Stay Here

Stay here

Take off your shoes and rest

Place your feet in the grass, not on top of it but truly commit,

spreading your toes wide, introducing skin to dirt and dirt to skin

Holiest of matrimonies

For dust we are and to dust we shall return

We are made from the earth and belong to it

I know you want to run back inside

To the chambers of your mind

In these uncertain times, you want answers, to predict the future

The Now is waiting

The Now, beautiful and certain

Filled with all the answers you’ll ever need

You are well Now

You are alive Now

You are provided for Now

Look up, look out

Watch the sun as it rises to greet you the way it always does

Life goes on and so must we

Remember who you are and all that you have overcome

Stay here

With yourself

Take this time to get to know who you truly are in the face of adversity

Explore with the assurance that there are no wrong answers

Only Truth

Embrace what you find

Love it, comfort it, own it, take care of it

It is there that Peace is waiting

Not to be found but to be discovered

It is always there

Waiting for a quiet moment

When skin meets dirt

Silence meets surrender

Reflection meets courage

Humility meets humanity

Stay here

Come Home to Yourself

Stay here in the Now

Lessons from the flu

Life is hard, terrifying really. To a reasonably intelligent mind, so many things about this world don’t add up. I guess that’s why they say ignorance is bliss. Maybe it’s easier not to know, not to question; to believe blindly that all is well and to choose bliss. I have a mind that works against me. Survival was learned from a young age and I’ve been fighting ever since, with or without an enemy present. When there is no battle to fight, anxiety comes. My brain kicks into overdrive and searches for something to be fearful of, waiting for the ball to drop.. trying desperately to be a few steps ahead of it. I think I am at my best in a crisis. That’s why I run towards a fire instead of away from it. Because when the sky is falling and the shoe finally drops, there is nothing left to fear: no more thinking, no over analyzing, only movement. There is space only for The Now. Finally, I am Home to the present moment. Who knew crisis could be a gift? The survivors. The fearful and the anxious. We knew. And that’s why we seek it.

So having the flu and being down for 9 days solid now with nothing to do but lay around and think? I’m losing my fricken mind. I’ve killed myself off several times now from various ailments: cancer.. okay maybe just one. Cancer. I’ve been to my primary twice, to the ER twice, I’ve reviewed my blood work and crunched the numbers. I’ve posted on social media to gain experience from others who have had the flu to compare timelines, making sure my symptoms and longevity are in the “normal” brackets. My body has literally shaken with terror because I convinced myself that my life is ending and I will never recover from this illness. I have laid in my bed and reflected on the life I’ve lived thus far and all of the things I would’ve done differently if given the chance.

The greatest of these is Love. I want to love, I want to be loved. But sometimes the ego’s need to be seen in a certain light overpowers the desire to connect authentically. When things get really difficult, I don’t always know how to let people know I need them. I lack the humility to say that I am lonely, that I am needy, that I feel less than and just want to be lifted high. I guard my heart and my time so fiercely. There are many people who have been trying to nudge their way into my life and I only allow them so close. Laying in my bed, all of those faces and lost moments swam into my mind and I started to cry. I wouldn’t want to leave this world that way, with so many missed opportunities to love unfulfilled. So I started calling people and connecting. I got vulnerable and raw, sharing my fears and insecurities that have kept me from them. I told my friends that I love them, that I’m afraid and struggling and that I need their love. I started telling them what they mean to me and that I want to love them better. I also started asking and listening to what’s going on in their lives. Nothing has brought me peace like purposefully connecting to other people in a space of humility. Being sick will knock the ego right out of you, leaving only space for Grace and authenticity. It’s okay to be afraid, it’s okay to be needy, it’s okay to be sick and powerless. The less I fight it the more peaceful I feel. Just say it! Say you’re afraid, say you need help, say you need a hug. Say it! Say it a million times until you don’t need to anymore. Someone will provide, someone will show up to love on you and support you. I have been amazed at the support I have received from the most unexpected places.

That’s something I’m learning too that can still trip me up: don’t have expectations about which person will show up for which crisis in your life. Sometimes your closest friends won’t come through in your darkest moments. And it isn’t personal so don’t hang on to it and let it rip a valuable relationship from your life. Learn to offer the Grace that has been extended to you when you fell short to those you love. Because we all do, all the time. Someone will show up, someone will be there and whoever they are, it will be enough. Keep reaching until your needs are met, don’t let pride keep you from asking until you receive. Someone is waiting to hear from you and to love on you, needing you as much as you need them. And you’ll never be able to find each other until you take a risk and ask.

TGIF

I don’t know if I should write this. It doesn’t seem like the most appropriate subject matter for a second official blog post. I’m supposed to be building a brand here, a name for myself. I read earlier on a fellow’s blog that when he is writing a book, he battles between what is authentically placed on his heart and what he believes will sell and be popular. I find myself in that place now, wanting to sell myself, to gain your approval while knowing it won’t be worth a damn if I dishonor myself to obtain it.

So here we go..

TGIF looks like sitting at home alone.. okay fine, I’m not alone. I purchased my company this evening. Yes, that’s right don’t judge me. I have a regular that I go to when I’m feeling lonely. I haven’t reached out in a while as I’ve been trying to change my ways, but tonight my boyfriend is attending a training and I got the itch, so I gave in. I had to do it. I hope you’ll understand. That Publix carrot cake might as well be crack cocaine! One slice my ass! The single slice they offer for $3 is a financial and emotional mockery! The entire block costs $6 and barely covers my Soul from head to toe. But hey.. I intend to tag this post under the umbrella of personal development so here’s a hope shot for you: I only ate half of the block. 1,230 calories later (no bulllshit), I’m actually feeling genuinely proud about that.

Cute humor aside, food was my first friend. Socially awkward to a fault with a mother who had good intentions and horrible fashion sense, my hallway status was doomed from the start. I remember my lunch tray lifting into shaking hands while making the slow turn to look out upon a sea of faces oblivious to my existence. There was no where to sit. Oh, there were empty chairs but they weren’t for kids like me. So one broken heart retreated to the large stall in the little girl’s room to sit, eat, and cry.

My favorite childhood memories are built around food: watching my mother joyously preparing cinnamon rolls from scratch in the kitchen, going to Nana’s house on weekends to make homemade ice cream, and eating pizza every Friday night with my brother and sister. It was on those Friday nights that I learned to devour my food like a full grown man. 3 kids, 1 large pie, 8 slices. You do the math. Only two kids were getting three slices and I made damn sure I always was one of them. I still get the last slice to this day.. if I want it 😉 Test me.

I fell in love with food and the way that a full stomach made me feel. Bite after bite, I would swan dive over the edge of satiated, crashing into the ocean of over indulged and feel my body exhale like it had just come home from a long journey away. That’s what food does for me. DID for me. So I called on my childhood lover this evening, the one who I used to be madly in love with and now hang on to for the nostalgia, hoping the old magic would make a cameo appearance. Sometimes it does but mostly it’s just an empty dream, the residue of what used to be. It’s a hard thing to accept when the thing that used to help you becomes the thing that hurts you. I didn’t want to let go. And it turns out I didn’t have to. I get to have conjugal visits…

You see, for me, recovery from my eating disorder doesn’t look like a bunch of restrictions and rules. That was a maladaptive coping skill I developed to “fix” the maladaptive coping skill of binge eating when I became an adult. I was gonna wrestle this thing to the ground and force it out of me. Like a ping bong ball, I slammed back and forth between eating super clean with NO wiggle room and consuming everything in sight until I literally felt I would explode. Perfectionism. Punishment. Shame. I was a good girl when I ate perfectly throughout the day and if I made one mistake, the entire day, maybe even the week, was a wash so I ate everything I could. Monday was just around the corner when I would swear it all away and “quit for GOOD” again. And the workouts. Oh my goodness, the cruel and punishing workouts I would force myself to do for days following a binge. I had been a bad, fat girl and it was time to pay the price. Sometimes this behavior rewarded me with some awesome physical results but I could never maintain it. As soon as sugar or carbs touched my lips, I lost all control until I collapsed. What was once my lover had become my foe. I villainized pizza, cookies, and so many of my other favorite foods until they became the dance I did alone in the darkness and hated myself for in the morning. As soon as the sun would peer over the edge of my bedroom blinds, I did my dutiful walk of shame to the scale and then it was off to the gym for sentencing. I hated myself. At one point, I got into the best shape of my life and looked AMAZING but it was exhausting. I was so terrified of what to eat and when, running 8 miles 3x per week, and tanning every damn day that it was impossible to maintain. My motive was all wrong! I wasn’t exercising to love myself, I wasn’t eating healthy to be well. I was trying to make myself worthy and could never measure up, even in a fit body. The noise in my head was so loud that after a few months I said to hell with this! I’d rather be fat. So fat I became. Again.

In the spirit of bringing this full circle (apparently that’s a thing I like to do), Yes, my childhood lover and I hang out sometimes. We are no longer enemies. It has required practice (we are still working out kinks along the way, no pun intended) but today we are actually building upon a pretty solid foundation of friendship. We see each other in moderation most times but every once in a while get carried away on a Netflix and chill kinda night. So yeah, I’m proud that I ate half a block and 1,230 calories of carrot cake because that’s exactly how much I wanted to eat. And do you know where the rest of it is? In my fridge waiting for the next time I want something sweet (probably tomorrow). I didn’t decide I was a fat little failure and slam the entire block down my throat, then roll myself into my Honda to go get some more punishment. I looked my former enemy in the eye, grabbed it’s hand and said, “It’s okay to be imperfect. I love you in this moment and I’ll love you in the morning.” Because as it tuns out, the only battle I was really fighting was within myself.

Dear Fat Girl

Dear fat girl

You did it again

You ate all the food

And called it your friend

Dear fat girl

You deserve all this punishment

Gifted a body

And look what you’ve done with it

Dear fat girl

Oh, you’re in pain?

Then why do you do it

Time and again

Dear fat girl

The forgotten one

Go into hiding

Come out when you’re done

Dear fat girl

Hey how does it feel

To be big as a house

And invisible still

Dear fat girl

We don’t want you around

You used to be somebody

Look at you now

Dear fat girl

Something has changed

Your head is held higher

You don’t look the same

Dear fat girl

You haven’t lost weight

What is it about you

Hey, what is your name?

Dear New Woman

My eyes are on you

Something is shifting

The way that you move

Dear New Woman

Declining punishment?

Gifted a body

And falling in love with it?

Dear New Woman

You still have pain

But now you lean into it

Lessons to gain

Dear New Woman

The remembered warrior

Come out and find us

We’re all waiting for you

Hey New Woman

How does it feel

To open up wide

And let yourself heal

Dear New Woman

We need you around

To teach little fat girls

To straighten their crowns ♥️ 👑

Home

I remember the first time I saw her. It was like putting my face up to a free park telescope; everything felt closer than it was. bright. warm. familiar. She didn’t have as much color back then; got those roots touched up a time or two since we met. A few years back she stretched herself and finally, decidedly exclaimed “Fuck it!” splashing her entire head with rainbows. She still hasn’t gotten around to apologizing for that; for her colors or her authenticity. I kind of liked her better the old way because that was how I met her. Sometimes even when things change for the better, it feels comfortable to stay trapped in what used to be. -But- If I’m honest (and I try to be) It never was the idea of her that I loved. I knew those hues of blues and purples and reds were there all along. You could hear them singing in the rustling leaves of a windless night, catch them dancing through the nostrils of a slumbering soldier on a park bench called Home. I remember how she shone in the most unexpected of places. She didn’t have to make a statement to stand out and she knew it. But she did it anyway because she could. Because on the days when tired bones would come to life and she remembered that old alma-mater of her worth, the notes floated directly from the lips of the Heavens, soaring down to hungry ears on the shoulders of angel wings. No one can breathe life into the broken like she does. Oh sure some girls dress better, have more money. They can offer you expensive dips and trips and slopes and slips but my girl.. she is Truth. With her there is no smoking section, no reflection of the imagination just reality in the pulsating flesh breathing down your neck, reminding you how very alive you are. And so I thank you, Lake Worth. My city, my safety, my home. Thank you for keeping it real, for keeping it rockin. But thank you most of all for keeping your arms open wide to receive us all: the broken, the lost, the creative, the seeking, the humble and the gregarious. You were Perfect to me then. And you are better for me now.

Blogger Beginnings

Hey! Guess what? I have no idea what I’m doing. If I could start this thing out by being honest, that would probably be best given my target subject matter: Me. I’m creating a blog because I want to feel like I matter, that my life and all of the struggles I’ve been through and can look forward to in the future (dry humor alert) have meaning and serve a purpose. If I can touch a few Souls while sharing candidly about my daily experiences, this blog will be a success. Also, if I manage to write something so profound that Oprah calls and invites me on her show after which I explode into a Superstar seemingly overnight while Brene Brown and I become besties, that’d be cool too. You know, whatever. I’m neutral. 

Yeah, that’s part of the “thing” I do: 0-100.. Real quick. I’m an amazing starter, Class A. Oh, I can start a project with the best of them and be the best of them, for a while. The expectation is to go balls to the wall (I have a fresh mouth, advanced warning as it’s beginning to trickle in already here on paragraph 2, line 3) and get amazing results in a short amount of time. When the results hit a plateau or I come up against too many obstacles, I decide the project just isn’t a fit for me and retreat into a self-loathing depression. Sheesh, I’m disclosing too much too fast. Are we dating right now? 

Anyway, I’m Rachael. Ha, I guess I should’ve led with that. 33 years young but 34 is coming for me on the tail of the Easter Bunny. You guessed it, Aries. The fiyah (fire) sign. I am a Floridian and you can count on my authentic contribution to the stereotype concerning our driving habits. I live where you vacation but I drive like a soldier through a warzone. My car is the weapon and you, the fellow driver, are the enemy. There is no nemesis greater than a senior citizen in the far left lane. Speaking of seniors, my day job (well, evening job) for the last 2.5 years is working as a receptionist for a senior living community. Aging is not for the frail of heart. Watching the residents at my workplace navigate their daily lives has dramatically shifted my perspective on the previously mentioned “nemesis” in the left lane. I see them selling a home they’ve spent a lifetime in, downsizing the belongings of said home to fit into a one bedroom or studio apartment, caring for ill spouses, grieving spouses, surrendering vehicles and driving rights, keeping track of overwhelming doctor appointments for a slew of health issues, watching friends die off one by one, handling affairs in preparation of death, building new relationships in the community, and waking up every morning on a mission to find new reasons to keep going. They are everyday superheroes. So, in the spirit of keeping it full circle, if you spot a nemesis in the left lane, take my advice and just go around. Maybe even offer them a wave or friendly smile, they’re going through more than you know ❤

Anyway, so here we are in the “getting to know you” phase. What would I like for you to know about me? I’m passionate and creative, emotional to a fault but I won’t apologize for it. That was so last chapter. I guess what I want you to know is that I’m ready to be heard. I’ve been blessed with an abundance of supportive friends who have believed in me before I could do it for myself. They have been nudging me in the direction of a blog for years now and I am ready to step up and claim my space. I don’t know what I will write about and wouldn’t want it any other way. Mainstream culture can’t wait to slap labels on our foreheads that direct us to restrictive boxes so we can neatly stack ourselves inside, deciding this is all we are. I call bullshit. We are connected, limitlessly and abundantly, to each other. We fit where we say we do, when we say we do. So I remain open to all experiences past, present, and future to share with you when I feel led to do so. All I ask is that you come with an open mind and heart to receive my Truth and see if you can find a pathway of connection from my journey to your own. I can’t wait to establish common ground with you and to become each other’s teachers and travel buddies on this insane journey Home, to ourselves and to each other. 

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