To: Current Self; From: Little Self; CC: Your Soul
Hey guys! After getting to know Kimmy more and having a chance to experience her writing, I’ve decided to promote her from intern to contributor. You will start seeing her posting from time to time. I’ve been looking for someone to join the blog for a bit, and I’m so grateful the universe brought Kimmy and me together. Her writing resonates with me so much and it’s my hope it will resonate with you. -Kylie
While I was trying to come up with a post topic, I realized that what I really wanted to do was write from my heart, as if I were to flip between now and the past, answering the questions that a past me would have desperately been searching for answers to. My hope is that something in here resonates with someone else, even if the only idea you come away with is that the struggles you are wading through may one day be lessons you no longer associate with fear or panic, but with tenderness and a new perspective.
What are your warning signs?
An important thing for me to learn was that if I wait until I am in distress, it’s sometimes too overwhelming to expect self-care to bring me back into alignment quickly.
I’ve started noticing that our souls respond to danger pretty similarly to how our physical bodies do with warning signs that alert impending situation, like the hair standing up on the back of your neck, or your heart thumping a little faster. Our intuition is really quite clever that way, and the warning signals usually tend to get stronger and stronger until we heed them. Personally, I know that something is off when I start to feel really young, lost and incapable. If I try to power through, I can get sucked into a cycle of trying to take on as many things as possible to prove that I am in control, and when that doesn’t work (and it never will because I haven’t really taken care of myself on an inner level) I swing the other way, shirk everything and start trying to numb out, either through TV, food, etc. Recognizing this early is key.
How do you nurture your inner child and feel safe?
Anxiety was once described to me as a fear of being afraid because of a belief that you are or will be unable to keep yourself safe. Learning techniques and coping skills that worked to move me into my inner adult role are essential in moving through my anxiety when it visits.
1. Slowing down: It sounds so simple and eye-rollingly easy (is that a word? Welp, for this post let’s pretend ;) )–I’ll be the first to admit, I thought so at first! In reality, though…not so much, especially when perfectionist tendencies combine with today’s society. I like to picture parting cotton candy in my mind to defuse my thoughts and feelings from the situation. When I first did this and recognized I have the ability to take a breath and talk myself through whatever I’m feeling filled me with a rush of adrenaline but in a super relaxing way, almost like the feeling you get after you a good cry. Also, reading Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong was very helpful.
2. Creating something: I LOVE, LOVE the feeling I get when I have total freedom over the process of transforming something, whether it’s through writing a poem, swirling watercolor to make a lion, or just playing around with design software. It’s relaxing, but exciting at the same time, because it’s an activity where I know there are no wrong decisions, and that no matter where I choose to take it, something new will come about–a mindset I try to adopt with any decision in my life. If I get really lucky, I get so sucked into it that I totally lose track of time and when I look up it feels like I’ve just woken up from a nap.
3. Talking to my mamma: Yes, maybe it’s an Italian thing, but I don’t think there’s anything I wouldn’t eventually tell my mom, and she’s usually the first person I go to when I’m confused or trying to understand what the heeeeck is going on in my head. Sometimes feeling safe means reaching out for others to help you meet your needs, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that. We are beings of connection, so it is natural that at times sharing with a loved one brings relief. Also, my people, my soul sisters. My best friends and I started a Whatsapp chat way back in high school and it’s still going strong 6?ish years later.
4. Being warm: snuggly blankets, huge Jacuzzi bathtubs, laying on a sunny rug. These things calm me and the body sensations really ground me…‘nuff said.
5. Being vulnerable: Yes, this is weird, yes this sounds funky, but I promise, it’s 100% true for me. When I was younger, I was a very open child–the kind of kid who would go up to people picnicking in a park to ask if they wanted to come to my house and play or to ask what kind of cheese they were eating (I didn’t even like cheese when I was younger?!?!). Somewhere along the line, I became way reserved, and it would take a lot of time and security before I would share, but more recently, I realized that sometimes taking a leap and speaking my truth actually makes me feel more connected and concrete within the world. It’s almost as if the act of putting things out there lessens my internal load while at the same time letting me feel like there’s nothing about me that I should hide. It feels like an act of faith in myself. Brene Brown’s TED talk freaked me out in the best way because it’s like she read my mind.
6. Writing! I’m not always a huge fan of classic journaling, but it’s extremely cathartic for me to string words together in a way that allows me to see my thoughts as real and fluid. My sister likes to tease me about how geeky this is and tells me I should become an English teacher, but, just between us, I think that would be oh so fun! I recently worked up the nerve to start a blog (bear with me, it’s rough and hopefully will improve with time as I get used to this new world.) The combination of design, art, and writing that goes into it really fills me with contentment, so I’m ok with the fact that it very well may stay an obscure particle in the webisphere. I’m still deciding whether to maintain it as a blog or veer in the direction of a portfolio-type collection of my writing and art. Thank you, Kylie, for suggesting it, all the love.