Pendulum Swings + Disconnect = #VOWprotect

I’ve been struggling for weeks to find balance (Ironic that it’s this week’s VOW right?). Months actually. All I seem to be able to do is pendulum swing. Physically. Emotionally. Professionally. Artistically.

I spent all of last week thinking about why I am doing what I am doing (or not doing). Why I feel so disconnected from myself.  From my life. I hypothesized to Sister that it had something to do with #VOWprotect. That I’ve been trying to shield myself from something. I just didn’t know what or why.

Enter Brené Brown and her new book, Braving the Wilderness:

We all agreed that we get the lonely feeling in places that don’t feel alive with connection….I think places themselves, not just people, can hold those feelings of disconnection too. Sometimes a place can feel lonely because of some sense of a lack of closeness in the relationships that happen in that space. Other times, I think the inability to visualize yourself in connection with people you care about in a particular place that makes a space feel lonely on its own….When we feel isolated, disconnected, and lonely, we try to protect ourselves. In that mode, we want to connect, but our brain is attempting to override connection with self-protection. That means less empathy, more defensiveness, more numbing, and less sleeping.

Disconnection leading to self-protection? Yep. That’s it. That’s what I’d been trying to articulate.

I spend a lot of time alone these days simply due to the fact that I am single and live in my own apartment. That doesn’t bother me. I need more alone time than I used to. I’m  a little more introverted now. But lately, something’s different. I feel less at home in my space. It feels emptier than it used to, despite the fact that it’s more full than it’s ever been. I’m feeling disconnected from my body. Like I don’t know how to move it. How to feed it. Like it’s not quite mine. I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be at the moment but closer than I’ve ever been to what I want. Like I’m just in a holding pattern. Circling.

It’s like I know where I need to go. Where I want to go. What I want to do. But I can’t get there or do those things right now. Maybe the timing isn’t quite right or I’m not quite ready. And instead of striving towards them anyway, manifesting them by assuming they are a given, I’m headed the other direction. Trying to make peace with and adjust to a life that I don’t want and truly don’t believe is meant for me. Because maybe, if I can adjust to it, I won’t be as disappointed if the one I want doesn’t come through.

And all this self-protection is just disconnecting me.
It feels inauthentic.

So this week, I seek

BALANCE.


Steph’s PROTECT mantra: There’s nothing negative about running away to save my life. (Joseph Heller)

Steph’s Song of the Week: Spirit of a Storm by Kenny Chesney

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWprotect post (coming soon).

#VOWbare Reflections

I don’t remember the first time I was naked with a man. I know who it was with, but I don’t remember the moment. What I remember is a time I was naked with you. I’m not sure how far into things we were by that point, but I was in deep enough to have given you everything. You knew it, which is why you must have felt powerful enough to do what you did. We were lying in bed after what I thought was making love—looking back, I realize you have absolutely no idea what that is—and you told me I had a “weird labia.” I am obviously still scarred enough to point out to you, readers, that I do not; I know this because I spent a decent amount of time in gynecologists’ offices objectively making sure. I realize now I should have told you right then and there to fuck off, climbed out of your bed, and never gone back—you were an asshole. You chose something on my body, which I was already insecure about then, that I have absolutely no power to change. I cannot eat less or exercise more to change or tone that shape. You picked that to pick apart, and that is a cruelty I had never known and never will again.

I remember the first time I knew what it meant to love my body. Truly. It didn’t make it out of that Bikram yoga class intact, but at least I knew what if felt like. To appreciate the curve of a hip that is strong enough to run half marathons now and will eventually carry a child. To understand the strength of my spine and all that it can carry. To know I would rather be strong than skinny, healthy despite the size.

At 28, I am finally learning how to feed myself. Recognizing that I like to graze—on small and, whenever possible, shared plates. Accepting that eating mindfully, for this body, doesn’t have to be Whole 30-approved, paleo, or limited to three times a day. Appreciating simple, nearly naked food over complicated meals with used-once-a-year spices.

I know how to be soft, brutally so sometimes, and how to sit with it. To wait out the vulnerability hangover without curling up into the fetal position. To lose what needs to be lost, knowing that ruin is transformation. To love, understanding it’s always, best-case scenario, going to result in eventual heartbreak.

This week, fitting and ironic on so many levels, we try to

protect.


Steph’s BARE mantra: Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. (Brené Brown)

Steph’s Song of the Week: Organs by Of Monsters and Men

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWbare post