I, as many folks do, tend to waiver between extreme self-care and love and total neglect of my self-actualization needs. After ending a really long and arduous “relationship” with a man for whom I cared deeply, I was left in this bizarre state of confusion about who and what I was. I had wrapped up so much of my identity in his perception of me, that when he removed me from his life, I had to completely reevaluate. Who the jazz is this JLR character? Who is Jessica Lauren? Jessica Lauren Hendricks?Are they the same person? Are they variations? What the heck was going on? Do I like coffee or do I believe it is destroying my teeth? Do I sometimes enjoy a craft beer and a delicious, fatty meal? Or do I only like to eat healthy food and snacks and go to the gym, run, and weight train 5 or 6 days a week? Is the banishment of this belly fat really my one and only goal? Do I give one single rat’s rear about learning to play guitar? Am I “built for this” insanely extreme lifestyle that I’ve allowed myself convinced is the one and only way to achieve my dream of supporting myself financially with my art? Is any of this me or have I, once again, allowed myself to be manipulated and purchased whole-heartedly someone else’s ideal JLR? Oh, and, there’s a whole lot of waaaaaay more intense stuff I could ask myself and answer here, but I’m simply not ready to go there with y’all. I mean, super whack stuff, y’all. Think, JLR, “you walk like a dude. You should fix that. It’s not attractive or lady-like.” Whoa. I don’t even walk right, bro?
So after some months of soul searching, relatively heartless “dating” attempts, healing my heart and letting go of a great deal of anger and bitterness, I finally figured it out. I loooooove coffee (and am incredibly thankful that I chose to venture into the new local coffee shop, because it just so happened that the very likely love of my whole life was there and now we’re in mad love and bringing more joy to one another than either of us imagined possible…even from 7,776 miles away at the moment. eeeeek!) I am no drunk, but I like a really good, carefully crafted beer from time to time. I love delicious food. I love exercise and feel fantastic when I’m fit and strong, but I like to balance my intake of very healthy nutritious food with some not-so-healthy pleasure foods too. Sometimes, I even say “SCREW IT!” and eat a whole bunch of fatty-delicious southern tasties for days. So, the snaps, what?! I’m stuck in this human body with taste buds for a reason, bro! I have absolutely no interest in playing guitar. It bores me.
I am “built for this” hustlin’ lifestyle. I work hard and I like working hard, but there’s more than one way to skin a damned cat, folks. The minute someone tells you that they have figured out the Way to achieve something, close your ears…especially if said advisor has been following that path for a long time and has yet to achieve said thing. Duh. I will sing and sing and sing. I will perform my tail off. I will practice and I will work hard. But I will not sacrifice my general happiness to achieve any “dream.” I will not sacrifice my mental health to please another human, ever. Guess what? I’m finding there is a way to chase dreams and work hard without destroying interpersonal relationships, neglecting your desires and joys, and feeling like a failure every single day.
JLR, where are you going with all this?
Well, I am saying all this because, yesterday, in meditation, it came to me that I needed to write this blog entry. It needs to be said. I want all the everyones who’ve ever allowed themselves to fall into the trap I did to work on forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Forgive the human who brainwashed you (whether intentionally or unintentionally–that’s what happened). It’s all part of the journey. I’m pretty dang close to completely forgiving myself and I think yesterday, in that meditation, I did some of my final work to forgive him.
Forgiveness is powerful stuff, but it is an active process. It may happen passively without effort, but It will take much, much longer and…no, scratch that. It’s an ACTIVE process. I just don’t think it ever happens passively and without effort. You gotta do the work. Period. Get busy. And don’t do it for that one who needs to be forgiven. Do it so you can have a more fulfilling life. Do it for love. Do it for romance and magic. Do it for that perfect person out there in the world looking to bring you joy. And don’t you ever let ANYONE kill your joy. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all. Or do…whatever. Do what you want, but know this: I’m gonna have it all, because I know that I can.
Aside: I just started my yoga practice again after about 8 years of neglecting it. Here’s the thing, though: I have the coolest hippie dippy parents in the whole world. They were teaching me how to connect my movement and my healing with my breath as soon as I could comprehend that I was, in fact, breathing and moving. I was designed and cultivated for yoga practice. Tuesday night, just as I settled into shavasana/savasana (corpse pose where you release all work and find complete relaxation) my right ear started ringing. I noticed it and then said to myself “I don’t need that. I let go of you, ring.” And do you know it stopped immediately? That’s how it works, y’all. Sometimes I forget that the mind controls the body–not vice versa. We always have a choice. Always. Do with that what you will. peace, lovies. xoxo