dry aspen leaves and
pine needles feel cold but

tickle your fingers too when you
gently trace, just the tips, so lightly

push down hard and they

crunch and poke you, fighting
even after falling, even when dead

looking, even when forgotten by most

bleached beige lonely

strands of mountain grass
sway softly in breezes that frost

the tiniest hairs on your rare bare skin

breathing in this air

heals wounds you don’t
know you have, heals pains

you’ve run away from in the past

like ice, melting against

warm and supple skin, you
quake at the chill, feeling life as

it tingles up and down your bundled back

this is nature’s pure

unassuming, unrelenting
whimsically enchanting magick

that always waits just beyond your sens

just beyond the checks

just beyond making balance
just beyond the noise of busy days

just beyond the boundaries of convenience

beyond beyond and be

yonder – where sensory is
free and definitions aren’t real –

limits mean nothing here, in the wild woods

where children’s laughter

haunts the shadows of trees
and light plays tricks on blowing

leaves – everything engaged in timelessness

do you know this place

have you wandered here before
did you forget the way, that used to
be so warn – come back my darling, it’s still here
the silence waits for a
song and hum to clear it –
to make the space full again, to

be the stage on which you heart dances free

step slowly after slow

step, one careful foot after
the next before you jump and

twirl and fall down into the embrace of it

let this peace be your

joy, let this grace be your
love, let this place be your home

dear one – let the magick in and rule this land

 

There’s a pretty major part of myself that I don’t talk about often.

Not because I don’t want to.

I don’t know how to.

Part of me wants to scream and shout, not give a damn who cares or thinks I should be different.

Another part of me tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about and I have no right to talk about things I don’t understand.

Yet, I can’t ignore the fact that this topic affects many areas of my life and thus deserves my attention.

If I were to lable it, I’d still have to give it a few

My sexuality isn’t exactly straight forward by my grandmother’s terms.

Trying to explain pansexual to her a few weeks ago was quite the eye-opening experience for both of us.

My sapiosexual tendencies were briefly mentioned but I retracted and pulled back, realizing more confusing labels weren’t going to help me explain the last confusing label.

I didn’t even get to polyamorous, nor do I know if I would have tried.

That’s just a bit much and I think baby steps are needed here.

My grandmother unsurprisingly reacted a bit shocked and had questions, which I answered honestly even when it was extremely embarrassing.

She had me clarify that no, I am not a lesbian and no, I’m not bisexual or ‘curious/confused,’ and finally that I have found people of various sexualities and genders attractive.

I’m not sure what she thinks about all of it but the impression I got was that she simply won’t.

She said something to the tune of, “you really would never lie to me would you?”

Almost as if to say lying to her about it would have been better.

We haven’t discussed it since, even though she has brought up me ‘finding a man to love so I can be happy’ again, several times…

I’ve learned to pick and choose my battles

My grandma’s happiness was assured through her 62 year long marriage to my grandfather, the love of her life.

I can’t expect her to understand that I’ve never wanted that.

I can tell her that I was confused by wanting to kiss my female friends when I was a child, but I can’t help if that makes her feel sad for me rather than happy I’ve finally been able to admit that after decades of shame.

I can tell past lovers that I never want to be a wife, but I can’t make it hurt less if they decide that’s the best I could ever be for them.

Ready or not…

I can explain to friends that I don’t simply find every person attractive, but I can’t make it hurt less when they feel the need to distance themselves from me or assert that they aren’t attracted to me even when I’ve never had feelings for them or ‘made a move.’

And in these ways, I find myself feeling alienated.

I’m 30 years old and only just beginning to get to know myself as an unbiased sexual being

I feel like an imposter in many ways.

I’ve largely only had sexual experiences with men.

I was married to a man.

My last serious relationship was with a man.

My only relationship with a woman was toxic and ended badly.

We had started out friends and were both with other people.

We eventually explored our sexuality and even polyamory together.

She got married and our relationship expanded to include others as well.

Eventually we had a complete falling out, which included ending our friendship.

I haven’t even attempted to date a woman since.

But I want to…

I get invited to parties and it’ll be 5 couples, and me

Many of my very good friends are married and have children.

And I couldn’t be happier for them – I love being auntie May.

Yet, I’m over here still trying to figure out how to even talk to someone I find attractive, especially if they’re a woman or trans.

There’s an entirely non-gendered part of me that I don’t even know how to make feel safe.

There’s curiosity, there’s desire, and there is immense fear.

I just want to be Mayryanna.

I want to present myself fully and without the censors I’ve been groomed to have in order to keep other’s comfortable…

So I’m going to a different kind of party

I signed myself up for a ‘conscious play party’ that will be happening in a couple weeks.

I got invited by a friend and was immediately interested and also terrified.

So, before I could over think it and talk myself out of it, I bought my ticket.

Reading the rules and talking with my friend, I feel confident that this will be a safe space to explore my sexuality without pressure or expectations.

I’m really excited.

Is it hot to think about? Well yea, but that’s not what I mean.

I’m excited to be in a space where I don’t have to explain myself or apologize for myself or try to qualify myself.

I’m excited to be in a public space where I can uninhibitedly dress to express my sexuality rather than diminish or hide it.

I’m excited to be around other people who have struggled to find their own safe space to explore their identity and sexuality, and especially to meet some people who do exist confidently and comfortably within these sadly, still subversive spaces.

I’m excited to face my resistance.

I’m excited to face my shame and fear.

I’m excited to embrace myself more fully.

Even those parts of me that make others uncomfortable and that I can’t always talk about…

I’m excited to step out more fully into the world as a confident and proud Polyamorous Sapio-Pansexual.

Ready or not, here I come.

I have a game I play with myself that makes me feel like a giant elephant turd.

I’ve played this game since I was a child.

You see, my dad would criticize me for my weight.

One of my sisters and my mom too – we were the chunky ones.

He would monitor what we were eating during the day and at night we just weren’t allowed to eat.

He and my naturally slender sister would have ice cream or cereal and watch TV after dinner.

So us “cubby girls” (sans mom) developed our own routine too, stealing and hoarding food – rebelliously eating it in our rooms together at night.

And yes, the takeaway here is that I’ve always been a rebellious little shit, but I’m actually really headed straight towards my relationship with food…

And you know, that really popular thing for women to talk about – body image.

Yup.

I have an interesting relationship with my body, and it’s gotten better over the years, but I’m realising my relationship with food has a lot more to do with the “punishments” I put my body through than even my body does.

I love food

I’m a Taurus and, let me just say, when it comes to enjoying the finer things in life I feel sorry for anyone who isn’t a Taurus.

That’s not to say that we are the best, not at all.

We are stubborn, hardheaded and fucking frustrating (to ourselves as well as others).

But, wow.

The way the simplest things can intoxicate our senses and mesmerize our existance sure is lovely.

Let’s just say, at the very least I’m a hedonistic sympathizer.

Yet, my skewed perception and rocky relationship with eating have all but robbed me of the pleasure of it too…

I’m hungry right now

Yet, it’s morning.

Somehow I’ve trained myself to ignore my hunger in the morning.

I won’t really “need” to eat until like 2pm.

But once I start, it’ll be hard to stop.

At least lunch will be healthy, afternoon snacks and dinner too – I’ll carefully execute control and pick and choose my nutrition all day.

I love veggies – so many divine textures and tastes!

But night always falls…

And so, this is my game

I’m in control early in the day, and I restrict and control my eating just like my dad used to.

Then, as my willpower runs out, I begin to unravel.

At night I find myself eating food I don’t want and don’t like, even when I’m not hungry.

It is the most annoying and frustrating experience.

Especially because it often robs me of the joy I have when I eat.

The food I eat when I am in control becomes systematic, my mind in full micromanagement mode, unable to slow down and appreciate what I am doing.

Then, at night it’s almost primal – thoughtless and chaotic food-lust, like I’m a bloodthirsty predator no one could possibly reign in.

And the real Mayryanna? She feels caught right in the middle.

I just want to eat my berries slowly so I can feel the exact moment the juice bursts inside my mouth.

Yet, I have hope

I have hope because I just realized for the first time that maybe it’s as much about the control and restriction during the day as it is the binging at night.

For real, that’s why I’m writing this.

All this time, 30+ years, and I never thought my confusion could be just as much a fault of the control as it is the chaos.

Despite my best efforts, I may never be able to increase the duration of my willpower, but I can certainly change it’s focus when I have it earlier in the day.

So, if I were to be eating for me (and not just repeating the patterns I developed as a child), what would that look like?

Well, it would look like eating breakfast every day instead of just 10-20% of the time.

Even better, it would be a healthy breakfast to start my day off right, maybe those smoothies I like to make or some oatmeal.

Spinach is my personal fave for smoothie greens

Then, eating healthy snacks like nuts or fruit when I’m hungry throughout the day and having lots of vegetables and plant based protein at lunch and dinner.

Taking my fucking time to eat and enjoy my food while I still have the presence of mind to be mindful.

I imagine it’ll be much less appetizing to binge on unhealthy carb/fat dense processed foods after dinner if I haven’t been fighting to keep myself in an extreme calorie and nutrition deficit all day too, right?

I hereby commit to feeding myself with care and eating with gratitude

So, obviously I won’t be changing an entire lifetime of patterning overnight.

But I am really excited.

I’m excited, for the first time in a long time, to feed myself and to eat without obsession or confusion.

To smell my food before I taste it, every time.

To listen to my body when it’s hungry, and when it’s not hungry.

To build back my own trust, slowly and intentionally.

To heal my relationship with food and stop punishing my body for needing it, wanting it and enjoying it.

To be grateful of the opportunities I have to eat healthy and delicious foods, appreciating every bite fully.

Mostly, I’m excited to be rediscovering what it means to be Mayryanna, one bursting berry at a time.

My grandmother saw a picture of me that I am rather fond of, it’s actually my new profile picture on Facebook.

I like it because I am happy in it.

THE picture

It’s just a selfie of a care free moment in between unloading groceries the other day, nothing special.

But, the sun is out and this picture seemed to capture the ecstatic feeling of the crisp winter air and the warm sun on my face simultaneously.

I wanted to share that moment.

At first my grandma said something about wishing she was as photogenic as I am.

I said thanks and was showing her how to post stickers and GIFs like we had been learning on the previous post she had been looking at.

She joked a little with me about “finding someone” with pictures like that, which to be honest I mostly ignored because I’m trying to become immune to comments like that.

Then she looked at me and said, “you know, I think you just love yourself.”

And I smiled.

But, something hurt too.

After a moment I said “good! I’ve been trying to learn how to love myself for a while now,” before wandering back behind her chair, to the kitchen.

I pondered the pain.

Right at the front of my chest, at my heart center.

Not the back which would be a defensive self-love reaction which I kind of expected, but no, in the front – in my community-love center.

Why is it hurting here? Questioning myself, I sat down at the counter.

I could hear my grandma’s iPad playing videos on her Facebook and suddenly recognized one I had posted about human overutilisation of animals as resources.

I started crying immediately.

I wasn’t sad because I thought my grandma couldn’t appreciate my self-love, I was sad because for some reason I felt that her noticing my self-love meant all my other love wasn’t noticed.

My love for her.

My love for this planet.

My love for creatures great and small.

My love for the men I have left broken hearted because I don’t want to be a wife.

But it wasn’t the love that was hurting, no, it was my ego about my love and the “sacrifices” I make.

I quickly did an inventory of my actions today and how sustainable they’ve been.

My eyes got stuck on the excess of material objects in my grandmother’s old family home and I just sighed…

What my grandma said is painful, not because of what it potentially means to her, but because of what it means to me.

I am the overly critical, hyperaware, never satisfied personal critic and I was just letting her voice echo my thoughts in those moments.

I’m very sneaky

I seek to prove my biases in all sorts of tricky ways, and if I’m not careful I can believe something untrue by virtue of my own distraction and impatience.

I love to make things that aren’t really my responsibility, my problem.

I know it comes from my childhood but knowing where a problem comes from doesn’t mean the work is done.

I’m still noticing when/how these patterns of behavior present themselves and trying to correct course.

Like catching myself hyperanalysing messages I’ve sent to people and groups because I worry my intentions may be misinterpreted.

Even though I truly know the people I’m talking with understand me in a raw way and I don’t even have to worry about it – I still find ways to worry about it and look for evidence that I’ve been socially inadequate.

Because I believe I am socially inadequate.

It always comes back around to me

My anxiety and insecurities have been constant, ever present companions – but, I don’t take them as seriously as I used to any more.

They are still there and as loud as ever, but I’ve changed the way I allow their opinions to affect me.

Instead of just believing whatever initial worst case scenario my mind cooks up, I explore it, like I did today by crying in the kitchen.

Does it resolve the fact that I have over an over inflated sense of duty to the world’s ecology and am using my grandma to project judgement on myself?

No.

I still have serious stuff to work through.

But it does save me from being disgruntled and hurt by my grandmother, which could make all the difference in the world.

Now I actually know what the problem is

I have a limiting belief that I can never do enough good to justify the harm caused by my existence.

So I can work on that (nbd right).

And this new habit of patient exploration also helps to keep me authentic and vulnerable with my friends.

Understanding that my desire to want to see their innocent reactions as critiques of my awkwardness is a reflection of my own beliefs and not necessarily theirs, keeps me from closing up and withholding from them.

They deserve the benefit of the doubt.

My grandma deserves the benefit of the doubt.

And I deserve the benefits of doubting my own anxiety and insequrities, especially when they are causing me to doubt the good intentions of myself and the people I love.

Even if I am awkward, that doesn’t mean I am less worthy of my friend’s love.

Even if I am not 100% sustainable in everything I do and even I forget to bring my reusable bags to the grocery store sometimes, that doesn’t mean I get to wallow in the self-depreciating ego-tantrum that doesn’t solve anything anyway.

And even if I have lots more work to do on my limiting beliefs and insequrities, this new patient awarness is certainly helping me feel more capable of taking those things on in honest and healthy ways.

It’s been a weird weekend.

The universe has a way of not-so-subtly getting my attention sometimes, and this is one of those times

It began with my lay-in with the kitties on Saturday and a subsequent surge of creative energy keeping me up that night, which then resulted in my sleeping in on Sunday morning, missing my mastermind group call that I’ve been looking forward to (literally day dreaming about all week) and feeling all sorts of confusing feelings.

My weekend culminated with more creativity, painting at a friend’s house on Sunday afternoon, and consequently I didn’t get anything I had planned on done this weekend.

Yet, it was still profoundly productive in the creative sense.

It was also filled to the brim with tid-bits of information, peaking my interest and confronting my questioning mind with even more questions.

One of which was an article on a poem by Mary Oliver, discussing the unique responsibility artists have to their creative self that other more practically minded individuals simply don’t have.

I found it facinating and all to relatable.

Definitely know now that I should NEVER be a pilot.

My “third self” creativity is always cranked full blast and I even have trouble distinguishing between whether I’m fully present or still at least partially daydreaming, quite often.

I didn’t even stop to think that maybe those people who are really task oriented and productive don’t have these continually distracting creative urges and whims ALL THE TIME.

So, here I was on Saturday, having just written about redefining success for myself, confronted with this idea that I have been assessing my capabilities and skillset from a flawed perspective and consequently have also been unfairly setting expectations for myself that stifle my curiosity.

This kinda set me off a bit (and also reminded me of another article I read a while back about how intelligent people are more apt to engage in novel and taboo behaviors like sleeping in and being messy).

I had a great fucking day on Saturday

Taken off Facebook. Did you create this? Let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.

I got in an online personal development webinar and did some much needed back end updates for this blog, but was most excited by the renewal (or perhaps merely the acknowledgement) of my creative energy.

I stayed up late, listening to music and writing poetry, and felt more like myself than I have in a while.

Flash forward again to Sunday morning when I wake up late and miss my mastermind group: I’m all but demolished with personal frustration.

Yet, there is still a lingering curiosity…

What the hell happened to me on Saturday and why does everything falling apart feel like everything’s coming together?

I never did get caught up on my weekend to-dos

I had forgotten about the painting party at a friend’s house, so upon being reminded I just resigned myself to a creative rather than productive weekend.

Psychedelic aspens have musical bark

Part of me wants to feel disappointed.

The other part of me already feels really happy.

I have friends, mentors and my coach all telling me to slow down, relax, go with the flow, etc ALL THE TIME – yet, with regard to this, I’ll routinely dismiss them (and these are people I highly respect and do not simply dismiss).

I keep thinking that if I just crack the code, if I just figure out the perfect morning routine or daily habits, or if I somehow become flexible enough to just do it all no matter what else comes my way THEN I’ll achieve flow.

But… What if flow has nothing to do with “buying mustard” like Mary Oliver was saying in her poem about the creative third self?

What if, unlike a savvy business man, my flow looks more like staying up late and writing moody poetry before sleeping in and going to paint psychedelic aspen trees? (Picture to come soon – just needs to be sealed)

And why is that prospect so damn uncomfortable for me?

Realizing the source of my discontentment

I’ve been allowing these musings to tumble about in my mind playfully, trying not to fully invest in one understanding or another, hoping to digest a bit more before fully adopting or rejecting these new ideas.

And continuing to read, ’cause it’s like my favorite.

So I came upon another fascinating article this morning, discussing the idea of millennial burnout.

Again, I could relate to it ALL TOO WELL.

I mean for crying out loud, my blog is literally called “optimal mastery” and here’s an article discussing my generation’s well-groomed addiction to optimizing themselves and how that’s led us to living lives of perpetual burnout.

Fuck.

It’s overarching theme of social disillusionment also reminded me of another article I read earlier this week about climate grief.

And you know, I think I’m beginning to realize something…

I’m not here to get it all right. I’m here to have a marvelously wonderful time messing up, being creative and exploring my experiences. I’m here to remind people what it truly means to be human.

Giving up on getting it “right”

I will never be the most productive, organized or on time (which is actually awesome according to this article), and that’s okay.

Actually, for me, a less-than-productive lifestyle is optimal!

Expecting myself to be able to disengage my own personality and quirks in order to become something idealized? That is the opposite of personal mastery, it’s dillusional and destructive.

Taken off Facebook. Did you create this? Let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.

So.

Where does that leave me?

Well, I’m not sure to be honest.

I think it’s somewhere between remaining committed to this blog and becoming more flexible about my ideas of optimal mastery.

I think it looks like more exploring.

I think it looks like more creativity and less rigidity in my daily life.

I think it looks more like living and less like striving.

I think it means continuing to discover what optimal mastery means to me even if that looks like the exact opposite of what the world thinks it should.

I’m up for the challenge.

Especially if that means I get to confront this burnout and the perpetual hopelessness of my generation.

My new proclamation of personal purpose and power

If we need a hero who will show us all how to fall back in love with being alive, appreciate our existance and protect our primal natures against the enslavement of capitalism and patriarchy, I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.

I will gladly go where no millennial has gone before.

I will stand up and proudly say, YOU DO NOT OWN US, WE ARE NOT COMMODITIES, OUR LIVES ARE NOT ABOUT PRODUCTION AND OUR WORTH IS NOT CONTINGENT UPON OUR UTILITY!

My psychedelic aspens

I will paint psychedelic aspen trees over all the billions of screens that are blaring advertisements to tell us about what we need and how we are lacking.

I will stay up late into the night, staring fearlessly into my own darkness and laugh at every one who tells me I am anything less than divine.

Taken off Facebook. Did you create this? Let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.

I will cry, no, I will sob over the massive extinctions and rising temperatures on our planetary home but I will also carry around my reusable straws and bags, appreciating every bit of this beautiful earth and hoping against hope that even if I can’t save it I can make active proclamations of care and concern to show others that hope-against-hope I will still try.

Little kids deserve to see me trying, they deserve hope, even if it’s just in the fact that some care enough to at the very least try for a chance at a better future for them.

I will dare to play again.

Little kids deserve to see adults enjoying their lives, having fun and continuing to play!

I will risk it all, every accolade and title, every award and acknowledgement, my own claim to this world’s current idea of “sainity” – for a chance to reinspire each and every one of us.

We are worth more than paychecks.

Our knowledge extends far beyond our degrees.

Our humanity is worth saving.

Our creativity is worth defending – even and especially against our own ideals.