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

A Case Of The Have To’s

Hello!

Thanks for being here. Thank you for being a witness to my journey and a participant in my tribe of misfits. I am so grateful to have people who will watch and listen and keep me accountable if by no other means than knowing that if I experience it I need to report it and that keeps me real.

Here’s the latest installment of Intentionally Sam:

Ben booked us a two week trip to the Philippines in October! This will be my first international trip, and my first real vacation in, well, pretty much all of my adult life (minus the two years I didn’t work because of a stress/anxiety overload when I quit working for a year and went to college after that).

As you may know from my last post I’ve had a giant case of the “have to’s.” Do you remember that time in life when we were too stupid to care for ourselves? Okay, yeah, that’s probably still a thing for most of us, but stay with me. I’m talking about when a parent or “responsible” adult type figure would say things like “you can’t get up until you eat your broccoli” or “you can’t go play until you’ve cleaned your room.” And then I’d make that face, you know the one, and say “Do I HHHHHAAAVVVVEEEEEE to?” Shoulders slumped, eyes rolled, and that impeding sense of dread. Life is SO hard. All the things. Never ending horrible things like broccoli to confront day in, day out, until the  end     of       time.

Well, that’s still a thing I’ve been working through. In May I took off an extra day a week for the whole month in order to get some videos shot for the certification program I’m reworking. Know what I did? Nothing. I sat at home too exhausted to stand up most of the time. So lame. All the while my brain is fighting with me saying things like “but you HAVE to do all the things” and “You’re not allowed to be lazy. There’s too much to do.” Oh man my guilt brain works overtime, and I haven’t been Catholic since I was like 9.

I have been doing better about overcoming that voice though. I’m still doing my general self care everyday regardless of the voice. Going for walks, meditating, and giving myself time to stretch, eat, or just close my eyes for a minute between things I’ve been doing great at. But there are still lots of days when I’m just out of fucks to give.

I’ve also recently realized there’s a good chance one of my clients died, but there’s no way I’ll really know. I guess that’s something I’ll have to get used to as the years go on. I’m pretty sure this person wasn’t the first, but it’s hard to figure out if I should mourn someone who may or may not be dead. #procuddlerproblems

I’ve been making excuses left and right for why I’m not getting my work done: I need a legit camera before I can really get to work on the videos (which I have now), I’m too tired, I’m hungry,  I’ll do it right after…, there’s only 6 bags of cheese in the fridge- clearly not enough, better run to the store, I’m Batman, oh wait, scratch that last one. On second thought, it’s totally a valid excuse, so I’ll stick with it.

Yesterday I finally got up some motivation after getting the camera in and I shot test videos with a bunch of different settings and even made the effort to edit a sample with the green screen setting to put myself in a fancy house haha. It turned out pretty great. I think the odds that I’ve run out of fucks to not give is pretty decent, and by that I mean I think I’ve almost made it through my desperate need to take time off work.

It has been more than 5 years that I’ve devoted myself to this. I spent a lot of the last 5+ years overworked, underpaid, and excited to move this forward. In the last year the avalanche of overwhelming moments that I’ve been through has caught up and finally slowed me down. I’ve let myself hibernate, and this bear is ready to blossom into a cacophony of unicorn farts, glitter slime, and maybe even a pocket sized dinosaur. Yes, I realize none of that made sense. You’re welcome.

I’m still allowing myself space to give no fucks, and my attitude going forward is that if I feel like I HAVE to do something I’m not gonna. Because adulting sucks, and why the hell would I do that to myself? I’m determined to get back to my “excited to do all the things” attitude by following my curiosity, finding more room for me, and allowing myself to be fully humbled by all of the amazing and horrifying experiences I’ve had since I became the Cuddle Extraordinaire.

Oh, also, random life updates I probably forgot to mention: I got a bicycle and after about 3 weeks of wussing out I got on that bike and rode around the block twice this week. 18 year old me is jealous. Ben and I got a roommate who has a dog named Tulip who is just as obsessed with food as I am, I am going to a spaced themed wedding tomorrow (I’ll post a pic on FB in case you want to see our crazy outfits- hint there may or may not be a space themed suit involved), there are new owners of the building we have 2 more years on the lease for and we do NOT get along at all (somehow every acupuncturist I’ve ever met gives me the hate vibes and I’m not yet sure if this is real or some unbeknownst trauma I am projecting), I am still doing keto, Ben gave it up months ago because pizza and burritos, trying to find a swimsuit to wear in public for vacation with scars on my belly is presenting an internal dialog I’m really gonna have to work hard to shift, I’m still finding myself slightly bitter towards the woman whom I hired because even after my instincts told me she was unreliable I hired her anyway after she convinced me she’d be dedicated starting in January and now I haven’t heard from her in 6 months even though she took a day and a half of my time and clearly has no plans to follow through, and for the first time ever I had to ban someone from the studio (an applicant, not a client) which was weird and kind of frightening because she was harassing people. Not good. Fascinating choices.

Alright y’all, time to get back on the doin stuff train. Sending lots of love, gratitude, and offers of virtual hugs to you! Thanks for being here!

Peace, Love, and Cuddles,

Sam (:

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Hey Y’all,

It’s been awhile since my last post, and now seems like a good time to fill you in on what’s been going on with me. To be honest I don’t remember exactly where I left off, and since I’m too lazy to go back and look there may be some overlap. Here we go…

Ben and I moved into our new house a little over a month ago. It’s been so good to be in a safe space and feel comfortable at home after a year and a half of feeling like a trespasser in the home I rented space from. A couple weeks ago I realized in my morning meditation that I felt safe and comfortable which triggered the response of finally understanding the extent to which the former living situation had impacted my overall emotional state in a hugely negative way.

“Well, fuck, I guess I haven’t really felt safe in like a year and a half” I thought to myself. It hit my like a ton of bricks and my body did that zebra thing..  In case the “zebra thing” isn’t clear here’s what I’m talking about- have you seen It Follows? It’s a movie about being hunted, not often in the immediately scary way, but in the every moment of every day for the rest of your life you are prey and something is coming after you.

This happens to zebras (and most of the animal kingdom). What zebras have been reported to do once they aren’t being immediately hunted is they shake their whole bodies which releases the physical trauma of being chased so they don’t hold onto the stress. This is something I teach in training for cuddlers, but I call it “getting the wiggles out” because I’m a goofball and that title is less traumatizing to consider than calling it “Convulsive Therapy for Ickiness Discharge.”

So I went through my day in the light of this new realization which manifested itself in this deep exhaustion that got me to actually slow down for a bit. If you know me, you know I’m a workaholic. I am constantly wanting to do more, be more, and continue improving in any way possible. What this also means is that I wear myself out because my motivation level is so high that I often forget to check in with my physical self to see how I’m feeling. This happens because my brain is so damn excited about the eleventy gillion things it’s constantly coming up with for me to do that being bored is essentially impossible for me. ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME.

This time the exhaustion could not be overwritten by my brain as it usually is. I’m really good at taking the 10 or 20 minutes to get back to neutral; I’m very bad at giving myself permission to take an actual full day off to rest/recover/person. In the last few weeks I have taken almost two full days off a week, not by choice mind you. My body simply refused to do all the things, and I’ve felt like that bitter angry teenager came rearing her ugly head at me every time my brain said “let’s do those 27 things we need to do today.” It’s so foreign to me to not be able to do stuff. I’ve definitely had those times before, but usually following a huge trauma. This time, I suppose, it was for the same thing, but in a way that I didn’t expect.

This time the trauma was a million tiny traumas that all added up to one huge trauma. It was being activated by the 7 empty alcohol bottles in the glass bin from one person each week. It was being treated as if I didn’t exist by a roommate. It was the body language of said roommate who was clearly traumatized simply by my existence. It was the rent being jacked up with no notice within two weeks of moving in. It was the being specifically not invited to a birthday party that they already knew there was no way I could go to. It was being told that a puzzle was a good way for us to spend time together and then being shown that when I gift that puzzle to fulfill that opportunity that it will be completed in front of me without my inclusion because she doesn’t want anything to do with me afterall. It was about not being able to give a hug to my friend because my other roommate might be traumatized by it. It was about hearing that her husband was not the love of her life while I watch the sick and twisted ways that she manipulated him into staying with her while blaming him for all of her mistakes.

Clearly I’m bitter still. I have been working on forgiving myself and her for the trauma inflicted on both of us from my presence in her home. Now that I have discovered this source of contention in my life I have opportunities to do something about it.

What does that look like for me? One, writing about it and sharing the unfiltered thoughts with all of you to show that loving one’s self is a work in progress always. Two, giving myself time to reflect on the experiences. Three, giving myself time to process the physically manifested stress in my body. Four, allowing myself time to allow these processes to work instead of trying to push through quickly like I always want to do.

The other day I had to write a bio for CuddlExpo, and I did some quick math. I safely estimated that I have dedicated more than 15,000 hours to my business in the last five years. I have worked way more 90+ hour work weeks than even I want to admit, and I have pushed myself to do more and be more than I ever thought possible. In that time I have created something really beautiful.

A few weeks ago I was called the “grandmother” of my industry which left me feeling a deep sense of honor and a horror.  A feeling of being unnecessary to those who are building the industry that I feel I put so much work into founding took me over. I have never felt so unimportant. Ok, I rarely feel unimportant to be honest, but damn that’s a harsh feeling. It felt like I was being brushed aside as someone who did all this work for others who are now going to build on what I created without me because I no longer have anything to offer them in their expressed opinion. I mean who thinks of grandma as the person who’s coming up with the latest and greatest? Wuf.

This also struck that nerve of feeling like a m’am instead of a miss. I’m getting older. Since my surgery in January my sessions have depleted by almost 40%. This is partly due to time off for the actual surgery and more time off to try and get caught up on my endless backlog of projects. But of course my brain also has to remind me that I haven’t dealt with the emotional turmoil of gaining 15 pounds in the last year and a half due to the trauma my body suffered from treatments prior to surgery. I don’t feel good in my body, and having scars on my belly is oddly traumatizing as I’ve always felt my belly looked nice. Now it’s got these gross red marks that may never go away.

Don’t worry, these feelings are only feelings- meaning they are irrational at best, and I take them with a grain of salt. These feelings are not how I logically think of myself. I still logically know I’m a rad panda and my confidence in most moments is still off the charts haha. I’m AWESOME!

In conclusion as I have to actually get back to work now, I’m a mess. Everyday I’m still doing at least 2 hours of intentional self care. Every day I am checking in with myself and asking if I feel love for myself and finding a way to be a yes. Every day I am making room for me, finally. This is progress. Hard, messy progress. Thank you for being here with me through it. I am better for being able to share my true self. I appreciate you for holding space for me. In turn I offer you love, smiles, and virtual hugs for those who want them.

Peace, Love, and Cuddles,

Samantha Hess

 

 

Dear 28 Year Old Me

Dear 28 Year Old Me

It’s going to work out. The efforts are going to be worth it, but remember you matter too. There’s a long road in front of you, and there are going to be some scary things coming your way. There will be endless moments that test and challenge you in more ways than you can even dream of right now. Life will change in so many ways, and you will fall apart and break down. You will push yourself further than you should, and you will keep going anyway. Through all of this you will love yourself as you do now. Thank you for finding the strength to leave. Thank you for find the courage to put yourself out there and tell the world who you are unabashedly. Thank you for knowing your are good enough, strong enough, and worthy.

Stop. Smell the flowers. Take a fucking break, woman. This road doesn’t end. You are worthy of all those wonderful amazing things you do for others. Right fucking now. The ideas will be endless. The time will be never enough. Let that be okay.

Listen to that inner voice that tells you when you’ve missed an opportunity for self care because that’s the moment you have a choice to do something about it. I know you won’t always hear the things you need to do for you, and often you will end up in the mind-numbing space of overworked, underappreciated, overwhelmed, never ending chaos that comes with the ambition of changing the world. You are and will change the world, that is inevitable with your drive. You can’t do it all today.

You are going to make mistakes, a fuck ton of mistakes. Hold them. Own them. Cherish them. Because these are the moments you grow. These are the moments you understand who you are and why you do what you do and how you can be a better you. Never stop wanting to learn. This is where our motivation comes from.

You deserve love. It comes from within, always. Even when you doubt yourself. Even when we break. It’s there. It’s always been there. It will always be there. You are your Prince Charming. Let that voice of reason in.

Your mom is going to challenge you and test your resolve. She’s going to hurt herself in a lot of ways, and it’s not your fault or responsibility to fix it or her. She just needs love. Lots of love. Be that love. Allow it to envelop her without destroying you. You have learned a lot about life from this wonderful, amazing mess of a human. In the end, she’s not going to be okay, and that’s something we are going to have to deal with. There is no preparing for it. No matter what you do, there will be feelings that we didn’t do enough, care enough or offer enough support for her to find her way, but she’s the parent and a whole person already. The potential we see in her is shining through, but not in the ways we thought- it shines through us. We are her legacy, and we are her contribution to the world. She fought hard for us to be who we are, and that is something special. She tried, every fucking day for us. She loved us, she still does. Even when it hurts, she loves us. She is half gone already, but she’s still here. Find your balance with her. Set boundaries. Have the hard conversations. Love her unconditionally. She needs it.

You are going to make some poor choices in the dating world, and you are going to be fucking terrible at setting boundaries that serve YOU. Don’t worry, nothing awful will happen. Except that one thing that ends up with you in the backseat of a cop car, but you know what, even that will teach you something invaluable. Your limits will be tested by this, but there is nothing in this world you can’t recover from. There is nothing that breaks you indefinitely. Let yourself break when you need it. Don’t give every last fucking breath to something you know is going to end. Let it fucking be woman.

You are going to be open minded enough to meet a man that will be here for you like no man before. He will care for you and love you and listen and help you learn. The magic you have coming from this man is part of your reward for being a caring and kind person. Accept him and love him for who he is, even when he forgets to do the laundry… again haha. That’s going to happen a lot. But he’s a good man, and he’s coming.

Insecurities will creep in, even for you. Yes,  you are a professional cuddler. Yes, you are a business owner. Yes, you are the boss, and that sucks a lot more than you realize right now. Yes, you are going to get through every single test, bump, and unpassable pass. There is always a way. Often it involves doing less rather than more. Did you hear that one? Do less, not more. You can’t change the world if you are so exhausted that you can’t stand up. Stop.

Take

a

fucking

breath.

Good. Take another.

Let. It. Be. You are loved and you are love. Remember to take breaks. Do your best to let go of the guilt, shame, and judgments we put on ourselves. In the end you know it won’t help. Listen to the good. Take drugs once in awhile. You know your limits, and you are not your mother. As long as you stick with the ‘only when I want to, never when I need to’ concept you will learn and grow from these experiences.

Melon loves you so much, and she will change the way you feel about yourself. She will teach you how to love yourself, and she will literally save your life one day. Adore her for the source of beautiful, truly unconditional love that she is.

Take chances. Laugh. Cry. Fucking cry. Let yourself fucking cry. You need it. A lot. People will not abandon you if you cry. I know you think that deep down, but it’s not true. That’s just bullshit from fucking preschool. It’s okay to put that theory to rest now. Cry anyway.

You are good, and you are going to be okay. Follow your intuition whenever possible. Play in the rain. Rawr like a dinosaur, and never, never, never grow up. Thank you for taking the time to sit with me today. Thank you for all the work you do and all the work you’re going to do. Thank you for crying, for taking breaks, for letting go of the guilt, for learning to listen, for humbling yourself and for accepting your mistakes. Life is a lovely fucking mess.

Ready to get back to it? I am.

Responsive vs Proactive

Responsive vs Proactive

Hello All!

I need to do payroll but my brain isn’t in data mode, so I thought I’d check in with you instead. A couple weeks ago on a long drive with my beau we were doing our usual check in conversation to see where we were both at, talking about any annoyances we have with ourselves and each other, any stresses, what’s on our mind, you get it. We try to do this every couple weeks at least. This time it was brought to my attention that my proactive care taking style can be detrimental to the balance needed in a healthy relationship. Of course I was immediately offended, which in my world is the red flag of truth. So I listened, asked questions, and together we determined that the best way to help me understand my habits was for me to try and put down my proactive hat and pick up Ben’s responsive hat.

As I’ve talked about before my beau and I have pretty opposite approaches to life in many ways. He’s introverted, I’m extroverted. His life goals focus on minimalism and quality where mine are focused on abundance and quantity. Admittedly, his version of a healthy life is somewhat better than my own in that his is healthier from my perspective. I get myself into trouble with the wanting to do ALL THE THINGS forever and nothing ever being enough haha. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I do have a high tolerance for abundance in things like touch, food, ridiculous tv shows, and vulnerability.

The goal for me to understand the impact on myself and my beau with my proactive, do all the things they didn’t even know they wanted until it was handed to them, approach was to stop doing anything for him that wasn’t asked of me first. This was rough. I don’t work that way. Growing up with a mom who worked multiple jobs, made each one of us bratty kids a different dinner, and who was constantly giving every last drop of energy she had to do nice things for us that we didn’t even ask for at the expense of her own health, wealth, and well being I fell easily into this role in the relationships in my life once I figured out how to not be a self absorbed teenage asshat.

So I went through the week mostly doing things as normal, but then realizing I wasn’t supposed to, then undoing them (putting food back in the fridge, the coffee cup back in the cupboard, putting the heating pad back in its place). Slowly I began to recognize my actions sooner and sometimes I’d be able to catch myself before I started. Often it was me saying things like “Can I get you some water? Oh wait, I mean I’m going to get myself some water.” As my hint that I was open to doing something for him as well. His side of it was to be more proactive and to use the phrase “Is there anything I can do for you?” His is the obvious route, but we had to have a serious chat about me understanding that if he asks that it’s his way of saying he has the time/energy/interest to do something for me but he doesn’t know what to do unless I tell him what would be helpful. Very sweet of him. Plus this made me work on the being less self-reliant thing I struggle with as well. I’m great at taking care of my own needs as well as the needs of those around me, but my level of proactiveness makes it so that most of the people in my life have almost no ability to do nice things for me because I’ve already done them. So yes, I have a problem, and yes, I’m now working on it for reals thanks to this amazing man in my life who calls me on my shit.

Last week we did a mini-checkin, and it seems that my beau was right. There wasn’t much benefit my proactiveness had produced. While my habits are slowly changing, I am producing more opportunities for him to show his care for me too. There are always ways I can offer my support without having to decide for others. This is something my therapist pointed out to me a few years ago. He said that if I’m at the grocery store and I want to get something for someone that I should text them and offer to get it and let them decide. That way I am making a gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness without the drawback of people getting frustrated that now they feel like they have to do more for me because I’m always doing so many things for them. Giving them the choice allows them to prevent unnecessary guilt from knowing they will never be able to do as much for me as I do for them. Most of the time that’s not a problem for me as I don’t count on others to take care of me, but I can see how the imbalance is self inflicted. My actions and intentions were not hitting the same target, and now I have the opportunity to take this humbling experience and transforming myself into the newest and greatest version yet with more balance, humility, and a deeper sense of my own needs and wants. Now I have permission to rely on others without the need for guilt, or at least for the quick release of guilt knowing that it’s okay to accept someone’s kind offer as simply that.

Look at me humaning!

Alright, back to work. Sending lots of love to you and me and everyone else too!

Peace, Love, and Cuddles,

Samantha Hess