Browsing Tag

love

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when you let in love

For so long…

You’ve kept your heart guarded, you promised yourself that you were going to work on you. You were going to work on being stronger because that’s what your kids needed.

You have stayed away from letting other people “in”, even friends because at the end of the day you can really only count on yourself – and even then you often let yourself down.

You did most things alone for long enough that the ache is now dull enough to ignore.

You told yourself that it’s easier because exposing yourself to possible hurt and harm again isn’t worth it. Being loved, that is, is too dangerous.

You became used to sleeping alone; though you hate it. It’s something you’ve trained yourself to become numb to. Waking up alone, going to sleep alone. Waking up in the middle of the night and having to go back to sleep alone.

So when it crept in…

You were not expecting it.

You didn’t notice.

It wasn’t the first time these questions were whispered; do you want to keep being numb? Do you want to keep going without?

the answer this time though, surprisingly – No.

Love is not designed for the cynical.

Let it happen.

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Masakatsu Agatsu

My second tattoo. It is the one I agonized over the longest, spent the most time researching because I wanted to get it right. The one I look at every day – not on my body but on my wall, and one I’ve maybe forgotten I have on my body, and maybe why I forgot I got placed ON my body.

I commissioned a Japanese calligrapher to do a custom artistic (less traditional) version for me that I could then also have transferred to tattoo paper and then inked on my body. I found an artist that I liked and set up the appointment. I was 28, maybe 29 at the time? I remember the night, the smell of the tattoo shop, and that I passed out. I remember being proud of myself and I remember loving it so much that I looked at the tattoo every night for almost a year after that. Perhaps I should get back into that practice. Loving to look at it.

We’ll break down the phrase. Together, it simply means, A true is a victory over one’s self

Masakatsu is a victory of a true origination; that is, the law of universal creative evolution which transcends the boundaries of prejudice and discrimination and abandons the consciousness of the ego. Meaning you’ve been able to forgo the idea which is to win in a physical sense, it’s not an earthly victory, but a spiritual one. You don’t best in a battle of the body. Arm wrestling, boxing, etc.

Agatsu means to have victory over one’s self.  An understanding of Masakatsu as a preface and foundation is necessary for explaining Agatsu. The bandit in the mountain is easy to defeat, but the bandit within your own heart is difficult to conquer, it is said.  For the person who looks at their true self within themselves, their most fearful opponent is no one other than themselves.

Stay with me, I know that was a lot of overly ethereal and pretentious sounding froofroo garbage… BUT as a practice, the phrase comes from the idea of defeating your own inner demons you have to get a little froofroo.

When I stop to think how long I’ve been fighting the demons I’m currently fighting, it’s been a while. Which makes me a little proud that I’ve continued to fight, but a little pissed that I still feel as fucked up as I do. However, as I think about growth, I realize that it’s not so much about not feeling fucked up as it is about just continuing to fight.

I’m never going to not feel fucked up. There’s no amount of therapy that’s going to reverse the things that have happened to me in life. There’s no Mister Clean Eraser for life’s really awful experiences. All we have is our determination to not let it consume us.

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Lean into love

While we’re on the subject of feelings (I mean, when aren’t we?) I want to dive into my love for my wide variety of loving friends. They are scattered around the globe, and I feel like the ones I collect, seem to stay delicately tucked into pockets of my life and poke their heads out when I need them most. They are quite possibly the most treasured peices of my heart.

Never has there ever been a deeper love in this universe than the love I have for my children. Don’t get me wrong.

HOWEVER.

I am fortunate enough to have made friends with people with whom I have formed an incredible bond, on a bizarre plane of reality in various times of my life. When I really take a step back and marvel at the complexity of the blanket of support and love that these various people have given me over the years it nearly takes my breath away.

These people choose you. They choose to love you. They look past your bullshit excuses, they acknowledge and dismiss your mistakes, they choose to ignore your garbage attitude and your isolation tactics and continue to check on you and include you in conversations and send you random postcards in the mail and text messages at 4 am even though you may not see each other as often as you’d like. You may plan to go out, and have to reschedule a dozen times… because life, but they don’t give up. It may be years between calls or visits, but it’s special.

For that, for every second that’s dedicated to me, I am eternally grateful. I cannot express how edifying it is to feel like garbage and to STILL have people gather around you to say, “You are awesome and you are loved.”

If you are reading this, you are likely one of those people. So, thank you.

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When what you need hurts others

Along the journey of life, there is bound to be a time in your life which your path will diverge from one that you may have been sharing with someone. Perhaps that path had been well worn, traveled and as you look back over your shoulder you see many happy memories. However, glancing ahead, your paths begin to part and the footsteps now find their own beat instead of landing to the same time.

It’s sad, and can sometimes feel like you are breaking, feel like you are growing (because you are) can feel guilt and can feel a sense of loss. Sometimes you don’t notice and it’s a slow process. Sometimes you notice it all at one and all your thoughts obsess that path would keep going in that direction together seem to be the only thing you can think about.

What do you do friends? What do you do when you see your path going in a direction that might hurt someone else? Do you let them go? Do you try to bring them along? Carry them? Follow on their path because you can’t bear to be without them? Perhaps your identity is so melded with theirs you can’t imagine yourself without them.

Maybe you see that they NEED to be on their own path, that your path is not healthy for them anymore? How do you help them to see they need to stay on their own path? How can you possibly know what someone else needs?

We can’t. We can only know what we need – we can tell people what need, but what we say and what they hear will inevitably be different.

Honestly, we don’t know what we need at times either. What grows in the space where we let there be space and listen when we ask ourselves what we need can be pretty terrifying. We’re so busy filling our lives with wants, we’re unwilling to wait.
Unwilling to make a mess.
Unwilling to do the work.
Unwilling to open the wound.
Unwilling to look to see why it hurts.
Unwilling to lay in the mud.
Unwilling to listen.

I feel like I’ve forgotten to listen to myself.

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Loving yourself first.

If there’s something that’s become increasingly more obvious to me as I’ve become older and more mature is that to deal with life’s challenges and be a better more whole person is that we have to heal ourselves and learn to love ourselves first, before we can be loved and be of true use to the world.

Not to say we can’t be loved and be useful to others without it – but I’ve come to a certain understanding slowly over the last few years.

I really don’t like myself.
I don’t think I deserve love. I don’t think I deserve happiness.

I do an awful lot to purposefully sabotage great things that are placed in front of me. Yes, purposefully. Why? That’s what therapy is for.

I am pretty sure it has something to do with deep-seated low self-esteem brought on by years of tormenting by bullies in grade school, sexual assault in my college years, and a challenging upbringing where I was not ever really held accountable for my actions.

When I begin to find myself comfortable or challenged I pick at the wound, like a scab. I do things unconsciously, railroading relationships and engaging in behaviors that cause my life to sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly careen off the tracks.

You would think by this point in my life I would have it in me to figure out how to stop it. Acknowledging and trying to do something about it is where I am right now, hoping that I can find a way to make the crazy train stop before it hits the next station, and heal enough that someday I’ll be able to really feel worthy.