I have begun to observe a certain behavior of mine.

When I was in college, was all the rage for young creative types, yet I refused to create an account for a long time because, “I would spend too much time on it.” I didn’t play video games either for this reason. I thought it made me self-possessed and mature.

The year I finally caved and started a Tumblr blog, I was already living with guilt and paranoia that God would ask me to give up art and writing because I loved it too much. I had been taught to see passions as idolatrous, in competition with God and therefore a selfish, short-sighted threat to my spiritual life.

Tumblr exposed me to many different viewpoints. Young people like me, doing what they loved and figuring themselves out together. Passively absorbing the stories of other peoples’ lived experiences created the first cracks that eventually led to my departure from Christian fundamentalism. Not to mention, seeing everyone’s art and writing brought me joy.

So I suppose in that regard, yes, Tumblr was dangerous. I did spend way too much time on it. But my online presence, my art as well as personal growth, improved dramatically because of it. I was enrolled in a challenging major at university, and still passed all my classes, as well as wrote the first draft of a 700-page novel.

Ten years later, I still find myself deliberately restricting access to things I know I will love, mostly in the form of media. Some part of me is afraid I will become obsessed with it. That it will take up too much room in my mind and the frustration and imposter syndrome will drive me to quit art and writing completely. That I will spend all my very scarce work time watching, reading, daydreaming.

It sounds strange, writing it out. This subtle pit in my stomach. This unspoken, unhinged method of restriction and control.

I’ve been putting self-care on my goals list each week, and manage it at least one day out of the seven. Sometimes it’s cooking myself dinner, writing for fun on projects I’m not officially working on at the moment, shutting down all to-do lists for a night. Last month, it was watching a show I had been keeping on my radar like a kid at the candy window. I was afraid I would love it, and I was correct. I binged it all in one night, stayed up long past my bedtime on a weeknight. I felt like I was nineteen again, watching cartoons online after a busy week. I’m still thinking about it quite a bit. I’ve already rewatched some of my favorite episodes.

The soundtrack is gorgeous. A fascinating blend of genres, surreal and emotional, heavily incorporating piano and organ, which, as a child of traditional church musicians, speaks to a deep place in me that I still love and hold sacred. Listening to the score at my day job carried my spirits through an extremely busy workweek. I still crashed hard at the end of it, expected of yet another marathon of overwork and sleep deprivation choosing thirteen-hour work days over giving up on my passions, but the next day I felt less hungover, overwhelmed, and depressed. I was able to be more present with my partner on our weekly Saturday outing. I’m more inspired than ever to work on my creative projects.

I’m reminded of other works of art over the last year that I let myself experience and love, the ways they have comforted me, bolstered my nerves, let me process emotions I struggled to access on my own, how they have influenced my current work in beautiful and exciting ways.

I have been slowly learning to incorporate enrichment in my daily life. Intuitive eating, bicycling, journaling, birdwatching, music…I often feel like I am forced to forget these things in favor of the survival mechanisms tearing away at me. I watch myself showing up less and less for things antithetical to my health and wholeness. I’m not only resentful of continuing to indulge these things, but I can’t manage to make myself align with them anymore, even for short periods of time.

I suddenly find myself at a crossroads. I would have liked to make some of the steepest changes on my horizon this year when I felt more secure financially, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that either I very soon take myself out of the game voluntarily, or my body will do it for me. Swiftly and unceremoniously.

I think I was able to keep it at bay for so long by pushing it behind this fear of change I developed over the last year. But I’m moving in with my partner soon, which has forced me to begin orienting toward a whole cascade of change. Each new notice submitted, logistics planned, ad posted, my control over my own misery slips more and more out of place.

I don’t know what the next few months will bring, but I’m trying really hard to land on my feet.


My therapist quit last week.

I want to say I’ve been grappling with burnout for months, but I only notice it when I’m too far gone. A couple years is probably more accurate. I’m sick of feeling like I’m circling a drain.

I’ve been slowly starting to admit to myself what I truly want, cautiously listening to the signals my body’s screaming about quitting everything, lying face down on the floor, and waiting for my predatory corporate landlord to evict me. I’m learning how to give myself what I need, learning to allow my people to show up for me.

My therapy appointments were spotty, but beginning to help. I was carefully beginning to lean into opening my heart to this new season of my life after a such a long time spent in self-doubt and survival mode. The call I received from the office notifying me of my therapist’s departure just felt absurd.

“Hard to trust people when you keep being proven right,” my partner observed.

Getting myself up for work at 6 o’clock in the morning is an impossibility I somehow manage every day, but it always costs too much. The morning after I found out my therapist had quit, my partner got up early and made me coffee, then came and sat down on the edge of the bed to try to convince me to get up for “coffee and contemplation” with him before work. He knows it’s a healing ritual of mine I only get to do on weekends for lack of time and emotional resources.

My big, pudgy tuxedo cat joined the wakeup party, settling in against my side and purring like a motor. Swaddled grumpily in my blankets, I looked at the pair of them staring at me lovingly, my soft nana cat and my helpful golden retriever of a partner.

And I marvel that the last year of scarcity, anxiety attacks, and survival mode could have landed me in this specific moment.

Troubled, yet loved. Loved for fighting, not warily rejected for struggling.

That’s not something I was raised by fundamentalist Christianity to expect. I learned to pretend to believe in unconditional love, to break my back trying to offer it to others, but to never expect it in return. I had seen too many times what happened to people who truly needed it. The subtle and cruel duplicity of high control, religious love.

I’m trying to keep sight of the bigger picture. The beauty and organic love in a tough season of transition, the exhilaration of fresh air even in a downpour.

I’m trying to lean into the “and, both” philosophy, that two conflicting realities can be true at once, and almost always are. I try to embrace the good things in my life and trust that I really am grateful for them, even on the days where the struggle gives me tunnel vision. I’m beginning to understand that the crises feel bigger and harder because I’m finally safe enough to start processing deeper levels of the trauma vault. Feeling frustration and sorrow about my deep distrust of relationships is a complicated gift. It hurts, but if I can finally see it, I can learn how to heal it.

I start with a new therapist this week, so we’ll see how that goes.


A/N: Apologies if my last few posts have seemed to be coming from a dark place. I see a lot of content on social media about happily-ever-after success stories, whereas most of us are in what feels like this eternal messy middle. It’s really hard to challenge the way things have always been, and I’ve been confronting some pretty steep mountains in my life. I figure the journey is worth documenting, and I do so as an offering of hope and solidarity.


On a different note, one of my goals this year is to be a little more consistent on this blog. I’m starting with once a month, every first Tuesday. Wish me luck! 

deconstruction journals vi

Today, deconstruction feels like searching for safety amid gentle knocks on locked doors by well-meaning lovers, reverberating through the dim, stale hallways of the labyrinthine fortress I created.

I pick at the rusted locks wanting to let them in, insomnia and nightmares in my patient, scratching despair. None of the locks have keys or combinations. The terrorized adolescent that made them never designed them to open.

It was all supposed to make sense someday. The logic of my body was built on the fear of certain destruction, as the empire intended.

Was there something very wrong with me, I wonder, that I played its game so well?


Unless I numb myself,

with work, exhaustion, dissociative social media scrolling,

I will have to face the open wilderness of me.

How deeply loneliness wounded me.

How much of me I cut off, silenced, and contorted trying to become easier to tolerate.

How broken and ugly and unworthy of connection I feel in its wake,

inhibiting my ability to embrace the affection that has entered my life.

I survived my twenties by riding an endless river of “somedays”: academics, rough drafts, the religious promises of heaven.

I found safety in a perpetual state of becoming, in devaluing my present for an idealized future I would never have to prove or fail.

Now that I have regained some sensation, “someday” has become a bitter black hole.

I am no longer interested in “someday.”

A/N: I turned twenty-nine a couple weeks ago, and, naturally, had an identity crisis. My life is changing a lot, and I’m attempting to take it day-by-day, to be worthy of the good things, and to hold grace toward the hard things.

I am learning

to welcome the soft animal of my body back into my life.

In a culture that punishes limits and demands an increasingly lethal level of productivity, I learned to live in shame that I could never be good enough. I learned to believe there was something wrong with me because this sickness never felt like home.

I learned to fear the myth of my soft animal, the inner demon. Yet when I crept to the hollow tree where she lives to meet her for myself, I was surprised to learn she doesn’t want laziness and destruction.

Mostly, she wants vegetables. She wants exercise that excites and interests her. She wants play and novelty and safety, companionship and sunlight.

And I realize these desires are offensive. To the industrialized machinations of our culture. To the systems that we were groomed, but never built, to serve.

It has taken me a long time to learn that those things that are offensive to power, in fact, point toward freedom.

Deconstruction Journals v

It’s still hard to imagine any of this working.

I have always been surrounded by walls, always trying to purge the weak parts of myself and distill away my humanity in order to be accepted. An automaton who performs virtues and mimics life, but who never truly feels alive.

I make movements for positive change, toward health and life, yet the emotional flashbacks of isolation, rejection, and repression drag me down like tar. I have made progress so tangible I can measure it, but holding onto this awareness is ephemeral when I’m suddenly rocketing back to earth. To the painful, incremental sum of a hundred small things and a hundred small rebellions against the way things have been.

I have never not been what I am, but all I know is I can’t be like this anymore.

Change is a small, hopeful candle flame flickering in the dark. There are more candles than there used to be. Maybe someday, there will be enough for my heart to be considered light.