What makes us keep going, keep showing up for the everyday challenges and fighting for the life we want? 💆🏻♂️🌀🧖🏻♂️🤔
This is where I come from.
Vermont. The Country.
Of simple means. A roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.
But not much else.
A wood-burning stove.
An annual trip to the beach.
Friends who saved me but never knew it.
Terror and Dysfunction [not pictured].
Trauma and loss.
This is not your bedtime story.
Bloated faces, soaked in toxicity.
Is that you, Mom?
Yes, yes it was.
Until she Wasn’t.
The day you left us.
The day I changed.
17 years later.
And it feels like yesterday.
The light in me sees the light in you.
And that dark glimmer you try so hard to hide? Ya, I see that, too. And that’s where I feel most connected to you.
Because I know how easy it is to check out; to think life is too hard and just throw your hands in the air.
Succumb to the Easy Way.
The heavy weight of your own baggage that threatens to take you in like quicksand.
Feeling like you’ll never figure “it” out.
Being stuck in the past and wanting so badly to know how to break free.
That Despair? Confusion? Shame? Feel that, and know — without a doubt — that we get to come out of that, stronger and wiser than ever, if we chose.
Because that’s the thing – it’s always been Our Choice.
Sometimes people are gonna disappoint us. That’s normal. And sometimes we’ll be a disappointment.
Worst of all, sometimes we will disappoint ourselves.
Today, I urge you to dig deep into the infinite source of self-forgiveness and take as much time as you need — cry, nap, eat, connect, hibernate, practice Self Care like your life depends on it — and then move forward.
‘Cause you always have and you always will. One day at a time.
And if it’s any token, as an equally lost soul once told me: I might not be able to help you get out, but I can sure as hell drag myself right alongside you.
“Most 30-and-a-half year-olds aren’t worried about dying,” I thought to myself at 11:48pm one night, which is officially 48 minutes past my predetermined 11pm cut-off time to not think about heavy shit.
Late-night in my apartment is the only time I feel grounded – it’s [generally] quiet, and I’m usually sipping some insufferable health-conscious hipster beverage, like hot water with sliced ginger and squeezed lemon (on an adventurous day I’ll throw a blueberry tea packet in there). An array of thoughts are zipping through my mind, ranging, of course, from my potential demise to how I can condense my personal and work “Shit to do” list in my IPhone Notes down to less than 10 items (spoiler: never happens **insert eye-roll emoji here**).
As a self-reported experiencer of some heavy shit throughout my lifetime, it’s not unheard of for death to be on my mind. Both of my parents met their untimely death through their chosen poisons: my Mom at 45 and my Dad at 60. My Mom was the worst kind of alcoholic I’ve ever known — and I’ve met a ton of alcoholics in my day — because she was the type to have a handle of Popov next to our living room couch, where she slept the last months of her life, and didn’t go more than a few hours those last few years without taking a long, unflinching swig to stave off the DTs. My Dad was a heavy drinker too — more of a binge drinker — and someone who showed me through example what a 2-week-long “bender” really looked like. He also smoked almost 2 packs of ciggy-butts a day, and even though his drinking was more controlled than my Mom’s all-out assault on her main organs, his death certificate — which I have in my apartment to this very day — still says the word “alcohol” as a primary cause of death.
As I witnessed my life-givers die, it increasingly made me contemplate life, how to derive the most out of each day and my own potential, and shone a huge spotlight on the areas of my life that weren’t 100%. Oh ya, and also made me casually think about the myriad of ways I could die at any given moment. So, I have a few musings that maybe you can relate to…
Give up on your dream…
Ok, I just wanted you to read that for shock value – sorry, you def don’t have to give up on your dream, you just have to give your dream up. Sounds like the same thing, right? Well, since you’re reading my blog, take me as an example:
I moved to New York to be a model when I was 23 and started my journey to become one at 16, so half of my life has been devoted to this gig. I’d do anything (back then) to gain the acceptance of a modeling agency or client. I always thought my body was wrong, wrong, WRONG; I wasn’t striking enough, my skin was bad, I was flabby, skinny-fat, etc., so much so that I abused my body, mind, and spirit to attain whatever unnatural next step closer to seeming perfection I could grasp (which never worked the way I wanted it to, B-T-dubs).
Flash forward to me now: 30 years-old, just shot a 4-page spread in GQ magazine (June issue, ya’ll) and more confident than ever before. I didn’t give up on my dream, I simply gave it up to the Universe, God, The Greater Plan, or whatever the hell is out there. I still am a model; I still go to castings, go to bookings, have a fitness plan, eat right(ish), etc, but it’s not the only gig in town anymore (and never really was as I’ve been a realtor in Brooklyn for 6 years). Bottom line is this: Imma be OK whether this thing works out or not, and I’m not going to stop trying, I’m just going to give up my attachment to a specific outcome.
Be wary of anyone who acts like they know all the answers, tries to fix you, or tells you how to live your life…
So, avoid me… JK, I share from a gentle place of personal experience, only hoping my pain and suffering (such a martyr, I know) can lead to a breakthrough for another soul. I’ve had a lot of people try to tell me the best way to live my life, what I should and shouldn’t do, and sometimes they were right. In my experience, however, sometimes when people talk about their problems, they just need to be heard and not fixed. Trust me, I know: I tried to fix everyone around me, which is insane because that means my crazy ass thought I knew all the right answers, and I’m legit insane, so that’s a definite woof-dot-com moment, whatever that means. Sometimes we have to make our own mistakes, and those who truly love us will be there when we fall (unless, of course, we’ve done something to really piss ’em off in said mistakes…). Basically, what I’m saying is: avoid crazy, toxic, succubus, energy-vampire-type people, who think they know better, and want to give you a “free lesson,” cause nothing is ever truly free.
Forgive yourself first, then forgive everyone else…
I’m fucking pissed at my dead parents and I’m not gonna try to hide it anymore. I know they were sick and all, but it’s like, what the hell – way to totally kill yourselves with alcohol and leave me and my brother here to fend for ourselves. Thanks for making me resent every one of my friends who get even the tiniest bit of help from their parents. Basically, the underlying thought is: WHY ME?!
Who does that negative thought pattern hurt, tho? ME. And my relationships. So, as easy as it is to have a heart full of resentment, that’s not gonna lead me to live my best life. The truth is I want to have people in my life; I want to connect with people, and for the longest time I was so blinded by my own anger and resentment — I stuffed it down so far and tried to hide it, like I was OK — that it only gave me more anxiety and depression and made me sicker. I can’t harm myself that way today, tho.
So, when I get in that funk, I get my gym shorts, go to yoga or a workout class, take a walk, take a damn nap, and hit the restart button. And when I feel that anger and resentment and need an outlet, I have trusted people in my support network to safely vent those feelings to.
Remember you could be dead in an hour…
Are you sure you aren’t going to get hit by a bus in the next hour? Maybe your subway car will get shot up, or North Korea will nuke NYC… I know it’s super taboo and fucked up to talk about, and this might be my PTSD talking from having two dead parents, or the fact that the last 3 weeks I’ve ended each night sipping tea and watching reruns of I Survived, but the reality is we live in an uncontrollable world where terrible shit just happens.
Anything could happen. Is your rage more important than a friendship? Is being right more important than letting someone know you care? Is a job and money worth shattering your mental sanity day-in-and-day-out until you hit the proverbial wall and go live in an agro-cult in Northern California?! Ok, that’s just me (again with the farm cult talk…I’m serious about those leads tho – legit LEMME KNOW dot com).
Is your dream worth putting on hold any longer? Is security and that old story you tell yourself worth playing it safe for, wondering, “what if?” What if I risked it all to be happy/more fulfilled/more in love/ freer?
So, what I want you to get from this is how easy it would be for me — or someone with a different bouquet of shitty life experiences — to end up angry and bitter and playing it safe and small and alone.
It would be so easy.
But we all only get one life (for now – we’ll see what really happens when we die… I’m hoping I get back to that gelatinous cloud of all-knowing light and suddenly remember that this life was all just a blink of an eye in the cosmic, timeless and infinite Universe, then get shot back out to experience another lifetime, completely forgetting this one and starting a fresh experience in this sometimes-painful, beautiful, magical, harrowing, cruel, unfair, lovely, indescribable [but we’ll try] experience this life is, right here, right now, each sequential minute, until we all meet the great unknown).
I hope you find your freedom, happiness, confidence, love, or whatever it is you’re seeking. And when you do, tell us where it was hiding. We’re dying to find out.
Pieces of my heart forever lost
Gone the day you left
Not a sun rises without you journeying through my mind
For I know I am forever in your company
No moon falls behind the morning horizon
Without the assurance of your pride
Should you see how far your sons have come
Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned through your absence
I wish I didn’t have to learn so many so fast
I stopped living my life from the viewpoint of a victim
No longer living off the fumes of it
But it still hurts
And I’m still mad, still sad, only now allowing the anger to emerge
And when it comes I feel it
I don’t hide anymore, I welcome it
And I feel the breeze
And know you’re there
And I feel carried away with the promise of a better life
I look back, but don’t stare
I avoid the mistakes you made
And may I forever be conscious of the blood running through my veins
And not allow your wavering missteps to discolor my world view
Or destroy me
Let me be open, let me be loving, let me be confident and bold
Let me take the chances you never took
And may I be brave enough to take the chances you did take
And may my dreams ever unfold and come true
May I create a happy life
And one day at a time carry on safely with compassion in my heart
Thank you for bringing me into this world
A gardener and a carpenter
New England-bred wild children of the 60s and 70s
And may I always remember that I came through your love
I came from love
I am love
I’m strong, I’m brave, I’m resourceful
I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m beyond
I hope you made it to heaven
I hope heaven is real
And forever by an invisible string
May we be connected
Until we meet again
RIP Dad (7/21/1956 — 7/30/2016); Mom (12/29/1955 — 10/03/2001)