Belonging To Yourself

I’ve been thinking about the idea of solitude. Take a minute to think about that word and the image it brings to mind. What does it look like? How does it make you feel?

For me, solitude is the image of a person standing alone in a deserted area; usually outdoors. I have yet to understand the direct connotation of this, being that it is usually a reflection of how I feel in the moment. However, this past year, that feeling has shifted. The word “solitude” is a word I have actually grown quite comfortable with, though it took some work. These past few months have consisted of getting to know myself on a deeper level. By “getting to know myself” I mean re-discovering, exploring, pursuing my passions and creative nature, understanding the layers of my personality, and acknowledging the struggles and setbacks I have yet to conquer.

We tend to underestimate the importance of our passions. When you think about it, these are the things that bring the most joy and fulfillment into our lives, no matter how small. It is important to make time for these. For me, this involved reprioritization. I had to actively take time out of the day to do at least one thing I enjoyed doing. Whether it was getting outside, writing, playing the guitar, or merely sitting in bed with all of my candles lit, I made time for it. And day by day, I slowly began to notice a change. I became more comfortable with myself. I discovered parts of myself that I hadn’t known. I embraced these. I became friends with them. And I can honestly say that today, 1 year later, I am in a much more beautiful place.

However, beautiful does not necessarily mean “happy” or “good”. Another critical element I have learned thus far is that there is no “arrival” in life. There is no point in time in which we can say that we’ve really made it. At least not in the greater sense of it all. There are always going to be ups and downs. Dark and light. We cannot know one without the other, right? That is what makes something beautiful. And the inevitability of this is something we must come to terms with if we are going to continue. The journey towards the great light, as I like to think. And in order to endure this we must acknowledge the dark places we have been. We must accept them. And maybe once we have done these things, we can then try to understand them. So what do you struggle with? What are your setbacks? Who are you when you are in these low places? Yes, honesty is hard. Honesty with yourself is even harder. But how will you grow if you can’t face these deeper parts of yourself? With understanding comes healing. When we try to heal these pieces, we bring them into our journey. Our great, beautiful journey. One that may only begin with ourselves, and more importantly, by ourselves.

So we arrive at a place of solitude. Though at times it may be lonely, it is the best way to get into your own mind. Sometimes this may not be the best thing. We strive so much for acceptance, belonging and even conformity that when we are alone we don’t know how to handle it. We don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes we panic. We look for the next day, the next plan, the next moment. The next something where we can prove to ourselves that our lives have meaning and fulfillment through external connections. The next thing that we can hang on to. Soon enough we find ourselves tangled in the expectations we hold about our relationships with others. How they should treat us, how we treat them; how those two answers are never quite identical. We become lost, thinking that if we don’t have others we are alone. Or that if we don’t have a significant other, it means we aren’t good enough. We aren’t wanted. The kind of solitude that eats away at you until you can actually feel the gaping hole it has created.

This is why I call it a journey. A journey with no destination, but merely a pathway into the light of your self. Your inner-most being. Here, we may find fulfillment. We may find what makes us tick. What lights that spark in our eyes again. Spending time alone is crucial to this process. It’s how we find and befriend the light and the dark within. It’s how we understand these parts of ourselves. It’s a place of beginning. A place of birth and death and rebirth. The steel foundation on which we build upon. How can we expect to grow without a stable platform? What happens when the inevitable hits? We cannot ensure stability, but we can put forth our best effort. We can try to create a sense of self so strong that even the roughest winds won’t budge it. I think that is the most we can ask from ourselves.

But far too often, we build this foundation and still do not feel satisfied. We do not necessarily feel “met” in the expectations and thresholds that we set for ourselves and others. We ask ourselves if it is our fault for setting these too high or others’ fault for not working hard enough to meet them. We fall into the spiral of doubt and insecurity. Sometimes, we stay there. We question parts of ourselves that should never be questioned. If you have been here, you know that this feeling likes to stick around. However, this is where the magic starts to happen. We begin to entertain the idea of solidarity. Of belonging to yourself. We let go of expectations. We let go of attachment. We don’t have much of a choice, honestly. It’s like being thrown into the water when you haven’t learned how to swim. Only when you are forced do you truly see how far you can go. It is our intrinsic nature. And it is only when you are forced to walk the path alone that you find answers you never knew you were looking for in the first place.

So be your own best friend. Be not only content with being alone, but become fulfilled by it. I’m not saying that you should isolate yourself from others and the outside world, but rather find gratification in your relationship with yourself before you build a life with someone else. Ironically (and I can confirm this from experience), good things seem to happen when you are not actively searching for them. Trust that these times will come, but do not undermine the potential of the in-between. Sit in it. Embrace it.

And in the meantime, buy yourself some flowers.


Night Drives

Sometimes you can’t find the words. You sit in them. They swirl in you. But you can’t grasp them. This feeling…it swirls in me. It settles and unsettles. It twists and turns, trying to find its place. Not sadness, not anger. Maybe a madness trying to get out. Trying to take over. Trying to consume. To envelop. I am tired of fighting.

But without it, who would I be?

Chapter 3

At first, moving to California felt like the ground had been ripped out from beneath me. There isn’t a word I could choose to describe what it felt like waking up the morning of August 5th, 2017. Most of the 5 hour drive from Phoenix to San Diego was spent biting my nails and anxiously trying to figure out which song I should play, but nothing could ease the anticipation of entering a city I’ve never been to before knowing there was no turning back. This was it. I had committed before even seeing the place. I barely even knew where it was on the map. When I arrived, though, it was beautiful. Just like I’d imagined.
I remember sitting in my car for the first few days crying, wondering if I should pay another $25 for parking or drive around aimlessly. The answer was almost always found in feeding myself. Actually, that’s how I started to make progress. After the crying, I took myself out to lunch. I sat down on a stool near the window and applied to jobs for hours. Eventually I heard back, and that’s how I made it to where I am now. A routine, as much as I hate the word.
I spent the next few weeks buying furniture, finding affordable parking, fixing my car, taking the train, hiking, reading books, and making friends. I went to my first Padres game and swam in the freezing Pacific ocean. I got drunk at the bars downtown and walked home to my apartment.  I even got a tattoo and stripped off my bathing suit at the nude beach. I did these things, and San Diego started to feel like the right choice.
I realized that this is what you try to do. When you feel lost, you ground yourself. When you feel unsure, you find a reason. You can even make one up. I spent so many of my first few weeks wondering what I was doing and why I was here. I brought myself here, so why am I upset? I made this choice, so why am I questioning it? The thing is, things are never exactly as we imagine them. I didn’t expect an easy, peaceful move across the country to a place I’d never even visited before. I didn’t expect things to magically “work out” in the way everyone imagines it’ll be. But I did, however, expect to feel at home right away. And looking back at my life I understand why I had that expectation. It’s what I’ve been looking for all my life. I think it’s why I came here. And so what if that doesn’t make sense to anyone else?
Now, I find myself in a cycle of progress. Some days are great. Some days I wake up before sunrise, make myself coffee, do a quick yoga flow, listen to music, drive myself to work, eat, run, and go to bed content and fulfilled. Other days I wake up exhausted, drained, depressed and questioning things I never thought I’d question. It’s a process, but it’s one that I’m proud of. I’m sick of thinking, “someday I’ll get there” because someday is now. Don’t look forward to what is ahead. This moment is what the “looking forward” previously was. I will embrace every part of it.

Thoughts During Shavasana

It’s easy and even habitual to fall into those low moments. Sometimes they last for a few days. Sometimes a few weeks. Sometimes a few months. We think that these moments define us. We think that it will always be this way, even when the feelings let up for a while. Even when it passes, it lingers below. It waits to surface. For me, I’ve realized that it surfaces on its own terms. Whenever it feels like it. It engulfs me and sits on top of my chest and fogs up my brain until I can’t see 5 feet ahead. “Ahead” is too heavy to think about. I’m too tired to think. To be.

And I take a moment to breathe. I take a moment to set an intention. Grounding, gratitude, balance, stability. Something to focus on. I realize that nothing actually matters. Our existence is enough in itself. Yes, I may be anxious for no reason. I may not want to move or speak or get myself out of bed. By taking a minute to zoom out, I regain an understanding of existence in itself. Maybe this isn’t a way out, but a way in to what really matters.

October 15, 2017

It doesn’t matter where we are or who we’re with or what’s happening. Our true selves are behind the mask of the reality we see. We think this reality is it. We think it’s what shapes us. What dictates our future. What our past consists of. This is not real. Things happen in cycles because we weave in and out of the mindset we’ve worked so hard to create. Let it sink in. This is not reality. We are not stuck here forever. We are not connected to anything. When things are hard, we go through the motions. We ride out the wave. It’s time to jump off the wave and observe. Be aware of the wave, but know that this is not all there is to it. We can observe our thoughts and what is happening around us. The mere act of observing sets us back into the grounding realization that there needs to be an observer behind the observation itself. That is where truth lies. We are immortal. None of this is permanent.


It’s that feeling that hits you mid-laughter.

It’s the quiet place in your soul that nobody has seen.

It’s the self-doubt; the “I will never be good enough”.

It’s looking out the window of the car.

It’s the hollow feeling in your gut after eating lunch.

It’s the black hole we spiral down into once again.

The hole draws you in. You find comfort here. You know this place well. The familiarity feels like you’ve come home.

When you’re here, you stay. You sit in this hole and let it consume you.

You know that you will only come out when time allows.

Sometimes, you control the time. Other times, the time means nothing.

Sometimes it’s all nothing. Sometimes it’s all everything. Sometimes it’s all too much. Sometimes it’s not enough. We let it wash over. We find release. We realize that it doesn’t get better. We understand that life is full of cycles. Bad, then good, then great, then bad. We punch and cry and scream and blindly grab on to anything that we can. We give in.

But the sun still rises. And we try again.

Brand New

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.”

The goodbyes, the hellos. The process of letting go while starting anew. Every new minute in your new apartment in your new city spent proving to yourself that you’re meant to be here. Wondering if the proving defeats the entire purpose. Making sense of change.

It’s all a part of life. And what is life without experience? Isn’t experience what makes up a life? Experiences on top of experiences, shaping your reality.

The red tint of my wine glows in the Sunday night city lights. I sit here listening to music from this time, one year ago. It feels like yesterday, but it also feels like a different me. I’ve never been more alone, but I’ve never been more at peace.