Gallery-Written

I Surrender—AGAIN.

I used to think I had to manage my stress. And despite some of the things you read here, for the most part I can be a pretty happy go lucky person, so I thought for a long time it was working. I’d write and paint. I’d go for walks. I’d laugh with friends. I meditate. I journal. Scratch that-I use this page as my journal, ha. I do affirmations. I do all kinds of self development. And earlier this year I started doing acupuncture and energy healing. And now I’m learning to do energy healing on myself and others as well. And while all of those things are good, and these things have pulled me into a huge spiritual, and magically transformative season of growth, I realized the other day that my stress is not something I need to manage. As managing it had just become code for pushing it away.

My emotions aren’t something bad, they are not another annoying mess that I need to clean up. And don’t get me wrong, it feels like a mess when it’s coming out! Shifting and taking another step up isn’t always all zen, sitting in a room with crystals and meditating. I have all kinds of thoughts and feelings coming out of me that I tried to bury. For example I didn’t think it was ok to be angry. Especially because I was the most angry at dead people. And I wanted so badly to be good and nice and to fit in, that I pretended not to be upset even when I was. And it was confusing because I could recognize when I did lose it (or when others were projecting, aka losing it), that it wasn’t helpful. So what do you do with it? I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to manage it.

And that’s ok! I didn’t do anything wrong. And if you’re trying to manage it, you aren’t doing anything wrong either. You are trying to move in a positive direction and that’s great, but maybe you are as ready for this next step as I was. And maybe you can find your way there faster if you’ll think of this example the next time you’re in the thick of it.

Just after Halloween, and perhaps not surprisingly just after obtaining a level two in Reiki, I had all kinds of emotions bubbling up. I was angry, AGAIN, all the time! I felt like I was white knuckling it through EVERYTHING. Everything was getting under my skin. I was getting sick of myself, AGAIN.

I didn’t understand, I thought I was doing all the “right” things, walks and meditation, reiki, etc, but those feelings were still there. And I was starting to get snippy with my family and I don’t like that. I started to wonder if anything I was doing was actually helping. I started to tell myself that this is just another thing I’m going fail at. It was painful and confusing. In hindsight I can see that obviously my mindset had shifted back into some past patterns. But now I realize it’s also because I kept trying to manage it. To make it go away. Then one day my son and I headed outside, I was cleaning up pumpkins and other things from Halloween and he was sliding down the hill on our property. At one point our dog, who was supposed to be inside, got all excited and jumped on him. She knocked him over and scratched his face. He was crying but I was so full of my own emotions I couldn’t take it, with gritted teeth and balled fists, I stormed over there. I tried to hold it in but I starting yelling at both my son and the dog.

“Damnit, I told you not to let the dog out. Now look!”

“Bad dog”

“You wouldn’t be fuckin’ crying right now if you’d have done what you were told”

Not my finest moment. It really didn’t need to be a big deal. Any other day, I could have just comforted my son, he had learned his lesson the hard way. I didn’t need to pound it in with harsh words. Any other day, I could have corrected the dog, she is incredibly smart but still a puppy essentially, and doesn’t really realize how powerful she is when she excitedly jumps up to play with her buddy. Which is why she was supposed to stay in until I could supervise. But it wasn’t any other day. I had years of rage sitting just below the surface. I was ready to tear a strip off of anyone. I grabbed the dog by the collar and smacked her on the nose. I wanted to spank the living fuck out of her. And although we believe in positive reinforcement to train her, she now cowered in fear like a dog that had been beaten her whole life.

I could tell she was terrified, and my son who had every right to cry, now looked at me in horror as he said, “please don’t hit her.”

I started trying to justify my actions, but I paused. I felt so ashamed that I started to cry. I apologized and told him it was wrong for me to react that way. We had a good talk over hot chocolate and rehashed some rules about the dog. And you’d think maybe it was done, but I could still feel that pent up energy in me. Only now I had added shame. I still didn’t know what to do. And I couldn’t go meditate or go for a walk, I had chores to finish. So that’s what I did. And as I was taking the pumpkins out to the compost heap I realized one of the pumpkins still had a candle in it. My husband had put one of my nice candle holders in it and the lid of the pumpkin was frozen shut. I fucked around with it for a little while, muttering about “that fucker.” Until I finally freed it by smashing it open with my foot. It felt so good I kept smashing, then I grabbed another and another, and kept beating, punching, screaming and kicking out all the anger and grief and sadness, until I fell to my knees beside them. And I cried and I cried.

And you might ask yourself why I would be telling you this. I’ve wondered myself why I’m doing this. But I’m figuring it out. I’m doing this because it gives me hope. Even more than that it helps me to surrender, to be vulnerable, to say I’m not perfect but that is the greatest reason to show myself more love, not less. And I hope that one day you’ll read this story and refer back to it when you need it most. And I will too!

Because it’s that kind of self love that keeps you true. It’s that love that pulls you back on the road when you feel yourself heading into the ditch. It’s not about spa days. Its not just for women. It’s what keeps you from crashing. So the more fucked up you fear you are, or your life is, or dare I say you think other people are, the more you need to ask yourself, “what can I do in this moment to love myself better?”

It’s about realizing it’s not about “them.” It’s not about what happened to you. It’s about you. Knowing and loving and seeing that you are the amazing person you are and have always been.

And sometimes that will be achieved through meditation or walks or sports or whatever. But you don’t need to manage your emotions, you need to feel them. They demand to be felt. If you’re stubborn like me, you’ve probably tried everything you can to deal with them. But I ask you friend-have you ever tried surrendering to them? Try it. Be mad, be sad, cry, beat the face off your jack o’ lantern. Do what you can for you, so you can LET IT OUT. That is how you stop hurting yourself, that is how you stop hurting anyone else. That is how you heal and break the patterns that throw you off your path. That is self love.

Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

Just Visiting.

Sometimes when I’m just hanging out, minding my own business I get these visitors.

Ding dong.

I open the door and surprise! Sometimes it’s Happiness coming to say hello. Sometimes it’s Elation. Sometimes it’s Sadness. Sometimes it’s Anger. Do you know them?

They probably visit you too.

I also get the odd visit from Anxiety and Depression. Maybe you do too?

I like when Happiness, Joy and Wellness come to visit. In fact I usually ask if they can stay longer. Except when Grief shows up at the same time. Cause then Confusion shows up too, usually that’s when I think about asking Happiness to leave. But you’d be surprised how much room you can make for everyone!

Oh ya and some guests are easier than others. Joy loves laughing with me. But anger always makes a mess when he comes around. Brave always convinces me to try new things, but Scared often shows up at that exact same time and he’s not really into new activities.

And oh my when Anxiety and Depression show up-yikes. I used to put up caution tape. I wanted to keep others out while they were visiting. I was so embarrassed by them. They’re always lying, they yammer on and on, and they never have anything nice to say. They always drag out the old photo albums, even the ones I thought I’d gotten rid of. They bully me. And even when I tell them I have other things to do, they disrespect me, follow me on errands. Interrupt activities with my family. And I don’t want to be rude but they kinda stink. Usually at some point Angry and Sad make and appearance too and if I ask them to leave, they all trash the place. Ugh, and now Exhaustion has decided to drop by.

And believe me, I get pretty sick of some of them. I tried hiding inside and not answering the door, but Numb sneaks in the window or something, cause he’s always there when I’ve tried it. And anyway I realized if I don’t answer I’ll never know when Happiness comes around. And I’d hate to miss a visit from her.

So what to do? What to do? I’m kinda realizing it doesn’t matter which one comes to visit they are total attention hogs. And I noticed they all try to say they’re me. It’s kinda weird. I mean I’m cool, but fuck, it’s creepy guys. You’re not me! You’re just visiting!

And then it hit me. They’re just visiting! It’s kinda rude of me to invite Happy in with open arms and then tell Depression to fuck off. I wonder if that’s why he misbehaves? They all have some valuable qualities. So I decided it doesn’t matter who comes to visit, I’d break bread with them. I’d face them head on, visit, and hear them out. It’s a bit uncomfortable, especially when Depression invites his whole gang in. They’re still not my favourite guest, but I started to notice that when I make room at the table for them and give them space to speak they don’t stay nearly as long. Turns out they are usually just looking for someone to fight with. So I’ve started embracing them too. And I can tell it really throws them off their game, they aren’t nearly as noisy. And if I can I make it a point to invite Love in while they’re there, well that makes things a lot easier! In fact the more I invite Love in, the more likely it is the rowdy boys just smile or nod as they pass by.

And now when they go, I can honestly say thanks for the visit. Because although I hope some of them don’t come back right away I am thankful for all of them.

Because regardless who’s visiting I know now that I’m going to learn something new and gain new experiences from each one. But on those days that they are noisy and getting under your skin, take a page from my book. Invite Love in, and if it seems you’re own Love is nowhere to be found, reach out. You are not alone!! Just keep reminding yourself over and over that you are not your emotions. They’re just visiting!

Gallery-Written · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

I am

I am.

I am the love that I give,

And the fears that I fight.

I am the light that you seek,

And the darkness of night.

I am the healing truth ,

And the lies that make you unwell.

I am heavenly wisdom,

And your own personal hell.

I am all that is right,

And all that is wrong.

I am a happy tune,

And the worlds saddest song.

I am wholeheartedly myself,

And I am the masks that I wear.

I am gracious and forgiving,

And the asshole who’s never fair.

I am a nourishing source,

And I can take your breath.

I am as miraculous as birth,

And as painful as death.

I am the love that I give,

And the fears that I fight.

I am the light that you seek,

And the darkness of night.

J. Thoresen

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

Laugh Lines.

Grief has always been a big part of my work. And while it is true that grief has also been a major player in my life, I must admit that I’m not always sure how to hold space for those that are grieving. So when I was contacted to paint a picture for my sons friend as he struggled with the recent loss of his Grandma, I was honoured to say the least. And as I worked I thought a lot about life and grief, and of course love. As it’s my belief that grief is simply one of the ways that we continue to express our love despite our loss. And while in the earliest days of grief we often feel lost within the weight or sharp pain of it, it does soften and change over time, to something of remembrance. And as I painted this piece, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the number of amazing laugh lines this lovely lady had accumulated. Each one seemed to speak to me. I wondered, how many laughs she had shared with friends over coffee? How many kids and grandkids had she comforted with a smile? Surely the greatest mark of a life well lived is the number of laugh lines we can accumulate. And I can only hope that one day this painting will remind this family, not of their loss, but of a woman who was always smiling and whose love and laughter brought so much joy to their life.

————————————————

Jessie Thoresen

Medium: Coffee and Watercolour pencil.

Gallery-Written · Life · Uncategorized

Mermaids

This one is for all of my Mermaid sisters. Dive in, you are magical and mystical and all you need to do is believe it.

Mermaids

One day she heard her name,

in the oceans mighty roar.

So she dipped her toes in the water,

But didn’t dare to leave the shore.

But returning to her life on land,

She felt homesick and pained.

And she swore she heard the waters call,

Everytime it rained.

As the rain became relentless and it rose around her neck.

Silently she wondered if she had found her death.

But a voice inside her whispered,

“You just need to take a breath.”

And it was at this deeper depth,

she could hear her sisters sing.

And from that moment on she knew,

she needn’t fear a thing.

Because it had always been inside her

All that was wild, and free and true.

She has the power of the oceans roar,

And the steady tide of the deep blue.

J. Thoresen

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

I Was So Mad!

I Was So Mad! Finding peaceful ways to deal with difficult emotions.

One of the things that always surprises me as I share more and more of what has gone on in my head and heart, and life in general, is that most people had no idea. Especially anger, most people never would’ve guessed that I was angry. I guess I’m a better actress than I gave myself credit for. I didn’t let on when I harboured resentment towards my loved ones. I tried to suppress my anger so no one had to be subjected to my wrath. I hid what I thought would be perceived as unacceptable or unladylike. I tried to bend and twist myself to make others comfortable. They didn’t ask me to. I just lacked enough self love to discover and be who I truly was. But this facade often made me nervous and I’m sure at times my behaviour was awkward. I very rarely showed a full rage of emotion to anyone. And if I did it was only to the handful of people who I felt I could actually be vulnerable with, and really bare my soul. I have always been more sensitive then I let on. And I had in fact trained myself to feel less. Because feeling so much can be exhausting, especially when you don’t know how to deal with it. So I developed coping mechanisms, to deflect or insulate myself from heavy emotions. I secluded myself or used humour to get by. But as I delve deeper into this self awareness journey I’m discovering that some of the coping mechanisms we build to help us survive weren’t necessary designed to help us thrive. Or at least not in the way we used them previously. When we are dealing with big emotions like anger, grief, sadness, bitterness, resentment and the like, it’s much more likely that we use our coping mechanism to suppress these overwhelming emotions. But by suppressing them, they have the ability to keep returning. They will eventually take center stage in our life as our thoughts will keep returning to them. Many in my family tree have tried and failed to escape these emotions by numbing them. Which generally just led to another rabbit hole, alcohol and drug addiction. I am thankful every day that I found outlets like the arts to turn to. But I am not perfect by any means, I have swallowed a lot of bitter pills through the years. And regardless of how amazing your boundaries or coping mechanisms are, eventually some of the bile you keep swallowing is bound to spill out. Possibly into the body as disease-or possibly you’ll pour it onto some poor soul, who’s most likely battling their own demons in their own destructive way, and have found them self in your path.

To be honest even though I’m doing the work, there are times that I still employ my acting skills. Because I’m still healing and still facing my demons, so to speak, I still lean into those old habits from time to time. And honestly I think that, that is ok. There are times, like when I’m parenting, that I still put on the mask. I do this to shield my children obviously, but also because my children have been a motivating force. One that not only pushes me to look in the mirror and face my inadequacies, and those darn demons so they don’t have to. But also one that pushes me to reach higher, to strive for my highest self in the hope that I will be the example that they need. A good example that is.

So what does one do when they are faced with these overwhelming or potentially “dark” emotions?

Now I’m not a psychologist. But I have developed a certain set of skills through a lifetime of trial and error, mostly error. Along with therapy and mountains of self help books. This is a combination of a few methods that I have found most helpful in dissolving these rather difficult emotions.

So—when you’re struggling, upset or disturbed, simply look at yourself and say:

“I love you (insert name), I’m sorry you’re struggling/hurting, what can I do for you right now to make you feel better?”

Sometimes I need to go for a walk, sometimes I meditate, or cry, or nap, sometimes I realize I need something nutritious to eat or that I simply need to drink some water.

And so, if possible I try to do whatever I think my body is telling me. This is a very important practice. Always, always check yourself before you wreck yourself. Ha!

But seriously, by taking this time to check in with myself, I take some time to pause. It allows me to ask myself why I really feel the way I do. And ultimately by asking myself what I need and how I can love myself more, I find I’m feeling less reactive towards other people, situations and struggles! It’s been life changing for me.

As well if you feel like there are situations or people that really trigger you, possibly they’ve treated you poorly or they are affecting your life in a negative way. I really suggest you take a look at this next step.

Start by looking in the mirror and saying “I love you.”

It’s ok if you feel silly. If it’s hard to say that, try “I’m learning to love you.”

Or, “I’m willing to love you.”

If you find yourself blaming, judging, jealous or just generally angry at someone, look at yourself and say whatever you feel you need to say in that moment, pretend to yell at them, cry, punch some pillows, write it down then shred it or burn it. Do whatever you can to get that emotion out. Once you’re done, go inward, sit quietly with your eyes closed and imagine the emotions flowing out of your body, (I like to imagine all of those dark emotions flowing into a box). Acknowledge that the reason most people act the way they do is usually because they are in pain. You don’t need to excuse their actions, or make what they do/did ok in your mind. I simply say “I accept everything that has happened,”

“I accept you, as you are.”

“I was there, but now I let it go.”

You may not believe it at first. And you may feel yourself resist as you do these things. I promise it gets easier with practice.

As you practice you’ll begin to see that people only do what they can, with their level of understanding. You don’t need to waste your energy trying to make them understand.

Next if you can, imagine sending love to the object of your anger and imagine your love dissolving the disharmony between you. Remember how we filled that box with our dark emotions. Now it’s time to dissolve it. I like to imagine my love as a fog of light, and the moisture dissolves the box like a sugar cube in the rain. I try to imagine good things happening to the people that I’m struggling with. As we do this, we remind ourselves that whatever feelings come up, they’re simply trying to tell us something. By recognizing them we can possibly see where we can do things differently on our end. Maybe we need to find better ways to communicate. Maybe we need to let people know how we expect to be treated. But ultimately we need to try to understand why we allow someone else’s behaviour to affect our own inner piece. Again this isn’t about excusing some one else’s behaviour, it’s about figuring out how to shine a light on your own self worth or lack thereof and filling yourself up with so much love you don’t even notice the things that once bothered you.

Once you think your anger is dissolved, if you still feel you need to talk to them, (and it’s safe to do so) think about questions to ask them. Why did you do that? As opposed to, how dare you do that? We are meant to connect and learn from one another. Our emotions simply guide us to where we need to heal, this is where we need to do more work. As we ask questions though, know they may not have an answer for you. Or, you may not like their answer. Again, remember this is about you. Not about them. You have no control over what they do or feel. They may have never thought, or even care about how their actions have affected you. But you get to control how you react and move forward. If you feel overwhelmed by anger or emotions, it’s ok, but before you lose it or rage on them, step away. Repeat the above steps.

Say “it’s ok to have these feelings. I felt angry/sad/disappointed/ resent etc. But I’m willing to let that go.”

“I (am willing to) forgive”

“You are free, I am free”

A little trick I like to use is to put my emotions on a sticky tab as they come up, especially if I’m busy. Then when I can I do the above schpiel, I do. Plus I really enjoy ripping them to shreds or burning them after. But before I light fire to my troubles I say to that emotion in the mirror, “thank you for this experience.”

“Thank you for helping me to discover what I needed. Now I release all feelings of (insert emotion)in all directions of time. I forgive and accept myself and others in order to heal and for the highest good of all concerned”

“I let it all go.”

“I’m thankful for every experience.”

“This life is amazing.”

“I deserve all the good this life has to offer.”

“As I love myself I can share more love with others.”

“I love you!”

Incorporate your own affirmations. As you move past those dark emotions, think about what you want. Fill yourself up with love. And as you do this, expect to feel about ten billion percent lighter (in your mind, body and spirit). There are new experiences coming your way today. Give thanks and go get them!

Gallery-Written · Life · Marriage · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

She Gathers Rain.

Ya know what? Marriage can be weird. It can really stretch you. Most people would assume (I think) that I have a decent marriage. And I do. We don’t beat on each other, and to my knowledge we don’t cheat on each other. We are good partners. BUT, the last several years we’ve gone through many changes! And with those changes we’ve had growing pains. We have been the best and worst of friends. And although I love him, there have been times that I thought I hate him. Although I had never been a jealous person, following a friends divorce, there were times I absolutely convinced myself he had to be cheating too. And there have been times I absolutely hated myself. Ironically because I myself have (mentally) flirted with a line we swore we would never cross. Through the years, when we have struggled, I wondered if this marriage is right for me. I think we both found it easier at times to tell the other person what they’re doing wrong, rather than look at ourselves. There have been times I wondered if it would be easier to throw in the towel. But somehow we never did. The last couple years we’ve gone through a lot of pain and loss, both together and individually. And it was challenging because we both had to deal with these things in our own way. It’s challenging because we can both be “fixers,” it was hard to allow each other to just go through what we needed to. He immersed himself in work. I expressed it outwardly through the arts. And although I had been feeling great, I’ve been in a lot of pain recently. I’ve also been pretty emotional as sift through a lifetime of buried shit. And as I peel back each layer I’ve been telling him everything that I’ve been holding back in my head and heart. And it’s been overwhelming for him I think, he doesn’t love talking about emotions. Sometimes it even seemed to make him angry. Sometimes I thought he wasn’t listening. Sometimes I thought he didn’t care. He’d ask me why I’m putting myself through this torture. But something inside of me just knows I need to do this, and I couldn’t stop now even if I tried.

Tonight though I was sitting naked, crying in the shower, trying to get some relief from the pain. He tried to comfort me. He didn’t try to fix anything. He didn’t tell me this too shall pass (I know it will). He said he was sorry I’m hurting. He said sometimes I make him think of the song “She gathers rain.” He wondered if it’s what I’ve been going through. And when he played it I just cried even more. Although I think and hope this marriage has what it takes, I know I can’t control anything within it except myself. And I know what I’ve believed about love has evolved. I know most people don’t want to hear it, but I know this will heal me. I know I am whole. And I also know that the more I love myself the better I am getting at loving and allowing others to love me.

I read a quote the other day that said, “sometimes love doesn’t meet us at our best, it meets us at our mess.” And as we shift into yet another chapter I think it may be true. Because as I sat weeping in that shower I thought I don’t need anyone to “get me” anymore but in his own way I think this guy actually does. Maybe he always did? He sees me. And I’ve never loved him more!

Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

To all of the people I knew before.

To all the people I knew before.

This is goodbye.

Goodbye from the girl you thought you knew that is. You know the girl that was holding back. Welp, I don’t know how to say this, except to just say it.

She’s dead.

Ha! You see, something weird and wonderful has happened. I haven’t been able to figure out exactly how to describe it though. So I’ve just been letting myself live it. And it’s been overwhelming in the best possible way. I find myself just bursting into tears because the sky is so beautiful. Seriously. And I know some of you might be thinking that the cheese has finally slid off the cracker. And to be honest I have felt like I’ve been flirting with the edge of madness for years. But I promise you that the cheese is right up on there, and I am eating that shit up. Because, well, it’s delicious.

But let me back up a bit. I want to tell you a story, to help you understand where I was. It’s a bit of a mouthful but I’m hoping if you stick with me you’ll see it’s all worth it. For those of you that have been following along, you know I started this project as an outlet for the pain and grief I had experienced throughout my life. I had kept it a secret initially, as I’m definitely not a writer. And honestly I was scared to share this side of myself. But sharing my feelings and my story was therapeutic, and art fed my soul. What I haven’t shared though, is that I have been battling big emotions, and either trying to manipulate my environment or make everyone get along for as long as I can remember. I would never peg myself as a victim though, in fact I would tell most people I had a great life. And despite it all I am resilient as fuck, and have managed quite well for myself (and alongside my husband). What I didn’t often share though, was that this life of mine had never felt like a charmed one. I was surrounded by addiction and the disfunction that goes along with it as a kid. While my mom worked evenings and my sisters found reasons to stay out, I would often stay home. I’d put my drunk Dad to bed after school. I’d clean the house or act silly, noticing that if I could make everything nice, and make everyone happy, our home would be peaceful and much more loving. But the murder of my Grandma due to domestic violence shook me up. I had just turned eight. It was confusing and scary. And then, just as my Dad was getting a handle on his addiction, he died. And despite his flaws I had loved him as much as I’d ever loved anyone. I still do. His death broke my heart. After that, despite my efforts to get on with it, life just seemed like an endless series of unfortunate events. I was kind of embarrassed about it, but I had no drive to become anything. I just wanted to work mediocre jobs. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in my early twenties. I was married to my love, but I struggled to navigate my role as a step parent to the son he had been blessed with as a teen. I was always worried our distance would make him believe he was hard to love. Which of course was never the case. He was incredibly easy to love, which just seemed to make everything about the situation seem more difficult. And I made many bad choices in my life, which I’ll get to later. But I tried to do better too, even though my self shame often got in the way. I had dealt with anxiety since I was a kid, and would freeze up in most new situations. I thought I was managing it, but I was so afraid to fail or look stupid, I wouldn’t try anything. If I did go anywhere I would hide these fears with my big personality, or by talking a mile a minute. In the same way I would entertain or manipulate my family to keep the peace, I could fool everyone. Then I suffered through many years of infertility before doctors discovered I had a pituitary tumour (on the underside of my brain). But thankfully this discovery and it’s treatment helped me to enjoy the pregnancy I’d always wanted. Only to have my bliss interrupted by postpartum depression and rank hormone shifts for years following his birth. And so the cracks began to show, I was angry all the time. I felt unworthy as a mom and wife. It took a toll on my mind, my body, and my marriage. Then my sister died. And although I didn’t really let many people get close to me anyway, it seemed like everyone was always leaving me. My brother in-law battled a cancer scare. My father-in law died. A diagnosis of PCOS, during another battle with infertility. My entire family seemed fucked. Everyone of us, was sick or in pain. And despite years of trying to make everyone see eye to eye, it all seemed to be unraveling. And my own mind was split. I loved everyone so much. But I couldn’t be everything, (or anything) to most of them anymore. I was too tired, so I just stopped trying. But I also felt like I might explode. I either wanted to go yell at everyone in the world, or just cry. I usually just cried. I felt completely misunderstood, and utterly alone. Physically, I felt like shit all of the time. I was always swollen. I kept getting rashes all over my face. I was always tired no matter how much sleep I got. Some days I struggled to walk. I tried to get help. And I’m a good patient, I took my medicine faithfully and followed their advice, but I never felt good. I told the doctors I couldn’t live like this anymore. The more empathetic doctors offered anti-depressants and more medication, to deal with the effects of the other medicines. But most of them treated my complaints like an annoyance. I felt that ultimately I was on my own.

So I’d scratch and claw my way to health, to love, to life. Which is how this project was born. Self care became my health care. And although I’d get little glimmers of light, sometimes even believing I might be on the right track, something else would happen and I’d be down again. I kept telling myself to accept it all, “it is what it is,” I’d say to myself.

I’d try to live my life through the lens of love, but it seemed so many things were outside of my control. These things kept affecting my life. So all too often I would fall back into fear. Life seemed so unfair, I was so mad, and so filled with pain. I was so scared of disconnection, and the thought of losing another person I love. But I hid it fairly well, and I would try to have a good time and ignore my anger. But the reality was that I was always prepared to throw down and fight anyone that I deemed as a threat. And it seemed like more and more things were bothering me. I couldn’t get off of the complain train anymore. Being around people took up so much energy, I rarely spoke to anyone. It was too risky. At the same time I thought I had it all figured out, and they were all wrong. Alot of these people said they were “healed,” and “saved,” that they knew the “truth.” And just as could use my intuitive powers to sense emotions, build people up, entertain or help them co-exist, if I was mad or scared enough, I’d employ my skills to knock those threats down. I had read the same books they had, and I knew how to hit where it would hurt the most. I would think“I have to show them!”

I’d think, “How can they be so blind?”

“Why can’t they see how mean, how manipulative, how judgmental and controlling they are?”

I thought my good intentions made it ok. I desperately wanted to lead by example, and I had the right idea. I knew that love was the answer. But for the first time in my life I didn’t care if anyone saw me as the bad guy, because I thought if I felt I was right and they were wrong it was ok. And despite feeling morally superior at times, for some reason I also felt more and more that I was becoming a walking dead girl. A shell of who I was, and wanted to be. I wasn’t suicidal or anything, I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I knew if I didn’t do something soon I would be fucked. So I screamed up into the sky, asking what the fucking point is. I cried, and I begged for help, over and over.

And then in the midst of this embarrassingly lame existential crisis, something weird started happening. It seemed like I started getting answers. I had been seeing repeating numbers for the last several years. And while I hadn’t taken much stock in those things, now I couldn’t escape them. My phone would buzz to life by itself. I started to see little blurbs about local healers and natural healing every time I went online. So I got on the waiting list for a naturopath, and I started acupuncture. I started doing affirmations and working more intensely on self love, self control, emotional intelligence and body love. I started feeling a lot better, but I still felt like my focus was all over the place. Something was holding me back and I just didn’t know how to let it go.

I finally saw the naturopath though, and we made a plan for my health. Which included my emotional health. I had done talk therapies, and felt I’d gone as far as I could with it. So she suggested I check out energy healing. I was open to it, and I left her office with a plan. I was feeling cautiously optimistic.

I started to do the work. And following some energy healing, I was struck with this moment of extreme clarity. My entire life flashed before my eyes. And all of the things I had been struggling with bubbled up and I felt myself let go of them. I could see while I’d been doing a lot of things since I was a little kid to make life seem easier, I had in fact been holding in a lot. And eventually holding back a lot. And I could keep looking for people or things to blame, or I could face the fact that all of the really long term damage I had done to myself. The release was uncomfortable, as big emotions often are. And it was scary letting go, because if I let go of Jessie the sick person, Jessie the comedic relief, or the fixer, then who was I?

But I knew it would set me free.

I suddenly realized all of these things hadn’t happened to me, they had happened for me. And each diagnosis had been a wake up call. And anyone that knows me well, knows I don’t like phone calls. It usually takes at least three calls,(hoping you’ll just text me instead) before I finally pick up and see what you want. And so, true to form, that’s what I did. I had ignored each call, until I couldn’t stand to ignore them anymore. But I finally took the call. I knew I was either going to die, or learn to love myself, learn to accept myself, learn to be myself. I could suddenly see that all of my external struggles where in fact a mirror to my own internal struggle for self love. It’s like everything I had been through, and everything I was doing, was this gift that had been coming together. A lesson that I needed to learn. Feeling unworthy, made me realize my worth. Feeling like I wasn’t accepted, pushed me to accept myself. Feeling lonely, made me realize the joy of my own company. Feeling unloved pushed me to fall in love with myself. And while everyone else was on there own path, I could see how all of our paths were interwoven. I felt so much love for everyone. Any anger or frustration, or push to control seemed to evaporate. I was filled with so much compassion for them, I could clearly see that they were all reacting through their own fear and pain, just as I had been. I knew I could forgive them. And I knew I could forgive myself. I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. ALWAYS! And so were they. I realized the only role I had to play in anyone’s life, was to love them.

This beautiful release and a lot of emotions continued for several days. Every time I’d meditate I’d have very clear memories of love and of friendship. It was overwhelming. I could see even more clearly how those moments of love had saved me. A few days after (what I’m calling my awakening) though, it sort of occurred to me that I’m still human. Ha! I would still have to experience grief, sadness, and frustration, but now I could also experience joy and pleasure. And while I started to worry about falling back on my old methods, I stopped myself. I even considered deleting everything I had previously written or created, because I just didn’t feel any attachment to those feelings anymore. But those things had also gotten me to where I am right now, so I knew I couldn’t regret them. And I realized I’m still going to be learning. But it’s like I’ve been scrubbed clean, and now I just need to see where this new chapter is going to take me. And I’m so glad y’all are hear to join me. I will eventually be sharing more stories and creating more art. And I am certain I will be healing, and not just emotionally. I believe my health will heal as I do. But like I mentioned earlier, I’m also just letting myself live. I’ve decided the best thing I can do with my time right now is to bask in the summer sun, while my son looks for a lucky four leaf clover. And all I can do is to smile as I watch him, knowing we don’t need it.