Crooked Frames: The Robbery of Perfectionism (And How to Kick it.)

My therapist’s credentials hang crookedly along the wall of her office.

On the day she caught me staring, she told me that she displays them this way because she is a recovering perfectionist. “And,” she said, “it helps me spot other people carrying that burden. Like you.”

Most sessions, it’s like we are sitting opposite each other, cross legged in the very cluttered den of my brain as we sift through the junk, discussing the feelings that made the cut and the thoughts that ought to be tossed. On this particular day, it was more like being invited to a roaring gala. I just couldn’t hear her. When I pointed out that it had taken me months to make this observation, she smirked and leaned forward.

“You’re not bothered by it. Perfection is not something you expect from me, but here’s what I really want to know: Could you live with your walls if they looked like mine?”

DAAAAYYYUUMMM, Mrs. P!

After reflecting for a moment, I decided that no, I could not. This pattern of thinking was indeed familiar to me, and up until then it was a pattern that I tolerated because it didn’t register as a swatch of thought that I could repaint. Driving home that evening, it occurred to me what a wasteful system it had been and how strange it was that the things we are most proud of can become grievances simply by hanging them haphazardly.
Since then, I’ve started to distinguish unpleasant symptoms that exist in my own life as a result of a frenzied desire to be spotless in a mud puddle. It’s been an instrumental tool in maintaining happiness, and my spirit is decidedly less turbulent these days.
I realize that there are a ton of people like me out there; the kind that know there’s a pattern, but can’t determine where it originated, much less change it.
I wanted to write a post based on my own experience for any of you who are reading and thinking “this shit is the realest.” I hope it will help you identify the perfectionist inside and start kicking it in the taint. Here are 7 signs that you’re afflicted:

1)You read this, felt weird about it, and subsequently denied the horrible truth that you are the victim of an aggressive (and impossible) vision that keeps you up most nights.

2) You weigh yourself, poop, then step back on the scale to see if anything remarkable happened, like the loss of 35 pounds. (Spoiler alert: it hasn’t. Get down from there!)

3) You refuse to participate in new endeavours by feigning disinterest, the authentic reason being that you are equal parts terrified and full of shit.

4) Someone has actually told you that you apologize too often and encouraged you to knock it the hell off.

5) You’ve thrown a party and spent the entire soiree obsessing over whether or not people are having a good time. (They are. Parties are fun. You are fun. End of story.)

6) You have been known to rip out the entire page due to a minor error. (This also applies if you get mad and draw a giant dick over said page.)

7) You attach happiness to a schedule and spend your life chasing it, convinced each time that if this one thing should fall into place, inner peace will be yours.

The bad news is that this distorted thinking makes your existence a hell of a lot harder. The good news is that you get to practice disciplining yourself to handle your heart with care, which is a lot more fun than holding up the possibility of failure as fuel. Here are 5 methods I’ve been using to allow myself to be human and therefore fallible:

1) Positive affirmations- I mentioned this in my last post, but I’m so sure of them that if I were Billy Mays and you were an innocent patron watching television, I would try to sell you double. I like to replace any self-loathing thought with something I enjoy about living in my skin. If thinking means becoming, imagine all the stunningly beautiful, positive opportunities that await you. (Spoiler alert: Self worth is going to narrrate your life. Allow it.)

2) Emphasizing the good- I used to think that people who practiced the art of gratitude were pretentious. There was just no way to be thankful for everything, and maybe that’s still true. What I’ve noticed is that I am less bothered by things beyond my realm of control or understanding. When I observe my progress, I try to highlight the great decisions, take apart the low moments and look closely at what makes them different before making my next attempt. When you’re tempted to criticize yourself or the current situation, interrupt that thought with gratitude. For example, instead of telling yourself that your hair looks like a hobo’s butthole or wishing your friends would rise your standards, try saying something like “My hair is doin’ a boss ass job of keeping my head warm!” Remind yourself that having a friend is a very lovely thing, even if they act dumb sometimes.

3) Allowing Myself to Be a Beginner- If you’re worried about trying something new in case you are terrible at it, the stone cold truth is that you are probably right. You are probably terrible at it because you’ve never done it before. Luckily, this is an inevitable fact faced by any being who dares to begin. I took up playing the guitar over Christmas and it still pisses me off that i’m no Jimi Hendrix. However, I allowed myself to play so badly that I was pretty sure ears across the land were bleeding, and guess what?! Now I only suck this badly SOMETIMES! I have even gone as far playing for and alongside other people. Who am I?! Oh, right. I’m a woman with shit to do.

4) Knowing that it’s all relative- Something that runs deep in people like us is the desperation that comes with wanting our efforts and achievements to be recognized and validated by other people. We lock ourselves tightly in silver cages, waiting patiently for the words to free us. What I’m getting at is that if we don’t try to find our own way out, the only option is “stuck.” When passion develops, so do answers, but in order to find it, you have to be willing to search. When you stumble upon something that makes your heart vibrate, you’ll know it immediately, and you won’t need an echo to tell you that being so unbound has always been the key.

5) Being mindful- A moment becomes pretty goddamn exhausting when you’re spending it in anticipation of the moment to follow or in nostalgia for moments that have passed, never to return. This will make your memoir look more like a checklist, and who wants to read that? When I feel invisible in the midst of all who are coming and going, I try to listen for the smallest sound that I can hear. As a result,I begin to notice colours and sounds being far more vibrant, more razor sharp than ever before. This ignites the feeling that there is always something to discover, like I can peel back layers of my mind to find that nothing is at all what it seems; it’s more.

Of all journeys I have taken, loving myself has been the most strenuous, because I am constantly arriving. There are always folds in time that wrap me up and tempt me to stay, but the difference is that I’m no longer smothered in fear. Rather, I’m pulled away by the notion of all that I have yet to behold and make sense of. I’m not afraid of the the root that flees the forest floor, because I am no longer looking at it as if it were placed there to trip me.

People will float up to feast upon my joy while others drift away in search of a dream of their very own, each one etching themselves upon my heart.

And this time, all pages of my story will remain as I am; messy with adventure, littered in love letters, and most importantly, still intact.

My July Birthday

I turned 23 yesterday.

I used to think that birthdays were nothing more than an excuse to wear a hat and ingest an alarming amount of chocolate cake. It didn’t take long before I traded the hat for low-rise jeans and the cake for a bottle of Pineapple Malibu. Slowly but surely, they became another painful reminder that I was alive.

That sounds dramatic. Maybe it was.

I see those Tumblr pictures and I have to laugh. They feature the bottom halves of girls with thigh gaps and short shorts and captions that say things like “Summer Love,” as if summer isn’t fun and love is out of reach without those two elements. I have to laugh because I had the thigh gap and the short shorts and summer still seemed like an endless stretch of eternity that I would rather have slept away.

My July birthday was something I loathed, yet waited around for every year in a desperate sort of anticipation. I kept waiting to wake up more at peace, more mature, more fun. I kept waiting to “grow out of it.” I imagined opening the door for the people who arrived at my party and feeling safe in their presence, like nothing would change and we could always contort our mouths into pained smiles and pull the strings in our backs to release an enthusiastic “Let’s be friends forever!”

I waited for these things, and yet, I woke up with the same knots and insecurities that I had fallen to sleep with the night before. I woke up with the same fears that had always kept me from having fun, the ones that reminded me that I was different and strange and everyone knew it. When the people floated through the doorway and wished me a happy birthday, their smiles of admiration looked more like contempt, and I always found myself searching their palms and their eyes for the instrument or the secret that they might use to damage me further.

This is not anyone’s fault.

My July birthday was a mirror to the way I felt about myself. My July birthday was a reflection of the expectations I had and the standards I set, and the sick way I sat around feeling like I was the only one who had the right to sadness and humiliation. My July birthday was a reminder of the truths I couldn’t face, and the way they made me a liar.

I celebrated 23 years on Earth at the bedside of a dear friend. I celebrated 23 years watching her breathe peacefully inside a deep slumber, grateful that she was breathing at all. I celebrated 23 years by reflecting on the 7 and a half I’ve been lucky enough to know her.

Her fingers twitched in mine, and I knew for certain that this must be the most valuable gift I’ve ever held. They were warm and full of life, full of strength and, though they remained still, they clung to life with a vicious tenacity that one can only find in the hands of someone who has beaten (no, smashed) the odds. As she does this, I know what my July birthday means (and has always meant.)

My July birthday is another mark on a tally on a score sheet of a mind game, a brain teaser more puzzling than any riddle. My July birthday is the candle that remains lit after all the others have been blown out. My July birthday is the gift that I do not deserve, but am given anyway.

My July birthday is a mirror to the way I feel about myself, and my July birthday felt pretty fucking great this year.

 

All Great Things

It’s World Pride week, and I could not be more excited. Some of you who have followed Lipshits and Mental Fits from the beginning might remember that I first spoke openly about my sexuality in a post called “The Other, Other ‘B’ Word.” I’m so proud to say that Lipshits and Mental fits stands with the LGBTQ community, and even more proud to celebrate this week alongside them.

Although I believe that we should be proud of who we are every day of the year, Pride Week is important because it gives us the opportunity to come together and reflect on the progress we’ve made, the people who have devoted their lives to the movement of equality, and to celebrate the future of this movement.

It’s hard to grow up in a place that feels a little frozen in time, like the ground 6 months of the year. While most everybody is friendly, you don’t see a ton of openly gay couples. When I was young and visiting larger cities, seeing men holding hands and women with their smiles pressed together-it mesmerized me. The way that people strolled by without taking notice fascinated me even more. I remember wondering why seeing this kind of love felt so familiar to me. It made me warm all over, and I thought about those people for days afterward. Then I would return to the prairie, and the cold would steal my breath.

Some people I know still gain their knowledge from evening sitcoms featuring the flamboyant gay man with a cardigan around his neck, giving relationship advice at an all girls’ sleepover. For awhile, that was really the only impression that I had as well. These conflicting feelings ate my brain, and I began to see myself as a total alien. As I imagine it does for a lot of people, the confusion I felt grew thicker as I got older, like a strange haze that only I could see. The subject became important all of a sudden, and high school was difficult to navigate when the words “faggot” and “dyke” were thrown around like frisbees. I found myself saying things like “being bisexual is a fad,” even though it left a sharp pang in my chest every time.

Part of the reason that I and many others like myself hide their sexuality, especially from our peers, is because people get this weird impression that we want to make out with them or that they can’t associate with us for fear of being mistaken as LGBT as well. For those of us that haven’t come out yet, relationships can feel extremely shallow when we cannot be open about the things that make us a whole person. Many people stay silent for reasons of fear. Bullying, both at school and online can weigh on a person’s chest, choking them until they decide that it’s time to give up, to stop struggling, to cease to breathe. Add to this a volatile home life, and you’ve got a gay kid’s nightmare. No two situations are quite alike, and circumstances may vary, but the statistics don’t lie. According to egale.ca, LGBTQ youth are at a greater risk of taking their own lives than their heterosexual peers. 33% of us have attempted suicide in Canada alone, and many more are contemplating.

This number may not be high enough for you to be alarmed, but those who choose to pull the plug on life have parents and siblings. They have cousins and neighbours and best friends. Part of these people dies alongside them, their insides rotting from the words that didn’t get the chance to be said, from the guilt of knowing that it was preventable.

In 2003, a gay couple were pronounced legally wed for the first time in Toronto, and two years later, the federal government legalized same-sex marriage across the nation. I am grateful to live here, where my rights are protected. However, homophobia still hangs like a dark cloud, especially in small, rural areas. We know that if we fall madly in love, we can be wed, and that’s great, but what about the years leading up to that moment?

I don’t know about you, but I want to see more people make it to that moment. I want to see hugs at graduation and legendary touchdowns. I want to hear about sweaty hands and first loves. I want the only tears at 3 AM to be after the first love is lost. I want to see these things because it doesn’t matter if it’s two men or two women, the difference is irrelevant when I see their gums as they throw their heads back and laugh; it’s irrelevant when I see their eyes gleaming with that all too familiar shine; love.

All great songs, poems, novels, they’re written with love in mind. They search for, they celebrate, they agonize over, they curse love. Love of all kinds, wether it be a love for a human being or a love for baseball. These great songs, poems and novels are written because it is only love that can feed us and bleed us dry, sometimes all at once. A goodbye would just not be as gutting if we were watching people we disliked as they left our door and our lives. In the cold confusion that is the world, love is warm, and we forever search for, celebrate, agonize over, and curse love.

I can’t tell you where to go from here, and I certainly can’t tell you where your path will lead, because it took me 10 years to work up the courage to love and accept this part of myself. What I CAN tell you is that my life is infinitely better since coming out. I feel great about owning who I am, and I feel great about sharing my confusion with others. (Let’s be honest. I am a very confused human being.) If you are struggling with your sexuality or even simply questioning what sexuality means to you, I urge you to reach out and talk. Connect with me here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Let’s celebrate who we are, even if you feel like you have to do so quietly for now. LSMF will always be a safe place to land.

 

 

“‘Cause I’m a Creep, I’m a Weirdo.”

I think it’s funny that all of us (including me) squander so much effort on appearing normal.

I mean, what the fuck is that anyway? It’s certainly not universal. I know this because in some cultures, belching after a meal is a show of appreciation. That’s normal and you’d be rude if you didn’t. However, if you burp at my mother’s table, don’t be surprised if you get smacked upside your brain cave. It’s been said before and I know I’m not a genius when I tell you that there is no normal.

I remember a lot of my childhood, and sometimes, when the world overwhelms me, I go back to those memories. I lay down and think about that time my family got a new van with a motherfuckin’ sun roof. I’m strapped in but I’m staring straight up at the clouds and picking my nose while “Truly, Madly, Deeply” plays and I think “everything in the world is right.” I love that song to this day, and not because of any romantic notion, but because it was a really good pick and the clouds were fluffy and OUR VAN HAD A SUNROOF.

A portion of the people who have read this far will be skeeved out and thinking that I could have left the snot rocket patch bit out of the description. The others will understand me when I say that I think that is fucking stupid. Why does everyone want to pretend that they don’t get boogers? Why is it so top-secret? EVERYBODY GETS BATS IN THEIR CAVES. That is normal. If you have never developed mucous inside of your nasal cavity and proceeded, at least once, to pick it out with your fingers you should probably see a doctor or maybe even a therapist because you are missing out on a very small, nasty joy. I’m not telling you to dig at dinner for everyone to see, of course. Don’t be a fuck about it.

Everybody wants to appear as if they’ve grown up with dignity, grace and charisma. They like Seinfeld and hockey and they recycle because they care. This is all a big crock of shit. I grew up thinking that I was this weird, creepy creature on the inside because every other girl had sparkly purses and married a different boy every recess. I felt like that one indecisive sheep who wants to walk a different way but follows the herd instead because “OH MY GOD I’LL DIE ALONE.” Alone and weird. I worked hard on being the girl with the sparkly purse. I embodied her at school because 3rd grade politics are not easy to navigate when you have no support from the 8-9 year old community. At home, though, I was full on weirdo. I used to play barbies, but not the “normal” way. In fact, all I did was comb their hair and hold them out in front of me, shaking them around and making faces that cannot be described adequately but saying absolutely nothing. My family thought it was hilarious, and I of course found it horribly shameful because if anybody at school found out I’d probably take shit for years.

When people tell you that you’re weird, it stings. It stings and then it numbs, and in time it becomes the one card you have. At least if you’re weird, you’re not invisible. You subject yourself to a life of mediocrity because that is what you think you should want. Why then, are you tortured with visions of beaches and dreadlocks and ukeleles? Why, late at night when all is still, do you imagine abandoning everything and spending your entire summer’s savings on a one way plane ticket to New York City to live on Broadway?

Why should these feelings be any less real? Nobody ever wants to talk about the dark parts, the parts they keep hidden in chambers of their heart for nobody to find. Well, I do. I’m tired of agonizing over what I might say or to whom. My brain is too damn wild for that and I can no longer hide it. I no longer WANT to hide it. This is my normal. This is my baby voice and my air guitar that looks nothing like a guitar. This is my booming voice and the way I use it to interrupt people without thinking first. This is my “fuck you” attitude when I’m being disrespected.

Some people might not appreciate any of that. To them I say “Fair enough,” and I will move on. But never again will I put my head down and pray when I don’t believe. Never again will I change clothing because someone might find it unfashionable. Never again will my body slump down in shame, even shame masked as victory, when someone says “You’re weird.” I’m a lot of things, and weird is only the tip of the iceberg. Some people may not appreciate it at all, but for those of you who do, join me in letting go of the backlash that comes with eccentricity. Join me in saying “I don’t give a fuck.” And let me know where you’re at. Send me a tweet, leave me a comment. Give me your best shout. Let’s get a little weird, shall we?

Maybe what we’ll find is that none of us are really all that weird.

“Please Don’t Stay In Touch.”

I feel sometimes, although I pour every emotion I have into this blog and feel like what I’ve written has made sense, people still get it twisted. I want to make a few points very clear.

I don’t need anybody’s sympathy. Though I so love the well wishes and the people on the sidelines cheering me forward, I want people to understand that they do not need to be sorry. I have had a comfortable and colourful life, and for the most part, I still do. I don’t want people to be sorry because my illness is not a weakness.

I think it gets thrown out there that mentally ill people are a little less sharp due to their condition, but I strongly disagree, and here’s why: I may not be able to concentrate as well in everyday life as I used to, but rest assured, my focus is not waning. If you can imagine yourself having a conversation, imagine having one with ten people shouting into your ears. Imagine driving and hearing the rising and falling of voices that are not really there. If you can’t picture this, I’ll just tell you that it’s hell. But it’s my hell, and I am ploughing through it.

I’m no damsel. A condition like this causes one to suffer, but because I know this suffering, I know that there is life beyond it. Suffering has made my skin as thick as leather, and my heart soft like butter. I have a deeper compassion than I have ever possessed, and patience I’ve never known before. I feel so deeply that I often live in the past, thinking of ways to correct all of my wrong turns, though I know it cannot be done. On the other hand, I’m determined to create a better future, and I’ll basically crush anybody who tries to intervene. Rumi said “The wound is the place where the light enters you,” and I fully believe that this is what has happened.

By sharing my story, by stripping myself bare for anybody to read, the light has come and it has filled the holes left by other people. I cannot be hurt anymore, because I cannot hide. My naked mind and heart used to feel a chill, and now I cannot imagine ever covering them. I am drunk on the freedom of it all.

Make no mistake, though I try to be compassionate AND patient, I still have a fire under my ass that can’t be put out. If you doubt me, if you wrong me, I welcome that. I will take the bitterness and seething anger that would usually apply and use it to smash every last one of these goals like an orange ditz on the Jersey Shore. I will do it better than you could ever imagine simply because you don’t think I’m capable. And I promise, when I come back, while you’re busy eating that crow, I will tell you to go FUCK yourself.

This has been “Hulk Smash: the Softcore Version” with Karlee Gorrie.

Keep the Change, Ya Filthy Animal

Sometimes I feel like I live in the spaces between my memories.

I catch myself telling the same stories over and over again, because they are the only form of magic that I know to be true. A memory can make a mundane day feel extraordinary in a matter of seconds. It’s the way I stroll down the aisle of a 7/11 and see a Mars bar, and there I am, 8 years old, hair sopping wet from swimming lessons. I’m strapped in to the back of my sister’s old Suzuki, She has the top off because it is an Indian summer and she knows I love the breeze. She is 18, and the Backstreet Boys echo through the wind. I feel limitless. And I’m eating a motherfucking Mars bar. Best day ever.

I see the Mars Bar, and I start to hum. It’s always the same. “I’ll never break your heart, I’ll never make you cry.” I smile at the thought of 8 year old Karlee resonating with those words. There is something so innocent and soft about that time. I don’t know if it’s because I  grew older or because I grew harder, but these magic moments seemed fewer and further between as time marched on.

I’m not complaining. These small pieces of time are vivid. They are real and they are colourful. The day I cease to remember them will be the day I lose sight of who I am, the very core of my being. I don’t want to forget the little girl with loose teeth and firm beliefs, because I need her. I need her to carry me through the things that I’m trying so desperately to forget, but cannot. I need to be able to remember what she would say about these dark things that take place in the tall shadows between the dusk and the night.

I’ve done what feels like a very terrible thing. I’ve taken this box off of one of the shelves in my brain, and in it are pictures of memories that I promised myself I would never look at again. I’ve always been aware of the presence of this box, because I am not sure I could ever truly hide it well enough never to think about it. However, in the number of years that it’s been sitting on the shelf, I have done a very fine job of ignoring it as if it did not exist.

I took the lid off of the box, and I stared at the images one by one. There I am, and there she is. But she doesn’t look like me. She looks different in a way that I do not have the words to describe. She looks sad in some, angry in others. For the most part, though, she just looks blank.This was not my life. I shuffled through the stack and became furious in a way that I haven’t been in a very, very long time. I was fucking pissed at myself. It was a pole frozen and glistening in a Canadian winter, and I had just stuck my tongue on the silver metal knowing full well what the consequences would be. How very masochistic of me.

I  feverishly and frantically arranged the pictures and put them neatly back in the box. The only problem was that the lid would not close. I rearranged, I pleaded, I screamed, I used every ounce of mental force I could muster to close the box, but it popped open defiantly and startled me every time. When it became clear that this could not be undone, I placed the lid neatly on top and moved as far away from the box as possible.

The problem is, they’re not just images anymore. What used to be fragments of a motion picture of a life that I did not recognize as my own started piecing themselves together in my dreams. The smell, the faces, the feelings, I know all of them. I remember them so well that it’s almost as if it happened yesterday. The thick shame and disgust is back and lingering over me like a fog that refuses to dissipate. It occupies every corner of my mind as if it is holding me hostage.

I keep asking “What do I do? What do I do with these images? What do I do with these feelings? How do I get rid of them?”

I keep receiving the same answer. “See them. Feel them.”

This answer is equal parts exasperating and satisfying. I’m in pieces, and I want a quick fix. I want to run. But the part of me that is capable of logical thinking knows that this is the right answer, and I have too much pride to move. I know that my only choice is to let the memories break me down until they become less terrifying, less shameful; until I am not bothered by their presence. Until my brain expands to welcome them as part of its chemistry and fuel to reach beyond the limitations that the box set so solidly in place.

I haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t know how long this is going to take. All I know is that there are Mars bars and loose teeth and clouds that look like sailboats moving across the sky with the wind.

“I’ll never break your heart, I’ll never make you cry.”

Insomnia and Ichiban

It’s 2:23 AM and there’s no slumber on the horizon.

I’ve been talking a lot about brokenness lately, and in doing that I’ve discovered something that makes this whole situation less daunting. I’ve discovered that there are perks to being broken. One of these perks is that we have the truly incredible opportunity to completely reconstruct ourselves into something new and extraordinary. After all, if we have nothing left to lose, what is there to stop us from grasping what it is that we truly long for?

I’m not saying that this discovery is going to make it hurt less. Oh, no. I know that it’s a dull ache that courses through our veins and rushes through every muscle and makes our knees buckle, takes the air from our lungs. It sits in our minds and fucks with us when it is most inconvenient, like in the grocery store parking lot or a friend’s bridal brunch. It rings in our ears like a fire alarm that some delinquent kid named Adam pulled, just for kicks. There’s no real emergency, because the fire’s already burned itself out. There can be no more flame if we have already turned to ash.

I know it’s sort of odd to compare ourselves to a building, but let’s imagine this, just for a second, okay? I want to know, now that your whole life is scattered on the ground, being carried on a breeze, did you like the vessel you were living in? Was it the home you’d always dreamed of? Was your floor plan open and spacious, was there light spilling in? Did you like the furniture? Was the foundation sturdy enough for dreams to flourish and warm memories to linger? What about the people inside of the building? Did they contribute to the hard work that comes with maintaining a peaceful environment? Did they plant flowers, clean the windows, paint your walls in pretty pastels? Did they lay on the floor with you and laugh, their clothes saturated with water and dish soap after an impromptu chore war?

If the answer is yes, then you already know what it is that you long for. If you can shout “Absolutely!” to every one of those questions, you know what is possible, and if you should choose to do so, you can lay the bricks one at a time until your foundation is as strong as it ever was. The building will not look quite the same, but there will be no denying that what you’ve built is strong, significant, and beautiful.

But if you are honest with yourself and know that the ashes on the ground are only reminders of a life you were living, but not choosing, if the home was dilapidated, dusty, and dark, maybe it’s better this way. Maybe it’s better because today you can stand at the edge of the property of what used to be and know that there is nothing left to cling to. Maybe it’s better because the people moving through your doors were only marking your floors and making a mess on top of a mess. Though it is a bitter freedom, it is freedom all the same. Grieve as long as you need to, but promise yourself that when you are finished, you will take a deep breath, one last glance at the remnants of your broken spirit and walk away. And as you’re walking away, decide that you are going to rebuild. Decide that you are going to rebuild in a brand new neighborhood surrounded by meadows. Or next to a set of tracks so that you can hear the train whistle through the night. Or in a high rise above the bustle of a city. Rebuild in whatever environment offers you peace and serenity. Paint your walls in calming, neutral tones. Or Pepto Bismol pink. Put windows everywhere to let the light spill in from every angle, and then put curtains up for those times when you just want to sit with the darkness. Whatever you do, don’t cheat yourself, because this is your chance. This is your soul. This is your opportunity to create yourself in a way that you can truly live with.

The reality of the situation is that our lives are going to fall apart many times between now and the grave. We are going to be demolished and reconstructed over and over, and every time we will look different. We will feel different. We will BE different. We do not play this life with marked cards, and that is unfortunate, but it’s also part of the fun, isn’t it?  Yes, there are Octobers, but there are also Mays. There is war, but there’s also a group of people a table over laughing and arguing about who is going to take care of the bill. There is death, but there is also life that replenishes itself over and over in a very natural, gradual way.

So, now that we’ve imagined our endings as beginnings, let’s start building, shall we? You can always find me here, on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s create together.