It’s been awhile, about a month and I have a good reason for that. I lost the matriarch of my family this month, attempted to reign in self care like a galloping horse and heal from the anniversary of sexual violence. What did I wind up doing?

I wound up alienating myself, learning about myself, eating too much junk food and gaining weight, signing up for a yoga certification training program, and not writing my blog or posting about my podcast. I let myself fall apart a little bit so that I could begin to fall together. Have you ever done that? Just stopped. It’s cathartic in a way.

I don’t know if I’m the only person who does this, but I have a tendency to be very hard on myself with a lot of negative talk included. This has emerged in the form of a metaphorical “bear” (yes, as in animal) that takes up residence in my emotional/psychological space and sometimes strikes and lashes out at both opportune and inopportune times. Recently, I decided to break that cycle of working against the bear to work with the bear and talk well to myself, to bless my food, to treat myself with the love that I so freely give to other people. I am my own biggest cheerleader…or at least, shouldn’t I be?

My goal this summer? To embrace the mess. I am a mess of the best kind. I am an artist. I am sweet, sour, funny, mean, happy, sad…I’m human. I’m learning what it is to be a human being. Aren’t we all?

Grief is a process. My Great Aunt Cat, who I have the privilege of being named after passed into the spirit world at the age of 90. She was the only elder to live that long in my immediate family and toward the end of her life, I visited her on most of my off days from work. We talked, I listened, greased her scalp and I grew closer to her as not only my aunt and elder, but my friend. I miss her. I miss her style, her laugh, how she always kissed me hello on the mouth no matter how old I got and grown I believed myself to be, how she always wanted to feed people, how she spoke words of wisdom and breathed out on a sigh like she had just lifted a boulder. Grief is….Maybe it’s all slow. Maybe progression is a deep breath and gentle movement. May be. May it be. May it be real, gentle, jarring, harrowing. May it be a tale that I tell as one left behind in this time and on this plane. The only Cat left.

What’s your mess? Where are you finding yourself? Most recently, I got drunk at a work event (told you I was messy) and I went around asking people “What do you want? What do you do?”. These were the questions plaguing me daily and in my drunk mind, they had to be shared! I needed to know! What did others want to do?! What did they want?! In getting weird looks and some answers, I realized that so many of us didn’t know! The answers were astounding from straight up anxiety to calm hugs and wonderings.

In addition, I sat down with a spiritual sister of mine and we spoke about our own metaphorical bears, our fears, our stressors and even more important, our triggers. What is my trigger in any given moment? What pokes the bear?

The bear was created for a semblance of safety. In being a survivor of sexual assault, I’ve learned to do things so that I seem like less of a victim and more of a threat. I came up with my “friendly” Grizzly. But the Grizzly doesn’t always need to take up residence and build a home, or hibernate all year long instead of just through the winter. So how are we each managing our inner bears?

In my messiness, it’s so easy to take the stance of victimhood. But to me, easy has never been an option. I don’t do things because they are easy. I do things because I’m hungry and in deep need of an answer…of a truth. I’m learning to appreciate the intimacy in between unspoken moments. I’m trying to reach past simplicity and engage with some other part of myself. I want to travel, I’m dying to move more to see more, to listen more to be more. Change is here and happening. So maybe reckoning with all of this is really just being human and moving as humans do…one day at a time. Each day is a good day.


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