Confession: I Take Things Too Personally

“It had nothing to do with me.

I created an entire story around her dislike for me, which didn’t actually exist. It wasn’t about me.

How often do we tell ourselves these stories about why we perceive someone is acting a certain way towards us? How often can we not see past ourselves and our own judgments and neuroses to what is real?

It’s tiring really, taking everything so personally.”

Except from my MindBodyGreen essay today. Please read if you also have trouble taking things too personally. I would love to hear your feedback!

“I’m Beginning to Learn Not to Take Everything Personally”

xx,

Katie

Project 30 from 365til30.com

If you have not yet been to my friend Kate’s website, 365 til 30, you are missing out on  some wonderful writing and regular inspiration from a beautiful soul.

It was friends at first sight with this girl! You will feel the same way once you get to know her via her writing.

She included me in her “Project 30” series this week–check out my Q & A and the others in the series!

project 30 – Katie.

Follow her blog–she’s the real deal!!! xx

Three Months

Before we were dating, back when we were just friends, my ex once told me that I had “perfect skin”. I don’t remember how it came up as we were driving in my car, or what we could have been talking about that led to that lovely, albeit somewhat unbelievable, compliment. But it stays with me. At the time it was just one of those nice things that someone says that you don’t particularly agree with, but are happy to hear anyway. No, you deflect, no I don’t at all. But secretly you’re pleased. You want to believe it is true.

When we started dating a bit later, I remembered that passing comment, so insignificant at the time, but now, with the attached meaning that hindsight provides, hanging like a sort of albatross around my neck. He thought that I had perfect skin. What if he saw this blemish on my chin, or these lines on my forehead? He must expect that he will always see perfect skin, and what if someday he can see that I most definitely do not have perfect skin? If he thought my skin was perfect, what else needed to be perfect? My hair, my clothes, my body?

So I tried to give him what I thought he wanted to see. Makeup-covered, cutest outfit-wearing, blown-out-hair me. Beyond that, I attempted to BE who I thought he might want to see, might want to love. I tried to be casual (I’m not), I tried to play it cool (nope, not that either) and I tried to seem like the most perfect, has-it-all-together girl he could have ever met (not even a little).

It didn’t take very long for that to crack. There was the time I got a stomach bug on our first trip together. That splintered the image a little. The time I drank too much and cried drunk tears in front of him. That didn’t help the façade. Or when I finally admitted that I really cared, that I wasn’t casual or cool or any of those things he may have thought I was. The crack became an actual break.

Three months. That’s how long I could sustain this persona I had created for myself. That’s how long it took for the real Katie to make an appearance. That’s how long it took for him to realize that the real Katie was not what he signed up for, and not really what, or who, he wanted at all.

When that relationship imploded for the second time, about three months in again for the second time (as so many before it had as well), it broke me. 

The heartbreak, certainly. The pressure of starting over, again, absolutely. But mostly it was the idea that maybe no one would ever be able to be with me for longer than this trial period. That no would decide to keep me for longer than the standard 90-day return policy.

That no one could actually love the real Katie.

It was a dark moment in time, full of confusion and doubt, despair and fear. After so much pretending, I didn’t know who I was anymore. Or how to be someone who somebody would want. I didn’t know if that was even possible.

But from this breakdown came the breakthrough.

Something clearly wasn’t working for me in relationships. Some pattern seemed to be repeating for me regardless of what “type” of guy I dated. Somehow I wasn’t achieving that real, true, lasting connection with anyone. Someone was preventing me from making it past the three month mark.

Me.

Or the “trying-to-be-the-perfect girl” version of me at least. That version was always destined to crack. It would always come up short. It was always doomed to fail. Because it wasn’t real.

The real Katie is very sensitive, and very clumsy, and gets pimples, and has frizzy hair and cares too much most of the time. The real Katie does weird Rain Man-esque things like separate candy by color and only eat the orange ones and memorize numbers and check United miles obsessively. The real Katie likes classical music and Lifetime movies and so many other things that no exes ever knew about.

Maybe if the real Katie showed up at the beginning things would be different. Maybe if there was no façade, if there was nothing to crack, things wouldn’t break. Maybe someone wouldn’t return this real version after three months.

And maybe, just maybe, someone WOULD love real Katie.

beyourself

Confession: I’m Fighting the Funk

I subscribe to a daily email blast called “Notes from the Universe”. They arrive before I wake up in the morning, so they’re often the first words I read after I hit snooze that final time. Yesterday was no exception. I picked up my iPhone, opening only one eye, and read the day’s message:

Do you know what it sometimes means, Katie, when you feel a bit bummed out and aren’t sure why? When you catch yourself looking back over your shoulder and wondering? When you feel doubt, sense uncertainty, and experience fear? When you sometimes wonder what’s taking so long?

It means you’re normal. 

I opened the other eye and read it again. And again. Somehow the universe, via whomever it is who writes these messages, knew exactly what I needed to hear on that dark, post-Daylight Savings morning.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the last two weeks. And by “bit of” I mean “a lot of”. It started with a loss, or with bad news, or exhaustion, or with nothing at all. It doesn’t take long for this funk to grow arms and legs and start to take hold of me. I climb out a little, thinking I’m free, only to have it pull me back down again.

Doubt? Uncertainty? FEAR? Yup, that’s the trifecta. Gang’s all here. That’s been my week.

Am I really good enough to do my job? Doubt.

Why am I doing this writing thing? Uncertainty.

Will you still love me after you really know me? FEAR.

Fear’s the big one for me, the root of it all.

When I was in New York for work earlier this year, my bosses pulled together little snapshots of our sales and marketing team, with pictures and words to describe us. A cute way to celebrate a group who had a really good year working together. My pictures, unsurprisingly, were comprised of yoga and traveling, NY and LA, blowouts and beauty products. The description of me included the phrase “a mix of competitive and zen”.

That was unexpected. Not the competitive part, I’ve certainly heard that before. But the zen part. That was new.

I remembered this as I was struggling through this week. How could I be allowing myself to feel so down? How could I not be counting my blessings, grateful for all of the wonderful people and things in my life? How could that not be enough to make me happy right now?

I felt like a fraud.

I’m supposed to be a yogi (whatever that really means). I’m supposed to be positive. I’m supposed to be zen. I’m supposed to be at peace with myself. I’m supposed to be able to breathe or meditate or just exist above it somehow.

If only I could be all of the things I am supposed to be.

And then this note arrived, this note from the universe. Giving me permission to be bummed. Allowing me to spend a few days with doubt, with uncertainty, with fear. And telling me that I’m normal because of it.

The funk will lift. It always does. One morning I will wake up and it will be gone, burned off with the fog, with only the vague memory that it ever existed.

Until then, after then, I will do all of the things that make me happy.

Yoga, brunch, traveling, dinners with friends, concerts, reading, singing. I will create as many moment of happiness for myself as is possible. I will stitch these moments of happiness together until they are all that is left, with no room for anything funky in between them.

My note from the universe continued:

…you’re normal. 

Well, Katie, as normal as anyone can be who possesses superpowers, commands legions, and rearranges physical circumstances simply with thought.

Yeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
The Universe

The universe doesn’t always say just the right thing, but sometimes it does.

I will do what I love, often. Because this is my life.  And I know that it’s a great one.

(from Google images)

(from Google images)

xx,

Katie

Confession: I Am Cleansed OUT

greenjuice

I’m currently on Day Six of a Seven Day, self-imposed cleanse. I’ve done them before. Almost everyone I know has done one. We even did them as a team when I worked in our New York office (otherwise known as the last time I will ever eat avocado).  I should have been completely prepared for what this week would be like. 

People rave about the benefits of cleanses.

“I feel so energized!”

“I feel so light!”

“I feel so clearheaded!”

“I love life!!!”

THIS IS NOT ME.

I feel utterly exhausted.

I feel like I’m dragging myself around with weights tied to my appendages.

I feel foggy and confused.

I hate life.

I hate life right now. I hate this cleanse. I hate everyone who is euphoric on this cleanse. I hate everyone who is not on this cleanse. I hate everyone who can eat sugar, or fat, or any food more than once a day.  

Instead of the elated feelings, I’m at my worst. Why on earth have I done this to myself again?

I am punishing myself.

For a few months, since the holidays really, I have been eating with complete lack of discernment about what I’m putting into my mouth. With a complete lack of regard for what I’m doing to my body.

Bacon for breakfast (and lunch, maybe dinner too)? Yes, please!

Dessert after every meal? Of course!

Three glasses of wine? Better than two!

Candy, just because? Obviously!!

It caught up with me. My yoga practice has suffered. My skin has suffered. My sleep has suffered. And my poor clothes have suffered the worst of all. When I nearly ripped my jeans trying to squeeze into them last weekend in Santa Fe, and certainly stretched them past the point where jeans should ever go, I knew it had to stop.

It probably would have been a good idea to just start eating cleanly again, or to just cut back on the excessive fat and sugar. But I don’t always, or usually, like to do what’s good for me. I like to do what works quickly. It’s what I know. Thus the cleanse.

For the indulgences, for the lack of willpower, for the out of control eating…I punish myself.

I drink my shakes. I choke down my green juices. I force myself to keep eating my daily meal of spinach and protein. Each sip, each bite reminds me that I deserve this punishment. I have tried, convicted and sentenced myself.

So I sit here on my couch, alone, on a Saturday night. Going out seems pointless. I can’t eat. I can’t drink. I have no energy. I am hypersensitive and frequently on the verge of tears. It’s better that I stay here. I’m resigned to serving out this sentence.

This is a slippery slope for me. It only takes one cleanse for me to start monitoring every morsel of food, every calorie. One cleanse to set me on the road to obsession. One cleanse to be my gateway drug.

I think about what it would be like instead to stop this Draconian punishment. I think about what it would be like to be eating dinner, drinking wine like normal people. I think about what fun these normal people must be out having tonight.

I think, there must be more than this.

I know there is.

That logical part of my brain continues to hang on, despite being starved, and tells me, You don’t have to do this. Just eat healthy! Everything in moderation! Even, I think you look great! Sometimes it starts to sound just like my mom, encouraging and supporting and believing and loving, even when the other part of me fights back. I’m relieved when I hear it though, knowing I haven’t totally given over to the other, darker voice. Knowing I can still find my way out of the darkness. 

So screw Day Seven.

I’m done with this cleanse on Day Six, and I’m climbing out of the darkness and taking my life back. I want to be strong and present in my yoga class tomorrow. I want to be able to meet up with friends, and laugh and share and enjoy. For one day at least, I want to stop punishing myself, and accept my imperfect, sugar-loving, over-indulging self.

There is more than this. And I’m ready for it. With a side of chocolate.

xx,

Katie

 

 

Confession: I Am Enchanted

I landed in Albuquerque amid a descending sun, the sky a spectrum of golden colors so unlike those I see in my usual Santa Monica sunsets. Everything around me is brown, brown for miles. It’s 50 shades of brown. I don’t particularly like the color in general, but it’s fitting here, and changes before my eyes to become more beautiful, more meaningful.

I’m surprised to be caught in traffic on my drive to Santa Fe. In my mind, New Mexico isn’t supposed to have traffic. It’s supposed to be more…untouched. But no, there’s regular rush hour here, with everyone in a rush to get somewhere other than where they are. It’s not unlike Santa Monica in that way.

Of course in Santa Monica, I don’t see three men riding horses on the service road that runs parallel to the highway, each with one of those big bucket cowboy hats. I don’t drive through an Indian Reservation, with my car swaying from side to side, caught in a windstorm. I don’t get gunned down by a state trooper’s radar.

I chose this visit to New Mexico mostly because it was a state I had never been to. I could ski, I could visit a sanctuary, I could go to a Japanese spa. But mostly so I could check another state off my travel list.

It’s a game I play with myself: how many new places can I go every year? How many passport stamps can I collect this trip? How many United miles will I get? The game fails me sometimes, or I fail it. Sometimes I am ready to go home almost as soon as I arrive, having picked a place I “should go” but didn’t even want to, except to get ahead in this ridiculous game.

New state: I WIN!

But, I lose also, because I’ve lost all focus of what traveling is for. That eye-opening, mind-expanding, culture-absorbing wonder that travel brings.

I worried that New Mexico might be one of those “failure” trips. It was almost arbitrarily chosen. My pre-trip research consisted of a Travel & Leisure article about Santa Fe, and a conversation I had on a chairlift with some snowboarders who lived there. I even considered changing my return flight to come back earlier—before I even got there. I anticipated that I would possibly, probably, want to leave early.

As I drive the long stretch between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, post-police run-in scare, I contemplate whether this trip was another impulsive, poor decision. I’ve certainly made plenty of them. And then I notice it, on the license plates all around me:

New Mexico

Land of Enchantment

That word, enchantment, is so evocative and magical. And it’s just the message I need to see now on this drive, to remind me that if I keep my eyes open to it, I can find the beauty everywhere. 

A Katy Perry song starts playing on the radio, and before I can change the station, I listen to the refrain.

I’m wide awake.

I’m wide awake

It’s funny how sometimes songs can pick us like that. It’s funny how the universe chooses to speak to us.

A license plate slogan and a Katy Perry song remind me why I love to travel, and what I need to be throughout this trip: wide awake, open to the enchantment. 

The beauty is all around me, if I just open my eyes to it.

New Mexico

New Mexico

My lovely room at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

My lovely room at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

My favorite spot in my room

My favorite spot in my room

Ski Santa Fe view

Ski Santa Fe view

Road to Chimayó

Road to Chimayó

El Sanctuario de Chimayó

El Sanctuario de Chimayó

El Sanctuario de Chimayó

El Sanctuario de Chimayó

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Asisi

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Asisi

Love One Another Constantly

Love One Another Constantly

The Oldest House in the USA

The Oldest House in the USA c. 1610

Oldest Church in the US-San Miguel Mission c. 1610

Oldest Church in the USA-San Miguel Mission c. 1610

My Five Most Beautiful Things about Santa Fe: history, culture, spirituality, food, people

xx,

Katie

Confession: I Am Always In A Hurry

The speed limit is 75, so I figure 85 is probably okay. I’m zipping along in my white Nissan Altima that I picked out by default at the airport, because the cuter grey VW had a broken headlight. The highway seems endless through the desert between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, brown for miles in every direction, with brown mountains in the distance to break up the view somewhat.

I look up ahead at what I can just barely discern is a man standing at the top of a hill on the side of the road. He’s pointing a gun at the cars as they speed by. It’s a radar gun, and it immediately makes me think of the scene in Bridesmaids where Rhodes shows Annie how to use one and they chase after speeding cars. I didn’t think they existed outside the movies; I’d never seen one before. The trooper is dressed in brown, almost hidden in his brown surroundings.

Before I reach him, the cop jumps into his car and turns on the light. I know he got me. I don’t even know what speed I was going, but I know I didn’t see him early enough. I brake, I move to the right lane. I don’t even pray because I know he got me. What use is prayer now? I haven’t been pulled over since the night after my high school graduation, and the fear surges back at me, as palpable now as it was then.

I watch him in my rearview mirror, this cop who is coming to get me. I hold my breath, heart stopping for a moment, when the miraculous happens: he pulls over the car behind me. The car that was going more slowly than I was. A grey VW that I could have been driving, should have been driving, but wasn’t. IT’S NOT ME.

It takes ten minutes for my heart to stop racing, for my breathing to return to normal. For the moment, it changes me, causes me to reflect, and I think back to a conversation I had with a friend about my lack of patience last week, something that seems to be evident out here on I-25 North.

I am always in a hurry.

“F*ck patience” I told her. I’m always in a hurry. Even when I’m not, I still am. Always rushing, always pushing forward, always needing to get there faster. Maybe in part due to my leaving things to the last minute, maybe because I am so worried about being late, maybe because my Type-A personality just seems to demand a more frenzied pace. But it remains that I’m always in a hurry.

“Okay, F*ck patience”, she agrees. “But what are you in a hurry for? You don’t even know…”

The question has sat with me, uncomfortably, for a week. Why am I always in such a hurry? Why is it so important for me to hit milestones faster, to firm up my calendar months in advance, nail a yoga pose, or establish the boundaries of a relationship?

Seeing the questions written out, and actually giving myself honest answers all boils down to one thing: TRUST.

If this site doesn’t want me to write for them now, they never will.

If more people don’t sign up to follow my blog soon, it’s doomed to mediocrity.

If I don’t confirm plans with you now, you’ll do something else instead.

If I can’t jump up into a handstand now, I’ll always be a failure in yoga.

If I don’t solidify this relationship now, you’ll leave.

I don’t trust that you will stay.

I don’t trust that things will just be. I don’t feel that things will just work themselves out the way they are supposed to. I don’t have faith in a future that is unplanned. I need to MAKE things happen and I need to do it NOW.

Of course, that’s obviously not how it works, so I am, for all of my careful planning and hustling about, setting myself up for failure. My need for immediate success has caused me to give up on things I cared about, because the metrics I deemed “successful” didn’t arrive soon enough. My packed schedule often has holes in it, holes from where life happened and things didn’t go as planned. My pushing in relationships has done exactly that—it has pushed people away.

But how scary is it to actually let go?

I took a ski lesson this weekend in New Mexico, and my lovely ski instructor, Shelley, watched me ski just a short distance before assessing me.

“You are jamming your turns, forcing the skis to turn jarringly, instead of allowing your skis to point forward and just take you there smoothly. You need to let go, stop thinking about it so much, and trust that your body will take over.”

Look at that, a skiing metaphor for life. I push, I force, I jam. I overthink. It’s exhausting on the ski slope, and it’s exhausting in my life. It’s certainly not serving me well in either place. It’s a clear indicator of the need for change.

I wish I could say that it all just clicked for me right there on the bunny slope in Santa Fe, but it wasn’t quite that simple. I still jammed into my turns when I felt my speed build too much. I still forced myself to turn when I felt I was losing control. I still thought too much about my body position, and my direction, and what was coming next. It was an orchestrated chaos of starts and stops.

But, for a few blissful seconds at a time, I was able to do what Shelley had challenged.

I was able to point my skis downhill, count to three, and just let go.

xx,

Katie