Posted in healing, hope, learning, self-care, self-love, Uncategorized

Born Worthy

Last weekend, I took my first course in Life Coaching. While the creator of the course, K. C. Miller, was giving her introduction speech, I got really teary-eyed. I thought I was able to blink them back well enough, but K. C. locked eyes on me and said, “I appreciate that you are having a physiological reaction. Would you please share with us?” And then the crying hit my throat, and I knew I couldn’t speak even if I wanted to.

What got me so worked up was K. C. Miller’s philosophy that, “There are no extra people.” It’s simple and short. But the meaning is so potently beautiful, I couldn’t help but break into tears.

I am someone very familiar with feeling “extra.” I didn’t think I had a purpose or a reason to be alive; most of the time I just felt like a burden on my loved ones. I still remember the day I had an insane breakthrough with my therapist, Joy, when she told me, “You matter, Jordan.” It was the first time I had ever heard it, which maybe isn’t so unusual. It isn’t exactly the sort of thing you go around casually expressing to others. But for me, it was life-changing. Before that, I didn’t know if I mattered. In fact, I doubted that I did. In this pivotal moment, I realized that I didn’t have to earn the right to matter. I didn’t have to earn my worthiness. Every single person matters just because they exist. By extension, that meant I must have to matter too.

While in class, there was a lot of sharing (as is to be expected from a healing arts school). I listened intently to the stories of my peers. The boy with the mohawk covered in tattoos. The pretty young yogi. The blue-haired witch. The ever-giving mother. As I listened, I was brought to tears more than once. Throughout all of their trials- be it with addiction, abuse, grieving a lost loved one, low self-worth, poverty, and more- these beautiful humans still found their way to a school where they could learn to heal themselves so that they could then help to heal others. How amazing is that??

I thought, “There isn’t a person alive that you couldn’t love if you heard their story.”

Life Coaching isn’t really about giving advice or sharing stories. It’s about asking the right questions. The goal is to help your client discover their own answers through self-reflection. On the last day of class, K. C. asked us to contemplate, “What is the one most important question that we need to ask ourselves in order to heal and move forward?” Fucking intense, man.

Initially, I came up with, “Why do I think I don’t deserve to love myself?” You see, even with the important realization that I matter in this world, actually loving myself is still a work in progress. Some days it is so easy, I don’t even have to think about it. Some days it is so hard, I don’t want to think about it or I’m afraid I’ll break down.  While I meditated, though, another thought hit me. “Why do I deserve to love myself?”

Even speaking the question aloud, I felt insecure and undeserving. But I don’t believe that narrative anymore, so I am here to answer my question.

Why do I deserve to love myself?

  • Because I am brave.
  • Because I left home so I could spread my wings.
  • Because I lost myself, completely.
  • Because I tried finding myself in bottles of liquor, in strangers’ beds.
  • Because I have had my heart shattered by an ex-love.
  • Because I allowed myself to love again (and again and again…)
  • Because I am a Scorpio.
  • Because I put so much stock into astrology.
  • Because I’m a good ass friend.
  • Because I’ve been a bad friend at times, but my apologies are sincere.
  • Because I am the absolute best gift-giver you’ll ever meet.
  • Because I feel things so deeply, and it’s fucking hard.
  • Because I love learning.
  • Because I hate being told what to do.
  • Because I believe in love and equality between genders, races, and religions.
  • Because I can’t keep a hairstyle for more than six months.
  • Because I’m, like, really funny sometimes.
  • Because I’m an introvert to the max.
  • Because I have anxiety.
  • Because I’m so. goddamn. awkward. sometimes.
  • Because I won’t let my depression win.
  • Because I understand those who do, and I love them anyway.
  • Because I have zero sense of geography, even in my own neighborhood.
  • Because I’ve gotten too drunk and said too many things I can’t take back.
  • Because I’ve cried myself to sleep more nights than I can count.
  • Because I find answers in poetry.
  • Because I find meaning staring into the ocean’s vastness.
  • Because I keep trying to grow things, even though I have a brown thumb.
  • Because I’m a fucking dope wife and an even better fur-mom.
  • Because I know the world is mostly good.
  • Because I know the world is entirely deserving of love.
  • Because I am always striving, always expanding.
  • Because I was born worthy. 
  • Because we all were.
Posted in depression, goals, healing, hope, self-care, self-love, Uncategorized

Fall down 6 times, stand up 7

I am currently taking a class called Building Resiliency. It’s inspirational, obviously, and throughout, I’ve also learned methods and techniques I can use to coach others on resiliency. The techniques are so applicable, I have been integrating them into my own self-care practice as well. (For instance, I have recently found great closure in a past relationship through the practice of Higher Consciousness Conversations.)

What is important to know about resiliency is that it isn’t a personality trait. It’s a skill. That means we can all develop resiliency and learn to grow through the trials life throws at us, and even come out stronger.

For me, building resiliency has really been about coming back from my depression as a stronger person. To be frank, depression knocked me on my ass and sent me tumbling hard into rock bottom. Not only did I feel completely alone, but I felt like I deserved to be alone. I felt like a burden to the people I loved. I didn’t feel worthy of joy, love, or even existing. And through this, I completely lost my sense of identity. I wasn’t an animal-loving, poetry-writing, kind-hearted person suffering the despair of depression. I was despair and depression.

Everywhere I looked, I found evidence of this fact, evidence to support how unworthy of love I was. I put on a mask everywhere I went of a happy, silly, easy-going girl, so even my “friends” and “family” (quotations because, at the time, I felt they didn’t want to be a part of my life and were unfortunately forced to because they felt sorry for me or felt too guilty to blow me off) couldn’t see how lost and full of hurt I was. I didn’t let anyone in, sure that nobody could love the real me; the me that carried a heavy heart and a tightness in my chest so stifling that sometimes I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

For me, rock bottom and the turning point were one and the same. On what was supposed to be a joyful trip to Las Vegas to celebrate friends’ birthdays, I found myself alone, drunk, and crying, wishing for my non-existence. Here, I attempted to end my own life, and was stopped at the last moment. I got to see another side of Las Vegas- an emergency room visit, followed by a stay in a mental health facility where my life was on a consistent schedule of meal times, group therapy, and two outdoor breaks a day. Not what I really had in mind when I embarked on this trip. Still, it was here that I realized, I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to stop existing. I just wanted to feel better. I didn’t know if that was possible, but I committed to at least trying.

I went back to my therapist, who I had been ignoring for the past few months. Here, I did WORK. Hard, dirty, painful, soul-searching work. I strengthened and learned new personal protective factors. Because I spent so much time in the chair, exploring my past, my emotions, my thought processes, I learned Inner Direction. I was able to consciously evaluate how I felt about something and make my decisions based on this, rather than what I felt would make me most lovable to others. I learned Perseverance. Things didn’t feel better for a long time. But I held onto a tiny glimmer of hope that one day, they would. I deepened my Spirituality starting with the belief that we matter because we exist. On days that I couldn’t convince myself that I mattered, I would come back to this belief. Everyone matters, so by default, I had to matter as well. Self-Worth came slowly, and there are still rough days when I can’t find it. But it is now something I know is there, so I trust that if I show myself some love and compassion, I can always find it again.

Another very important piece to my healing was pro-social bonding. Prior to my hospitalization, I spent as many nights as possible going out to parties or bars with a large group of people I considered my friends, but who actually didn’t even know me. After I decided to quit drinking for a while, I didn’t see many of them again. Who I did see, were the people I discovered were my real friends. The ones who called to check in on me in the hospital, and who sent me encouraging notes in the weeks that followed. The friends that I could hang out with without drinking and (though it was scary at first) be my true self around. My circle shrank significantly, but the love I felt grew immensely.

The tricky part about pro-social bonding and depression is that depression doesn’t want you to bond. It wants you to stay home alone and compare yourself to others on social media and wallow in regrets and past traumas. And it’s comfortable, and it feels safe, so sometimes we give in. Some nights, I had to force myself to go watch a movie or meet for dinner because I knew I would feel better after spending time with a good friend. My advice to others dealing with depression would be, “Say yes sometimes.” You don’t have to go to all of the events; in fact, you really probably shouldn’t. But do go, sometimes, with the people you care about and who you know care about you. Being around people who love you is miraculously helpful when you are trying to learn to love yourself.

While I am in a much healthier head-space these days, my recovery from depression is ongoing. There are great days and there are days that I feel I barely made it through. Resiliency is what keeps me going through all the days. Resiliency helped me climb from the shadowy darkness into the light. Resiliency helps me find humor and creativity around what I have experienced. And resiliency helped me find myself again, which was the greatest gift of all.

Posted in anxiety, depression, healing, self-care, self-love

This isn’t a gardening blog

But I did start a garden. It’s small. Four pots. Two vegetables and two herbs.

It’s an experiment in self-care. The idea came to me because I kept drawing the Nine of Pentacles every time I did a tarot reading for myself. The Nine of Pentacles often depicts a woman in her luscious garden, not laboring, but rather, enjoying its richness.

Work hard and then enjoy thIMG_4454e fruits of your labor. The garden acts as a symbol for my real work.

Since my last post, I’ve come a long way in my healing. There is still work to be done (because there is always more you can learn about yourself), but I am in a good place. It’s weird. I constantly question my happiness, am nervously waiting for everything to come crashing down on me and plunge me back into the dark depths of my own brain. But so far, it hasn’t happened. Can I get a HELL YEAH?!

Mainly, I think this is because, through therapy (and more therapy and more and more and more therapy), I’ve learned the skills I need to get back to my center. I have learned that I am worthy of self-care. As someone who has consistently put the needs of everyone I know ahead of my own, this is a new notion for me. But hey, turns out my therapist, Joy, has some pretty solid advice.

Depression and anxiety are different for everyone, but for me, a lot of it was being completely overwhelmed by the smallest, simplest of tasks. If I knew I had to do the dishes, I would dread doing them. I was too tired to do them, but looking at them made me even more tired. The stack would continue to pile up and become more and more daunting. Before bed, I would tell myself, “Tomorrow after school I AM GOING TO DO THE DISHES.” And after school, I was so exhausted I couldn’t bring myself to move off the couch. This could go on for days (once for 2 full weeks). Add to this a list of other tasks: homework; laundry; text so-and-so back; make an effort to socialize (ughhhh). Even things I legitimately wanted to be doing, like practicing yoga, seemed like so much work. I just didn’t have the energy. So I literally did nothing, and my list continued to grow, which overwhelmed me even more, so I did nothing still… you can see how the cycle goes.

Anyway, I have sort of learned how to better manage my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still fall to pieces here and there, but I try to take inventory of how I am feeling, try to be aware of my triggers, and (this is a big one) I try to say ‘no’ sometimes when I don’t want to or don’t have the energy to do something.

Which in turn, gives me time to do things I actually want to do, and thinIMG_4408k about things that I want to think about. One thing that I keep circling back to is writing. Even if it isn’t any good, even if nobody reads it, I just need to get the words out.

So, here I am, trying this blog again after a 2-year hiatus. (Oops.) I’m hoping to document my attempts at self-care and self-love. Because, although I’m better at it than I was two years ago, it still takes work and conscious effort.

But you’ve got to water the garden if you want to eat the damn tomatoes.