“Thank You Universe”

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I am thankful for the opportunities the Universe presents me to practice patience, express unconditional love, and train my own ego.

Stub my toe? “Thank you Universe.”

Didn’t qualify for Financial Aid? “Thank you Universe.”

Came into work greeted by a shit storm? “Thank you Universe.”

Boy broke my heart? “Thank you Universe.”

Those are mild examples, but you get the idea.

This will sound cliche, but life is too short to spend time dwelling in a negative space, don’t expend energy stressing about the bullshit that won’t matter when you reach the end of your life. There are lessons to be learned in everything around us, the Universe has no fixed agenda.

Sure, I preach about love and ego and so on, but I struggle with these concepts like anyone else. When my pride gets hurt, I know it’s my ego that’s hurting. When I’m tempted to react in the same old way, sometimes I fall into temptation and react before I think. I’m still searching for the definition of love, when in all reality love is different for each person.

What I do know is I am an empath and feel everything around me. I am constantly overwhelmed with emotion and the weight of the world. I wear my heart on my sleeve and love hard. I am vulnerable. I am human. Even when I hurt, I refuse to believe in the intrinsic selfishness of people, even though there is plenty of evidence supporting this thought.

Eat the pain. Emanate love.

The truth is, everyone will hurt you, even the ones you love most. Does that make them a good or a bad person? I don’t believe in black or white. I recently had an experience that tested both my ego and my definition of love. I will admit, I reacted poorly, but alas, another lesson from the Universe. “Thank you Universe.” In retrospect I can think of a million different ways I could have reacted, but my initial reaction was confusion and disappointment.

From that state I quickly escalated to anger and made some rash decisions. Do I regret them? No. What’s the point of regret? Did I learn my lesson? Yeah… calm the fuck down. Did I die? No, then shut the hell up and move on, chuck it in the fuck it bucket and scoot.

By reacting the way I did, I was not practicing love, which bothered me because I’ve been studying love, sexuality, ego, and so on for the past few months. I’m no longer angry. I’ve learned the hard way that holding onto anger and hate is poison.

So what is the lesson learned? Think before I react. Guard my heart. Learn to know the difference between helping someone in need, or enabling someone to use me for my resources, including my time and energy.

In hindsight, I also learned that I am capable of love. I was also surrounded with hope, optimism, and positivity. When you’ve seen the shit I’ve seen, and done the things I’ve done, sometimes a young mind is a breathe of fresh air, a look at the world through rose tinted glasses. I learned to appreciate the small things and to take a deep breathe. I was inspired to study love and the ego and launched into a journey of exploring my own consciousness. I also learned that age and life experience DO matter. However, the positive impact far outweighed any damage to my pride and ego.

So, “Thank you Universe, for the opportunity to challenge myself, to improve, to exercise patience, and to move on when moving on is required. Thank you for the lessons learned, a new perspective, and personal insight. Thank you for the people in my life who practice unconditional love and who are an example to others. Thank you for everything I am interconnected with.”

Thank you.

~Jess

 

 

 

 

Challenge What You Think You Know….

 

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I am beyond excited, I could hardly sleep last night. I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into the topic of love, human nature and our intense hyper sexuality, the flaws in the societal weave of marriage across cultures, and our suppression of free love. The more I study in school and leisurely read books on these topics, the more confident I am in the pursuit of knowledge in Human Sexual Psychology. If that becomes a career, dope. If not, also dope. The more you know.

Over the past year my definition of love has evolved just as much as I have. There have been many times where I thought I finally achieved self love. However, self love is a constant mindful effort, it’s a lifelong journey and relationship with yourself. Although some days are better than others, I can confidently say I have developed a healthy relationship with myself which hopefully emanates through my relationships with others. Having developed a rhythm of love for myself, I started assessing the love I have for others: friends, family, lovers, and everyone in between.

I stumbled upon a burning question as I assessed my love for each individual in my life. In regards to romantic intimate love, is it possible to love more than one person? I felt guilty for considering that perhaps I could. But wait a minute….. what kind of society creates a culture in which a person feels guilty for loving? Call me hippie dippy if you like, but humans have a unique capacity for deeper understanding, this is exhibited through how we communicate using verbal language, how we express ourselves with body language, the arts, philosophy, and so much more. We are complex creatures. Limiting our magnitude to love is a disservice to our species.

In the book I am currently reading, Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan argues that the development of agricultural practice is what debilitated humanity and created a less than ideal culture in which we no longer share our resources, but rather we have become possessive and materialistic in a capitalist society. We own things, we want more, we are envious of what the next person has, we OWN our partner, we are shackled by socioeconomic norms.

“What constitutes misuse of the universe? This question can be answered in one word: greed…. Greed constitutes the most grievous wrong.”

-LAURENTI MAGESA, African Religion: The Moral Traditions of Abundant Life

I refuse to believe that greed is an intrinsic human trait. Our ancestors used to live in forager gatherer communities in which all resources were shared: food, water, shelter, protection, and yes… that’s right…. sex. Our ancestors participated in sex with multiple partners to express friendship, to comfort, and to create strong bonds within their communities.

Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Do you argue, “Well that was sooooo long ago, times have changed.” If it weren’t for our ancestors ability to share resources, share responsibilities of raising young, and live in a harmonious protected community where men could trust their children would be cared for by their fellow brothers if they should encounter danger …. I can almost guarantee you we wouldn’t be here today.

So how did we get here? Along with the development of agricultural practice, religion has been no help in the situation either.

“Remember the Tenth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covert thy neighbors house, thou shalt not covert thy neighbors wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox,nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbor’s.” Clearly, the biggest loser (aside from slaves, perhaps) in the agricultural revolution was the human female, who went from occupying a central respected role in foraging societies to becoming another possession for a man to earn and defend, along with his house, slaves, and livestock.”

― Cacilda Jethá, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

What the actual fuck?

In a world where we are rapidly evolving: creating new gadgets, discovering cures for diseases (mostly brought on by ourselves), and sending people into space; we are also creating a polluted world, encouraging egocentric societies and cultures, and ultimately reducing the quality of life. Although there is no turning back, those of us full of love and brave of heart have the opportunity to challenge the status quo. Love is free and limitless, it is not possessive, it does not envy, and it is not jealous.

So how can a person romantically and intimately love more than one person? What about jealousy? How does one prioritize their time?

Trust me, as a divorcee, these are burning questions in which I’ve had over a year to ponder. Jealousy, anger, pride, possessiveness…. these are all products of our ego. Who am I to measure the love a man might show towards me and the love he may show towards another woman (or man)? These two separate experiences are unique in and of themselves, I would never ask anyone to limit their love. I encourage free love. I encourage freedom and sexual liberation. Prioritizing time? I love my independence and feel happy and whole alone. Anyone I would be involved with should have the same independence and wholeness alone as well. Everyone should learn to love themselves first, no, it’s not selfish, it’s the first step to loving others.

“Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves.” – Matt Kahn

I realize most of you reading this now may be in monogamous relationships or may have never considered polygamous or open relationships and think I’m absolutely crazy. Why though? Why is this concept so abnormal and bizarre? Is it the fear of the unknown, are you imagining the worst that could happen? I’ll let you in on a little secret, no matter how much you plan for your future and have an ideal picture of what that looks like, life is gonna come crashing in full force and will challenge any predisposed notions you had about the universe and the complex spectrum of humans. I promise.

“What if economic security and guilt-free sexual friendships were easily available to almost all men and women, as they are in many of the societies we’ve discussed, as well as among our closest primate cousins? What if no woman had to worry that a ruptured relationship would leave her and her children destitute and vulnerable? What if average guys knew they’d never have to worry about finding someone to love? What if we didn’t all grow up hearing that true love is obsessive and possessive? What if, like the Mosuo, we revered the dignity and autonomy of those we loved? What if, in other words, sex, love, and economic security were as available to us as they were to our ancestors? If fear is removed from jealousy, what’s left?”

― Christopher Ryan, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

Challenge what you think you know.

~Jess

 

Why?

Why what?

Why anything. Why do I do what I do? What is the driving force behind each action and each decision I make?

Let’s take something “simple” and break it down. Warning…. I will be completely honest with myself and with whomever is reading this.

Why am I choosing to compete? The simple answer which is an ego based lie is, “To push my body to the limits and see what I am capable of.”

The truth: I’m empty. I’m broken. I crave fulfillment. I crave purpose. I am burdened with the constant sense of inadequacy. I have never been enough.

Have I preached self love? Yes. Do I practice it? I do my fucking best. Do I fail? Yes. Every day is a struggle, and simply ignoring my subconscious thoughts about myself isn’t gonna cut it any longer.

Why do I carry this sense of inadequacy wherever I go? Let’s take a trip down memory lane….

As many of you know, I was adopted at age 7. My mom was a meth addict who abused alcohol while she was pregnant with me. She gave birth to me at age 16 and my Dad was 26. They didn’t stay together, they took turns trying to co parent and raise me, and I was recycled through countless foster homes, and sexually and mentally abused at a young age. I have vivid memories of being locked in closets, waking up to naked people passed out in my living room, salvaging for food in cupboards while my mom was getting nailed by multiple guys in her room, not having my diaper changed for days, foster families that would beat their own children in front of me, and sexual abuse that kills me to think about to this day because I’m convinced it was somehow MY fault.

My family didn’t want me. Hell, every foster family I lived with didn’t want me. You would think my day of salvation was the day I was adopted, but it wasn’t. It was a new chapter of pain and turmoil. Yes, I was adopted by a Christian family that showed me conditional love, gave me shelter, fed me, clothed me, but I endured a new form of mental abuse. Every day this idea of God was presented to me, if I ever lied, stole candy without asking, or sinned, he was watching me. I was ostracized from the family whether or not they realized it. I was always treated differently. They didn’t look at me the same way. They made me believe I had “attachment issues” and “abandonment issues.” All the church parents would gather round and talk about how fucked up their adopted kids were compared to their biological kids. I wasn’t allowed the same privileges as my older brothers. At a very young age I distinctly remember sitting in church as the pastor read a passage about the sheep in God’s right hand and the goats in God’s left hand. I pictured myself as the only goat in God’s left hand and the rest of the family as sheep in God’s right hand. No matter how hard they might have tried, I never in the 9 years that I lived with them felt like I was a part of their family.

One comment my adopted mom made regarding my weight that will stick with me forever, “Out of everyone in this family, you have the most fat potential.” What the fuck does that mean? She said it with a negative connotation and the word “fat” was in there, so it must not have been good. I learned what the word “potential” meant that day. Usually when you tell your kid they have potential for something, it’s for something good and positive. “You have the potential to change the world” or “You have the potential of a becoming a great artist, keep practicing!” Not, “You have the most potential to be fat.”

I already had a fucked up view of myself by the way they treated me, it quickly became worse with that comment and as I started going to school and socializing with other kids. In P.E. I was always the last kid picked on the team. No one passed me the ball and for good reason, I sucked. I believed I sucked, therefore I did. I always wore big baggy sweatshirts, hoods, and jeans. I hated shorts. I hated being in a swim suit. I hated being seen.

I had my first boyfriend during Freshman year. I remember the first time we held hands, the first time we kissed, the first time he choked me, and the second time he choked me. I wasn’t about to let it happen for a third time. The fucked up part was he had an image and reputation of being the “godly and pure” guy at school. He was a youth group leader and we played in our youth group band together. Everyone thought he was perfect. He wouldn’t have choked me if I didn’t deserve it, right?

High school was stupid as shit. Everyone pretending to be one thing, doing another. Even I pretended to have a relationship with God. Maybe I actually did, but it was short-lived and the only time my family showed me “love” or approval. As a conflicted teen being told I had all these issues, hopping from therapist to therapist, getting diagnosed with this or that, being put on these drugs ….. I started to act out and say “This is bullshit.” My family invaded my privacy, read my journals, took away every privilege including friends, internet, leaving the house, and music! Music for Christ’s sake…

I attempted running away so many times. April 20, 2008 was the day I left home with literally the clothes on my back and never went back. The only times I went back was when I was arrested for shop lifting and drinking in public. I had to drop out of school so the police wouldn’t pick me up and take me home again. I stayed off the grid and under the radar until I was 18 years old – over a year of hiding.

The greatest kindness I have ever been shown has been by complete strangers. People offered their couches, their homes, and the food on their table to me. Friends of Youth helped me obtain my birth certificate and SSN so I could start applying for jobs once I was 18. The true day of my salvation (so far) has been the day I decided I couldn’t live in a toxic environment any longer.

Over a year with no place to call home posed its own problems, as well as the internal struggle and self loathing. I was quickly introduced to the drug scene. I did cocaine before I had a beer, and I became heavily addicted to ecstasy, heroin, and meth. I recall one week long binge on ecstasy where I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, and I lost 15lbs. When I finally did sleep, I slept for two days straight and woke up so weak I almost blacked out in the shower. My ecstasy addiction got to the point where I didn’t have any serotonin left, and I would spend hours crying in bed, unable to move, and finding it difficult to breathe. Months later I was introduced to oxy, a drug that numbed your mind, interrupted the constant flow of thoughts, and allowed you to float on Cloud 9. Oxy’s were expensive though, so I turned to tar as a cheaper alternative. No matter how many times my friends tried to stop me, I refused to quit. Nothing they said mattered. Who were they to stop me from relieving the pain and suffering I endured? I got used to the nausea and vomit, all I wanted to do was turn off my brain. Whenever I would try to come off any drug, my weight would shoot up, and I developed an eating disorder. I fell into a vicious pattern of drug binges and bulimia. I still have journals saved from when I truly thought that my value and self worth depended on my self control to starve myself and control my weight.

Only one person’s words carried weight when I finally made the decision to quit everything. My ex husband and best friend. When I met him I was tied up in heroin and meth, coming into work high and puking on my breaks. I couldn’t lie to him. He knew. He looked me straight in my eyes and told me, “I can’t be with you if you choose to continue doing these drugs.” That’s the day I quit cold turkey. Everything. Quitting heroin opened doors to a new life, a life I had the opportunity to share with Derek.

We fell in love hard, so hard it knocked the wind out of me. I didn’t need drugs. We created a love that was a new kind of high, not one you can buy from a dealer. A genuine love that lasted 6 years. In those 6 years we grew together, over came obstacles, we were each other’s rock, and we pushed each other to be great and do more. But like many things in life, it came to an end. I refuse to let the bad outweigh the good, but there are thoughts I can’t deny when I look at my failed marriage….

“You are inadequate” I tell myself. “You are not enough.”

“There is nothing you can do to make people stay. They will outgrow you. They will no longer need you. They will move on. Once you have served your purpose, they will discard you.”

Every guy that has friend zoned me, every person who leaves me, every B that could have been an A, every day I weigh myself and I’ve stalled out, every time I fail to reach a PR, every time I binge or fail to track accurately, every time I make a mistake at work, every time I disappoint someone ….

“You are not enough.” 

I have always considered myself blessed. I hate to believe that I have struggles because I know it could be worse. You turn on the news and you see the world crumbling to ashes, meanwhile I am warm, clothed, fed, and sheltered. But denying I have pain that I carry with me every day is counterproductive for my own healing and internal peace.

So why am I choosing to compete? The raw honest truth, not an ego based lie, “I am trying to fill an empty void. I am striving to be enough.”

This type of thinking is bound to create unhealthy habits and set me up for failure. So how can I change the thought process and dialogue to set me up for success?

“I AM enough. I am MORE than adequate. Everything is inside me and I am capable of achieving anything. I know what needs to be done, and I posses the strength to execute.”

I can only begin by believing that this is true, and that in and of itself is a journey.

Without smoke and mirrors,
Jess

 

 

Twilight Zone of Singledom

The more time I spend alone, the more I enjoy it, and the more I find it difficult to find people I DO enjoy.

I feel as though I’m living in a paradox where I crave another person’s company to keep me warm at night, to laugh and bullshit, and create memories with; but the thought of another person occupying the same space as me, seeing them everyday, and feeling obligated to make time for them exhausts me.

I currently reside in the Twilight Zone of Singledom. This stage has been by far the most liberating and rewarding. I know what I want, but I also understand and can accept the fact that I’m not mentally prepared to enter a relationship. Neither do I want to…

This past year I’ve been in every situation imaginable. Some of which are comedic, others sad and pathetic, and some that are just…. wtf? No matter how fucked up or awkward some encounters have been, I believe each one of them has happened for a reason, helping me achieve peace, acceptance, and a general IDGAF attitude as I aimlessly float about this Twilight Zone.

Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

First guy I really took an interest in was pretty dope and I quickly became obsessed. Fitness guru who partakes in the ganja, nerdy sense of humor, and was pretty much going through the exact thing I was, so we understood each other. Although things didn’t pan out in the relationship department, I have a great friend who respects me and helped me through a tumultuous time. He taught me how to listen and how to be empathetic.

Second guy was basically a GQ model. He was the gateway to becoming more “adventurous” during my period where open relationships sounded like a good idea. I met him off Tinder while he was visiting family for the holidays. When he went back to Cali I quickly invited him to come live with me while he looked for a job. He drove up and it was all so surreal and new, but one week turned into two, turned into three, and I quickly discovered how much I enjoy my personal space and how we did NOT mesh. We were polar opposites. Religious conservative and hippy dippy peace loving liberal living under the same roof. Tensions were high, I became depressed, and I asked him to leave. We still talk and he lives in the area. He taught me that I value my space and require plenty of alone time to recharge.

Third guy taught me I should tame my sexual prowess and practice safety first ….. Nothing like a good scare as a reality check….. An obvious word of advice, make sure your sexual partner checks out BEFORE engaging in any sexual activity. Sure it might be a buzzkill right before they slip it in, but do you really want to carry a disease for life? No thanks. There’s my mommy rant for the day…. Sex Ed is way under appreciated these days… He taught me to be safe, cautious, and honest.

Fourth guy I ended up being the “other woman.” Never thought that person would be me, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. It might sound backwards, but he taught me to have respect for myself, to proceed with caution when I meet people, to truly love myself and see my own beauty and potential, and to never settle. He taught me that I deserve more than many people give me, and one day the person that will offer me the most will enter my life when they are meant to.

Fifth guy ….. all the good things and more. But after months of back and forth, we decided that staying friends would be best. Banging bod, partakes in the ganj, and most importantly someone I can share a strong spiritual connection with. Oddly, after meeting him and beginning to talk to him, my life became still. My once scattered life started to rearrange itself and all the pieces fell into place. I learned how to breathe again. He taught me what it means not only to love myself, but what it means to love others, and HOW to love others. The different shades and dimensions that make love so complex and yet so simple.

So where am I at right now?

At peace mostly. I’m content and I enjoy my solitude. I’m appreciative and grateful. Have I been bitter? Yes. Do the waves of bitterness come and go? Yes. But I know those waves will pass, and I know what I truly want, and I’m okay with waiting. Hell, take your time Universe…. I’m coastin’…..

~Jess

Love

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This year has been intense.

I have experienced so much in such little time, good and bad, and I’ve dealt with it all on my own. Of course I’ve had the love and support of friends and family members, but I’ve come to realize I’m capable of being alone. In fact, I enjoy the time I get to spend with myself.

At first the idea terrified me, creating a new life, a new identity, and finding happiness within myself. So much happening at once: finalizing a divorce, surgery involved with donating my eggs, taking a career leap and learning a new role, my client passing away, travelling alone for the first time, adopting a dog from another country, all the while keeping myself busy with online school, training, partying and anything to quiet the thoughts in my head to avoid addressing the real issue: I still wasn’t finding happiness. I still wasn’t at peace. I still struggled with insecurities from my failed marriage, seeking validation in all the wrong places, from all the wrong people, using all the wrong methods.

Throughout the hardships and the mistakes I’ve learned so much about myself, especially my weaknesses and character flaws. Weaknesses are that I’m reckless, impulsive, and emotional, leading me to speak before I think, do before I think, and become insensitive to other people’s feelings. I used people as a temporary band-aid and in return, I was used. I refused to love me first, instead I tried finding love and validation from others, leaving me even more empty, broken, and damaged.

Then something beautiful happened. An experience so raw, terrifying, and honest that shocked me into changing my life, my perspective, and my overall relationship with myself. I asked myself the questions I had been avoiding: Do I even like myself? Am I a good person? What is my purpose? What am I doing to improve my life? Am I happy? How am I going to achieve happiness? What IS happiness?

I decided I needed to change my life. I could no longer wallow in self pity and pain. I needed to pick myself up, dust off that shit, and move forward.

In doing so, I made peace with my ex husband. Derek has been a huge part of my life, I love him, always will, he will always be a best friend and confidante. I’m blessed to have spent the time I did with him, and I’m eternally grateful for our experiences together. I also made the decision to get a second job for many reasons: save up for a car, save up for vacation, pay off debt, and to socialize myself because I have a tendency to become a hermit. Creating healthy friendships with others is second to creating a healthy relationship with yourself. The people I work with are amazing, and I truly feel by making the decision to work where I’m working, I am much happier, mentally healthier, and it was in my cards. Everyone is uplifting, hilarious, there to laugh and have a good time and make some money.

The biggest decision I made was to start loving and appreciating myself. To no longer look outward, but to begin looking inward. To accept myself for all my flaws, my experiences good or bad, to forgive myself for everything I did in attempt to self medicate: the promiscuity, using people, substance abuse, and lack of self respect.

I started to heal.

I have more good days, I find reasons to smile, and I do my best to find the positive in every situation. I can sit in silence without becoming uncomfortable with my own thoughts. I enjoy my solitude, I find it peaceful. I’m no longer terrified of being alone. I can enjoy the company of others without searching for their affirmations. Every day I’m learning how to love myself more and more, and as I do, my outlook on life and my relationships with those around me begin to change as well.

I am learning how to become love.