile, I have reiterated and regurgitated many similar sentiments. But what was happening each time was me getting closer to a truth I feel confident in and see clearly now. I can't quite put my finger on it for you. But I know despite the profound pain and manic episodes, I am doing something right.

I have finally wandered through the forest long enough to find the path suited for me. 

Which leads me to two things.

1. As basic as it makes me and as horrid as it feels, as Girls comes to its series end and we say goodbye to the characters that were there from the start, I feel the farewell. These lessons on tv were the ones happening and shaping what was happening around me. It's ridiculous and sort of scary but I could never deny the synchronicity. Hannah finally gets it. She finally stops thinking and steps into the world. I watch the final scene of the final episode; where Hannah's mother chases her around her new adult home and enables Hannah to accept that no one has it easy. That having a baby is for life. It's not a choice you can take back. That for the first time, something has happened in Hannah's life that she can't take back. That she can't claim happened TO her. Needless to say, minus the baby, I get it. Blaming the world and waiting for the answers to be handed over free of pay. That's not reality. That's not this world. It's been my world. But living in my world hasn't done me many favors.

AND

2. How much I love my parents. How grateful and beyond devoted I am to giving back all the things they gave me. I didn't know until recently how hard being a parent is. (For anyone who needs more info on my time as a one week parent, you'll have to wait until the processing of the hard choice is complete.) But my parents, they for sure did their part in messing up as parents do. But I get it. Everyone is just doing their best. We don't make it easier as kids when we just expect the goods and emotionally abuse them when they don't make it easier. No one ever tells you how hard it is when you grow up. But they do. Everyone does. The thing is, everyone is too busy dealing with their own shit to make it easier on anyone else. Because everyone is feeling pain all the time. And we are all just doing our best. And my parents did nothing but constantly show and tell me how loved my siblings and I are. And I am one of the luckiest people I know to have them as mine. I get it now rents, I really do.

So...

I'm going to hang my hat for awhile on documenting my more personal feelings and go back to writing about the things happening around me. The observations, the notions and the questions I see in the world. I will be the observer again. Sure, I will probably squeeze myself in there once in awhile, but I'll do my best to keep it real.

So folks, thank you for attending the Regeneration Tour. It was a blast. But it's time to move on from that.

There is no point to this one. It's simple. 

Ladies and gents, I invite you on The Progress Tour.

Because everything and every day is progress.

"There's always a lack of a resolution, but there's always a choice to do better."

Shedding

April is the month of intensity.

Everything you experience will be amplified times ten. GREAT.

As if that wasn't already happening.

But I find comfort in this. Last month was one of the most intense of my life, so bring it on. For those that aren't as in tune with the happenings of the cosmos and all that jazz, be warned. Things may get crazy this month. Just ride the wave. And shed that extra skin you don't need.

I am doing that both literally and figuratively right now.

A nasty sunburn turned into a tan over the weekend and yesterday I noticed how my skin was starting to peel. I had a strange thought as I peeled a layer off. Gross, I know. But I thought about how snakes shed their skin. Snakes shed their skin to allow for further growth and to remove parasites that may have attached to their old skin. The snake slithers out of their old skin like a sock! Now, we as humans grow with and into our skin, but the idea that we too shed some part of ourselves during growth is fascinating. We must shed the parts of ourselves that are no longer necessary in order to remove the harmful or unnecessary elements that hold us back from growing.

But the figurative part of my shedding process, I've made pretty clear. It has come to my attention recently that many agree on what happens as you get old. You shed the skin of your adolescent self, in order to embrace the shell of the adult version. As you accept the changes that come with maturing, you shed the weight of the issues, people, or insecurities of the past. The more you hone in on your happiness and your own choices, the finer the new skin becomes. You take care of it better. You preserve it. Which is what I have noticed. As my friends and I get older, I notice us all taking better care of ourselves. Sure, we hardly ever get it right for long (no offense gang), but we try harder. We commit more to 'wearing our new skin'. Yes, I'm aware all the skin shedding references are starting to sound creepy. But it's effective. It is painful and vulnerable to step out of the comfort zone, or the old shell, and to embrace that a new one is forming. But isn't that the beauty of transformation? Let's go old school and bring up the caterpillar. The caterpillar is no looker as he cocoons himself to become a beautiful butterfly. But it is still necessary and beautiful in its own right. It strips itself down to evolve into something bigger. Better. Beautiful.

Which brings me to what is coming. I have decided to move forward with a series I've had in the back of my mind for a long time. No it isn't THE series that is also making its way. It's more of a PSA, an installation, a performance piece.

It is called RAW.

And the premise is that people sit and answer questions about themselves as they shed layers of clothing, leaving them in their underwear. The power of shedding their clothing and leaving them in their raw form is an exciting and vulnerable experience. I did it myself and found how powerful it is to claim your own process. Maybe you take off your jewelry first. Maybe you go straight to the pants. Either way, it is a way for someone to expose themselves while also claiming their own perception of beauty. My hope is for the series to be somewhat connected with a site or organization that promotes inner beauty and the importance of self care, but until then, I will be posting the series here. I ask you to embrace the series with kindness, acceptance, compassion and love. It takes a lot to expose yourself and to mock or dismiss someone else willing to do it...well, let's just say it says more about you than it does about us.

My point is this: Virginia Wolff said, “Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.” In order to obtain the software needed to mature and to expand your perceptions, you must shed and let go of the protective layer that we burrow into as innocents. Underneath all the layers is the rawest part. A snake slithers out of its old skin in one fall swoop. We as humans get to remove the layers piece by piece. Cherish the shedding process, it is liberating.

Taming the Night Mare

For those who who actually give a shit...I'm baaaaack!

It would be presumptuous to address any 'avid readers', as I am still convinced that I am pretty much just talking to myself here. But for any lingering 'fans', I just want to say thanks for tuning in. It has been nearly three weeks since my last post, and wow have I been living.

Now, per usual, I won't be naming names or offering any details that may elude to a specific individual or situation...but then again, I also have nothing else to lose.

Which is where I will start.

The past month has been one of the hardest and most painful months of my entire life. You may be asking why, if I was experiencing so much, didn't I write about it? And my answer is simply,

I couldn't.

I couldn't allow myself to sit down and process all the happenings enough to actually verbalize the experience or the lessons. I didn't observe enough outside of myself to eloquently prescribe some life medication to even myself. Needless to say, it sucked.

I went through some of the most painful changes I've yet to face. Here's the SparkNote version:

1. I pretty much lost most of my best friends due to a professional transaction and the past insecurities that really had nothing to do with me

2. I endured countless, COUNTLESS, conversations with people who decided in one week that they were going to tell me how I made them feel and essentially 'school' me in who I am and how my actions have affected them. And mind you, this is dating back to mid last year. But hey, what is one week of sitting in front of someone while they disdainfully tell you they don't trust you?

3. Despite my effort to stay at home and to keep to myself, I somehow still managed to piss off people one by one to the point where I realized I essentially had a handful of people I could still rely on.

4. Pretty much all my professional goals and efforts fell to the waist side as I was unable to focus on anything but my personal life and the demise of my beliefs.

5. I was finally validated by people I trust that I, in fact, don't make this shit up, that shit does in fact happen TO me, and that I am actually not a monster, instead a very broken and sensitive human being that experiences loss and pain on a level that is not embraced by most.

And this is the only time I will ever admit this because it enables me to fall into a semi victim mode, but hey, it needs to be said. I know when I deserve a reaping from someone- I know when I have fucked up, been selfish, been deceitful, etc. This is one of the first times in my life when I actually can admit that I don't think I deserved all of what was dished out to me.

Remember the tribe I so positively wrote about once upon a time? - Disbanded.

Remember the harmony that inspired my many posts of the start of the year? - Interrupted.

Remember how I have said countless times that I am aware of myself in this world and how I used to be a selfish little shit but that all I have done in the past year of my life is work and surrender to become the person I want to be rather than what I am? - The only truth I trust now.

Which brings me to my lesson today.

I have lived almost my entire adolescence as a free spirited, unbridled, wild stallion. I have soared through experiences and people, bucking off the ones that no longer serve me and galloping towards the next fleeting feeling. Try to saddle me? Good luck. Want a ride? Fine, but I'm steering. 

That was true. Up until about one day ago. When I finally recollected myself. After ending a trip with my parents with less than positive interactions, I finally gave in. I finally accepted that this past month was meant to teach me something. I am not a victim. I am not a martyr. I did not ask for the strength and the consciousness that I posses.

I look fondly on a night just two weeks ago when I came into my apartment with tears flooding from my face. I sat in front of my roommates and a dear friend and bawled like you do on acid for the first time when you realize what being alive really is. With no substances to induce this enlightenment, I bawled at a fact that I finally accepted:

I will be this person until the day I die.

No matter what changes, processes, or lessons I learn, I will always be who I am. Sure, I will never give up wanting or trying to become more than what I am. I will never stop fighting for the good in myself. It will always be work. I know I am a good person. I can finally say with the conviction and pride that I am a GOOD FUCKING PERSON. And I am sick of convincing myself deep down that I am not. That I am evil and wish harm upon others. I am sick of people judging me when they see me. I am sick of the world deeming something with a label because they are too afraid to face themselves and to see deeper. And the worst part? When people who have suffered or gone through pain think they understand me because on the surface they believe they 'understand my game'. To all those people who may be reading this thinking you understand who I am and what I am all about.

I feel sorry for you.

I feel sorry that you have wasted so much of your time defining yourself based off of who I am and what I have done. I feel sorry that you haven't embraced yourself enough to see your part in the equation. I feel sorry that you are in so much pain that you find it easier to pin it on someone who you know will embrace your pain with open arms...because this person, ME, I can handle it.

This post isn't to blame, call out, dismiss, or cause any more pain. It is a mere reminder that I wish nothing but good to the world. I wake up every morning and besides praying for peace, love and understanding in my own life...I pray for those I love and those I don't love. I pray for you still. Because even if I want to believe you don't deserve it, I trust deep down that you do. I see beyond me now. 

Something inside of me has changed. I have admitted a few things to myself after enduring this past month. And yes I say endure, because when you come home everyday with tears in your eyes and no relief day after day, it becomes a test of endurance. Not enjoyment.

Here is what I have learned:

1. No matter what I do, there will always be people in this world who will pin their shortcomings, their suffering, and their pain on me. Because I am a sponge of emotion and I can handle it.

2. I am blessed to have friends scattered around the world that love me just as I am and inspire me to transcend myself. I am also blessed to have a handful of friends in Los Angeles that unconditionally support me, as I have now realized a few good friends are always going to be better than a plethora of shitty ones. Also, organic friendships are my new MO. That whole controlling, conduit connector role? I tossed it. My tribe will build itself. I have hung up my hat.

3. I have a family that unconditionally supports and loves me. And despite there being differences in how we see the world, there is a rare harmony between us that I wouldn't trade for anything.

4. The more you push someone towards the pool, the more they will resist. I find this most accurate in love and relationships. I've always been a pusher. I know you'll enjoy yourself when you're in the pool, so I push. But I've grown up. No one wants to be pushed in the pool. Some people need to dip a toe in and some some people will canon ball. But all I can do is jump in myself and wade around until someone wants to join me. And when you least expect it, love shows up again as it always does- ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't live without you love. And when it does- let it float. The waves will come and when they do, you'll be ready to ride them.

5. Sometimes your personal life has to win. Despite being responsible and having duties to attend to, your personal life sometimes has to take all of your attention. Many will disagree with me who are in different positions of power, but for where I am right now, I'm going with it. This is when we are figuring out and deciding who we are. This is when mistakes and lessons reign supreme. Sure, I wish I could've balanced what I was living with what I wanted to be doing, and damn, I tried. But my personal life was demanding to be addressed. Because within it, deeper truths were revealed that will enable to me to focus and work longer and better than I could've ever imagined.

6. It's ok to settle down. The thought of wanting a quieter, simpler, more balanced life used to scare the shit out of me. I figured that living a wild and spontaneous life was the story that fit my identity. The bohemian wild child with the freedom and desire to live on the go. But let's be honest, sure I am a bohemian and yes I was a wild child; but that story never really fit me. I will always be fun and spontaneous, that I know. But the desire to have a partner, to downsize, to be responsible for something other than myself, to live within the confines of my own life more...it doesn't sound as bad as it used to. And that doesn't make me less 'cool' or accessible as I once was.

7. I am a stallion and I have been broken; a metaphor implying a period of pain needed to overcome selfish immaturity. Breaking a youths rebellious nature. Most people will never reach their full potential until they have passed through a trial or crucible. And let me tell you, I now understand what those witches back in Salem went through. You get the finger pointed at you or you lie. Either way you are condemned or die. But the ones who endured the pain, the one who fought for his name, well that guy went out with honor and a monologue to remember. So I opted for his lot in my story. I will die defending my name. 

I am awake again. I know what is happening. I know where I am. 

Mindfulness is being present with whatever is occurring to us or within us at any given moment. It is being present with what is in the now, not our perceptions, our judgments nor our comments about what's happening. It is experiencing bare reality with no elaboration. Quite simple really. But let's not confuse simple with easy. It usually takes only a few minutes of silent, motionless sitting to see clearly the untamed wildness of our mind. It can take many years to bring our mind, or more precisely, our relationship with our mind under control. The mind is a wild horse which has been encouraged to run freely. It loves to run fast, wildly chasing after first this thought, then that sensation, then on to the next bit of stimulation and on into the sunset it runs. Our focused observation brings it from the dark forests and grassy plains into a small pasture with no place to hide.

My point is this: I am back. I am back to remind myself and you that giving up isn't an option, as much as I considered it many times over the past weeks. I am back to encourage myself and you that whatever comes next is always better. I am back because I deserve to be here and you deserve to read this. A stallion never loses it's thirst to flee, but to be broken and tamed is to be free. 

 

What Is True Now

Now my last post was a little heavy. I am not in a dark place. I am merely thinking about things. Which can easily lead me down dark hallways. But not this year. I am maintaining the regeneration tour. I am still kicking despite the bout of stress and truth that continues to weigh me down. So with that said, here are the things I am keeping in mind.

we’re gonna need to get organized
live beyond boundaries
soften our hearts
talk to each other

“we’re gonna need to leave behind our baggage
relinquish our comfort
release our control
co-exist

“we’re gonna need to give up our addictions
confront our pain
ask for help
give more than we take

“we’re gonna need to dream bigger
work harder
get dirty
take time

“we’re gonna need to remember
we’re gonna need to forgive
we’re gonna need to let go
we’re gonna need to let go

“we’re gonna need to feel fully
revive our intuition
make up our minds
enact change

“we’re gonna need to look at ourselves
reconcile our ignorance
sacrifice shame

“make amends

“we’re gonna need to need less

“peel away the nonessential
go hungry
break a sweat

we’re gonna need to heal our fears
tell our secrets
share with our enemies
love ourselves

“we’re gonna need to study existence
refine our dreams
mediate our shadows
cure our disbelief

“we’re gonna need to practice magic
we’re gonna need to cherish water
we’re gonna need to grieve
we’re gonna need to move on

“we’re gonna need to stay focused
we’re gonna need to be strong
tend our commitment to beauty
fuel our devotion to truth

“we’re gonna need to pray
we’re gonna need to follow through

“endure burning
we’re gonna need to

“surrender
we’re gonna need to trust

“we’re gonna need to give light
we’re gonna give light
we are light
we are”

When There's Nothing Left to Burn

When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

This is a quote that has stuck close to me since I was a preteen. I heard it in a song once, and ever since, then I had this strange resonation with its sentiment. Broken down, the quote essentially means that when everything else around you has crumbled down and revealed itself, the only thing left is to do that to yourself. To burn yourself down and reveal yourself.

It has been over a week since I wrote last, and I realize it is because I have been setting myself on fire over and over again. And I am finally letting the flames simmer as I try to come back up for air. 

The past few weeks have been draining ones. I have a dear friend who once wrote in her blog that I was a person who 'was always in demand'. I remember reading this and thinking it was somewhat flattering, but looking back on it now, I realize it really isn't. I have always been the type of person to extend myself to as many people or things that I could. Quantity trumped quality, as I was constantly seeking and finding new stimulations to occupy myself with. By always being 'in demand', I was constantly hurting someone. Either by letting them down for not being available, having to flake to accommodate commitments that had slipped my mind, or simply never letting it stop. As I grow older, I have done the work to realize this is no way to live. Being constantly busy doesn't mean you are getting anything done. Always being on the move doesn't mean you're getting anywhere. This is something that I have finally come to face these past few days.

I was on a tailspin of a manic schedule; one that had me fleeting from place to place with little or no time in between. This type of busy structure seemed to work for me as it distracted me from whatever existential angst I was feeling from my personal life. Not only that, but the momentum of one project would ignite another, and so forth until I had so many plates spinning I couldn't breath. There is truth in the matter that when one area of your life starts to go well, something else will probably falter. I have noticed a significant strike in my personal life as my career gains momentum. This isn't to say it is a bad thing, but it is noticeable. Isolating. Scary. 

To shed some light on this, I am actually going to expose somethings I have been dealing with in an effort to lighten the load. As of the past two weeks, for some god awful reason, pretty much every broken or damaged relationship that was left from my shit list of last year decided this was the time to emerge and face me. No joke, at least a handful of people decided it was time to discuss with me whatever feelings they had surrounding our relationship and my influence on their lives. Again, this isn't to say I am some big bad monster that goes around stomping on the emotions of my loved ones, but I am used to the experience that follows me which is that it is easy to point out my flaws because I am so open with them, but it is not easy to constantly defend the open book I present to the world. Long story short, there were a few conversations in my personal life that were demanding my attention. Some loose ends in my story that were holding me back from focusing and enjoying the present. Skewed opinions and half sided stories was what I was facing. Knowing deep down that with each person, all I had was my perspective and my intention to make things right. Each conversation was embedded with its own singular flavor of chaos, but I faced each one. In fact, I even ignited some of them to happen. To simply clear the air of toxicity, as I now realize it is this toxicity that has held me back from reaching a potential I am now starting to scale.

Then something started to happen. I started to see the spiral. I felt it. I could feel the weight of something deeply lodged within me starting to surface. My pain was exposing itself. After one lengthy conversation with a dear friend the other night, I walked away feeling like a shell. I sat in my car after drinks and sobbed as hard as I did when an acid trip told me I had the meaning of life back in the day. I sobbed to my best friend and explained to her how fed up I am. She asked to me explain what I meant, which meant I had to admit something that I didn't even realize I felt so deeply.

1. That no matter what I seem to do or try to change, there is a chaos and a drama that follows me. Even when I think I have curtailed my wild ways, even when I keep to myself, or even when I focus on my work and my efforts, I somehow end up hurting someone. I am always going to be who I am, and I will be this way until I die.

2. That I am an extremely lonely human being.

Now the first one pertains to the fact that I am constantly in motion. I am always wanting to become rather than being. Being equals contentment and I suffer in contentment. Not always, but the seek and the hunt has fueled me since I can recall. Always achieving and transforming...convincing myself I was learning more by doing this. But it hit me. All this has ever done for me is cause pain. Seeking is a lonely venture. You are only looking out for yourself. I don't always stop to enjoy what is happening around me, because I feel the effects of change so deeply. When I start to feel this, I move. But I decided this year I wouldn't move so quickly. I would wait. I would go slowly. I would hold back from unleashing my spirit. And though I know I am growing up and accepting truths I have already learned, this one hit me like a ton of bricks. I am always going to be the person I am. Even if I learn more or get stronger, I am never going to wake up and be someone else. And for some reason, this realization broke me. Because with this, I accepted, there will always be some degree of drama that follows a spirit like mine simply because of how much I live. And I asked for this. I asked for the grief and the pain and the weight of the world. I asked to feel it all. But something about this night shook me. For the first time in my life I admitted that I don't want the drama anymore. I don't want the weight on my shoulders. I don't want to be the scape goat for other people's insecurities and pain anymore. It is easy to peg your feelings on me because I will usually embrace them. I will be so open and understanding that you will feel yourself able to either blame, resent, or puzzle me into some of your pain. Of course, I mean this in situations that regard me. No, I do not think so highly of myself that people are just throwing me into the mixes of their lives as a pain reliever. But in situations where I am involved, I usually accept that I am the one who probably fucked up. Deep within my complexities, I am usually the one who probably ignited a fire that burned someone else. 

But I am done. I finally decided to start using my voice. To not give into pleasing the people around me simply as a means of being liked and accepted. I have never been good at knowing when someone doesn't like me, because I feel it so deeply. I can't escape it. Which is a concept I get strange looks for. When you are a highly sensitive person, you don't experience life the same way as most people describe it. I see so many layers of one moment, that I end up asking questions that most people can't even conceive most the time. It is isolating. It is a blessing and a curse to be so aware. I didn't ask to be this way. It's what most people don't understand. I didn't ask to be the way I am. And I didn't realize for a long time how much I wanted to punish myself for being the way I am. Again, when I say the way I am, I don't mean to evoke this image that I am some moving pile of chaos all the time, I just mean to say that I am aware of my flaws and I don't hide them from people because if I am not living openly, I don't feel right. But something about that has changed.

In me admitting how lonely it is to be this kind of person, I happened to be greeted by a friend in my home that surprised me. This is someone I have been seemingly close to for awhile and I kept having this odd feeling that we were connected in some way. I figured out why after he saw me breaking down the other night and heard my words and was able to reply to me with the same kind of deep internal language that I find myself using. He too was a highly sensitive person. Someone who was able to express the unexplainable. Someone who understood the complexitits of the emotions I was explaining. He understood the isolation and the pain that comes from having a gift. From having responsibility. He understood what I meant when I said I was done not sticking up for myself because not many others understand. I am done defending who I am. Now that I know who that is a little more clearly, I have to live with it. And defend the parts worth defending. Which meant I knew I had to do something I have been avoiding for a long time.

I had to face myself again. I had to face myself in a way that hurts. In a way that accepts the present reality. Things are not perfect. Maybe I am wrong, but by wanting more out of life and by pushing myself to get it, I continue to have an isolating experience. Sure my friends are near by and supportive, and yes my family is on constant call, but I am having to face my potential all on my own. And it terrifies me. It cripples me in fact. For the past few days, I have not been able to accomplish even small tasks because the daunting weight of the potential I am leaning into has appeared in full form. Many of the projects and creative work I am putting into the world right now is isolating me from my personal life in many ways. Much of what I want in my personal life, I don't have much space for because of the work. It is a vicious cycle. 

Now I didn't reveal all of this as some sob story, in the efforts of making anyone believe I am going through a hard time. That isn't the case. It's merely a reminder to myself that I am changing. I am giving less to those who don't deserve it. I am holding back from my usual fast speed. I am learning to be patient and humble in being exactly where I am. Sure, I am still lonely. I think I always will be. And that is just the reality of having a mind like mine. There is no way to constantly share it with others. And I shouldn't have to. But knowing I will be alone with this independence for the rest of my life is daunting. I possess a strength that marginalizes me from ever just being. It isn't always a bad thing. The strength had gotten me to this place. People think of me a being this strong pillar of independence, that I don't need the TLC that maybe a more reserved person may subtly require.

But I am saying it now. I need it too. People don't know how I feel inside most of the time. They don't know that I crave the love and the nurturing I constantly try to give out. I am not saying that I don't have this. I am still blessed beyond relief to have a family and friends around the world who would walk through fire with me, but I am accepting something. Everyone is at some point unhappy. I believe there is stigma and an embarrassment to admitting when we are unhappy.

I am happy. Deep down. I am happy knowing how much is being put into the world.I am happy knowing the people I know. I am happy that this pain is coming back because it fuels my ability to live. It fuels my spirit. The pain informs me. But I don't always the pain to be the source. We are in the early thick of the year. We are in the cycle. It is now more than ever than my adult lessons are kicking in. My growing pains are real. I will always be keenly aware of the changes. I will always be the first to punish myself because deep down there are so many parts of myself I don't like.

I am admitting now, I am a strong and independent person. But I am also a hot mess.

I want to wrap this one up on a high note. I am sitting in bed with my friend who is living with me and she has reminded me of somethings I needed to hear. I am reminded that with greatness comes a responsibility. The pressure that comes from creating and maintaining ideas is heavy. But I am not alone in lifting the load. I am still new to this game. I am harder on myself. I put so much meaning on everything that my depth is just consuming. I have learned that life is just going to happen. NOW. NOW. NOW. you can only enjoy NOW. I want to turn off my depth for awhile. I want to see what life is like when the fire is tamed. When the faucet is turned off. To be the artist, I have to embrace the pain. To be a person, I want to turn it off. Where is the balance? Stay tuned.

My point is this: I am admitting, I am happy. I am lonely. I am working harder than ever. I am in transition. I have changed. I am learning patience as the world catches up with that. I am spinning many plates right now. Some have crashed to the ground. Some are slowly spinning and maintaining their momentum. Some are spinning faster than I can keep up. But I can find solace in this. I can solace in the flames. There is balance embedded in this existential realization that I am exactly where I am but that things are constantly changing. You can tell when I am in the thick of life when my writing wanes, but trust that good things are coming. I am on fire.

The Reeping

Yesterday was one of those days where everything works out.

I woke up and felt the pangs of my nerves growing in my stomach as I thought about what was before me. The first day of casting for Crude. His birthday. It's a day.

But we did it. I was able to be on the other side of the table. It enlightened me. I was able to understand the experience we go through as actors. I had a power I had never felt before. I was creating something and sharing it with other people. We all had a power. An influence. A fate in our hands. It's a bittersweet position. To have that power. You must maintain objectivity but use your subjective instincts to discern the best possible choice. Needless to say, the whole experience was one I will remember. I could feel Him in the room with us. I could feel the pangs in my gut when someone was right for a role. I could feel the words beginning to form in my mouth, prepping me to have to explain why some reads didn't work. I am one step closer in this journey to giving this baby a life. I am pleased. Very pleased. But I am aware of myself. I am aware of my position, and I will have to report more on the journey of having this power. We all know with great power comes great responsibility. So far, I've given myself over to this and I understand that quote more so now than I ever have.

Which leads me to the birthday.

A bundle of sunflowers, two bottles of champagne, and two baby cakes later, the OG crew found themselves on the roof. Tucked away in the corner of the Grove roof parking lot, we watched the sun set on the lustrous hills of houses and Hollywood sign holiness. We all crammed into my jeep with the roof off and sang a timely version of happy birthday. We managed to keep the flickering candles lit in the wind and passed the first bottle of bubbly as some music appropriated the scene. We all had our moments of silence. Then we just sat together. We just sat and felt what the day meant to all of us. It is a difficult position yet again. The responsibility you feel that comes with a power.

It was in my power to honor a tradition I shared with him. That was to be on that roof. To create a moment I would want to share with him and always have. I am blessed to be able to have shared that with my dearest friends. The people that I am bonded to. But it is a difficult experience to honor someone who isn't around anymore, and not make it about yourself. In some ways I fear the moment on the roof at some point felt forced. I trust it didn't because everything worked in harmony yesterday. 

But I always hold onto the notion that by creating these moments and sharing them with other people that it may not mean to them what it does for me. Because it isn't their tradition. It is now. We share it. But it's origin lies in my story. Sometimes it can be scary exposing that. I don't question a single moment of it. I am not going to dwell on that. We all chose to be on that roof and we all chose to share that moment. And as we touched sunflower heads and I naturally wished mine off the side of the roof, I felt it be the perfect ending to a seemingly perfect day. But it got better. After the roof, we agreed the best thing to do was to gorge ourselves on authentic mexican grub and come back to the bungalo, aka my house and watch a movie. The movie was The Lion King! A Disney classic that pretty much taught me everything. It was such a refreshing reminder to watch something nostalgic. Something that excited us all. Something that felt right on this day. We agreed our next step was to of course continue the tradition with Disney Classic night, but everything about our efforts and desires just met up.

It was a day of synchronicities.

It was divine.

My point is this: Sometimes, when you really want to  things to run smoothly, they do. It's all about being as prepared as you can be and then surrendering. It's one of those things that your superiors advise, but you can't apply until you are experiencing it. I showed up, I gave it my all and I hoped for the best. And the best is what I got. The reeping always calls for a split of selves, but when you fight for what you want, sometimes you pull a Katniss, and change the game. Sometimes, you win.

Happy Birthday.

Today is quite the day.

Today is the day I cast the first episode of a series that has taken up a year of my life. Today is the day I put it on the line and trust where it takes me. Today is a day I am proving to myself who I am and who I want to be. And Today is also His birthday.

It's right that today is the day we cast the project that he inspired. It was a coincidence, that I didn't remember it was his birthday the day I decided to hold auditions. My person reminded me of this and I instantly teared up. Because it is nothing except right

So I dedicate this new venture, this passion project, this baby of mine to Him. Because without him, it wouldn't exist as is. Without him, the we that I speak up wouldn't exist as is. And without him, I wouldn't exist as is. He provided the purpose, we are merely the conduits.

So Happy Birthday my dear friend. You are missed among many and remembered often. You appear in my head and my heart at least once a day, and I know that is your way of sticking around. I know that is your way of letting me know you are always with me, even when I feel the most alone. I know you are blessing everything we do, because you wanted us all to succeed almost more than yourself. I know you are in the place that houses the greats because you were meant to be one. I know you are celebrating with a guest list far beyond anything we could plan down here. And I know you would be proud of me and you'd be sitting there in the room guiding me through this experience. Through every experience. But for now, I will trust that you're there. 

I will trust, as you did on my birthday, that you know that this is my gift. All of it. It's all my gift to you. Like we did on my birthday, I will be at our spot tonight waiting for the sunset with the best treats and the people you love. This day is for you man.

I hope we see you there. I love you forever and always.

- Your peanut butter.