Dreams Are Weird

Dreams Are Weird

This morning I woke up from a dream where I was a serial killer. That wasn’t even the disturbing part. The really awful part was that I was so detached from my actions. I felt no remorse, sadness, or pain from these actions. I mean, I was putting bombs in buildings, and I wasn’t around when they blew up, but still. Wow brain…wow.

I do sort of subscribe to dreams having to do with unprocessed emotions from our waking life, and until right this minute I was having a hard time placing where that detachment was coming from. Turns out it is most likely associated with my roommate’s dog. Tulip is a very sweet looking dog who does some pretty adorable dog things like putting her head on your knee (when I have food). In the last few months it’s really started to wear on me though that this dog doesn’t seem to give any fucks about me unless I am in the process of scratching her or if I have food out. The rest of the time she refuses to even be in the same room, and it’s heartbreaking to see how my only value to this being is when services are rendered.

I’ve never had a dog inspire such feelings of inadequacy as Tulip does. There have been lots of dogs who love food or pets or whatever, but she is the first one who shows that unless I’m giving to her constantly I don’t even exist.

Just now Tulip came up to me on the couch and put her paw sweetly on my arm, the dog version of “pets please.” So I scratched around her collar for a bit and turned back to my writing. She put her paw on me again, but this time instead of fulfilling her request I told her I was writing and asked her to lay down. She looked at me, then left the room. Well fuck you too Tulip. What a dick this dog is. So selfish. Man, I really miss living with cats. At least cats are up front about not giving any fucks…plus they have visual ques that they enjoy being petting whereas Tulip just stands there with the same look in her eye with no other discernible changes in demeanor. Basically I give a cat pets and I can see they appreciated it, I give Tulip pets and she shows no interest until I stop, and if I don’t continue she hates me. haha. Pretty sure dogs don’t experience emotions like me, but you get my point.

That dream was so weird. There was this whole other part where I ended up working with four other women to steal from the business we all worked for who treated people horribly, and at first I was apprehensive to help, but in the end I chose loyalty to these women and the people working there. We setup this elaborate scheme to steal 1.3 billion… in change. hahaha. Wow. No problems there. Good work brain.

Perhaps the thoughts of Burning Man intermixed here. Last night I spent like an hour and a half combing and styling a white wig I bought for the Man and I’ve been searching for what I want to wear on the white day as I’m told that’s a thing I should plan for. All of us were dressed in beautiful flowing white dresses and these bad ass white wigs as we setup our plot. I think that created some of the loyalty in my mind. It was nice to be part of something, even if it was fucked up haha.

When I woke up I laid there and thought about this dream before I started my meditation to analyze and compare to how I feel in my waking life. I decided that killing people is not something I could or would do in real life. That’s good. I thought about the feeling of detachment and tried to pinpoint what triggered that. Yesterday we had a really lovely group cuddle event where we all laughed a lot, and between that event, my clients, Ben, Melon, my coworkers, and the new Introverts Unite events my life feels more connected than it has in a really long time.

Which reminds me, last week three of my coworkers asked for or were open to sessions/activities with me and it was so nice to give a little something back to these women who do so much for me. They have made a huge impact in my life, and I am so grateful. I honestly don’t think I could keep doing this work in the way I do without the support of these amazing humans. Joey has taken over the social media stuff for me, and Cora just offered to do her own marketing on a volunteer basis since we can’t yet afford to pay for her time to do this. Olivia made time to redo her marketing photos as she just cut off most of her hair. It looks great!

Next Saturday I turn 35, and it feels a bit surreal. Half way to 70 haha. I just got my licence renewed, and in the picture I can see two grey hairs quite clearly. I look at them with a sense of pride. Same with my wrinkles. These are signs my body has lived, experienced, and survived so much. I don’t know if I will ever change my tune about being excited to get older, but for now at least, I am grateful for every passing day, every passing moment, the contrast- pain, joy, abundance, sacrifice, all of it. Each of these things contribute to me in unique ways that shape who I become. Without all of them I wouldn’t be me, and I want to cherish who I am, faults, mistakes, and failures included.

Thanks for tuning in, for being part of my story, and for being you. I hope you know that no matter what happens in your life you are worthy of love, kindness, and connection. I aim to be proof of that. That’s the point of this blog- to show that even in our darkest moments, if we shine light on the pain and allow ourselves to be who we truly are, we will find all that we need. While I am responsible for my pain, getting to share it makes me feel loved, valued, and accepted as I am. Seeing that those who stay prove this is true gives me hope that others will find their own version of how to do this as well.

Maybe you aren’t a no holds barred type of sharer like myself. Maybe sharing isn’t your thing. But maybe, just maybe, by being here together we can help each other be whatever it is we need, want, and deserve to be. If your brain just turned any of that into a negative I invite you to tell your brain that you want to feel the opposite of whatever it just told you. I believe in you, even if history says otherwise. I’m on team you. Let’s struggle together haha. Yay, life! or ya know, ya…….life….as long as we’re together (:

Intentionally Sam

Dance Like No One Can See Me!

Dance Like No One Can See Me!

Last week Melon and I went out dancing. It’s been a long time since we’be been out together, and it was so much fun! She Polo’d me the name of some music person and told me to look it up and to let her know if I was free and wanted to go. I forgot to look it up, but the music matters less than the company, so I did tell her I was in and she bought us tickets.

I got home around 5pm, scarfed down some food, and put some clothes and makeup in a bag. I drove her way with a bottle of wine in my bag and a smile so loud I can still hear it. We put on makeup, drank wine, and caught up. It’s been nice to have Marco Polo to help keep us connected when we can’t human together. In fact just yesterday she sent me my favorite message of all time. It’s how I know she gets me…she sent me a message to tell me she was pooping. I love her so much!

We called a Lyft, and went to the show. When we got inside it was about 9pm, and among the 30 or so people in the room maybe six of them were swaying or bobbing their heads to the music ever so slightly, no one daring to be the first to bust a move.

I, on the other hand, LOVE to be the person who gets the dance party started. Immediately upon seeing the wide open space for crazy dance moves proceed to make a fool of myself. Luckily Melon is not embarrassed by my shenanigans, and in fact, she laughs and joins right in too! Within moments half the people have stepped forward and the dancing has begun! I miss dancing. I miss being that ridiculous no fear person who gives no fucks if other people see me, oh no- I couldn’t possibly let others see me, D-A-N-C-I-N-G!!!!!

When I dance my goal is much different than the average person as far as I can tell. My goal is to laugh as much as humanly possible…and to use muscles in ways I didn’t know was possible. If you’ve seen the Alaska dude who dances to Alicia Keys’ No One, you know what I mean. I want to be the four year old whose body just moves and I don’t know why, but I like it.

We dance and laugh and play. About two hours in we head upstairs for a break. The event was at Bossanova, and I didn’t know they had a cuddle zone! Melon asks me to show her some of the new poses, so we go through a bunch of poses and laugh and cuddles and have so much fun!

At some point we head back down to dance more, and as the night goes on Melon begins to notice the pain I’m pushing to the back of my mind. She gives me that look of pity that comes with the knowing of suffering. Wandering over she puts her hands on my shoulders softly and asks me to breathe. At this moment it takes everything in me to hold back the tears of the pain. I have to ask her to not, and I do breathe deeply to try and refocus. Focus away from the pain. Focus on anything but what’s happening inside.

When the pain becomes the focus it become unbearable. It was so sweet of her to notice and to attempt to offer a resolve. With me the pain is always there. Bringing my attention to it removes my ability to function in the real world. Everything zooms in, disappears in fact. It’s like all my senses are put on pause because the experience of the pain is so intense that it blocks out all other input. Stupid pain. What a jerk. We went back to dancing, and managed to stay out until past midnight without turning into pumpkins. Yay! For my age I’ll consider that a win. Still not sure how I’ll do at Burning Man, but I’m guessing naps will be involved.

The next day my whole body ached. Not like the pain I’m so used to blocking out, but muscular pain- the “it hurts so good” pain. The “I did a thing!” pain. It was nice to have my body change focus. It really does help to have something, anything else for my body to shift to.

Some days my body is so tense and twisted up that it takes me several tries to reach far enough down to put my socks on. I’m 34. You know this. Fuck. At least when this happens I can still laugh. Realizing how ridiculous I feel and how grateful because there will come a day that no matter how many attempts I make, I will not be able to put on socks anymore. Perhaps I’ll have to move to a warmer climate when I get old haha.

It’s still funny to me to realize that a sizable portion of my brain power is going into shutting down the pain input that is the constant undertone of my life. It’s like my own little theme song, and in some ways I’m really happy to have it. The humbleness that comes from the endless struggle makes me better. It is my frienemy. My blessing and my curse. Somehow it’s my balance point. I sort of wonder if perhaps I’d have a lot more ADHD symptoms if my body wasn’t constantly under attack by my pain. haha.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that I personed and walk myself through this moment that stuck out and reminded me to be grateful for the contrast in my life. I also realized just before I wrote this that my last post didn’t actually make it out when I wrote it, so now there’s two posts super close together, even thought the last one was from a couple weeks ago. Not sure much has changed since then except that a lot of the community event drama has been resolved, and right now I’m sitting with a foot near my knee because I’m on the “Possibly Open To Cuddles” side of the new Sharing Space Without Expectations event that I super love. Yay for social time and work time. All the things!

Sending you lots of love and appreciation!

-Intentionally Sam

Losing My Faith

Losing My Faith

When I was little and ignorant I was raised Catholic with a father who beat my mother and made it okay to do over and over simply by confessing his sins and asking for forgiveness. This post isn’t about that type of faith. That type of faith was lost to me the day I realized I could believe in God or I could believe in humanity, but I could not believe in both. I chose humanity.

Fast forward to the slightly less little, slightly less ignorant version of me known as February 25, 2019. Today I sit at my desk in the office, eating string cheese, sipping on cranberry wonderland tea, a heater by my feet, and sitting criss cross applesauce like all those childhood days that seem so far in the rear view mirror. Today I am remembering who I am. Today I recognize the true value I bring to the world.

Glittery rainbow butterfly unicorn kitten. Yes, this is what I bring to the world, figuratively at least. This is who I see myself as. I am the bringer of light and magic and fucking rainbows and shit. Pew, PEW, PEW, other fake laser noises! Pew, PEW! Yeah! All of that! I want to be those things. No. I AM all of those things!

Yay! hahahaha.

Here’s the thing. My sparkle has dulled. I don’t seem to have the same magical essence I have carried with me through so many bullshit moments of trauma, pain, and endless tragedy. That’s what life is. In part, at least. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. I often say that the purpose of my life is to learn and grow and how I never want to be in a place where I am closed to considering something.

This business has taken me to a place where I didn’t even realize this has happened. I’ve gone against my own life philosophy in order to survive being a drop in the bucket with the dreams and intentions to move the tide. I changed my philosophy to be “I HAVE to have complete faith that I will succeed or I won’t make it.” Well, guess what? I haven’t made it. I had complete faith, and do you want to know what good it’s done me? Well, currently I live beyond my means financially, I am not sure I have it in me to move the studio again when our lease is up, and for the first time since I began the business I am honestly considering not doing this work anymore.

The high school version of getting grades happens in real life when people contribute to their communities. Currently my business is getting a D+, and I feel like an undiagnosed special needs human who has no idea why all the efforts I put in, even above and beyond those around me, still has me feeling like I’m drowning.

By logical standards if I make a cup of tea and don’t refill it, it will still be full because the way to drink tea is to brew it, wait for it to cool down, then forget about it until it’s cold and gross (thanks internet hehe). But really, it feels like effort in should create equal benefit out. Dang it reality, why do you gotta be like this? Why can’t you work well with logic? Why is emotion the drug of choice for you?

So I sit here, and I think about what my life would look like if I didn’t do this work. I sit here and look up how little the average therapist makes and realize the thing I feel I’m made for is not going to be worth going back to school for, and I feel like, fuck, having a shit job that paid me $15 per hour that I didn’t actually care about would be pretty freaking awesome. To have all my bills paid from my paycheck and not partially from the remains of my past life (the sale of my condo) and to not rely on OHP (which is in the process of being cancelled because I made less than I expected after write offs last year, so my healthcare for low income people is being cancelled because I made too little and logic just fainted because fuck you government bullshit). The thought of having life be easy. Of knowing exactly what I’m responsible for. Of having time and energy to be a fucking person. That sounds awesome!

But then the faces start flooding into my mind. All the people who have been a part of this work. All the people who do find value in this. All the times this was the difference between life and death, of suffering and well, less suffering. Of love lost and unconditional love found. Of pain and misery overcome. Of connections made. Of codependencies broken and healthier habits formed. Of weddings and childrens born, and smiles and laughs. Dinosaur WRAR’s and dances in space. Of tears of joy and pain. Of trust. Growth. Movement.

The tide shifts.

This little drop in the bucket has done the thing. I have changed the tide. It’s just not the one I thought it was. It’s the current under the tide that I get to affect. It’s individual lives and experiences that work together silently, under the sight of the turbulence above that shifts the impact the waves have.

When I look back at my life so far I see a woman not only who has the drive, ambition, and intention to change the world, but more than that I see a woman who lost her faith in God in order to believe in humanity. Because she is humanity. She is all those things, good, bad, and indifferent that make up human experience. She has seen the magic in that mix, and she said YES!

I see the pain. I see the struggle. But I also see the wonder. The marvel. The curious smiles and lingering hugs of humans united. I see the difference I make, and every bit of it is because of you. You, me, all of it. We are the same. No, this is not some hippie drug induced bullshit. This is real. This is what matters. What my job title is means nothing. The efforts I put in mean nothing. What matters, what really matters, is that I try. That’s it. When I try I inspire others to try, and that’s what connects us. The struggle and the joy, all wrapped up neatly in a little drop.

This little drop is going to keep trying. My faith in humanity, in myself, in the tide changing may not always look the same, but the only thing permanent is something beyond comprehension because when it comes down to it not even the internet is really forever. So for today, I try.

Okay, so I just realized I said a whole lot without actually saying anything, so since I have half an hour before Social Club here are some of the updates:

  1. I recently did the math and realized that having the retail space costs me about $6,000 a month total. We bring in an average of $5,800 a month. Fuck.
  2. Business has been down a lot. This week I have 3 scheduled appointments all week, and I feel like the world has given up on me and this and I do feel like it may be time to call it quits if I can’t find a way to make this actually sustainable, and I’m not sure I have it in me to make that happen. Although I don’t see myself giving up my outbound practice as long as I’ve got interest. Anybody know how to sell a company? haha
  3. I’m trying to find ways to get people in here that doesn’t cost anything/much. So far the ideas are to leave brochures with therapists (although I wanted to mail them and my biz manager said that was stupid so I dropped the idea completely), at community boards, libraries, and to maybe make a video to email to professionals who may be able to refer people to us if I can muster the energy to do that well.
  4. Ben has offered to take me to Burning Man this year, and I plan on doing that. I have begun the hunt for what to gift, and I’m excited about having a vacation where I can be as extroverted as I dare.
  5. There’s been a ton of drama with our meetup events, and there are lots of things shifting with all that. No idea where it will land yet, but I’m hoping to find a way to make it work still.
  6. I found myself trying to write emails to a bunch of clients for input for the second book, but every time I tried to write it I sounded manipulative because part of me wants folks to do this because it may be my last chance to see the value I’m needing to continue this, and that’s unfair to put on others. So far I have far less responses than I’d hoped for. Sigh.
  7. Joey has taken over social media for me. Thank goodness! I am so grateful. Social media often makes me want to punch myself in the face along with all the people there because we are all assholes.
  8. I have so much to be grateful for, and overall my life is going better and better outside of the constant existential crisis haha. Yay!

Alright, that is all you get today because I can’t brain anymore. Off to edit some new marketing photos before social club.

Intentionally Sam! WRAR!

Consequence of Choice

Consequence of Choice

Please note: this post may be challenging due to choice anxiety and later for anyone who may be activated by emotional abuse so read only by choice please and take breaks if you need to.

This morning I was standing in my kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil when I realized that one of the nicest things my ex-husband used to do for me was flip through the paper plates so I could easily grab one instead of two. Yes, that’s extremely sad. No, that part isn’t the point of this post. I realized this because I was standing there pulling apart the coffee filters (because future favors) after realizing how I struggle every day to take just one filter, and it reminded me of the paper plates. Little things are often the big things to me because my receiving love language is acts of service (my brain just fought with itself on if using the word is before a plural is acceptable and I decided yes in this case as acts of service is a title and if it’s wrong that’s okay).

Anyway, so as I’m standing there pulling apart coffee filters I look at the counter and realize I have no less than 200 choices for how to make my coffee: mesh filter, paper filter, french press, instant coffee, instant decaf, regular, decaf, espresso, black, with heavy cream, with almond milk, with lemon juice (apparently it’s supposed to help negate the calcium draw from your bones when mixed into coffee), with stevia, with peppermint extract…you get the point. The simple process of making coffee is something I’ve made into a process making 200 choices just to start my day.

Then I realized that I’ve made another 600 choices before I even got out of bed. “Do I want to meditate? Yes. Do I have to pay attention to time? Do I even want to check what time it is? If I do check the time will I get distracted and forget to meditate? Yes. Ok. Now what type of meditation feels right today? Passing thoughts? Body Sweeps? Mantras? Yes. Ok. Which one? I am here now? I am good enough? I love you Sam? Yup. That one. Ok. Is my back uncomfortable enough that I need to move a bit? Am I warm enough? Do I have to pee? Do I want to cross my legs? Or arms? Am I ready to start meditating? You get it.

My morning routine is focused around self care and tuning into the moment. That means I make a lot of choices, although most of them have very few potential risks. The bigger choices, the ones that can cause us pain (or that we feel can cause us pain) are the ones I want to focus on next.

In my life I have recently run into some challenges that for confidentiality reasons must remain unsaid, but it does bring me to the larger point of the often unintended consequence of choice and what to consider when we fuck up. A quick internet search tells me we make an average of 35,000 choices each day. The way my brain seems to work I’m assuming that I’m on the upper end of that average due to the rampaging squirrels (see last post). So I make something like 50,000 choices a day (yes, I’m a special little snowflake), and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at making choices that feel good to me.

Every once in awhile though this thing happens where I grossly misjudge a situation and end up with a major life shift because of one simple little choice in the sea of endless choices.

Here is where the “no (hu)man is an island” kicks in. The ripple effect. The butterfly effect. The domino effect. Whatever you want to call it.

It’s that thing that happens when we make a choice that intentionally or unintentionally causes reactions and repercussions and then things change. Sometimes it causes fear, anger, or in my case this time self preservation. And this is the part I can’t tell you about, so story time…

I was stuck in my marriage for about four years struggling with the concept of choice because I felt like I didn’t have any. I had made a long series of choices that lead to me putting my own choices below that of my partners, and therefore I didn’t matter. That’s what I taught both of us because every step of the way I encouraged him to tell me what to do. Intentionally or unintentionally I setup a life where I became the thing I feared the most: not good enough.

*(skip this paragraph if you want to avoid the traumatic part) The ultimate consequence for me ended up causing self preservation to kick in. Thank goodness. But for my ex-husband it caused a potentially bigger shift because he now has to live the rest of his life knowing how poorly he treated me. Knowing he can’t take back all the times he would put me down and made me feel so poorly about myself that I would lie on the floor unable to even sit up tear stained cheeks, snot in my hair, hyperventilating sometimes for hours because what I took from his emotional abuse what that I was such a worthless piece of shit that he could simply destroy me like shattering glass whenever he didn’t feel good about himself.

There are consequences to choice, and believe you me inaction has just as many (and sometimes bigger) consequences.

Last night Ben and I were chatting and he brought up the philosophy of Stoicism which, in my understanding, is the concept that logic, virtue, and the present moment are the paths to follow (or lead I suppose). This philosophy believes that when we apply logic and virtue to each present moment we can find the good. The way I see it this is like finding meaning in cause and consequence.

With the online consent workshop I created some folks talk about the reversibility part of the acronym I created to describe more fully what consent means to me (FAIR: Freely Given, Agreeable, Informed, and Reversible). I hear people discuss how there is inconsistency in the reversible aspect, but I disagree. I believe the reversibility is only allowed in the moment, not after the fact. For example I can’t uneat a donut…wait, I guess I can for a certain amount of time. Bad example. How about I can’t unsneeze? Yeah, that works. I may be able to stop a sneeze from happening sometimes, but I can’t undo it once it’s happened because no takseys backseys…I mean because time is linear as far as I can tell and going backwards is only a thing that happens haphazardly and quite imperfectly in our minds as well as perhaps movies and such but it doesn’t actually reverse things from happening in the first place. Time paradoxes and what not.

Sometimes the only way to be fully informed is to wait for the outcome. I can’t be certain if I will like lavender ice cream until after I tried it, but I can be certain I’ll never really know unless I try.

There are sometimes unknown consequences to our actions (and inactions), and time is an evil beast. I had never heard of stoicism before yesterday, and I think it’s growing on me. I found this quote from a Stoic name Epictetus:
“Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to; rather, wish that what happens happen the way it happens: then you will be happy.”

It’s a very interesting concept to me, and in some ways it removes the discomfort of consequence for me…or at least softens it. “Que Sera Sera” as Doris Day might remind me. Whatever shall be shall be.

I suppose what I’m trying to say…what I’m trying to tell myself in this moment in handling the consequence of choice is that there is right and wrong, there is good and bad, there is trying and there is failing. All of these things exist regardless of me. What I can learn from the consequence of choice is that if I do my best to be present, to live with logic and virtue in mind I will learn from my mistakes. I will try. I will fail. And in all of those things I will also succeed. If I forgive myself my mistakes I can learn to forgive the things that hurt me because pain doesn’t always arrive from logic, and logic doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes. I don’t know what I don’t know, and that’s okay. Trying, considering, learning, and stretching as a me or whatever word doesn’t equate to whatever I am, those are the things that matter.

Now I just have to figure out what I consider virtuous.

Fuuuuuu…..

Signing off,

Intentionally Sam

Working on Borrowed Energy

Working on Borrowed Energy

Last Saturday I finished the Consent and Boundary Setting Workshop that I’ve been trying to complete for maybe 6 months. It was the second of the three big projects in my world over the last year or so (the others being the online learning portal for certification training which I completed in September and my second book which now I hope to finish editing in Summer- click here if you want to submit your story for it).

Yesterday I finished all the edits/errors with the new workshop and put it out to the world. I felt so proud of myself and so accomplished. I’ve put so much into my work, and it feels like I am really making progress in a way that’s felt lost to me for the last few years.

Last night our new mattress was delivered which I was so happy about because since I’ve been back from the Philippines my sleep has been off. I’ve had maybe three or four nights since then that I’ve woken up less than 6 times in the night. This morning was no different than the rest as the old mattress was too soft and the new mattress too firm, and I’m over here like this porridge is bullshit. Well, I do at least believe I’ll adapt to the new mattress, even if it might mean a few more nights/weeks of this sleepless torture.

Today I had no appointments until the afternoon, and my brain got all excited at the possibilities of having more than two hours for self care when it hit me-I’m exhausted and out of fucks to give. I got up and made coffee. I drank coffee. I did some internet research (i.e. looked at grocery ads, recipes, played a tapping game of no importance), then I put on some television because my body did that thing where my brain says “let’s plant some seeds! oh and let’s bake something. And then let’s figure out what to make for dinner and start it now because crock pots are a thing. And don’t forget laundry. Oh and also let’s do 27 other things because I have the mental capacity of a gaggle of chipmunks who just took crack!” (pretty sure none of that makes sense, but my brain doesn’t always focus on logic). And my body laughs and reminds me I had my turn, and fuck that. And so on.

So essentially my brain kept bargaining with my body saying okay, you can win until 11am, we will eat something and then I get to do things again! and my body kept saying “good try! A for effort! Yeah, suuuuurrrrreee. We’re super doing that.” And then it was twelve, and then 1, and then 1:15, and then I had to actually get up because work.

On my way to work I was reflecting back on this very confusing state of body/brain argument olympics I seem to be experiencing when it hit me. I have been working on borrowed energy. In order to complete the workshop I had to push myself. I did a bunch of long days and worked extra hard and gave it my all. And that much work can only be done on borrowed energy. Hear me out- mental and physical work are things we have so much capacity for, let’s call it our fucks meter.

So things like sleeping, showering, and eating are things that give me more capacity to give fucks about my mental/physical activities. Things like negative self talk, doing/thinking about things, or simply being awake are things that drain the amount of fucks I have to give. But what happens when we have those things, what do you call them? Oh yeah, re-spon-si-bil-ities (or trauma).

Stupid responsibilities. Stupid trauma.

Well sometimes I am responsible for things even when my fucks meter is on empty, and because I’m an adult I don’t always get to stop just because I’m on empty so I borrow fucks to give from Future Sam. She’s gonna have fucks to give tomorrow, so I’ll just take a few of those and use them now. Well guess what? We can do that a bunch of times before our body catches up to our brain and taking future fucks no longer puts any fucks in the meter for right now.

So today I realized the reason I didn’t do all the eleven gillion things my brain thought were super important is because I hit the well, let’s call it the flux capacitor injunction where borrowing from the future is no longer possible. And then I realized that it’s okay to not be okay, and even though I largely feel okay and I’m actually mostly happy right now I’m also at the flux capacity injunction simply because my fucks meter has been on borrowed time for too long and. I. Need. To. Rest.

My brain gets all flustrated at this because, as it was recently pointed out to me, I have an above average processing speed in my brain (and likely adhd). So I have to fill my meter back up even though there’s only good things and progress to explain why that happens, and the brain doesn’t understand taking breaks after doing good things when it belongs to me, but lucky for me I have this body that’s dealt with a lot of trauma and it had decided to be my guide to giving a fuck properly. Thanks body! I wish you didn’t hurt so much, but I suppose if that were the case my brain would always win haha.

Oh, I also forgot to make time to tell you about my existential crisis I had in the middle of making the workshop (unrelated to the workshop) where I realized that I was feeling undervalued because I had somehow managed to forget all the things I learned about finding value from within and unbeknownst to myself I had switched to my personal value being derived from the business. I suppose when you give anything as much time and energy as I’ve given this and this is a thing that is literally and for good reason in existence due to the judgment of others it’s almost inevitable that those two things become intrinsically tied at some point.

So now I’m aware of that, and I’ve been back to my “I love you Sam’s” and my self gratitude and acknowledging my efforts rather than just writing those things off as inherent things because in fact, I have earned everything I have found, and I am proud of myself. I am proud of my business too, and I can take a step back and see what I’ve grown and see the youthful promises of future’s unknown and realize that I don’t have to be where I thought I’d be to have value. What I’ve built is beautiful and wonderful just like I am, but in sometimes totally different ways.

I am learning to let go of the hopes, dreams, and expectations of my business and myself and instead take the approach that works better for my health- enjoy the journey, knowing only today.

Thank you for being here and listening to my growing pains. I am ever grateful, ever learning, ever me, ever changing.

-Intentionally Sam

Lake of Dreams

Lake of Dreams

As I walk along my lake of dreams
I notice the reflection of my youth
I see the roots of a dandelion destined to be a pest
Not worth for even the worst bouquet
I will never be enough

I walk on and notice the dandelion in bloom
Waiting
Dreaming to be the thing others can wish upon
Still not there

What’s this? 
I see my roots again
But they have changed
Now I see the beginnings of a resurrection fern
Always able to be trampled, left unnoticed, uncared for
But still I live on, ever ready for someone to show me love

A long time I walk and see the fern
In many different states, but never really beautiful
Never really what I should be

Neglected
Empty
Used

Life must go on
There must be more than this
I can feel the hope even when I don’t see it

Storms come and go on the reflection of the surface
Ever changing the scene of my waking past
Life brings many storms I tell myself
And yet I’ve made it this far

The sun clears on my lake of dreams
And I stand there in awe of my new roots
Truly I am an olive tree
One to bring peace in the world
I am one who grows strong over time
One able to sustain herself and others
As long as I am cared for too

I look back and notice the roots have never really changed
The images of my past were twisted reflections

Images of who I told myself I was
I know now I am strong
I am good enough
I am me, the olive tree

This morning I woke up from a dream with a person from my past, and instead of meditating this morning I decided to reflect instead. October 30th was 14 years since Kai died. The song I was listening to when I got the news came on my Pandora station last week, and I wept for her. If you know me you know I have a hard time crying. If you don’t know me I realized and have been working through this childhood trauma from preschool where I was left in the hall because I wouldn’t stop crying. The trouble was that I wasn’t crying, I had a piece of metal stuck in my eye and I had to have emergency surgery, but that experience left me with the very long lasting feeling of crying equals abandonment. It was good to cry. It was good to think of her again and miss her. She will always be with me, well at least as long as my memory of her holds out haha. At least I can say she has shaped me. Determined, bright, bold. Never willing to back down from what she knew was right. I strive to be like her in so many ways. Perhaps a little less stubborn, but still steadfast in my efforts.

I also realized this morning that I recently past the 3 year mark since my suicidal incident (the reason I started this blog). Reflecting back on all that I realized that I am still working through some of the challenges that presented me, mostly with my own reactions to J. Part of me still wishes I could be angry about being left alone in a house with the means and intention to kill myself from the man who, after 14 months together, broke up with me and left me in the mental state caused by the event that I was required to go to if I was ever to join his family. I see how fucked up all that is, but I don’t have any blame for him. It feels like it would be easier to have anger toward him, but I know all too well that people treat us the way we teach them to treat us. J did nothing more or less than I taught him was appropriate with me. I do feel pity. I feel pity for a human who can leave another person in that state and still feel okay about themselves. That is shameful. But that’s where I get caught up. I think what all this comes down to is the one thing I work so hard to avoid in myself- the feeling that I am somehow better than any other person. I do feel like  a better person than J because no matter what my mental, physical, or emotional state I will never leave someone alone who I am aware is willing and able to commit suicide. That is NEVER okay. Oh, hey, look, I found some anger. Good.

I am angry at myself for feeling Iike I’m better than another person. I am angry with myself for judging and putting shame on another person. These things are not okay. Not acceptable. That is not who I am because like The Egg from Andy Weir, I believe that every act of kindness, every act of vengeance, every act of pain we give, we give to ourselves in the end for we have to live with our actions, mistakes, and tragedies as much as every other person does, and the only control I have, if at all, is of my own actions.

Feeling betrayed by someone we love is something I wish I could say was uncommon in my past. I bet a lot of us feel that way. When I was younger I wrote a lot about how frustrating it was to read quotes about how the best test of friendship was how people reacted when we disappointed them only to realize I spent so much time, effort, and energy being a proactive caretaker for all the people in my life that the opportunities I had to test this theory on my side we VERY far and few between. I have always been a believer that our word is our most valuable possession, so I have worked very hard to only agree to things I could complete, to be on time, to show up when I said I would, to even go so far as to anticipate other people’s needs before they even knew what they were.

The tragedy for me in all that was two fold: 1) Back then I put the expectation on others to follow the golden rule, to treat me as I treated them without expressing my own wants/needs. I wanted people to do what I did and learn to anticipate my needs without ever having to say them (which is absurd because it’s the equivalent of expecting people to read my mind and vice versa), and 2) Because I put myself last on my list of people to care for. I put so much of my being into caring for everyone else I didn’t realize how much harm I was doing to myself. I had the greatest example of all to follow on this subject. My mom is an incredible woman. The most proactive care taker, the woman who can do and be it all while dealing with seizures, alcoholism, working 60+ hours a week to buy us four kids all the things that would turn us into entitled little jackasses, and maybe once in awhile you know, scarfing down whatever remnants of food we didn’t eat so quickly that she could take our empty plates and wash them for us and clean the kitchen again so we could watch tv and instead of saying “thanks mom” we’d say “I need ice cream, but not the kind in the freezer, go to the store and get this kind.” If you also cringed, good because that is fucked up. And that was my example of how to adult.

I’m glad I’ve learned another way. I’m glad I can have boundaries now in a balanced way. On a side note I wonder how many other people have to stand on one foot while they make their coffee in the morning because the pain of simply standing like a normal person is so intense that they begin to tear up? Some days the pain is really frustrating and sometimes I get really worried about what will happen to me if this is what I have to deal with at 34. Fuck. Oh well, back to the story…

I have forgiven myself for the tragedy of 2015, but I have yet to find a way to forgive J for his part. I think I was fooling myself into thinking I had forgiven him, but no. It’s still there. The shock and horror of that situation still haunts me sometimes. So here it is: J, when you left me alone suicidal that was not okay, and I forgive you.

Thank you all for being here to witness my journey. Thank you for letting me be real. Thank you for watching me grow. I am grateful for you.

Peace, Love, and Cuddles, 
Samantha Hess

The Most Uncomfortable Conversation

The Most Uncomfortable Conversation

Ok, so maybe there are conversations more uncomfortable,depending on who you are, but I think most of us are challenged by the notion of suicide. Me being me, I say, let’s dive in!

In my world I deal with people experiencing suicidal ideations on a pretty regular basis, sometimes as many as three in the same day. At first I dealt with it very poorly as it was something so far removed from my own reality. I never thought I could be someone to experience suicidal thoughts/actions, but as you likely know by now, I did experience a version of that as I sat on my bed after that lovely traumatic event, 44 sleeping pills in front of me, and no ability to control my thoughts. Spoiler alert, I made it. If you haven’t read about that and want to know more, go to the right side of the blog and scroll through the archives right back to the beginning. It’s there, all there, in it’s unfiltered and emotional glory.

Today Social Club is hosting a “Suicide” night. No, there will be no Kool-Aid. The group is simply going to have an open and honest conversation about this topic where people can ask questions, tell stories, and share all the things we struggle with in order to broaden our understanding of the support we can have built into our communities when we reach out.

Many of those who attend Social Club do so not because they want to, but because they need to. Like myself, many of us don’t make time or efforts to reach out socially in the ways that would benefit us most, and Social Club has become a safe space to have community when we just can’t even. We accept those who want company but aren’t ready to talk just as much as we accept the oversharers (ok, that’s mostly me) and everyone in between. It’s social community based in vulnerability where everyone is accepted, welcome, and encouraged to attend regardless of where they are at in their lives. This event feeds my soul and makes me feel more human. I love it.

Tonight all that is especially true because we have built up enough trust in our community to bring in more than half a dozen people who will choose to be here to discuss this horrific topic, to share in the pain and devastation it brings, and to allow each other to be where we are at without judgement, shame, or guilt.

In order for tonight to feel more inclusive I thought I’d bring you in on this journey by offering this topic here, including the handout I made (using mostly suicide.org for reference), and asking those who have anything to say to comment along and be part of it in whatever way you see fit.

Without further adieu, here is what we will be discussing tonight. Please share any thoughts you have as a comment or in a personal message on my facebook (/intentionallysam) or email (samantha@intentionallysam.com).

Suicide Information

Information sourced from Suicide.org

Call 911   or 1-800-SUICIDE    or 1-800-273-TALK or (text)1-800-799-4TTY

What to do when someone comments about suicidal thoughts:

Always take suicidal comments very seriously. Even if they say it as a joke, that may be the only way they can express their pain.

Try not to act shocked, and if you can, try to learn as much as you can about what’s going on for them.

Acknowledge how they feel while doing your best to avoid judgements.

Let them express emotions without negative feedback. Reminding people that the loss of their life will cause others pain only makes it worse. Suicidal thoughts are not logical, and are most often caused by a chemical imbalance that prevents logical thoughts from seeming important. This is not a decision we want to make, and putting guilt to someone already suffering will likely cause more harm.

Comfort the person with words of encouragement.

Ask the person, “Are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?”

If the answer is yes, ask, “Have you thought about how you would do it?”

If the answer is yes, ask, “Do you have what you need to do it?”

If the answer is yes, ask, “Have you thought about when you would do it?”

Here are those four important questions in abbreviated form:

  1. Suicidal?
  2. Method?
  3. Have what you need?
  4. When?

If the person is at a high risk of suicide, do not leave them alone, and do not promise to keep this information a secret.

Allow the caller to cry, scream or swear. Suicidal feelings are very powerful, so let them come out.

Stay calm, and be supportive, sympathetic, and kind.

Ask them if they will give you/someone else or get rid of the method(s)  they considered using such as a gun, pills, etc.

Ask them to promise not to follow through with this plan until x amount of time.

Do your best to express concern and let them know that this burden is one they should get support for.

What to do if I have suicidal thoughts?

Rosources to consider: 911   or 1-800-SUICIDE    or 1-800-273-TALK or (text)1-800-799-4TTY

  1. Know you are experiencing a temporary and often very intense feeling that many other people also experience (more than 500,000 people search for suicidal related topics on Google every month).
  2. Find a way to talk about your thoughts a: doctor, therapist, support group, or person you trust are all a good place to start. Often when we say things out loud it’s easier to bring logic into the mix and to reason ourselves out of even the very worst moments.
  3. Know that if suicide feels like the only option it’s because we have yet to see another solution. There is another way, even if we can’t see it right now. Even if this has been a lifelong struggle, know that the past does not always dictate our future. You may very well be closer to a way out of this pain than you know.
  4. Make a promise to wait. Be specific. If you can promise to not do anything about it until next week, month or even the next two hours, do it. Tell someone who can keep you accountable, and keep doing this until the feelings subside. They will.  
  5. Remove potential options for suicide from your life as much as possible.
  6. Redirect your thoughts to gratitude whenever possible.
  7. Avoid isolation as much as possible. Social time, even if it feels terrible or impossible is one of the best ways to pass the time and risk of suicide.
  8. Consider getting some tests done to see if a chemical imbalance may be causing these thoughts. There may be medication that can rebalance the mind and give you your life back.
  9. Wait. Thoughts/actions/circumstances can all change. Even if you’ve waited longer than you ever thought possible, wait more.
  10. Try out new coping mechanisms: pick up a new hobby, read a book, draw, paint, go for walks, go to meetups, meditate, become an expert in something. Even if nothing brings you joy, do it anyway. Eventually the feelings you have will shift to other thoughts, and you will regain control of your thoughts if you keep trying. If something doesn’t work, try, try again.

If you have ever, often, or never experienced suicidal thoughts, had to go through the grief of losing someone to suicide, or have any interest in learning more please comment, message, or email me. I may not respond right away, but know that I see you, I hear you, and I want to hear anything you have to share.

Peace, Love, and Cuddles,

Samantha Hess

 

 

 

Shift

Shift

Hello All!

I’ve been back from the Philippines for almost three weeks already. It feels like I’m in a time warp where time feels like it’s going both crazy fast and slow as molasses at the same time y’all! I want to tell you about my trip, but more than that I want to wrap my mind around how I’ve been doing recently. Which means instead of writing about my trip I will tell you it’s on my to do list to make a video of my trip to show you instead including some audio blogging I did while I was there. I promise, it will be way better than what I could come up with right now.

Here’s where I’m at. In the last 6 weeks or so my sleep has been really off. I didn’t realize how much of a challenge this had created for me until after we got back home. Jet leg, the pressures of regular life, and the overall lack of sleep has been adding up to a Sam that may actually be depressed for the first time. So weird to think of myself as possibly depressed, but lately my motivation, my inner voice, my drive to do ALL THE THINGS has waned so far that I’ve had to question who I am a bit.

The first week back was pretty easy to not get overly absorbed in the guilt of not doing all the things because, well, I didn’t have a choice. I was so exhausted that my brain allowed me to do exactly what was required and zero more. It took me three weeks to do my laundry for goodness sake.

Even today, this is my second day with many hours finally free to do all the computer stuff and catch up on the eleventy gillion things I’ve needed to do since before CuddlExpo. Yesterday I managed to do the basic things I needed to and then not even make dinner (Ben bought us pizza instead). Today I got to the grocery store as my fridge has 3 pounds of cheese (this is running low for me btw) and like 12 condiments and pretty much nothing else. I just sighed very heavily thinking about this even though logically I know that when I say I had almost no food in my house I really still could survive the apocalypse for a good 3 months with everything in my fridge/pantry haha. Sometimes I wonder how much those depression era habits ingrained themselves in our dna. Also, I just learned I’ve been saying “engrained” my whole life, and I was so wrong and I feel like an asshole now, but that’s okay because at least now I know haha.

Today after getting home and putting away the groceries I ate some breakfast and watched a show on Prime for a bit. Then my body told my brain that we weren’t ready to do actual work yet, so instead I played Animal Crossing for about 30 minutes so I could feel like I was doing work because this game is essentially getting me to do chores electronically. Well, after that I was like “I really need to get the online cert platform redesigned” and my body heard how stressful that sounded and said “Hey Sam, I think you need to poop. Yeah, let’s do that instead.” So I went and pooped and made it as far as the seven steps to the bed and laid down and felt like crying which is weird because I don’t really ever feel like crying, but I was too exhausted to cry even though I slept basically fine the last three nights finally. My whole life is like a run-on sentence in my brain right now because I think it’s afraid that if it stops expressing thoughts for even a moment it will forget forever how to thinking and then I will cease to exist. You know, the whole “I think therefore I am” stuff? Well, I am. As it turns out, a mess. That didn’t even make sense, but that was my brain attempting to find humor in the sadness that has become my inner dialog.

Okay, to be fair I’m probably making this all sound much worse than it is. I still experience joy. I still have regular conversations and interest in others. I still meditate, well, I am back to meditating everyday. I still shower, and shave, and eat food, and drink coffee, and pick my nose when I need to. Things are generally in working order. But for me it feels strange because instead of working 60, 70, 80 hours in a week I’m finding myself only able to give about 30 hours a week to this. There’s a never ending sea of things I need to do (as one of my staff so kindly reminded me of yesterday- I’m sure she meant well, but damn if that didn’t make me feel like a failure for having to explain why I haven’t made progress on the 6 or 7 things she asked me about).

I couldn’t even tell you how I spent the rest of my day today. I know I ate again at some point. I know I made a delicious smelling dinner that should be ready in the next hour yay! I know I…umm…well, I think that’s it. Oh wait, I did spend several hours updating the cert site! Yeah, I did a thing! I also did a bunch of texting with friends/family/clients today (sorry if you weren’t one of them).

The thinking part has been so muddled lately. So much so that I really am feeling like a different person. I have so long prided myself on my chaotic, overly enthusiastic, curiosity seeking mindset that I don’t know how to function when my brain decides to give up. I laughed at myself earlier when I was trying to reason through what’s been happening and my inner dialog had this argument between my brain and my body and my brain was saying what is usually says “today we’re going to get groceries, cook meals, update the website, email 1,000 people, return 27 phone calls, make progress on the technical updates for the pricing structure, remember those 34 things we forgot yesterday, and then we’ll go for a long walk before we workout and relax to a nice dinner.” And my body laughed hysterically and said only “Dude, you gave up your jurisdiction over what the body does when you spent the last half a decade making us do WAY more than we wanted to. Your way sucks.”

So I’m thinking that I have to continue to override the guilt everyday that comes with the not being able to do all the things, allow myself to be down when I need to, and to hopefully wait it out. I hope this is not a shift in my personality overall. Only time will tell I suppose.

My brain, being as optimistic as ever, even when it can’t back it up anymore tells me to remind you guys that I have seventeen projects in the works that are going to help get me to the place where I can earn a decent income, continue to build the business, and meet the overall goal of finally creating the balanced life that comes with not having to worry how much longer my condo money will hold out, how much longer the business will take before we “make it,” or how much will I be able to function when I’m not sleeping. At least one of those I’ve made progress on lately. The rest will happen when they happen. I believe in what I’m doing, and this time I will give ME my all. Hopefully this shift will be the one that sticks.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for hearing and seeing me. Thank you for allowing me to prove that I (and you) can be loved even when we are a mess. I am ever so grateful.

Off to dinner!

Peace, love, and cuddles,

Samantha Hess

 

 

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane!

Hello All!

It’s feels good to be back in person mode with the ability to write about me again. I looked back at the last couple posts and realized I haven’t really put out any updates since July. Here’s all the things that have happened:

  1. Social Club turned one! This is my “connection through conversation” event that we hold weekly at the studio, and I love so much about this event. It has sort of replaced my need for real life socializing, and by that I mean it’s something I allow myself to do because I’m facilitating a safe space for others while also allowing it to be okay that I participate. There have been some challenges for me with SC, mostly in the impossible dynamic of maintaining privacy when I’m attempting to person and keep conversational boundaries of my one on one clients who attend. Turns out if you are a client and you attend this event I am likely to bring up personal growth things in super generic ways that make most clients feel the need to express the actual thing. Most clients are fine with this, and some I completely destroy their faith in all of humanity. Still working on not taking other’s feelings about my not being perfect to heart. Deep breath.
  2. CuddleXpo was a thing! Last weekend I flew to Chicago for 4 days and attended, taught, and cuddled all the humans I possibly could. This was an event created by someone I highly admire and super love, Fei of Cuddle Sanctuary. She is the Switzerland of cuddling, in that she is the person who creates safety in the pro cuddler world and holds space when any of us pro’s have drama amongst ourselves. If she hadn’t been one of the heads of this I likely would have skipped it to be honest, but Fei is a magically creature, and you care for magical creatures with the compassion and kindness that matches their rarity in our world. So I went. Not only did I attend, but I was given the opportunity to lead two classes, be on three panels, and I got to meet a lot of people I likely never would have met in person. One of the people I met was Janet Trevino. She’s known as the YouTube lady in our little world, and she and I have very similar approaches to life. It was really cool to meet her in person because we have a personality type that can be pretty abrasive to people, and I love seeing others who take a similar approach to the world and make it work regardless of how many people constantly throw their insecurities on us. We are both women who have learned to get our confidence from within. That means that when someone gives me a compliment or criticism most of the time I hear it, run it through the “how do I feel about this filter,” and then realize my own opinion matters a lot more than whatever anyone else might say about me. It’s great most of the time, but it’s also sucky in ways you might not expect such as: when people compliment me it doesn’t mean anything and their gift of affirmation doesn’t resonate with me (even though I am someone who feels the need to offer verbal affirmations to others all the time), or being seen as a narcissist because I’m confident (confidence and arrogance are different things people!). She’s done an amazing job of putting herself out there, being transparent, and creating clarity for others around this work. While I’m sure there are aspects of the work we don’t agree upon, if you get a chance I do recommend watching some of her videos to see her approach.  She’s her authentic self unapologetically, and even though it creates challenges in her world she finds higher truth in being real than altering who she is to fit what others need her to be (IMHO). I love seeing this. In my world I have very few women friends, and my theory on this is that stereotypically women can only be fully comfortable with women who at or below their own confidence level, otherwise they find the other woman a threat on at least a subconscious level. That has been true in my world with four exceptions I can think of (Mel, my now ex-friend Benny, Melon, and now Janet). Outside of those women I haven’t had any other super close women in my life of whom I could say anything to. Granted, all of the women I’ve been close to have been women who would still technically fit that rule because they are women who also tend to gain their confidence from within and none of them attempted to compete  with or be threatened by me in this way. Anyway, getting sidetracked, back to CuddleXpo. It’s been very interesting to observe my own reaction upon returning. Every time someone asked me how it went I hesitate. I haven’t quite pinpointed why yet either. So here’s how I feel about it overall: it was amazing to spend time with others who care about this work as much as I do, it was great to connect and find some level of comfort among all of the leaders in the industry, it was fascinating to see I can still feel intimidated by others (I may share more on that another time, but it’s not where my brain is at right now), I loved that feeling of humbleness when the class I was teaching was put in the small room (my brain went to: they don’t expect many people to give a shit about this class, so you’re in the tiny room) and also to see how quickly I was able to do my acknowledge and run it through the logic filter to not be hurt by it very long, I loved meeting someone who told me they hated me for years because they started before I did but haven’t seen the same success and seeing the vulnerability of that person being open to getting to know me and accept me without feeling so threatened, I was sad to see so few people there (less than 60 of us, but that’s probably 10% of our industry at this point), this was the first time I spent money on marketing (many hundreds of dollars, not counting my flight and hotel costs) and apparently I had an expectation of this (which is not useful) that I would find lots of folks at this event who would be interested in the program I finished hours before leaving after working myself into the deep holes of darkest cave of “do all the things” and what actually happened was there were maybe three people who may consider taking my course based on what they learned at the expo and that is way less than what I am worth. What a bullshit way of thinking. I acknowledge those feelings of inadequacy of not having the approach others care about in the way I do. I a sitting with it………………….and it’s time to let it go as it’s unuseful.
  3. On that note, I finished moving my basic certification program to the new, shiny, oh so fancy, online learning portal (training.certifiedcuddlers.com) . It even sounds cool! You guys, I’m so proud of myself. I think part of why I had a case of the “have to’s” over the summer was my fear of rejection of putting in all this work and having no one give a shit and all that work and my whole career being not good enough and not worth it (bullshit stories we tell ourselves when our feeling of adequacy come from outside ourselves, it happens to me too sometimes). I think a large part of my ability to complete this project was the CuddleExpo. I had to come to terms with the unknown of how much of an impact I would generate at this event, and it also somehow allowed me to do the same with this project. This work is my heart and soul. I put my everything into it, and I do see my businesses as my children. This is, in fact, what I’m doing instead of having children. I give my work as much time, energy, and effort as I would to an honest to goodness child. That whole kids teach us, not the other way around thing is the piece I had been missing, and now I recognize that my self worth is here regardless of what happens with the business. This work defines me, but it defines work me, not all of me. Someone asked me the other day what I think I would be doing if I wasn’t doing this work, and immediately I blurt out I would be selling crafts on Etsy haha. Someday, when I have a regular balance of personing and working I may do this as well because I have a need for others to have my “No Fucks” jars to remind them it’s okay to be out of fucks to give about stuff. hehe, I’m hilarious! Anyway, back to my program- so the basic program is 59 modules and is SO much better than the way I presented it before. In this version those in the program have lots of opportunities to chat and learn from each other which fills my need to let go of my narcissism. Now all the experts can weigh in. Yay!
  4. I have given up keto in favor of a slew of other attempts to live in a household where all the other people eat whatever the fuck they want. I tried the eat all the things, but only in a 4 hour window, another version where I did the same thing but for 8, 9, or 12 hours out of the day, and finally I am on the eat all the things, but with health in mind and only eat when I’m actually hungry thing. I am calling it “intuitive eating.” I’ve gained 3 pounds haha. At least I’m pretty much over my body image issues again. My scars are healing, but overall I feel good about how I look. I am ready to live in swimsuits for two weeks!
  5. And on that note, tomorrow we leave for the Philippines! I’m so excited! Today I have the whole day to pack and mentally prepare for the longest flight of my life and the first time I will be putting any thoughts of work out of my mind purposely. I am very worried about my back for these 17 and 19 hour flights to and from this beautiful place. I a giving myself permission to take pain meds if needed, and I will do my best to get up and move around on the plane between movies and reading sessions. There’s a 15 hour time difference, so we leave Portland at 7am on Friday, and arrive at 9pm on Saturday. Oh boy. I think we’ve decided to stay on Palawan the whole trip. We almost decided to go to Dumaguete too, but decided against more traveling as it will feel more relaxing with less less days devoted to travel during our stay. Ben is taking a 2 day open dive cert class while we are there, and I’m excited to have a couple days to follow my intuition on my own. It’s challenging for me to do things by myself sometimes, but it will also give me a chance to consider what I want without any subconscious, proactive compromising.
  6. I just hired on one new employee, and I have another lined up to sign paperwork upon my return! I’m so grateful for my staff. There’s no way I could leave the retail space if I didn’t have such an amazing team of people to back me up. I sent out two emails with all the things for them to know while I’m gone, and I actually feel pretty good about leaving the space without concerns arising they can’t handle. My goal is to have these new teammates be able to replace a bit more of my time in the schedule so I can put my time and efforts more toward growing the business finally. I am committed to making at least one new video a month for the online training program and after teaching myself a bazillion new skills creating the material up now I feel very good about the chances of this actually happening.
  7. I love, appreciate, and am so happy to know you, or have you know me as the case may be. Thank you for spending your precious time with me. I am so grateful to get to share openly and honestly with you. Writing out my thoughts is so helpful in reminding myself of what I’m dealing with, what I’m needing to work on, and what I’ve been through to get here. Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude to have you witness my being. Thank you.

Peace, love, and cuddles,

Samantha Hess

Expectation vs Trust

Hello All!

At Social Club this week we had a very interesting discussion about expectations and trust that I wanted to share with you. As per the rules of Social Club I can only disclose my own point of view, so I’ll have to keep it one sided. I would like to note though that we did not all land on the same page, and there are many valid viewpoints on this topic. Please take this only as my personal opinion of the subject.

As the rule, not the exception, I believe that people are inherently good. I believe in bad choices, not bad people. The work I do is of a nature that I sort of have to believe in people. This being my sixth year of doing this work and still never having to end a session early I feel quite comfortable in my approach to my work. Generally in the society I live in I witness men being treated as predators from the instant they share space with others. This really bothers me. My point of view is that of the golden rule “treat others how you would like to be treated,” and I think we often forget how to treat people with kindness and acceptance when they are strangers to us. Why?

In my world self fulfilling prophecies are a thing, and I work very hard to ensure I am focusing on as much good as possible for this exact reason. If I believe I am safe and live my life in a way where I am projecting I am safe I find it easier to affirm myself and others of my constitution. If I live in fear and treat everyone as if they have not only the power but the intention to do me harm, well guess what, I’m much more likely to become a victim of my own reality.

Fuck. That.

I am bigger, stronger, and plenty capable of overcoming challenges in my path. I will learn, grow, and be humbled by each and every one of my experiences, but I refuse to let the bad moments be the ones that define me, and the world around me, as a whole.

People make mistakes. We choose the wrong thing. We fuck up. Sometimes it’s malicious, but much more likely it comes from a different place: curiosity, lack of emotional diversity, lack of compassion/empathy/understanding of a particular situation, fear, self loathing, self doubt, self fulfilling prophecies, or even just lizard brain (poor instincts essentially).

As we get older and gain experience we get jaded by memories and moments of pain. Our bitterness turns us against those around us and makes us doubt those around us and sometimes ourselves. To me this option does me no good. Living based on fear makes me less capable than the zebras I discussed in a previous post. If I allow my fear to rule my world I miss so many opportunities to learn, grow, and connect with the people around me. No. I refuse to see the world through a shit colored lens. “How the hell do I avoid that way of thinking” you may be asking yourself? “Easier said than done” you may say to yourself.

Well, yes, that’s true. That’s true of most things worth doing. Here’s where expectations differ from trust for me. In my world I do everything in my power to avoid expectations. On the other side, I do my best to pay close attention to my interactions with people and to take mental note of all the good/reliable things I notice from each person.

The conversation started when I shared a challenge I had this week with my best friend. She and I are both small business owners, and therefore busy as fuck. We see each other a few times a year. She is currently busier than I am, and that means it’s been more of me reaching out than her.

Three weeks ago I texted to ask when we could hang out again. She wrote back and said she was very busy the next couple weeks, but three weeks away she should have time. I suggested two days/times that worked for me that week, but I didn’t hear back from her to confirm. Knowing how busy she gets I put aside any expectation I had of us actually meeting up for the week. A few days after I knew she was back in town I messaged her to ask again when we could hang out, and this time she said she was busy all week.

My brain does that eye roll thing and my immediate thought is yeah, well, of course you’re too busy to meet three weeks after I requested to hang out because we didn’t put it in the calendar. Then I recognized I had a feeling of the bitterness that comes from feeling unimportant. I sat with that feeling, acknowledged that emotions are things that exist and also things that are not based in logic (or often reality), and that I could now make a choice about the situation- I could take it personally and get upset that my friend didn’t find me important enough to spend time with me (expectation) or I could choose to explain how I felt and set a boundary so I could let go of that emotion.

So I texted her and said that I was going to stop asking to hang out for awhile and leave the ball in her court because lately it’s felt like I’ve been asking for time and being rejected more than is fair, and I asked her to reach out the next time she wanted to hang (trust). When I sent that message it allowed me to let go of any expectation because I had trust that this woman cared about me, and when she had time she would reach out and that it was okay for the setup of that to not fall to me every time.

Expectations to me, are simply unsaid boundaries. Expectations are my own intention to have someone read my mind without me having to explain what I think or feel. How is that ever going to go well for me? We all know how the story ends when we expect others to understand us without us explaining who or what we believe.

If I expect that my friend will have time for me when we didn’t finalize plans I set myself up for disappointment. If I expect someone to show up on time who is regularly late, again, disappointment abounds. If instead I focus on trusting the past experiences and allow my life to flow around the trust I have built I leave opportunity for positive and healthy engagements with others. It doesn’t mean my emotional mind reacts instantly to the positive feelings of trust every time, but it does mean that I can recognize and make a shift when emotions arise that aren’t helpful to me or the situation. If I get upset that someone who is often late, is late, well, that’s my own fault. If instead I plan for them to be late and create a buffer so I don’t get stressed out it allows both of us to have our needs met. If I find it a boundary for me to have someone arrive late it’s up to me to share that limitation with them and to offer what works better for me with an open mind so we can find a middle ground.

There’s an unspoken social contract that we often hold ourselves and others to without even knowing it and that is the expectation that we see the world in the same way. We know it isn’t true. We know that there’s no possible way for others to see the world the way we see the world and vice versa, but still somehow we often cling to that feeling of wanting or needing others to live up to our expectations. Instead of using the logical form of interaction based on the inherent trust of experience we often find ourselves approaching the world from the irrational place of expectation. “You should know why I’m mad at you” is one of the least useful statements we can make. No. No one should know why we are mad at them. If they are asking that it means that they want to know and clearly don’t, because if you’ve ever been in a situation where someone has said this to you, you know all too well the confusion, shame, and guilt that comes from feeling like we are being treated as malicious assholes who are purposely trying to make someone’s life worse.

There’s a better way. It’s more challenging, and it takes a lot of practice to be comfortable with it, but I have learned to overcome the challenges of expectation through acknowledgement, allowing any question to be acceptable, and by learning to clearly set boundaries. When I approach people with the viewpoint that they are inherently good it allows room for the benefit of the doubt to take the place of fear and insecurity.

With my best friend, if I had set a boundary and then never heard from her again I would learn that the value I had placed in our friendship was no longer based in reality for both of us, and if I want to live in a consent based world I have to be okay with that. I have to allow myself and others to always have the option to change their mind, and I have to leave room for everyone to not always make the perfect choice. Consent and boundaries are moving targets for all of us. They are situational and something we are always having to reevaluate to understand how we feel in the moment. Building trust based on experiences allows us room to develop our own sense of boundaries and to continue to be honest with ourselves and others. This is why trust and experiences work better for me than expectations and also why they are not the same thing.

This time around my friend did message me back and apologized for how I felt (which was sweet, but not her responsibility), and she said she would message me to set something up when things calmed down in her world again. Because of our past experiences I trust her to follow through, but I don’t expect it. For me this is a good thing. It means I don’t have to feel bad with each passing day I don’t hear from her. I simply trust that she finds value in our friendship, and that she will reach out when she’s free to be present with me. Because I use our past experiences as my compass of truth I can avoid the pitfall of taking her actions personally in a negative way. I can state how I feel, set boundaries, and trust that there is always a way forward.

The only thing I can control about this is my own approach. That means I follow my method of acknowledging any emotions that come up with them, sit with those feelings, explain anything I need to, and to set boundaries about what works or doesn’t for me going forward. I will store these situations in my trust bank, adjusting as needed to let go of expectations and allow room for new experiences to hold more value than those of the past. We all shift and change overtime, in small ways and sometimes big ways. Sometimes an audit of my trust bank is required to let go of anything holding back my positive intentions. Sometimes the way forward takes different paths for relationships. Allowing expectations to fall to the wayside and trust of myself and others to shine through helps me cope with the stress and challenge of an ever changing world.

Knowing that we each have a unique path I know not everyone will resonate with, find useful, or gain from my method, but I hope that each of you will reflect upon your own approach as well as any adjustments that may be worth trying if we find something that isn’t working for us. My goal is to help myself and others gain knowledge, understanding, and practice of how to improve our connections. Sending lots of love and support to you. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you!

Peace, Love, and Cuddles,

Samantha Hess