Jada & Gabrielle Share about Codependence

I ADORE THIS. !!! Thank you thank you thank you both for sharing!! Please, anyone who comes across this post, watch this wonderful video. If anyone watching this can’t afford an AJ (the wonderful life coach), I highly recommend reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. It, and the journey it starts, has helped me so much and changed my life.

It’s about $12 on Amazon or free in this Youtube video.

I’ve been learning new behaviors, much like the experiences shared in this video, over the last 3 years and while it’s an ongoing process, it has given me clarity and an understanding of the world in a way that I never had.

The video only mentions codependence one time, but in learning about the word over the years, it means so much more than what it sounds like, and most of the subjects in this video fall under its umbrella.

Although there is not one single definition of codependence, and there are over 50 codependent traits. Where I am today, I could see a short definition of it as “being someone who has a difficult time maintaining my authentic self in front of others” or as “being dependent on anything else to fill my self-esteem or to distract me from my lack of it.” The word “anything” leaves the range of options very open! And that range often includes extreme opposite behaviors, like people pleasing vs. isolation, even though both equal codependence. The result of the dependence on outside sources for self-esteem is usually an unhealthy relationship with oneself and others, which creates an inability to have real intimacy, which can lead to deep sadness and anxiety.

I didn’t recognize any of these behaviors in myself. I thought I was fine. But I knew my closest relationship left me feeling an ache that was dangerous. Luckily, someone opened up vulnerably in front of me about her imperfect relationship and after years of swallowing my pain, I randomly opened up to her. She told me to read that book.

I’m growing bit by bit toward real intimacy finally. Progress not perfection is a daily goal now. And as someone who never wanted to let anyone down, imperfection terrifies me, but finally makes room for me to live, take up space, and experience real authenticity and love with myself and others around me who are interested in authenticity and love.

I used to think that love was sacrifice or was shown by proving I would never abandon. I used to think I had to be needed in order to have a friendship or relationship. To learn what a healthy relationship is is mind-blowing to me. When I started to learn and accept my true self, I could let go enough to not be needed. To trust that without earning, I can be wanted. Just for me as I am now. Whew, that’s terrifying to write! But the times I’ve been able to put it into practice, it’s beautiful and creates real connection for me.

I had heard so many wonderful ideas in my life. Like “Be grateful” or “Detachment is healthy.” But in this journey, I’ve found that those ideas start at the end. Detachment hasn’t come first for me, self-acceptance, autonomy and self love are coming first, and detachment and gratitude are beautiful byproducts. I couldn’t let go until I had myself, my gut instinct and something bigger than me, to hold onto and trust.

It’s a daily struggle, but now I have many imperfect people around, who are also focused on healing, to grow with, and many tools to try to reconnect to love. I forget all day long. I was so practiced the other way for so long. I worry in a loop, I criticize my almost every thought, I use whatever I can to distract myself from feeling or healing. But when I can authentically allow love back in, the world shifts in a blessed way. It has been horribly difficult to learn this. But I’m beyond grateful for it all.

I believe that the type of individual growth Jada & Gabrielle are sharing about helps people heal and slowly start to manage addiction, anxiety and depression. It’s so good to see this deep discussion by people in the limelight. So grateful to these ladies for their vulnerability! THANK YOU again!!!!!

Sending love to those currently healing and who hope to heal

💗

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Why I March Alone, With You

thewholeruth-i-march-alone-with-you-whyimarch

This morning, I ended up writing to my friend Jenna about the march and why I’m going. Thank you Jenna for helping me hear my feelings. I was feeling them, but I couldn’t put them into words. Thank you for inspiring me…

I’d like to share my reasons for going to the Women’s March. I have the strong intention of going with others so that I feel safe, but at the same time, I intend to have a very individual experience.

It wasn’t until the last year or so that I realized that I’m the only one who is living every moment of my life with me. And there have been lots of moments in that amount of time. So my opinions are very specific and detailed. When I’m at the march, maybe some of the people there will agree with five opinions I have and maybe someone else would agree with five of my other opinions. But to find someone who agrees with all of my opinions would be strange, because they haven’t had the experiences I have had. And I have not had theirs.

Accepting this individuality lets me feel joy that I hadn’t allowed myself to feel for most of my life. I had it in my head that the only experiences that mattered in my life were the ones that related to other people. So if I didn’t have someone who related to my memories that were wonderful, joyful, I wouldn’t talk about them. For like 20 years. But they are my reality and they matter to me. Now, even if no one else was, or is, there for a past or present magical moment, I can embrace the outpouring of my own positive feelings. Or even if someone is there, but they don’t like something I like or don’t feel joy while I do, I feel it. And I’m doing the same thing with negative experiences I had too. It is beyond difficult to look at them, but it is healing not to be afraid of them anymore. They are relevant, to me. And no one else has to relate for that to be true.

This doesn’t make me feel lonely. It did at first because I only knew how to receive love through relating. Now nurturing myself with love is a byproduct of my honesty with myself. Acceptance of my reality makes me feel a fullness inside myself. I know myself better than I did a year ago and I like to hang out with myself. My self-love is new and can be pummeled by old punishing habits, but the teeter-totter is slowing switching sides.

Because of where I am in my journey, I’m not going to the march to join with the opinions of others or to have my experience feel large. Tomorrow is about me being enough.

If I could go naked, I would. I know that’s illegal. And that it also makes people think of sex, which isn’t what I mean. But I like how it could represent being vulnerable by shedding my layers, shining a light on the core of who I am and being content with that core. I mean it in a bare, open, simple way.

And as for the sex part of it, I feel like embracing my sexuality, as opposed to getting caught in caring about society’s many judgments of sex, has helped me embrace my whole self, my needs and my intuition. Someone once told me, “My sexuality is divinely connected to my spirituality.” It helped me see that my intuitive flow would hit my judgment of my sexuality and get blocked. I couldn’t be honest and spiritually full until I celebrated my whole self.

But, I will be at the march with clothes on because I’m just happy that I’ve been able to clarify to myself what my intentions are. And again, I like honoring the truth of my opinion and I don’t feel that tomorrow is a day where I can express it visually in an honest way.

There will be people there whose truth tomorrow is to do the opposite of what I’m doing, to tell vibrant visual stories and create clarity with color and meaningful art. I’m so grateful for them. I’ll just be doing something slightly similar in a slightly different way.

I guess I mean that just me quietly being there is enough. Showing up in whatever way feels good and possible tomorrow is enough. Maybe it will be bright. Maybe it won’t. (Watch, tomorrow morning I will wake up excited to wear hot pink glitter everything…) But giving myself permission to keep it simple is new for me. Anything more will be an added treat. Today I’m enjoying the honesty of discovering the present in the present. I guess there’s no other time that one would discover the present.

I also will be marching knowing that I am keeping some of myself for myself. I had never done that until recently. I was “all or nothing” and in turn gave my all and had nothing left for myself. I feel that it’s encouraged and rewarded to over-work or over-give. And that we’re only familiar with overdoing so those words shorten to become simply “work” or “give.”  I think it is a common thread among women. But I see that men do it too, in a different way. And often we’re both left with an emptiness that we might think the other doesn’t have.

My dearest aunt passed away last month and her memorial is the Saturday after the march. I know that in the past I would have not heard my inner voice saying that I want to be emotionally present with my family. I would have stepped into the wonderful whirlwind energy of the march and gotten whisked away and later resented myself for not noticing my needs. I would have given my all. But my “all” has changed. It’s still my all, there’s just less budgeted for other people now. “I need to be present at the memorial, to feel through the sadness of this experience, for my health and my heart. I need to grieve.” And I feel that marching in a way that leaves space for me, for my life after the march, is another way to stand up for myself as a woman. I’m allowed to matter: my past feelings, my present feelings and my future ones. Protecting space in the world for myself is kind.

It’s funny to me that to stand up for myself as a woman, I need to stand up a bit less for women tomorrow, but in doing so, take a stand for women by treating myself as I wish all women were treated.

Living this way looks a bit less exciting from the outside, but it makes my life on the inside much richer. And that is what I’m hoping tomorrow’s act and others like it will help make possible for women everywhere.

I feel the same way for men too. I think in a society where they are told they are weak if they have feelings, they say things like, “We don’t talk about that.” And their silence is a way of staying safe in the society they live in. In the same way that I didn’t embrace negative and positive feelings in the past and the present, it was eating me alive. I think it would be easy to resent the feminine in females because they are taught to resent it in themselves. I resented it in myself for so much of my life because I fell for the same story they are often told.

I am grateful that I’m able to now stand more often in my truth. I wish that blessing for all the humans on the planet.

So what am I doing tomorrow? I’m standing in the opinions I already have and saying that someone else doesn’t get to tell me that I’m less-than. We are all of value. It’s nice to get to be with others who will be standing in their own opinions too. I’m standing up for the fact that we all get to have different opinions and I like that.

So whatever opinion you go to the march with or don’t go to the march with, whatever way you express it, whatever point you are at in your journey, I’ll be standing up for it. I believe we are all here alone, together.

#whyimarch #womensmarch #womensmarchla #alonetogether #respect4sisters #respect4all #weareallofvalue

www.womensmarch.com | Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters | There are 673 simultaneous sister marches worldwide

www.womensmarchla.org | Women’s March in Los Angeles, C.A.

womensmarchla

Freedom To Be Myself On Stage, and Off

My mom gave me the July issue of Elle magazine for my birthday. It is about women in comedy and I wish every magazine was just like this one. I read Bridget Everett’s article about her comedy icon, her mom. I only know Bridget’s work through rave reviews and photos in Time Out New York magazine. They never took us off of their mailing list after we moved to LA and we kept getting them for free! It was our only bathroom reading for the first three years in LA and our regular bowels made it very hard to detach from NYC. My quiet toilet time would be a magic portal to New York art, music, literature, dance, theatre and other-worldly fearless night talent.

So I weirdly love Bridget’s raunchtastic cabaret shows and volcanic personality without ever seeing her perform! I recently got to see her move and speak as Maria Bamford’s best friend in Maria Bamford’s genius Lady Dynamite on Netflix. Bridget was hysterical as expected, so was Maria, as expected, and the whole show, as expected. Go watch that show. Anyway, all that being said, I was excited to read Bridget’s article in Elle:

My mom is an 82-year-old retired schoolteacher who raised six kids largely on her own, and she has no idea how funny she is. For starters, she always walked around the house naked, which was pretty wonderful growing up because she’s a big woman. It showed me that it’s just a body; it’s no big deal. She would go to the grocery store without a bra, so we’d call her “Beaver Tails.” She just didn’t care! But she’s totally beloved in my hometown. She’s turned into this old lady who rides around on a Jazzy with a cane, going through Kmart poking soldiers and thanking them for their service, then trapping them in conversations.

There’s so much in my performance that’s performed by her. Not wearing a bra on stage. Interacting with the audience. She was a music teacher, and when I was younger, my older brothers and sisters would all get shitfaced, and we’d stand around the piano singing songs from Barry Manilow and Lionel Richie and our favorite show tunes. That’s basically what I do for a living now.

When I moved to New York to sing, the only real singing I was doing was at karaoke bars, where I would just go crazy. It was mayhem. Literally ripping my shirt off, grabbing guys- it was the only outlet I had, but when I was doing it and getting reactions from the crowd, I thought, Oh, maybe I can take this to a legitimate stage and do crazy covers of songs and tell crazy stories. It’s a shamelessness and a freedom, which definitely came from my mother.

She came to my show at Joe’s Pub once, and I was so nervous. I mean, I sit on people’s faces and motorboat them. But there she was cheering the whole time, and at the end she came up to me and said, “That was freedom in motion.” It was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

This inspired me. It made me cry. It reminded me that what I want most, what I have always wanted but didn’t realize until recently, is freedom to be myself. I looked for it and found the freedom part in improv. I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, but only as a character. And so, after doing it on and off since I was ten, I stopped improvising. It perpetuated my addiction to pleasing others, to the fight or flight chemicals in my body, to getting a high from rescuing or fixing. And it gave me a false sense of freedom.

Once I saw that freedom was what I lacked and craved, I wanted to transfer that feeling I get on stage into my real life. It was mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, dumb-founding to imagine that I could simply have that wild abandon in my life. Not just on stage. I’m so happy on stage. I can taste the joy. The only times I had felt that in life was when I was helping others to the detriment of my own life. I only knew it as a high from a distraction. From creating a false, unreliable reality. A reality that kept me stuck in the same place, without progress or real growth. Alive, but chock full of old fears and confusion, which meant I was chock full of sadness too.

So I am retraining my brain to listen to itself. To learn that there are many things, people, outcomes I want to control so that I feel safe. But that not trying to control them leaves just me. And even then, I am learning not to control myself. I used to spend every millisecond of every day telling myself no. No, do it later. No, do it in a different way. No, do it more efficiently. All of these things usually led to it never getting done at all. I watched my life pass by. There were so many times I could see that because of my procrastination, I clearly missed opportunities.

I will say this next part in the past tense, although I am still currently practicing changing it in the present: My procrastination came from perfectionism, which came from fear of not doing it well, which came from fear that people won’t love me unless I’m perfect, which came from experiencing abandonment as a child, which gave me a fear of being left behind by the pack and dying. So I was used to being in fight or flight, all the time. The fear of death was a daily motivator and I had no idea.

So now I am learning to rely on what god is to me, my instinct, my higher power, a thing all around me that is also my inner voice. It looks out for me. Then when I remove controlling others or myself, there is not an emptiness, there is a flow to life. A momentum that is peaceful as a breeze in the summer sky. It moves forward. Naturally, organically, and truthfully. (This is not my default setting yet and is an uphill struggle. But neuroplasticity means that any-age dogs can learn new tricks. And happiness is a worthwhile treat.)

I’m getting to know myself better and am excited to put my newly-discovered calm motion into what I want to do. I thought that I needed to take myself out of improv because art didn’t let me be myself. But there is art that does. And there is improv that does too, I just wasn’t doing that kind. I’m excited to allow that freedom for myself in writing and creative aspects of my life. It’s new for me to see that I can have both freedom and be myself and it can exist in an artistic space too. I’ve only known being other people for so long. On stage and off. But art is expansive and we create our space within it by existing, in any way we want.

Thank you, Bridget.

And Bridget’s Mom.

And my Mom 🙂

“Doormat and Boots”…a love story

everything this woman says is exactly what i’ve been working on for the past year. each word resonates with me and feels warm to read. i’m mid-this. but i feel so much better already. i have more inner presents to open and wrestle or acknowledge or celebrate, but growth is happening and i’m grateful.

Basically Well

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Being a doormat, at its roots, is the same as being the dirty boots.

One lays there and takes on All, while the other wipes off an ugly collection of experiences. Neither are balanced and both love from a deep place of pain, in a very selfish manner, out of control and self preservation. Underlying, in both, are similar wounds that cause a fictional story to rerun in their minds, with titles like: “You are not enough” or “You don’t matter” or “You can’t do anything right” or “You are insignificant” and “Prove your love” The titles might be slightly different, their circumstances of origin slightly different, but, the central moral of the story is always the same. It is those old, often used, yet, absolutely true words “You cannot fully love another unless you’ve truly loved yourself first”.

Now, these are merely my words, written out of observation, personal…

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Owing the Good Samaritan: Anxious Thoughts on Receiving

15.5.18 TheWholeRuth Paying it Forward

The Good Samaritan didn’t say, after helping that guy, “Ok, now you owe me.”

I like to imagine that if he did, he looked like Clint Eastwood, squinting and sweating mud, with a rolled cigar-ette sticking to his lip, standing beside the fellow he helped, but looking off into the sunset because people who receive help don’t deserve eye contact. Except for one flick of a glare just before the long silence that follows him as he walks away.

I’m learning to ask for what I need and want, learning to take up space, and I’m learning that I used to instantly feel like I owed someone if they helped me.

Someone recently gave me a Kit Kat bar and the whole time I was eating it, I was trying to figure out how to give her two fancy chocolates that would cost about $16. This would involve driving to a special store, paying for parking, using my foot and back, both of which I’m healing in physical therapy, and having $16. It also would involve her having some of the most orgasmic chocolates a person can ever experience eating. That feels like a nice thing to do for someone. Everyone loves chocolates, and orgasms. But I’m not working right now so that I can heal. So I don’t have $16 for chocolates and thinking about how to repay her, which I can’t do right now anyway, took me out of the moment of enjoying eating the chocolate and feeling my hunger dissipate.

Also….

Why couldn’t I want to give her a Kit Kat bar in return? If I was insistent on giving something in return, why not give myself permission to give an equal gift instead of one sixteen times greater? This was all so strange because she had simply given me a chocolate bar that she wasn’t interested in eating and it was a simple action for her. And here I was triggered into anxiety about the whole thing, feeling pressure to give her a chocolate orgasm.

I’d like to say that I’m anti-using-orgasms-as-currency. Currency orgasms are akin to slavery. Some things should always be free and never bartered or traded. That Kit Kat made me forget how I feel about slavery. I really like chocolate.

Beyond the chocolate amnesia, I passionately didn’t want her to think I was only talking to her because I wanted something from her. I’d rather sit there, hungry, and see she isn’t eating the food, but know she knows she’s valued to me in an honest way.

And I wanted to repay her because that’s how deeply I felt the feeling of gratitude for that each layer of that crispy, crack-like Kit Kat bar.

In the moment, I was aware that my thoughts were irrational and extreme and I needed to just eat the fucking candy bar. But it wasn’t until much later when I had stopped judging the thoughts as ridiculous that I had realizations about them.

If I’m always worried about repaying during the time I am receiving anything, how will I ever enjoy receiving? (This is actually very applicable to orgasms, too.) And if I’m not truly experiencing receiving, what exactly am I repaying?

I’m learning that I don’t owe her. Now. Or Later. (That’s not a candy joke.) I used to think, “When I’m physically healed, I’ll repay this person.” But there are times in life when I need help and it will take all that I have just to get better. All of my energy is needed for me in these moments, plus some energy from someone else. And I thought today, “Well, maybe that’s because I won’t repay that specific person in a balanced way. Maybe I’ll end up repaying someone else later who is in that same needing place. And they, in turn, won’t repay me, but will also Pay It Forward,” as they say.

But I think that if I’m doing something nice for someone because I owe a debt to someone else, I’m not doing that nice thing because I want to be nice. I’d be doing it because I have to pay it back. This is the first time I noticed “Pay It Forward” sounds very similar to “Pay It Back,” only because the word “pay” is in both of them.

I feel good wrapping my head around the idea that I won’t set the intention to pay back those gifts that are given to me while I’m not whole, to the person who gave them to me or to another person. Sometimes people are deficient and need from a depleted place. Sometimes I’m that person. While I’m not whole, the stress of worrying about how to repay takes me away from becoming whole again. Which also takes away from my ability to repay them.

It wasn’t until I was trying to give this post a title that I realized that these people are just trying to give me a gift! Ha! It took me this long to realize that I’m trying to repay something that doesn’t need to be repaid. It’s a gift. That’s what a gift is. A loan needs to be repaid. A gift doesn’t. So not only am I worried about something that I can’t do while I’m hurt, it’s in regards to something that doesn’t need to be repaid in the first place. Sigh.

Whew, my little brain gets a big work out with all this unnecessary worrying all the time. My body may be weak, but my mind is overly muscular. I’m working on balancing that muscle ratio.

My fear of needing and wanting results in my never allowing myself to receive because then I would be someone who may need or want. I’m realizing I usually feel honest, wild gratitude for even the tiniest gift. I’ll say thank you with a heart full of hummingbirds. But I will sometimes, accidentally, not say Thank You for big gifts that I needed or for little gifts or words by which I feel overwhelmed. This happens because I’ll spend days thinking about it and dreaming of ways I could repay them equally. Or ways I could express exactly what it meant to me. Sadly, the days can add up to never simply saying Thank You. I usually recognize that my perfectionist hope of perfectly giving them credit for what they did gets in the way of taking action. But I hadn’t realized that subconsciously I felt I didn’t deserve it. And that not saying anything feels better than actually saying Thank You because that would mean I am accepting the idea of needing and wanting. And, up until last month, that idea freaked me out.

Also, if someone says Thank You to me, I rarely say You’re Welcome because I’m uncomfortable even receiving thanks. I never consciously noticed these things before. But I see them clear as day now. Which is weird because who has ever said, “I see day.” But I see them nonetheless.

I finally learned why I’m scared to want and need and it comes from a dark, sad place in my past. My little kid self is still trying to protect me from that old place. Humans are wired to remember where we see a bear in the woods so we don’t go that way again and we have a better chance of not getting eaten. So it’s easy for me to forgive myself for not wanting to recreate a bear situation. It was violently difficult to see that I don’t need to have this fear anymore. It was relevant when I was little, but I don’t have to worry about that specific bear anymore. Figuring this out recently let me feel grateful to my little self for looking out for me, which wasn’t something I expected to happen and it was nice. It was also a huge release to let my big self understand that I don’t have to make decisions from a place of fear that I never even realized I was feeling.

And, in regards to paying back that ol’ Good Samaritan, if I help the giver or others later, and a balance of giving is accidentally created, it will be a beautiful thing. But it will be coming from an honest, organic, strong, grounded, tranquilly motivated, maybe even orgasmic place, a place based on the truth of how capable I am in the present moment, not a place of guilt, debt, or Owing It Forward.