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Change, transition, the unknown… These are not scary words to me.  Typically, I love the death and resurrection of self, the ambition of a new adventure, the synchronicities that occur and propel my life magically forward.  It’s a potion that makes me come alive.  The unknown is my jam!! When accompanied with chronic fatigue, however, I am learning the unknown is NOT my jam.  It is indeed a graceless jar of shit that tastes like poodley oodley on burnt toast.  The unknown married with fatigue means all bets… are… OFF.   

When I’m tired, I get ANGRY.  I get accusatory.  I tell God and his minion helpers (who so lovingly give me sign after sign that everything is going to be okay, and IS okay) to fuck off and fuck themselves, fuck the cats, fuck the dog, fuck the wallpaper, fuck my camera, fuck my computer, fuck that person, fuck those people, FUCK EVERYONE, fucking fuck the fucking fucks!!! Which is… ahem… concerning.  

I have to keep myself from throwing the cats out the window.  I have to cement myself to the chair when the garbage truck rumbles up right as my daughter is falling asleep. (I do this so as not to stab the driver in the throat with this pen that feels like MY ONE TRUE FRIEND).  Soooo much love for others… 

I’m not my best self when I’m tired.  I know this.  When the doctor told me I had chronic fatigue, I was like– ‘DUH!!! YOU FUCKING IDIOT! FUCK DOCTORS!!!’  

But when I put the brakes on… take a moment to recompose and breathe… OF COURSE, I don’t like feeling like my real self is disappearing or getting lost in the fatigue and mundane of motherhood day to day.  This isn’t who I want to be– for me, for my husband or for my daughter!

And love for self?  OOF.  I can’t even go there right now. 

Surprisingly, I only recently put this two and two together– that being shaken when handling transition during the worst fatigue of your life is not only a new normal but it’s pretty freakin’ understandable!!  It might take a little time to find your magic, girlfriend!  Feeling like a shit pile because I’ve been unable to ground myself, and find comfort in those roots that steady me to the center of the earth and back, I have been beating myself up for the shell that I inhabit.   It’s good to be reminded this isn’t easy.  It’s a deepening of the lesson plan to get me to a new place, which given the day can be totally annoying or exciting… or really, really annoying. 😉 

Rather than beat myself up (or beat up the people/animals/entities around me that love me), I’m focusing on the following…

I won’t always live in a dark house.

Where I live won’t always be decorated with animal heads and fishing reel wallpaper.

I won’t always live on this little sleep. 

The cats won’t always be indoor cats.

The Small Dog won’t always be so jealous or needy.

We won’t always make bupkis money.

Ruby won’t always wake up through the night.

She won’t always need me to feed her, etc. 

I don’t know what’s to come but I know that this time is temporary and I’m doing my best to allow myself a little grace.  What more can I expect on two hours of sleep a night?  

I know there’s a deeper meaning to all of this, lessons I can take from this aside from ‘parenthood= lack of sleep.’ What is the dialogue that runs through my head when I can’t sleep at four in the morning?  What do I tell myself when I look in the mirror?  What are the first thoughts that come to mind when my red eyes are bulging like a Disney villain?  Is that reality or have I also been listening to the worst version of myself while running the worst dialogue? For the love of God, is ANY of it loving??? 

Nothing at all against the word ‘fuck–‘ a good swear can be a grossly satisfying relief when the need to express frustration feels like sickness.  But here’s hoping a deep breathe or two can give me just enough awareness to add some softer words to my vocabulary. I haven’t used ‘shit’ in a while?  Ha! It seems almost godly in comparison to what’s been coming out of my mouth!

*Deep breath*

Here’s to GRACE… Here’s to BREATH…  and Here’s to BECOMING. xoxo

 

 

I found myself stagnate.  In transition.  Feeling a bit unguided.  Stuck. It lead to worry. Fear. Anxiety. An unrelentless need to figure it out.  I had been wringing my hands in desperation and unable to sleep.  With so many variables out of my control, it felt like I was just a passenger in my own life.  It’s a miserable existence that I don’t recommend…  

Insert forlorn photo here!

A Good Question to Ask When You Are Worried

Anxiety. Stress. Worry. It takes it’s toll!

The question that I’ve been asking myself lately?

“How much do you want to suffer?” 

Huh.  Have I been suffering? That sounded like such a heavy experience.  How have I been suffering? What does that look like in my life?  What are the choices I’m making?

How much do I want to suffer???  Not a whole lot come to find out!  The question was a bit eye opening for me. The worry, the fear, the intensity of it all… it did nothing for our situation.  Our house hadn’t magically sold, our debt hadn’t gone down.  We’re not a step closer to buying a home here and I still have no idea how I’m paying September’s bills.  So whyyyyy do it???

Worst case scenario, those bills become past due, my credit I had worked so hard to rebuild turns to shit and eventually, I have to rebuild it again.  Can I live through that?  Of course.  I did it once, I can do it again.  I also have a lot of shame about the amount of debt I’ve gotten myself back into.  Did I overspend… again?  Yup. Did we expect the house to sell a bit faster?  Yeah.  Whoops.  But beating myself up does nothing but let me marinate in my mistakes, still stuck, still fearful.  

How much do I want to suffer?  

I love this because it’s a question about taking back the reins and being proactive.  It’s about controlling what you can.  It’s about being grateful for all that IS.  

I need $700 by September 1st.  That’s all.  And at the end of the day?  I really don’t even need that. 

I just need air in my lungs, a little food for fuel and the rest are just gifts.  I don’t need the timeline for our house to sell.  I don’t need a down payment for a new home right now. I don’t need to know when we finally can move into a new home with more light.  I don’t need to have the answers about my creative life’s purpose yesterday.  And I certainly don’t need to be 60 pounds lighter before I allow myself to feel worthy. 

But my mind went down the rabbit hole and already saw bills past due, bankruptcy, the house in foreclosure, living in this rental shooting poorly lit photos, me dying of heart disease, Ruby without a mother, all of the world on fire, the aliens invading… All of these horrific things because of $700.  When you put it like that it seems… I don’t know… FREAKING CRAZY.   

When I began asking myself this question, I found myself being more proactive. Not about trying to figure it out– but about taking control of my life where I could.  I don’t want to suffer. So how can I gently change my actions and mentality?

Even when I’m exhausted, I’ve been doing my best to go out for walks to move my body, but to also be connected to nature and my intuition. I really do my best to use all five senses to take everything in. (Sidenote:  Highly reccomend a documentary from Iceland on Netflix called ‘Innsaei: The Power of Intuition’— a little slow to start but a few fascinating stories about how we’ve lost our connection with nature and with ourselves).  As soon as Ruby is down for a nap, I meditate because I know it’s the only time I have and who knows for how long!  I’ve been focusing on the spiritual– the mind, body, soul connection because that is what matters. AND when I’m most connected is when I’m most inspired and the ideas come…

There was a couple recently in the news, parents to a beautiful one year old girl, who went into a cave for an ice climbing day trip.  Despite being educated, experienced climbers, they took a wrong turn due to some poor information and ended up burning their packs and their own hair to survive, being rescued in the nick of time. Were they thinking about something like $700?  Not a chance.  The things they thought were important to them, they realized were so insanely insignificant, it was life changing. The wife said she couldn’t even look at instagram anymore because it just didn’t matter any more. 

How much do I want to suffer?  

I don’t plan on suffering anymore. Still human, but I practice letting go daily.  Everything will work itself out because everything always works out for us.  We expect good things.  And it’s not about our own timing. Coupled with the mantra, “My life is changing because I am changing my life” and I’m beginning to realize things are hardly that bad.  And that actually, I’m powerful and capable. And while I will be grateful for the house to sell, to be able to photograph in a house that has good light with a camera without focus issues, figuring out which creative life path will be most fulfilling and help the most people– blah, blah, blah…  it’s nothing I’m going to lose sleep over anymore.

It’s something I’ve been learning recently so I thought I’d share.  How much do you want to suffer and where can you take control?  Questions to take some time on… 

Happy Friday.  🙂

 

 

 

 

There are self portraits included in this post that are of me messing around for my lighting class and a couple of shots I did for a different homework series about shame.  They’re not specifically about this post but I thought I would share them for the sake of the topic. –MC

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At the lowest of my lows, I was living in Los Angeles, very much in debt and super depressed.  Each day I would pray for God to get me through another day.  I was clearly living in ‘survival mode.’  Psychologically, spiritually, emotionally– you are surviving, and anything more than that feels like an impossibility.  

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but bare with me… I began to take classes that taught you to examine your thoughts and feelings.  By becoming aware of those thoughts and feelings, you could see your unhealthy patterns and change them in a loving way.  My mind was blown.  I was waiting for my life to begin when God was whispering, “I already gave you the skills. Take responsibility. YOU got this.” With this new set of keys, my life did change drastically.  Some might call this mindful or positive thinking. 

When you are a student of life, however, truth is like an onion. There is always another layer.  You work up the courage to peel off a layer and you feel great.  Then you dig deeper and you realize there’s more.  It isn’t easy but you do the work, feel great and dig deeper again, peeling off another layer in the name of awareness.  There is always more work and more truth and more bliss– a teacher in everyone and everything. 

Me?  I’m a digger.  Since that class, I’ve always got a shovel.  I know the deeper I go, the more is revealed and the happier I am.  I’ve seen my life change… More of that please, thank you!  However, there are so many people in this world that hate digging.  It’s such a scary thing!  Their journey hasn’t taken them to a place where they can hear that they have the power to dig.  They don’t yet have the tools. 

So here’s the thing… I’m seeing a lot of this idea on social media, first of all, is that to have feelings is a negative thing.  It means your not ‘being positive.’  Ex:  Me posting these photos could potentially be viewed as uncomfortable, negative, sad, depressing.  “Poor Mandi, etc.”  Do some of these photos make you uncomfortable?  Why?

My response to that idea is remember you’re human.  To say you don’t have moments of fear, worry, anxiety, etc. in life is a lie.  Through photography, I’ve learned to linger with them.  It’s all beautiful because it is all truth.  It is what we have in common.  The more it is embraced, the more we’re able to accept each other and relate. 

Let me be clear… I think ‘positive thinking’ is GREAT.  Yes, you can go through life much happier and lighter by being aware and examining your thoughts.  Joy is absolutely a choice and mantras are terrific.  But what about deep fucking trauma?  Indoctrination?  Societal constructs?  It’s like people being told to eat healthier when what a person might need is  major hospitalization for a triple bypass.  Years of therapy might be required for them to recognize what a shovel even is and their existence is just as valid as yours.

The second thing I’m noticing is that to be negative means you are a toxic person and “I can’t have that kind of negativity in my life.”  These folks make me laugh.  Let’s get real… There are soul suckers, for sure.  People that you truly cannot be around.  I am all for cutting out unhealthy people from your life.  But a majority of this toxicity is an unwillingness to allow for humanity.  It’s grounded in fear and judgment rather than love.  We don’t want to get our hands dirty with a fellow human being because it makes us uncomfortable.  This usually comes from people that have found their answer and if you’re not not the same brand of bandwagon, you’re icky.  It’s positive thinking at its most baby-spiritual. 

Like any good intentioned person, there will always be those telling you you’re doing it wrong.  Out of ‘awareness’ will tell you, what you’re doing is something else.  There might be those on a bandwagon that can’t handle your honesty or reality– or even worse, view it as negativity. Everyone’s story is different and trauma is trauma, folks.  People that don’t understand aren’t meant to be around for your journey and that’s okay.  Feel free to set aside anyone’s rules about what it means to be spiritual.  Feel free to set aside people that want to put out the fire in your soul that you know to be true.  Honesty is integral.

Also, if you’re not big on shoveling, feel free to listen.  More often than not we are very stubborn people and our fear is so deep rooted we can’t see our own programs.  We believe a mantra is doing it differently but we make demands about how our life should be.  It is a limiting ruse. Fear feels good and right because it is comfortable.  It is what we know and allows us to maintain the status quo out of survival rather than take part in real change.  Cheating yourself only leads to more misery.  (Also, being open is a hell of  a lot easier than kicking and screaming). 

We are all on our own journey and hear things in our own timing.  If you have you eyes to see, be grateful.  Have compassion for those who aren’t where you are.  And keep your eyes open. There’s probably more going on in the mirror than you might be willing to admit. xoxo