A lesson from Whitman + catching up on the past two months

I’m learning to love myself–to lean into and accept those parts of myself which make me most uncomfortable. Transforming what once was fear, into love. Sitting in stillness and willing myself to feel that I’m magical and divine and loved is quite literally changing my life. I’m learning that my multitudes, messy and contradicting as they may be, are valid and maybe even beautiful.

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman

^ this quote is quickly becoming my life mantra.

I’m learning to tell myself the truth, and even better, tell my truth to other people. To sit in my being and listen to the still, small voice that says, “Who you are is enough.” I’m practicing courage, because courage in the face of fear is what it takes to be honest with myself and everyone else.

I’ve been filling my head with poetry and music and silence and laughter. I’ve been putting myself in the way of beauty, as Cheryl Strayed once said so eloquently. Surrounding myself with those who affirm my belovedness so that I am full enough to bless back. Sitting in the silence and breathing myself full again.

There has been a lot on my mind and I’m not ready to talk about it. I’m not confident that I can put it into words yet. I just want you all to know that I’m learning and growing. That I’ve been walking through both darkness and light and it’s changing me. I’m in a transitioning and weeding out phase. Letting parts of myself that don’t serve me be gently pulled away. Growing into a fuller expression of myself. I am grateful for stillness, spirit, and friends who are willing to stand alongside me in this time of confusion and beauty.

Highlights from October: 

1. Jason Isbell show with Hillary. Nothing will ever beat live music with a dear friend.

2. Halloween celebrations with my housemates! Including Voodoo Fest with Courtney and Hillary. Dancing barefoot in the grass at the back of Arcade Fire.

3. Laughing with Camille and Micah (just count this one as a repeat for every month). They brighten every day at work and I don’t know where I’d be without their kindness and humor.

4. Being invited to the Jewish Sukkot by Micah and her AVODAH housemates. The opportunity to learn about other religions and be graciously welcomed at a celebration that is not my own.

5. Having a picnic in Audubon Park with Hillary, Camille, and Micah. Watching the sunset while drinking wine and, later, lying on our backs looking at the stars.

Highlights from November: 

1. Looking at the supermoon from the back stairs on the YAV house.

2. The YAV Enneagram Retreat and learning more about myself in all my four-wing-five-ness.

3. Second Line for Literacy 5k and the Thanksgiving Potluck at YMCA Educational Services.

4. Finally seeing the community garden where Haley works and experiencing Grace and Greens. Hanging out with kids in the neighborhood.

5. Spending Thanksgiving in Dauphin Island, seeing my little brother and sisters, Alabama sunsets, and having my housemate Hillary by my side for all of it!

November was incredibly tough (the election, health issues, weather changes, holidays) but I am so grateful for friends and housemates who are willing to sit with me in pain and not try to fix it. I am blessed to have friends and family (all sorts of families) who love me well during times of despair. Those days and weeks where it feels like my life is falling apart are the very moments where parts of myself that no longer serve me are being sifted out, if only I allow it to happen. To come out of these experiences stronger and more whole requires showing grace and love to myself. I am grateful for the practice. As difficult as November was, I still am coming away from this month with so much be happy about. I kept a gratitude list throughout the month and here are some lines from my journal…

for housemates who surprise me with dairy-free ice cream

for thoughtful “have a good day” texts

for starting to drink coffee again

for the Gilmore girls and their comforting chatter

for sunset walks at City Park

for my little window of time to meditate every morning

for Camille and Micah’s friendship and support

for cooler weather and breaking out my winter clothes

for getting 8 hours of sleep

for weekly phone calls with a best friend from high school, James

for the patio on the YAV house

for a moon that lights up the whole sky even under the clouds

for Andrea Gibson poems

for eating an orange at the bus stop and watching the sunset

for staring contests with a little girl on the bus

for waking up earlier than planned and having extra time to do yoga before work

for hot tea when I’m feeling sick

for the bus driver who greets me by name every morning

for clean water and electricity to keep me clean and healthy and warm

for reassuring texts from my mom

for understanding myself better

for a loving, supportive New Orleans family

for sharing family traditions and special places with my housemate Hillary 

for the nonjudgmental listening and kindness of my housemate Courtney

for a roommate who sat on the floor next to my bed for two hours when I was sick and terrified

for a random hug while I was brushing my teeth from my housemate Patrick

for the knocks on my bedroom door when my housemate Haley knows I’m feeling down

for words of affirmation and the contagious energy of my housemate Cherokee 

Much love to you all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *