Oof. You feel good floating down my veins, lighting me on fire, getting me primed and ready. You fit to me like a pea in a pod. You stick to me like superglue. SuperSUPERglue. You spoon me like the best of lovers. You comfort me like the best of friends.
I have always enjoyed your presence.
In fact, it was in your presence that I made some of my most important life decisions; when I left my hometown in search of a bigger pool to swim in, when I knocked on opportunities' door, believing the world is my oyster, when I hustled, and worked hard, and SURVIVED month to month because I believed in the future I set up to have.
It was YOU that knocked on an agent's door as a tween, announcing 'I'm here!'
It was YOU that flew across the world to NYC without a shred of worry about not having enough money, and not knowing anyone, and having a foreigner's accent and mentality.
It was YOU that showed up to auditions, day after day, facing the inevitable NO with open arms. It was YOU that saw opportunities and possibilities in the seemingly smallest avenues - an unpaid student film, a music video, a passion project.
But it was also YOU that was hurting when things didn't go your way.
It was also YOU that grew bitter, and irritated, and angry.
It was also YOU that reached milestones just to see they didn't feel all that great.
Ambition, dear, you exist in the gathering of something. In the chase. In the quest. In the hunger. Intertwined with Desire and sometimes touching on greed - you don't exist without wanting something so much that you spring into action. And sometimes - that action causes you to fall flat on your face.
In the buddhist belief, desire is the root of human suffering.
I get that, really do, but I also think that suffering is an integral part of the human experience. And so is desire. And YOU, Ambition, are an integral part of MY human experience. For better or worse.
Ah, we meet again.
The red face, the frown on my forehead, the invisible fumes coming out of my ears and nose... yup - that's YOU, all right, gracing me in your presence. Again.
I was expecting you, actually.
Not just because I'm on my period this week and my hormonal changes often bring you along, but also because some events this week have taken me straight to times in my life when I felt your presence, Anger, but wouldn't express you.
The child I was did not know how to hold space for you, Anger. The child I was used to slam doors, or walk away with a frown, or lash out and then run to hide in my shell. All normal practices, sure, but I'd say not the healthiest ways to experience and/or express Anger.
The woman I am now is much more ready to take you on.
I do that by:
A. Acknowledge your presence.
B. Dissect why is it that you arrived.
C. Call you out. 'You name it - you tame it.'
D. Observe my body when you hop over for a visit - Breathing deeply and shaking help navigating around your intense energy.
E. Unravel what is under the hood of your car, if anything at all. Is it pain you are protecting? Hurt? Sadness?
F. Not shame you for coming up. You are a human trait, a needed trait to move through something. And if you are not expressed - that something will grow bigger and bigger... until your next level Rage comes by and tosses you aside.
I am not angry of you for coming by again, Anger. Being angry at YOU would be counter productive... a vicious cycle, right? No, on the contrary - I am happy you show up to remind me where I stand on things, where my boundaries are at, when my ego is wounded, when I am triggered by something or someone, or when I am on that time of the month.
I am human, and you are an essential part of the human experience.
I don't know why it is like that, but I know IT IS.
You are seen, Anger. You are heard.
You are SEEN and HEARD, Anger.
No need to slam any more doors to get my attention.
Thanks to your visit today, I lowered my storage on my gmail account from 78% to 74% (this took HOURS), I did two loads of laundry (hurray), did some tidying up the place and ALL the dishes in the sink, binged on some mindless youtube rabbit hole, cleaned my desktop, posted a photo on Instagram (a tedious task, for sure), ran long-awaited errands, scheduled dentist appointment, vet appointment, physical therapy appointment because - well - I have health insurance so why not? Did Day 9 of a 30 day yoga challenge online with my beau and yoga partner, spent some useless time jumping between Clubhouse and Greenroom social media audio apps, listened to an entire podcast series about 'Mommy Doomsday', listened to some of my crush 'Conspirituality podcast', looked up mid-century homes on Zillow that I cannot afford because a girl can dream, read synopsis of Operas because it's awesome, brushed my teeth TWICE and it's not even dinner time, and even played a fun association game.
Thanks to your unabashed presence today - I did all that.
A day of rest from something, is a full day of - well, something else. Somethings. And I gotta say - I had FUN going with your flow today, I indulged in you, I soaked you in. With no shame, and no guilt. And for that - I am thankful.
But with all that you gave me, dear Procrastination, you also took something away:
I didn't write.
'Thou give it, and thou take it away...'
The gift is the punishment, isn't that so, Procrastination?
Until the next time you'll be on my path...
Can't say I'm the happiest to re-connect with you.
You bring along a shaky feeling in my stomach. My body wants to collapse into the ground.
My voice is suddenly three octaves higher. I age regress when you are around, dear Insecurity.
I am a five year old again, an eight year old, a teen, a tween, a young girl feeling insecure.
When you are around, I think the whole world judges everything about me. I am well aware that the world has better things to do than occupy itself with my lil' ole' self, but the self-indulgent belief persists. And then I turn my judgment on myself: I am shit. I am a loser. I am nothing. A pile of garbage. Inadequate. Imperfect. Insecure.
Being insecure is like not knowing one's self at all.
It's lonely with you, Insecurity. It's lonely when you join me. Because when you join me - I go and separate from the rest of the world. You are like some cult leader pulling me away from my family. A cunning and very charismatic cult leader. The cult of 'Insecurity.'
Clearly, you are intertwined with Ego, Insecurity. You disguise yourself as a victim but we both know that you run things with Ego in the lead pulling your strings. I'm on to that trick, Insecurity. I SEE you. I see exactly what you are.
You are a mistress of illusion: you sweep me away from my center, my core, my grounding, my KNOWINGNESS. You pull me to be all consumed with self-judgement, fear, self-doubt, you name it. You shove any inch of my deep self-knowing away like it was a plague.
But you know what?
There's something else about you that makes me kind of okay with all of that: You are TEMPORARY. That's right. You are a state, and in a moment - POOF! You will be gone, just like that. You are a passing sneeze, an itch, a pimple that is irritating as hell but GOES AWAY QUICKLY. You are a temporary nuisance, dear Insecurity.
And you got nothing on me.
Your temporary vessel.
It's time. It's time for me to deal with you.
It's been a long time coming. Twenty some years, actually. LONG time. I buried you deep in my stomach, in that in-between the gut and something else in there.... the kidney? The.... heart? I missed all of my anatomy classes, I'm afraid. My knowledge of the human body stems from personal experience and episode of the French cartoon 'La Vie'. But as they say... c'est la vie!
I buried you and you were seemingly fine with it. More than fine. You were happy because it meant you were existing, deep inside of me all this time. My mind thought we were over you, but little did it know how you'd show up in random opportunities to act out; In love affairs, in heart breaks, in hardships. You'd show up with that painful smirk, reminding me that you never really left.
And boy, did I want you to leave. I tried everything!
Pushing you away, moving across the world to run away from you, lied about you, repressed you, pretended you were GONE. I tried it all. But you were just there, staying and hurting me.
Dear Hurt, you HURT. You hurt so much that I let Miss Fear take over my better judgment and together we push you deeper in my subconscious every time you appear.
But not anymore, dear Hurt.
I am ready to deal with you . It's time. It's time to see you float away... to find another belly to reside in, to find another body to occupy, to find another heart to chew on.
Clear the area for some fresh hurt, younger hurt, treatable hurt. You are now stiff in my years of neglect of you. And when you are stiff - you hurt even MORE.
I will not miss you, dear Hurt.
But you may miss me - because I fell into every one of your tricks, and as a result -
you lingered on and on and on.
But now it's time. It's time to let you go.
You are my favorite.
Maybe I'm not supposed to have favorites.... or think comparatively about different aspects of myself... but I don't know a better way to express my unconditional endless love and admiration for you, my dear Imagination, my favorite trait, ability, human condition, whatever you are.
I don't remember when we met first, because you have always been there.
In the womb - you must have lead me down the path of fantasy of 'what life would be like' down the rabbit hole of consciousness. You knocked on my head and heart in my sleep, with your gift of dreams... you entertained me (and still do) for hours and hours playing with toys, or a crack on a wall, or a leaf that could be an entire world for my young imaginative mind. You saved me many a times from interacting with my more critical self. The critic who with a harsh smoker voice says 'no!' to every creative idea I would mutter, or flat out justify why 'I shouldn't live in dreamland.' My dear Imagination, you've introduced me to imaginary friends, and put life in all my barbie dolls and Lego pieces and transformers... You created stories with me for years and years. You still do. Every moment I live - I am intertwined with you. Every action I take - I ask you to guide me. Every feeling I feel - is packed with memory I can visualize and IMAGINE.
For those reasons, and for so many more in the future that I have yet to IMAGINE... You are my favorite. I love you. I thank you. I honor you. I truly wouldn't be ME without YOU.
I first learned your name from Steven Pressfield, in his fantastic book 'The War Of Art.' He wrote about you in detail, and as I devoured his pages -- I learned YOU had a name.
But I have known you long before I knew your name.
You have always been that crippling feeling in the stomach, the feeling that keeps me from going where I don't want to go. Like food swimming in my stomach, battling with my insides, refusing to be digested.
I let you win me over many MANY times, Resistance.
A simple hint at your presence makes me veer away into the nearby distraction, to no go deeper in my work, god forbid not to feel the sad feelings that you rather protect me from. Like the mind, you Resistance, think of yourself as my loving protector. But I'd say you are more like my tough shield, my armor, my guard. And no energy flows when one is covered in armor. No energy flows when YOU are guarding my heart.
Resistance, you are like a general who screams at me "turn away! Do not go forward into the night, into the unknown of your creations!" You want to keep me safe -- while I am a passionate young soldier eager to find what's at the horizon - what mysteries I'll find. What truths I'll tell. What stories I'll craft.
Dear Resistance, I understand you try to keep me from being heart broken, and afraid, and lost and angry. But the life of an artist is the life of a human. A human who lives FULLY - fully expeiencing all those things you'd like to keep me safe from. The life of an artist is dipping into the night, the unknown, with no shelter, no armor, no general yelling at me to turn away.
In other eras in time -- They used to kill us artists. Like witches, we'd be burnt at the stake.
Did they kill us because we built the stamina to face YOU, Resistance?
This letter isn't to scold you for doing your thing.
I respect that you challenge me. I even appreciate that you fight me in my quest to go deeper into the rabbit hole of my art, of my existence, of my calling. And I love how you try to block me from finding out new horizons in my work. Because every time you and I meet - you drive me further into my endurance, into my discovery, into my courage to live fully with no armor, with no blocks, and with no resistance.
Whenever I'm with you, my face turns red, my heart beats fast, and my body hunches over, looking to hide. It is almost as if I cannot control my body from responding to your presence. It goes into full Embarrassment mode, and you take the lead.
Tonight you and I met us for a little while. For a walk down my street.
It was a silly reason, really - It's often somewhat silly when you and I hang out - I was walking down my street to an ice cream shop, and on the walk realized me and my partner were wearing nearly the exact same outfit. Down to the same pairs of shoes! A his and hers version but same nonetheless. I was, well, you know.... I was YOU, dear Embarrassment. And when a group of diners in the trendy restaurant near the ice cream shop stared at me and giggled - my body went on to full Embarrassment mode: the blush, the heart beat, the bad posture... like clock work, my body responded.
One scoop of ice cream later and my body had forgotten about its recent beat change, but my mind kept going, thinking...: when did I FIRST feel your presence? When did my body FIRST learn to adapt to the reality of having YOU in its veins??
I don't think any amount of therapy or even hypnotherapy can give me that answer.
And I don't think it would make any difference regardless.
My body responds the way it does because years in your presence has taught it the best way to protect me. But there's not much to protect, really -- being in your presence may wake up old triggers and feel uncomfortable, sure, but it is also a humanizing experience, a humbling merge, a beautiful moment of vulnerability.
In fact, I'll go as far as saying that while I am uncomfortable with you often (or - always??), I am grateful for you. I am grateful that you continue to teach me what it's like to be human and to have human feelings.
Oh, we meet again.
We meet again and I am fuming.
We meet again, and WE are fuming.
If I was an animated character - I would have smoke coming from my nostrils right now.
And maybe I'd also be shooting fire from my eyes. Dragon eyes, for sure. That's what you do to me, Rage! You spin me right outside myself, you are an outer-body experience, you are the adrenaline that burns through my veins when I see and FEEL injustice, when I am fed up with the world's WRONGS, or when I simply have too much pain and YOU, my dear Rage, protects me from it. Sometimes, you are the reckless, impulsive, blatant GUARD of my heart, of my deep wounds and sorrow. We all need a protector, and sometimes, dear Rage, it is YOU that protects me.
But you do more than just protect. You help me express. You help me feel. You help me go to the core of my feelings and spit them out. BUT.... dear Rage... do you HAVE to show up in such a volatile way??? Do you have to take me (and, um, everyone surrounding me) to a world wind spin? Do you HAVE to shoot fire out of my eye-balls??
Maybe you do. I honestly don't know.
I don't know because you never really communicate in coherent terms. You mostly blurt out curse words and shout your way to existence. It is.... exhausting. It is draining. And it is also - liberating. Truth is - it feels good to be in your presence. It is freeing.
Thank you for your protection, expression, and liberation. Just... breathe a little here and there. And don't take yourself out on anyone... okay??
When you and I were younger, I held you close to my vest.
Not just literally, duh, but also figuratively. You were mine and mine alone.
I held you close, guarded, protected, safe, and no one was to enter you. No one was to see you whole. My writings were the only ones that got to know you, back then.
You may have been lonely, all those years. But you never complained.
You simply waited for me to introduce you to others, to open you up to the world.
I started, little by little, and before I knew it - you were open.
A open Heart.
But every once in a while, my tendency to hold you near - comes back.
My need to protect you and shelter you - returns.
My shield hovers firmly surrounding you.
I am no stranger to the opening and the closing of you.
Much like breathing - you open, and then you close. You open, and then... you close. And the cycle continues. And continues. And continues again...
Every hurt, every rejection, every judgement that comes my way - I go to your defense instantly. I don't always make it on time.... you have some scratches and bruises as a result. But you are grand and whole and beautiful as you are... and the more I open you up - I see that you are limitless in your size. You are infinite in your strength. You don't need my small limited by the human body protection.
You probably giggle to yourself when I put my armor around you. You giggle because you know that you are penetrable regarding of the layers I would put around you. You, my dear Heart, are NOT limited by the bounds of your body. You are NO body. You are EVERY body.
So, thank you Heart. For showing me that you are not the one in need of protection.
In fact - you ARE protection itself. And every beat of yours echos that.
So the next time I'll face rejection, or hurt, or pain... I will not rush to hide you. I will reach to feel your beat, to feel your protection and together - we'll be boundless.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman