“You’re a Worthless Piece of Sh*t”: Identifying Barriers to Joy and Acceptance

It shouldn’t have made me cry.

It was my last day in Beacon, NY and I was with the woman who has become a sister. My 10-day trip to New York had been filled with overwhelming beauty: I’d cried at the 9/11 memorial. At Central Park. Hell, I’d even cried at a burger joint in Harlem.

But, this… this shouldn’t have made me cry.

“Why don’t you just try something?”

We were talking about my career plans. Over the weeklong visit, I had posed the idea of quitting my job to begin a yoga teacher training. I had no plans after that.

Waiting for my response, Mo looked at me in the way she reserves for the sometimes. The sometimes when our armor has been flung off, left forgotten by the door.

I looked down at my two tacos, decorated with guacamole, and I started to cry.

Trying is something I’ve never been good at.

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Untangling the Knot: Getting the Love you Crave

“What did you do last night?” Connie asked calmly.

By this therapy session, I was months into grief over my breakup. The raw pain of loss had waned, but not left. Shame had begun to seep in over the fact that I was still broken. I was depressed. I was embarrassed. Why am I still hurting?, I would think.

The shame of my lingering grief led me to spend a lot of time alone during this time. I probably watched It’s Complicated ten times. I ordered out a lot. (My outrageous credit card bill could attest to this).

But just the night before, I had reclaimed one joy.

“I cooked dinner for myself,” I quietly told Connie. I can remember my voice about this time: shaky, wobbly. Tears were always near. I continued, “I made sticky rice and grilled chicken, sautéed kale and sweet potato hash. Oh, and I opened a bottle of wine to go with it.”

Connie held me kindly in her gaze, “Because you are worth opening a bottle of wine for.”

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My Boyfriend Doesn’t Give Me Butterflies

“U got it, u got it bad, when you’re on the phone… hang up and then you call right back…”

As I belted Usher while walking Emily on UTC’s campus, my mind drifted to the old pingpong table that my parents used to have. Like most things from childhood, I don’t know where we got it, but it was always there, sitting under the eaves of our pool house. We would pop in the Now That’s What I Call Music! 8 CD to the boom box and listen to Usher’s “U Got It Bad” on repeat while we battled it out in the never-ending pingpong tournament.

That “we” included James, of course. James and I were inseparable for the summers of my childhood. We played basketball; we rode bikes; we walked to the convenience store; we jumped off the roof into the pool.

What else could there possibly be in life?

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What I’ve Learned From Not Being Pretty

When I was about ten years old, I decided I was going to be a cheerleader for Halloween.

Sounds normal enough, ya?

Thing was, at 10 years old, I was a hard tomboy.

I wore the same baby blue soccer shirt and black Umbro elastic-waisted shorts to school everyday. I cut my hair into a chili bowl. I prided myself on my 1st place pedal tractor pull trophy. I was aggressively not feminine.

But for whatever reason, that October I snuck into my sister’s bedroom, stole her WMS cheerleading uniform, and put it on. I strode into our kitchen where my mom and sister were sitting and declared, “I’m a CHEERLEADER!” with my arms lifted in a V-for-victory pose.

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