Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “December, 2015”

I’ll Take Fundamentally Human

Ugh. So I did not get the job. As you can imagine, I was super psyched to write all about it. (Why yes. You do detect a note of sarcasm…)

Yes, I cried. Yes, I am embarrassed. But I am not unhappy. I am disappointed and I am sad, but I have zero regrets. And that is huge. How many people can say that? About anything?

The first thing I will say is that the whole experience was great. I know it didn’t end the way I hoped it would, but that didn’t make it bad. In fact, while it was happening, I kept thinking, “this is what life really is. Life is getting excited and getting an opportunity and working your ass off for it.” But life is not about always getting what you worked your ass off for. And I am not angry. I am not angry at life. I am not angry at my friend who asked me to apply for the job. And I am not angry at myself. I was amazing. I did great work that I am proud of. And I gave it everything that was in me.

That 100% effort is something special. It leaves zero room for doubt. There is not a single “what if” lingering in my head or heart. Which is the opposite of what I was always afraid of. I am historically a half-hearted attempter. I have spent most of my life doing the bare minimum. Because that way, I never had to find out if it was true that I wasn’t good enough. If I did my very best and it wasn’t good enough, I always thought that would be incontrovertible proof that I was broken. I didn’t want to know for sure because I was so sure. But it turns out to be the exact opposite. By giving myself completely, even though I did not get the job, I am positive that I am good enough. Living so as not to have regrets also lead to no fear.

When my friend who asked me to apply for the job told me I didn’t get it, she said that my work was excellent. I didn’t get the job because the company figured out a way to get the work done with people who were already on the payroll at the company. In other words, it was not that I didn’t get the job, so much as they eliminated the job. And then she said something to me as a friend. She said that I should follow this dream, and be paid to be a writer. That lots of people needed what I could do. That having the talent was the hard part. She asked why I wasn’t already writing for a living.

The answer to that is very old. And for the first time in about 4 or 5 years, I have brushed up against it. And it hurts.

When I started writing this blog, I wanted to change the way I related to love. I spent my early life thinking that there was something fundamentally wrong with me. Not physically, or mentally. Not that I could not do the work. Not that I could not be taught and learn. Not that there was anything I couldn’t do. It is so much more primal than that. So much more terrifying. I have had the belief that there was something so wrong with me that I would never be able to succeed. Like a spiritual curse. Like bad fate. Like I was born incomplete.

When I was reunited with my boyfriend and we fell in love, this “fundamentally broken-ness” became obsolete when it came to love. And that was a miracle. I had spent my whole life wishing to find and fall in love, so when it happened, I got a life beyond my wildest dreams. For real. It still is a life beyond my wildest dreams. And I think if I died today, all of the life and all of the love would be enough.

But then somebody offered me a dream job. And I started to ask myself if there was something else I wanted. And I do. I want to make my living as a writer. I want to live like a grownup with a grownup job. I want to make grownup money. I want to know that there is nothing “fundamentally” anything about me. Except maybe human. I’ll take fundamentally human.

So my guess is that this next phase of my life, where I try to shake loose all of the rubble that keeps me buried in “fundamentally broken,” is going to be emotional, and sometimes trying. But I have dug myself free of all sorts of graves before now. And I will dig myself out of this one.



Presence for Christmas (Yes, I know it’s a bad pun…)

This week has been an e exercise in keeping my focus in the presentmoment. And on top of that, keeping happy and peaceful.

I don’t know where I stand in the job process. And I have not allowed myself to dwell on it. I have especially not allowed myself to worry about it.There is a saying: Hell is in the hallway. It means that the time that one is waiting or transitioning is always the most trying and difficult. 

I don’t have the luxury of wallowing in worry. I’m an addict. Wallowing of any kind is a chocolate-cake-binge waiting to happen. 

Having huge emotions is something I have had to make friends with. I have learned that they have their place. I won’t pretend I’m good at controlling them, but I no longer let them control me.

I used to think that my emotions meant something. I thought they were “The Universe” telling me some irrefutable truth. It turns out that my emotions are the physical expressions of my thoughts. When I change my thoughts, I change my feelings.

It’s not hard to change the way you think, but it takes something. Mostly, you have to be willing. Willingness is key. Willingness and commitment.

Giving up sugar took willingness. I had to be willing to sit in what was uncomfortable and not numb it with cake. And sitting in discomfort made it possible for me to change my thinking. Commitment to not eating sugar meant that if I didn’t want to be uncomfortable forever, I had to come up with new ways to be comfortable. (By the way, being high on sugar was not really very comfortable. Certainly not as comfortable as self-respect.) They say necessity is the mother of invention. I had to invent new thoughts to go along with my experiences. I had been thinking like an addict for my whole life. I had been thinking like a fragile, dramatic child. And that kept me eating compulsively.

When I committed to putting boundaries around my food, I committed to changing anything that got in the way of that. And that included being responsible for having positive thoughts. It meant being grateful for all of the amazing things in my life. And having faith that life is always working toward the better. 

The other day, our furnace broke down. I had to be at work that afternoon. For the first 15 minutes, I was in a panic. And then I remembered that whatever happened, it would all turn out fine. I called the repair people. I set up an appointment. And I stopped worrying. 

It actually all played out perfectly. The furnace was fixed and I made it to work on time. But the best part was knowing that even if it hadn’t gone perfectly, it would have been perfectly fine. Because in any given moment, I can choose to think gratitude, and feel faith in the benevolence of life. 

Failure, shame, love and trust

I wonder what it is about failure that makes me want to hide it. Not that I think I am the only one. Obviously, it is part of the human condition. But the overwhelming fear of humiliation is so intense that I want to show everyone (friends and strangers alike) that everything is super extra awesome! Nothing disappointing here! I live in a perpetual state of happiness, and life couldn’t be going any better!

That is a lie. 

I was doing some writing work for the dream job I am being looked at for, and my first attempts were a failure. What I thought was going to be a natural, and seamless process of just doing my best and getting the job (easy peasy), turned out to have snags and bumps. And there is the chance that I will not get the job. Not that it’s over, but that what seemed simple is, in fact, complicated. 

I am sharing this because I don’t want to be ashamed of being humiliated. (No, that is not an oxymoron. Shame is about being embarrassed of who you are. Humiliation is about being embarrassed of what you have done, or failed to do.) We already live in a white-washed world. So many of us use social media to display our victories and hide our defeats. We spin everything to show it in the most flattering light. We love filters. We, as a culture, even Photoshop super models, because the most symmetrical of humans are no longer viewed as “pretty enough.” 

So what kind of loser broadcasts their imperfections?

That loser would be me.

The truth is, I might fail. For real. I have gone out on a limb, and chased after my dreams, and done everything to the best of my ability. And I still might not get this job. After I told everyone how bad I want it! *cringe* How uncool can you get?

Getting my eating under control meant that I had to learn to sit in uncomfortable feelings. And what I am experiencing now are uncomfortable feelings. But there is a positive spin to this, and it’s not false. It’s not bullshit. It’s not me blowing sunshine up your ass. The positive is that I trust that whatever is happening is the right thing. 

That did not come naturally. I was not born that way. I am not a special golden child with the gift of self-knowledge. Yes, I trust that life will always give me better than I think I want. But I had to work at it. I had to change the way I think. I had to change the way I act. I had to be willing to tell the brutal truth about myself, and hope I wouldn’t die. By the way, I didn’t die.

 If this job does fall through, I will be disappointed. I will be embarrassed. I will not enjoy telling everyone that I failed at something I attempted. But I won’t be ashamed. I won’t hide it. If it’s my job, I’ll get it. If it’s not, I won’t. 

I will most certainly cry if I fail at this. But life hurts sometimes. Rejection hurts. But since I stopped eating sugar and carbohydrates and put boundaries around my food, I know that it’s not about whether or not I am “good enough” for what I want, but what is the right thing for me and my life. I like and trust myself enough that nothing can make or break me. For the rest of my life I am going to want things. I may or may not get what I want every day for the rest of my life. It would be exhausting to be too attached to every single desire I have.

So I am going to continue to go full out and do the best I can. And I may fail. And if I do, I will tell you about it. With the same love of my life as I will if I succeed. No, not the same joyful excitement, but absolutely the same love. 

Commitment and cleanliness

It is my experience that life will test you. Especially when you make a commitment. When you really want to recreate some aspect of your life. 
If you are committed to drinking 8 glasses of water a day, suddenly, all of the bathrooms in your office are out of order except one. On a different floor. For a week. And you have to decide if you want to keep that commitment.

Recently, I decided that I wanted to leave my current job like a grownup. I want to go on good terms. I put in my two weeks notice just yesterday morning, in fact. (Yay!)

But when I got my schedule for the week I don’t have a day off for six straight days. And I have two assignments for my new dream job as a writer due on Tuesday morning, 8 am. 

I knew immediately that it was a test from life, but it took me a minute to figure out what the test was. It was not, in fact, to test if I was committed to my new job. It was to test if I was committed to leaving my old job like a responsible adult. 

And I assure you, when I saw that I wasn’t going to get a day off, it crossed my mind to say screw this, I have a super sexy writing job now. I’m not going to my crappy food service job.

But there is another story I want to share with you. Many years ago, before I was reunited with my boyfriend, I was going on a lot of dates. And that often meant packing a dinner and eating it in the city at a Starbucks before I met the guy.

Now, I have a person who helps me when something happens with my food. One evening right before a date, I was eating my strictly portioned dinner and I dropped a speck. Seriously a speck. I called my friend and I told her. She said that I didn’t need to call for a speck, but I said I was about to go on a date, and I wanted to be as “clean” as I could be. I wanted my integrity to be solid. I was looking for love. I was looking for an awesome relationship. I did not want a speck of food to get in my way.

The truth is, the date was horrible. I ended up telling him that I was not having a good time because he was not being nice to me. Then he tried to make out with me. (Apparently that’s how he showed how nice he was? Ew. Whatever…)

I left that date. I didn’t stay longer out of politeness. I didn’t let him drive me home. I saw that I wasn’t getting treated the way I deserved, and I ended it right there.

I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t called in that I dropped a speck of my food. Maybe the same thing. But maybe, if I thought my integrity had a crack in it, I would have stayed and let myself be treated poorly.

So here I am, fulfilling my commitment to write my own blog. And I will fulfill my commitment to get my writing assignments for my new job in on time. And I will also fulfill my commitment to stick it out at my other job for the next two weeks. So I can leave knowing I did the right thing. Not for them, but for me. Because I want to start this new job as clean as I can be. I don’t want cracks in my integrity while I am fulfilling my dreams.

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