To The Goddess Unchained.

To The Goddess Unchained.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work
'When you're a powerful woman, you are a goddess unchained. And everyone will have something to say.' @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet

Dear beautiful woman,

Hi. It’s me. We haven’t met, but I feel like I know you. Scratch that – I know that I know you. And I don’t mean that in a pushy, I’ve-been-there-before-so-now-I-know-you-and-also-everything way. I mean that in the way that we all come from the same source, the same sisterhood, the same #rigged system that’s made us believe false truths throughout the ages that nothing we do will ever be enough.

I know you are struggling right now. With what, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the job? The relationship status? The family or kids or lack thereof of both? As someone once said, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

But what I do know is this: your struggle is inflammed by the perceived expectations of the world around you.

~

To be kind, to be humble, to be gracious – to be boistrous, but not too much. To be soft, to be resilient, to be a leader, but not too much. To be heard, but not absorbed; to be wild, but at the same time tamed. This is the dichotomy of being a woman. Just a woman.

And to be a powerful woman – oh jeez! That is a task of itself, a dance more precise and more stress-sweat inducing than walking through eggshells. One misstep and the craaaaaaaaack of everything delicate below you rings loud in your ear. You must be bold. You must be brave. You must be a mind-reader and truth-teller but always know when and where your place is to say such things.

Success, you must learn, is relative. And success, you must say, is nothing but smoke and mirrors. But success, you must learn, is both the pinnacle of acceptance and the beginnings of lifelong critique. You are not kind enough, or humble enough, or gracious enough – or you’re boistrous, but way too much. No softness, too much resilience, too wild, too heard.

 

Because when you’re a powerful woman, you are a goddess unchained.
And everyone will have something to say.


I believe in you, lady. I believe in your grandness and your solitude, your quietness and your noise. I believe in the way you walk through the world, step by forceful step; the way you trip sometimes but always keep going. There are pebbles lodged in the soles of your shoes and dirt encrusted on the laces, relics from the places you’ve been and the things you have seen. Resist the urge to scrape them off. They belong there, they complete you – shoes were not meant to stay crisp and clean, in my opinion.

You have the answers you’re looking for, deep down. Whether they’ve made their way to the surface yet, TBD. You’re not supposed to wake up one day and know. But anyone who says they do or assumes the opposite is a liar.

Surprise, surprise: the hallmark of being a true adult is knowing that you will never know.

~

And so you, goddess unchained, you are grappling with the knowing and the not knowing and to that I say you’re doing it right. The world wants you to believe it expects you to know but all that is is a desperate plea to fill in the blanks. Blanks that are not yours to fill, blank spaces that aren’t meant to be filled in the first place.

But the last thing I want you to do, sweet friend, is get defensive and stew. How Dare They! How Dare This! The world is not conniving against you, the world just does not know. The world is a child, curious and stubborn. It’s wary of change. It wants to see what sticks. It wants to know what can be cuddled, and how hard, without being smothered. It wants to know what can be crushed, and how hard, without being broken. You don’t have to be the parent or sitter – but rather, the other curious child on the playground who is building sandcastles in the sand instead of eating it.

Nothing you do will ever be enough?
Everything you do is already enough, by the very nature that you’re doing it.


The world is reactive, so you must be proactive.

The world takes cues, so you must make your own.

I don’t want you to look down at the quicksand and say, How Dare They!

What I do want you to do is stand in the middle of the storm and exclaim with pride, How Dare I!

 


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My Journey, My Self.

My Journey, My Self.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

It was almost a decade ago but I hear the words like minutes have passed.

Sobbing on a friend’s couch, head buried into his sweatshirt-covered shoulder, after he called me up and told me I needed to take a second look at my life. I cried at the realization, I cried at the acceptance, I cried at the knowingness I’d buried and planted flowers over all along. I wanted to march over then and there, I said, and give an ultimatum.

The shoulder lifted and my friend looked me in the mascara-blurry eyes.

“We romanticize things in our minds. What it will look like, how it will be.

Don’t go over there now. Not like this. Romanticizing the drama always looks better in your head.

Sleep on our couch tonight so you won’t be alone.”

self love

I tell myself stories often, to my benefit and my detriment. It’s a part of me I’ve learned to work with, a part of me that used to take the reins. My storytelling can make proverbial mountains out of proverbial molehills if I let it. It can also make the little moments be the most life-changing. It’s the part of me that used to get high off of fantasizing about the wedding in the ranch, the full-time theatre career, two kids with my exact upbringing. It’s the part of me that now gets high off of small-but-huge risks, the stuff that might not look the most impressive but feels astronomical.

My entire twenties have seen social media morph from a way to connect and reconnect to a way to create and recreate. I’m of the very specific age group targeted in social media’s first boom: college kids in 2004. I can’t speak for my whole age group, but I feel as if we’re even more acutely aware than others of how much or not-much social media is playing a part in someone else’s life (and also more self-aware as to how much it plays in our own). Some older generations are trying to keep up even though they might not really care, and some younger generations have it as a crutch of what they’ve always known even though they might prefer to feign indifference. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum based on how much power we unknowingly give it. Even the nicknames used to describe our internet presence are rooted in our core desires to feel safe, sustained, and of lasting impact: Our feed. Our quilt. Our digital footprint or imprint.

We’re all guilty, whether we’re posting or commenting. We’re telling stories; stories that sometimes get muddled up with the truths. We project what we want perceived, and we fashion stories out of what we see. Because what social media does is tell a grand story if you let it, a life verified by the scroll of a page and a slew of comments reading “GOALS.”

This isn’t a post about social media, it’s a post about self-love. But I do think social media can be used as a vehicle for discovery, if we choose to see it that way. I do love sosch’, but I’ve found the way I’ve utilized it in the last couple years has greatly shifted from even a couple years back. I find that when it comes to social media, I learn the most about myself now not by posting, but by listening. I find the more I listen, the more I can self-regulate. Am I sharing because I have something to say – or because I feel uncomfortable not being a part of the collective noise? Am I posting because I am what I say – or because I am scared, lonely, or just got into a fight with someone and portraying otherwise helps me fake it till I make it? Do I need a reaction from anyone, or is this truly, honestly, just for myself? Am I opening up because I feel I must to fit in – or because it’s a small overflow of the gargantuan self love I’ve built within?

self love

Going into a new phase in life – a new year, a new job, a new relationship, a new decade – it brings up a lot. How honest have I been with myself along the way, and how have I risen from my own ashes? Have I addressed my underlying imbalances, or have I mistaken band-aids for white blood cells? Am I interested in lasting change, or am I just convincing myself I’m doing something to get there? I’ve never fully understood until now why New Years Resolutions and traditional goal-setting tactics never resonated with me, let alone worked. But I’m starting to think it’s because, deep down, I’ve always known that the mere act of checking something off a list will never get me that feeling I so desire: that feeling of being more full of life than I could possibly imagine.

Danielle LaPorte recently wrote a beautiful piece on self-love, saying that sometimes we “act” like we love ourselves so that we don’t have to change. A harsh reality to face, but one we must nonetheless (I urge you to go and read her words over here, they’re brilliant). Fake self-love can turn into a cop out for truly growing into the person you are meant to be to this world.

I’d like to add my own spin onto what D said…although it might not be the most flowery thing to read and definitely not the easiest. True self-love can only come when we lean into those areas of ourselves that make us uncomfortable, when we take full responsibility for the problem and full responsibility for the solution.

True self-love can only come when we take full responsibility for the problem + full responsibility for the solution. Click To Tweet

Sure, it’s easier to blame shit on your parents or exes or that punk boy in 7th grade gym class who told you to shave your legs. Sure it’s easier to find someone who will clean up the mess for you so you don’t have to touch the grime: friends, mentors, boyfriends, girlfriends, a book you read over the weekend and can quote ad-nauseum and leave it at that. “They say” that it’s important to spend some time learning who you are in this life. But what if that never happens? What if that time is spent lonely and longing, coming out on the other side no less answer-filled and no more yourself? It’s easier to place blame and agree to solutions someone else has outfitted.

But doing the work of living means doing the WORK. To not is to catch yourself in a booby trap. The bait is there, disguised as aid or sweetness or ease or love. It takes a strong will to resist, because man does it look enticing, and not at all dangerous at that. I used to think that the best things in life SHOULD be the easiest, the most carefree. Signs of struggle or lows were warning signs to get out. And, you know, sometimes they are. But it takes true exploration to be able to distinguish between red flags and the gifts of hard work and that special hybrid of both.

The best things in life, I’ve found, are never really easy. But what they are is right. Like the evening on my friend’s couch when, against my will, I came to the realization I’d been living with my eyes in the future for far too long. How things would be when XYZ happened. Checking off boxes and rushing to fill the next. Reveling in the comfort and ease of the familiar, too scared to venture into the unknown of what it would be like if I spent some time by myself – even though I was altering my needs to fit someone else’s, or altering someone else’s needs to fit my own, even though my belief-set was based in stories.

It was easier to stay where I knew I was loved enough. Because, you know, answers are never guaranteed – and fulfillment is less than a speck on a hazy horizon. Why venture toward something you can barely see?

self-love

I’m not of a religion that was brought up with the new testament, nor am I even slightly religious to begin with (spirituality ≠ religion, in my book)But religions are collections of stories, I’ve realized, and boy do I love a good story. One of my favorites…I can’t tell you where this appears or in what context. I can’t tell you the players and I can’t set the scene. But I know the lesson, I know the epiphany, and it’s what I love most. And when it comes to the words, I say it’s not just about the love we give and receive to and from others, it’s about the love we show ourselves.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Sometimes, to protect, trust, and persevere means to forego what is applauded for what is true. Sometimes it means to let go of what is easy for what is right, even if it includes the tears, the loneliness, the confusion, and the doubts; especially if it includes the tears, loneliness, confusion, and doubts. It means going through those moments to realize you wanted the ranch wedding because of the story it told of what was on the outside, not what is on the inside – and the inside is SO much better. It means going big and falling flat on your face, or actually succeeding and having the epiphany that you’ve been tied to a former version of yourself all along.

It means going on a wild, wild ride of brilliant colors and moments all sewn together by a ragged, sturdy, tear-stained thread that makes us whole and creates our real quilt and footprint. It means being brave enough to walk towards the hazy speck, and to unearth what’s underneath the flowers, and to know you are never and will never be alone, no matter what you find.

Sometimes, to protect, trust, and persevere means to forego what is easy for what is right. Click To Tweet

I tell myself stories often, to my benefit and to my detriment. It’s the part of me that gets high off of small-but-huge risks, the stuff that might not look the most impressive but feels astronomical. Resolutions and goal-setting are secondary – always, always secondary to the quest for fulfillment and self-expression. This year, let your lists and checkboxes come to you, magically appearing and checking themselves off along the way. Trust that the journey to self-love will bring you more than you could ever imagine – and the story it tells, I promise, will be a good one.

katie_horwitch_WANT

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Shitstorms + Sunshine: 4 Questions To Rescue You From A Negative Holding Pattern

Shitstorms + Sunshine: 4 Questions To Rescue You From A Negative Holding Pattern

Body Community Love Shift Of Power Tips + Tools Work

When I was 24, I was convinced I had the worst luck ever. That I was irresponsible, clumsy, and losing the adult game. Mostly when it had to do with my car. That year, my old car broke down three times in a span of two weeks. The third time was in the middle of a downpour, the transmission had blown out, and it was revealed that my car had been a lemon. My new car got its hubcaps stolen (who does that?) over and over again for a good five months as I was subletting from a friend. After I moved to an incredibly safe neighborhood, it got broken into and I was robbed of my filled-to-the-brim gym bag, which I had left inside for a good few years with no repercussions. I moved again. Broken into again. And all the while I’d call my best friends crying: I’ve gained weight (I had). So-and-so is bulling me (they were). I don’t have money (I didn’t).

Honestly, I’m almost surprised this negative loop I was in didn’t have harsher consequences – and so thankful it didn’t. Even moreso, though, I’m thankful I got my act together enough to see a pattern in the loop – to see that none of this was random whatsoever.

Today we’re getting down n’ dirty not only when it comes to crushing negativity, but when it comes to putting an end to the negative patterns you’re seeing pop up over and over and over again in your life.

Sometimes we get so used to saying the same negative phrases and complaints on repeat that instead of being problems to solve, they morph into statements without answers. We’ll say things as if they’re “just how it is,” blurting out these definitives so often they become etched in our vocabulary. Our fallbacks when things aren’t going our way.

And then there’s the patterns. The negative, disheartening, discouraging patterns of small-yet-huge occurrences that make you feel like you can’t catch a break, or worse yet, that “this would only happen to me.”

If you keep finding yourself in the same ruts over and over again (as so many of us do), same dissatisfactions, same problems, ask yourself…

1.) What in my life outside of this problem is so out of balance that there is this external manifestation here, trying to alert me to the fact that something is out of whack?
Our lives are in a constant state of energy exchange. And in this energy exchange, the currencies might look different but are all of equal value. I don’t want to call this “karma,” because it’s not as if you’re “getting what you deserve” (what a mean way of looking at things). Think of it as more of a universe-al red flag: if you’re not using your energy to address the imbalances in your life, whether they be at home, at work, in your physical/mental health or your relationships, the world starts to take notice of the avoidance and match the level of avoidance with its warning signals.Take an honest peek at your relationship with work, with your community, with your partners and most importantly, with your self. And then be proactive – not reactive. Right away, do one thing, however tiny, that can signal to the universe that yep, you’ve got this.

2.) Am I searching for some kind of validation (or attention or sympathy), or am I truly interested in a shift – do I like the reality of shifting or do I like the drama of trying to constantly figure it out?
Many times, we’ll use negativity as a bonding tactic. Negative feelings, thoughts, and phrases are “emotionally heavy,” meaning they make us feel and react in a very specific, sensitized way. Those create drama. And you don’t need me or WANT to tell you that as humans, we are drawn to drama. Whether we love it or hate it is besides the point – drama conjures up very strong reactions from all of us. Since others are drawn to drama, you’re pretty likely to get a reaction when you say something negative. If you’re truly interested in making a shift, your thoughts and words can be a way for you to figure things out. But only you know what you’re truly interested in, and if the reality of making a shift is truly something you want – and will work to get.

3.) Am I using complaints or grievances to keep me in a safe zone or distract myself and convince myself I’m doing something to activate true, lasting change?
Another thing about negative talk, specifically complaints and grievances about yourself or others, is that it’s incredibly distracting. Distracting and convincing. It’s a form of procrastination, really – like staring at a computer screen for an entire day with Gmail and WordPress or Excel or whatever in one window and all the social media channels you follow in another, then telling yourself at the end of the day you were trying to work. Sure, you checked your email a few times and filled out a few sentences on your latest project, but if you were to really look at your day, you spent more time on social media doing “research” than actually getting down and doing the work. Don’t let the way you speak of your life get in the way of you actually living it.

4.) What’s my priority?
Now that you’ve identified what’s out of balance, if you’re actually interested in change, and if you’re using your negative talk as a distraction, it’s time to figure out what you DO want. And moreover – if you’re making it a priority. I’ll let you take it from here.

When I was 24, I was convinced I had the worst luck ever. I had a lemon car, I had a car with highly-coveted hubs, I got my windows smashed in twice. I was out of money and I was gaining weight. In reality, I was not irresponsible, clumsy, or losing at the adult game. I was coming to the realization that everything I thought I wanted out of my life wasn’t actually what I wanted it to be. I was transitioning career paths, work environments, friend groups, and a whole stage of my life I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted to leave behind. I was spending to make myself happy and was eating to distract me from my lonely uncertainty. I was getting into arguments with people I loved, and was rarely speaking my truth. The vague feeling of rightness in my life was being overshadowed by an even louder feeling of discontent. I was in transition getting to where I needed to go. Of course my main mode of transportation was breaking down on me time and again: I had to figure out my internal GPS.

25 – really, 25.5 – hit, and I found a job, one that started to morph into a career. I decided I was sick of complaints, sick of sidelining myself, and sick of feeling uncomfortable inside and out. I stood up to the people (unknowingly) pushing me around, as awkward as it was. They still loved me. I distanced myself from situations that made me feel weak or lesser-than. I still had places to go be myself. I realized my priorities were not what I thought they once were, and started putting the things I felt strongly about, so strongly, felt it in the marrow of my bones and the cells in my capillaries, I started putting them first on my plate.

This might not be comfy, it might not be easy, but I can promise you with all of my being that if you have the courage to conquer these questions in the face, you’ll be all the better for it. It’s not a remedy for every problem in the world, and I sure as hell can guarantee you’ll still have shitstorms come your way. That’s what life is all about, the challenges and the triumphs, the sweet and the bitter. The old saying is right – but there’s a twist that most people miss in the retelling: When it rains, it pours. And when it suns, it shines.

IMG_0737



WANT yourself:
Has anything in your life ever been so far out of whack, the universe just wouldn’t let you off the hook? How did it manifest itself? More importantly, what was the first thing you did to make things start shifting around?

And if you’re currently in a rut, after answering these questions tell me – what IS your priority?

 


Gone Girl: Coping With Loss (When You Just Cannot Deal)

Gone Girl: Coping With Loss (When You Just Cannot Deal)

Community Love Shift Of Power Tips + Tools Work

I have many character strengths.

Coping with loss is not one of them.

Whether it’s a stitch in time or a relationship gone sour, I’ve never fully come to terms with the “right” way to deal with loss. Maybe it’s the eternal pragmatic positivist in me or maybe it’s the attachment to what was, but every time I’ve dealt with loss it’s felt like a part of myself has driven away.

just a smaller version of who i still am today. she's still in there.
just a smaller version of who i still am today. she’s still in there.

This weekend, I saw a lot of family I have not seen in ages. A couple members had no clue I write. They said they were looking for me at the Oscars, asked what play I was in right now. And I explained, with full confidence, that I’ve since taken a step away from the acting world to focus on something more aligned with what I feel my purpose is. I wondered if that identity had been lost forever.

When my grandparents moved out of their house of 52 years, I did not help pack the boxes. I don’t regret it per se (as I feel regret’s a useless emotion), but I wonder if I would have felt more of a sense of closure if I had. Leaving behind that house, my own second home, broke my heart. I still play out scenes in my mind, walk through the hallways and up the stairs to the wall filled with family photos. I don’t want to forget. Not remembering would mean death and I just cannot deal.

my grandparents on their honeymoon. total babes.
my grandparents on their honeymoon. total babes.

There are members of my family, older members, who are just not like how they used to be. Approaching the golden years of one’s life, it’s fascinating to watch how everyone deals differently. Some are in denial. Some have had a gameplan for years, decades even. Some choose to use their lifetime of wisdom for a greater good. Some just cannot deal.

We all grieve a tiny bit throughout each day. The loss of the morning, the loss of the first cup of coffee, the missed phone call you were so waiting to get.

And each of us deals differently. Some of us make jokes. Some remain silent. Some pour their feelings out to a friend, and some cry out their pain. Some distract themselves with possessions or plans; some become angry and bitter that what they want has slipped from their reach. Some deal. Some cannot.

As I deal with my own sense of loss, ironically in a time of my life in which there is so much newness and possibility, I struggle to find what works for me. Because in the past, my coping mechanism is to detach. Engaging in the loss is way too sad; hanging on to the glimmers of hope just feel futile.

But I feel as if all the loss tumbleweeding towards me at the same time is a lesson to be learned: you have a choice as to how you deal with it this time.

We might not be able to do anything about our past, but we sure as hell can do something about our present and future. For they too, one day, will be lost. Learning how to cope in a way that’s right for you, in line with your own ethics and values, is something you can always rewrite. Just because you didn’t reach out then doesn’t mean you can’t reach out now. Just because you mourn the loss of those high school years you didn’t even realize were the safest ones you’d ever know doesn’t mean you can’t reconnect with the influential figures who shaped your young life back then, building new relationships and marveling at where the world has taken you both and yet how you’re essentially the same. Just because the house is sold, the job is done, the relationship is over, doesn’t mean that you don’t still carry with you a little piece of what you were supposed to take with you as you step-by-step down your own hero’s journey.

Allow yourself time and space to grieve in a way that feels in line with who you are, in that moment. No shame, no regret. At worst, you’ll learn a lesson about who you are. At best…you’ll learn a lesson about who you are.

We sometimes forget that we get another morning, another first-cup of coffee, another chance to connect. Our lives are splattered with loss – yet the more we learn how to embrace it in a way that feels right for us, the less those losses will feel like forevers. They become transitions. They become touchstones. They train us how to feel…and how to deal.

katie-horwitch
Coping with loss might not be one of my strongest suits, but that’s because it’s constantly in flux. There is no “right” way to deal with loss – there’s just the way that’s right for you. And coping, in a sense, is really just a way of hoping, a way of praying that tomorrow will begin again and be just as bright as the yesterdays you knew. Here’s the deal: if you allow them to, they always are.

 


WANT Yourself:
Question – how have you dealt with a particularly difficult loss in your life? What’s some advice you can give for people who might be struggling?

All Men Are Jerks And Other Lies: Why D-wads Need To Stop Giving Good Guys A Bad Rap

All Men Are Jerks And Other Lies: Why D-wads Need To Stop Giving Good Guys A Bad Rap

Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

There’s this man who used to come to my classes when I taught at different studios (where I no longer teach) who I run into at the gym every so often. I worked out this afternoon and went to get a coffee. This man happens to be behind me in line, totally fine. I go and wait for my coffee, he comes over to talk to me. Whatever. But the thing is, half the time he was talking to me, half the time he was talking to my chest. He kept talking, kept stepping in closer, kept glancing down. It got so obvious and uncomfortable that I crossed my arms and held my freaking clutch purse over my top 1/3 to literally create a shield from his darting eyes.

I go to the same place every workday to get lunch. The floor staff around the produce and smoothie area is mostly male, and I’ve gotten so much kindness from them I can’t even count the instances. They’ve even cracked jokes with me when we both witness something absurd (and that happens a lot). But there is this one “bro” who on multiple occasions has given me the look-over or even muttered a “Daaaamn” as I walked away from him (although – or maybe because – he knows I’m in earshot). While he is on the job. I love this place and I will not stop going – but I will also not stop zipping through the salad bar area making no eye contact, ice queen demeanour’d, until this guy either quits his ogling, or the kind, humanly treatment by others makes me feel safe to walk through without anticipating that anger will get the better of me when I hear his leers.

I heard a couple of grocery store men talking about me one day in Spanish while organizing carts. This was in the San Fernando Valley, in the summer, so naturally I was wearing a tank top and denim shorts so that I would not die of heat exhaustion. Now, I don’t speak Spanish well (at all), but I can understand. I later called up the store manager and let him know that his employees, while I did not want to get them fired, were acting completely out of line. To this day I still zip through grocery stores unless there have been established acts of genuine kindness and human treatment to make me believe otherwise. These guys are not only souring their own reputation, they’re making it worse for every great guy out there – and believe you me, there are a lot.

I sometimes wonder if men realize that it is more risky to say “don’t say that/don’t look at me like that” than to just put on a “bitch face” or pretend to ignore them. Continue reading

the stories we tell.

the stories we tell.

Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

My friend Chris once told me that when he felt a moment of breakdown, he repeated to himself, “The emotions of the situation are not the reality of the situation.”

My friend Jen Pastiloff says to me one evening, “Katie.  Are you telling yourself a story? You’re telling yourself a story.”

I felt worthless after breakups, spending nights collapsing onto the floor in hysterics, in fetal position, carpet soaked with tears and heartache. Gasping for breath on a friend’s shoulder, being told “Don’t go over there now. Not like this. Romanticizing the drama looks better in your head. Always.”

I tell myself stories often. I over analyze, I think the world of everything and therefore expect my every breath is picked apart because I am just so absolutely obvious that how can it not be? I pause a second too long or trip over a word and think my reputation has been redefined for the worse.   have Principal’s Office Syndrome. Although a smart girl, friends with everyone, in love with my teachers, I would be called to the office as a little girl and assume the worst. My mind would race and I would tell a story. I would remember an instance I was standing next to a girl who was being catty to another classmate and tell myself I was being called in to be suspended – and in my mind, what was worse was that all my teachers who I viewed as mentors and daytime parents would hate me.  I would be hated.  I’d lose my place.  I became a very good storyteller.  I got better as I got older. I drove myself mad.

Everything was more dramatic in my head.

And sometime after the principal’s office and after the breakup and after the nonsense I started to slowly realize the drama was so engrained in me I could either let it control me or use it to serve me.

Sometime around when I started doing yoga regularly and found friends who not only served as dear friends but as inspiration and mentors – sometime around that time, I started not to take the story as the truth.

I started to probe and feel okay doing so.

I started to analyze people and situations and moreover myself.  Former and present self alike.  I started to take the emotions of the situation and probe as to why they were happening within the reality of the situation.

And then something happened. I started to want to understand and be understood instead of agree and be agreed with. I would look at the actuality of the situation and the players in this mad game and delicately peel away the cocoon threads protecting the heart of the matter.

I still tell myself wild stories that I am thought ill of, that I am screwing up, that I am really just breezing through this all too easily and am bound to end up back at square one with nothing. That someone is onto me; that I know exactly what I am doing but really I don’t know shit. That someone is always more qualified, more talented, more beautiful, more special and well-liked. Just More.

And when I tell myself this story I take the drama, I take the romanticized truth in my head and I ask WHY.

And usually the story I tell is rationally improbable.  And much of my story is rooted in a desire to love and be loved or just simply a surface-level reaction.

A premonition that I might have something to be sorry about.

“You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.”

~Wendell Berry