How I love to laugh

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”

~ Robert Frost

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I notice I’m laughing a lot, lately. Loud, belly laughter, that rumbles and ripples and bounces off the walls. Sometimes it’s about random shit, other times it’s about things that are ‘actually funny’.

I notice how much I love making other people laugh. I love, love, love, how humour ripples. I love how it’s contagious.

And I love how it makes me feel. That sense of pride and achievement about making someone chuckle is one of my favourite feelings. I feel warm inside and happy when it happens. And I love myself, when I do.

Just like I love myself when I make myself laugh, too. In fact, that’s one of my most favourite feelings, and one that differs from all the rest, because the warmth that floods my chest is warmth just for myself.

Not warmth for anyone else, but warmth for myself. In those moments I burst out laughing at my actions or my thoughts, or consequences of something I’ve been doing (or when there’s been no apparent connection and it’s seemingly just random, whatever it is that happens, that triggers laughter) I feel such fondness and appreciation for myself.

I feel grateful that I’ve got myself, and I feel grateful that I’m known to myself…that I get to see me as well as just feel me.

That, along with the video below, is a good reason to laugh.

It’s okay not to be okay.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

I so loved this. It reminded me it’s okay to be human and say I can’t do it. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to tell the world you’re struggling. It’s okay to tell people, to tell the world, of your weakness.

It’s okay to not be okay.

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That last line reminds me of the song I literally had on repeat last week…my poor housemates. So loud, and in my ears  or in my speakers at every opportunity:

I have never been a fan of Jessie J, except for when she was on The Voice…in fact, I don’t think I’ve even ever heard her sing, except for snippets. But the other night, I was at a friends making sauerkraut (it’s lush!) and she played this to me. I almost cried then, and then on the walk home I cried properly…and then when I found it on youtube, I sobbed.

I love it the way a song does that. I love it when it hits something inside you, and makes it – you – burst open and let go of any worries about being seen. Or it lets you just notice those worries, rather than be all consumed.

I love it the way music is like a gift, that resonates with every moment – it’s just a case of finding the right one. Song, not moment.

In times of loneliness, music resonates so much more…picking the right song connects to my heart. I don’t feel so lonely anymore. In this case, I had someone telling me “it’s okay not to be okay”…I had Jessie J telling me to “be who you are”…that’s pretty rad. A superstar but also another human, who feels the same feelings and shares the same pain. She just puts hers into music, and I put mine into words.

I love that. And it never ceases to bring so much solace, song.

This song, for this last week, came at such a perfect time. It powered me through the beginning of getting published on a super cool online journal/magazine. I feel like Jessie was yelling into my ear and drowning out my critics. I’ve gone cold turkey and haven’t listened to her for a bit, but the couple of times I have, I’ve remembered the power and the spirit that I soaked up from this song.

It helped me feel less isolated on the beginning of another stage of my journey with writing and getting my voice out her. I feel like she helped me see that I can kick the shit out of the voices telling me I can’t do this, and she helped bring comfort to the worry and the fear and the doubt and the uncertainty…all through a song. I’ve been feeling so much vulnerability lately, and perhaps that makes sense because I’ve been putting my words out there, so bravely. But I feel like my heart is on my sleeve. I feel wounded by the slightest wrong look or slightest wrong touch. I just want cuddles, I don’t want any difficulty or confrontation. I just want peace.

I want to be nurtured and I want to be held. So I have been doing that for myself, and I think it’s been working. I’ve been on my period and I think that’s hit extra hard, sensitivity, tenderness and exhaustion wise, so I’ve been listening to my body. I’ve been keeping her close, and keeping her safe. I’ve been wrapping myself up warm and not going far away. I’ve been listening to the need to just love and keep gentle. I’ve been listening to the need to just be connected to the ones I want to.

I’ve been listening to the joy that’s been singing, when I’ve been doing all these things.

I’ve been listening, and saying it’s okay. I’ve been telling myself I’m proud of me. I’ve been telling myself I’m listening. I’ve been telling myself I deserve this, I deserve this life – I deserve comfort, safety, happiness, joy, nurturance, comfort, acceptance, peace, stillness, stability. I deserve it all. And I can have it all.

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I notice that voice is so here, so there, lately – the voice telling me “You can have this”, when I see something I long for or feel something I love for even more. Rather than jumping to the feeling and voice and belief that I can’t have it, or won’t…I tell myself I will. And immediately, my body fills with relief and a smile comes across my face. Because in my heart, I know it’s true.

I can have this. I can have stillness and peace and stability and calm and consistency. I can say goodbye to crazy chaos, and just have fun stuff instead.

I’ve also been noticing so much fear around this. So much fear. That I can’t live like this – I can’t live comfortably and calmly…that it’ll disappear in a second. That this is just pretend. That I don’t deserve it. That I can’t actually have it – that this life can’t actually be for me. That it’s a bit of a joke. That it’s tempting me and then it’ll be taken away because it’s not something that can sit, or be, underneath my name – stillness and stability, consistency and calm, love and connection, homeliness and safety.

But in my heart, again, beneath this shit that lies on the surface, is the untraumatised me…the me that knows I deserve this all, and can have this all, and will have this all – I just need to fake it til I make it, and let time help me do this too. This part of me notices that things have changed SO much since even a year ago, or two, or three.

When I look at, for example, my journey with self-destruct, I never thought it possible to live in a different way…it was possible for others, but I literally never ever could see how it would be for me – I knew it would be in my heart (she’s a trooper) but had no idea whether this would actually happen and how. I was so so lost. But now look at me. I am millions of miles from where I used to be, living a different life with myself to the one I knew.

So this can happen with the rest of life too – things can change and I can change, and I and things will change and are changing…even though I have no exact idea of what it’s going to look like, or how things are going to be, the fact I find myself where I am now, is proof that this change will keep on happening. I hope. I never thought I would be here, and as much of so much of me fucking hates it and wishes it was different, so much about where I’m at is healing. Me healing.

And that is what I’ve needed to do for like 24 years…and I’m doing it. At 26, I’m doing it now, and I was at 24, too. I’ve needed this since I was so young.

That is a gift I am giving myself, even though it’s fucking confusing and painful…it’s a gift that will pay off. And is already in its funny little (big) ways. I just hate it too.

Life is so fucking paradoxical, always. I love that. But part of me hates it… 😉

Go hit play on Jessie J and turn it up LOUD.

Or just go find another song that does the same for you! We ain’t all meant to be sung to by Jessie J.

Grief, noticing, and hope

I’ve been feeling the grief I mentioned in the last post I wrote, so deeply lately. And it feels very much to do with not telling my mum how I’m doing, what I’m doing, all that I’m achieving, all that I’m healing. It feels a grief so painful that I usually end up lost and unable to sit with it. I end up scared and feeling too vulnerable. I need someone there to guide me through it. To help me grieve.

I just want to reach out to someone, to a mum, and tell them how I’m doing. The funny thing is, I don’t actually want to do it with my mum. I want to do it with a mum. It feels like a pain in my chest that hurts every time I realise I don’t do this. It’s there because I want to do it with my mum, but I think the grief has come – and is something I am able to hold – because part of me is realising I’m not going to be. This distance is essential and I think the more I realise that, the more the grief can come. And the more I realise how much this distance is bringing me – the way it’s enabling me to shape my identity and ultimately, to heal – I think the grief can come for this reason too.

I feel lost and abandoned, and hurting and open.

I feel full of grief but I feel full of love. I feel lost but I feel like I’m continually coming home, to the person I was always meant to – and going to – be.

I do feel a despite ache for things to be different. With my mum and my dad. With my

Witting about it feels safe. Thinking about it feels safe, because now I don’t over-think. I drop into the feeling and where it is lying in my body. I allow the grief to have a voice, and move. I think this is why it feels safe. I don’t get flashbacks because I am with the feeling, with my body, rather than with my mind. My mind is where the graphics, the images, are stored. My body is where the gold lies. Where the memories are stored in the place they can release from.

The place that love belongs, and the place that love and compassion can be found.

This has broken open a door in my healing process, I’m sure of it. Just what I’ve noticed in the last month, is something to go on. And so I hope that continues. I’m pretty sure it will, because I remember my therapist once telling me that mindfulness – mindfully feeling feelings – is like riding a horse (or a bike, i can’t remember which). Once you get the hang of it, you wondered how you ever lived without it or how you ever couldn’t do it before.

Mindfulness as a practise – meditation – has defo come in waves and ebbs and flows. But the practise of being mindful is different. That’s just been growing and growing the last year or so. And this way of feeling feelings in my body has been the theme of therapy for the last two years, but something that I’ve found hard to coin for myself out of therapy.

But it’s coming. Defo coming. In fact, I think it’s actually come. It’s here. It’s happening. I’m doing it, and I’m succeeding with it.

That’s pretty rad.

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The thing about this grief that’s here, is that I feel able to share it with others. I feel able to feel it when I’m with others and not always say something about it. Or I just need to say ‘I feel sad’ or ‘I feel alone’ or ‘I’m feeling a lot grief at the moment’, and that is often enough. I really notice my communication has become a lot clearer and from the heart.

I don’t need as many words as I had to, to say what I need to say, or to feel connected and supported. That’s beautiful and so so healing due to how lonely I have been feeling lately. That loneliness can be soothed with just one heartfelt connection rather than a few connections in which I’ve tried and tried to speak from a place I can be heard, but never ending my feeling really heard and seen, and ending up feeling more pain and more loneliness and isolation.

The trick is I also notice who I pick to connect with, to talk to, to open my heart to. This has been coming for a while, and still is growing – my ability to notice and nourish myself with people that notice and nourish me. And picking the people to talk to about whatever topic – knowing my crew, knowing my resource, and sticking with the guidelines, the boundaries, of each friendship. That used to always piss the stubborn part of me off, because I want someone to be there for the whole of me, and so I would step over these boundaries and into the limitless love area…but would rarely feel met and would generally feel raw and open for hours afterwards. And lost, too.

I think it’s the art of noticing. That’s the puppy in healing, it seems. Noticing, not attaching. Noticing, not describing. Noticing, not telling. Noticing not rejecting. Noticing, not missing. And noticing it all – the bits that piss me off, the bits that make me rage inside that are part of me or feelings I’m feeling, the parts of me that I just fucking wish weren’t there sometimes. The parts of me that hold so much pain it’s seemingly uncontrollable.

The parts of me that pretend to not need me, but so do.

It’s noticing it all with an open heart and a compassionate warmth towards myself and the world around me.

Noticing. Noticing. Noticing.

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Kid, you’ll move mountains!

“Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

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On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”

Dr. Seuss

Midnight Chatter

I feel like something terrible is going to happen. Dread and convincing stories are running through me like full-speed water, flooding from a dam. Only the dam is a shutter in my head, opened by anxious chatter. And the dam is only gently pulled shut, or to a trickle, by love.

Love and gentleness to myself. But even then, it doesn’t always do anything. I feel lost in a storm and I can’t see my way out. I feel lost in a dizziness, a trip, of anxiety and worst-case scenarios, worry and fear.

I’m not really sure how to stop it.

It’s not until I spend time with people, that I really hear how loud the voices have been yelling. The stories, the dread, the anxiety, the worry. When I’m with someone, they almost become a mirror for what I’m feeling. They become the bouncing board, the story board, for what I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing. Maybe that’s why I find it difficult to be with people.

I think this is hormones. I think this is PMS. Last month my PMS involved the darkest most intense PMS yet…I reckon. And this month maybe, rather than a darkness, there’s a sparkiness…a motherfucking BRIGHT and LIVELY sparkiness. In other words, ANXIETY. It’s a bitch. Such a bitch.

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I find it hard to know what to act on, and what to leave behind. I find it hard to know what is trauma and anxiety that is just there, considering everything I have been going through, and when it is anxiety here because beneath the anxiety, is something I need to work on, sort out, do…

I’m not really sure. There is so much in flux at the moment, and so much to be worried about. But also, in a way, there isn’t. Like, I have the basics here by me – a roof, a fridge of food… but in these moments I find those things hard to take as anything to go on. But if you ask anyone, it really is the basics that it comes down to. The basics that count. I am beginning to very slowly see that. There just is a truckload of resistance when it comes to trusting that. And that’s fair enough.

Just like the resistance around me feeling safe, or feeling supported, or feeling held, or feeling comfortable, or feeling happy and held. Fuck that resistance, but again, it is there by the truckload.

But, saying that, there is a little part of me open to all of that, and a gentle, loving, compassionate voice that is telling me I deserve it, even when my body almost retches with angst at the thought, or sight, of those loving, bright, feelings.

Along with this compassionate and loving voice that’s getting stronger by the day, my heart feels open – wide open – at the moment. Wide open, or slammed shut…I feel like I need an inbetween. It’s beginning to be there, slowly and gently.

It’s time for bed.

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Rose tainted lens

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Lately I’ve noticed how much I resist being in the ‘now’ because my life doesn’t look like how I want it to. It doesn’t look ANYTHING like how I thought it would, dreamt it would, believed it would, hoped it would, or wanted it to like…so it just means I fucking hate a lot about the ‘present’, if I really let myself be in it…like, proper in it. Not just mindfulness within myself, my body, but mindfulness of everything around me. Not just the trees, the birds singing, the beautiful sun shining through the clouds…I mean really looking at where I am geographically, in front of me and on the map, and really breathing that in and really noticing how that makes me feel.

Heartbreak. Hatred. Longing. Hating. Wanting. Wishing. Hoping…they are normally the sensations and feelings I notice. When I’m being mindful with a little bit of me left outside of the ‘now’ and sitting in imagined reality, then I have a bit of peace. I have a bit of hope. I am not left in a pit of wondering how the FUCK I got here…wondering where the FUCK I am going. When I allow myself to daydream or to look at the present a little differently, a little with rose tainted glasses and a hopeful grin, I am okay with where I am. But when I look at it with what feels like ‘real eyes’, I almost cannot handle it. Hence hardly doing it very often.

This is not where I want to be. This is not who I thought I would be. This is not what I wanted to be. This is not what I was going to be. This is not what I was going to do.

Is this being twenty-something? Is this me still finding my feet with where I find myself in adulthood? Is this me ‘coming to terms with’ the person I am becoming? Is this me wondering where on earth I am going? I laughed when I wrote those last two questions. ‘Coming to terms with the person I’m becoming’…that feels sad, but quite funny, that I would write that!

I feel like imagination and rose tainted glasses, make things hopeful. I see things how I want to see them. But maybe this is okay? Because it keeps me happy. It keeps me from feeling the grief, the pain, that I feel when I really see myself for where I am now. The grief and pain of when I look at my life how it is now doesn’t overwhelm so intensely, when I have on my rose tainted glasses.

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Another thing I’ve noticed, with the refusing to allow or accept for where I’m at, is the resistance towards feeling supported by the world, life, the universe. “When I look back, I see only miracles”, is one of my favourite quotes (I have no idea who it’s by…) but when I hate how much my life has not felt like mine, and how much it’s felt like a dream, I cannot help but feel MEGA resistance to the fact that actually, when I look back, I have always been so, so, so looked after by life and where I have found myself. I have always, always, had what I need…in times I have had NO idea how it would come to me.

But this feeling of being in a dream and this feeling of life not really belonging to me, not being truly mine – the idea that I am not where I wanted or should or ever thought I would be, feels at the root of this resistance. And it kinda makes sense.

How am I supposed to be grateful, when where I find myself is not where I want to be? How am I supposed to feel looked after when the support is for a life I didn’t think I would lead? How am I supposed to allow myself to grieve for what was, when I don’t fucking like what is now. Sure there is a shit tonne of beauty, but there always is, wherever I am. Thing is, the rest of what is, is shit…it’s not where I want to be. But I can look at it through the rose tainted, hopeful, glasses. Or I can look at it through the ones that don’t fit me – the glasses that don’t agree with me.

Either way, I do want to feel more present with the present. I do want to be able to sit with the now, more. To sit with where I truly am – rose tainted lens’ or real, uncomfy ones – and be able to be with the feelings, the realisms…I think part of this is growing up, but I also think that part of this is recovering from the overdose. I remember my therapist saying that people have told her that the time following an attempt is like a ‘bad trip’. I’ve never had a bad trip, I don’t even really think I’ve ever had any kinda trip (except for ones involving rucksacks). But I defo feel like that’s how I feel – like my life is a trip, a dream, a surreal – so surreal – time that I keep expecting to wake up from.

And I know this isn’t a dream, and it hasn’t been a dream (at a lot of points I have definitely said it’s felt like a fucking nightmare) but I do feel as though I’m waking up, slowly. My eyes feel like they’re opening wider than they were before. They’re letting more of life in, and letting more of love out. And all the other shit too. I do feel like I’m waking from a dream, and where I’m finding myself is reality. And I’m getting a bit of a shock.

But I reckon this is probably a good thing. A really, really, healing thing. I just need to stop trying to drown out the feelings that I’m waking up to, too…

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Healing is…

Allowing yourself to feel all your feelings – somatically, emotionally. And allowing them to come in the roller-coaster-like way they often do. Allowing tears to fall, and then laughter to follow. Allowing grief to swamp and then joy or playfulness to lift. Allowing your critics a back-seat on your journey towards deep self love and self compassion. And allowing them to be there but know you haven’t done any wrong, because the critics are never gonna completely go anywhere…motherfuckers.

Healing is, allowing for it all.

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The power of touch

I just read this article on Elephant Journal about the healing power of touch in yoga, and it resonated so much. I noticed, for a while, my yoga teacher was the only person that I would let touch me…except for hugs with friends. But even those were done with a shut-down-ness going on inside. In yoga, I felt able to be open and be held and be nurtured…there was a slight resistance but never enough to make me shut down completely and pull away. And it felt more physical – like a physical, defence, reaction, but not one I needed anymore. And almost all of me, was able to know that.

Still a part of me feared it, but I think a large part of this fear was the fear of vulnerability, the fear of falling apart, the fear of her then stopping and leaving and moving to someone else’s mat…I think I knew I was safe. To be honest, even when I felt slightly defensive, I still couldn’t get enough of it! I never felt like she came over to my mat enough. I often found myself asking questions and asking her to demonstrate or help me with something, even though I kinda could freestyle and find my way…I just wanted her support and her nurturance. I may as well have it if it is there, I always thought, rather than battle on how I used to.

It felt beautiful to read this piece to realise that is what was happening – I was healing. I really miss yoga and I really miss those classes but because of my back, I haven’t been since the summer. Fuck. But also, what’s weird – and I think incredibly normal – is I kinda feel like my journey with that class is on a temporary break. I need something new. I need a new place to take my body and stretch and explore my soul, and reach my toes.

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Something I notice, on the subject of healing and touch, is how it is so important for me to regain trust with myself…to regain, and find, the trust for human touch through my own. I give myself cuddles. I explore my body. I hold my body. I stroke my arms, my legs. I offer myself gentleness and love, boundaries and strength. I offer myself the whole package. And I don’t hold back, and I listen to the ‘no’ that comes from inside sometimes. I sit with my inner girl and I tell her she is safe, as I hold myself tight.

As someone who has continued the abuse I received as a child, so strongly and so destructively in my adulthood, this feels so fucking healing. It feels like it just makes sense. In order to trust others, I need to be able to trust myself. In order to trust that people are safe, I need to know that I am going to protect myself and keep myself safe before I allow anyone else to touch me.

For ages I have felt such a massive resistance to body therapists. There have been a couple that I have worked with the last year and a half, who I have known before everything, too. They felt safe, but even with them, there was a deep sense of unsafety. I went from never hugging, never wanting anyone to touch me, as a kid and young adult, to a few years of a stint of total affection and hugging and loving it, to then shut down the last couple of years…but, to me, it kinda makes sense. This would happen as you’re healing, right? Wounds flare up and sit on your face until it’s time for them to soften, or until they simply just fade. That’s what I feel like has happened with the subject of touch. I long for it, I crave it, I desperately need it, but it also feels desperately unsafe. And so I honour that. Whereas before I would have powered on through, I listen to my body and my defences and what my little girl is saying, now. Before I didn’t know how…I didn’t know it was safe.

It feels like the utmost gift of self love, the action of holding myself. To love myself through physical contact, not just through actions or words, but through one of the most fundamental ways of showing affection – touchThese feel like beautiful, solid, and wholesome foundations on which to build a relationship based on trust, with others on again. And it’s happening…it’s definitely happening. Cuddles are coming back in fashion, slowly.

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Stuff

I notice lately how my desire to ‘work’ on things, on my ‘stuff’ has somewhat dwindled. A lot of the time I just can’t be arsed. I want a break. I want to integrate that life with a new life – one where I feel more present and part of the world. I think that’s happening, because when I do work on stuff – cartoons or journaling, or talking closely with a friend – I really love it and feel so grateful, it’s just the process of getting there and feels like it takes all my strength, yet there is a well within that I feel like I could access and throw all over the page or air or stream or river.

But maybe I just don’t want to right now, as much as I have been. This whole last year and a half, and a touch more, I’ve been sooo deep within and going so inside and its been incredible, but I now crave balance and comfort in the norm and the outside world. And it’s happening, slowly. I notice more things are coming my way, the desire to not be just sitting in my stuff, is fading. It’s also because I am struggling to find motivation, but it’s also because I think I do just need a break. And I think that feels quite healthy. It’s been a mega time of intensive looking, and I kinda feel like it’ll continue because I don’t feel ready to break it down just yet, but I feel like it might become a little less. I hope so. Provided the parts of me, and my feelings, don’t get forgotten.

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I feel an urge to support myself, during this new splurge of life and drive. I have a tendency to run on, regardless. And I do feel like I’ve been running from my feelings a bit – they just feel too intense. I’m scared of looking. I’m scared of going deep because I don’t feel resources to keep myself there. This desire to run, is out of fear but also enthusiasm. Fear that things’ll go shit again if I just stop to wonder or breathe or go deep. A fear that I’ll lose this splurge of ambition and the realising of my purpose. And enthusiasm because I’ve realised my purpose right now – to tell my story. I’ve known that for a while now but I feel like I really know it now. It’s a gap I’m wanting to fill, and I see ways that I can do it. And am doing it. And an enthusiasm to feel like I’m tapping into my potential, my drive, my success, my attributes, my qualities, my things that make me human. And that make me, me.

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I feel like my life is changing and I hope it continues to. Part of the change feels like with the ‘looking at my stuff’ and doing the work, and in other parts of my life, I feel like I seem to just do stuff a lot quicker than before. Like, journaling, I’ll have a release in twenty mins that I would have done in an hour before. I just don’t want to do things for as long – everything. My attention span feels like either its changing, or I’m just honouring it more…I think it’s that. I’m honouring it. I’m honouring who I am, rather than try to be something I’m not. I hope that keeps on coming, and I think it will. It’s scary though, because I just want to be someone else…but I’m enough and I’m fucking brilliant and noone else gets to be me. I wish I truly felt that though.

With the change, my worries deepen but the themes are still the same – that I’ll go crazy, that I’m fucked up, that I’ll become my mum…that I’ll end up bankrupt with no home and no job and not having gotten anywhere. Hmm. They sound might familiar to ANY OTHER WORRIES I HAVE HAD THE LAST YEAR. Make that the last two, three, maybe four.

Hmm. I think that goes to show, I can call these stories out and put them in the box labelled ‘UNTRUE’. And in the box labelled ‘Word’ I’ll pop in a note to let me know my life is mine and it is unfolding.