Sex and the Big D

The 30,000: Or why it’s time to take the leap

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I remember the first time I felt it. That stirring in my chest, those butterflies in my stomach that told me I needed to do something … something different than what I was used to.

To take a ‘leap’ if you will.

I’ve said it before, but I spent the bulk of my life super sheltered and isolated. Too scared to experience the outside ‘sinful’ world, too scared to rebel or to not follow the rules or to try anything new or different. Out of fear of failure. Out of fear of doing something ‘wrong’ and making a mistake.

Then I watched a movie. And ok … this is going to sound dumb, but it’s literally the truth. I watched ‘Yes Man’ and oddly enough, it changed something in me. It was a silly movie but it made me realize how much I was missing out on by saying no to everything that scared me or made me uncomfortable.

So then, when a girl I worked with (and wanted to befriend) asked me to take a muay thai/conditioning class with her on a Saturday morning, I heard all the old familiar voices in my head saying, ‘no, don’t do it. It’s scary. You’re too fat. You’re going to look stupid.’

But underneath those old familiar voices was something new. A tingle of excitement. A curiosity. What if said … yes, instead of no? What could that mean for me?

So I did it. I took a leap and I gave something completely new a shot. I need to give you a little bit of context too – I was never in my life an athlete or someone who worked out. I’m not coordinated or agile. I quit PE in junior high because they tried to make us run a mile one time and I thought that was just torture. So let me tell you, saying YES to a kickboxing and conditioning class was incredibly terrifying for my totally out of shape, never-ever-been-in-shape ass.

Needless to say, that first class was tough and scary and I did look foolish, but I survived and it was wonderful. And more importantly, I learned of the exhilarating rush that comes from pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and trying something new.

I was hooked. After that first time of saying yes, I began to say yes to a lot of new things. New social experiences. New friends. New job opportunities. When I’d feel that tingle of excitement coupled with that voice that says ‘oh no, not you, you can’t possibly do that’, I knew that it was likely something I absolutely HAD to do.

And so I conditioned myself to run towards the things I was most frightened of.

Leaving a stable but unhappy relationship to try being single, living on my own in Dallas, setting up fierce boundaries at work so that I am allowed to create in the way that fits me best, trying out theater again, traveling solo internationally, singing karaoke at places all over the world, training muay thai in Thailand. All scary things that seemed impossible to me at one point in my life, but now they are things I have experienced and loved.

However it has recently come to my attention recently that I’ve stopped taking risks, stopped taking … leaps.

It might not look like that to the objective bystander, but that’s the thing … I keep trying things that for whatever reason aren’t that scary for me now. Singing a new song in a completely new place … not that scary. Trying out a new dance class … uncomfortable, but not that scary. Traveling to a foreign country … well, a little scary but the excitement of it all outweighs any fear.

I’ve become comfortable with the risks I’m taking. Which means they’re no longer risks.

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Good right now: Or how I found my bench in the sun

It is amazing what can happen in a month.

At the end of March, I moved to a new home, started a new job and embarked on a new chapter in my life. I saw these moves as really positive … and a way to start cultivating better habits. Out with the old, in with the new, right?

What I didn’t take into account was how much the change would actually have on my emotional state. Though the new place was bigger and in a better neighborhood, though my new job is exactly like something I would’ve killed to have been in for the past few years, all this change was draining on my heart. My routine was different, my patterns all off. Most of this was for my good. But even though I might know that on a head level, it didn’t stop my heart from silently panicking and getting overwhelmed. I forget that change … even good change … is really hard for me to handle.

Recently all this change came to a head while I was on a trip in Mexico. I had one of those ‘dark nights of the soul’. Are you familiar? Maybe you’ve had them too. It was, of course, spurred on by alcohol. But every fearful, anxious thought I’ve been trying to squash with talk of positivity and how great and promising this new chapter in my life would be, finally came rushing to the surface. And it brought me to my knees in anguish and tears and a feeling of utter hopelessness.

Memories of my ex, guilt over every loss that was my fault, deep feelings of loneliness and unworthiness, fears that every new good thing will also be taken because so much has, heart ache over unrequited love. A deep pervasive sadness in my soul that seemed too unbearable to overcome. A weight in my chest so heavy it was hard to breathe.

When these dark nights happen (and they don’t happen all that often), they are quite terrifying. I know it’s an emotional response. I know it’s likely sheer emotional exhaustion. It’s temporary. I know this truth on a deep level and yet when I’m in the middle of it it feels as if there is a wall between my heart and this truth. And all there is is swirling darkness and an abyss so deep I can’t fathom ever being able to climb out. And nothing I can do or say seems to soothe me. My only choice is to survive it.

And I did.

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March is for ‘Moving Forward’: Or how I learned to let go in my way

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I’ve always struggled with letting go. It’s a really strange and difficult concept for me. I think partly because it seems like … so sad in a way to me. Rose should’ve NEVER let go of Jack, just saying.

My struggle with this concept of letting go (which incidentally means I also struggle with acceptance, but that’s another post for another day) keeps me holding on to the past well past it’s expiration date. This makes it really hard to live in the present. I end up spending the bulk of my time either reliving the past or trying to envision a brighter future versus just being right where I am in that exact moment. My friends have all noticed this, counselors too. The advice? Let go. Let go of the past. Stay in the present.

But … how?

Seriously.

No one really has an answer for that. It’s unique to everyone I suppose.

Letting go of the emotions attached to a previous experience is especially difficult for me as I am a deeply feeling personality type. This means when I do relive the past, I relive every emotion associated with an experience. If it’s a pleasant one, then that’s great! If it’s a painful one (which, let’s be honest … the painful ones are the ones most people struggle to let go of), I am basically recreating the exact same awful emotions I felt the first time. It’s a cycle of repeated suffering and torture and it’s mostly self-inflicted.

There’s the ick part. The good part is I may have found a way to stop the cycle.

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The icing on the cake: What I’ve learned after the first month of my happiness project

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So .. it’s been a month since I officially began my own ‘Happiness Project’. What is a happiness project, you ask? Well, tbh I’m still kind of figuring it out. It was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s own book ‘The Happiness Project’ and for me, it’s basically a year long project dedicated to discovering what things really, truly make me happy and how I can restructure my life to include more of those things. It’s also dedicated to figuring out what types of things I might THINK make me happy, but in fact really do not.

Ultimately my happiness project is teaching me to be more mindful.

Each month I’m trying to focus on one or two specific areas and dedicate my time and energy to discovering ways to amplify my overall happiness in these areas. February was dedicated to friendships, relationships and self-love. (March is dedicated to moving forward and letting go. I’ll write more on that later, but March is set up to be a pretty transformative month.)

For February, I wanted to really focus on the people and relationships (including my own) in my life who really are so key to my overall happiness. I know that for me at least, it’s ridiculously easy to get focused on lack, especially on the tail end of a heart break. ESPECIALLY when almost every couple in February seems hell bent on reminding everyone that they’re in a relationship and it is beautiful and omg all the love. Which .. yes I am happy for them! For sure! I want real happiness and love for everyone!

However, when romantic love isn’t in the cards at the moment for oneself, February can kind of be a raw deal.

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Galentine’s and girls night: Thoughts on friendship, love and happiness

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February. Valentine’s Day. Ugh.

The day (and month) every singleton dreads because it is basically a celebration of everything we’re not. And for those who are yearning for a relationship, the build up to the day and the day itself are just salt on an open wound. Double ugh.

This year I’m quite happy at being single. Genuinely. Maybe for the very first time in my life EVER I feel at peace and excited about facing this next year alone.

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve dedicated the remainder of this year to my own ‘Happiness Project’ and that my theme for 2018 is ‘Discovery’. I’ve also decided that, similar to Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, I intend to dedicate each month to a subject. Something to explore and experiment with and discover something new about myself.

So .. it’s fitting, even if cliché, that I should dedicate February to relationships and love.

Triple ugh. Just kidding.

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Experiments in Happiness

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I had ice cream for breakfast recently. (gasp)

Someone left a pint of chocolate ice cream at my house and normally this would throw me into a borderline existential conflict. I would struggle with the decision to either throw the pint out without eating it (because of my never ceasing ‘diet’) … or binge eat it all in one sitting, only to feel great shame and berate myself afterwards, vowing to never eat that crap again.

That morning, after an early workout, I decided to take a different approach. I added a little protein powder and ate a proper serving size. Then threw the rest away. This, for me, was an experiment.

Typically I would feel great remorse even having something sweet AT ALL, let alone for breakfast. I mean I’m still trying to lose 10 pounds which my mind never lets me forget. So how did I feel after? I felt ok. I hadn’t binged, I’d had a proper serving size. I felt … happy.

I’ve written about how my 2017 was a particularly difficult season. I feel like with the turn of the new year, however, that the clouds have finally lifted and are allowing some perspective to shine through.  Along with a very positive, very energetic desire for change. (*Cue angels singing in harmony*)

Though last year was rough, I’m a naturally positive, happy person and I feel like I’m finally shaking off the ashes of the years before and getting super motivated to learn and to conquer the whole wide world. Or at least my own.

First step? I’m starting a year-long Happiness Project.

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