Social Media Woes

Social Media Woes

A few months ago Joey asked for more responsibility at work as a way to help take some things off my plate. She has already been squeezing every amount of cleaning and organizing as possible into every spare second she was being paid at the studio without adding extra hours we didn’t have the income to cover.

We were at a place where we were looking at finally having a marketing budget of about $100 a month, and instead of doing direct marketing I offered to have Joey do two hours of work for the studio in whatever capacity she saw fit each week. She decided to split the time between organizing the studio to make it more professional and helping with our social media. As her skills in both of those far outweigh mine.

Over the last six years I’ve managed to get one or two posts a month up on average, but I couldn’t get myself to do more than that. In the last two years in particular social media has been stressing me out. It seems like every time I go on there more things are broken, unfair, and falling apart. It makes me feel bad about myself, worry for my friends, and begin to lose hope in humanity as a whole. Watching people be mean to each other, brag about superficial bullshit, and generally focus on judgement aspects of life is not what I call a good time.

Today as I browse through to see what Joey’s been posting my soul hurts, and I question why this feels bad. What comes to mind is the question of whether posting somewhat interesting/click bait type things that rarely have anything to do with the business in order to gain more exposure on this platform is a good thing? When I see people I know posting on these things I wonder if I’m contributing to the pain, disconnection, and isolation in the world.

I spend less than 5 minutes a week on average looking at my personal news feed. I’ll get through maybe half a dozen posts before I get a sick feeling and move on to something else. I try to spend 5-10 minutes on my public figure page each week because I do feel some genuine connection there, but honestly I’m not sure if the business has ever experienced a benefit from having a social media presence.

There’s an unaffiliated fb group for pro cuddlers that I’m a part of, but often when I try to contribute I feel like I get torn down. People will reply to try and counter whatever I say or claim they are some better expert to prove why I’m an asshole (okay, that part’s in my head). I see the same six people post seventeen times a day and I begin to feel like I’m not contributing to this community enough. I have to remind myself that everyone is welcome to ignore what I say, contend what I say, and to post as often as they make it a priority. I have tell myself that it’s likely the people who are posting constantly have less actual work and that’s why they have so much time to post which may or may not be true, but they may also not feel bad spending time on social media like I do.

Social media certainly has been a net loss for me as each time I go there I lose a little bit of my confidence. I question my worth, my business, and ultimately my life choices in a way that is very unhealthy and unproductive. When so many of our clients are there for connection, and I see the correlation in myself being so awful I question the ethics of participating in it.

There are valuable parts to it. I know this. It is one of the easiest ways to connect with people I no longer or have never known well enough to have phone numbers or email addresses for. It’s nice to see pictures and happenings of people in my life. It’s easy to look up business info for events/restaurants/etc. But so much of it creeps me out- the targeted ads, the news feed that has been specifically designed to keep me scrolling as long as possible- not because it’s good for me or because it helps me learn about the people in my 2-d life, but because the more I scroll the more ads I can be shown and the more money this giant corporation makes.

Gross.

On NPR I once heard someone say something like if a product is free, you’re the real product. Last night Melon and I went to a concert, and of course jump down and start the dance party like a four year old who just finished off a two liter of Mountain Dew. She was feeling a little less excitable than me, so she was more normal with her dancing, but she told me at one point in the evening that I am the person in her life that gives the least fucks about what other people think of them and she appreciates that.

Sporting my earplugs at Delhi to Dublin because I still want to hear things when I’m 80. Also, Melon is really tall!

When I got home last night I Polo’d Melon to thank her for a nice night and to tell her that I appreciate her ability to make everyone feel included and special when we go out. She talks to everyone, anyone. And it’s beautiful. She treats everyone the way I do at work. When I go dancing I’m in my own little world, and my ability to connect with others is highly diminished because I have yet to find a way to be a four year old who talks to strangers. I think my childhood programming worked a little too well haha.

It made me think about how easily she seems to make connections, and I wonder if surrounding myself with endless trauma has created a situation in my mind where I treat everyone like I don’t have a right to even approach them unless I know I have consent, but because I don’t go out much anymore I don’t have a developed skill set in knowing who I have permission to talk to in public.

Oh man, this rabbit hole has a bit further to go before I resurface…

Diving in further- I have been questioning if I have forgotten how to be an extrovert because I’ve learned to be so comfortable with alone time and independence in my attempts to avoid unhealthy/codependent relationships. I know so few extroverts, and I’ve become so practiced at the introverted lifestyle that I feel like I’ve sort of lost the person I feel I’ve always been. #identitycrisis

(Do hashtags work in wordpress? I don’t understand technology, but it’s funny to me so I’ll leave it)

I am the no fucks girl who can do all the things, be judged, and still be loud. I think it helps that my mom has so unabashedly self promoted her art all my life. This month her art is being featured at a brew pub in Lincoln City because she walked in there and told them she loves their logo and somehow walked out with dates for her art to be displayed. Melon is like that too, even though I’m not sure either of them are actually extroverts. I’m amazed and impressed by these humans who can just talk to anybody, anywhere. It’s so cool!

The real truth is that I’m feeling a bit down. A bit lost, and a bit beside myself. I’m at that crossroad of having to decide if I have one more big push in my to try and make this business work or if it’s time to scale back, cut down what I’ve worked so hard to create and make a more manageable life for myself. Social media has been a catalyst for this thought cycle because it inspires self doubt for me in a way very few things can. There is certainly an argument to be made for some connection is better than no connection, but I’m not sure the price of social media is worth it. I’m not sure the price of being a small business owner is worth it.

Right now I’m in the middle of writing the second book, and I will complete it. Before Burning Man this book will be in my hands, and I will be proud of it because I have been breathing life into it for years.

We are coming up to the two year mark at this location, and with all the problems with the new landlord and the challenge of making enough to keep the business afloat my ship is steering pretty hard toward the path of this being our last year of community events and our last year of a retail space of any sizable amount.

Damn, I wish I could cry sometimes. It takes so much for that to come out of me. I feel it in there, but it feels like the last drop in a glass ketchup bottle. Don’t worry, I won’t try slapping it out of me. The metaphor doesn’t go that far. I think I’ll need to talk to Joey soon about all these thoughts about social media. I really do wonder if it’s ethical or even just a poor idea to promote the business that way since I don’t think we’ve gotten many clients at all from this platform and the whole this feels icky thing. I want to foster healthy connection, but for me social media inspires anything but that.

I suppose I will leave you with this…this little poem I wrote after a friend shared a rhyming graphic novel. It seems fitting just now:

As time drags on
And my ego wears thin
I wonder what shape I’m in
I wonder who I’ve become
And who I let go
All for the dream of running the show
My life has changed
And so have I
All I hear is why, oh, why?
When the table is set
But no one’s here to eat
I wonder if I’ve really pulled off this feat
I sit at the table and ring the bell
But who will show up?
Only time will tell
If I call it quits now
With the table all set
I am giving up
On those I’ve yet met
Will it all be worth it?
Who ever knows
But at least for now
I’ll keep up this pose
When I do bow out
Some day as I must
I hope to look back
And believe it was just
Fairness aside
I’ll give all that I will
For this is my life, my hope, and my pill
Medicine be harsh
And treatments unfair
But I must find a way to give myself such care
Care as I might
And hope to be true
Will this tale turn out to be blue?
With lessons still to learn
And endless hope for more
I’ll sit at this table and pour, pour, pour
Pour my heart out to you
And to you and to me
For nothing else is as worthy as we
When we lean on each other
I hope you do know
The only way to move is to grow, grow, grow
For life is a mess
And hopeless it seems
For in the end
We’re all doomed to live out our dreams

With love and appreciation,
-Intentionally Sam

So Fancy

So Fancy

About a week ago Melon took me to a spa for my birthday. We have been to Common Grounds before together, and I’ve been to Everett House on my own. The place Melon took me to was a little different than the spas I’ve been to before for many reasons. It was super fancy, required bathing suits, and was full of the thirty year olds who move to Portland to retire.

We get to this giant new posh building, and walk into a gorgeous lobby- rich lighting, modern furniture, giant timber planks covering all the walls, and the tile floors were of a splendid simplicity that somehow made them almost gaudy as the reflection bounced off them to create an atmosphere I imagine would be akin to walking into heaven. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but it’s so fun to make up descriptions of things. Gosh!

Clearly I’m SUPER good at the Elvis lip thing hahahaha

We head up the elevators, which are, of course, decorated with black and white Elvis as an outlaw murals, and we head up to the 5th floor. We walk in to the space and the receptionists are two young 20’ish women who look like they should be in magazine with their hip haircuts, interesting tattoos, and clothes that scream elegant hipster. They see we don’t have wristbands, and therefore kick us out. They explain that they have remodeled and now the check in is three flights down and through the doorway that looks like it goes outside. What? This is so strange to me. She says it’s because they don’t want a bottleneck when it gets busy. I think to myself “sending people on a journey to a line in a different room seems like a great way to avoid bottle necking this area while also creating that feeling of you’re not good enough.”

As we walk down the polished concrete floors, and giant windows I feel a rush of hot air and notice the entire hallway has heat lamps above head. Interesting. I sort of like this actually. As we head down a different set of elevators we walk past a 30 something woman in a leopard print romper who looks like the lead singer of a band or the head of the fashion department for Vogue. “I bet that outfit costs more than my rent” I think to myself. We go through the 17 foot tall doors (ok, probably like 10 foot) and enter a cavernous room with ceilings that have to be 20 feet tall (for real this time). There are some couches, a fridge with a few hipster beverages for sale, and a desk at the back with two twenty something hipster kids who also look like their outfits cost more than my rent. They check us in as we stare at the 17 foot tall art that looks like the biggest piece of tree bark I’ve ever seen.

If it isn’t clear yet, I’m feeling, shall we say, out of place. We head back upstairs through a secret door in the back of the room and walk down the heated hallway again to reenter the spa, this time toting our “it’s $50 if you loose this wristband” wristbands which I’m pretty sure can track my movements, heartbeat, and every thought. They set us up with our lockers, and finally something feels familiar to me. The locks are the same my first gym had and a small flood of relief washes over me- at least I am comfortable with something.

We put our stuff down and change into our swimsuits. This is the first time since I had my surgery Jan 2018 that I’ve been in a swimsuit. As you likely know the treatments that were supposed to help prevent the surgery caused me to gain a lot of weight, and my body does not feel like my own anymore. Because of the cysts and the treatment for them I gained twenty pounds over the course of a year and a half, and despite every effort those extra pounds have decided they are with me for the long haul. Lucky for me I don’t care what other people think, and when I stand there in the dressing area, in the full length mirror, I realize that my body looks fine still. My brain switches immediately to no fucks to give, and we head off to shower with our Navajo inspired hipster towels. The giant glass door to enter the spa has etched into it all the people who aren’t welcome which is required, but still uncomfortable for me: old people, young people, anyone who has anything transmissible through water, etc. We put our towels on the hooks as we stare at amazing views of downtown, the bridges, and the blossoms in the courtyard below.

There are three soaking pools on our right and a sauna, sitting area, and steam room on our left. The soaking tubs seem to each be made out of one giant piece of steel, and I sort of feel like I’m in a clash of jungle meets the future aesthetics. The pools are Goldilocks style with one being very hot, one being very cold, and one just right…okay, my just right is the hot one, but you get the idea.

There are maybe four or five other people in the whole spa, and it’s awesome to begin this experience feeling like I have all the room I want to do whatever. We sit and chat and drink rice infused water (well, some fancy version of rice infused water that was just shy of eye roll territory as there were other people around and I don’t want to be an asshole). The view is incredible, especially during cherry blossom season, and I feel so grateful for this moment. Melon is such a dear sweet human, and I am so lucky to have her in my life. She has helped me grow and blossom into the open minded, kindhearted, free spirited adult-child I’ve always wanted to be.

We’ve known each other for more than six years now. We met as roommates when I answered a craigslist ad after the first place I moved to after leaving my ex-husband became a vegan house and told me I wasn’t allowed to have any butter or bacon on the premises. I told them that was illegal and they could fuck off, but honestly, the landlord was a bit nuts and I started to wonder if I might end up waking up covered in blood at some point for my evil non-vegan ways.

It was nice to take time off and just chill. It was nice to sit and chat with this wonderful human who has been here for me through so much and I for her. It’s beautiful to watch people grow and develop. She and I have both worked endlessly to make our dreams our realities, and we have both been able to make our small businesses into our (more than) full time jobs. Her work is beautiful, and I’m so proud of her!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/foxtailboutique

We talked Scrooge style: past, present, future. Random old roommates we shared, that time we almost lit the field next door on fire accidentally, how hard we’ve been working lately and what parts of those efforts are working and not working, Burning Man, road trips to far away places, her potential move.

At one point she decided to take the polar plunge. I furrowed my brow, making clear that sounded like a terrible idea to me. I opted to stay in the hot porridge bowl. She rejoined me a few moments later, and we decided to try the steam room where she echoed out a beautiful tune from Little Mermaid that we both love, coming up with her own spin on the song about gemstones that was adorable and funny. I told her she needs to finish her remake of this song and turn it into a viral video. We talk about how the steam room is a little bit like inhaling sweaty skin particles and soon left to the dry sauna.

There was no less than six fit attractive men who were almost all discussing their recent flights to ski or snowboard. Clearly I live worlds apart from these people, and once again I’m feeling out of place with my cuddle belly, awkward facial expressions, and constant staring at the ceiling because I don’t know how to look at attractive people without feeling like a creep unless I’m at work where everybody is automatically family zoned and therefore I don’t notice what they look like.

At some point I decide I’m brave enough to try this cold water pool, and I meekly wade in. Turns out it’s basically refrigerated water. I have no idea the actual temperature, so I’m gonna guess -347 or whatever that Kelvin number is of absolute zero. Yes, I know water freezes at 32 degrees- this somehow feels colder. It’s like walking into a burning ice cube. My arms and legs cling to my core like my body is under attack, and immediately my heart is pounding like I’ve just sprinted across the globe. I can feel my heartbeat in my brain. It’s awesome! After about 4.3 seconds I nonchalantly walk out and back over to the hot pool where my hands, feet, and entire body are now screaming, tingling, and numb all at the same time.

A few minutes later I go back in. Somehow the cold is now calling me. I’m determined to stay in for 30 seconds. I think I make it to like 12. I try again 15 minutes later, and this time I think I did make it to 30 seconds because when I got back in the hot pool I was basically high. My body was so confused, but somehow it was nice.

We went out for Thai food after. I didn’t feel hungry until the food was right in front of me. Curry fried rice from my favorite place was the perfect choice. We walked around and I played Pokemons while the food was cooking. It was fun to show Melon how it works. Then we went and got ice cream and I took her home. It was a nice night, and I was so grateful for the down time.

The next day Melon texted that she was sorry she picked the fancy place knowing I’m not fancy. I was uncomfortable as I usually am with the hoity toity type places. That’s not my world. Give me comfortable. Give me simple. I can certainly appreciate nice things, but I feel like I don’t appreciate them the way the other people do. The part I appreciate is the effort, the thought, the consideration of the people in my world doing nice things for me. The actual events and places matter much less. I’ll take a bouquet of dandelions over store bought flowers any day because each one of those dandelions was hand chosen and picked with me in mind. That is the part that matters to me.

I love that Melon wanted to do something for my birthday, and the fact that she followed through on that makes me feel special and important. Even though the fancy part didn’t match me perfectly what really mattered was that she thought of something nice to do for me, she made reservations and followed up with me. She showed she loves and appreciates me. She gave me her time. That’s a big part of why I do the work I do. I get to give others the thing I value most in the world- time and effort.

Aww, look, a nice post for once. As always, sending my love, appreciation, and gratitude for you. Thanks for listening.

-Intentionally Sam

Emotional Catastrophes

Emotional Catastrophes

On this episode of emotional catastrophes we will visit a man who had no idea what he was in for, and a woman who was about to lose her mind.

So last Saturday Ben and I had a fight…well, sort of. I had spent all day at work, and I was ready to chill. Not that my work is super stressful, but holding space and creating safety do take emotional energy. We ran some errands, and got home around 6ish. I was exhausted and still not sleeping great most of the time.

In the car Ben had talked about how he hadn’t done anything that felt productive all day and how he wanted to clean when we got home. I laughed and talked about how I was ready to not be productive. So Ben proceeds to start cleaning as I grab my tablet and tune out to an app game, this time it was an adorable game about a mushroom cave where I get to control the little lives and little outfits of these tiny mushrooms who want to work and play and discover things. Yes please.

For about four minutes Ben is brooding around a little frantically trying to get stuff done, and asking me random questions about house stuff. At this point I think I should tell you that Ben was actually being very reasonable in his actions, but I perceived things differently than reality because Ben has something called RBF (resting bitch face). He suffers from this on a regular basis.

As someone who prides herself on picking up on the signals of other’s emotions those with RBF confuse the front door out of me (front doors being the code word for the F word because it made me laugh). The week before was my birthday, and therefore we had been doing more than the normal amount of activities for and about me, and pretty much everytime Ben agrees to do something that isn’t for or about his his RBF flares up. Basically, he comes across as a big grumpasaurus, and generally makes whatever I was excited to do slightly less exciting. The thing is that he’s not grumpy, but when the person I’m with has this look and body language of someone who is brooding it confuses me and makes me feel bad about myself sometimes.

Okay, that was a long tangential explanation…back to the story…

After this quick commercial break where I tell you about a real life commercial I saw last night walking by the window of a gym with Mrs. Butterworth ballroom dancing with a human and being lifted into the air with such delight. Yup. That’s a thing.

So Ben is brooding around, cleaning, inadvertently inspiring guilt in me because, let’s be real, he’s cleaning up basically all my messes where I have 17 art projects going in the living room at once. Yes, sometimes I am a terrible housemate. At this point the emotional catastrophe begins, and I lose all sense of logic…I mean the woman loses all sense of logic (I’m not good at talking in the third person as it turns out haha). She gets up and storms around like a stompy tornado of angry cleaning. He stops her and says “Hey, you don’t need to do anything right now.” Like a rational person. Gosh! She proceeds to use up every remaining ounce of energy she has in her, slowing over time as the back pain sets in.

About ten minutes in he stops her again, and she is out of control. He says “Hey, you really don’t need to clean with me, it’s okay.” As he touches her gently on the shoulder.

A death glare fades in and suddenly there is an ice storm of fuck you’s surrounding them. Yikes. I think we need a spotlight for this performance.

About an hour later the house is beautiful, all surfaces have been cleaned, disinfected, and properly Martha Stuarted. As she goes to put the last thing away she runs into him again, but this time the fire has burnt itself out she has regained some of her sanity. She falls meekly into his arms and cries a few silent tears.

They sit on the bed, and talk. She finally realizes that the anger she just expressed had very little to do with what was happening that day, but the realization that the grumpasaurus is really difficult to be around, and it’s been around a lot lately. Being around someone who rarely seems excited, except when they are doing things that they thought of doing is challenging for the unrelentingly optimistic human beside him.

He asks the dreaded question: “Do you want me to change.” She grabbed his shoulders, looks his straight in the eye and says “Please DO NOT change. If you do that you will end up resenting me, and I am not okay with that.”

So at the end of this emotional catastrophe the couple decide the best course of action is to spend less time together, but instead to be more intentional with the time they do spend together because living together can cause delayed emotional reactions that aren’t healthy or productive. Okay, well I guess this one ended up being productive, after it was slightly traumatizing. She apologized for being an asshole. He apologized for being a grumpasaurus, and with the emotional ice storm dissipated they ate Thai food and watched Star Trek, Next Generation. The end.

So yeah, I had a very unreasonable emotional outburst at Ben from stuff I hadn’t yet realized I was bottling up. Turns out I need to continue to work on my extroversion and spend time with more peoples outside of work for my own sanity. This poor man was so sweet and patient with me while I had my moment. I am just realizing some of the challenges that come with having a partner who functions so differently from myself. We are polar opposites in a lot of ways, but he gives me room to be me. I just need to follow up on that freedom and stop putting my friend needs on my boyfriend because that’s unhealthy and unproductive.

Thanks for allowing me to be real, and to show you when I’m a super jerk. Luckily it doesn’t happen very often anymore, but man, I have a talent for being a dick when I let it out. On the next episode of Emotional Catastrophes we will discover a woman who feels like an outsider among fancy people and has to pretend no one else exists for awhile.

RAWWWR!

Intentionally Sam (:

24 Year Old Me

24 Year Old Me

As I’m writing this next book I’m browsing my history for relevant info to add, and in that process I am stumbling across some random old writings including this gem. This is going to be a long post; a long, rambling post. This is something I journaled when I was 24 and a GIANT mess of a person. It’s sort of adorable to see where I started this journey, to see how far I’ve come. I cringed many times reading back through this. I hope you will too. haha. So here it is, in all it’s angsty young adult glory:

Is it worth it?

“I look back over the last 24 years of my life and see many things. I have an amazing husband who will always be in my heart even if he cannot be physically by my side. He keeps me strong. He will always be the one person I can count on when no one else in the world even knows I exist. If I have nothing else in life, I know I have him. That’s all I will ever need because that is the most important thing in life; just to know that someone cares as much about you as you do about them- truly.

Looking across the people that have come in and out of my life I realize that I only have my husband to count on. My family is here, but mostly when they need something from me, and so are my “friends.” At this point I’m not sure that I’m even willing to say I have any true friends. Rose asked me who my best friend was the other day, and it made me realize- I don’t have a best friend because you need to have just a friend before you can have a best friend. Kai will always be my best friend. She has never let me down, and she will always be with me. I still miss her so much every day. She has a very special place in my heart, and whenever I think of her I smile (even if I’m crying). Having known her has made me a better person, and I’m so grateful that I had a chance to know someone so incredible.

It’s hard to look back over everything and know whether the place I’m in now is due to my environment, my expectations, or my values. I have such high expectations of the people in my life and it brings me a lot of heartbreak. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to be so strong, but so miserable. I wonder if it would be better to just not care like everyone else.

They say you should not judge people by how they disappoint you, but rather how they react when you disappoint them. That doesn’t work if you don’t disappoint people. How often in my life can I honestly say I disappointed someone? Not many. If that was the only test of friendship I would probably never know who my true friends are (or would be). I am the reliable one. I am the one everyone else turns to when they have a problem that’s difficult. I am always here with open arms; ready to roll up my sleeves and deal with whatever is asked of me, or even just what I feel people are too shy to ask for help with. I like to think that I am good at reading when people could use help, but at the same time I think I am hindering people from having to learn to deal with their own shit. People don’t want to deal with their own problems. It sucks. I know that. It’s always easier when you have someone to share the load. My problem is the value ratio sucks for me. If I was to put a price on the efforts I put into my relationships compared to what I get back I would be so far in the negative I would be the AIG of friendship (just without the bailout- cause I don’t have anyone to bail me out).

I feel like I deserve better. I feel like it’s not worth my time to put forth the effort when I know it will not be reciprocated. The problem is I am a people pleaser. That is where I get my self worth from. Knowing that I helped someone when it was not asked of me makes me feel good about myself. When I make someone else happier I feel like I made some sort of impact on the world in my own tiny little way, and that makes it worth while for me. Well at least it used to. Now I look back and see the wreckage of what I have caused for myself. People treat you the way you teach them to treat you. I try really hard to not expect anything from anyone- ever. I pride myself on knowing that I can take care of myself and that I don’t need anyone to fix my problems- because I am better than that. I am smarter and stronger and I can deal with things on my own. My life will not end if someone isn’t there to bail me out of a bad situation.

The hard part now is that all these people I’ve done all these nice things for, not only are they not appreciative of what I do, it is now expected of me; I feel responsible for all of them. That takes away the part that makes me feel good doing it, so I end up doing all these nice things and feeling worse about myself. I try so hard to make others happy. I try to not be selfish, and to just be here for everyone else, but damn it! When is it my turn. When do I get to be happy. It’s not like it takes much. “The rent in my heart is cheap”

I know look back on the people that I spend time with and find myself asking “is it worth it?” What am I getting out of this, and is it what I want. The answer is no. I am not happy with my “friendships.” I am not happy with the people in my life.

No matter how hard I try I can never do everything right, and I can never fix all the problems. I cannot win this game. So I guess now the question is what to do about it.

What to do about it…

I just don’t know. I don’t know if it’s even worth trying to repair at this point. In a years time I may not know any of these people any more. Is it worth having “friends” now if I’m just going to lose them in a few short months any way. Should I just wait it out and be alone for now. Do I put my life on hold while waiting to figure out when/where my life will be picked up again?

I will always come second to everyone in my life. No one will ever put my needs before their own, so why do I? Why do I torture myself like this? Why do I put myself through this over and over? Why is this so hard? Why do I feel so alone in a room full of people that would all consider themselves my friends? The cost analysis on my life came back negative. I have been in the red for a long time now, and I have a huge hole to dig myself out of. I read endless pages of quotes trying to relate to something, anything. In the end I just feel more alone, and less understood.

Of course there are people that care about me, but the difference is when I ask myself- in an emergency who would I call? The answer is no one. I have no one in my life that I would feel ok about calling at 3 in the morning, or just showing up to their house when I need someone to talk to. That’s just where my life is. When Danny is gone I don’t have an emergency contact because I don’t have anyone that I trust to care enough about me to drop what they are doing to come help me. It sucks to realize that. I feel like such a loser- I’m 25 and have zero people to count on when I’m in trouble. No one I can turn to. I’m alone. Just alone.

I can’t even make myself feel better anymore. I sit here and write it out once again hoping to come to some realization about my life/who I am/what I need to change, but it’s not happening this time. I don’t know how to get myself out of this one. I have a week alone, and I hope that by the end of it I will have some answer as to what I need to change to feel better about myself. School starts next week, so either way I’ll just have to put on the show for the world- no matter how I feel under it all.  

I am damaged. I am empty. I am alone again. This is not the life I asked for. This is not the life I want. There is so much guilt. Guilt for this driving need for human touch. To feel a heartbeat other than my own. To know I am not alone. To know I am appreciated. To know that I am understood.

There is anger and resentment for this person that put me in this place. For the person that was supposed to know me like no other. How could they put me through this? How is this ok? How is this my fault? I feel confused and desperate.

My world gets consumed by the dark cloud of emptiness. There is nothing left but the feeling of loneliness. Why is it so wrong to want to feel someone, something? I am not looking for love or sex or anything other than… other than not being alone. The quiet thump of a resting heart under my ear. That is what I miss. It drives my world. It forces my everyday interactions.

What is wrong with me? Why is this need for someone so strong? How did I get this way? Why does it feel like such a necessity? For more than 2 months I have slept alone again. The world gets colder and darker with each passing moment. I feel so alone. I don’t want this feeling or the guilt that comes with this need.

Even knowing that anyone else felt this way would make it better, but I am alone in this too. Why is this so hard? Why is it so consuming? Why does my world fall apart without that basic human connection? I feel broken, incomplete. Why does it not matter where the connection comes from? I wish I understood why I am this way. The guilt seems so unfair. I feel I am not asking for much. I just need to be close to someone. It hurts.

It feels as though my heart is shrinking, diminishing into the nothingness that has become my world. I have people that care about me, but i have no one that I can hear breathing as I sleep. No one to comfort me. No one to make my world safe. Why does my world not feel safe when I’m alone? Where does this stem from? I have to think it’s from my childhood. There must be something there. Seeing that pain in my mother’s eyes. Knowing that the one person that was supposed to love her more than anyone could hurt her so badly over and over. Over and over.

To see that pain and know how empty that world must have been, so alone damaged and so broken. Why is it that touch makes me feel so safe when that’s what caused the pain for my mother? That feels so sick. I am disgusted with myself. This need for a physical connection is not normal. It is not ok. Why is it that i can’t seem to make friends with girls? Why am I always drawn towards the opposite sex? I know in my heart i don’t ever want more than friendship. I never want to hurt him. I love him so much, but it happens so often that Ii don’t get what I need.

When he’s here, when he’s gone. There are so many moments I’m alone in this world. So much time spent wondering why I’m not good enough. To feel something as simple as a hand upon my back as I slee that is all I really need. A hug. I need to not be alone. God, another month of this…how am I ever going to make it through this?

I am fine around other people, fine at work. I can fake my way through it. I can hide the pain, but when I get home I see all the things that remind me I’m alone. I’m lost. My world has been crushed. All the horrible feelings spewing out of the cracks of my disturbed life. Oozing out and covering everything in sight.

It’s disgusting, it’s revolting. I am so ashamed, but the loneliness doesn’t change.

No matter what I think of myself or what happens i know overall i will feel so much better at the end of the day if i just have someone to sleep next to.
Someone that can hold me. Someone that I can lay my head on and hear that soft heartbeat. Why is that so wrong? If you wanted to be that person why did you leave me? How is it ok to create this empty shell of a person? It’s selfish. It’s mean. I don’t understand how it’s ok to cause so much pain, so much torment.

You know what I need, but you refuse to let me have it.
If you can’t provide this for me, and I cannot provide this for myself why then, is it so wrong to seek it from somewhere else? I don’t need sex or love or anything of that sort. Just comfort. Just to know I’m not alone.

Please, I don’t want to be alone. I need this part of my life to be over for good, but I don’t understand why you want to keep leaving me.

I feel this may be the thing that ends it all.

I’m not sure how much longer I can continue this. I can’t live my life in fear that i will be alone again and again. I need consistency. I need fairness. I need you to be here for me too.

This life we have built is amazing, and i don’t ever want to see it end, but it hurts so much to go through all this. To see that finish line, and to hear nothing but that the next path may lead down the same road. Empty and alone.

NO!

I don’t want this. I want something i can count on. Something safe. Something fair.

I need a freakin hug so badly. This loneliness is killing me.
I lie in bed alone, tears warm my skin as they roll down my face.
My breathing is slow and heavy. My bones feel brittle and sore.
I feel the weight of the world pushing me deeper into the emptiness of the cold blanket.

I wait for the comfort of another to take away some of the pain, but I am alone again. So badly wanting the warm embrace of someone that understands me. Understands what I’m going through- who I am, why this is hard.

Each night my heart breaks. I want nothing more than to be close to someone. To feel the warmth of life. The security of embrace.
I concentrate deeply, trying to feel the heartbeat that has always been there. I hear it so strongly in my head, but it’s not there. I can’t feel it. My shoulders are tense. My body is numb. I feel empty. Alone.

I think of all those I could’ve counted on in the past. All those who would have been here, but times have changed. People are gone now. Some will come back. Some will never been seen again. Others don’t know…or don’t care. It doesn’t matter which.

That random frequency is in my head again saving me from the silence. The humming seems to be the only thing I can count on anymore. I need the one person that fills this void to feel the same way-to know I need a hug. Empathy, not sympathy. No one here understands this feeling of being lost. It’s unlike any other.

It’s as if I lived in a snow globe that has not just been shaken but rather taken apart and put back together with nothing the same. I need to be happy again. I need to smile not just when I’m around others. Not a front to make others feel better. What do I do when the teddy bear doesn’t cut it? When I have no one to turn to? How do I do this alone when I’ve never been alone?How do I get up in the morning knowing what the day brings and continue on? Where’s my motivation? What’s the point?

I get up to write letters. I get up to prove I am strong enough. I get up to discover something I missed. I get up because my back hurts still. I get up because I have to eat something. I get up because if I don’t it means I am not who I thought I was. It means I really am alone.

But I am not alone. In my heart I have those…the few that will always be with me no matter what happens. That is what keeps me going. Their numbers may be small, but they mean the world to me. And I will do whatever it takes to make things work for them.

My life is an open book that very few people choose to read, but what matters is that I am loved like many will only dream of. That makes me happy, truly happy. “

Oh my.

So I feel like it might be helpful to give a little contect here. I wrote this when my marriage was on the brink of ending. My then husband had been promoted at work to a very stressful job, and he had been taking out on me (emotionally). When he had a particularly bad day everything was wrong, my fault, and it was my job to be the receptacle for all the stress and negativity…or so I felt and acted. He ended up quitting his job and joining the Marine Corps as a rifleman, then he got stationed in North Carolina which was the worst possible place in my mind.

When he went to bootcamp I was alone for the first time in my adult life. This journaling happened around the same time I got the news of North Carolina being my new home soon. We had a very unhealthy, codependent relationship. I wasn’t allowed to bring people into our home that he didn’t approve of, and I felt like I wasn’t allowed to do anything that he didn’t want me to do. I had managed to gain enough autonomy to go out Thursday nights with some girlfriends for karaoke, and it felt like I had at least a few friends again finally.

I was socially isolated outside of work, the gym, and the grocery store from the ages of 20-24 when I began college (outside of the karaoke nights I had just recently started too). There were some huge misconceptions in my life that I have since overcome. Some of them from this writing include:

  1. Believing I was not allowed to have touch except from my husband (now I know this is my choice and for me only receiving touch from my partner is a very unhealthy choice).
  2. Believing the need for touch is shameful (humans are pack animals by nature and most of us thrive with touch because it can create safety, connection, and belonging).
  3. Believing how I felt was someone else’s fault and responsibility (people in general teach us how we treat them it’s okay to treat us, if we accept and go along with disrespect or unkind behavior we are likely to get more of those things).
  4. Believing that I could and should work through my issues without support and without asking for anything from anyone(now I know that asking for and receiving support is a necessary part of my overall wellbeing).

It’s kind of cool to see how I viewed the world so differently and how much progress I’ve made. When I finished this journal entry I had found a way to convince myself I was happy (which was clearly not true), but being an optimist I am often able to fool myself into ignoring the bad parts which can be part of my negative coping habits. Now I know this about myself, and I am often able to see when I’m painting over the ugly parts instead of addressing the actual issues. I’ve still got a long road of learning ahead of me, I hope I keep looking back and being like “oh my!” about where I was at ten years ago.

Anyway, gotta get back to work. Thanks for listening. I appreciate you!

-Intentionally Sam

Birthday Life Check

Birthday Life Check

Today is my birthday! My brain just played me the Sarah and Duck birthday song. Thanks brain. As this is my 35th birthday it seems appropriate to do a life check in.

When I was five I had my whole life figured out. When I grew up I was going to be a model and actress. I walked around with a book on my head. Check.

At seven I thought when I grew up I’d marry MC Hammer, refused to wear jeans. Check.

At nine I was going to marry Scott, the cute Asian boy in my class. Never talked to him. Check.

At 16 I had already become sophomore class vice president, so I went for junior class president and won, then figured I’d work my way up to Senator. Check.

At 18 I decided even high school politics were too corrupt and decided I’d become a real estate agent instead. My mom tells me “You can’t be a real estate agent, you don’t even want to learn how to drive!” haha. Thanks mom. And I wonder where my smart mouth comes from. Brutal honesty is something I value and my mom has the perfect balance of telling me like it is mixed with eight gillion I love you’s. I waited until I was 20 to get my licence. Plans not according to plan. Check.

At 20 I got married, and I almost literally had my whole life planned out: married, condo, work until we are 65, retire in Las Vegas, go to the beach sometimes. Check, check, oh god shoot me now, Vegas still sounds fun, check.

At 22 I had lost 20% body fat after two years at the gym and I KNEW I was meant to be a personal trainer. New plan: two years of college, then change people’s lives everyday through fitness. Enrolled in college. Check.

At 25 I had graduated and had a year of training and youth group exercise instruction under my belt. I begrudgingly moved to North Carolina to be with my husband who had joined the Marine Corps, and I worked as a trainer there. At this point my plan was to be a trainer and stay fit and healthy until I retired, hopefully moving back to Portland at some point. My ex then quit the military (yes, I know you can’t do that), and we moved back to Portland nine months after going there (I probably should write more about this story at some point- note to self). Be a trainer, move, be miserable. Check.

At 28 I was not okay. I had spent about four years struggling with my touchless marriage, and I hated myself. At this point my plan was at a crossroad: stay in my marriage and find a way to be okay with never having touch in my life or leave and try to find happiness. I chose to leave. Check.

At 29 I had started my business, and I was so happy to finally be doing something that felt like me. The plan was to have my solo outbound business, eventually move to a space big enough for myself, and get to the point where I could work 20 hours a week or less and live a full, well rounded life. Outbound service going splendidly. Check.

At 30 my plans had changed yet again. This time I was on a mission to change the world, one hug at a time. I had written and tested my first certification program, opened our first retail space, and I had even published my first book (second one in the works now!). I was the leader of a budding industry, and I was unstoppable. Check.

At 31 my life took a nose dive, and I ended up starting this blog due to the traumatic incident that almost broke me beyond repair. My plans remained steadfast, minus the few weeks it took me to learn how to person again. I remained the leader of my industry and continued to learn and grow. Check.

At 32 I met this nerdy guy with a lip ring and a sleeve tattoo (I sort of hate tattoos, and I’m allergic to metal), but somehow on that first date I had found someone I had known more deeply than I’d ever knew was possible. We hugged for a full 10 minutes outside the bar upon parting ways, and in that moment my life changed. I barely knew this man, yet somehow, we KNEW each other. Four days later I told him I loved him, and he followed suit. My life will be forever changed. Check.

At 33 my title as leader of the industry began being questioned, and with it my entire life plan. Competitors with money overtook my place as the leader in this emerging field, and I struggled endlessly watching the purity I created shift and change and develop in a way I had no control over. I was bitter and angry and decided my new life plan was to become a niche in this market, the place people would go to when they wanted to try out what unconditional love looks like with purity and ethics that could stand up to all scrutiny. I would show how this world works when sexuality is removed, not made a grey area to be muddled and twisted into a pseudo-sexual experience where practitioners offer “upgrades and secret menus.” Side note- clearly I’m not still bitter about this haha. I let go of my dream to change the world. Check.

At 34 I realized there were lots of people who were doing this work in ethical and platonic only realms like myself and I worked through a lot of the pain and trauma I suffered from my own unbending view of something I had very little control over. I learned I was changing the world through my efforts, just not in the ways I thought I would. I found a softer hold of my future that allowed me to continue to do the thing that feels like my real life purpose: to continually learn and grow. I no longer hold to the need of being an industry leader because I don’t have it in me to be the girl who wanted to change the world with a tsunami. I’d rather be the rain, nourishing individual spaces and cleansing whatever needs to be cleansed locally creating a larger impact as all the individual drops do their work and find their way to affect the tide over time. Check.

Today I am 35, half way to 70. I am still excited to get older. Happy to see the wrinkles on my face from endless laughs and smiles. Happy to see the grey hair that emerges from the stress and strain of trying. When I look at my life I suppose I consider fairly ordinary things: my health is pretty good overall, but I struggle with the pain. You know this. I struggle with my weight and accepting that the girl who did endurance sets of leg press with 450 pounds and worked out 20 hours a week has found new comfort in her cuddle body. 23 pounds heavier than when I started this work. A few more scars, mentally and physically (from my surgery last Jan), but better for all of them. I just celebrated three years with Ben Beau, and we live in a beautiful home that he bought for us. I am still not in a place where I can afford to pay myself anything close to what I’m worth (currently the retail space pays me about 4.75 an hour, but I have some outbound sessions that I keep my income from as well). My business has changed over the years just as I have, and I am no longer sure that this will be my forever job. I no longer believe in the naivety that comes with thinking I could possibly know what the rest of my life might look like. Instead I have bargained for a more myopic view. I look at today, and maybe glance at the rest of the week, but my overarching view doesn’t go beyond wispy dreams soft spoken in my brain that shift and bend with the winds and times that ever change. I am happy. I am fulfilled. I am ever curious.

I guess I would say my life goals are currently as follows:

  1. Never grow up.
  2. Que sera sera.
  3. Keep working towards making enough money to survive after my savings runs out in t-minus nine months.
  4. Try to be a good person through actions, thoughts, and intentions.
  5. Continue to learn and grow.
  6. Make it to burning man at least once.
  7. Finish my second book.
  8. Dance like everyone can go fuck themselves.
  9. Let go of the past, learn from the hurt, keep trying to touch my feet.
  10. Be grateful.


So for now I will bid you adieu. Thank you for being here. Thank you for taking time to learn about me as I do the same. I am glad you are here.

“It’s your birthday today. You were born on this day. Another year today. Happy Birthday, today!”- Sarah and Duck. Happy Birthday me. I’m proud of you!

-Intentionally Sam

Death and Dying

Death and Dying

*From the headline you likely know this post may be challenging for some. Please only read by choice, take breaks, or close the tab anytime it’s best for you.

My ex-husband had a very strong fear of dying. We couldn’t talk about the subject at all. In fact, death and counseling were just about the only topics off the table for him.

It’s fascinating to me how all this works. Death. Dying. We all have such different reactions, concepts, and considerations for these things, and so often we forget that emotions aren’t logical when we go through these feelings of grief (or well, anything really).

About two weeks ago an old friend of mine passed away from a heart attack. He was a good man who spent much of his free time volunteering. The food bank was like a religion for him, and it’s sad to see him go. The last time I saw him was maybe a year ago when he visited the studio to help me with a media interview when someone backed out at the last minute. I’m sad to see him go.

It got me thinking about how death has impacted my life, and I thought I should share a bit of my experiences now.

The first person I can recall dying is my great grandfather. This was the first time I saw a dead body. I was pretty young, maybe 8 or 9. It was very strange, and even though we did visit our great grandparents more than most of my friends back then I don’t recall having it impact me much beyond how uncomfortable it was to see a lifeless body.

My great grandmother was next. To this day I regret going to see her the last time because the memory I have of her being a strong, outgoing, charismatic woman who one time forgot to close the door when she was changing and accidentally taught me what happens to big boobies when you get old, well, she had grown fragile, meek, ghostly. She was less than 90 pounds on that last trip. Sure, she was never a large woman, but certainly nothing like that. Seeing her want to be dead, but unable or unwilling to forge the path herself, it broke a part of me.

Next was Kai. We were 20 years old, and as I have likely already written much of that story I will sum it up by saying I cried everyday for three years, and she has left her mark on my world in a much bigger way than I could have ever known. Because of her death I have dared to live my dreams bigger, bolder, and more out loud than I ever could have without this internal need to help make up for the loss of her enthusiasm to the world.

Tony, a scrawny kid from high school who got bullied endlessly died in a car crash less than a year later. He had kept his job in Lincoln City to pay for his college, but the exhaustion got the better of him and one night he didn’t make it home from work. He was a good person, and I will forever regret not standing up for him when I had the chance. He is a big part of why I believe we all need to do our best to say something in the moment when something isn’t right.

When I get to this point in my history I start to doubt myself. I know there are others at this stage in the story, but they do not come to mind so easily. I feel shame for this, but I remind myself that is the way of things and it’s okay to feel however I feel.

Then there was the missed bullet for me, or shall I say eight missed bullets from the ex-boyfriend I had after my separation. He shot his next girlfriend eight times before shooting a police officer (who survived after 48 days in the hospital), and then he got murdalized. Woah. I think I owe a debt of gratitude to my father for showing me what an abusive angry man looks like so I didn’t stick around when I saw the signs in my partner.

Then there was my grandfather. He died about a year and a half ago I believe. I know I wrote about that one because it was the first time I realized what a wonderful partner he was to my grandmother who wanted and needed exactly him for that portion of her life. He was a great man, and I am grateful to have known him.

Then Ben’s passed away. I had only met her twice, but her and her husband were such a loving couple. So sweet. Such a strange dynamic for me to see a healthy and functional family who get along and dare I say, like each other after growing up with my often estranged, rarely happy family. My extended family is full of really great people, and so is my nuclear family but we certainly don’t get along like Ben’s family. It gives me hope to see such care, consideration, and kindness by choice instead of obligation.

And Peter. Like so many others, gone before his time. I am glad I knew you.

Did you know that I am named after my grandfather on my dad’s side? My name was going to be Lily. Thank goodness that didn’t work out. My dad’s dad was Samuel, the mortician. He died about two months before I was born, and I never learned much about him other than his job and a couple of pictures of his big belly and balding white hair out in the NY suburbs…or maybe he came to visit us here…who knows?

When Ben’s grandma died he didn’t have as big of an emotional response as he expected to have, and I think it was difficult for him. From my understanding there are five phases of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The thing I’ve come to understand is that this is not a linear process, and many of us will go in and out of these phases in random orders at random times and we will often repeat these phases a lot before getting to a place where we are likely to allow the acceptance phase to stay more often.

IMHO there’s no wrong way to grieve. Emotions aren’t rational. Pain hurts. Sometimes pain doesn’t happen. Sometimes it happens days, weeks, or years later when we have a different capacity to experience stuff and things. When we feel shame or guilt for not feeling worse or for having feelings than may impact others I encourage all of us to recognize emotions as illogical and to know we are allowed to feel however we feel. If you are hurt, okay. If you are sad, okay. If you are angry, okay. If you are happy, okay. If you are indifferent, okay. Often our initial feelings are things we have as much control over as who we are physically attracted to or when the tide changes. Can you really move the moon? Let’s see it. No? Well, that’s okay.

When it comes to the thought of dying myself I feel my reaction is abnormal for my age (see previous paragraph self and stop being so judgy!). I can’t recall a time where I was really afraid of dying. Oh wait, yes I can, when I had to be put under for that surgery last year haha. Generally though I am of the prerogative when I die I die. “Que sera sera” and all. I don’t see much point in being scared of something I don’t have much control over. I also believe that part of why I don’t want kids is because I think the planet will be much better off when humans don’t exist. How you feel is likely different than how I feel, and that’s okay. I do want to be open to finding the points of resistance in my life and explore why they exist. If death or dying is a point of resistance for you I invite and encourage you to share your thoughts on this with me or anyone you feel okay sharing with. That’s why this blog exists, to share my experiences working through the resistance, share my past, and connect with you now.

Intentionally Sam

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