on peace and becoming ourselves

On Peace + Becoming Ourselves

 
 No-makeup, natural-hair, no-filters selfie in honor of learning to become myself. I'm even still in my pj's, 'cause (duh) Saturday.

No-makeup, natural-hair, no-filters selfie in honor of learning to become myself. I'm even still in my pj's, 'cause (duh) Saturday.

 

So. Here we are, nearly two weeks into 2018, and I have not set any resolutions for the new year. But, really, that's not a revelation. I haven't set resolutions the last several years. What is new is that I have also not set any intentions, written any goals, or decided on a word for the year.

Around the end of December, I almost always get to thinking about my Core Desired Feelings. And I did this year too ... sort of. I didn't do any notecarding (gasp) or journaling (double gasp) or anything. I ruminated, in a sort of vague way, on the one feeling that always seems to be my proverbial Holy Grail of feelings: peace.

Peace.

I have a vision of a self, not too far in the future, who is calm, collected. She never overreacts. In my mind, that not-too-distant self always has a half-smile on her face no matter the circumstances, and she speaks in a sort of breathy voice. She moves as if she's dancing or like she's in a slow-motion montage of a film. She's graceful and zenned right the f— out.

And you know? I think I'm finally at a stage where I'm recognizing that that person is just not me. I will never be breathy or graceful or feel my emotions quietly. My "zen" rarely looks like that. My zen looks ... big.

I talk loud. I don't just talk with my hands — I flail pretty much all my appendages animatedly when I speak. And I get riled up. I'm a passionate being. I have my 'vices'. What's more, I enjoy having them. I also like provoking other people and playing devil's advocate; I'm contrary for the fun of it. I curse. I say dude a whole lot. I'm lazy ... and obsessive. I'm predictable ... and whimsical. I am passionate and stubborn and change my mind ... over and over and over again.

Because I am human. And more than that, I am me. I am me! I! am! me!

I have the privilege of being myself, and that privilege bestows upon me the responsibility to be as myself as I possibly can. To take advantage of every last divinely given quirk and foible. Not to waste myself on striving to be something I think is 'more' or 'better' than who I am.

I think I am finally realizing that this vision I have of what it would feel like to be a peaceful Jessica is a lie. Because I have felt peace in my life. I know what it feels like.

I feel peace when I'm myself: when I'm singing along with '90s tunes that remind me of my childhood; when I'm knee-deep in a good philosophical conversation and arguing a point that I don't necessarily believe; when I wear all black, even in the summer; when I'm curled up at home on the couch with a book instead of at some social event; when I'm complaining about society-at-large's bad taste in movies; when I'm doing nothing all day but playing video games with my husband; when I'm staying up way too late just because I feel creative (like now, heyyy!); when I'm not wearing any makeup and my hair's air-dried and natural-wavy; when I'm listening to records by candlelight.

After every single one of these things, I want to put a caveat, like "even though it could come across as affected" or "even though I shouldn't want to do it" or "even though it offends some people". Every one of these things is something I have, at some point or another, thought was bad or wrong, that doing them means I'm immature or unwomanly or unattractive. But the fear is always about how I think others might perceive me; it's never about how I actually feel.

When I'm myself, when I give myself permission to be myself, that's my peace. I'm learning to reconcile all the parts of myself to myself, and that's my path towards peace. I am learning to become myself.

I am learning that my healing doesn't look like the self-help gurus and the blogs and the books say. My healing looks like learning to be radically, honestly, rawfully (what, I just made that word up, it works) me, as I am, as I like being.

Random aside: This reminds me of a line from that show True Detective. You ever seen it? Marty (Woody Harrelson) asks Rust (Matthew McConaughey) to "stop saying odd shit." And Rust just squints at him and says, "Given how long it's taken me to reconcile my nature, I can't figure I'd forego it on your account."

May we never forego our natures on anyone else's account.

what does becoming fully human look like for me?

What Does Becoming Fully Human Look Like for Me?

so this is what has led me, after these many months, to this point where I'm at now: to this belief about what the soul is here for, which is
to express (and test) a hypothesis that the cosmos has about itself.

in other words, I am here, now, as this human because 'I' very expressly, particularly, specifically wanted to learn* something about human existence that I could only possibly experience as
this expression,
this incarnation.

and so this question, then, follows:

what does becoming fully human look like for me
as the unique expression that I am?

 

* 'learn' is not the right word here, but neither is 'experience'. i think it's closer to something of a hybrid between the two, but whatever that word or term is eludes me.

marriage, ulterior desire, and non-attachment

Marriage, Ulterior Desire, + Non-Attachment

I realize now, looking back, that I did have an 'ulterior motive' for getting married, for wanting so badly to be married ... I thought it would make me feel more secure, more stable, like getting married would make our relationship feel like a sure thing.

But what I've learned in these two years of marriage is that when it comes to human relationships, there's never a sure thing — there are only ever choices.

Our free will (see also: the Law of Allowing) means that we only have control over our own choices in any of our relationships — including our choice to resist or flow. See also: attachment and non-attachment.

And this has been at the heart of my quest for womanhood. How can I be present in an intimate and non-attached relationship with this man, with this other human?

The conclusion I have come to is that, fundamentally, this comes down to my relationship with myself, which is to say, my relationship to the divine. The answer to this question is not an answer, per se, it is a process: it becomes a question about becoming fully human (see also: an anthropos), becoming a 'virgin' — one in myself, whole in myself.

It is only from a place of fullness (or emptiness?) that I will be able to be in this marriage without bringing to it the clinging, craving 'ulterior desire'.

our greatest delusion is that what we are is human

Our Greatest Delusion Is that What We Are Is Human

I think the mistake we make
(that I make)
that causes so much suffering is the belief that what we are is

human.

we are here as humans for a reason:
to experience this particular existence ('humanity') within the cosmos,
to experience this particular expression ('I') of this existence.

embracing our humanity, this embodied experience, is necessary for this. we have chosen to be born into this existence when we could have been born as a million different things in a million different places in this universe.

but we are not of this place.
we are not humans.
we are visitors.

we are here, in human lives,
to experience what humanity feels like
physically,
psychologically,
emotionally,
spiritually,
etc.

but to believe that this is what we are is the great delusion.

we are not human.
we are the universe having a human experience.

being a woman, being human

Being a Woman, Being Human

my quest for womanhood
started as a question:

what does it mean to be a wife in the context of a marriage in which neither party considers themselves Christian?

and then:

what is the purpose of this marriage relationship and what is my role within it?

who am I allowed to be in this new role, and, by extension, as a woman?

but I think what I am learning,
the conclusion that I seem to be drawing nearer to,
is that "womanhood" is a
red herring.

I am never going to find or understand
womanhood.

instead, I think, what I have really been looking for
(without knowing it)
is this:

what is the purest essence of the
— human experience —
my soul-self has come here to have?

and so it is about womanhood only so far as it is about understanding that I have come into this existence for a reason — to experience humanity as this expression, which happens to be as a woman.

how has womanhood been processed by patriarchy?

How Has Womanhood Been Processed by Patriarchy?

 
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Isn't it funny how when your mind + spirit are working through something really important, suddenly everything seems to be speaking to the issue ... even things that would seem to be completely unrelated?

I picked up In Defense of Food for some light off-theme reading a couple weeks ago when I needed a break from Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Ever since, I've been thinking about all the ways we, as women, and womanhood itself have, like food, become processed, too, but by millennia of patriarchal thought-systems, by the breeding out and selecting for certain 'desirable' characteristics, beliefs, and insecurities, by the discouragement of women's natural variation in favor of homogeneity.

And what richness and nourishment am I denying myself when I let my patterns run my life, when I accept the status quo, when my assumptions go unchallenged? How is my processing working on me even now?

proud to be a woman this international women's day

Proud to Be a Woman This International Women's Day

 
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Happy International Women's Day!

Whether you're striking or celebrating some other way, I hope today you are honoring + exercising your power as a woman. Because in case you forgot: women are powerful, women are sacred.

I forgot. Actually, I'm not sure I really ever knew it (beyond an intellectual, sure women are powerful, blah blah sort of way). So the fact that my womanhood is powerful is kind of a revelation to me. I didn't feel this way last International Women's Day. (I'm not even sure I was aware of IWD last year?)

It took a complete breakdown of how I understood myself as a woman for the first time last year, that set me on my quest for womanhood. And I'm fucking proud to be a woman now. And you know what, it's not just because all women are (and womanhood itself is) powerful and sacred. It's honestly, truly, really because I fucking built my sense of womanhood from the ground up over this last year.

I worked for it. I got fiercely curious about myself and who + what I was allowing myself to be because of all the assumptions and preconceptions I was operating under (unconsciously until then). I started reading, watching, listening to literally anything + everything I could get my hands on about womanhood and the female experience.

I took it all in like data in an experiment, weighing each new piece of information against my own personal philosophy, making adjustments to my own understanding where necessary, and sticking to my beliefs in other places. I kept moving forward, kept reading, kept studying, kept investigating + questioning + hypothesizing.

I owe so many thanks to the writers of these books. They left the crumbs for me to follow through the deepest dark of the woods, and somewhere in the process I started to make my own path. I'm a different woman now than I was a year ago. (Well, for one thing, I feel like a woman now, and not just a 'grown-up girl'.)

So, fuck yes, I am so proud to be a woman and so grateful for this journey I've had to go on to get here. Happy International Women's Day, women.

✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

honor your pace

Honor Your Pace

 
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Last week I took a break from reading Women Who Run With the Wolves, because the week before I had read a chapter (7. Joyous Body — The Wild Flesh) that, to use the words of a woman I spoke with on Instagram, really "stuck under my ribs."

I knew that instead of charging ahead and continuing on, I needed some time to process what that was bringing up for me, and wanted to give that new learning space to take root. So I picked up another book and flew through it, finishing it up before the end of the weekend.

Last night, I cracked open WWR again for my bedtime reading and ... I just wasn't ready. I still have this feeling like Dr. Estes' writing and work is so powerful I would be doing myself an injustice of forging ahead, not really being 'open' to the new material since I'm still trying to process previous stuff.

So, I set it back down and chose another new book. My ego, in its wanting to 'win' at reading WWR, is trying to make this decision feel silly and unnecessary. But it is what it is. I'm not going to force it, I'm going to flow with it.