…because that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
I'm sitting here at a quaint cafe in Engelberg, Switzerland called Kafikaufbar. It's next to the train station and it's adorable. It's grey outside, but I don't mind. I'm filled with sunshine and I have a smile on my face. I hit the pause button and left the White Circus madness for a few days to rest and restore for the Olympics. That's right, you read that right - I'm a first time Olympian! Kind of funny to type that, but nevertheless - I'm beyond excited to be heading to South Korea to support our 22 alpine athletes and represent Team USA.
When I walked into this cafe, I was greeted by a group of intoxicated Swedish bros. As I surveyed the space, one of them said, "Right here!" Nope. Thanks though, guys. Not interested. Put on my new wireless Bluetooth headphones to block out the noise. Thank the good Lord.
Oops, I got distracted. Mostly by the ultra-rare super blue blood moon last night. Normal scenario. This rare celestial convergence occurs when a supermoon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse occur simultaneously. After downing a glass of red wine at Kafikaufbar, I ventured over to Ski Lodge Engelberg. I’ve been told by many that it’s the ‘hip place to hang…lots of Swedes.’ Yeah, I’m in. Don’t have to think twice about that. Two beers and a fish taco – and a lot of people watching – later, I walked outside. “Skiing is believing,” said the awning outside. I smiled.
Then I looked up.
A full moon in the mountains is a sight for sore eyes. With clouds swirling around the super blue blood moon, the lighting over the Mt. Titlis (yep, you better believe I giggle every time I hear/read it) was something magical. My iPhone photos couldn’t do it justice. Some – most – things are better left as visuals burned into our minds. Stunning.
My wolf pack lady friends, being the pseudo-hippies we are (minus the dank smell of patchouli), looked up the meaning of this moon. Ready for this?
Yes, I remember what happened in August. And it was brutal. The sadness lasted for months. I’m not used to that. For those of you who know me well, you know my story well. And yes, I shared it freely and openly. I probably made one individual pretty bummed about that, but it helped me to heal. At that point, it didn’t really matter what that person felt or thought about it…for me, that period of time was all about healing.
Lightning could strike.
(Btw, my most recent tattoo is a lightning bolt on my right ring finger - "love like lightning")
I move quickly through life, which is – in fact – the very reason I had “move slowly” tattooed on my left wrist. I don’t often move slowly, but I’ve found that when I do, the best and most beautiful things fall into place. I’m still learning patience…it doesn’t seem to get easier with each passing year. It’s hard for me to put myself back in the place I was a few months ago, but I’m so thankful I have transformed my thoughts into words so I can remember how far I’ve come. That was the advice from one of my very patient best friend’s (Lindsay Love), and it worked wonders.
Now that I that I have some space from those feelings, I feel like I can share a bit of what I was going through. Days and days passed where sad became the norm; I woke up sad, went to bed sad and couldn’t sleep soundly in between. I was a mess of emotions – angry, empty, lost, sad, frustrated, betrayed, in love – and ultimately these emotions had a negative effect on not only my mind but my body too. I took baths, meditated, hiked, talked to my therapist, talked to all of my friends and family members. Nothing was working. Another dear friend of mine, whom I spoke to frequently, asked me one day if I had thought about taking medication. “Absolutely not. I don’t need medication.” Those were the first thoughts that ran through my mind, which is funny, considering I don’t judge friends who take medication and I realize its benefits for our chemical imbalances.
I thought about it.
I talked to my mother, a nurse midwife for many years, about it.
I cried some more.
Then I decided I’d try it for a period of time and see if the sadness lifted at all. As a result of the way our society views mental illness, this decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I was angry with myself. So now, I wasn’t only angry at myself for allowing myself to get lost in someone else, but I was also angry at myself for needing to turn to medication for help. I struggled a lot with that. I started taking a low dose anxiety medication that turned into a normal dose two weeks later after I found myself sitting in my annual appointment with my midwife sobbing to her about my feelings.
I needed it.
In the span of two months, I lost about 15 lbs...that I didn’t need to lose. I had little to no appetite. Sure, I was busy with the start of the Olympic season preparation, but there were other factors at play. Everyone and I mean every single person I talked to, commented on my weight. I didn’t realize how much I had lost. Too much, for me. I never keep track of my weight, I don’t count calories, and I love being strong and substantial. But, my clothes were baggy. My breasts were disappearing. I hadn’t been that skinny since I was maybe a 14-year-old freshman in high school.
I went to a fabulous talk about the stigma around mental illness that my great friend Sara Gibbs of Alta Community Enrichment (A.C.E.) hosted, and though it was scary to open up in front of 70 strangers, I shared my feelings. My voice was shaky and I almost started crying, but it felt good. And it was good to talk about not being OK, and sharing that with others. We're all mentally ill in some way, shape or form...that is, if you feel at all. If you have emotions of any kind, then you experience mental illness. It's not a bad thing. It's normal. And if we continue to look at it this way, maybe the stigma will dissipate.
And then, around mid-November, the cloud of sadness seemed to magically start lifting, and I felt better. My skin was clearer. More importantly, my mind was clearer. I stopped saying his name in my head over and over. I stopped wondering and just started being. My strength was back. I was laughing again. A lot. Everything was just lighter. I felt like me again. Fast forward three months, and I still feel good. In fact, I feel fucking awesome. I’m even friends with the man who broke my heart. I can laugh with him. I can hang out with him. I’m thankful for that.
And, I’m having so, so much fun exploring my newfound sexual freedom (I'm safe, of course.). I dance. Boy, do I dance. I flirt. I kiss. It’s light and it’s fun. And, most important of all, I’m honest…brutally honest, even. That feels good. No games. No wondering. Just pure truth and kindness and good vibes these days. If I feel myself going down the path of the past, I have the awareness to stop and redirect myself on the path of truth. And I unapologetically demand that from everyone who surrounds me. I figure if I’m going to take this precious time from my life – which is indeed the greatest gift you can give someone – then I better spend it living in the truth. And I realize that, when I don’t, that’s when I feel heavy and sad.
Writing is an art. Like visual art – a painting, for instance – it can take many twists and turns before it lands at its destination. And these digressions are purposeful. Sounds like life, right? Well, guess what – life is art too – and each of us can create something beautiful from nothing. A blank canvas to fill up. I started somewhere, and now I’ve gone on a tangent, but today I’m going to let it happen. Sometimes I wish more of us shared the entire process, unedited. This is me, today, unedited.
So, where was I? Back to where I started…
Age of Jesus + 1 Woman Wisdom:
After dating (if that’s even what you call it), a few dance floor make outs and a lot of flirting, I wanted to share advice for men...or boys, more like it:
1. If you don’t want to hang out with a woman, tell her. It might be harder in the beginning, but it doesn’t sting as much in the end. And you’ll both feel lighter and better about yourselves.
2. Don’t be a dick, douche, or coward. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit. ‘Nuff said. Moving on.
3. Don’t pretend that texting is an actual conversation. It should never replace actual spoken words, rather it should supplement them. In this digital age, it seems we've lost our ability to authentically communicate with each other and we almost live a different life on our mobile phones. If you base an entire relationship on text messages, it’s a fantasy not reality. Textual frustration. I have it.
4. Always ask her how she is doing and if she made it safely to her next destination. It shows you care. And don’t just talk to her about yourself. That’s selfish. Similarly, no small talk. That’s basic. And it’s an effective way of turning her off…unless that’s what you’re going for. And if you are, then tell her. Easy.
5. If a woman asks you out on a date and you say “maybe” when you really mean “no”, then please refer to no. 2 on this list. Again, stop being a dick, douche, or coward. Don't ever string her along for the sex. That makes you suck. And a shitty human being. And, come on - you're not a shitty human being.
6. Acknowledgement of the woman you’re with as a human being is absolutely a non-negotiable. That means, say “hello” and “goodbye” even if you’re trying to hide your relationship in a work environment or small bubble. It’ll look more suspicious and feel worse for both of you if you don’t treat each other like humans. And, stop being a dick, douche, or coward.
7. Never, I repeat NEVER tell a woman you love or have any feelings for or respect for in any way, shape or form, “That was fun” after you have sex – or make love, whatever you call it. Tell her she’s beautiful. Tell her it felt amazing. Touch her. Spoon her. Kiss the nape of her neck. But do NOT make her feel like it was a transaction. Unless, of course, you both are on the same page, and it was a transaction. Then, you do you. And you do each other. Hee.
8. This may be a bit repetitive, but NO MORE GAMES. "Yes" means yes and "No" means no. I’m fucking sick and tired of anything in between. Don’t have time for that. Peace, brotha. Or, “dude”? Which brings me to no. 9…
9. Similarly, please do not ever ghost a woman you’re having sex with, then greet her with a fist bump and a “hey dude…” If you’d like to have any sort of relationship with her in the future, just don’t do this. Please. I beg you. Be a gentleman.
10. Treat her with respect and she’ll treat you with respect. Period.
11. Don’t pleasure her solely because it makes you feel like more of a man. Do it selflessly and you'll both enjoy it more. (stop being a dick)
12. Expanding on no. 1 a little bit…say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you love her, tell her. Why is it so easy to tell someone you love them when you’re not together? It’s almost laughable to me. I think it’s so odd. Think about this: if you’re consistently putting your penis inside of her, especially for a significant period (say, months or years), then you probably love her in some way. If you don’t, then something is wrong. Again, maybe not for some women, but for me. So, goodbye, nice to know you, “that was fun”… but time to move on.
Yes, we’re not simple creatures and men are. I get that. Just trying to give you a little insight into how our brains work. Also, read The Female Brain (Bryce Bennett did before he got sixth at Val Gardena, Italy two years ago). I have it if you'd like to borrow it. Yep, I can be crazy. And guess what?! You can be an idiot. The world would be a better place if we were all just a bit more vulnerable, honest and aware.
…and I don’t want you to call me “dude” if you’ve slept with me.
Right now, it’s super fun to be me. I’m free of expectations from others and I feel good for the first time in a while. Yes, I’ve learned through meditation to control my rollercoaster emotions and find simplicity, but I’ve also simply returned to myself…and that feels really good. I don’t really give a fuck what people think, either. I mean, I love humans and I want to treat humans with respect, love, and kindness…but I keep reminding myself that we each perceive the world differently, and I can only control my actions and how I react to yours.
I found this Khalil statement, and I both love it and hate it. I love it because I believe it to be true. People ruin beautiful things because we allow them to have influence in our lives when they have no business having influence over us. I hate it because I wish we were all more open and vulnerable.
I often go through my days witnessing other couples and cringe, thinking I may never have a partner again. That's kind of weird, but it's the space I'm in right now. It's kind of simple. All I want is a man with a beard who loves to ski and take hot baths and gives really good back rubs and is smart and kind and honest...but also lets me be me, doesn't take himself too seriously and likes to have fun. Is this too hard?!
Hey you…yeah, you – I love you. And always will. Even if that means I’ll never be with you. The thing is, I’ll always have been with you. Moments make life magic.
P.S. I'll write something a lot lighter next time, don't worry - I already have it planned. The topic will be strange massage stories from around the world. I'm taking submissions, so feel free to share them.