Going inward

I go inward when I have emotions that are too much to handle.

That’s the reason my blog has been offline the last few weeks, (which is sure to mess with my algorithms, another gift from the depressive episode that keeps on giving!) Going inward is actually not as bad as a depressive episode, it’s a coping mechanism and not the worst one I’ve ever leaned on. There’s a lot of wisdom to be found when you tune outside voices out and listen to your own heart. For however long that takes, and sometimes it’s a while.

In the past, I’d disappear until I felt like myself again. But in that case, I was shutting myself down a lot more than I was being myself, until numbness took over. Instead of being the best of myself, I turned into someone I didn’t know, or particularly like. I let fear take over. I hid.

The difference between going inward and shutting down is so subtle I don’t blame people for worrying about me. In both cases, I’m offline. I’m not connecting as much as I was. I’m unplugged, even from the people, places, and things I was most involved in. The difference is subtle, but huge. In shutting down, I’m unplugged from those things because I don’t think I deserve them. In going inward, I’m unplugged from those things because I’m reevaluating whether they deserve me.

Yikes, that sounds aggressive even to type, doesn’t it? Especially to someone who’s spent her life doubting her own value. Does it make me sound like a huge b*tch? Good. It’s about time I learned to stand up for myself.

Part of what I’ve learned by going offline is that I’ve shouldered weight that’s not mine to bear – a lot of it, actually. I’ve taken the blame for things I didn’t do or cause. I’ve jumped in to fix things I didn’t break. I’ve assumed I was the cause for things I was just a bystander to, or worse – a victim of. I’m so desperate to keep the peace (typical Libra) that I’ve sold myself over and over and over.

So now, in isolation, I get to decide what to do about that. Do I want to go forward apologizing for being myself again and again? As Dr. Phil would say “how’s that working for ya?” Not good, Dr. Phil. Help a girl out.

I’m not, actually, in isolation. Part of going internal is knowing who you can trust, even (especially) if that circle is super small. I recommend a small circle, actually, because trust is so precious and hard to come by. I’m not looking for advice. A shoulder to lean on goes a lot longer than a lecture about what to do. Because the path, sometimes, is individual. Your heart knows the way, but sometimes your world has to be dark (& quiet) for that path to light up. Someone to hold your hand on the way, though? That’s more than invaluable.

That path? I don’t know where it’s leading me. I usually don’t write about things until I’m far enough over them I have some perspective, but in this case? Well, I don’t mind if you walk a while with me. Maybe you need to do some reevaluating as well. Those people, places, and things important in our lives will fall back into place, one by one. Or maybe they won’t and we’ll find entirely new paths. That sounds scary, but it’s a lot less scary than losing ourselves by shutting down.

Take my hand. I won’t let that happen to us this time.

my path this morning was filled with sunlight

Last resort

I was looking for a quote about force vs. flow, but I can’t find just the right one.

Maybe because what I’m really looking for is a reason to come back. A reason to write this blog post. I’ve been missing, you see. I was convinced, as I sometimes am, that talking about my mental health and what could be considered my personal problems was problematic and inappropriate. Oh, and my favorite – immature. Did anyone say those words? No, not so much. But I heard them nonetheless. So I did what runners always do and I ran, but I didn’t find what I was looking for when I was hiding. Sometimes I find a degree of peace when I’m alone, but often I stretch it out longer than it needs to be. Or maybe it doesn’t need to be at all? Could I be forcing my own isolation? I’ve pushed worse on myself.

As I dip my toe back into the online world, I’m hyper aware of places I fit in and places I’m trying to force. My balance is sometimes off. I push myself into myself places I don’t belong, then run from places I shouldn’t. Following your instincts can be a real b*tch, especially when your eyes are opened to old patterns. Why did I spend so long contorting myself to fit in? Why did I spend so long pretending to be someone else to please everyone and keep the peace? Why did I stay so small?

Because I was afraid to be alone.

But by doing that, I was isolating myself even further. I always considered myself the last picked friend – you know the one. The one who’s a great listener but doesn’t talk. The one who’s always on the sidelines. Who people think of last and only because there’s no one else around. No wonder I was expandable. I had no opinions or personality except what I reflected. I had no color. Why would anyone choose to hang out with me except as a last resort? I didn’t even want to hang out with me. I sold myself over and over again. I didn’t stand up for myself. I made myself as small as I possibly could until I almost disappeared.

Sometimes, in order to face your fears, you have to meet them head on. That’s not what I was doing by running. I wasn’t embracing my fear of being alone, I was numbing it by being in the wrong places with the wrong people in order to reinforce that I didn’t belong anywhere. It’s a b*tch of a cycle, I’ll tell you that. And guess what? Being alone would have been preferable. I’m aware of the irony, though I prefer not to call it irony. I call it growth.

And I’m still running sometimes. It’s a hard habit to break. But it’s broken, I think, by people who remind me that I belong here, on this platform. That my words have meaning. That I have meaning. Maybe that meaning is what I’m running from sometimes? Or maybe it’s just plain fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of being myself. Fear that I’m not plain good enough. I’m not sure how hard and fast you have to run from that, I only know I’m tired of running. Maybe it’s time to turn around and face it.

A long journey home

How many times have I sat before this screen and wondered if I had anything important to say? There are almost 8 billion people in this world. What makes me different from any one of them? What makes me stand out? What makes me think I have anything of value to add?

I love the idea that everyone has a gift or a purpose. But what’s mine? I think I might’ve been looking so hard that I couldn’t focus on what was right in front of me. I think they call this not seeing the forest for the trees, and… spoiler – this comes close to the plot of the Alchemist, one of my very favorite books. The journey back to yourself is the hardest, but like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the magic has been in me all along.

There are times when I really, truly don’t have anything to say, or feel comfortable feeling it never mind saying it. There are times, even now, when I want to stay in hiding, and there have been times on this blog that I’ve gone the complete opposite way and shared some really difficult things. Things people don’t talk about. Scary things. The willingness to do that, to open myself up despite pushback (and there is pushback and fear, and even still some shame)… well, I wouldn’t say that’s a talent, or a purpose. I think everyone can do it. But everyone isn’t. So what does that mean?

Do my words matter? Does this blog matter? Maybe. Or maybe it’s another step. I don’t see my gifts or my purpose as a destination, but a journey. A journey, like Dorothy, back to myself. Will I find that magical purpose when I reach Oz? Will I reach Oz, and what will be there when I do? The only thing I can count on being there is what I learn along the way. (Again, props to the Alchemist here.)

I don’t think my purpose is as simple as one thing, but maybe we have a different gift and a different purpose for different seasons in our life? I sometimes wish I was someone who just knew I was meant to be a nurse and save lives, or a teacher and change them. But it’s never been that simple for me. Maybe it’s not that simple for you, either. Here’s the thing – being true to myself is as close to my purpose as I can get. That honesty and authenticity has sure put me on the right path, at least. But who is that? Who am I when I look in the mirror and try to align myself?

Well, it depends on when you ask me. Like everyone, I’m nuanced. But in my heart I like to think I’m kind, forgiving to a fault, a good listener, and a good friend. I’m creative and caring, even if I don’t always know how to channel those. I’m chaotic and passionate – often to a fault there, too. I’m a dreamer. Honest. Intuitive. Empathic. At my best, I’m in love with the world. At my worst? Well, I think you’ve read those blogs. The danger of being a person who embraces their feelings is being a person who embraces their feelings. All of them. But I won’t run from them. Not anymore. They’re a part of my journey, and if you’re reading this, they’re a part of yours, too.

I’m not a guru. My degree in history makes me patently unqualified to offer advice, except for the fact that I’ve been to those places, to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve been on this journey to find myself and my purpose. To find a way to help and make the world a better place. And somehow, I’ve found it in me to write about it. Does that mean something? I suppose it has to.

All these years of seeking, and maybe my gift or my purpose isn’t something I have or something I’m seeking, but something I am? Maybe it was in front of me all along? It seems too simple, unless you think of it as a step. Once step on a long journey home.

Speaking out

I get such wildly differing advice when it comes to writing. Be honest butts up against staying in your lane. Writing what sells vs writing from the heart. Is my story valid? Is it helpful? Does that make it worth putting myself out there?

What is my story anyway, and should I be ashamed of it?

I might have been, some time ago. I’ll be honest, I came here today to delete everything that might potentially be embarrassing, but how do we learn we’re not alone if one person isn’t brave enough to speak up? I don’t think I’m brave. Stupid, maybe. A little naive. Maybe a lot naive. But I made a promise to myself when I started this to be honest. This isn’t a blog about recipes or tiktoks. It’s a blog about getting real. Largely the things I write about I’ve already dealt with, but not always. Things cycle back. I know that. Sometimes you’ll cycle back with me, and by putting this out there you know I’m willing to cycle back with you. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’ve found that staying silent hurts more than talking, even for this introvert. And if it helps one person? Well, then I guess it’s worth it. Is it?

I don’t worry what people will think as much as I worry I’m not getting my point across. I’ve gone past worrying what people think, but maybe I should worry about it? After all, I still have to live in this world with people who know me. This blog would seriously put a crimp in any presidential plans I have. Fortunately for me, I’m not planning to run for president anytime soon. And if I do, I am who I am. I struggle sometimes. If I can’t be honest about that, everything else is built on a lie. It’s possible to live within that lie. I’ve done it. But that’s not how you grow and that’s not how you heal. I can’t tell anyone else how to grow and heal, maybe you’re not even ready for that yet? But I am. And my growth and healing comes from speaking out, so that’s what I’ll keep doing.


Some days, I’d like to give my intuition a big middle finger. Today is one of those days, but I’ve worked too hard to do that. So instead, I’ll listen. I might not make the right choice, but I’ll listen.

You know the feeling when your heart and your head are at odds? Most of the time this manifests when I have a choice in my life. Quitting a job. Leaving a relationship. The big decisions are the spots where my head tries to nudge my emotions right out of the picture, but my intuition effects everyday decisions too, and they might be just as important. That’s what I’m tangling with today.

When it comes to decisions, practicality should win. Like when you’re leaving a job you should take into account pay and vacation. Benefits. All very adult-like things. The same could be said for the small things. Where to spend your time and energy. When to speak up and when to stay quiet. Trust. I call these things small, but they’re not small at all. In fact, they’re all-encompassing and while they don’t have the drama of a quitting or an ending, they can just as easily change the course of your life.

Does anyone watch Star Trek? One of the reasons I love the series so much – right from the very beginning – has been watching Spock wrestle with his human (emotional) and vulcan (practical) sides. I’m no vulcan, but I feel that. In fact, in the past, I’ve leaned into being hot headed. These days I fall to my practical side, but neither has left me in alignment. How to I balance my heart and my head?

That’s where intuition comes in, and man oh man… have I been cursing it. It’s been pushing me to not only step out of my comfort zone (you can do it), but to make choices and leaps of faith and trust that my head wants to protect me from. My head, my practicality, my vulcan side… they all want to protect me from being hurt, but they sometimes protect me at the cost of not feeling anything at all. At the cost of not taking risks. Not doing anything. Sure, that will prevent me from being hurt. But it will prevent me from soaring, too. It will prevent me from feeling. It will prevent me from being seen.

I’ve hidden behind that practicality for so long. I still don’t like to be seen. I’m a risk taker (ask my hiking friend Amy!) but only so far. I put myself out there, but only to the point where I can get hurt. What lies beyond that point, I wonder? What risks do I have to take with my writing, my heart, my very soul to go beyond that point? What must I put on the line? My intuition knows. It’s been pushing me and pushing me past that. It’s been pushing me to make decisions I don’t want to make and take risks I don’t want to take. I’m so afraid of what lies beyond them, but that’s where my heart is. If only it could take my head along for the ride.

Not everyone is ready for this level of risk. It’s taken years of meditation and seeking to even tune into these intuitive feelings, and in most cases I’m still not ready to take the leap. Thanks, but no thanks, right? Right now, I’m just listening, and it’s okay. But the more I listen, the more I realize I might be ready to take these leaps. Be gentle with my heart when I do.

Sometimes the biggest risks come with the best views

In dreams

Do you keep track of your dreams?

I do. I think they mean different things to different people, but mine are messages for sure. They’re veiled. They’re metaphorical. My mind is an f’ed up place, but I can usually make sense of them.

For years, I had dreams about high school. Often it was the first day of school and I was lost. I didn’t know where my classes were or my locker was… I lost my homework… I couldn’t find my friends. Super typical anxiety dreams. It wasn’t until I figured out what they were trying to tell me that I stopped having them.

What would you make of those? It took some hardcore digging to realize all the metaphors hidden in those dreams, and it was tough even for a writer who adores metaphors (maybe a little too much.) I thought maybe it meant I’d lost my path somewhere when I was younger, and I did. My dreams were trying to pull me back.

I suppose deep down I thought my past journey was a mess. The school I was dreaming about was my life. It wasn’t until I got serious about my path and my goals and my direction that I just stopped having that dream. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of other messed up dreams. (Dinosaurs, anyone?) Usually they’re trying to put me back on the right track, too. That track is a hard place for me to stay on. Alignment doesn’t come easy to me. In fact, it hurts sometimes.

I mention this because I had a similar dream last night where I found myself in the halls of my old high school, and I thought ‘oh no, not this again.’ But this time was different. It was the last day of school, not the first. And everyone was cleaning out their lockers. I started with the same anxiety, but this time when I couldn’t find my locker, I plum walked right out. I remember pushing open those doors (they were blue) and the feeling of relief that came with it. I remember being followed by my friend Amy’s daughter Kylie (sorry, honey I think you are a manifestation of my past self in this dream! haha). She said “aren’t you going to come back and clean out your locker?” And I said “No, thanks!” and walked away.

While I appreciate the validation from my subconscious, I don’t think I’ve entirely walked away from everything I need to. I still struggle – greatly – with being a people pleaser. I still try to be everything to everyone and put myself last. I’m learning, and maybe that’s what this dream was trying to tell me. The path isn’t sticky. It’s not something I can put myself on and stay there, like the rails on the Epcot monorail. Like the trails I frequent in the woods, it’s easy to lose my way because I’m distracted, or see something interesting, or maybe, sometimes, because the path isn’t well worn and won’t show itself to me. Tests? Maybe. Some I’m going to fail. Some I already have failed, but with the help of dreams, I’m finding my way back.

My path ❤

Facing myself

Taking myself off social media this week was a bandaid, but it gave me time to think about what my real problems are. It turns out those aren’t easily solved in a week, not even with a lot of silence.

I didn’t realize until I tried to take some selfies today just how much I’ve been beating myself up. I’m not hung up on my looks. In fact my physical trainer, Angela, has to talk me into watching my form at the gym. It’s not that I particularly don’t like looking in a mirror… Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t particularly like looking in a mirror, and especially at the gym. I’m there for health reasons, but for health reasons it’s sometimes important to make sure you’re lifting correctly. Watching your form is, of course, not a matter of vanity. That was never my problem. My problem is facing myself, and yikes, have I been slacking on that.

I’m not sure why the first thing to go when I’m feeling down is self care. I suppose it feels self indulgent to take care of myself when I have a busy schedule. And after giving pieces of myself away all day, I have none left for me. I’ve been making an effort to get to the gym, but I haven’t been eating right. I haven’t been drinking water. I haven’t been sleeping, and I’ve worn the same Stevie Nicks concert shirt for three days. In fact, my entire diet this month has consisted of a combination of fast food, coffee, and alcohol. Crikey, no wonder I’ve felt like crap. It’s easy to spiral out of control, and I have. I knew my mood was dumpy, I just didn’t realize it showed so much on my face.

It’s not that I think I look bad in these selfies. If I showed them to my friends, I’m 100% sure they’d lift me up. My age has never bothered me. My weight has never bothered me. I am who I am. My real power is on the inside. But what bothers me is that I know I can be better. I can feel better. I can tell in these pictures how sunken in and tired and crappy I feel. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these pictures say: “girl, pull yourself together.” No further words are needed.

I wish I could blame this on a time management issue, adjust my schedule, and go on my merry way, but it’s so much more than that. I talked in my last blog about the physical/mental connection and it has me wondering… am I not taking care of myself because I don’t think I’m worth taking care of? Do I think I deserve these sunken in eyes? This constant fatigue? These negative voices beating me down? It’s definitely a possibility, because I do feel those things sometimes. Which came first, the physical or mental blues? They’re so tied together, I’m not sure I can tell.

I blamed my lack of self care on a busy schedule and poor time management. I didn’t realize until I was off social media those weren’t my problems at all. Am I a little more productive off Facebook? Sure. But I’m also a little more lonely. Is that a trade off I’m willing to make? Sometimes. Last week, it was a tradeoff I had to make for my own sanity. But other days? I’m not sure there’s anything to do on those other days but buckle down and do the hard work of putting myself first. Oof, that was hard to type, especially for a giver. But so often being a giver turns into being a doormat, and the difference between the two has a lot to do with that self care I’ve been neglecting.

Even though I know how much it will make me feel better, I can’t promise I’m going to wake up tomorrow fresh faced after getting eight full hours of sleep and immediately change all my habits. I can maybe promise to change one thing though, (one thing besides that concert t-shirt!) I can promise to take a step. And maybe that step needs to start on the inside. Maybe that step is believing I deserve to feel better. Maybe that step is just looking at myself in the mirror, all of myself, and accepting me for who I am. And from there, just drink some water 🙂

Frustrated with selfie taking, but my hair looks good!

Left behind

The world is going on without me

It’s a strange feeling to be offline and outside the current. Do people miss me? Do they know I’m gone? You can’t create value somewhere when you’re absent, but my absence has me wondering if I ever created value or just simply took up space. Did all the pieces of my heart I left all over the place mean anything? Anything besides the holes they left in me? 

I suppose that’s the plight of the empath, right? To help. To heal. Even when no one acknowledges you’re there. That makes me sound like a martyr. I’m not. I’m not a fan of the spotlight. In fact, I shy away from it. I’d rather help from the shadows. But sometimes I wish someone would just look at me. See me. 

I know I have to see myself first and that’s what I’m doing. Acknowledge myself. Love myself. I’m getting there. It’s true I have so much more time without the timesuck of mindless scrolling. I’ve almost finished writing a book. I’ve written three of these blog posts in three days. But in turn, I’ve also considered quitting this blog and taking it down. The silence has given me a lot of time to think. Sometimes the fact that no one misses me turns into why bother. What’s the point? 

I also accuse myself of attention seeking, though erasing yourself is a funny way of going about that. I actually don’t think attention seeking is a terrible thing, if it’s done the right way & not self sabotaging. This would surely quality as the self sabotaging kind, but I’m not sure I know anything else. 

Am I, like a petulant child, stomping my feet to tell everyone how much they’ll miss me? There’s a line in Terms of Endearment (one of my favorite movies) when Jack Nicholson breaks up with Shirley MacLaine’s character and she says: “you don’t even know how much you’re going to miss me.”

Is that what I’m hoping? I’m a little bit like Shirley’s character in that movie (maybe more than a bit) in the way that I’m giving but I’m also a lot sometimes. I’ve done some soul seeking this week. I don’t think I’m attention seeking. I don’t think I’m begging to be seen, but I am sad. I am working some things out. And for me, the best place to do that is in silence, even if it’s lonely. 

Where I like to work things out
My horoscope 🙂


How funny that today – Mabon, the autumn equinox – is all about balance because I have been so, so out if it. 

I’m not just talking mentally (although that’s a huge component), but there are some quite physical manifestations. Yesterday, at the gym, I couldn’t stand on one leg. I was so shakey I just couldn’t do it. I came home to try my yoga video and for someone who’s (pardon the pat on the back) usually expert at standing balances. I couldn’t lift my leg without falling. 

What is happening to me?  I’ll tell you. My mind and body are so connected. When something throws me out of alignment, or I’m trying to hide my feelings, my body goes into overdrive to correct it. It’s not just being shakey. I’m not sleeping. My stomach hurts. I’m tired all the time. My motivation is in the tank. I just can’t bring myself back. 

I’ve been off social media this week. I thought disconnecting for a bit would help. Sometimes it brings clarity, but sometimes it brings loneliness. This time it brought a little of each, I guess, but what it didn’t bring was alignment.

Sometimes the online world is a lot, but sometimes the inside world is a lot, too. I thought with the energy of Mabon I could bring myself back online, and thus, back into alignment. If light and dark can do it, surely I can, too? But it turns out it’s not that easy. Perhaps the autumn energy is here to teach me something besides balance. Gratitude, maybe? Letting go. I’m sitting in silence for a while… in loneliness… while I try to figure it out.

Credit: the Healing Collective
Balance ❤

In hiding

I have a blog I’m sitting on that I never posted. I have one I posted and took down. Lately, I’ve been feeling a little over exposed. A little “why bother?”

This feeling isn’t contained to my creative life. I have times when I feel that way in my job or in my relationships. Hell, in my whole life. The risk of putting everything out there is that everyone can see you. And when everyone can see you, you can bet they’re going to judge you. Is anyone judging me right now? No. But that doesn’t always matter. I’m judging me.

I’m not like other people. I don’t “fit in.” I don’t follow. I don’t always make sense, least of all to myself. One of my good friends calls me the biggest paradox he’s ever seen. I usually wear that as a badge of honor, but sometimes…

Sometimes I desperately want to fit in. I want a tribe. I want to belong.

I’m aware that’s middle school Amy talking. I’m usually much more independent. Much stronger. Much more accepting of things that come into my life and things that leave. Welcoming of that, even. Everything has its season and so on. And let’s be honest, I don’t want people in my life that don’t explicitly want to be there. I’m not proud of this but sometimes I make them jump through hoops to prove it. But no matter how many hoops I make people jump through, seasons are going to change. I can’t stop that, no matter how many knots I bend myself into trying to fit in.

I worry, though, that I’m speeding up that process by being “too much” me. While I know in my head you can’t be too much of yourself, somehow that message doesn’t always make it to my heart. In the last week I’ve accused myself of being too loud, over sensitive, annoying, tiresome, and a loser/failure/nobody. No wonder I don’t feel like being creative. No wonder I don’t feel like being exposed. Sometimes, just the act of being me feels like being naked in front of a crowd. Sometimes I am that middle school Amy, just begging people to like me. It sure doesn’t make me want to take risks. It doesn’t make me want to be seen. In fact, I’m struggling not to hide.

I shut down my social media pages this week, but it seems the struggle is more internal than external. I’m here, working it out in a blog that I may or may not have the courage to share. I’ll get back to being me in time, I hope. I usually do. I’ll get back to recognizing that those things I accused myself of actually make me the quirky and unique person I am. Maybe I’ll even like those things about myself? This blog post is a step, but the social media pages? They might have to wait a little while longer. The process of accepting all of myself is a slow one. For now, I’ll just have to settle on sharing a little part of me until I’m ready for the world again – or maybe until the world is ready for me.

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Part of being uniquely me is that I put up a Halloween tree this week