still here

On my last day I will shut the door on this life
Content with what I’ve gained,

but leave my love for you inside our house
to grow and flood our rooms and halls
and surround and envelope you forever

until you bring it back to me
when we meet again

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What sets you apart from everything else in the world? What defines you?

Boundaries between you and a loved one, you and your child, and even boundaries within your own self are vital in discovering your identity.

My therapist has helped me to find a boundary within myself: the line between my wounded inner child and the adult that I now am. A very small part of me is hurt by traumas of the past. I was left feeling emotional, reactive, and an imposter of adulthood. I didn’t feel like I could become a mother, or a wife or any grown version of myself without feeling like I’m stuck in the age of my trauma.

That is my inner child. She is wounded from the past and loves to take the reigns when I’m trying to grow. When I’m anxious about conflict, when I jump after a loud noise, when my stomach churns at any sign of yelling or fighting… That is when she takes over.

I’m learning to create a boundary between her and myself. She is only a very small part of me, not who I am altogether.

Now that I’m an adult, I am responsible for that child. I will give that inner child the love and attention and nurturing it needs because she never got it from her mother. She never will. This is also something I need to teach her. Let go.

Doing this, I think, is my first step in finding my self and living myself. Do you have an inner child you need to nurture?

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On Writer’s Block and Unhindered Genius


I was reading an article about writer’s block and facing the blank page. It was several articles, actually, on Brain Pickings, a blog that I’ve come to really love.

I watched a video in the article which had eight different writers explaining what staring down the blank page meant to them. One writer’s thoughts struck me. American fiction writer Phillipp Meyer said that the blank page doesn’t exist. What exists instead is our insecurity – our insecurities that what we write won’t match our ideal or our insecurities that the conditions in which we want to write are just or right yet. There is no blank page. There is no writers block.

I don’t think “writer’s block” actually exists. It’s basically insecurity — it’s your own internal critic turned up to a higher level than it’s supposed to be at that moment, because when you’re starting a work — when the page is blank, when the canvas is open — your critic has to be turned down to zero… The point is actually to get stuff on paper, just to allow yourself to kind of flow. It is only by writing that you’ll discover characters, ideas, things like this. (Philipp Meyer)

So how do you overcome this self-perceived writer’s block? Just start writing. Write whatever is in your head and keep writing.

As a writer, your job is to write. Anything else, absolutely anything that keeps you from doing this one action, is a hindrance. No worrying. No fucking around, no doting, no twiddling your thumbs. Stop trying to be perfect (you’re not perfect and you will never be). In fact, “perfect” doesn’t exist.

You have to be willing to shovel out crap. That’s why I always think my past writing is embarrassing. Because it is! But guess what? I wrote more back then than I do now. That was back when I could tell everyone I was a writer during those awkward ice breakers and not feel like a sham.

You have to be willing to write like shit. You have to be that unhindered genius: that wide-eyed, curious child that doesn’t know any better and just keeps taking in information and putting out creation, without any of the anxieties and worries that plague us as adults. It reminds me of another Brain Pickings article I read on the genius of childhood.

I look back at the things I did when I was younger and I’m amazed. In high school, I auditioned for a play by singing up on stage and performing a monologue! I rode all sorts of death-defying roller coasters at the theme park King’s Island with fear in my heart but I pushed through it anyway. I even talked to all sorts of people and made all sorts of friends.

Where did that courage go? Or is it a blindness or ignorance to what bad could happen? Is it healthy and safe to have that? Is that where the genius of childhood lies? How can we tap into that again?

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How Many More Unmotivated Saturdays?

Dear Unmotivated Me,

It’s Saturday. It’s been approximately 318 Saturdays since you wanted to start and maintain a blog. Even more since you wanted to write that novel. Don’t forget the 104 Saturdays since you truly wanted to dedicate your life to getting out, exploring, and getting healthy. Aren’t you tired constantly fooling yourself with promises to be a better you when you can’t even remember the first time you’ve said that to yourself? “Tomorrow, I will.” It was years ago. How old are you now? Why do you not feel the sense of urgency here?

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” (Paul Bowles in “The Sheltering Sky”)

It does seem limitless. Tomorrow does seem easy to come by. How can we overcome feeling like we have all the time in the world?

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Looking into my Late Twenties

Here I am: the late twenties. I just turned 26. Seven years older than my mom was when she had me, as she likes to remind me. Our phone calls become less and less frequent the older and busier I get – our only means of bonding as it has been since my parents divorced 16 years ago. My boyfriend and I, unmarried, are building the lives most twenty-something couples build. We’re also the parents of two dogs, and we just started replacing hand-me-down furniture with our own chosen pieces, and yes, they are from Ikea. And yes, we did have a fight in that same Ikea.

I started decorating the apartment, desperately trying to make it feel like my childhood home. Warm, comfortable, safe. This is the first time I have been on my own, and I’m not on my own. I share a bedroom with someone else. For 24 years, I had a space of my own to which I could retreat. A space to cry, to regroup, to create. A space without the influence of others. A small world I slowly built as I grew, a world that fostered even more growth.

I’m out of school now. I’m half convinced I went into graduate school because I was uncomfortable with veering off the stepping stones of early life. Kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, college. Some people stop there. I think maybe I didn’t want to face the big, “What’s next?” Now that I’ve got my Master’s, I’m working full time, wondering what to do with myself come 5 PM.

I’m contemplating going back to school, because maybe I’m secretly a busy-body. Maybe I want to stave off my student loans just a little bit more. Or maybe I still can’t handle the big, “What’s next?” In 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, a gift from my boyfriend after my 26th birthday as I lamented crossing over to the “late twenties”, Paul Angone’s 48th tip is one that sinks a twenty-something’s heart straight to the stomach.

The biggest surprise about becoming an adult that no one ever talks about… Adulthood. Never. Stops.

As we go through school, we are used to these predefined periods of time. We go to school, we go from semester to semester, we stress over exams and then summer break hits. We leave town, have fun, try to redefine ourselves and form bonds – our biggest responsibility on hold for two months, and then we do it all over again. But not adulthood. There is no time set aside for a break. The bills don’t stop coming once June or July hits. And that stress from your exams? You feel it tenfold, all the time. There’s no study guide here.

There’s something beautiful about being in your twenties though. It’s the challenge. It’s the resourcefulness we were raised to have, being born into and growing up in the recession. The mess our parents made. It’s the potential we have. The adaptability we obtained through the rapid growth of technology. It’s prime time for redefining.

This is where we plot our trajectory into the stars – all the tools lain before us, It’s where we throw our own stepping stones… where ever we want. It’s the first time we have to deal with “real shit”. The time of our first life crisis – one of many. And for those of us who learn to ride the waves and struggle through it all, making our own way despite fear of failure? We come out beautifully somewhere on the other side of 29. Where I am now? I’m on the cusp of adulthood. The most opportune moment to plot my trajectory. Adulthood is not going to stop and wait for me. No – this train will keep on going. But I will lay the tracks.

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