Chronos and Kairos (or the art of accepting your timezone)

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Hello Beautiful People,

Grab some tea or hot chocolate, this is a long one. In this post, I hold a sorta-conversation with an excerpt of Meggan Watterson’s amazing book, Reveal about embracing the timezone of our lives. Enjoy.

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I used to love the fuck out of five year plans. On December 31st, there I would be, scribbling all the goals I was definitely going to meet the next year.

I never listened to the sane advice about setting small SMART (Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Results-Focused/Time Bound) goals, or to complete one thing at a time. I’d always have to add more lines to the space allotted for my plans.

I wanted to do it all.

Time was this incessant rushing that surrounded me at all times and I never, ever felt I had enough. I believed in pushing and linear progress and that life did not reward those who sat back and let things come to them.

“Chronos, or chronological time, is linear, sequential, “clock time”: this is where the ego lives and thrives. We often want time to unfold this way, one event following the next and arriving just when we want it to arrive.”

When I got out of Coast Guard, I felt I had to go all out; do all the things I missed out during my active duty years.

And I needed to do them all right now.

At the same time.

I was extremely judgment of all the time I “wasted” beforehand. Why had I waited this long to pursue my art? I should’ve been writing more. I should’ve been doing burlesque. I should’ve been traveling.

“Kairos, on the other hand, is nonlinear, sacred time–the right or opportune moment.”

It wasn’t long before I felt entirely burned out. I was taking trying to be a better writer, exploring burlesque, taking three classes, teaching writing college freshmen at Pitt, doing my Coast Guard reserve duties, trying to balance time with my partner/friends/family, mentoring a student on her manuscript, planning group outings, posting to Instagram almost every day, coordinating photo shoots, working out, starting my entrepreneurial dreams, reading every self-help book that came across my path…..and a lot more.

I developed this weird twitch in my right eye that semester, at least three times a day my right eyelid would flit wildly for minutes on end.

And still, during all this time, I told myself I wasn’t doing enough, that I could do more, that I needed to work harder. I never quit regretting all the time I didn’t pursue these activities earlier on in my life.

“We can pray our butts off for something to happen, say finding a lover, or getting a car or house, or having a long-awaited child. But then the person we meet ends up smothering us with love we weren’t ready for, or the car payments puts us in debt and the house catches on fire, or the baby of our dreams has colic and we don’t sleep for two years straight. Then we realize, that maybe, just maybe, in willfully pursuing our ego’s desire, we tampered with sacred timing. Kairos is aligned with the highest truth of our lives, and being aligned with kairos means not always getting what we want when we want it.”

I was very frustrated during this time. Every writing rejection stung. I was annoyed that I didn’t have the flexibility to performing the standing split of so many burlesque performers. I was frustrated that it didn’t seem like I was attracting new “followers” for my work online. I was frustrated that writing still felt so difficult. I was frustrated that my body, my personal growth, my boss dreams seemed to be moving along at sloth speed.  

In 2009, when I was just a wee Ensign, I wrote Issa Rae a fan-girl letter of appreciation when she released Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl (she wrote a really nice thank you back :) I would gain inspiration from bloggers on Feministing and looked at Gabi Gregg’s fashion blog on the weekly.

In 2016, many of these women are stars in their industries. Writing books, creating shows for HBO, releasing their own swimsuit collections.

I looked at the magnificent and amazing progress these women had made in the years I spent in the Coast Guard and while I was really excited for them, but a question would reverberate in my brain whenever I saw their amazing progress: what the fuck was I doing during those years?

“Kairos is the sacred time needed for us to meet with not only what fulfills us but also what fulfills a need in the world. Kairos works on our soul’s timing, not the laminated table the ego has set up for our life. Kairos-time allows things to unfold naturally; nothing is forced or contrived into being out of fear.”

Fear. That was my main motivator. I tried to dress it up in a fancy assemble of Ambition and throw some Passionate cuff-links on, but the truth was that all my goals in life were fueled by a persistent feeling of not being enough.  I was scared I was never going to meet the big goals of my life.

And I was extremely dismissive of my actual achievements.

I wanted to bully time into the timeline I wanted. But the thing was, every time I did this, things fucked up. I felt harried. I didn’t get to spend the time I wanted making my writing or art really shine. The work I would often showcase felt cheap and under-cooked. I would get some sort of success and then realize I didn’t even have the time to actually savor it because I was already onto the Next Thing. 

“When we judge where we are in our lives and how much we’ve achieved, we do so from a place of chronos. Our judgments are based on the expectations we set for ourselves: job by 25, married with children by 30, book published by 35, own business by 40, and so on to the grave. Many of us measure ourselves by these milestones without even examining them to see if they’re our own. Meaning some of them are acquired by social osmosis. What shifts the weight of our baggage is simply choosing it. Owning the baggage as the particular story our soul needed to live out allows us to claim it. And oddly enough, claiming it allows us to then let it go.”

When I really sat my ass down, I realized that I had been entertaining this ambition-fueled-by-terror my entire life. Even in the Coast Guard, I was like this. Taking self-improvement class after class. Always questioning how well I was doing as an officer (which was never good enough).

I had to come back to Story. What was the story I am telling myself of how my life should’ve gone? What I should’ve done? Who I should’ve been?

It sounds simplistic and it is not. Getting to know our specific story means we are probably encountering some not-so-shiny parts about ourselves, views, and influences. Things we think we should be past now—or never have assimilated into our belief system in the first place. Like if I see a beautiful woman and instantly feel the first pin-pricks of jealousy, I can decide to ignore these feelings, minimize them or inquire about what story I am telling about her and myself in relation to her. Do I believe in the hierarchy of beauty? Even a little bit? Do I think my life will be easier if I looked like her? What junior high hang-ups are still operating under my skin? What is the Story here? And it’s the same about the timezone of our lives.

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“Once we let go of some of the stories that have been defining and confining us, we can align our identity with a deeper truth—with the soul-story beneath the surface drama of who we are according to ego. We can dive beneath the wreck we fear we’ve made of our lives to hear the story our soul is living out. Listening to our soul-story allows us to release the idea that life is something happening to us. We can claim the power to become the author of our own narrative.”

Owning our story and our timezones isn’t easy. Our parents and friends and social organizations will chime in or hammer away at us about how they want us to live.

If your story is that you don’t want children or you really want to live abroad or you are tired of hanging around with your work friends at functions that cause you to want to stab a pen through your hand, this is YOUR choice. People will probably never shut up about their opinions about what they think you should be doing. The magazines and social media apps won’t stop showing you what other people in your similar fields are succeeding at. It’s up to you (and me) to reinterpret what we see.

“This is how we begin, how we remove a crucial veil: we claim our baggage as the story of our soul. No matter how old you are or what you’ve been through, you can change your perception of what’s possible by claiming what has weighed you down and what you’ve used as an excuse to remain closed and unworthy of love, and accept that your baggage is, in fact, your personal soul-story, which has unfolded in exactly the sacred time required. You may not be where you wanted or expected to be at this point in your life, but you can choose to acknowledge that you are right where you need to be. This does not mean that where you are is not painful or frustrating. But it does mean that you have the power to change your life in an instant, simply by changing your perspective.”

My name is Hannah Eko. I was born in London in the mid-80s. My family is Nigerian and I have one sister and two brothers. I spent some time in foster care. I went to schools in the suburbs of Southern California. After I graduated high school, I spent five years in military school and eight years in the Coast Guard. I had my first kiss and relationship when I was 25. I am jealous, kind, very sensitive, stupid-competitive, creative, often a procrastinator, funny, a little vain, shy with new people, and smart. I am not an influencer, widely published, or a Thirty Under Thirty. I eat out way too much. I love my friends. Sometimes I am still overly self-conscious and tied to people-pleasing. I love corny shit like self-help, astrology, and seminars on Being a Good Person. This list cannot cover the magnitude of who I am, but I must own it. All of it. This is where I am in my life. This is what I have to work with. This is my timezone.

“Take all those stories you’ve used as a reason not to love yourself. It’s time to see them as lessons to challenge, refine, and even polish your soul. You look at those hard-to-let-go-of stories, and you love yourself enough to see that you deserve much more than to dwell on them and punish yourself with regret. You own the stories that have kept you in hiding, knowing that they form the unique narrative of your soul. You also know, however, that they are only a part of your journey, not the whole.”

My story of rushing, of constant comparison and that dogged sense of not-enough that has tailed me for most of my life does not have to be yet another reason to hate myself. It is because of my over-scheduling days, that I truly know the benefit and gift of slowing the fuck down.

My twitch taught me a lot.

The success of Issa Rae and Gabi Gregg has taught me in the power of going after my passion, of consistent effort and action, and what is possible for black women today.

My not-enough has brought me to classes and teachers who have opened my eyes to meditation, attachment therapy, the effects of trauma, and a deeper sense of self-love.

My not-enough wound lends me compassion to others who suffer in this world. My stories aren’t “bad” or the entirety of my existence. They are ways for me to be a more solid human being. I am truly exactly where I need to be. This is advice I’ve heard since I was about 18. It is only now, thirteen years later, that I am beginning to believe it.

“In this way you clean out your inner closets. You dig out the piles stashed behind the couch and under the bed, in the basement, the attic, and the spare room, and you lay the contents of your life at your feet. You sift through everything that makes you who you are and what you will be able to do and become.”

This process takes time. It is constant. I think we hear these sort of pronouncements, these entreaties about day-to-day progress and we add them to some automatic check-list in our mind, got it, check, moving on.

We scarcely rest with the awesome but beautiful task of growing and what it really entails. I have been in the habit of living about two days in advance since I was like, six. Life was all about what I was going to do and become by next week, next month. So yeah, this consciousness is not going to be something I embody in one fell swoop.

“If we didn’t have baggage, if we didn’t have dark, troubling stories in our lives, how would we ever get to practice the power of love? What if every traumatic event we’ve endured, every regretful choice we’ve made, is actually an opportunity for the soul to spread its wings? We lift the weight of what has held us down by choosing to believe that everything in life has happened for our soul’s formation. It has not only happened for a reason but happened exactly when it needed to. And that means births and deaths, marriages and divorces, epic gains and epic losses.”

Honestly, if someone came up to me after a stupendous hurt, a death of a loved one, a catastrophic disaster and told me, “Don’t worry, Hannah, everything happens for a reason,” I would probably slap them across the face. I believe that sort of advice is not anyone’s to formulate expect the person who has gone through the loss. I don’t even think everything in our lives will make sense.

But, some things will. There are some things we can locate in our storylines with the awesome benefit of hindsight and maturity and see them for the wisdom building events they were.  We see that yes, this had to happen to me exactly this way or I would have never learned to stop dating assholes or stand up for myself or go for that audacious goal or leave the only home I’ve known.

Or maybe we still don’t know the lesson. Maybe there never was one. Maybe we didn’t become a “better person” or deeper.

Still—whatever happened is.

We have to say, I know that This Very Happy or Visible or Fit Person is doing ______________ right now, but this  (whatever this is) is my current life.

We are the only ones who can see this. We are the only ones who get to sit down with the complete tapestry of our lives and accept it all.

There are times when I feel like I get this on a level of depth I have never encountered before in my existence.

Then there are other times when I am like, fuck-this-lesson, fuck-soul-formation, just let me get what I want. Now.

I accept this too.

I am not a cyborg programmed permanently to the setting of Zen.

I’ve got my stuff like every other human and part of that stuff is being hella impatient and fearful.

And not always knowing.

I hope that you can find some space this week, this month, this year to sit down and go over your life.

To slow down and accept your own timezone with open arms.

I hope you can find the beauty in what is only yours to see.

I hope you can learn to let go and trust in a way that truly works for you.

I hope you can shed the expectations this culture places on you that don’t actually jive with your own life and heart.

I hope you can learn to love the Kairos.

Onward,

Hannah

Wild

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On a random whim, I went to the zoo. Zoos are already sad but on days with a high of 25 degrees Fahrenheit and snow on the ground, even worse.

The animals seemed slow and tired and most of them were sequestered away indoors.

I spent a lot of time in the elephant barn because it was warm and elephants are graceful and just emit this wisdom from their all watching black eyes. But maybe I am making this up.

They were in a space way too tight for their mammoth frames. Bars cut their bodies in half from my view. One elephant, Tasha was alone because she was rumored to be a bit of a “bully” according to the zookeeper.

And I thought: I’d be pissed as fuck too if I was trapped in a place that toned down my bigness and fed me stupid carrots and kids gawked at me and I really wasn’t into the other elephants I was around.

And then I thought: maybe that’s why I’m pissed in some ways too. Because there is something wild and weird and spontaneous inside that I keep shut up. Maybe we both just want to be free, maybe we just need more space. Maybe we’re not bullies after all.

I left the exhibit with a heavier chest and heart but it helped me to really see something I’ve been dancing around my entire life: the cost of not being free. Of trying to downplay my bigness.

I don’t know my next move. I’m learning right now to just be with this question and to open up to the wild, sometimes illogical impulses that seem to be calling to me.

May you find space to let yourself be as big and wild and messy and you as possible. Especially in a world that rewards Good Girls and Quiet, Non-Complaining Black and Brown People.

For me, I am tired of the inner and outer bars.

I am ready to be inwardly Free.

Onward,

Hannah

 

Redefining Sexy

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It kinda all started when Blake Shelton was named Sexiest Man Alive 2017 by the authority of authorities on sexiness, People Magazine.

So me and a friend started talking about what has been universally accepted as sexy these days: What images proliferate in our media. Think pieces on how Beyoncé, Kim K, or Rihanna have “changed” the way women experience their sexuality and sensuality. Does personality count? The ways in which strip club culture has altered the conversation on Sexy.

Lately, I have been paying closer attention to my body in the world. When it expands. When it contracts. When I feel that anxious tightening in my chest or clamping down over my ribcage. When butterflies start. And stop.

During our text conversation, I felt my body constrict, like a dozen thin ropes were wrapped around my mid-section. In the past, I would have ignored this tell-tale signal and blustered forward in intellectual conversation. But, yesterday, I stayed with my body.

I started to think about what I had been told was sexy, the images and attitudes that came into sharper focus once I got to junior high. I thought of Beyoncé in the Baby Boy video. I thought about rappers comments about their love for “honeys with the light eyes” and the current hyper-fascination with big asses. I thought about duck faced selfies and hour-glass silhouettes. I thought about how American-made porn dictates much of what the world is supposed to find sexy.

Sometimes, I think about how I should “already know this”.  Shouldn’t I already have accepted that what I believe doesn’t always jive with what the culture sees as sexy? Haven’t I read enough feminist theory, books about sexuality, blog posts by sensuality coaches? Haven’t I browsed Babeland and She-Bop enough in my lifetime? Shouldn’t I already have an expanded view of sex and sexuality and how I fit into it?

Earlier this week, I read this quote from Bethany Webster:

“Cognitive understanding is very important but it isn’t enough to transform us and create lasting, meaningful change…Concepts are like seeds of transformation, that when dropped into the body can take root and begin to transform us on the deepest levels. When we gobble concepts it is a superficial action. What creates lasting transformation is fully digesting the concepts and allowing them to sink deeply into our bodies, where the alchemy takes place.

Transformation has its own organic timeline that is out of our hands. It cannot be rushed. We cannot control or predict it. This truth can be hard to swallow, especially because our culture sends the message that success is equivalent to control and timely “results”.”

I had been “eating” up the truth about what sexy was for a long time, but the deeper understanding of it was not connected in any real way to my body. So while I was espousing a belief that sexy was more than gyrations and “acceptable” hip-to-waist ratios and long hair, etc. etc., the truth was that deeper in my body, I didn’t really believe it.

The truth is that my views are very much aligned with what the culture has declared as Sexy.

Even now.

This can be traced to living in a culture that devalues women and their experiences. If we are taught that men are superior to women, then it follows that male opinion is more important than what women opine. It is therefore imperative to focus on what men, especially the most powerful men, define as desirable and good and oh-so-sexy. Women must take their cues from their desires and fall in line.

And so, if the idea of Sexy is Kim K and women who look similarly and a handful of Victoria Secret Models and the “hot” yogi or what have you, then this is sexy. End of story.

The rest of us are just there.

I do know that sexuality and sensuality and attraction to who we name as the Sexiest People in our society isn’t a neatly drawn line between women and men. I know that “not all men” find the same women sexy.

However, I also know that there is still a very narrow definition of what constitutes sexy: it is young and immaculate and usually white-or-near-white looking. It is often performative. It is frequently divorced from how women actually experience their bodies. It is sterile and open mouthed and always eager to please.

Part of my journey in revising my relationship to my body, untying myself from the patriarchy is really digging deep in the most common assumptions I make about the world. This includes what I have define as Sexy.

Taking a moment to center.
Taking a moment to center.

The largest leap I made when entering the world of burlesque was not physical. It was not the tassel twirling or the hip shimmies, the bump-or-grinds or the standing split (which my ass can’t do without killing myself anyways.)

It was learning to see myself as a sexy woman.

More importantly, it was feeling sexy.

For so long, despite my reading of Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic, I had pretty much accepted that only certain types of bodies and women could be seen as sexy. I was more comfortable being funny and theatrical, because that was where I saw myself. Girls and women like me, weren’t seen as inherently sexy and feminine.

Intellectually, I knew this was bullshit, but I would literally find myself unable to do certain movements or flirtations in burlesque class due to these mental formations. And when I did, I felt stupid and silly. I was afraid people might laugh at me, that they would smell my awkward display of sensuality a mile away.

I felt like some kind of impersonator, that I was behaving like what Sexy “should” be. A kind of sexy that had no real connection to my living, breathing body.

But, I kept going. The first time I took a burlesque class through Brown Girls Burlesque, I stood in awe of these women of varying shapes and shades who so proudly flaunted their erotic personas on stage. I went to a ton of burlesque shows. I let myself feel awkward as I winked and circled my hips and was fully alive on stage. I danced alone in front of mirrors at home. I journaled about the hard truths about how I had defined sexy before. I expanded my media intake. I asked myself tons of questions:

Where did I first learn about what sexy was? How would my views on sexuality be different if I had never seen music videos or porn in my life? Why am I so tied up to mainstream’s definitions of sexy? When do I feel the sexiest? Who’s the sexiest person I know in real life? Which celebrities do I actually find sexy and which ones have I just been told that they are and reluctantly agree?

I’m still asking myself these questions, but the answers are taking on a deeper level of cognition because they are not just located within my grey matter. I realize that I can’t just “gobble” up these redefinitions. They will take time. The journey is not about what everyone else is doing or how others experience me or even their own sensuality, it is about my own truth.

So.

 I am sexy. I know that Perle Noire is my sensual hero. I know that mainstream attitudes about what constitutes sexy will probably not change much in my lifetime. I know that it is my experience and definition of sexy that matters more than People Magazine’s. I think that sexuality can be spiritual. I know that there is true power in the erotic.

I don’t know if Beyoncé or Kim K or Rihanna have really changed the conversation on women and their sexuality. Perhaps for some women, they have. Still, I think our experience of sensuality and sex is still too firmly tied to the most superficial of attributes. I want more.

I would like to see women talking more about their sexual journeys toward wholeness after experiencing trauma, I would like to hear about how women who aren’t the mainstream definition of sexy still experience themselves as very sexual beings, I would like to see a diversity of bodies of varying ages and abilities and sizes full embodied in their erotic power (but not just in a social media campaign), I would like to hear how black women have redefined sexy amidst racist and sexist expectations. I would like to hear how women came to love and enjoy their natural rhythms and love the most disparaged parts of their bodies; their periods, their menopause, their pussies.

These stories ARE happening, don’t get me wrong. I read about them. I listen to podcasts about them. New paradigms are being created. I think the journey towards redefinition starts when just one woman hears a common patriarchal “law”, tilts her head and names her own experience as valid.

Kudos to People Magazine for prodding me along.

Questions for further reflection: What do you define as sexy? When do you feel the sexiest? What struggles have you encountered in defining yourself as an erotic being? Who would you pick to coach you around feeling sexy if you could pick anyone in the world? What gets in the way of redefining your world?

Onward,

Hannah

 

3 Ways to Find the Goddess That Don’t Involve Instagram Hashtags

“An uneasy reaction to the word Goddess is common among women. Thousands of years of repression, hostility, and conditioning against a Divine Mother have made a deep impression on us. We’ve been conditioned to shrink back from the Sacred Feminine, to fear it, to think of it as sinful, even to revile it. And it would take a while for me to deprogram that reaction, to unpack the word and realize that in the end, Goddess is just a word. It simply means the divine in female form.”

-Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Oya inspired art I made
Oya inspired art I made

I used to think the only way one could incorporate the goddess into your life was to don clothes of the white toga variety, be a woman who wore flower crowns in the dead of winter and frolic around in green pastures a la Julie Andrews.

I have written about how I had to face some difficult truths about how I shallowly tried to embrace the Divine Feminine (here, here, and here) in what I called my Divine Feminine Fallacy.

But, how does one incorporate more Sacred Feminine energy into their lives beyond a t-shirt screen-printed with the word Goddess Is Me in Helvetica Bold or creative hashtags on Instagram? How do we go far beyond pure commercialism, “buying” our goddess energy as it were, instead of being in it? Learning about it?

How we start to unwind from the conditioning we have all faced in terms of this word and its associations?

There are times I fear the we are having a reoccurring “girl power” moment, one where we shallowly praise women and barely graze the deep-seated misogyny that undergirds most of our society. We make peace signs and yell GURL POWA and call it a day.

I want more. I want this damn world to be transformed by this energy. And part of that change starts with us.

This is by no means an exhaustive or total list, but I hope it can be a guide for you, Goddess. I really do.

  1. Explore and Accept What You Truly Feel When You Hear the Word Goddess

Do you cringe? Sideways laugh? I remember having to stifle a major orb shifting eye roll when I would first hear the word goddess. Granted, I was living in Portland, Oregon AKA Land of the Rainy Earth Mother. I was working with a holistic health counselor who was based in NYC and when she started incorporating goddess stories into her telephone work with me, I was like Et tu, Brute?

I was a girl who played basketball, went to military school, a black woman who was often expected to be tougher than who I was. I heard the word “goddess” used to describe beautiful women, but could not see how this word actually related to my day to day existence.

Now, I see that my inner discomfort at hearing this word was revealing some deep seated stuff. The ways I felt estranged from fully inhabiting my femininity. The ways in which I was raised to see God purely in masculine terms. The ways in which I equated anything associated with the Feminine with a certain brand of weakness and silliness despite my feminist leanings.

Yemoja inspired art by moi
Yemoja inspired art by moi, those boobs are shells

So, be honest about how the word makes you feel. Write it out. Talk with your friends about. Dig deep. Does it feel gimmicky? Do you worry your priest will find you in your new neighborhood and dole out 500 Hail Marys (how ironic) if you were to use it? Sit with your feelings. Notice what emerges. Live the answers.

2. Explore Your Own Cultural Path of the Goddess and read some books 

Part of the reason I was a little disenchanted with the Rainy Earth Mother Goddesses of Portland, OR was how some of these women seemed to be picking out goddesses to “invoke” like they were putting together a celestial grab-bag: A little Kali over here. A dash of Brigid here. A smattering of Athena and Hera over there. And when I heard there was a small group of uninitiated women who were worshipping the deities Oya an Osun, I was even more annoyed.

This is not to say one cannot study or learn from goddesses that do not necessarily “belong” to your culture. I will forever have a crush on Greek mythology, I love the stories of Amateratsu and Guanyin and Isis.

As a second-generation Yoruba woman, I know that my lineage contains stories of Oba, Osun, Oya, and Yemoja to name a few. They are not necessarily goddesses, but they are divine and they are female. Not every black woman in the diaspora has the gift of knowing where she came from, but there are many goddesses to  know (Abiola Abrams has an awesome starter pack of Goddess Cards only featuring those of black/African descent!)

Still, I am clear that I do not worship any of these deities. I do not invoke them or make altars in ways that are solely for the initiated. Perhaps one day this may change, but as of now, I am okay with being a student of the goddess.

What’s your lineage and what are the stories of feminine deities that are located in your own history? How do those stories make you feel today?

And if you like reading, well….

A Couple Books All About the Goddess/Sacred Feminine : Finding Soul on the Path of the Orisa by Tobe Melora Correal,  The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Elser, Pussy by Regena Thomashauer, Woman Who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone and Divining the Self: A Study of Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness by Velma Love.  (Just to name a few!)

Osun inspired art by Hannah Eko
Osun inspired art by Hannah Eko

3. Find a Your Own Goddess Journey and Walk It

When I first started reading about the goddess, I wanted to ape the journeys of women like Sue Monk Kidd or Meggan Watterson or Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I didn’t think my journey was all that interesting. I needed to travel to an ashram, become some sort of priestess, have the same exact synchronous mystical experiences as these women did.

I could not be a tall blerd* reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter on the R train and journaling in 54 cent composition books.

No, that was not intense enough.

But, really, the Goddess is wherever we are. Some find a closer relation to her by examining the demographics of their churches. Some find her by getting in touch with their bodies though a Wednesday gentle yoga class. Some find her when they are walking home from a party and take care to notice their breath and the ways they are connected to all that is life. Some find her by exploring their sexuality or reading female empowerment stories to their grandchildren of any gender.

There is no special certification or pre-requisite for exploring the Goddess. No timeline or six-week course. You don’t have to wear a toga or change religions. You can be who you are, committing to explore the Goddess in a way that works for you. You can be any gender and any age.

You can be you.

In my gradual acceptance of who I am, I have been able to host goddess groups with willing (yay!) friends, performed goddess ceremonies twice this summer, and last year I went to Nigeria FOR FREE to study (but what else?) the goddess in the form of Oya, Osun, and Yemoja. I have talked to strangers about the assumed gender of God and about once a month, some person I barely know calls me a goddess.

That girl on the R train who was aching for a deeper connection to the Sacred Feminine would be so proud. But, I didn’t know HOW any of this would occur. I just wanted it.

And here it is. Right on time.

I wonder what your goddess journey will look like for you. :)

Onward,

Hannah

 

*black nerd. (And proud.)

 

 

 

 

Feelings Are Not Milk

“There is one thing that, when cultivated and regularly practiced, leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and now, and to the culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body.”

The Buddha, from the Satipatthana Sutta

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What Happens: Your very close friend of forever tells you with happiness that she is engaged to a Good Guy.

What You Want to Feel: Exuberant joy and effervescence for her good fortune.

What YOU Do Feel: Bitter, slow churning anger in your gut. A heavy dollop of sadness that coats your entire chest. A severe jealously that you are 100% sure is blaring from your eyes and forced smile.

What You Do: You hug and congratulate your friend. Joke about ugly bridal dresses all while entertaining a raucous inner dialogue of Why Am I Such a Bitch? Why Can’t I Feel Happy for My Friend? What is Wrong With Me?

And maybe you go home and you try to shake these bad emotions from your mind as if they are raindrops along an umbrella. You reason: you should be happy. He’s smart and deep and treats your friend with grace. You love your friend.

Still the feelings persist no matter how much you talk yourself out of them. They follow you from bridal shower to wedding day, only dulling with time but never truly moving.

We all have feelings that seem to land on us from out of nowhere. Emotions that are ways away from what we want or expect to feel. A gleeful happiness when a colleague announces they didn’t get a prestigious grant. A welling of grief when we say goodbye to that one really toxic friend. Comparing ourselves to supermodels even when we know it’ll only depress us.

Sometimes, I think we forget that feelings are not milk.

They have no shelf-life, no labels detailing how many servings to ingest. They don’t stay neatly inside a container.

Emotions have a wisdom of their own–even when it feels like quite the opposite.

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In our feelings-averse, feminine-hating society, emotions get a bad rap. Especially the strong ones. Especially the strong ones when experienced by women: Jealousy. Anger. Grief. Frustration. Raucous joy. Sexual abandon.

We are told to “calm down”. To “think positive”.

(As if that shit always works, as if it is healthy and wise to stuff down our most intense emotions with twee platitudes of JUST BE HAPPY.)

What we not told is that feelings are truth. We don’t need to act on them, express them (like, yeah, no need to tell your newly engaged friend I HATE YOU BITCH AND WISH IT WAS MEEEEEE!!!!!!). We are not told that once we began to greet our feelings with curiosity, openness, and a hello, we start to learn and engage in the world more honestly.

So, how do we do that?

One way I have been learning to engage with my feelings in a real, tangible way is dancing.

Yes, dancing.

I don’t slip into choreography the minute I have a feeling, cuz, well, I do need to keep a job and my students might be just a bit confused if I started to gyrate in the midst of a lesson on writing closing arguments.

I have playlists for certain emotions.

Pissed AF.

SAD!

Hey, Jealousy.

Perk Me Up.

(One of my favorite tasks in the world is making themed playlists.)

I put on my music. Loud. If my boyfriend is sleeping soundly or I am away from home, then I slip on my ear buds. And I move.

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I got this technique from Mama Gena and Jess Grippo, two women who know that our feelings are nothing to run from or interrogate away.

When I first started Dancing with My Feelings, I felt all kinds of silly. Sometimes when my boyfriend would amble out of the bedroom all bleary eyed to go to the bathroom, I would freeze like I was caught doing something indecent.

No more.

Sometimes we forgot that we are not just heads attached to clouds. Emotions are called “feelings” for a really good reason: they show up in our bodies. This is part of the reason we try and run away from them, the discomfort is not solely located in our racing thoughts and attitudes, but in our chests, stomachs, shoulders, backs, and jaws.

Dancing helps me to move with the feeling. To give it a language beyond reasoning and meditation. I let my hips circle through envy and my arms snake their way through confusion. I get on my knees and pound the floor with my anger in beat to a headbanger.

We are not taught to do this. We are taught to bottle up and be Appropriate, to be a Nice Girl, and to pretend that all we have what Mama Gena calls a “vanilla emotional life”.

I say no more.

When I hear of another unarmed black person shot, I dance out my feelings of powerlessness and fear. When I am mired in creative self-doubt, I take a break to shimmy. When anxiety threatens to dull my message, I close my office door and I dance.

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I think dancing with our feelings is especially important for black women and women in color in general. We have to police our emotions even more vigilantly in a racist society that refuses to see us as full human beings.

Dancing can help us be truthful with ourselves, to give ourselves a gift of deep honesty.

And usually, something beautiful happens: my feelings reveal their wisdom to me. They tell me of my deepest insecurities, they speak of actions I can actively take, they assure me that I am still worthy of love and celebration.

Sometimes I end up crying. Or laughing hysterically. Or I sit in a quiet self-satisfied glow.

Everything is welcome. I may look crazy but I feel so free I don’t really give a shit.

The next time you experience a feeling you “shouldn’t” be feeling: dance that shit out. It will feel counterintuitive at first but whatever your body is called to do, let it do. You don’t have to best Ciara or even dance on beat.

If you want to sink to the floor in despair and shake your wrist limply, because you feel like a loser compared to all your “30 Under 30” friends, do that. If you want to twerk in front of your hallway mirror after seeing your ex all hugged up on someone new, do it. Write big and loopy in a journal in blood red ink. Wind up the windows in your car and scream like a banshee.

Let your body lead.

Feel.

Move.

Onward,

Hannah

Art: Oresegun Olumide, Mahmahmoud Said, S.C. Versillee, Dion Pollard More

Goddess (Sort of) Lessons : Kuan Yin

Kuan-Yin

Sometimes life just hurts. And the temptation is to close off, armor, numb, protect. We are encouraged by our modern society to do this in all kinds of ways:

don’t text the person back right away.

brag about how many fucks you don’t give.

filter away your imperfections and pretend that everything is okay.

And then there’s life’s inevitable heartbreaks, many of which are out of our direct control. there are still black kids dying for no reason except a world that says their lives are without meaning. there are the never actualized desires of our friends and family.

how do we stay open when there is so much pain in our own hearts and in the world?

I’ve never been someone who was good at not feeling. I was the crybaby of homeroom 18 who hated being picked last for kickball and couldn’t hold back my tears if someone made fun of me.

when i got into a fight in fifth grade (i accidentally hit a boy in the head with a red bouncy ball during a game  of keep-away and he called me a bitch), i was crying hot tears as I swung for his head.

I quickly learned that no one likes a crybaby. especially a dark-skinned black one. girls who looked like me are supposed to be neck-craning, eye-rolling, lips smacking tigresses who reduce people to dust with venomous tongue lashings.

black girls like me are not supposed to cry, to be hurt, to feel anything but rage.

One of the best things that has occurred on this journey to be whole is that I am releasing these old stories and locating my own path.

even if it means being kind of alone.

I used to never cry at movies, training myself to steel away tears when the violins hit by balling my hands into fists.

a couple of weeks ago i cried when I saw Moana. (that grandma part, man…)

I’ve cried on public benches, during graduate classes, in my office. I close the door and I let it all come out.

i  am a contemporary Mary Magdalene.

I allow myself to feel and look at my tears with an air of compassion.

I have been thinking of Kuan Yin as I embark deeper on this path of integrating my full emotional landscape.

As someone very invested in studying the Divine Feminine in any way I can find Her, I am always on the lookout for a good goddess story. I cannot (and will not) “invoke” various goddesses like I am picking from a grab bag, but I can remain open to their stories for inspiration.

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Patricia Monaghan, author of The Goddess Path, describes Kuan-Yin this way,

“She [Kuan-Yin] is not a goddess, for there are no such figures in Buddhism–although some may call her a folk goddess. Nor is she a buddah, one who has attained perfect enlightenment. Rather Kuan-Yin is a bodhisattva, someone who stands at the threshold of enlightenment; she is called a celestial bodhisattva, the highest rank of these semi-divine beings, for she stands as close as it is possible to heaven itself…she remains perpetually a bodhisvatta, rather than progressing into utter illumination, because she made a vow not to attain enlightenment while a single person on earth suffered.”

Continue reading Goddess (Sort of) Lessons : Kuan Yin

Spring Awakening (A Reflection)

How’s your Winter going, stardust?

Winter fading away...
Winter fading away…

We are about a full month away from the Spring Equinox (March 20th), though honestly, this week in Pittsburgh has had all the feeling of summer.

I didn’t have to wear my Michelin-Man winter jacket once.

I’m going to miss winter this year, a fact no doubt helped by the mild temperatures and limited amount of dirty snow accruing on the edges of sidewalks. Each year, I fall a little bit more in love with this slower, inward turning phase of the year. I truly believe we are meant to heed the seasons.

It doesn’t mean I go need to go into full-on hibernate mode in the Winter or race down the streets nude when Spring arrives (though, wouldn’t it be nice?) I just notice where energy is nudging and follow it’s flow in a way that makes sense for my life.

It’s actually quite fun.

Right now, I can feel the energy prickling the air as Spring approaches. I’m an Aries so Spring is kinda my time. Velvety green buds are appearing on trees. I want to run for no discernible reason. Creative ideas that I’ve spent all winter mulling over are starting to yawn and stretch awake.

This winter has been one of great inner awareness and healing for me. I send a hearty thank you to all who have made it possible.

As we head into Spring, I thought I would bring back the questions I introduced at the beginning of winter, a sort of mid-term check-in if you will.

The Questions:

How did I explicitly slow down (even just a little) this Winter?

In small and big ways. I curbed back some writing project goals. Focused on the slow curl of each rep during workout days. When my ten minute naps turned into two hour slumbers, I didn’t have a panic attack (this would’ve been my main mode last Winter, for sure). I went to restorative yoga sessions with my partner. I have started to actively pencil in daydream time into my calendar where I make weird art or lip sync to 90s alternative rock.

Slowing down made me feel more grounded and real. It reminded me that in a society that prides itself on depletion and busyness, it is okay to take a more human pace and let my body rest.

What is one thing I want to see born in the Spring and how did I use the Winter season to bring it about?

One thing I wanted to see in Spring was a deeper sense of self-love. I knew that I had my sticky places with food, money, and time management. I knew that it was going to take steady dedication to bring healing to these areas.

I’m not quite so good at doing “one thing”. It’s the Aries thing again…

For food, I enrolled in When Food Is Your Mother to learn more about my sticky own emotional eating habits as related to attachment theory. It sounds amazing and totally unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

For money, I extended my six-month clothing fast to a year, so now I have until August 15th. (Okay, I may have bought a beautiful burgundy vintage cape at a friend’s clothing swap for 50 cents, but other than that, no clothes shopping for this girl!)

And for time management, I look at my Happiness Planner (love, love, love it) each day and consistently remind myself, “I can balance my duties with ease.” Sometimes that is about all I can manage for time management BUT, I have been a lot less procrastinating than last Winter, so I’ll take it!

The light
The light

What is one daily or weekly practice of nurturing I practiced?

I spent a lot of my winter months solidifying my self-care morning regimen in a concrete way to show that I value myself. As of now, I meditate for ten minutes, say hello to my late grandmother, read affirmations aloud, and stretch for five minutes. It’s not much but it truly shapes my day in life-preserving ways.

I saw how easy it was to not take care of my Self. To put my to-do lists above it. To deem self- care frivolous and self-indulgent.

But, then I remind myself: My world and those in it benefit from my living my best life. And this includes the basics of self-care.

Sometimes I had to stretch at bedtime. Sometimes I read my affirmations in between classes via my phone. Sometimes I only got to meditate for five minutes.

Every little bit mattered. And I feel so much more steady in my self-care path because of the twenty minutes I spend each day tuning in and taking care.

How did I bring more fiery energy into my Winter?

Lotsa time in any hot tub I had the pleasure of being around. The weekly Burlesque Goddess class at Vitality Bellydance. Frequent visits to People’s Indian Food on Penn Ave for their lunchtime buffet.

How has your Winter been my friends? Is there anything you want to linger with before we greet the Spring Equinox on March 20th? What major things did you learn about yourself this season?

Onward to the light,

Hannah

 

Divine Feminine Fallacy Part III – THOTs on Hoes

mick2

Learning about sex as a girl is usually a curvy path. Some are brought to the realizations by the harshness of abuse, while others are nudged into the sexual world via playground tales and awkward sex-ed classes in junior high.

A woman is taught that her sexuality does not belong to her. It is part of her value, yes, but not if she owns it. Not if she is proud of it outside of cultural allowances.

I was always the “good girl” who was close friends with the Promiscuous Girl, the School Ho throughout my young adult life. I longed for the sexual confidence of these women and I was often annoyed at the boys who would point blank ask me about the sexual lives of my friends. Usually these same boys had similar if not higher numbers of sexual partners, but the double standard played firmly in their favor:

My friends were sluts and they were just, well, boys.

It’s an old story.

But, in looking at the Divine Feminine Fallacy, there was no way I could write about unearthing my true experience as a woman without giving mention to female sexuality and sensuality.

As  much as I sprouted quite libertine airs about female sexuality, I saw that there were solid stumbling blocks to my true acceptance of sexual pleasure and sensual expression as a right.

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It is not easy to be a woman who speaks about female desire openly, but what was my own story besides the “wing-woman” of my sexually adventurous friends?

I started going to burlesque shows in about 2009 and quickly fell in love: the pageantry, the comedic antics, the body sovereignty of each woman who took the stage.

I took a couple of burlesque classes myself, started playing around this different personas and characters in my long mirror in the privacy of my home.

Around this time period, hip hop songs featuring the talents of strippers started to become more popular. Former strippers were landing reality show spots, hanging out with Drake, teaching twerking classes.

Why was I hesitant to celebrate these women and their obvious talents?

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One of my friends was a stripper throughout her twenties. She had the kind of natural charisma CEO wanna-bes pay thousands to acquire. I was always riveted by her stories, her unashamed and unadorned ambition in a world not exactly as glamorous and fun as T-Pain would have us believe.

But, in my mind, there was a bit of a difference between the world of burlesque and stripping, one that, yes, had much to do with the “male gaze” (a term I’m not always sure I really get all the time) but more so with what ideas of society I had ingested about female sexuality.

I was dipping my toes in Respectability Pond.

And this did not solely cover the Strippers vs. Burlesque camp. When I peeled back the layers, I started to see I had some other ideas about female sexuality that were hindering my life.

Because I hardly saw women who looked like me inhabiting their sensuality and sexuality being celebrated, there was part of me that wondered if it was okay to find myself sexy.

Sexiness in the public imagination was starting to look like an onslaught of half open mouths and fiercely penetrating (lol) gazes. All without a pore in sight.

Was this sexy?

What is sexy to me?
mick6

What would feminine sensuality and sexuality look like if it wasn’t used to sell cheeseburgers? If women were taught that sex was beautiful and full of pleasure? If we were taught to see our diverse bodies with pride? If there wasn’t a rape culture and epidemic levels of childhood sexual abuse? If our mothers did not tell us, “Good girls don’t ___________.”

These are the questions I am asking myself.

I know…I ask myself lots of questions.

I seek to be fully free woman.

And part of getting free means revising and sometimes chucking out all the mess that clouds who we truly are.

I cannot leave sexuality out of this conversation for sensual peace is part of the who the divine Feminine is. Ownership and celebration of female sexuality are some of the major hallmarks of goddesses like Osun, Venus, and Freya.

Here’s to a new kind of sex-ed.

Onward,

Hannah

 

Art from top to bottom:

Mickalene Thomas, I thought you said you were leaving, 2006

MICKALENE THOMAS, Portrait of Mama Bush 1, 2010

MICKALENE THOMAS, A Little Taste Outside of Love, 2007

Mickalene Thomas, You’re Gonna Give Me the Love I Need, 2010

 

 

Divine Feminine Fallacy Part II – In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens

“In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.”
-Alice Walker
multi-colored plastic bouquets of flowers all crammed prettily together
Just searching…

 

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”
Adyashanti

“Spiritual bypass” is a term often used in circles where people are seeking a higher truth. Be they New Age spiritualists, pagans, mystical Christians or an interesting amalgamation of all these spiritualities or none, the term describes a certain type of seeker who is utilizing spirituality to ignore the real-life issues of their existence.

We’ve all witnessed these people. They’re the chorus of “WE JUST NEED LOOOOVE!!!!” in the face of economic disparity and misogyny and Donald Trump. They are the “friend” who replies to your grief over a recent loss with pleas to “just be positive”.

meme of shaquille oneal heads illustrating chakra colors
Chakras are groovy.

Sometimes we are even “those people”, dishing out feel-good quotes and pat advice like we are human Hallmark cards.

It’s easy to see that this shit does not work in hindsight, but not always simple to catch spiritual bypass as it is occurring in real-time.

One of the stickiest places that we often wish to bypass are the stories that live inside our families of origin–the painful patterns, the hypocrisy, the let’s-just-take-the-Sears-portrait-and-ignore-our-growing-dysfunction-ness, the weirdness, and just the day-to-day realities of familial existence.

As a seeker eager to dive into all things Divine Feminine, I was all about reading about the “Great Mother” archetype and the goddess worshiping cultures of old but I was consistently passing a blind eye to what actually was occurring within my own matrilineal line.

Without even realizing it, I was jumping over my life and seeking external opinions about what the culture had taught me about being a woman.

stained glass window of multicolored egg surrounded by blue tendrils

But, where do we learn most about what it means to be woman than within the lives and stories of our mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers?

It is these women who have taught me what is possible, what to believe about sex, my body, money, men, female friendships, relationships, self-care, food, parenting, femininity/masculinity, expression, success, God and all that I call Life.

They were my first teachers.

No matter what I profess to believe now, it is their opinions that are more often than not running the show. And until I sat down to examine what they taught me, no “Divine Mother” was going to redirect and “fix” my current life.

Of course, these women have taught me all kinds of life-affirming lessons, it is not just a barrage of negativity. And they teach not only with words and deep conversations–but within the tiniest details of how they live.

Lately, I have been sifting through these lessons and asking myself some deep questions:

What were the actual lessons passed down implicitly and explicitly in my mother-line?

What are the lessons I wish to live? What are the beliefs I need to let go of? And what are the beliefs I am actually living each day?

When does “living differently” from these lessons feel like I am abandoning my mother-line?

painting by fernand leger of three grey cubism style women overlapping each other
Fernand Leger, Composition with the three figures, 1932, CMOA.

The work I am completing here is constant and requires a dedication to life-long learning and shedding–these early beliefs are oftentimes not easy to discard.

They are literally in our blood.

But, I’ve started to notice something in my search.

I used to think the sifting through these stories required me to make a particular family member wrong or to assign blame.

Now I see that this search is all about integrity and awareness. It’s about truly realizing what is mine and what is not. It’s about facing reality as it is and not utilizing spirituality as yet another fogged up mirror, a clever way to obscure truth.

I continue this search, this investigation. I see the patterns–both gracious and limiting. I keep asking questions and sticking around for the answers. In doing so, my Divine Feminine life has a more grounded texture to it, for it is now weaved into my actual life.

My eyes open more and more each day.

What do you think you would find in sifting through your mother’s garden? Is it scary to think that you may just locate who you really are?

Onward,

Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divine Feminine Fallacy Part I – I Hate Successful Women

You know those memes that nimbly point fingers at some ubiquitous yet unnamed hater? Like:

Meme: haters are my motivators

And:

I'm not jealous, I just don't like that dirty whore

I am that Hater.  I don’t want to utilize this blog as a sphere of severe self-flagellation. (That’s what Facebook posts are for right?) But, as part of addressing the Divine Feminine Fallacies of my own life, I need to get real.

For many years, I thought my bouts of frequent comparison and envy were gender-less.

But, then I started to notice something when that familiar closed-chest feeling hit as I heard about someone’s creative career success or picked up a magazine with a gorgeous woman on the cover.

I was hardly ever jealous of men, no matter how many “30 Under 30” lists they appeared under.

What was it about other women that made my innards curl into coils of envy when I saw their successes?

In real life, I cheer my women friends and love seeing women leaders.  I played basketball (and loved the teamwork aspect) for over ten years.  I’ve mentored young girls and believe all those memes about helping one’s sister.

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Sadly, my unconscious was like, nah bitch…You Are Indeed a HATER.

It was tough:  I felt (and still often feel) incredible shame about these feelings. I want to be a “good feminist”. I am inspired by so many women. I love all things women’s empowerment.

The thing about self-love and acceptance is that you don’t get to live in la-la land if you’re practicing it right. You have to face some hard shit, like how you have internalized the patriarchy. You have to face the not-so-pretty aspects of who you are, the ones that don’t line up with what we profess on the outside.

After lots of meditation, serial-killer like scrawling in numerous journals, and a general openness to what my body has been trying to communicate to me for years, I discovered that I am a Hater of epic proportions.

So appropriate for moi
So appropriate for moi

I could have stopped there, decided I was a terrible person and a farce of a feminist, but I pressed deeper until I saw the story-lines and beliefs that were driving the feelings and thoughts.

I learned that believed in Scarcity in every definition of the word:

That there isn’t room or enough for me “out there”. That I don’t I have what it takes to be successful (not disciplined enough, not photogenic enough, not good enough mixture of witty-intelligent, that I didn’t grow up in the “correct place”...)

I believed that women are my competitors and that I needed to outshine them at all times.

THIS is what I believe in that deep, deep murky grey level of unconscious thought. This is what drives me to Instagram comparison and stalling in certain areas of my life when it comes to building my dreams.

Thankfully, jealousy is also a clue.

A couple months ago, I decided I was going to stop running from this feeling and letting it define who I am. As soon as I decided to do this, all kinds of synchronous happenings entered my life on the nature of female comparison/envy and how jealousy is not the end.

Competition and a belief in lack are some of the greatest bargaining chips the patriarchy has.

I remember hearing from the age of about ten onward that women are just naturally jealous. I heard my own teammates bemoan how women were just catty and that they “wished they could play basketball with the dudes, ‘cuz there was never any drama.” (LOLZ to those of us who remember the Kobe-Shaq Lakers days…)

The values of the patriarchy which so often blend into the tenets that uphold Western civilization espouse constant competition and the Marlboro Man mentality–the lone hero divorced from community and better for it.

Our media never ceases to tell women they are not enough in beauty, brains, or talent. That there are the “stars” and then there are the rest of us: ugly in our ordinariness and imperfections. Our society tell women that there is only so many accolades to go around.

And as much as feminism and my own critical thinking skills helped me resist these ideas to some degree, I had to admit to myself just how much I had internalized them.

Self-love means accepting that I am not the only person with this issue, especially in such a social media saturated world. Hopefully by shining a light on my own struggles, I can more honestly assist other people who feel this same type of cognitive dissonance.

When I feel the anxious stirring of jealousy or comparison today, I don’t wish or will it away.

Here is what I do instead:

  1. Admit When I Am Being a Hater:

I pause. I put my phone down or close out of the article. I listen to my body, the tightness of my chest or upper shoulders. I breathe into it this feeling and allow it to be as big as it wants to.

2. Dig Deep as to Why I Am Hating:

I ask myself some questions. What exactly am I jealous of? What is the Story I am creating? (i.e. I never earned an MBA, therefore I can’t start my own business, Good writers are recognized by age 30, etc.) Why do I think possessing said trait or thing will make me happy? Why don’t I think I can?

As I said before, Jealousy is a HUGE clue for what we actually want. It’s honestly nothing to be ashamed of, no matter how trivial the desire may seem. Perhaps we want to write more or travel to tropical islands or speak our political views without caring what our friends think. By engaging and being honest about where and who we are jealous of, we can start to build the life we want for ourselves. Usually, it is not that we want to be another person, we just want to feel such good things are possible for us too.

3.Tell the person!

Yikers. This one takes ovaries but once you do it, it bizarrely feels good. Sometimes, if the person is someone I know, I just admit it to them. I don’t blame them and I am not expecting or needing them to babysit my emotions. Being vocally honest allows my hater-ade to dissipate. I am able to feel more and move beyond the super grips of envy. Plus, the other person gets to see just how awesome they are.

You don’t need to drag it on forever and turn it into a self-pity session. (Please don’t do that.) Just a simple, “I’m mad jealous you got to meet President Obama,” will do. Many times, you may even find out they are jealous of you for some reason!

We humans are very funny.

4. Remember the Patriarchy Sucks:

It exists to divide and to stifle. It sells a story of Not-Enough and perpetuates a deep feeling of lack. It divorces us from people who can help us. Jealousy is almost always about feeling we are not enough on some level.

There was no way I was going to be able to fully embrace divine feminine principles without examining and discarding these vestiges of the patriarchy. I wanted a deeper integration of feminist values in my life and desired to support women in all their ways of being—not just when it was convenient for my ego.

Addressing my jealousy is steadily helping me to be a whole-hearted person, integrated and truly alive.

5. Take the simplest action:

Delete the app. Practice four square breathing. Take a walk. Actually write down the whys and who’s of your envy. Take the smallest step toward building your own version of success: look up those ticket prices, go to the Zumba class, write down 10 accomplishments you’re been proud of, dress to the nines for work the next day.

Above all else, love who you are in this moment. You are doing the best you can.

Don't know who "Jakee" is, but you are loved!
Don’t know who “Jakee” is, but you are loved!

Jealousy did and does not make me defective. It is not my whole story. I wish I knew this sooner, but I know it now!

If you struggle with jealousy or comparison, it’s not your entire story unless you want it to be.

Let’s get to that revision, shall we?

Onward,

Hannah