I recently started a new gig hanging out with a young woman who has special needs. She was tough to read when I was interviewed with her, but mom told me that because she didn’t just get up and go to her room, I impressed her. Ahh, got it! From that point I started to visit her once a week for a little fun socializing. We shoot hoops in the backyard, play games, and cook. I am really enjoying it.
Today as we were side by side prepping to cook delicious shrimp quesadillas there was this moment. It was this beautiful quiet that can happen when you are fully present with cooking. If you love to cook, you know this moment well.
We were having it.
A few minutes in I hear a giggle, and feel a light touch on the small of my back:
“I like you.”
Let’s stop for a moment here. Think about this. How often do we tell people we like them when we like them? How often do we say “I love you” when we feel it? Not “love ya,” but the entire thing.
I. Love. You.
I. Like. You.
I think it is because it puts us in a fairly vulnerable state to say these words out loud. We feel so yummy inside, and it’s our feeling, but caused by someone else. We don’t say it much because as simple as these words are, they carry so much meaning. And just as my friend had to let out her giggle right before she touched me, statements such as these almost always bring a visceral reaction, right before we say them.
I have learned in my recent years to step into this type of vulnerability over and over again. I say I like you when I like you. I tell you are awesome if you are awesome. If you amaze me, well, take that to heart because I am not the easiest person to impress, ha! And if you asked any of my family or friends if I love them, they without hesitation, would say yes.
Because as much as I try to show them, I tell them too.
Back to this endearing moment.
“I like you.”
Oh! and awe. This feels nice to hear.
And for that moment, I could see myself through her eyes. She just liked the fact, that I was me. How cool is that.
And how bravely sweet of her, to tell me exactly what she was feeling.
I have a student at my work who is a little negative Nancy. She never seems entirely happy from moment to moment, nor easily satisfied. For example, one day we were coloring during free time, and she mentioned wanting to have her old teacher back. I asked what did she like about her that made her want be back in her class? She replied “Well she let me draw and color during free time.”
A few days ago it ended up being just us two girls and a handful of boys in program. For first period they all wanted to play basketball. Normally I play with them (grandma shots and all), but of course, my negative Nancy was unhappy that we all wanted to do something physically active…during physical activity time. She slumped onto a bench nearby and crossed her arms. I decided to see if I could help shift her mood.
“Have you ever played M.A.S.H.?”
I took out some paper from my work binder and gave her first turn. She chose potential jobs, number of children, pets, and “types” of future husbands. When it was time to count off she declared that picking a type of husband was the hardest part.
I might have to agree with her on that one.
When we finished the first round she was appalled at the job she landed. “Whyyyy did I get THAT job?!” Imitating her signature whiny tone I answered.
“Becaaaause, you CHOSE that job!”
Then, it was my turn.
Now this is where it got kind of cool. My girl initially picked some pretty mediocre shit. She had never played the game, and was understandably unfamiliar with how to fully engage it. So as my turns went on, and I had named a horse as one of my pets, “a wild warrior” as a potential husband, and one of my jobs getting paid to travel it started to sink in for her.
There were no limits.
What were her dreams like at this age?
We played back and forth for the entire period. By the time we got to her last turn she was clapping in delight, as she landed an “artistic guy,” a pet dragon, zero kids, and a job as an artist. When I asked if she thought these things could come true she shrugged, but then mentioned with a slight smile, “But it’s what I WANT.”
Later that night I thought about our time together and how my turns went. The initial ones were more in the area of magical outcomes, more silly to reflect the lightness of the game to my Nancy, but also with a hint of truth to which I would not share with even the closest of friends. Sometimes children keep the best secrets. One turn midway I realized was what I thought I wanted, and the very last turn ended up being most of things I currently, really wanted.
Getting out of bed at 1pm. Netflix marathons on the couch at my sister’s, ignored texts, and empty smiles. Late night potato chips and early morning roll overs thinking:
How am feeling like this when truly my life isn’t so bad? Or I guess I should say how am I NOT feeling much at all? New job. Bleh. New people in my life and places to explore. Bleh. A generous friend provides a space for me to live until I figure out my next move. Bleh. Thank you friend, but also, Bleh.
After about a month of the Bleh on my shoulders, and in my mind, I took a job dog sitting. This giant mastiff was unaware of his size and from the way he “talked” to me I’m not sure he even realized he was a dog. I would take him outside and watch him roam around the lush green property. The early morning check-in granted me the chance to see the sun come up. I felt a twinge of something familiar in my gut.
The feeling of content, and of being safe.
Then I started to feel excited about coming to this spot every day for the next week and convening with nature. The excitement turned into hope, and that hope turned into a smile. The Bleh was still there, but I could feel it struggling to stay on my shoulders with every effort I made to really sink into small but meaningful actions of self-care. Over the course of a few weeks the Bleh, still trying to cling but no longer able to hold on as tightly, started to slowly slide off of me, and float away.
I was able to connect with the beauty in my world again. Beauty in the new opportunities that had come up due to the lost ones, and beauty in the relationships that carried me through the Bleh. But also, the beauty of rolling out of bed, down the stairs, into my car, and on to simply being out. Thank god for the sunrise, sunsets, and giant dogs.
I mostly feed my soul with this blog, but for today, this post is not for me.
This is for the friend. The friend who wrote me that she is hurting because she feels like she does not know who she is anymore. She says the world took that away from her. She does not like herself when she looks in the mirror. She does not love herself.
“What do you think Maggie?” she asked me.
“What do you say about yourself?”
Instantaneously I am compelled to answer that
I am grateful.
Then I add….
I really like myself. Actually, I love myself. I am keenly aware of the things that make up who I am that I would not change, because then I would be changing the make up of who I am.
Sometimes though…this can be rather annoying…and I think it becomes this way when you REALLY start to like yourself. Love yourself. When you don’t really like or love you-these things can simply hurt. Sometimes…
It seems the world wants you to be anything but the realrawfreewildnonconforming Iamsohappyinmyownpersonalitybubblepleasedonotfreakinpopit-YOU.
So I try to be anything but.
What people that do not have their own best interests at heart, expect me to be.
Some of you might recall the blog post I did on self-healing, and one of the suggestions I made to write. If you have not had the chance to read this post, please do. Writing has always been one of the greatest outlets I have used to get through things, move forward, and communicate messages when I could not speak them out clearly.
So I want to write about the time I was scared for my life. I want to write about it because I am aware this is a deeply lodged block that was brought to the surface during a healing session with a dear friend, and when advised to face it I clamped up again. It is not going to be dealt with through excessive tears, reliving every single detail of that moment alone in my head, or sharing the story with someone face to face. I further realize this is not about forgiving the other person because I already have, years ago; it is about forgiving myself. Finally. Time to forgive, in entirety…
I forgive myself for allowing someone to treat me in a way I did not deserve to be treated. I did not deserve to be treated this way. I did not deserve to be treated this way.
I did not deserve to be treated this way.
I forgive myself for not getting the hell out when I had those opportunities I stayed. When my friends reached out their hand and I high fived back my being okay instead of letting them hold it and take it and take me away. And I stayed. I forgive myself for dropping out of school and spending every moment I had to spare with him because he declared college wasn’t for me. I forgive myself for keeping my mouth shut and apologizing when I knew he had cheated but yelled at me for knowing he had cheated on me. Yes it appears that I cheated on you, but I didn’t. I did. I forgive myself for not wearing lipstick years after because he said it looked horrible on me. I never liked it, but now the colors are muted, or so bright because with you all I knew was one or the other. You made me quiet with my light. You made me quiet. This one…oh you really got me with this one. I forgive myself. For not singing in the car or shower when you were around because you said I had a terrible voice. No Mariahs here but, fuck you-it was and still is my ultimate outlet. And I rock it.
Most of all I forgive myself for believing I was so unworthy that I stayed with someone who made me scared for my life one night. Around my neck tight. Yelling at me, laughing at the same time I was grabbing hands and trying to pull them away. What if I scratched him. But then he might get more mad. So this is what it feels like to lose more than my voice. I hope I don’t have a mark on my neck. Another excuse, like the bump on my forehead. He let me go. When we walked into that Safeway and I had mascara running down my face, my hair disheveled. I looked in the mirror at that dirty Midtown Safeway bathroom and could not recognize myself.
I didn’t know what had just happened, but I knew he was waiting.
Synchronicity hit me this weekend in a few ways, through one insightful angel card reading, and one insightful friend.
“It’s okay Maggie, to fall apart. You don’t have to act put together all the time.”
Wise words from her last night, as she watched me sob over a very young friend I lost a few years ago. When you lose someone, at least in my experience, it does not hurt any less when you remember. Over time for me though, that point of pain would not so readily surface. When I reconnected with it last night it was like an emotional damn had been opened. I have not cried like that in front of someone in a long time. Since my move to another state I have felt at times that twinge of loneliness when you are adjusting to living away from cherished friends, and trying to make new ones. It felt good to be in the company of a person who could really see who I am, and understand the subtle conflict that was going on during a moment of complete vulnerability.
This morning after conducting an interview in a small stuffy office, I decided to take a little walk and get some pictures of this pretty residential community. Still a little hazy from the night before, and sad, it felt nice to be out getting some fresh air. As I walked around, a little friend in the form of a butterfly flew by and alongside me for a few moments.
Then it landed here:
I watched him for what felt like forever, people passing me by, looking at me quietly staring, taking waaaay too many pics, but I didn’t care how nuts I appeared. I let myself get lost in the moment, and its beauty. I felt comforted.
Back to that synchronicity thing.
I then recalled a woman I met who was able to communicate with my friend who passed telling me that any time I saw a butterfly, it was his way of saying hello. Then, I remembered my dear friend who gave me the angel card reading sharing my connection to butterfly energy. She had urged me to pay attention to it. Ahhh. Okay. Message received.
Yes friends, I had a dream relationship with Khal Drogo. He bought me a sweet red leather jacket, and ice cream. He picked me up from my dorm every day to see how I was doing. At night we would sit barefoot on the grass under the stars, and talk for “hours.” He adored me. I woke up pretty amused! And of course, kind of bummed, but grateful for our day in the sun. Or should I say moon.
Another feeling I experienced when I woke up though, was a twinge of discomfort. I had forgotten what it felt like to hold someone’s affection this way, and to have someone be completely enamored with me. I can only describe it as discomfort because it has been quite a few years in my reality that I have experienced this type of attention from someone. It felt nice in the dream, albeit it only that. You all know how real they can feel.
It is in my nature to be affectionate, loving, and expressive to those who already do, or begin to take up space in my heart. I am aware this is not common of most to outwardly express it with such ease, even if they feel it. Rather than search for reciprocity I consider it my gift, and part of the way I help light up this crazy world. I am guessing the discomfort stemmed from the loss of recognizing how good it fucking feels to be shown love in this way. Excuse the french, but come on…doesn’t it feel fucking fantastic??
Anyway, I shared this dream on Facebook with some of my friends, and as usual, I have my one greatest cheerleader, who is always there to remind me, that I deserve what I dream. Another slight moment of familiar discomfort returns with her comment, but then I override it with what my true nature knows. YES. You are right my friend. You are right.
Although I might have to tweek the dream a tad, seeing that I am not in college anymore, and Jason Momoa might not have the time to see me every day. What with his travels and all…
The truth of the matter Is
I am not longing for a relationship. I am hungry for a connection. I am not waiting for “Mr. Right.” I am continuously working on myself to always feelright. But not for anyone else. Just me. I figure, if I am going to treat someone awesome, I need to feel awesome.
And as I’ve shifted my perceptions on what singleness means to me, I experience a different opportunity. Because I do not have the day to day romantic connection with anyone at this time, I open myself to what it feels like to heartily fall in love in other ways. When I first moved to Texas I met a girl in a meetup group who I instantly connected with. I fell in love with her spirit and beauty within weeks of getting to know her! She lights up my life. I am in love with the first savory bite of a really spicy jalapeño popper. I am in love with my California friends more than ever because I am often reminded they are irreplaceable. I am in love with my bedroom window, and the way the sun hits it later in the afternoon.
I fall completely in love with my Nephew and Niece every single time they call me “Curly Titi.”
Would it be nice to meet a cute guy who could talk books and pull me in for heated kisses while we’re taking a walk? Hell to the Yes. I rest in the knowing this is my future somewhere. So there is no need to wait for something that has already arrived. It’s just not my time, or I guess, it’s just not ours.
So to my 30+ single friends…You’ve asked, and I am answering…
Don’t Wait. Just Be.
P.s. Disclaimer…I do believe those in romantic partnerships still fall in love in other ways, but my perspective can only represent my current situation =)