Leaving my job took some balls. I was raised in a home where you better just take what you can get and deal with it. Just think of all those people out there who are unemployed and/or homeless. You don’t want to be one of them do you?

We are conditioned to believe that we need to work hard for everything. If you are not exhausting yourself by the end of the day, you are capable of doing more. If you see things that you don’t like at your workplace, you are to shut up and keep your nose to the grindstone. Don’t stand out. Don’t be a target.

In your list of priorities, a lot of people might say they put “God” or their family first, but take a look at the time and energy they spend on things and work is really the their first priority. This is conditioned from a very early age. My parents both worked. My parents would justify their dedication at work as their method of supporting us. I could even almost understand it if their work really filled their passions, but it didn’t. They were distracted. Sometimes it was a pleasant distraction, but it didn’t really fulfill them.

I don’t recommend that people just quit their jobs when they get frustrated or angry. I do recommend that if you find that what you are doing is not serving you, to honestly consider trying something else. Let yourself be inspired to move towards that which brings you real joy and fulfillment. You might not even know what that means right now, but just asking yourself the question is a start.

One thing that I have gained is time. At first, when you are not used to taking time to be with yourself, it can feel unpleasant. Many people pack their day with activities to avoid being with themselves and dealing with their baggage. With the lack of activity, it is easy to hear your fear based thoughts and develop anxiety over the future.

I find that I have gotten better with this over the years, but there is always going to be a part of you that will have a foot in the past or a little concern over how what you are doing might be perceived by others. I have been working on focusing on myself and not giving a rip about what other people think. It is hard to not feel guilty about doing this because I have been taught that being “selfish” is a bad thing. Really, the only way you can thrive and help others is be being “selfish.”

When you allow yourself enough space to separate yourself from the noise of the world, you can focus on your needs more clearly. I have time to focus on what I am most curious about. I have time to follow my interests. This allows you to develop some clarity on who you really are.

Our journey on this planet is based on us wanting to learn and grow. It is supposed to be fun. Just the fact that we are here and breathing makes us worthy. If we are attracted to a way of life, or when we see something we authentically desire, the Universe says okay, it is done. Abraham Hicks says that our rockets of desire deliver our manifestations in a sort of vibration escrow until we raise our vibration to match our desires. We don’t have to necessarily have to be asking consciously, it is automatic. We determine what we really want in the contrast of our lives. What we need to do is to figure out how to raise our vibrations to the point of allowing.

My main focus in this time has been how to raise my vibration. How can I fill myself with more joy? As my self-worth has increased, I realize that I want to take care of myself better. I want to feel at my optimal. I want to tune my instrument so I sound better when I am played because I know that I am worth it.

As I look for ways to raise my vibration, I have also found myself working through old bad tape. I often find that when I visit with Max and Alex, I feel comfortable enough to start examining areas of my life that don’t feel as good. Sometimes this is just in a conversation, but I also meet a lot of my fears when we are dressing up in drag.

As you can imagine, it takes some balls for a man to dress up in women’s underwear and prance around in heels. Yeah, some queens make it look natural, but the truth is that you have to confront all the stereotypes and negativity that you perceive others to have toward your art. It questions your sexuality, your sanity. As an overweight girl who has identity issues of her own, it can equally be as scary.

When I relax and submit myself to the process, I have to often confront my own fears and insecurities. I have noticed that I am completely overly sensitive to touch. Yes, I have been celibate most of my life and I am sure that it plays a role. I haven’t been touched much as an adult, and I feel like I was often neglected as a child in the touch department. Touch might be a sensory overload. Still, when I feel overwhelmed, there is a more carnal fear. I worry for my safety and go crazy.

After a recent freak out, Max asked if I had ever been sexually assaulted. My immediate answer is no. I haven’t been kidnapped. I haven’t been raped. I didn’t have relatives touch me inappropriately, so no. When I think about when I might have had similar freak out sessions to touch in my life, there is a set of experiences that do come to mind.

In middle school, I was a fat awkward little girl. I had boobs before most of the other girls in my class. In some way, I must have also known that I didn’t like boys. I know I was a really easy target. Leave it to a hand full of guys on my bus to focus in on me. They called me “Titanic.” From the second I got on the school bus, to the moment I got off, I was harassed by these guys. I was often fondled by them, called names, had horrible pranks played on me, you name it.

It went on for three years. During that time, no teacher or school administrator ever did anything. I told no one. It was pervasive enough that I knew adults saw it happening. Their lack of interest in confronting them, only lead me to believe that the students had more power than the adults. I didn’t mention it to my parents, because they were big bullies to me too. My mom had told me previously that if someone was being mean to me, it was my fault. My father made fun of my weight all the time. I felt like they didn’t have my back.

As an adult, I feel I should be over it. I never thought of it as sexual assault, even though it had aspects of unwanted touch and coercion, because it wasn’t “bad” enough. I had assumed that these incidents were only meant to humiliate me. I attached my self worth to what they thought of me. I didn’t feel that they desired me sexually. Maybe I did ask for it by just being that ugly.

What I have come to realize is that it was abuse. The fear they instilled in me still lingers. I learned so well from my bullies that I became my biggest bully. I believe this is how other sexual assault victims must feel like.

My intention in telling this story isn’t to rehash the emotion of it, but to understand why my primary responses are what they are. I am trying to confront the old tape and you have to be able to look at that initial old tape honestly. I didn’t deserve to be teased. I didn’t deserve to be assaulted. Now that I understand that I am worth better treatment, I have to confront one key aspect of my damage: trust.

Trust is the faith that ultimately everything is coming out of a place of love. Fear can’t exist in an environment of love. We trust because we have to. We feel better when we do.

Too often, we let past experiences or the acts of a few people destroy our capacity for trust. I believe that most people show their true colors early, and it is okay to reserve our trust for people who have proven themselves trustworthy. But for those of us with huge trust issues, we can find people who we trust and still hesitate to give them trust because of our fear of being screwed over.

As Alex was draping me with some fabric for a dress, he took out sharp shears to trim off some of the access. The entire time I was filled with fear. I was terrified of being cut which makes it so much easier for one to cut you. Alex had made sure that his hand was in the way, so if anyone were going to be cut, it would be him. He made sure to be extra careful. Besides, he had done this before with success.

I trust Alex and Max more than I trust anyone else in the world, but I couldn’t surrender. The fear backed up till I couldn’t take it anymore and I exploded in tears and protests. I was overwhelmed by emotion.

Fear is incompatible with anything you really want. It is our emotional guidance system letting you know that you are far out of alignment with how Source views the situation. Yet, it can emotionally hijack you. Your body courses in all sorts of chemicals, endorphins and hormones. Your body resorts to the primitive fight or flight response.

You can just let yourself get enveloped in the situation and break off friendships or vow never to do certain things again to try an avoid an unpleasant response, or you can try to check yourself out of the emotion and try to examine it as a third person. When you know a response is crazy, and have the ability to stand back and really reflect on what is going on objectively. This process really helps provide one with clarity. I knew immediately what I did not want, so I can now see what it is that I do want and walk closer to it.

I have noticed that when I am fed and have been fairly stable up to this point, I can separate myself from the experience to mine the nuggets I need for growth. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have a melt down from time to time, but it shortens its duration and allows for a quicker and more long lasting recovery.

I used to not trust that I could have a mini-meltdown without alienating myself from others. I used to be so embarrassed and used these incidents as a way to shame spiral for weeks. Once you can establish that you are a good person, no matter what, and you have developed a team of people that you can trust to be vulnerable with, you can overcome what ever it is that you need to.

This experience led me to focus on an area that I want to improve in my life: trust. Although I know that I feel better while doing it, I am still not where I need to be to improve my vibration. Besides, I don’t want to live the rest of my life always being convinced that someone is around the corner, just wanting to screw me over. Life is too short to waste good energy on that.

I noticed something else from this incident. As I distrusted the process of the shears coming at me and the person behind it, I created the right atmosphere to deliver exactly what I feared. If my worst fear was being cut, my trembling only produced fear in the person trying to perform the act, which could lead to more mistakes. Really, what was the worst that could happen? Be cut? Even if I was, it wasn’t going to really hurt me. Some people knowing that they even feared this outcome would prevent themselves from even being in that situation. This might produce a temporary comfort, but missing out on the experience prevents one to benefit from addressing one’s fears and from enjoying the fruits of getting beyond the fear.

Aren’t we taught that we should always be striving for perfection? Anytime we fall short, haven’t we been taught that failure is the worst outcome possible? Aren’t we told that if we can’t do something perfectly, that we shouldn’t try at all? In reality, failure is the only way to find success. We often have to figure out what doesn’t work so that we know what does work. Great thinkers often produce 1000s of bad experiments, drafts, or products before they get the one breakthrough that changes everything.

People often say that they may have trusted someone or something and then one thing occurred that made them question their trust. Because their trust was no longer perfect, they decide that they have to refrain from trusting in order to preserve themselves. Their lack of trust just attracts more incidents to cement their distrust. It can create so much fear that people just cower in their beds.

What I am learning is that trust is the belief that, more often than not, the Universe is only interested in our well-being. Trust is excepting that the major energy at play in our life is on our side. Trust is believing that you are worthy and that we are all connected. Trust is believing that other people are for the most part good. Trust is believing that we are all connected. Trust is believing that what we are called to do, what we are inspired to create, is worthwhile. Trust is knowing that what you need in this life will be provided for you. Trust is knowing that the core of this Universe is love.

When we can accept this, when we can believe that we can trust, we relax. Things will happen organically. Life is easier. We enjoy ourselves more because we are not constantly looking over our backs. Our energy is free from being rerouted to counter fear. All of a sudden, we have an abundance of energy to focus on things that are aligned with our true power. We allow ourselves to become aligned with who we really are. We become aligned with our true self, which extends beyond our physical manifestation. We realize that we don’t have to fear death, because there is no such thing. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. We are eternal.

Once you are more clear about who you are and why you are here, you can start to see others in the same way that Source views them. Other people are kinder to you. Your relationships become deeper. You learn to love yourself and others. You realize that there is more that unites us than divides us.

The trick is when you decide to have full faith in the Universe, and in yourself, do not lose it if you see a slight flaw. When someone you trust messes up, how can you learn to forgive? How can you learn from the contrast? The trick is when you trust, it needs to be unconditional. You need to allow room for us to be human, to make errors. Often, what we perceive to be a mistake is actually a good thing. Most things that happen in life are neither good nor bad. They are just a necessary part of the journey. Although we might not be able to understand the significance in that moment, often such incidents are meant to push us toward what we really want.

I trust that the best part of my story is still ahead of me. I trust that I am right where I am supposed to be. I trust that there are really no mistakes. I trust that no matter what, I will be okay.

You Are Not an Island

I have to admit, I have been living alone for almost 20 years now. As an independent lady, I feel like I have worked hard to be able to accomplish things on my own. I buy my own cars, bought my own house, and when I make plans…it is usually for myself. It is not like I always want to be alone, but I figure that I can’t trust that someone else is going to be around so I better figure out how to do it on my own.

This thinking process has been with me forever. Because my parents worked a ton, my siblings and myself were often asked to fend for ourselves. We were total latch key kids living in the middle of nowhere. Although our hometown was about 20 minutes away, it felt like eternity without a car.

I realized quickly that if I wanted to do anything, I had to take the initiative. If I wanted to do an after school activity, I had to come up with the funds and figure out the transportation.

When I first went to college, I remember hoping to find someone special. I would decorate things thinking about having company over…but it didn’t really happen. I have never had a Valentine sweetheart or even someone special during the holidays. To get over feeling like a dork, I just shut it out. If I couldn’t fix the relationship part of my life, then I would focus on anything else but it.

Obviously, it hasn’t been working.

When my boys moved back into the area, I finally felt like I had my family. They are my brothers. They are who I have fun with, who consoles me, and who makes me a better person.

This year I have taken so many steps to grow and be a better, more fulfilled person. I have beaten back depression, discovered with a little more clarity who I am, and am working on making myself healthier. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Still, as far as I have progressed, there is so much more work to be done. In talking with Alex and Max this week, they discussed that I could let them even further into my life. We have worked on me disclosing more about what I am thinking and feeling. At first, I didn’t trust that they would be able to hear me without judgment, but they proved me wrong.

In some areas, I guess they feel like they barely know me. Who am I attracted to? Where do I really want to eat? What music do I listen to that we don’t mutually listen to?

It sounds like it should be so easy. Sometimes I do censor myself. If I am talking to someone and they have disclosed that they don’t like something that I do, I just don’t talk about it out of politeness. When it comes to talking about people I am attracted to, I feel super embarrassed and slightly prudish.

I don’t know where the hesitation comes from. Am I afraid that if people really knew what I thought, they wouldn’t like me? Do I feel like my liking of it is not as valid as someone else’s opinion?

For a long time, I didn’t know what my true opinion was on a variety of topics. I would often listen to what others thought and if I could live with it, I just went with the crowd. It seemed easier than having an argument over right or wrong. If I did voice a contrary opinion and was the target of some sort of criticism over it, I wouldn’t know how to verbally defend myself and just cave in to whatever someone else thought.

I guess the reason why that might have happened was that I wasn’t as forthright about why I viewed things the way that I did or how long I had thought that way. If I voiced a contrary opinion and you had no idea I felt that way, it would seem disingenuous, especially if I flipped flopped shortly there after. My memory is not that good either, so if I had not fully disclosed something or went around with the crowd, I might have forgotten about it shortly there after. Latter, if I referenced it….the other party would be left confused about where these thoughts or opinions came from.

Growing up in my household, my parents were pretty explosive if you had an opinion that didn’t match theirs. If it was an honest criticism, they would take it personally and blow up on you. There were so many Saturdays that I watched my parents blow up and ruin the whole weekend that I just decided to be as appeasing as possible. It worked. I eventually survived long enough to get the hell out of dodge.

When I see people with relationships where they feel they can tell their parent anything, I am completely jealous. I begin to think that my opinion just didn’t matter. In conversations with others, I skirted around issues that I thought might be divisive. I often didn’t assert myself on anything that I thought really mattered. There were other times where I did have a firm opinion and if I felt it wasn’t welcomed, I would just slip away from the relationship instead of confronting the other person.

Most of the day, I am alone. I can’t stand being in the house by myself all the time, so I will run out and go window-shopping or just drive around. When I go to visit the boys latter in the day and they asked me what I have been up to, I often didn’t mention what I did earlier because 1) it wasn’t really important enough to share 2) I might think that they wouldn’t approve 3) I may be embarrassed about it.

Since the boys and I have been really working on vulnerability this year, I have learned to be more forthcoming. I have tried hard to include them in my thoughts and in my world. I have learned that when I fell verclempt about something, I should error on the side of sharing it. I feel closer to them than I ever have, and I have noticed that they share more with me as well.

I love the fact that when I am with them that I can be myself. I know that they are there for me unconditionally. Even if they disagree with me, and we may even have a heated dialogue about it, I can still stand by my opinion and they will accept it.

As much as I trust them with my own life, I still have moments where I fall back into my old ways. I have moments where I feel like I have to do things myself. I still feel on occasion that I have to assert my independence. It is like I trust them so much, but just in case anything happens…I want to be prepared. I always feel like I have to be able to fend for myself. A person shouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to survive. The best way to survive is to have that wall up so people can’t readily get to that vulnerable center. Even those with a key, who have proven themselves worthy of entering, should be monitored and I should still be able to revoke access if the shit hits the fan.

I realize even as I am writing this that my self-protection mode is the only thing really getting in between me and the relationships I want to have with people. As much as I have shaken off this self-protective non-sense, it still can creep up.

Since my hair has been gone, I have been wearing a lot of knitted hats. At first, it was because of the bumps and irritation on my head. I have worn a couple of wigs on occasion, but I have felt like they are too heavy or cumbersome to wear for extreme lengths of time. I have wanted to buy a shorter wig for a while.

At first, I told the boys this and they didn’t think I should spend the money on another wig because I haven’t worn the ones that I have. I tried to go on with life, but noticed that the desire to do it grew. I brought it up again and explained in detail all the reasons why I wanted to. They finally agreed and decided that we should go to the wig store together, but after we ate they didn’t feel like going out to do it. I wanted to get the new wig before Thanksgiving, but they suggested that I wait til Friday for a certain sale. Finally, Friday came and I stopped by to see if said sale was going on. They didn’t have one, but the owner told me he would give me a buy one, get the other half off deal for me. I was ecstatic, and had asked if I could leave and bring my friends back, and they said yes.

I left and called Alex and left him a voicemail. It was earlier in the day, so there was a chance that he might have been asleep. I waited an hour but began worrying that I might miss out. I wanted a new wig so bad. I felt ugly and like I stick out like a sore thumb with my hats. I just wanted some hair so I felt normal again. Plus, aren’t I supposed to be able to make my own decisions? If I couldn’t pick out hair on my own, what could I do on my own? Did I always need to be a slave to what others thought?

I couldn’t take it anymore. I went in. I knew what I wanted. I felt bad that my buddies weren’t with me. I haven’t been in the store without them ever, and I had not bought a wig there without them before. Still, I could do this. I should be able to do this.

I selected two wigs and was pleased with my purchase. When I got home, I decided that I didn’t like one wig as much as I thought I did, but the other one seemed perfect. I put it on my head and wore it all day. When the boys invited me over latter, I wore it to surprise them. I walked in the house and they both looked at me. Alex than began to tell me how much he hated the wig and how ugly it looked on my head. My heart completely sank. All I wanted to do was sob. Great! I wasted $70 on wigs that I obviously would never be able to wear in front of them. Alex continued about how I looked like the lead singer from Counting Crows. I grabbed my coat and headed out to the car.

All I wanted to do was drive away. I didn’t want to see them or talk to them again. But, I also knew that I didn’t want to spend the evening alone starring at my cat and sobbing my eyes out. I sat in the car for 10 minutes. Eventually, I reemerged into the house, took off my wig, and placed the hat I had with me on. I felt destroyed.

Alex and Max then began to tell me that they were pissed that I went there by myself. I told them that I had called, but Alex said that no voicemail was recorded. Why hadn’t I called Max or come over if it was so important to me? I said that I didn’t want to bother them and than get yelled at for being over bearing and needy. They said that I put in the least amount of effort to notify them and if I had waited they would have been happy to go with me latter in the day. I told them that it didn’t matter, it was done and I was out of the money anyway. I didn’t need to hear them go on about it for eternity.

Alex than stated, “you are not an island.” We are here and we want to be apart of these decisions. I wasn’t allowed to buy wigs on my own because my history suggests that I am not good at it. He has Max help him make decisions on things because he knows that he needs a second opinion sometimes. I said, “that is great, but you always have each other to bounce ideas off of, I don’t.”

They looked at each other and said, “yes, you do.” They stated that I am over there every day and that they were there for me. I need to rely on them more. Have more patience. Trust that they will come through. It is insulting that I still don’t believe that they are going to be there for me.

“You are not alone. Stop living like it.” Alex said.

Alex than went into his drag supplies and brought out the wig that he knew I was trying to match. I put it on and it did look better than the one I had bought. At the end of the day, I just wanted a wig so I could feel a little more normal and this one did.

I know I still am having a problem letting my guard down. I have trouble trusting others to come through for me. This thought pattern is what prevents others from being with me. I am the only one getting in the way of having the deeper relationships I desire. The answer is as easy as just relaxing and surrendering. I don’t know why I feel like I have to fight it and go alone.

The eternal fight seems almost life threatening at times. Like, if I succumb to this new world order that I am in danger of completely losing myself. Maybe that is exactly what I need to do.

Lesson from Ina

Ina is the super sweet and amazing canine that is owned by Alex and Max. I was with Alex on the day that Ina came into our lives. She is the cutest ginger color Labrador you can imagine. Although I never really thought I would like big dogs, she has always been a pal of mine. I consider her like my own.

Yesterday, Ina taught me a very powerful lesson.

She has recently been super stoked to take car rides. Sure, every dog likes them, but Alex and Max have been making a habit of giving her one a day. You can tell that she really LIVES for these rides. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t get outside to play as much as she liked, or if the house cats were getting annoying, one of these rides just put her on the highest of vibrational disks.

How do I know? I often have the benefit of sitting next to her in the back seat. When she is allowed to come with us, she immediately jumps in and takes her usual seat. This is actually my seat, but I give it to her because it is the only back window that opens. Alex cracks the window open, and she shoves her face out.

As we roll out, her head is held high. Her eyes are wide open. Her ears are tossed back and she winces as the cool breeze travels through her whiskers. She soaks in every house, every person, and every car. Her energy just reads inexplicably happy and I find myself enjoying every minute of watching her.

When it gets to be a little chilly, she will lie down on the back seat and rest her noise in my lap. She is not anxious. She relaxes as I rub her back and collects the warmth. Once she is ready, she sits up and takes up her old post. She is never concerned that the joy she feels from being in the window is going to go away. She laps it up, as much as she can, until she can’t take it anymore. After her short respite, she regains her strength and goes back to her favorite activity. There is no discomfort or fear.

I have observed this pattern for months. Last night, we made a quick stop. Alex and Max went in to get some groceries and I hung out with Ina in the car. Once the boys left the car, Ina’s energy changed. Her eyes became concerned and she was no longer content to hang out in her seat.

Yes, she knew that Alex and Max were getting food, but this seemed more metaphysical.

Alex and Max constantly give unconditional love to Ina, and her in return. They eat, sleep, work, and play together. They are best buddies. The fact that Alex and Max understand that these rides put her in her highest vibrational self only adds to the joy and love.

Like Ina, Alex and Max represent a similar relationship for me.

As I observed Ina in their absence, she became disconnected from that source energy she was so connected to only moments before. Even though I was there, and she loved and trusted me, the absence of their attention dramatically took her off her highflying disk. Knowing that I didn’t represent the same to her as they did, I began to feel a little inadequate. I felt my energy slip as my worthiness to her did. Luckily, I was able to take myself out of the situation to make some observations.

How often have I had such a good time with Alex and Max that I didn’t want to see them go? Knowing that we can’t be together all the time, how often have I also felt distraught when I detected their distance? Sometimes even knowing that they are going to come back is not enough to soothe the feeling of lose that we are observing. The ability to self-soothe comes into question. Can I be distracted enough to pass the time? Can I find in me enough worth to ride the storm in the absence of what I want?

I reflected on the strangeness of the predicament. No Reader’s Digest type magazine talks about these kinds of families or relationships. I have actually been told that if I wanted to get married to a guy that I had to give up the gays. I have always known that our relationship goes beyond these trivial titles and roles.

I continued to watch Ina’s nervous energy. She was curled up on the front seat, desperately searching for her loves. I continued to feel a sense of lack. I was there, ready to love her and shed attention on her but she couldn’t receive it. She was so focused on the lack, that she couldn’t receive the warmth of my love.

I can understand how my relationship with Alex and Max can impede a personal and intimate relationship of my own.  When I think of the type of relationship I want, I know I want one like Alex and Max’s. It is a partnership of two equals. They are best friends. They love unconditionally and communicate frequently. They trust and respect one another to tell the truth, even when it hurts. They are each other’s cheerleader. They got each other’s back equivocally. They share many interests and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

I feel swept up in their love of each other, and in their love of me. I know that Ina knows exactly how this feels.

In order for me to find this other, I am going to have to be able to release my fear of losing my relationship with Alex and Max. I have to trust that when we can’t be together, we are really not that far apart. I have to know that our individual expansion is our collective expansion. I need to trust that I can be vulnerable with someone who has earned the right to deeply see me and not feel like it has to distract or pinch off another relationship that I treasure so thoroughly.

Honestly, I felt so filled up by the love I got from the boys that I realized after surgery that if I didn’t experience it with anyone else that it would still be enough. The difference now is that I know that there is way more of that love available for me, just in another package. It is the kind of love that creates universes. It is accessible and available to me at any time. There is no need to fear the lack of any of it.

What I do need to do is recognize that I too often forget this power and my worth. I cower in the car, waiting for my peeps to return in order to remind me of my connection to source. I ignore others who are dying to love me for fear of cheating on this sacred bond. The pain of loving someone who is inhibited by these things is too much to make a real relationship work.

I thanked Ina for such a valuable life lesson. When Alex and Max returned, we got back on the road and Ina gleefully returned to her bliss. She was so fulfilled that she passed out once we got home in glorious splendor, bathed in the security and love of her family pack.

Leave it to a dog to demonstrate how we should live and love.