Dear Universe (A letter about love and loneliness)

Words have always been my strong suite, but there are times when, instead, I end up sitting here staring at the screen for hours – with a box of tissues on my right and a bucket of those stupidly addicting Reese’s Peanut Butter smartie things on my left. My head throbs and my heart aches and my mascara is running down my face. I can’t make a sound and I’ve probably now gained a pound. UGH.

Nearly eight years ago, when my last half-assed real relationship ended (and thankfully so), I had to face the realization that I set aside all the things that had made me happy as an individual. I had based my level of happiness solely on another human and completely forgot who I was in the process. Though, being single for the better part of my life and being somewhat of a heavy introvert (despite what most think), I was pretty sure I had a pretty solid understanding of who I was… for most of my life anyway.  I’ve definitely wandered down a few dark paths and made some terrible choices and will probably make many more, but in the end, I always manage to find a way back to my self. I’m like a goddamn phoenix.

I have always been impartial to serial dating – some people have an incredible fear of being alone, and I get that. But, at the same time, I don’t believe in filling space (insert adult joke here) just for the sake of it. I think that a decent length of alone time is necessary, because, quite frankly – if you can’t be with yourself, why would anyone else want to be, either?

But… now that it has been nearly a decade… I’ll be honest, it’s starting to wear on me.

sunIt’s getting pretty lonely. As much as I do love my personal space and hanging out with myself – there comes a time when you start to wonder – will anyone else, too? Is there something wrong with me? Is it so wrong to want affection once in a while? And I’m not talking about just any joe-blow – I mean true affection from someone whom you have a mental, physical and spiritual connection with… one that is felt by both parties.

There was a time in my life when I was heavily driven by egomaniacal ways. For me, it was a way to garner attention that I’ve never really had. A coping mechanism to the emptiness I felt inside. But, after some hefty lessons to learn that came with a lot of personal transformation, I decided to that the only real way to stop receiving what I don’t want, was to no longer focus on it. It was time to focus on ME, and not what my ego wanted me to be.

I decided to pay respects to the love in my life that I do have, and that I have been incredibly blessed with. And with that, came a few opportunities to open my heart just a little bit more, despite some long lasting resistance on my part. But, sometimes you see the ‘sunshine’ just a little bit differently, and decide that maybe it’s time to let a little light in.

Yet… despite changing my game, most things have remained the same.

And I am tired of it. I am all for the personal journey, but some good company now and then would be excellent. Because quite frankly, I am a damn good cook and dining for one is starting to get old.

It’s time to let the Universe know exactly what’s up.

(This is where I do all that “I AM” stuff they teach you in spirit school)

(This may sound corny, but I do not care. IMHO if you don’t at least ask, you’ll never receive)

Dear Universe, Dear

I am a good person. I am worthy of affection. I am a good communicator of my feelings, and want the same. I am the kind of girl that appreciates the small acts of kindness, and I am the kind of person that doesn’t think twice about handing them out. I am the kind of person that will leave a happy note hidden for you to find when you need it most. I am not needy and I enjoy my space.  But, I am also human and crave to feel companionship at the right times. I don’t want to be someone’s entire life, but I do want to feel significance. I don’t want to be the in between girl anymore (Seriously, enough with that). I will put my foot down and stand my ground when I need to, but I will also travel the distance for those I hold dear. I am in my prime and want to feel desired. I want to feel more than my own heartbeat once in a while. I wish to attract those who are as excited in my presence as I am theirs. I appreciate all that I have and deserve to be appreciated just as well. I am deserving of a partner who wants to explore my body, mind and soul just as much as I do theirs. I am deserving of someone whose energy, outlook and passion is a match for mine. I am an old romantic at heart. I am deserving of someone charming, intelligent, self-aware and adventurous. I am deserving of a fricking great individual! Oh, and a healthy libido would be great, too. I am ready!

Thanks in advance,

Tanis

(PS… if you could make it a Ryan Gossling Notebook-esque look-a-like, that would be stellar… but we can negotiate on that)

 

Sometimes, You Have to Sleep With a Mosquito

I think we all have this inherent sadness that permeates us at one point or another in life.

mosquitoIt’s a lot like sleeping in a room with a mosquito. It comes out of nowhere when you least expect it. Perhaps it’s been there for a while, or perhaps it was brought about when a door was opened and another closed. (This is all a metaphor for deeper meanings of life, btw). Either way, you think you’ve squashed it, and just as you are about to find that inner peace again and drift off into a happy place… it creeps up on you and you end up punching yourself in the face a few times.

And it just doesn’t seem to piss off. And now you have a black eye. Maybe a nose bleed if you’re one of those rambunctious types.

On my 27th birthday, I was the same age as my (lovely) Mother when she gave birth to me. That didn’t bother me so much, but now having surpassed my 31st birthday, I have also passed my (also lovely) Father’s age. It sent me into a bit of a head spin, more than usual.

Now, I am not someone that has ever really had that urge to make babies. Although, judging by the size of my child-baring hips and my overzealous libido – my body and my hormones are indicating otherwise.  However, mentally and emotionally, I can’t get there and it’s never really been high on my list of ‘To Dos’… if, at all. I have a big respect for anyone that does raise children, but I also feel that there are many meaningful things one can do with their life that will leave footprints on generations to come.  And, well, to be honest – I have trouble keeping plants alive. Cactus, even.

I feel somewhat bad, at times, because I am not so sure my folks will ever experience the joy of being grandparents.

However, my biological clock is still a ticking time bomb.

It began to start roughly around age 27, where that life sucking pest  began to creep up on me… finding its way in, when a window to my soul that I didn’t know about was opened over a synchronistic conversation in a quaint little coffee shop.  That emptiness, that sadness, that constant buzzing around my head asking me what I am doing with my life came flying in. That feeling, that longing – for something.

That desire to carry out my true purpose in this twisted world.

I am entering my prime – and some days I feel like I am running out of time to do whatever it is that I am on this earth to do.  Only problem is, I have no idea WHAT it is. I know that sounds ridiculous, being that I am still a very young cougar, but let’s be honest – none of us know when our expiry date is.

As the not so subtle pressures of society to couple up, load up on debt and accumulate things mounts, I’ve chosen to go off the beaten path and do things differently. It was just a few months ago that I decided I couldn’t hack the status quo. I couldn’t handle being a monkey in a cage, reaching for a proverbial banana. I left the corporate world, to make some life changes, which, let’s just say, haven’t been going too terribly smoothly. I don’t think it is supposed to be easy – but I don’t know which is more difficult – the nagging stress of routine, or the frantic stress of wondering how you are going to pay your bills… all the while knowing that knowing that in either situation, you are not doing what you are meant to do.  If there’s a panic button, I’m double fisting it.

Suffice to say, patience is not one of my virtues.

All I know is that I long to see the world, to travel, make a difference in some facet, and to experience unconditional love with another human being – and not the kind that I feel for my family and friends –  I’m talking about the kind that you can take between the bedsheets (wink, wink). Most of my life has been spent embarking on a solo journey which I wouldn’t have traded for anything… but, as a result, my romantic life has been 50 Shades of Greyish for the most part…. While there is nothing wrong with that… quite frankly, at this particular juncture, I am ready for 50 Shades of a goddam rainbow. Magic. Excitement. I believe it exists… somewhere.

Some days, I often wonder if I will really find what I am looking for – whatever it is. Sometimes, the fear that I wont, overcomes the idea that anything can happen, that possibilities are endless.

That fear is a paralyzing one.

That’s when the old adage pops into my head, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

And then sometimes, it’s like, “F*** you, Wisdom… there are some parts of the journey that really stink.”

It’s not because there aren’t a million things to be grateful for (which, trust me, I take inventory of daily).

It’s because the desire to do what you are truly meant to do, overcomes the desire to be doing what you are doing at this very moment – and what you are doing at this very moment, doesn’t always feel right. Sometimes you end up doing what doesn’t feel in alignment with your true self for a lot longer than you thought, and you start to lose hope that you will ever find that thing that makes your heart and soul sing.

That feeling of being lost leads to little motivation, which leads to depression, which leads to poor choices – which leads to… well, a shit storm of the blahs. When we get trapped in that mind frame… it’s hard to see the good in anything we have.  When we feel like we are stuck in a perpetual state of suck, it gets harder to remember that everything is impermanent.

Getting up isn’t easy, but it CAN be done… even if you are like me, completely and utterly directionally challenged. I don’t know which way ‘up’ is… but I do know it exists.

How do you get there? Who knows. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. Changing your thought pattern is one thing, well, probably the biggest thing. (Easier said than done). Truthfully there’s no one size fits all answer that works for everyone.

winging itI do, however, find that the key thing to remember is that we are all a little bit lost. Every now and then I talk to people that I think have it totally together, only to hear of this buried, dull sadness that lies silently within…. a craving… a deep rooted longing to find their own personal truth.

I tend to find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in this mystical quest for more – even though, there are times it feels like you are always alone. Sometimes it feels like every one else is getting on with their life and you are the only one floating down shit creek. As powerful as these thoughts are, they are simply not true. There are some days I wonder what the point is and if the entire journey is worth it. Some days are harder to others to get out of bed when you don’t know what it is that is driving you. But…

You still have to do it. Get up. That, or lay silently and let that annoying mosquito keep biting. Maybe that’s the beauty of it all… is that the unpleasant feelings require action.  Sometimes sleeping with a mosquito is necessary. Nothing changes if you don’t move.

While I hope to offer support to anyone out there feeling lost in life, the selfish part of me hopes that writing this out might work as some kind of reverse psychology to listen to my own words. That, and I know that when I am feeling down and out, it’s sometimes random messages and even more random people that cross my path and deliver the exact kind of message I needed to hear out of the blue. Those kinds of moments help to see that we are all connected beyond the walls we put up.  Maybe these will do that for you.

I guess what I am trying to say is this…

Cherish the good moments – even if they are few and far between.
Embrace the crap – it’s there to offer a lesson, as shitty as it seems to be.
Remember, we are all just wandering this earth together. Yes, we are born alone and die alone – in the meantime… reach out, connect. Be kind to each other… everyone is fighting their own silent battle.

Oh and for Christ’s sake, stop punching yourself in the face already. mosquito

Goodbye, Office Desk.

I’m not sure if it was a moment of clarity or partial insanity.

One particular afternoon, I snapped. It had been building up for a while, but before long, I decided to quit working at an office desk. And I had a pretty nice desk, in a funky office, in the area of town I always wanted to work in. How I manifested that is a story all on it’s own. It was exactly what I had wanted at the time. But, no matter how many times my title changed over the years, along with my jobs, or how many new computers or new programs I received – I wasn’t happy. How couldn’t I be? Isn’t this what I had worked tirelessly for? But, one afternoon, I decided to give up what I had identified my Self with for so long.

Or, was it my Ego I identified with?

Ospace1For the last decade or so, having two computer monitors, a decent online presence, and important meetings all day, made me feel like I WAS something.  Status, status! I want STATUS!!!! Also, I want something cool to put in my Twitter profile description.

This is in no reference to my previous gig, from which I was able to build my skill set, vastly improve my writing, work under pressure and inherit a whole bunch of fond memories and friendships. Really, I can say that about most of my positions over the last decade or so. Wow, I’m getting old.

But, slowly but surely, the monotony of sitting at a desk, staring at a screen on a time frame dictated by the rest of society started to pick away at my soul. My mind felt like it was in a cage. Not to mention, having a dollar value attached to you – which, for the most part, stays the same no matter how many extra hours you have to put in. If you’ve lucked out, it might be a good number, but for most – it’s enough to keep you coming back because the alternative looks pretty bleak or is bound to be way outside your comfort zone.

I felt like I was sitting life away, staring into a glowing screen on the hopes that one day when I’m 85 I *might* be able to retire and enjoy the fruits of my labor by taking my withered up body on a nice long vacation and have some fun for the last of my years. That’s if my vision isn’t totally shot from staring at a computer. We call that, “security”.

Fuck security. The only thing secure in life, is death – and in between, well anything can happen. Trying to make it from one pay check to the next (where the numbers are always the same) without any major catastrophe happening in between to mess up my ‘system’, is probably the least secure thing I have done.

Side note… It’s no wonder why we have so many health issues – most of us are down with the sickness of being sedentary. I began thinking about how I sit in my car to get to work. There’s always the bike, of course – although somehow I always end up in poison ivy on that thing.

That’s followed by sitting at a desk in an enclosed space for eight hours with a few five minute walks and several bathroom breaks. By the time 5pm hits – your exhausted and just want to sit on the patio with a glass of wine. Or sit on the couch and turn off your brain by staring at another glowing screen. But, before you do that, some make sure to hit the gym for an hour (which does zero for offsetting all the terrible things that happen to your body from the other 16+ hours spent sleeping and sitting).

mindI would crave to work on my own artsy endeavors because it feeds my soul – but the last thing I would want to do after thinking and brainstorming and writing and sitting and answering emails all day is more of the same. I didn’t want to use my brain, for anything. I couldn’t find the creative space in my mind either, because I exhausted it all drafting up a last minute report and I was too worried about prepping for tomorrow’s meeting.

I couldn’t do it, anymore. Done. Finished.  So, I decided to do something else. What? I really didn’t have a clue. I just knew what I couldn’t do.

workI was offered some physical labour in the construction field with an opportunity to earn based on the amount of work I did. I would be self employed. I was completely freaked out by the idea of working in a male dominated environment. I had been doing the same routine of walking into a room and sitting for the last decade or two (if you include school)… and I really didn’t think I could hack doing anything different. Even though my soul was uncomfortable, being in an office was my comfort zone.  No sick days? No holiday pay?  Just me, working for me?! No high heels? No dress pants? No skirts? No fancy bathrooms? No refrigerator? Being covered in dust all day?!

Scary.

But, I also started to wonder what it would be like to learn some practical skills. Up until now, the bulk of my knowledge consists of knowing how to do things with the use of technology. If I ended up in the middle of nowhere and had to figure shit out without the use of Google, I would be, well – screwed.

Also scary.

So, with MUCH hesitation, I decided to do it.

Do I love it? No.

BUT…

There are a number of things I have noticed, that I do love. Despite feeling physically tired at the end of the day, I could feel myself having more energy. Being able to see tangible, physical results, I found myself feeling a sense of personal satisfaction.  On the mental side, I started to feel significantly less stressed. Even my dreams became much more vivid and frequent. It felt like my mind entered a heavy duty detox. Undoubtedly, the greatest part, is the ability to create my own hours and leave when the work is done – taking none of it home with me.

And the other greatest part? After a day of work and moving my body, there is nothing like sitting down with a glass of wine on the patio and brainstorming some creative ideas.  This has also allowed me to still stay in my field of writing – on a freelance basis – and also for my own personal endeavors.

Maybe, just maybe, I decided to regain everything I had worked for.

Maybe everything that you want is on the other side of comfort.

parachutes

 

 

… And Breathe.

brainPrepare for brutal honestly.

I tend to write only positive and uplifting moments… moments that can inspire magic and hope into others – even if it is only my average readership of one person (thanks, Mom). But if I always did that, I would not be including the remaining fibers of my soul. I would only be showing one fragment of my being, and given that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I find it damn near impossible to hide the rest of me.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything uplifting to say, but today I’m just not in the mood. Maybe it’s the weather.

F#ck it. Today I write my feelings, as they are, in the present moment.

It’s my therapy.

Lately, the amount of days I have felt empty and alone and lost and anxious have outnumbered the days of feeling intrinsically happy and calm. It’s a piss off really, because I WAS there, and I have always been the purveyor of self fulfillment and wholeness – the importance of going on your own epic self journey – and yet here I am, trying to chew on my own words.

Maybe I’ve been looking at too many ‘throw back thursday’ photos and wondering how I went from hob-knobbing with the semi rich and famous, doing really cool shit (as defined by my ego), travelling, donning some low cut, sexified tank top – to sitting alone on a Friday night, in my Walmart-special hoodie donning a salsa stain on it, and on the brink of joining a nunnery. If I ever do end up on a hot date in this life time, I may need an instruction manual.

Anyway, that’s not the point. I get that my interests have shifted as I get older more mature. Actually, I don’t even know what my point is.  Blah.

After all the searching and inner workings – I find myself not knowing where the hell I am. But then again, where did I expect to go? I have no clue. I suppose I figured after going on sabbatical from being stuck inside some little box the majority of society views as ‘normal life’, I’d at least have somewhat of an idea as to what the heck I am doing or what path to take. Perhaps I even went as far as to think I might also have a morsel of romance after I learned to find it within my self, first.

I don’t.

None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. F#ck all.

It’s like every time I think I have found myself, I get lost again. And again. Or maybe I’m just beginning. Maybe I have not yet learned to love myself in the first place. I don’t know.

Untitled

I also have a problem. It’s called self sabotage. It gets me every time. I am an expert on self destruction. Very rarely can I hold on to a good though long enough to let it play out. Instead, I kill it with impatience and a lot of ‘this-is-never-going-to-work-i’m-a-failure-my-life-is-OVER’ kind of thing. I have a solid habit of thinking of the worst possible scenarios in just about, well… everything. Some – if not most – days, it puts me into a total head spin. 

I’m starting to feel bogged down by those thoughts.

But I feel like lately that’s all I know.

My brain needs a bath.

I want to wash myself clean, scrub my negative patterns away until I bleed. Find a way to stop fearing the unforeseen and inch closer to my dreams.

But I feel like I’ve done that – over and over and over again.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey – I get that.

Good grief, I really need to stop saying the word ‘but’.

I guess I’m just frustrated, and I needed it to let it out.

Maybe I’m closer than I think.  

Exhale… here we go again..

yourself

 

 

 

How to Be Something!

If you’re human, chances are you may share the same sentiments.  If you’re one of the few that is totally 1000% satisfied with all that you are doing and have it totally figured out, I salute you.

Oh, and as a side note, I should mention these are thoughts that prelude what will be my next rant… somewhere along the lines about why I jumped from the routine and security of a corporate desk job that I relatively enjoyed, into self employment uncertainty.  I thought about writing it all as it’s really one long string of thoughts, but we’re busy people. We got other shit to do and I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep, anyway.

Moving on…

For the last twenty-some years, I’ve been following a similar routine. 8-5 at a desk (or a variation of). At first it was school. Much like the general population, Monday to Friday I would haul my ass to class before the sound of the bell and sit at a desk. Save for recess breaks, when I would scramble to find someone to play with. I was an awkward kid, don’t judge.

Then the bell rang and us rug rats scurried back to class. Back to a wooden slab of a desk to be spoon fed all sorts of interesting and relevant information that I am sure we all fully remember and utilize every day in adulthood. All in hopes that one day we will land a good career, and ‘be something’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against school. I enjoyed phys ed, creative writing classes, and even failing math more times than I can count on one hand (I can only count to five, anyway). There were plenty of good things. Like overcoming the fear of speaking to an audience. I learned what I was good at, and I learned about the kinds of things I never wanted to do again.

It also taught me many of other things – social interaction, how to sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, strengths and weaknesses, constructive criticism, how to meet deadlines, how to create sudden and spontaneous illnesses, forge sick notes, how to slice open an innocent frog, acceptance of routine (blah), and so on.  There were some teachers that simply showed up and read from a text book, and others that helped you to go past your fears and brought out the very best in you.

knowledgeBut in my opinion, there’s a lot of important topics school doesn’t cover in great detail – which are crucial to long term happiness. Unfortunately, they can only been taught through experience. There is no ‘Art of Being Human 101′ or ‘Inward Journey for Beginners’ or ‘Fundamentals of Soulful Living’ and you can’t get your Masters in Mindfulness. Important lessons that really help you BE the best you can be – in whatever field you choose.

And there was always that nagging question:

“So have you decided what you want to be when you grow up, Tanis?”

How do I know? Who says I’m going to grow up anyway? What if I die tomorrow? Does that mean I didn’t BEcome anything? But I already AM something, I AM me, and if I am ME, I’ll also BE me when I ‘grow up’, so doesn’t that mean I’ve already chosen what I wish to BE?

I loathe this question.

It makes it sound like you are not fully a human BEing unless you attach a fancy title to yourself. I guess you’re just merely human-ing, or something like that. Science is wrong, you’re heart only starts beating once you’ve found the perfect job to brag about. (This is incorrect, by the way).

So after school, I scurried off into the ‘real world’ and signed up for the rat race. Be something! Be something! I need to be something!!

As a society, we are caught up in labels, perceived meaning and the pressure to ‘be’ something that already exists (which is YOU, btw)… and less on what it actually means to BE. If you are reading this, I can only assume you’re alive – in which case you are already what you need to be.

“OMG. You’re famous?! Please let me lick the dirt off your heels! I bow to you!”
“Wow! You’re a lawyer! That’s so awesome!”
“So you’re a delivery person… Oh. That’s cool.”
“You drive a garbage truck? What?”
“Heh, so you work at McDonalds? Do you, like, not have any motivation in life? Ew.”

But, seriously. What if I really do actually enjoy flipping burgers and it makes me intrinsically happy? I actually really do enjoy BBQing.

routine3So, most of my life was spent in a relentless attempt to get to the top of some invisible ladder so that at my high school reunion I could say, “Look at me, look at what I am being!” And I was something. I was something that excelled in my field and sat a desk for a determined amount of time every day, Monday to Friday.

Anyway, after several fancy titles, a lot of time spent busy ‘being something’ – I decided I didn’t want to do the dance of routine anymore. I felt stifled and empty, not to mention I’m a terrible dancer.  I didn’t want to do things I wasn’t totally passionate about just to satisfy some ridiculous perception we have.  Disregarding who you are, compromising yourself in exchange for an inflated ego, a perceived monetary value of what you are ‘worth’ just so you can get by and hopefully go out and start enjoying life by the time you’re damn near dead, or because of a bunch of narcissistic societal beliefs, doesn’t equate to success. It adds up to misery and wastes the essence of who you truly are. Time you spend ignoring what you believe to be your true purpose is time you can never get back. Yeah, you can never get time back – that’s scary shit!

So I jumped. Into a foreign land of not knowing, no security, and not much routine. It might have been the most secure choice I have made. But, more on that later.

For now, though, here’s the thing:

Success is not defined from your job or the label you give yourself. If you’ve got degrees and certifications coming out of your you-know-what and you are a terrible person, I am sorry, but you are not a success.  All that does is make you a terrible person with a good education.

Success comes from BEing. That’s it, that’s all. Simply being. Being in the moment. As best you can. Great things happen when you choose to be awesome at LIFE, not just a label. BE a good person. That’s all there is too it.

If you don’t design your life, someone else will. That little nagging voice in your heart telling you to chase your dreams? Or at the very least, to make a change? It’s a real thing, listen to it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

You are already what you want to BE.

Go out and do it.

Be