I am NOT a Bird: Learning to Love Me for Me

Two nights ago, I Couchsurfed for the first time.

My friend Maggie and I wanted to explore Tallahassee on the cheap, so Couchsurfing seemed to be the perfect solution. Having never surfed before, I was hesitant. But as we pulled up to our host’s house, my caution melted away. The bungalow was quirky and thoughtful in all the right ways. The house number was hand painted on the front of the house in numbers as tall as me. The chairs on the front stoop were each their own color and there was a bike rack on the car in the driveway.

This was going to go well.

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Be a Fool for Love

I had gotten to the house at 10:22 AM. It was now about 11:43 and I was lying on the floor, holding my dog Lucas in front of me. His eye was starting to twitch again, so I knew another seizure was coming on. This would be his fourth.

I held him through the spasms, whispering to him, “It’s okay, my big boy. It’s okay. You doin’ so good. You my sweet boy.”

As the last involuntary muscle flexing ended, I jumped up, ran outside to clear the back of my dad’s Chevy Blazer and yelled for my dad to come help lift my 90-lb lab. We had to go to the hospital.

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The Honest-to-God Truth of Successful Relationships

Sometimes I wish you were dead.

That’s what Marion told her husband Don during an honesty exercise at a couple’s therapy weekend led by their therapist Ellyn Bader. Bader recounts in her book, Tell Me No Lies, that Marion had been unhappy for years in her marriage, but — not wanting to face the discomfort and shame of divorce — she had simply wished her husband dead. Wishing him dead was easier than facing the possibility of having to choose rejection and loneliness.

The story continues that later that weekend after their talk, Don nearly gets run over by a car. He turns to Marion after the scare and says, “Well, you missed your chance.”

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5 Ways to Troubleshoot Negative Emotions

About a month ago, I decided I’d had enough.

After the break-up, I fell into a pattern of crying through the workday, crawling into my bed at 4 pm, and staying there until I “went to bed.” I had fallen into a situational depression complete with reeling thoughts (“Why am I unlovable?”) and no energy. My lethargy resulted from what my sister calls “My Divorce Diet;” I was rarely putting nutrients into my body because food tasted like shredded paper.

I was stuck. And I couldn’t shake it.

At least, I couldn’t shake it alone. So, to find relief, I made an appointment with a hoo-woo-woo-woo doctor at the local Center for Integrative Medicine. The herbalist patiently listened to my emotional and spiritual woes and promptly let me know that I was stuck in the Earth element, which meant I was unable to let go and move to the other side of my grief. She suggested that my stomach lining was dysfunctional and that I was probably anemic. She prescribed me an herbal treatment to calm my thoughts and encourage healing in my stomach. She suggested that I aim for 50g of protein in my breakfast.

I was hesitant, but I walked out the door with a “Present & Centered” tincture in hand.

It couldn’t hurt.

About an hour after I got home from my witch doctor appointment, I got a phone call from my Western doctor letting me know the blood work I had done a few days prior was in.

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Please be sure to secure your own mask before helping others.

Before college, I remember being highly satisfied with spending almost all my time alone. I lived about 45 minutes from my high school in the boondocks. My “social life” was spartan. After heading to college, however, the extroverted, caregiving, social part of my being got a taste of life in close proximity to lovely people. Suddenly, I planned every meal around WHO I would meet. I walked to every class with a best friend. It was rare for me to have even an hour alone.

When you’re surrounded by so many fantastically intelligent, quirky people, my relationship-valuing brain said BE WITH PEOPLE. Much of me is glad for that. At Smith, I experienced a world that most never get to: thousands of this world’s smartest women (and a few men!) traipsing around the same place at the same time.

In fact, I’m actually on a 10-day whirlwind trip of the Northeast to visit a lot of those beautiful people right now.

Which brings me back to the title of my post.

On my flight to LaGuardia last night, I heard that line about the oxygen masks (see title) for about the hundredth time in my life. And for about the hundredth time in my life, I thought, “How freakin’ dumb.”

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Telling Lies and Meeting Needs: The World’s Worst Bedfellows

Last night, I woke up at 2:30 AM to strange male voices at the place I’m housesitting. I pulled the typical don’t-move-and-they-won’t-getcha-thing for about 5 minutes while I tried to parse out who in the hell could be in the house besides me and Sarah, the 17-year-old girl for whom I’m playing active guardian while her … Continue reading Telling Lies and Meeting Needs: The World’s Worst Bedfellows

Stay the Sensation: 4 Ways to Keep Zen Through a Break-Up

Could you stay the sensation if you knew it was nourishing? That’s the question my yoga teacher posed in the class I attended yesterday while we were breathing into some “intense” toe stretches. I was uncomfortable as I eased back on my heels, pain threatening to sprint from my pinky toe to my lower calf. His question … Continue reading Stay the Sensation: 4 Ways to Keep Zen Through a Break-Up