a new shield

I've been feeling rather...delicate lately. I'm not 100% sure what's going on, but there has been a psychological drop that's a smidge lower than my normal baseline of "pretty darn content". When I feel this way, I generally do a personal inventory and try to figure out what's going on. My subconscious is a blessing and a curse, capable of hunkering down around hard stuff when I'm not exactly capable of processing it on the surface. I appreciate this defense mechanism, sometimes. It's the same one that keeps people from crying at funerals and muscling through a trauma without breaking down. It's the times when it stops being as protective and vigilant that I struggle, because then I must process. I must tend to things.

My work feels stressful, but not entirely out of control. I am doing more work than I have ever done, and in some ways I wasn't prepared for it, so the stress shakes my foundation. Home is content and strong, as always, which I appreciate. A fair number of the feelings I've been having are body-centric, which is WEIRD. I'm a strong believer in HAES and body-acceptance, things that I not only preach but believe wholeheartedly about and for myself. Despite outside efforts to divert me from it, I have been confident and strong in my appearance and body for a long time, but not so much recently. I'm questioning my health, my fashion (or lack thereof) choices, my "prettiness", my craft projects, and even posting here. As weird as it may seem, I know something's up if I'm not blogging or journaling in some way, because it's something I've been committed to for seven years.

While I do the work to figure all of this out, I decided to arm myself with something tangible that I could grab onto in those moments when I wasn't being nice to myself. This necklace from Yellow Owl Workshop is called Earth/Fire. Aside from the astrological significance, which is trivial at best, I feel like these two elements define the person I believe myself to be. I am grounded and strong, of the Earth, confident, consistent and steady. And I am also brave, proud, someone who embraces and fights through challenges, and someone who has a tangible energy/spark. At those times when I forget who I am, or fail to see myself the way I should, I will hold onto this. Em wears a St. Gabriel pendant for similar (yet different!) reasons, and I hope it has the same enduring effect.

On top of donning my shield, I have decided to take a break from wedding blogs. There is a part of me who will always reject the heteronormative conventions involved with marriage, but there is an incredibly toxic competitive component involved in weddings that I detest. I said to Angela the other day, "I have said in my head while reading wedding blogs (on NUMEROUS occasions) - 'how does she look so perfect?' I DON'T SAY THIS SHIT." I really don't. But it's hard to disassociate from the air-brushing, the primping and preening, the massive expense that disguised as "pretty elements of design", and the dishonesty inherent in a lot of the reporting. As a result of all of this, I need to pull myself away and follow my heart again. I have a strong sense of self and aesthetic. It has been impossible to tap into that over the past eight weeks because of all of these outside influences. I can't even stick with wedding craft projects with any consistency because I doubt myself.

What do you do to refocus and find yourself again, whether you are simply hiding or lost completely? Do you ever have moments when you forget to love yourself? What did you do to get back on the right path? It's simultaneously daunting and exciting to be back working on this again. No matter how old I get, I'm always growing.

Oh, and I'm convinced that vitamin B12 is magic.

4 comments:

  1. I'm glad that you have a tangible way to focus on how wonderful you are. It's very difficult, in this world, to appreciate who you are as an individual without succumbing to criticism or narcissism. I tend to retreat and re-read things that have helped me gain strength. I know it sounds silly but I will literally talk myself through things and sometimes out-loud ala Stuart Smalley. It's far too easy to get caught up in what you think you should be instead of appreciating who you are. God bless you, Meaghan.

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  2. You're doing the right thing - we all have different toxic thought triggers. You have to identify what is toxic to you (at this current time, in this current state) and then decide what to do about it. Backing off is usually the best option for me. And then you focus on the stuff that isn't toxic and eventually you decide whether to come back to the other stuff or not.

    It's such a process, figuring out how to live with yourself.

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  3. Rachel - thank you for the support and understanding. It is indeed a struggle to figure out how to live with yourself. I admire you for putting together such a personal wedding, from what I have seen thus far and from what I imagine in my mind based on reading your blog for so long. :-) That's what I'm striving for. Thank you for being present and real...you are an inspiration!

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  4. First of all, I love your blog header.

    Secondly, I totally identify with what you're talking about here. I feel like every so often, I have to go through this emotional cleanse, where I strip down to the very basics of my world: the people I talk to, the places I go, the things I do, etc. I start to really think about whether or not everything has a purpose. That helps me understand the relationship of everything in my life.

    Also, just be careful what you're exposing yourself to, so to speak. That stuff takes its toll.

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All content © Meaghan O'Malley, 2009-2012. Header image by Rebekka Seale.