The Rain When It’s Loud and The Rain When It’s Not

A strong cup of coffee, a four hour nap

Cracking my knuckles and hearing them snap

A creaky door, a bright white light

Green rolling hills, root beer with bite

Tiny birds that sing and crickets that chirp

Even the surprising sound of a friend as she burps

Ice cream that drips down my arm as it melts

The motorcycle burn on my leg that I felt

The fear of a bee that it may just sting

Ink on my back of some birds and their wings

A long drive home with the music on blast

The oceans reflection of deep overcast

His arms as they hold me and rock me to sleep

Watching my dog climb the stairs so steep

Giggling as the bunny jumps and leaps

They are gold, they are warm, they are mine to keep

The cellphone buzzing when a text has arrived

A package to open and see what’s inside

Hot cups of tea, hot showers, hot sun

Moving a sofa that weighs an absolute ton

My toes in the sand and the wind on my back

Cute clothes that I find on the clearance rack

Dates with my mother, my friends, myself

A photo of Grampy that sits on my shelf

The rain when it’s loud and the rain when it’s not

Eating french fries and milk shakes in empty parking lots

The mess that I am when cooking a meal

Being out and being honest and free and real

The anger, the pain, the fevers and sweats

Fish I won’t touch but will catch with a net

Writers block and migraines and rotten fruit in the fridge

Vomit inducing trips over the Throngs Neck Bridge

Wine and water and chocolate and cheese

And sunny days by the lake with just a slight breeze

Fresh manis and pedis and short hair and bangs

Stephen Kellogg and Hanson and all the songs that I’ve sang

My gratitude is now and infinite and true

Everything feels fresh, dynamic, and new

I am alive, I am breathing, I have survived twice before

This moment, this second, its what I’m grateful for

Not all is good, much is very hard

I’m a little bit weathered, a little bit scarred

There’s darkness and terror and sadness and strife

But my award for the struggle is the gift of life

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Alyssa is the Same Woman DESPITE Her Size

This post has been about nine months in the making.  I have a lot to say, so if you’re willing to listen and read along, just know that this is a blog post from the deepest corners of my soul.  This post is one of the most important posts I’ll ever write.

I hated myself for a very long time.  I hated how I looked, how my weight fluctuated constantly, how I was a binge eater, how I lacked control.  I hated the relationship I had with food, with clothes.  I hated how “beauty” was synonymous with “skinny” and how the media and fashion industry portrayed the standard of “perfection”.  I allowed my worth to be determined by others.  I allowed others to tell me how I should dress.  I was never satisfied with who I was but I didn’t know how to fix anything.  Simply, I was my own worst enemy.

Food and I go way back.  When I was in high school, and unable to quite figure out my emotions, I would binge eat.  I’d sneak into my kitchen when everyone was asleep and eat massive amounts of anything I could find despite its nutritional value.  I’ve talked about this before.  I would lose weight on god awful diets and gain it all back.  Four years ago I became obsessed with working out.  I lost over 30 pounds but gained it all back about six months after hitting my goal weight.  I couldn’t keep up with the pace I set for myself and 1,200 calories a day was a dangerous low for me.

I thought I hit my highest weight in early 2012, but really, I hit my highest in December of 2017.

But here’s the difference –  in the summer of 2017, I started loving myself.

I have only loved myself since July of 2017.  Really.

After I nearly lost my life to suicide last April, I began to hone in on what I was experiencing, what I was feeling.  I read a lot about what it meant to live in the present, to appreciate every single moment of living.  I started writing some really important blogs and personal poems.

I began to accept myself – who I was, entirely, completely, without judgement or limit.  I began to let go of the things I was unable to change, allow myself to be exactly who I was meant to be, and live my life with the love I gave to everyone else.

I also realized that, though I was numerically the heaviest I’d ever been, I felt the most beautiful in my 30+ years of living.  Ultimately, beauty and fatness had nothing to do with one another.

I felt sexy.  I bought a cute little bathing suit and wore it really proudly.  My summer wardrobe was fun and I loved wearing everything.  I went makeup-less a lot and I walked with my shoulders back, my stature tall.  I didn’t care what others thought.  I felt empowered and strong.  By the beginning of the fall I felt confidence I didn’t know was real.  By late November, I was on top of the world.

And around that same time my mother was approached by Soma Intimates.  They wanted the both of us to model for an upcoming campaign in April of 2018.

My initial reaction was, “Nah.  I’m good.”

I’m not a model.  I don’t have the fashion sense my mum has and I don’t love being in front of a camera.  I was not about to wear some pajamas for the world to see.

But then we chatted with the contacts at the company.  They were impressed with BOTH of us.  I wouldn’t really be riding the coattails of my mother; I’d be there as her counterpart.  And how cool would it be to share a weekend with my mum, an experience we’d always remember, captured in beautiful photos?  And how GREAT would it be for people MY SIZE to see a confident woman proving to the world that there is no standard for beauty?

I was in.

Fast forward to the day of our shoot and my stomach was a MESS of nerves.  There were dozens of people on set and I began to question why I agreed to be there.  The stylists, makeup artists, photographer… all small, thin, and gorgeous.  I felt exceptionally out of place and a bit like a fraud.

But during lunch I had a quick chat with the photographer.  She asked really personal questions about me and my journey.  She continuously said that she was happy I was there, that I looked beautiful, that I was a natural, that she was proud.  PROUD.  A stranger, a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER (who has done work for VERY BIG magazines and brands) told me these things.  My openness made the difference.  I continued the shoot with pride.

My mum found out in January that she was living with CLL (a type of leukemia).  It triggered something in me I had not thought of, maybe ever – taking care of yourself includes physical care.  It’s not just about loving who you are on the outside, but also respecting yourself on the inside – eating well.

I changed how I ate.  I very carefully, and very drastically, changed how, and what, I ate.

Since the shoot in December I’ve lost 20 pounds – but it’s not about the number.  I no longer experience excruciating acid reflux.  How bad is acid reflux?  It’s so bad that it can cause esophageal cancer.  I’ve lived with it for at least 10 years.  I now have NONE.  My migraines are minimal.  My periods are less severe.  My range of motion has expanded.  I am not out of breath walking up and down the stairs in my house.  I am not bloated and my ankles do not swell.

The other positives?  My jawline is visible and my lost collar bones are back.  My clothes fit my body in a different way that makes me feel good.  My belly is flatter.  My boobs are smaller.

So here I am, with the Soma campaign about twelve hours away, and I’m nervous.  There are going to be hundreds of thousands of people who will see me in pajamas.  And outfits.  And they’ll see me in photos I didn’t get to choose from.  And they’ll see me.  They will SEE me.

But I think… I loved myself then.  I loved myself then like I love myself now.  What’s the difference?  That my stomach and boobs are larger?  That it’s not what I look like now?

I am the same person.  I am the exact same person.  I am still Alyssa.  I am still strong and brave.  I was a survivor then and I’m a survior now.  I was confinent then and I am now.  I am kind now, but I was kind then, too.

Alyssa is no different when her pants are a smaller size, when her shirt is a larger size, when her face is fuller, when her neck is thinner.  Alyssa is the same woman DESPITE her size.

Alyssa is Alyssa yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I’m not regretful, or angry, or disappointed with myself for the number on the scale.  That is a disgusting thing to be embarrassed about.  I am gorgeous in flowy shirts or tight pants.  I am gorgeous when I’m smiling or crying.  I am strong when I’m lifting heavy furniture or when I’m telling my story or when I am choosing to make healthy choices.  I am not bad when the bras are big or good when the dresses are tiny.

My size has no bearing over who I am.  Ever.

My best internet friend, Alicia, sent me a button-down shirt in the mail.  It was hers and she wanted me to have it.  I was nervous to tell her that the *size* might be too small, because her thought meant the world to me.  I tried it on for the first time today and it was an absolutely perfect fit.

It was perfect because the pattern has Boston Terriers all over it.  It was perfect because it was Alicia’s.  It was perfect because it was a generous, thoughtful gift from someone who matters.  It was perfect because it was a reminder that my health is showing.

It is not perfect because it’s a smaller size.

And if you notice, I am not telling you my starting weight, or my current weight, or my starting sizes, or my sizes now.  I REFUSE to display before and after photos because my befores ARE NOT bad, they ARE NOT negative, and they certaintly aren’t “who I used to be.”  I was Alyssa then, I am Alyssa now.

And to top all of this off, I saw “I Feel Pretty”, the new movie with Amy Schumer.  The theme is all about understanding the power you have when you accept who you are, just as you are.  GO SEE IT.

If you’re connecting dots between your size and your value, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.  Learn to love you for you.  Get reading, get outside, get therapy, get whatever it is you need to start understanding who you are.  Quit the judging.  Quit the negative comments.  Quit talking to yourself in ways you’d NEVER talk to your best friend.

You are worth loving.  And when someone loves you for every ounce of who you are, without boundaries, love them, too.

And keep your eyes peeled for more details on the campaign, which starts at the every end of the month. My mum and I have been so excited to be part of this.

Love you all.

Transforming Into Longing

Three years ago today was the last time I saw Grampy. I spent a few minutes by his bedside, whispering thank you’s, memories, and encouraging him to let go. His body was there but his soul had already gone, yet I still spoke to him as though he could hear me. Maybe he did, maybe not. But my heart ached so much that I couldn’t sit and stay.

“I can’t see him like this anymore.” I cried out loud. I left his room. That was it.

In the early, early morning hours of April 1st the overnight hospice nurse gently moved my arm; I had fallen asleep on the ottoman next to my brother.

“He’s gone. I’m sorry.”

I can recall the next hour without a second thought. None of us cried. We sort of robotically gathered our belongings, brushed our teeth, washed our faces. We waited for further instruction from the staff and some of the family went into his room to say goodbye.

I did not.

We all walked out as a family. I broke down in the car on my drive home alone.

I miss him. He was my buddy, my sarcastic partner, a pain in my ass, my favorite storyteller, my biggest fan. He taught me a lot about understanding politics, what it meant to be connected to the earth, how to enjoy yourself.

This is the first year, though, that I did not collapse with overwhelming grief. I am still heartbroken, I will likely always be, but the anguish is subsiding. The anguish is subsiding and transforming into longing.

I long to see him in his straw hat on the scorching summer days digging dirt and picking his fresh tomatoes or blackberries. I long for his cheek kisses. I long for his little Hyundai Elantra turning the corner of my street. I long for the ridiculous banter between the two of us over silly pokes at one another. I miss seeing him wear long-sleeved shirts in all four seasons. I miss driving through Andover and passing him in my car as he enjoyed his walk. I miss receiving newspaper articles in the mail that he thought I might find interesting. I miss the way he ate pizza (with ketchup, mustard, relish, Italian dressing and anything else he could get his hands on). I miss his sweet face, his silly laugh.

I miss hearing him call my name.

I will always long for the things I miss the most; it just hurts less now than it did then.

Love you, Grumpy Grampy. Longing for you, always.

Eleven Separate Tries

Over three months into 2018 and this is only the first blog post I’ve written.  It’s partially because I can barely keep my head on straight each day.  Existing has been exhausting and my daily schedule is generally crammed with appointments, shifts, errands, volunteer hours, work, and planning for the future.  I am on the go all the time, unless I’m granted a single late morning to sleep soundly and without interruption.  This has happened twice this year so far.  That isn’t saying much.

The other piece to not writing has been… everything else.

Apathy isn’t something I experience or feel very often.  My emotions, on the entire spectrum, are powerful and fierce.  But right up until this very moment I’ve felt exceptionally apathetic towards everything.  Seeing friends and family?  If it happens, alright.  Going out and having fun?  Meh.  I’ve not shopped.  Work feels like work.  Sleep is fine.  Things I generally am passionate and thrilled about aren’t bad, they just… are things I do.  There’s disconnect between my heart and the ones I love, but I’m still here and I still care, just without the flames.

As I toss this all around, I wonder if my apathy is the heavy sigh of relief from the hell that 2017 was.  Maybe this is my reprieve.

And then there’s the other side of this.  The things I do not discuss with the world, or even with more than a handful of close ones.  There is so much of me that I want the world to know about, things I’m no longer forcing myself to deny; color and light and truth!  And there is so much that hurts, things that I am struggling to hold; deep longing, lacking, insufficiency.  The time is not now.  It will be soon, but it is not now and that is a labyrinth I want not to be in.

But I am taking good care of myself.  I am.  My nails are pastel purple and my hair is bobbed.  My jeans are loose and my shirts are too big.  I sleep alright, I drink plenty of water, I am still loud when it comes to politics.  I love who I am, I love who I see in the mirror.  My shoulders are lighter, my heart is fuller, my perception is clear and my own.  I am pulling the weeds and removing the trash and keeping up with the darks and the lights.  I give a shit about some and not a fuck about others.

Yet it’s taken me eleven separate tries to write this post since January 3rd and it’s still not really what I hoped it said.  Not at all, not even a little.

Apathy, though.

 

I’m Throwing Up My Middle Fingers

I’m diligently waiting for December to end.  Well, more like I’m impatiently waiting for the shittiest year on record to conclude so I can turn the proverbial page and start anew.

There has been too much this year.  Politically speaking, it’s been a raging, consistent dumpster fire with fuel added each day and not enough water to blanket the blaze.  But we knew that.  And if you disagree with that statement you’re on the wrong side of history and that’s a fucking fact.  Every goddamn day has been a fight to live – to live with or without health care, to live with or without family due to deportation, to live another day without fair gun control, to live without crippling debt due to the craziest tax plan in the last generation.  The exhaustion is real.

Personally, this has been the hardest year emotionally and mentally, maybe ever.  It’s a miracle I’m alive.  I survived a medication-induced suicide attempt in April that threw the rest of my year completely out of whack.  I’ve had to re-learn what my purpose is and who I am and what is truly important to me.  I’ve done a lot of fixing.  I’m still doing a lot of fixing.

And long after that tornado I decided to stop denying who I am.  I decided to stop hating myself.  I chose to free myself from the mental prison I’ve built for nearly two decades.  But this didn’t come easily and it certainly isn’t something I can even write about yet.  I’m there with those I need to be there with.  And that’s all still a struggle.

And not long after that I decided to vocalize my #metoo story and stop blaming myself for the disgust and embarrassment I was feeling.  Thank god for Silence Breakers because I’m unsure I ever would have done that without reading and listening to story after story.  I felt validated, less alone, less crazy.  I’m still reeling from the aftermath.

And amidst all of this were multitudes of other personal failures and near-misses and nearly last chapters.  Some small, some earth shatteringly massive.  Some I’m still working on.

Plus, I’ve lost many this year.  I’ve misjudged a few friendships and let go when I needed to, or backed away for a while until things worked themselves out.  This year has been one, long period of grief.

I stood outside last night as the snow came down and the sounds of my neighborhood were absorbed into the walls of white and I was reminded that the world will go on and on.  No matter how fucking awful the moment is or how badly life feels it will always go on.  There’s no stop button, no pause.  There is no choice because our beloved Earth doesn’t slow, it doesn’t discontinue.  We have no real options other than to work through our hells.  It’s sink or swim.  Live or die.

I’ve worked through my hell.

I’m throwing up my middle fingers; 2017, I never want to see you again.

With a Method, Without Madness

She is here but i am not
She is there, She is now,
She is more than i can allow
this girl is me but i’m not She,
at least, this is what i say.

She speaks with a ferocious pride
while i listen and i hide

She rocks on my shoulders and

jumps
to disrupt the balance
i waiver, i sway
i risk it all to keep Her away
i see her sparkle
across the mountains She moves and the water She swims
but i fear Her light
i watch Her as She grows Her wings
as She takes the runway,
as She takes flight
my door, slightly ajar,
i am frantic to slam it shut,
to turn the key,
to lock it tight
but i am not the gatekeeper, i am not the landlord
She is a cost i’m simply unable to afford
i walk the straight and narrow,
with a method, without madness
She meanders without a map,
with precision, without mishap
She is every current, She is every wave

She is every bit of bold and every bit of brave
and while She exudes every shade of every hue
i do all i can
not to waive my white flag,

but I know I am her, too.

 

Bridging the Gap

Adobe Spark (3)

It is said that in our modern world, each individual person will hold at least seven different careers in their lifetime.  We’re not talking about seven different jobs, we’re talking about seven completely separate career paths.  Not long ago, most people held a single position at the same company for their entire professional lifetime.  For any person, seven careers is a lot to think about.

Cue the confident strut of Susan Kanoff.  Susan is not only a fashion blogger, but also a personal stylist, social worker, and now an entrepreneur.  All of these titles and careers have exploded over a short timeframe.  To know her is to understand the meaning of courage.  But let’s go back to the beginning… or at least fifteen years ago.

Susan, first and foremost, is my mother (though not career number one, we’ll start here).  She was always a bold, strong force.  This especially rang true when she chose to leave a bad marriage and raise her two kids alone while simultaneously working a full-time job as a social worker (career number two.)  As if helping families help themselves wasn’t enough, Susan decided to branch out a bit and start her own life coaching practice (career number three).  A social worker and life coach.  Two jobs, two kids – that’s brave.

But it wasn’t enough.  Susan always had a true eye for fashion.  She decided to leave life coaching for a run at personal styling (career number four).  When personal styling exploded she added style blogging (career number five).  When style blogging exploded, well, that’s when her courageous spirit really sparkled.

For years my mom had been toying with the prospect of folding all of her careers into one shiny idea – a nonprofit that would empower women through clothes.  It was a risky thought.  At age fifty-five she’d have to do what many twenty and thirty-somethings are terrified of – leave the known for the unknown to chase a dream.  It was a pretty picture, but was it realistic?

After a good year of debate, she decided to gamble.  Last year Susan retired from social work to focus on getting Uncommon Threads, her nonprofit, off the ground.  Within a few months, she found a space, volunteers, clothing donors, and enough cash to make it happen.  Susan works with women in need via a referral program.  Each woman has a private, personal styling session and walks away with up to four complete outfits.  All of the clothes donated are brand new, or are in perfect condition, and are items you’d find in any upscale boutique.  This is not your typical interview outfit – we’re talking outfits for walking the dog, for attending a family member’s wedding, for a night on the town, or a power ensemble for a new career.

A year after she courageously ventured out, she’s rocked the world of over 200 women who now feel confident, worthy, valuable, and proud of who they are and where they’re going.  Uncommon Threads has been featured in massive magazines and national news segments.  She’s damn near a celebrity in our local area.  She’s inspired so many others to get involved.  Her team of volunteers show up because of this idea she had.  Local vendors have graciously given to Uncommon Threads because Susan was the spark that allowed them to get involved.

This domino effect Susan has had on our community, and folks across the country, has been because of her courage to make a dream come true.  Her courage is empowering women of all ages.  Her courage has brought people together to make a difference.

Her courage emboldens me, her daughter, to focus on my own aspirations and take action on things that are important to me.  Her courage encourages me to be courageous, too.

Susan has proven to bridge the gap.  She’s bridging those in need to those who can help.  She’s bridging young women with zero self-esteem to their fresh and poised new selves.  She’s bridging the vision to fruition.

Can you even imagine the courage she’ll have for career number seven?

How to Find Susan: BLOG, Facebook, Uncommon Threads on Facebook, Instagram

*Today is an exciting day with the launch of an unprecedented campaign, “Bridging the Gap,” where 100 Millennial and 100 Midlife Influencers are coming together to blur the boundaries as we believe we are stronger together.

Bridging the Gap

Adobe Spark (3)

It is said that in our modern world, each individual person will hold at least seven different careers in their lifetime.  We’re not talking about seven different jobs, we’re talking about seven completely separate career paths.  Not long ago, most people held a single position at the same company for their entire professional lifetime.  For any person, seven careers is a lot to think about.

Cue the confident strut of Susan Kanoff.  Susan is not only a fashion blogger, but also a personal stylist, social worker, and now an entrepreneur.  All of these titles and careers have exploded over a short timeframe.  To know her is to understand the meaning of courage.  But let’s go back to the beginning… or at least fifteen years ago.

Susan, first and foremost, is my mother (though not career number one, we’ll start here).  She was always a bold, strong force.  This especially rang true when she chose to leave a bad marriage and raise her two kids alone while simultaneously working a full-time job as a social worker (career number two.)  As if helping families help themselves wasn’t enough, Susan decided to branch out a bit and start her own life coaching practice (career number three).  A social worker and life coach.  Two jobs, two kids – that’s brave.

But it wasn’t enough.  Susan always had a true eye for fashion.  She decided to leave life coaching for a run at personal styling (career number four).  When personal styling exploded she added style blogging (career number five).  When style blogging exploded, well, that’s when her courageous spirit really sparkled.

For years my mom had been toying with the prospect of folding all of her careers into one shiny idea – a nonprofit that would empower women through clothes.  It was a risky thought.  At age fifty-five she’d have to do what many twenty and thirty-somethings are terrified of – leave the known for the unknown to chase a dream.  It was a pretty picture, but was it realistic?

After a good year of debate, she decided to gamble.  Last year Susan retired from social work to focus on getting Uncommon Threads, her nonprofit, off the ground.  Within a few months, she found a space, volunteers, clothing donors, and enough cash to make it happen.  Susan works with women in need via a referral program.  Each woman has a private, personal styling session and walks away with up to four complete outfits.  All of the clothes donated are brand new, or are in perfect condition, and are items you’d find in any upscale boutique.  This is not your typical interview outfit – we’re talking outfits for walking the dog, for attending a family member’s wedding, for a night on the town, or a power ensemble for a new career.

A year after she courageously ventured out, she’s rocked the world of over 200 women who now feel confident, worthy, valuable, and proud of who they are and where they’re going.  Uncommon Threads has been featured in massive magazines and national news segments.  She’s damn near a celebrity in our local area.  She’s inspired so many others to get involved.  Her team of volunteers show up because of this idea she had.  Local vendors have graciously given to Uncommon Threads because Susan was the spark that allowed them to get involved.

This domino effect Susan has had on our community, and folks across the country, has been because of her courage to make a dream come true.  Her courage is empowering women of all ages.  Her courage has brought people together to make a difference.

Her courage emboldens me, her daughter, to focus on my own aspirations and take action on things that are important to me.  Her courage encourages me to be courageous, too.

Susan has proven to bridge the gap.  She’s bridging those in need to those who can help.  She’s bridging young women with zero self-esteem to their fresh and poised new selves.  She’s bridging the vision to fruition.

Can you even imagine the courage she’ll have for career number seven?

How to Find Susan: BLOG, Facebook, Uncommon Threads on Facebook, Instagram

*Today is an exciting day with the launch of an unprecedented campaign, “Bridging the Gap,” where 100 Millennial and 100 Midlife Influencers are coming together to blur the boundaries as we believe we are stronger together.

Sour Cider Air

The words were just not right tonight.  I’ve tried for two hours to get them out and they were all wrong.  Every single one was wrong.  There were a total of 25 revisions.

Instead, I’ve decided to share a poem I wrote just about 12 years ago while crying in my dorm room, overlooking a parking lot.  I later won an award for it;  I was published.  I feel this every September and every September it feels new.  And every year I forget I wrote this, and every year it comes back to me.

I’d prefer to ball up on the couch, under my weighted blanket, and pretend like the truths I need to live are simply bad jokes.  But I can’t.  It simply can not be this way.

Instead…

“Sour Cider Air”

feel autumn between our fingers
as it creeps uninvited
into my mittens,
and watch it swing on the crisp of the fire colored leaves;
we are the turbulence that pushes them from the trees
they drop, they drop,
an avalanche erupts
and
i’m
running
and i’m losing
and i
lost.

and we see it in the rotten apples
that
b l a n k e t
the ground;
sour cider air.

acorns shower,
martyrs from dark gray clouds.
they soar and they tumble
and they slam into my sneakers,
but they do not break or bleed.

it is the fall that promises a steady tree
but when you’re as frail
as the sprout that springs
i tell you, there are no
guarantees.

we push for a yearlong October,
but our attempts to delay the
snowflakes and the shovels are
hardly good enough.
still, you and i will dance on the dead, straw grass and
pretend
that we are still alive;

we have been part
of moments that are much more mature than we could ever
be
and it’s alright,
because we are pumpkin seeds.

let me
close my eyes and imagine an orange
haze that
resembles the nights that we swore we were
untouchable,
invincible,

when all we really were
was nothing but
the bitter autumn wind.

I Don’t Even Have Ducks

“I don’t want to be the person who seems like they have it together… I don’t want to be in this place where I feel like I need to impress all of you.”  -Rob Cheek

My friend Rob just went live on Facebook with a forward perspective.  Why are we always pruning our appearances and displaying only the best parts of ourselves on social media?  Why does our hair have to be just so?  Why does the lighting have to be just right?  Why on earth are we filtering everything?

Coming out as a depressive was raw.  Writing about my medication-induced suicide attempt was real as shit.  But why the FUCK am I still taking 10 different photos of myself before I post it to Instagram?

I know what my flaws are.  I know what size I am.  I’m comfortable with who I am as a person and where I am in this life I’m leading.

And I still need to make sure that I’m sitting in the right spot in my dining room when I grab my phone to Snapchat.

My answer may be different than yours.  My answer is…  I know how messy my emotions are.  I know how crappy I’ve been feeling.  I know my secrets and my chaos and even still – I don’t want you to take that and manipulate it.  I want you to see the pieces of me I can control.  If I can control it, you certainly can’t.   But if I took a photo once per minute for every minute of the day?  Only a few would be happy and smiling and most would be me crying.  At least at this point in my life.

But now that you know that, you can twist that into anything you want.  Is she depressed?  Why is she sharing this?  What the hell is wrong with her?  Why is she sad?  What could possibly be so wrong with her life?

But if I take those photos when the sun hits me at just the right angle, or when I’ve just straightened my hair and it’s on POINT – what can you say?

Really… what can you say?

But this dance we do is exhausting.  It’s detrimental to my health., to your health.  It only encourages you to lie.  To fake it, to fudge it, to fib, to fake news yourself.  It pushes you to pretend that you’re feeling or acting or are a certain someone when you’re not.  It takes up time and energy to change the brightness or adjust your phone.  It’s time we’ll never get back, it’s energy we can’t harness into something more worthwhile.

It’s a load of fucking shit.

So how about we all take a second to quit fooling ourselves and the rest of the world and just be the person under the façade?

I’m Alyssa.  I’m angry for a few reasons I’d rather not explain.  I’m sad because I feel like I’m hiding, but I can’t come out just yet.  If I’m sleeping for 10 hours I’m still not sleeping enough.  I’m antsy and impatient and the bug bite on my leg is really itchy.  I’d like to go get a nose ring but I worry about how it will heal.  My current manicure is absolute garbage and I have no time or money to fix it right now.  I’m forgetting to drink coffee in the morning and it’s been a couple of days without it and I can’t function.  I am so deeply disturbed and heartbroken over what happened in Charlottesville (and EVERYWHERE ELSE where this shit has been happening over and over and over and over) and it keeps me up until 2:00am on a consistent basis.  I’m PISSED OFF that a local mom had other local parents question her parenting after a shitty racist experience her daughter had.  I’m tired of being questioned about my capabilities as a woman.  I’m freaking out that my hell of an upstairs office/closet won’t be cleaned out, painted, and ready to go by the end of September for the closet installation.  I’m furious that my new therapist suggested medication on the day of my second session.  It makes me anxious to know that the tomatoes in Sean’s garden are growing at such a rapid pace that we can’t handle the quantity despite already giving them out to everyone we know.  I hate that I take on the burden of everyone else’s emotions so much so that it marinates in my heart and spreads through my brain and seeps out of me in tears.

But I’m also really looking forward to a week and a half of vacation at the Sugar Shack.  I’m excited about amazing things at work.  I love my short hair and the confidence I’ve been feeling.  I appreciate my ability to let go of certain things.  I’m proud of myself for finally being true to who I am, even if that brings unknowns into my world.  I’m grateful for my ability to be open, to listen, to attempt to understand from a view I’m unfamiliar with.  I am comfortable admitting my wrongdoings.  I accept that I can take on the burden of everyone else’s emotions, even if that means it marinates in my heart and spreads through my brain and seeps out of me in tears.

I am not perfect.  I do not want you to think I’ve got my ducks in a row because I don’t even have ducks.

I just want you to see me.  Really, I just want you to see me.