4 Months, a New Journey Begins.

Today marks 4 full months since my dad died.

Since he killed himself. And left us behind.

I’ve spent the past 4 months floating through a range of challenging emotions and although it was evident yesterday I am not done grieving the loss of someone I love, I’m ready to share my story. Our story.

I’m back in L.A. this week, for the first time in 4 months.

I keep telling people that I don’t feel like it’s been that long. In my head, it feels like I was only gone for a week… so when I saw that my neighbor’s puppy was a grown-ass dog now I cried.

This past month has been so strange because I decided to start living again. I’ve been working with a therapist that encouraged me to start working out again and reaching out to old friends. But it’s strange to live with death. So tears of grief still roll down my cheeks, while I walk down the sidewalk even though I’m feeling more alive than I did before.

This experience has stripped me down. Completely. It has uprooted everything.
I ended my relationship.
I quit my job.
I put down my life in California to pick up responsibilities as the Executrix of my dad’s estate + to run his restaurant in Texas. A business I’m truly not interested in and know nothing about. #awesome

This week I came back to L.A. to pack up my car and drive it back to Texas. God only knows how long I’ll be there. The few days after my plane landed in LA I felt so angry at my dad. I’m so mad at him for making me leave everything behind. And so grateful at the same time because I’ve learned more about BEING instead of DOING. I’ve learned about the importance of legacy, and community, and grieving. I can feel the shift inside me, the ripple effect of this tragedy is redirecting me to a deeper purpose and deeper growth. And I have chosen to go with the flow.

In short, this time has been confusing and challenging and frustrating and fucking weird. It has been beautiful, and painful, and life-changing. It has been big, and made me feel small, completely worthless, and so held and loved and supported.

I’m excited to come to the page now to share the writing that the journey so far has inspired. I’m excited to evolve, for the change in direction, and for the hope that I may honor my dad’s life by growing up and passing his love and creativity forward.

The Wave is Here.

I drew this by accident.

The wave has been my symbol for 2019.

Actually, it started out as the phrase “Stepping into the Tide” and slowly revealed itself in my life as a wave. I saw it everywhere… on murals, at restaurants, in gifts + on jewelry. I even DREW IT BY ACCIDENT a few days ago (image above).

The wave is a symbol of change, of force, and sometimes, even of fear.

When I was a kid, we used to go to the beach in the summers. I remember watching “huge” waves crash onto the shore and thinking that Mother Nature must be grumpy about something. I also distinctly remember being caught in a wave a time or two at the beach wondering if I was being punished for throwing sand too hard as I was tossed and tumbled by crashing waves. Those “near-death” experiences instilled a deep god-fearing type of respect for the ocean. I decided never to throw handfuls of sand into the water again. I didn’t want to make her angry!

Before I experienced being tossed by waves at the beach, I never knew that it was even possible for mother nature to erupt upward with force strong enough to knock me over. So the idea of a similar wave coming over my life gives me a little bit (a lot a bit) of anxiety. But it’s there to remind me to LET GO of the control and trust that the forceful currents the Universe has us cradled in, is FOR us. Things that happen in our life is only for our soul’s mission on earth.

When I created my original Vision Board, I broke up my year into 4 quarters to help me schedule goals…. much like businesses do quarterly reports. The Vision Packet I used to outline my goals and dreams for 2019 is available in the shop for free.

In April, I wrote a blog post that I never published about feeling restless. I felt like I wanted to shed. It felt like nothing I had outlined on my vision board fit me anymore. (I went ahead and published it so you can read here.)

What I didn’t realize, was that I was experiencing part 2 of 4 of the wave.

Q1 was “Footing”. Stepping into the water, and getting acclimated to the temperature. This was about Acceptance and release. At the beginning of the year, I practiced being open and letting go of my desire to control everything.

Q2 was “Ripple” which felt more like a pull. The moment water starts to move, react to you being in the water and then pulls back. Something is coming. I started to feel like my life didn’t fit me anymore. I was beginning to get really unhappy. I was anticipating and hoping for change.

Q3 was “Rolling” – which is a really nice way to say that my soul would literally be rolling around in a metaphorical typhoon. Being tossed and turned by life events – this is the scariest part of the wave. the part where you’re not sure if you’ll make it back up to the surface again.

On June 6th, my dad committed suicide, and my grandma was admitted to the ICU where she laid heavily sedated for a few days. My year-long relationship ended, I moved back to Texas (where dreams go to die) to take on the responsibility of being the executor of my dad’s estate and to help my family take care of my grandma who has had a remarkable recovery but still needs assistance. Being under the stress of the intense change, displacement, and loss made me anxious. For the first time in my life, I truly believed I was unloved which sent me spiraling into a 3-hour long panic attack that almost landed me in Bayview Behavioral Hospital. Most people would refer to this as “the dark night of the soul” I think. When you hit rock bottom. Feeling lost and disoriented. The world absolutely caves in and displaces every sense of yourself there is no up or down. Only spinning and pain.

Q4 was “Flow”. After the big crash, there is stillness, a new breath of air. It’s emerging to the surface after everything and seeing a new landscape before you. I haven’t gotten to this part of the journey yet, but I know I’m getting there. Things are beginning to flow a little bit better, and I think I will be seeing a new horizon soon.

Credit: Underpants and Overbites (@underpantsandoverbites)

I Guess Healing Never Really Ends…

Originally Written April 5, 2019

This morning, I was sitting on my little green meditation pillow with my legs crossed, eyes closed, palms up, and tears rolling down my cheeks.

I’ve been meditating a lot recently. Every day in fact, for the past 3 weeks. Most days it’s really nice, other days, it’s 10min of utter chaos + mental to-do lists, but I consistently walk away from my little green pillow grateful for that time.

When I meditate without a guided recording, I do this:

1. Deep steady breaths to anchor myself to the present moment.
2. Listen to sounds, far away then closer.
3. Back to breathing. How does it feel in my body?
4. I visualize a light surrounding my body, first around my head and then all the way down. As the light moves, I pray that any negativity or tension be release, and I am mindful to relax each individual muscle.
5. Breath here a few times, in this totally relaxed state.
6. This body is now the perfect home to house high-frequency energy like gratitude and joy. I focus on what I want to embody + draw in for the day + feel it in that present moment.
7. That’s usually where I cry. I also used to love to imagine the universe/god being so pleased with me, I try to feel the love it feels for me in the form of a warm all-encompassing hug. Sometimes I move my hands to my chest + stomach. For some reason that position always makes me feel safe.
8. I’ve recently been trying to end every mediation by looking at myself in the mirror and saying affirmations. I wasn’t big on talking to myself in the mirror – it was awkward, but I did it once and had no idea just how badly I needed to hear to the words “I’m proud of you” come out of MY OWN mouth.

The past few days I’ve been slowly declining mentally, emotionally + energetically.

As I sat there on my little green pillow, I noticed for the first time a very stark shift in my mind and body. Where I went from my “low mindset” to the present moment. It’s so good to be here again, I thought to myself. The recording I was listening to mentioned something about neuroplasticity…

I share all of this because I’ve been struggling quite a bit over the past… I don’t even know how long. I hit lows and then I’m fine… I’m not sure if it’s depression or a mild form of a mood disorder, like Cyclothymia which is often diagnosed around 25 years old, or maybe it’s not a mental health condition at all and instead, it’s something spiritual.

The past few months (Since like Feb.) I’ve been feeling this need to shed. Like I don’t fit into the life that I’m living anymore. I don’t know what, but I know in my core something needs to change. I’ve been doing the job search thing, I’m trying to set boundaries for my days, but it’s all really hard. Yesterday I had a rude awakening and curled up on the couch crying. I realized that 2 weeks of trying to shake things up isn’t enough time. I had energy and was excited to be moving onto this grand, new chapter. I was hoping that it would feel more like starting a whole new book instead of just turning a page. Patience…

Birthday Update

So after I had that full melt-down the day before my birthday, I actually had a great birthday. My mentor cut my hair and did my make-up and she and my roommate and I just hung out and bonded for most of the day. Later they blindfolded me and took me to the beach… where my boyfriend threw me a little surprise birthday bonfire. THAT explained why some of the people I contacted “couldn’t make it”.

BUT as silly as my meltdown now seems, I think it was good for me to go through. I was able to let go of all of the expectations and the bullshit I was holding onto about birthdays. Through my tears, I was able to sort out what really matters to and change my perspective to embrace gratitude. I could have been upset the whole day until the bonfire… but I chose to embody the woman I wanted to become. I chose to start acting the way I wanted Year 24 to feel.

Not gonna lie though, I’m still a baby sometimes though. There are some parts of me that may never grow up. And that is okay 🙂

Birthday B.S.

My chest is on fire.
No one is going to show up.
I’m embarassed and ashamed.
I feel like the only person at the loser table in a high school cafeteria.

Birthdays have always been a little bit uncomfortable and weird for me but this year, I have more anxiety and stress than I ever have before.

When I was little, my mom threw a few really awesome parties for me and my friends to celebrate. When I turned 7, I distinctly remember forcing everyone to sit in a circle in the living room and watch me dance. I had a blast but was definitely offended when a few kids who just wanted to run around left my performance early.

In high school, birthdays weren’t a super huge deal, but my friend group had a tradition of going to dinner and splitting the bill for the birthday person’s meal. In college, we partied and decorated each other’s dorms rooms and partied some more.

Now I’m a full grown adult literally crying about my birthday.
I HATE planning, I’m afraid no one really cares about me enough to show up, and I think of fun ideas too late to make them happen.

And to be blunt, I’ve noticed that people in L.A. have a hard time showing up for each other. People are busy, yes, but I think it’s more a social anxiety thing.
or commitment issues.

Whatever it is, it’s a fear that is more important than friends.

It’s been a real struggle finding people that are consistent, and real and that show up.

Last year for my birthday, I went on a hike with my roommates because no one showed up, except for the guy that had a crush on me who brought me flowers (He’s my boyfriend now). I once had a house warming party that started at 7pm but people didn’t show up until 10pm. Same thing happened to my friend a few weeks ago.

So I was going to lay low because I know it’s hard to gather people together. It truly takes a lot of work – especially 3 days beforehand.

So this year I thought about just using it for a self-reflection/Spa day or something. BUT then people said “You should do something fun!” “Don’t be alone!! Be with your friends!”

UGH the truth is that I DO want to be with people. I don’t need to be treated like a queen or anything but I want to feel loved by people that I love. (In a tangible way) So I came up with an idea to go sailing for sunset. I’d only need 5 people to join me.

I started extending invites.

And I started getting replies…
Most of them are out of town this weekend.
Some have work and can’t make the sailing time.
Some said they needed rest and weren’t interested in going out.

Only one said “YES!!” (My roommate)

I worked through a list of 15ish people and everyone said “Sounds fun but sorry I can’t!”

And that sucks.

I don’t care what your excuse is – all of them were valid and understandable – but it still hurts to be rejected.

It takes vulnerability and courage to extend an invitation, so it still hurts to hear an “I’m too tired” from people you care about and want to celebrate with.

On top of that, the sailing cruise got booked. I was scrambling to find a new time – messaging the captain to find out another option but that stressed me out.
What’s the point if no one can join me anyway?

So I give up.

Instead I’m frustrated, banging my fingers on a damn keyboard and feeling all the feelings that I WANTED TO AVOID by just taking the day for myself.

….Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on it. Celebrate on another day, what’s the big deal? I definitely want to do dinner and maybe a small house party when people are back in town next week, but I believe that there should be something to celebrate the day of. Something small, filled with joy.

Some people say they don’t care about birthdays and I kind of wish I could be like them…But I think “not caring” just a defense mechanism.

I think someone who doesn’t care about birthdays is someone who used to care a lot about birthdays but doesn’t anymore because they got nail files & hand sanitizer for their sweet sixteen (true story).

And I admit my aversion to birthday celebrations has hindered me for showing up for others. And that’s shitty. And if I haven’t shown up for you because of my own fears, I’m sorry. I want to be a better friend.

I want to show up for people because that, to me, means the most.

So on Friday, April 5th, don’t just tell me “happy birthday” – show up for someone you care about. Bring someone lunch, buy someone flowers, give the people you love a hug. Congratulate people on their wins, sit with people in their pain, stop rescheduling the coffee date and just commit.

On April 5th, I want you to SHOW THE FUCK UP.
That’s what I want for my birthday.