heartbreak, vol 19

There are no GIFS in this post. I just needed to write words. I hope you forgive me…

What I often forget is that a lot of us are tragic, complicated, messy human beings. It’s a miracle if we can keep it all together. I have never been someone who pretends that I can.

I know that I will not find the answers to life in a book or under the covers or googling HELP ME on my phone. Sometimes I convince myself I can. Sometimes that seems easier than putting yourself out there and living. Living hurts. Like a motherfucker. But then I remind myself that I can make the choice to feel everything…or feel nothing at all. I choose everything.

My last post about my summer of love reminded me how I was struggling to understand myself in a relationship. I was in a new world. One where I realized I had learned how to manage my demons as a single person…but now I had this other person in my life.

Where am I now? Heartbroken yet hopeful. Hopeful for what? I’m not sure. But these words meant a lot to me…

“Heartbreak is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control…

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life.

Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is an essence and emblem of care…

Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.

Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream…but heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.

There is almost no path a human being can follow that does not lead to heartbreak.”

David Whyte on the True Meaning of Friendship, Love, and Heartbreak

In times where everything feels like shit, one of the only things that makes me feel better is to know where I’m going. What I’m working towards, how I am growing as a person, what I have to get excited about.

…and friends, this IS a time where everything does feel like shit. If you’re reading this, please reach out and say hello. I could use some support and stupid yet witty, relevant GIFS about being a sad, struggling twenty something WHO HAS NO IDEA WHAT SHE IS DOING.

I said I would never give up on love and dating. I was finally in my first adult relationship after almost a year of failed online dating. I fell in love. I made mistakes. I listened to my feelings. I tried to ask for what I needed.I also became self-aware about behaviors I never considered. It is true that you can only know certain things about yourself by being in a relationship. That is something to always be grateful for, no matter how things turn out.

My relationship has taught me a lot. I’ve taken the first steps in starting therapy for my anxiety and general WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING feeling I carry around with me most days. Wish me luck.

Thank you for being here. Writing gives me a sense of community. I feel loved, seen, understood, and appreciated. That means everything to me.

Advertisements

to put in the work, vol 18

I often feel defeated, tired, worried, and…sore. Not from anything in particular, but from the mere act of living. You have to wake up, and move, and breathe, and think, and talk to people. It’s exhausting. All this to say it’s too easy for me to give up on life and throw my hands in the air whilst screaming, “NOTHING MATTERS SO WHAT IS THE POINT???“.

amy

But, I have this other side of me. The side that can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my dumb little life. One that understands everything matters. That waking up is a beautiful goddamn gift from the universe. That having a body that moves is not something to take for granted. That breathing and thinking are intrinsic and fascinating things human beings do. And people? They’re not so bad. Sometimes they say nice things to you and feed you snacks.

Grateful for life Brittany shows up more than existential Brittany. But existential Brittany is very much real and needs reminders about the beauty of life.

nick.gif

I am reading Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary. She writes about the concept of putting in the work for yourself. About uncovering your “Why” and establishing your personal philosophy, values, and priorities. I enjoy books that ask questions of you. I like to think about what inspires me and what I stand for. The things that move me deep in my core. These are the reminders I need to remember what matters to me.

Someone asked me the other day how I got to a point where I could share about myself online. I didn’t have a good answer. Now I know. I can share online because I DID put in the work and it changed my life. I put in a shit ton of work on things that I struggled with. All that work allows me to be here, now, sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it can help other people.

And holy shit, I’ve struggled and still do struggle. With body positivity, my relationship with food, eating disorders, loving myself. Communicating my needs and understanding my needs are valid. Managing anxiety and depression. Understanding how codependency, guilt, shame, and conflict avoidance show up in my life. Being a good partner with healthy mindsets around intimacy and trust. I mean, everything is totally fine…

tina.gif

But I can deal with this (now) because of the work I did and the things that inspired me. Everyone’s work will look different. Mine was A LOT of writing and reading and answering tough questions about myself. Moving to a new state and changing careers. Showing up in the kitchen to cook and bake. Creating this personal blog. Rebuilding my relationships with friends and family. Finding an exercise, like boxing, that excited me. Learning to apologize and communicate. Simplifying my life by decluttering and minimizing. Accepting that routines, order, and cleanliness bring me peace. Building a personal environment that feels sacred and comfortable and brings me joy.

A lot of this work started with reading. I read everything I could that I thought would help or give me new perspectives to work with. Here are some of my favorites. It’s a mix of self-help, psychology, and memoirs. Maybe they will speak to you the same way they did to me.

There is so much work left to do. There might always be work to do. That miiiiiiight just be the point to life? To work and grow and learn and love? I dunno, but we’re in this together, and I’m super stoked to be here with you!

summer of love, vol 17

imback

I HAVE NOT DISAPPEARED. OK, I DID, BUT I AM BACK. My last post was May 21st, 2018. I had finally came down from an adrenaline high of my first sparring event late April. I had trained and showed up and did the thing I said I would do. It took a minute to process what that meant for this chapter of my life. I had put so much energy into that one thing that I had no idea what to do next with my time.

But then, I started dating someone new. Someone a lot better than the asshat who stood me up but one that I continued to pine over. The pining ended once I finished this book on adult attachment theory and realized, IT ME. The anxious dater who thinks in extremes. Extremes like getting revenge. Oooops. The anxious dater who had only been dating people that made me feel even more anxious. But now, I was dating the opposite. Someone secure and loving and comfortable with closeness. Thank the lort, because I was this close to pleading insanity. Here’s a small part of the book. I am obsessed with this book and will talk to anyone who cares about it. I cannot recommend it enough if you are an anxious person.

IMG_0872.jpg

…that was four months ago. That dude is my real life tell-everyone-I-know boyfriend now and I couldn’t be happier. But, this entire blog was hinging on my SINGLE lady adventures of dating and self-care. Things change when you’re no longer single. I have been single most of my life. I have definitely been single all my ADULT life. So, yeah, I didn’t think about goals this Summer. I didn’t write a lick and I rarely checked in with myself. My daily five year journal is filled with, “I DUNNO FOOD BEER CHILLIN???”, and “PROBABLY HUNG OUT WITH BOYFRIEND”. What can I say? I’m obsessed with my boyfriend and I don’t even care.

obsessed

But, in a way, not writing all Summer meant I had lost myself, my direction, my inner compass. Writing has and always will be the one thing that keeps me true to myself. The one thing that allows me to check in and see how I am doing. By not writing, I’m avoiding something. I know that avoidance will send me to the hole. It will numb my spirit, and I will find myself right back where I started. But then I realized, this isn’t anyone’s fault. In fact, this might be exactly what’s meant to happen.

“Our need for someone to share our lives with is part of our genetic makeup and has nothing to do with how much we love ourselves or how fulfilled we feel on our own. Once we choose someone special, powerful and often uncontrollable forces come into play. New patterns of behavior kick in regardless of how independent we are and despite our conscious wills. Once we choose a partner, there is no question about whether dependency exists or not. It always does. An elegant coexistence that does not include uncomfortable feelings of vulnerability and fear of loss sounds good but is not our biology. What proved through evolution to have a strong survival advantage is a human couple becoming one physiological unit, which means that if she’s reacting, then I’m reacting, or if he’s upset, that also makes me unsettled. He or she is part of me, and I will do anything to save him or her; having such a vested interest in the well-being of another person translates into a very important survival advantage for both parties.

Does this mean that in order to be happy in a relationship we need to be joined with our partner at the hip or give up other aspects of our life such as our friends or hobbies? Paradoxically, the opposite is true! It turns out that the ability to step into the world on our own often stems from the knowledge that there is someone beside us whom we can count on – this is the “dependency paradox”. The logic of this paradox is hard to follow at first. How can we act more independent by being thoroughly dependent on someone else? If you want to take the road to independence and happiness, find the right person to depend on and travel down it with that person.”

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment

So now, I enter a new life phase of, “the difficult balance of intimacy and independence”. One where I figure out how much solitude I actually need. A quick check in from Spring and I realize I am inspired by the idea of slowing down again. Of finding a new respect for solitude as a person whose solitude is no longer a given. It’s easy to practice solitude when you don’t have someone you want to spend every waking moment with. It’s hard when you now find yourself forcing alone time for the sake of your sanity and relationship. And then you spend your alone time anxious that every moment away from your new love is a moment wasted. Once you’re in deep, it’s hard to step away without feeling like space is a negative. But then I remember…SPACE IS FOR ASTRONAUTS.

space

Thanks for being here friends. For noticing when I’ve disappeared. For your support and love and inspiration. You mean the world!

the after photo, vol 16

“This is what most girls are taught — that we should be slender and small. We should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society. And most women know this, that we are supposed to disappear, but it’s something that needs to be said, loudly, over and over again, so that we can resist surrendering to what is expected of us.” Roxane Gay, Hunger

3CLXV4S7E5DYDHAX45PKHMQHGI

I have spent a majority of my short-lived 25 years dreaming of my “after photo” moment. You know, that moment you put one photo of you, heavier and sadder and frumpier, next to the “NEW AND IMPROVED” you? Everyone oohs and ahhs at this hotter version of yourself and you feel like a whole person again. You realize all those color coded portion control containers you used and virgin’s blood you drank finally paid off.

I have fantasized of all the things I would do with my after photo body. Things I told myself I could never do in my before photo body. Things like improv classes, having an orgasm, wearing rompers, being in ANY PHOTO EVER. I have convinced myself that this after photo body would bring me the love and happiness I so desired. That by being a certain number on a scale, I would somehow have discovered the answer to life.

Of course, that is all total bullshit.

Life has nothing, (but also everything, according to society), to do with a number on a scale. Or the size of your jeans. Or whether you’re blessed with stretch marks, cellulite, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, inverted nipples. Are you ALSO a member of the saggy boobs matter movement?! Man, human bodies are fucking weird and beautiful.

boob

I have reflected and reflected and done more reflecting on my body ad nauseum. I have before photos. Tons of them. All various weights. Weights you could call thin, heavy, or my personal fav, “her face would be way more attractive if she lost 15 pounds”. As I write this, I am the healthiest I have ever been. I am not at my thinnest weight and I am not at my heaviest weight. I just am, and I am 1000% content with this.

I realize now that a number never mattered. It had everything to do with what I thought of myself. It turns out that when you hate yourself, you hate yourself no matter what number the scale says.

Listen. I don’t know jackshit. But I do know what worked for me when it came to being able to live and love and find peace with my body. I am finally comfortable in my own skin. Welll, for the most part. I still cringe at the idea of bikinis and am very pro boob job. Who cares. I AM FINALLY FEELIN’ MYSELF AND I WANT THIS FEELING FOR EVERYONE.

sam

It came down to two things…

One. I had to say fuck you to diet culture and learn to love food again. Diets and restrictions trigger my eating disorder because I want what I tell myself I can’t have. When you have something you’ve told yourself you can’t have you feel shame. Shame manifested itself in my life as a five year long eating disorder I am still managing today.

Confused about diet culture? Read Isabel Foxen Duke and avoid anything with the following words: meal plan, X day challenge, clean(se), whole, containers, shake, good food, bad food, paleo, elimination, beach, body, anything on your TV past 2 AM, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Two. I refuse to exercise with the goal of weight loss. Instead, I focus on what I want my body to be able to do and then train accordingly. Can I run for thirty minutes without stopping? Can I hike Glacier National Park without wanting to die? Can I go three rounds in the boxing ring? Can I grind on my partner without dog panting? Can I decrease my bike commute time? Can I lift heavy shit? Can I do manual labor for eight hours? Can I do one armed push-ups like Demi in GI Jane? DO I FEEL STRONG AND CAPABLE?

This moment, right now, is that after photo moment I always dreamed of. I knew I would get here one day. Here is a video of me getting punched in the face at the boxing gym to celebrate. Thank you for being here and sharing this moment with me.

dating is rough, vol 15

I know that right now, I am living my best life. On the other, I also know I am living my hardest life. They go hand in hand though, right? Once you start becoming your *WARNING: BUZZWORD*…authentic self, you feel more. You experience more. This is the hardest but most gratifying way to live. With that being said…DATING IS ROUGH! Woof! I don’t know if I’m cut out for these experiences! I thought my authentic self would attract less busters! So, here’s some “gratifying” life lessons I’ve learned from dating so far…

emotions.gif

…Two words. ATTACHMENT THEORY. I am 1000% an anxious person exclusively dating avoidants. These relationships makes me go bat shit crazy and I am hyper-sensitive to everything they do and say. Canceling my dating apps until I finish this book, k?

…The four-six week relationship is the new one night stand. COOL. That explains why I can’t get past one menstrual cycle with someone. These are not relationships, they are “fun”. Either that, or again, I am dating the wrong people.

…My grandma says one day my prince will come. To which I reply…yeah, he’s gonna come. AND THEN ROLL OVER AND LEAVE RIGHT AFTER.

…I tried out the bootycall relationship. It lasted 48 hours and all I got from it was a UTI.

…If you’re with a partner that is not excited about getting you off from casual sex, there is no point in casual sex. Casual sex leaves me dead inside. I’ll keep having great sex with myself and leave you out of it. Thanks.

…Saying, “we can be friends”, after you stop sleeping with someone is the equivalent of seeing an old friend from high school at Whole Foods and saying OMG let’s meet up for coffee soon. GREAT IDEA BUT NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.

…99% of people will not be upfront about what they’re looking for. Probably because no one knows. It looks like that’s up to you unless you’re cool with having a permanent broken heart.

…The minute you have feelings for someone, an angel loses its wings.

…Bootycall? FWB? FB? Forever confused and would rather let tarantulas crawl over my face than figure out what the hell you want from me. Or what the hell I want from me. *AUDIBLE SIGH*

…Life is not a fairy tale, romance is dead, and grand gestures do not exist. I mean…they do, you’re just dealing with people who don’t actually like you.

…I am obsessed with my life, goals, and hobbies. I want to share my life with someone and learn about their life, goals, and hobbies. Netflix and chill with zero conversation is not going to get you there. Why waste your time?

…People will tell you you’re “brave” for putting yourself out there. That’s what you have to do to date these days: be brave.

…I am so much stronger than I ever realized.

stepbrothers

We’re here and we’re doing this. A reminder to myself and you to try and find the humor in things, share your stories, tell people you love them, and LIVE. YA. LIFE. And yes, I know I’m a little heavy on the Will Ferrell gifs. Sorry not sorry.

xo

the great stand up, vol 14

dating

Congratulations to me! I have hit the dating milestone I was most looking forward to: being stood up. And yes, it’s as terrible as they say it is.

I write this 112 minutes after I showed up for a date with a person I had seen four times prior. In online dating world, four is a magical fucking number. Also, this was DINNER. I had high hopes.

…92 minutes after I realized this person I liked was actually going to let me sit alone at a restaurant. That I was actually being stood up. This was happening.

…89 minutes after the waiter asked for my table. It was first come first serve and I hadn’t ordered anything. I almost bit his head off, but instead I nodded and left.

…84 minutes after walking in the rain back to a bus stop to go home. But, then the various stages of being stood up settled in: denial, anger, intense sadness. So, I grabbed a Lyft instead because hell no I am not being that person that loses their shit on a bus. I will choose to lose my shit in a car with one stranger like an ADULT.

…73 minutes after I got home and replayed everything in my head. It makes sense, Britt, there was a lot of bullshit. Then, he legit told you a few hours prior to standing you up that he’s torn between you and a pool table and tried to cancel your dinner plans. That he made. LAST TIME I CHECKED A POOL TABLE DOESN’T HAVE SEX WITH YOU. PRIORITIES!?! 

…and 68 minutes after a total emotional breakdown and rollercoaster ride of ALL. THE. FEELINGS. Because no matter how much you love yourself, it still fucking hurts. Relationships hurt. A lot. Perks of being a self-diagnosed highly sensitive person.

hategif

I can still feel the sadness re-reading my last post about my not great dating experience. That was a hard time. This dating experience brings a different kind of sadness. What I learned from my last experience was that I assumed everything. What our relationship was, how they felt, what their actions meant. This time, I practiced vulnerability, said what I felt, and asked the questions I wanted to ask. So, why was I still upset?

…uh, DUH. It’s because having to deal with the emotions that come with ending something you know is bad for you is hard. You have to ask yourself if you’re strong enough to walk away from something that hurts you. You have to demand respect from others through your actions. Doing so involves confrontation and standing up for yourself.

Ya know what, though? We’re supposed to be uncomfortable. We’re meant to have tough conversations and learn from them. That is how we GROW. We can handle people’s standards and expectations for us to be good people. Being a good person means you take responsibility for your shitty actions.

I do not believe in taking the high road when people disrespect you. Check your bullshit at the door. The truth fucking hurts. Some people deserve a good ol’ fashioned, “fuck off”. Some people need for others to put them in their place. I fully expect and hope for people to put me in mine.

Buuuut, being a good person also means being able to be the BIGGER person. Forgive, learn how to communicate better, take responsibility for your own actions if you’re too harsh, and move forward. It’s gonna take me a minute – but eventually I hope dude who stood me up and I can be friends. We’re all just doing the best we can, right?

So friends, just a friendly reminder you’re not alone in this world. Even if you do crawl into your bed alone each night. Everything’s gonna be OK. I promise. If you have any self-doubt…ask yourself, “What would Frances do?”. Answer: TAKE NO SHIT AND SWALLOW MEN WHOLE, USING THEIR BONES AS UTENSILS (but also communicate before that happens).

frances

celebrate everything, vol 13

“Until further notice…celebrate everything!” – A Person I Want To Hug

There are many things to celebrate in this life. The small things: I got a letter from my favorite travel bud. I was successful in self-diagnosing the reason for the bags under my eyes. THANKS GENETICS…and OK, lack of sleep. I didn’t fuck up my batch of cookies. I got my first nosebleed in boxing. I’m sitting down and writing right now.

The big things: my best friend got engaged!!! I get to be in her wedding and bake with her! My other best friend got her dream job and passed that one test you have to take to get into grad school. My Montana farm family welcomed a new little girl into the world. I moved into a sweet new apartment with tons of natural light and good company.

You get the idea.

I’m always thinking about the person I want to be. I want to be the person who makes room in their life to celebrate all these moments. I want to be the person that never forgets your birthday, writes you letters, and sends you care packages. I want to be the person you can count on to bake you a cake, cook you a homemade meal, and hang your shelves. Basically, I want to be the person that gets mistaken for Martha.

martha

It’s important to me to let people I care about know that hey! I see you and am thinking about you and you are loved! I can show that in many ways. Gifts, time, food, thoughtfulness, labor, blood, kidneys???

Notice how I say, “I want to be”. Being a person that shows up for others requires YOU to be in a place where you can be that for other people. You gotta have your shit together…at least a little bit. You probably also need to have to have a plan, money, time, and energy too. And I dunno about you but sometimes I am impressively lacking ALL THE ABOVE.

How much is intention worth? My intentions are there, but I’m still recovering from failing at my work’s secret santa last year. My santa was so thoughtful. Like, pyrex dishes, candles that sound like fireplaces, baking tools, bath salts. Meanwhile, I (last minute) threw some “decorative nuts” into a mason jar. Whoooooops.

I guess I am wondering…how can I show up for others? How can I give and celebrate in ways that feel good? First, learn to show up for yourself, in whatever ways that looks like for you.

Second, make a plan! Write down all the days and holidays and people you want to celebrate. Ask people you care about what you can do for them to bring them joy or comfort. I made this survey and emailed it to my friends. If you ever need something to help you procrastinate, make a survey and fill it with GIFs. You will waste so much time finding the perfect GIF of a hamster eating birthday cake. It will be a great time.

cake.gif

You could also be a real adult and have a legit giving budget so you don’t feel stressed about giving gifts and donations (uh, me). I am nowhere near there yet. Trying! The New York Times has a great giving plan toolkit.

I’m excited for all the ways I’m gonna give and celebrate this year. Starting this week with a Spring brunch to end all brunches at my new digs for people I like. A birthday care package to Arizona. A letter back to a dear friend.

I hope you can also make room to celebrate someone in your life this week! I’ve never heard of doing nice things for other people making your day worse. What’s there to lose?