+ tranquil woman resting on yoga mat in earphones at home

Find a Way #WithMe to Manage Stress: Introspection Meditation

Hey y’all. Sooooo… it looks like we are drawing to the end of the dreaded year 2020 here, and it’s a banner moment, I suppose. πŸ˜• Soooo… are you ready for some self-care meditation!? LOL.

If your inner voice just shouted “NO,” I totally understand. Meditation isn’t easy. And you know what? Life isn’t easy right now either. I mean, as 2020 draws to a close and COVID-19 virus numbers peak around the country and the news is filled with negative messages… well, if you wanted to hide your head under your pillow and sleep the winter away, I wouldn’t blame you.

But the fact is that now more than ever before, being proficient in using our stress management tools is a survival skill we just can’t live without. We need to be able to clear our minds, hone our focus and mental sharpness, and build up the resilience to tackle any obstacle that might roll into our path. In short, we need the benefits that a regular meditation practice can bring to our lives.

However, as I mentioned before, meditation is f*cking HARD, y’all. At least, it is to me! If it’s easy to you, more power to you (and you probably don’t need to read this article). But if you’re like me and you’ve always struggled with the whole meditation process, then you’re in good company. πŸ˜‰

I’ve kind of had a love-hate relationship with meditation. I mean, I love all the benefits that are supposed to come along with doing it, but I really kinda hate all the work that needs to happen to to have a “successful” meditation session. Y’all… I’ve always, always, ALWAYS wrestled with “quieting” my mind, with letting go of those rampaging thoughts always stampeding through my mind no matter how hard I tried to ignore them, with trying to sit still and unmoving in some position that inevitably became uncomfortable only 30 seconds into the session, and with finding that sense of elusive “inner peace” that everyone always seems to speak of when talking about meditation.

In short, I suck at traditional meditation. At a certain point, I simply embraced this fact about myself. It brought me a lot closer to inner peace, honestly (though I still have a long way to go). πŸ˜‰ And it was through this process of self-acceptance that I also realized that I had to let go of any sort of ideal of meditation “perfection” or the idea that there was any real “right” or “wrong” way to do it, if I were to actually achieve anything really resembling inner peace. And it was in this mind-state–one of openness, creativity, and wee bit of irreverence–that a new meditation technique was born.

The video below is a free mini-tutorial on a unique, quirky new meditation process I’ve developed for stress management and reduction called “Introspection Meditation” (yes, it’s a bit of a spoof on the INCEPTION movie‘s “dream within a dream” concept, but it’s also just as effective and useful in inducing a quality meditative state as it is humorous!).

The layered process of Introspection Meditation incorporates a “confusion technique” (a really fun and useful self-improvement tool) designed to release some of your more deep-seated feelings of stress and anxiousness by distracting your conscious mind with multiple points of focus — just enough to allow the subconscious mind to create real changes beneath the surface. The confusion technique is especially effective on highly analytical and observant personality types, who really need that confusion effect to free their conscious minds from trying (usually ineffectually) to control the meditation process (and often fumbling the whole thing in the effort).

This video is the fourth and final in a series of stress management videos that I have been releasing over the last few weeks of the year 2020, and it incorporates a wide-ranging conglomeration of information that I’ve absorbed over my years of study on coaching and behavior change.

Anyway, as I mentioned, this is NOT “traditional” (boring) meditation! But it is meditation-adjacent, and as with any meditation-like process, I would ask you, for your safety, to please not watch or listen to this material while driving or operating machinery, and as always, use prudence and good judgement in making use of ANY information you find on the internet. It’s just a good practice in general for ensuring your well-being, and I care about that kind of thing… because I care about you. πŸ€—

Thanks for watching! I hope you enjoyed the video! Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel or get on my e-mail list using the form below if you are so moved; I’d love to hear from you. πŸ™‚

Oh yeah… and if you want more… I’ve got more! πŸ™‚ More in-depth tools and tips, that is, that will be included in many of the courses soon to be released as part of my coming-very-soon online school, the Not Socially Acceptable Life (Un)-Learning Academy, at NotSociallyAcceptable.Life.

Get on the waitlist now for limited-time special offer pricing on the upcoming release of my first two courses:

  • The Secret Art of Feeling Sh*tty: How to Feel Like Cr@p Like a Bawse!
  • How to Sleep Your Way to the Top: A Field Guide for Those Who Just Aren’t Getting Enough πŸ˜‰

And remember… anything is possible! (And you absolutely 1,000% deserve to achieve and live your dreams.)

love from trish
+ photography of woman listening to music

Find a Way #WithMe to Manage Stress: A “Dialing In” Tutorial

We all want to manage stress and take care of ourselves better. Utilizing my video tutorial below, on a very specific technique for experiential visualization, is one way to do this.

So… experiential visualization… well, it maaaaay actually be a term that I made up, I’m not 100% sure… but I do know that it came out of my head without prompting when I was trying to describe this process, and I haven’t looked it up on good ole Google yet, but it’s definitely a method that I’ve been using in my coaching practice since at least 2014 to help people turbocharge their visualization effects. And it also is especially good for those who have an innate difficulty visualizing or “seeing” things in their mind’s eye and maybe are stronger in imagining using their other senses, like hearing, or touch, or smell.

So, bottom line — the video tutorial below taps into much more than just visualization (most of my so-called “visualization” exercises do this, actually, but here I am specifically calling it out as a broader technique — experiential visualization).

And I actually have a (largely untested) theory that our primary love language plays into the effectiveness of the different sensory experiences that we employ in our visualization efforts somehow. I know one of my primary love languages is words of affirmation, and a secondary love language for me is physical touch… and the addition of either or both of those elements into the mix of what I’m conjuring up in my mind really tends to amp up the effectiveness of any of my so-called “visualization” sessions.

I know all of this sounds maybe a bit hokey and woo-woo. And if you’re rolling your eyes and maybe questioning the power of experiential visualization right now, here are a few things that you may not know that might interest you GREATLY:

Anyway, if all of that doesn’t convince you, maybe just for the heck of it, give this technique a try for yourself, and let your experience be your guide. πŸ˜‰ (And let me know how it goes for you. I ❀️ hearing back from you all!)

Okay. So here goes. The video below is a mini-tutorial in what I call the “Dialing In” Process for stress management and reduction, and it is the third in a series of four stress management videos that I am releasing over the last few weeks of the year 2020. The “Dialing In” Process is my own spin on a simple technique that I’ve actually heard referenced in so many different contexts that I can’t really pin down the original source… if there even *is* just one original source.

But one thing I do know is that it is primarily a technique that I remember being talked about a lot when I was doing in-depth studies on hypnosis and studying how to use visualization to create positive life changes by accessing the hidden powers of the subconscious mind. So take that information for what you will, and as always, use prudence and good judgement in making use of ANY information you find here or anywhere on the internet. It’s just a good practice.

Also!!! Bonus tutorial:

If the imagery and sensory experience of a dial, control panel, push-button or tuning knob of some kind just doesn’t do it for you, you can create your own visualizations to help you manage stressful or anxious feelings. Yes, you heard that right! πŸ˜‰ There doesn’t need to be aaaaaany of the above-mentioned kind of imagery if that stuff doesn’t work for you.

If you want to create your own experiential visualization, here’s how to do it:

  • First give your anxious or stressful feelings some kind of imagery. If you could see the feeling inside of you… where would it be, what qualities would it have? Is it hard and dense, like a huge stone sitting in your belly? Is it wispy and puffy, like a wad of cotton stuck in your throat? Maybe it’s tight, like an overinflated balloon wedged between your temples?
  • Next, however that feeling shows itself to you in your visualization, think about what needs to happen to that imagery to change the feeling inside of you to a better, more relaxed, more comfortable feeling. Maybe the stone needs to be pulverized into dust using some kind of special machinery. Maybe that wad of cotton needs to magically morph into cotton candy, so it can dissolve into sweetness. Maybe you just need to let some of the air out of the balloon.
  • Whatever needs to happen to shift the sensation in your body and your emotional experience in a beneficial way for you, imagine that happening in your mind, and allow the shift to happen in your lived experience. There is no right or wrong in this process. Let your intuition guide you toward what will best help to shift things in a positive direction for you.

Hope you found that helpful! Thanks for watching! And please feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel or get on my e-mail list using the form below if you are so moved; I’d love to hear from you. πŸ™‚

Oh yeah… and if you want more… I’ve got more! πŸ™‚ More in-depth tools and tips, that is, that will be included in many of the courses soon to be released as part of my coming-very-soon online school, the Not Socially Acceptable Life (Un)-Learning Academy, at NotSociallyAcceptable.Life.

Get on the waitlist now for limited-time special offer pricing on the upcoming release of my first two courses:

  • The Secret Art of Feeling Sh*tty: How to Feel Like Cr@p Like a Bawse!
  • How to Sleep Your Way to the Top: A Field Guide for Those Who Just Aren’t Getting Enough πŸ˜‰

And don’t forget the power that your imagination has over your lived experiences… and focus on imagining your way into all the AWESOME. Because you deserve it.

love from trish
+ sweet marshmallow and pancake decorated with berries in lawn

Find a Way #WithMe to Manage Stress: The Marshmallow Heart Technique Tutorial

Stress is not something to be simply ignored. I mean, we can probably all agree on that, right? Oh, we can try to ignore stress, of course, but it can still have huge impacts on our well-being, mental clarity, focus, self-image, and physical health. Because we can FEEL it. We can feel it in our bodies, in our hearts and our minds, and oftentimes even in the way that we talk to ourselves.

In fact, some professionals believe that “toxic stress” can even be held onto and stored in our bodies in the form of physical sensations, pain, and/or ailments and disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So it’s no small thing to say that it’s important to adequately process and release stress.

But how do we do that?

Sometimes, a good self-care approach involves really listening to and becoming more aware of your heart.

You might not know this, but your heart generates an incredible, expansive electromagnetic field — one that is significantly greater than the electromagnetic field generated by your brain, and one that is, in fact, the largest electromagnetic field generated throughout your whole body. You might have imagined that your brain was the one running the show behind the scenes by sending messages telling your heart what to do, but the truth is that your heart is constantly sending its own messages to your brain and to the rest of your body. In fact, biofield science is all about studying how the energy field of the heart communicates — how your heart’s energy field can both influence and be influenced by the energy fields of other people around you — and this concept is arguably one of the foundations of energy healing practices like reiki.

The video below is a mini-tutorial on my Marshmallow Heart Technique for stress management and reduction, and it is the second in a series of four stress management videos that I’ll be releasing over the next few weeks. The Marshmallow Heart Technique is an adaptation and expansion on both the HeartMath Institute’s Quick Coherence Technique and Melissa Tiers‘ Heart Coherence process as described in her book “The Anti-Anxiety Toolkit” — with, of course, my own unique, quirky spin, including a lot of visualization and meditation cues… and, of course, lots of marshmallow references. πŸ˜‰

The Marshmallow Heart Technique takes advantage of complementary processes — experiential visualization and heart coherence — so that you can begin to learn how to tap into the power of the energy field of your heart to release stuck emotions and stresses, while simultaneously employing the power of visualization to tap into your subconscious mind’s ability to create behavior change, habit change, and changes in your day-to-day lived experience.

Oh! And here’s a handy little written summary of the process that you can use as a reference guide to help you practice the Marshmallow Heart Technique in the future (but you really do need to watch the whole video at LEAST once to experience the full impact and benefits, so don’t be tempted to skip it; you’ll just be cheating yourself 😏):

Thanks for watching! I hope you enjoyed the video! Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel or get on my e-mail list using the form below if you are so moved; I’d love to hear from you. πŸ™‚

Oh yeah… and if you want more… I’ve got more! πŸ™‚ More in-depth tools and tips, that is, that will be included in many of the courses soon to be released as part of my coming-very-soon online school, the Not Socially Acceptable Life (Un)-Learning Academy, at NotSociallyAcceptable.Life.

Get on the waitlist now for limited-time special offer pricing on the upcoming release of my first two courses:

  • The Secret Art of Feeling Sh*tty: How to Feel Like Cr@p Like a Bawse!
  • How to Sleep Your Way to the Top: A Field Guide for Those Who Just Aren’t Getting Enough πŸ˜‰

And don’t forget to practice speaking kindly, gently, sweetly, and softly to yourself. Your heart will thank you, and you deserve it.

love from trish
+ white and red balloons

Find a Way #WithMe to Manage Stress: A Balloon Breathing Visualization Tutorial

Okay y’all, here’s what I want to talk about today — the dreaded “s” word: stress. And a few hard truths — truths which REMAIN true regardless of whether or not you’re on board with the whole “breathing and visualization” thing.

Truth #1: Stress is real. And sometimes it kinda sucks. And sometimes it sucks a whole f*cking LOT. I mean, sometimes it feels like it’s sucking the very marrow out of the core of our being, doesn’t it?

However.

It’s also true that stress has always been a part of our daily human lives, and that stress can help us to learn and to grow and to self-actualize, when it is managed in a healthy and productive way (<–extremely important caveat!).

At the same time, it is also true that 2020 has been a rough year, a year that has hit everybody pretty hard, and the signs of that huge cloud of emotional and physical overwhelm continue to hang over us today with no clear end in sight.

Really, what I’m getting at here is the biggest truth, which is that, now more than ever before, being proficient in using stress management tools — tools that resonate with who we are, tools that REALLY work for us — that’s a survival skill that none of us can really live without anymore.

But I get it if you’re skeptical about that. Maybe you think we all just have to suffer through, and put on a happy face, and try our best not to just fall apart or implode as the pressure builds inside us. Because maybe you’ve never found a healthy, productive stress management technique that works for you before.

And I TOTALLY feel you on that, my friend.

Some of the so-called spiritual techniques and meditation exercises that I’ve tried over the years have felt so incredibly lofty and high-minded and soooooo NOT me as I attempted them that I never went back to them again after the first or second tries. And don’t get me started on deep breathing! Engaging in a series of complicated, muscularly challenging breathing patterns has always seemed to GIVE me more stress than it ever relieved. I remember once literally feeling the tension building in my chest as I tried to follow an instruction like “hold your breath at the top of your inhale for a count of 7.” Yeah. Sooooo not my thing.

Anyway, I want to offer you some better options. So I’m putting together a few little mini-tutorials to help you learn some unconventional stress-management techniques that have worked MUCH better for me over the years than many of the more traditional stress management techniques popularized in our society.

The video below describes my process of balloon breathing visualization for stress management and reduction, and it is the first in a series of four stress management videos that I’ll be releasing over the next few weeks.

Real talk: I know some of this visualization stuff may seem a little off-the-wall if you’re not used to it, but visualization is really an oddly effective tool, y’all, with many benefits — stress reduction being just one of them. The process of visualization actually allows you to tap into the power of your subconscious mind and channel that power toward achieving a specific outcome. Visualization may even help you to increase your positive thoughts and combat any negative energy that might be lingering in your life. So don’t knock it until you’ve given it a chance. πŸ™‚

Thanks for watching! I hope you enjoyed the video! Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel or get on my e-mail list using the form below if you are so moved; I’d love to hear from you. πŸ™‚

Oh yeah… and if you want more… I’ve got more! πŸ™‚ More in-depth tools and tips, that is, that will be included in many of the courses soon to be released as part of my coming-very-soon online school, the Not Socially Acceptable Life (Un)-Learning Academy, at NotSociallyAcceptable.Life.

Get on the waitlist now for limited-time special offer pricing on the upcoming release of my first two courses:

  • The Secret Art of Feeling Sh*tty: How to Feel Like Cr@p Like a Bawse!
  • How to Sleep Your Way to the Top: A Field Guide for Those Who Just Aren’t Getting Enough πŸ˜‰

And don’t forget to practice your “fire drills” for life, y’all!

love from trish
+ woman with flowers covering mouth, suggestive of not being heard, being silenced

What to Do When Your “No” Is Ignored: The Childhood Lesson No One Ever Taught Me

I want to start this post off by talking about this poem I read a few months back, a poem about a woman’s clearly stated physical boundaries being violated, and how reading it made me feel. The poem is called “Sunrise Lessons,” and it talks not only about the act of the violation itself, but how confusing the situation can be for the person on the receiving end of the violation — and ultimately how flabbergasting it can be, when you finally FIND your voice and by some MIRACLE aren’t afraid to express yourself, how flabbergasting it can be that SOMEONE CAN JUST IGNORE YOUR “NO” and act like no words were ever spoken.

This poem makes me SO mad, and SO sad, and just breaks my f*cking heart, and makes me ache for anyone who has ever felt this way or had to experience anything like this and anyone who ever will. (And my sincere apologies for the many CAPS in this post, everyone, but I have the strong feels about this topic and really can’t help myself from jabbing the CAPSLOCK button over and over. )

But y’all. The part that stabs me in the heart right now, the part that pains me most in this moment, is that the writer of this poem is me. And the MAIN reason that I didn’t post this poem here before or share it publicly months earlier than this is not because the wound was too raw. (To be honest, sharing my writings with others actually helps, in a lot of ways, to purge toxic events from my emotional and mental spheres.)

The real reason (if I’m honest with myself) that I didn’t share this poem publicly before is PRIMARILY because I was afraid that the person I wrote about in the poem — the perpetrator, the VIOLATOR of my personal boundaries — would recognize themselves in the poem and be hurt by what I wrote (even though what I wrote was nothing more than the truth). And if that sad fact doesn’t stab you right in the gut, well… maybe no one has ever violated your boundaries before. Or you’re a way stronger person than I. And if either of those things are true, I’m very glad of that. Because I don’t wish these kinds of struggles on anyone.

Because look… if I really force myself to look at this situation, to examine and come to terms with the fact that I was, after this VIOLATING EVENT happened, STILL worried about the FEELINGS of the PERPETRATOR, someone who had demonstrated ZERO regard for my own feelings, wants, and clearly expressed needs during our interaction together — that is truly f*cking mind-blowing, y’all.

For one thing, it shows how little I valued my own feelings in comparison (heartbreaking self-love lesson there). For another, it shows that I *still* actually believed this person had enough value and regard for ME to even be casually browsing my website or social media pages. Which is so unlikely as to be laughable, when I really stop and think about it. And yet. And yet! Some part of me obviously DID believe that. Or I wouldn’t have worried about posting this poem.

But no more. F*ck no.

I’m a different person now, and I’m in a different place, and I’m not taking any &#@ from anyone anymore, people. At least, I’m doing my best not to… but okay, it’s a f*cking process, y’all. Bear with me.

Because look, I’ve had a LOT of intimate personal boundaries violated over the years. (Oooh. **internal wince** That hurts to say. But there it is.) And I’ll be the first to admit, I rarely ever realized what was going on, no matter whether I was right in the middle of it or reflecting on things afterward.

And yeah, if you’ve read some of my past writings, you’ll know that in the past, one feasible cause for that lack of realization would have probably been alcohol — blackouts, fuzzy brain, not being fully present in my body. Things happening to me without my express consent, simply because I was not 100% “there.” None of which makes any kind of violation event okay. But it does make for a much different kind of sunrise lesson than what I wrote about in my poem, “Sunrise Lessons.”

However. I’ve also felt that sense of violation relatively recently, and in the midst of stone-cold sober sex (in the midst of the experience that inspired this poem, actually… which is one of the few times — perhaps even the only time, though I will neither confirm nor deny it here — that I’ve even had sex in the past several years).

And the emotions that came up as a result of that experience sat like this massive, ugly rock in my chest for days afterward, until finally I was forced to get really curious about rolling that rock over and seeing what was underneath it.

And since writing often helps me to more fully process what’s going on inside me, I decided to give my feelings a voice on the page. And so. Ultimately, this is the creation that came pouring out of my heart as a result:

As women in today’s society, we have historically been socialized to feel certain ways and believe certain things about ourselves, about who we should be, about how we should behave and how we should react to certain things. And while there are strong elements continually rising in our culture that strive to pull us away from the sense of wrongness inherent in putting any group of people in a box — a box is still, often, hard to break out of once you’re there.

And the fact is, I’ve only recently let myself fully believe that I had the right to even have boundaries. And I’ve only recently started to exercise my voice, to let my “no” out — first in my head, and then slowly, tentatively, out loud.

And if sharing this piece of writing helps anyone out there to feel even just a little bit stronger, even just a little bit more supported to embrace their own voice and plant their own “no” boundary flag in the soil of their own body… then I am glad I shared it.

Love you all. You deserve only the best. You deserve to be respected and heard. You deserve to have your boundaries honored.

love from trish
+ woman wearing black sleeveless dress holding white headphone at daytime, suggestive of ASMR

Yes, You Too Can Get ASMR AF!

ASMR rocks, y’all. If you know, you know. And if you don’t know… well, I’m super freaking glad you’re here! πŸ™‚

Because if you’ve never listened to ASMR before, then you’re about to discover a world of awesome, in my humble-yet-excited opinion. ASMR is actually shorthand for autonomous sensory meridian response, the term that is technically used to refer to the pleasant sensation of scalp tingles induced by listening to certain sounds.

I first found ASMR when I was in the darkest depths of my recovery process, and it helped me sooooo enormously with reducing anxiety, managing stress, and dealing with the insomnia that used to be my constant companion, that I just can’t say enough about it.

And I actually never expected it to work for me.

Full disclosure: I don’t even GET the scalp tingles that everyone talks about and says are so amazing, y’all (!!).

But it still works for me.

How?

I just find some of the sounds, combined with the slow speech tempo and the sensation of caring personal attention induced by some of the speakers’ voices, to be really magical. Like, soothing and relaxing on a level that I can’t fully describe. And definitely sleep-inducing, when I’m feeling insomny-ish.

For me, it’s kinda like meditation made easy — and I mean, made SUPER easy. Like… sliding into a meditative state without even having to try. “Un-meditation” is a good word for it, really. Like… all of the benefits, none of the effort. (I mean, okay… effort has its place, of course, just not necessarily when you want to relax, right?)

So anyway, in short, I think ASMR has a lot of potential upsides, and is definitely worth giving a try, whether you’re skeptical or not.

Y’all. I love it so much that I’ve even started experimenting with making my own ASMR videos! (Maybe I buried the lead, but that was kinda the whole point of this blog post. LOL.) Ultimately, I’m curious about the idea of putting out some seriously powerful life-coaching-esque and self-improvement-oriented stuff, but with it all wrapped up nice and cozy-like, inside of a soft, fuzzy ASMR bathrobe-y wrapper. So sort of like visiting a spa… but a spa for your brain. πŸ™‚ We’ll see how it goes; I’m still kinda in the middle of the creative process on it.

Disclaimer: I’m a total newb at making any ASMR stuff, so this experimental YouTube channel I’m developing to play around with my zany ideas and test out new possibilities is for sure a work-in-progress. Soooooo… here are a couple of links to some other ASMR channels that I absolutely love, if you want to see what the fuss is all about, outside of my little newbie ASMR creative kitchen.

Okay, and now… without further ado, here is my first little ASMR video ever, saucily entitled “Yes, You Too Can Get ASMR AF!” (Ahem. Because the name of my channel is “ASMR al fresco,” of course.)

This video is just an intro video, really, nothing crazy and nothing super intensely ASMR-ish, to be honest. Just a little bit of me playing around with different trigger sounds in my very first ASMRish video attempt ever, and generally trying to figure out how things work. (If you’re curious, the sounds explored in this one include: tapping, clinking, chimes, tingsha cymbals, water, crinkling, and one of my special favorites… a sound I like to call “skritchy-scratchy-ing.”)

Thanks for being here and checking this out! I’m super excited about this new creative adventure, because it’s just so much fun to put things together in new ways and see how they work! Feel free to subscribe to my new ASMR YouTube channel or get on my e-mail list using the form below if you are so moved; I’d love to hear from you. πŸ™‚

Oh yeah… and if you want more… I’ve got more! πŸ™‚ More in-depth tools and tips, that is, that will be included in many of the courses soon to be released as part of my coming-very-soon online school, the Not Socially Acceptable Life (Un)-Learning Academy, at NotSociallyAcceptable.Life.

Get on the waitlist now for limited-time special offer pricing on the upcoming release of my first two courses:

  • The Secret Art of Feeling Sh*tty: How to Feel Like Cr@p Like a Bawse!
  • How to Sleep Your Way to the Top: A Field Guide for Those Who Just Aren’t Getting Enough πŸ˜‰

And remember… anything is possible! (And you absolutely 1,000% deserve to achieve and live your dreams.)

love from trish
+ concrete building under blue sky

Uncancellable: Cancel Culture and the Dangers of the Digital Age

Not long ago, I overheard a man in my neighborhood who was outside talking on his cell phone in an animated, impassioned voice about how “cancel culture” was the reason for his daughter’s numerous difficulties at work and how people need to be so careful these days about every little thing they say and do, for fear of stepping on the wrong toes and getting “cancelled.” He was gesturing emphatically and looked on the verge of tears.

There was something about his words that stopped me in my tracks and made my heart twist uncomfortably in my chest. I didn’t know him or his daughter well, but I could identify with the urgency and pain in his voice. I hurt for him. I hurt for her. I hurt for us all, having to deal with this “cancel culture” phenomenon that has swept through our society.

Because the pain in his voice was a pain I think we all know or have known well, at least once in our lives. The pain of judgement, of criticism, of being told that we are “wrong” and unworthy of love or attention because of our very so-called “wrongness.” We didn’t always have a convenient catchy name for this, though, and it was a phenomenon nowhere near as widespread or rampant in my youth as it is in this digital age.

And I think that’s part of the problem with cancel culture, really — the digital age. It’s made us feel much less accountable for our own snarkily voiced judgements of others, because of the relative anonymity allowed by internet messaging and commenting, and yet at the same time, it’s made us much more likely to try to hold others accountable for the things that they may have said or done — especially if there is an online record of such sayings or doings, and especially if mob mentality tells us that what someone else has done is worthy of our scorn, censure, or derision.

But cancel culture is toxic, y’all. It’s rooted in the diseased belief that some of us are “good” or “better” and some of us are “bad” or “lesser.” And that’s just bullsh*t. We are all human, imperfect, fallible, and we ALL make mistakes. Some of us just have the unlucky experience of having our imperfect moments recorded and/or published for all of posterity to see, to spread around the internet, and to subsequently, of course, publicly condemn. But I really believe it’s foolish to think that any one of us has the right to “cancel” anyone else.

Cancel culture, in my mind, really has no place in a benevolent society, or in ANY community built on a foundation of compassion, understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect. Because we all deserve to be seen, to have our stories heard, to be treated with basic civility, no matter the mistakes and missteps we may have made in the past. Our justice system, after all (while admittedly imperfect itself), is based on these principles. Why, then, is society at large so quick and willing to abandon these principles?

It makes me sad.

It also makes me incredibly grateful to have grown up just before the digital age really exploded. Seriously, y’all, I shudder to think of what it would be like to have someone examine the entirety of my younger life with a fine-toothed comb, to bear witness to every choice, every word, every decision I’ve ever made. I would surely have been “cancelled” a hundred times over, by the standards of current society, as would many of us, I’d imagine.

I am, after all, only a human, and while I have learned and grown and become a better person over time, I don’t think any of us necessarily starts out that way — fully formed and evolved and self-actualized and all that. We have to fall in the dirt in order to learn how to pick ourselves up. We have to know what it feels like to be low to know how to begin to rise up, to lift ourselves out of the muck. I mean, my god y’all, we have to MAKE mistakes in order to learn how to be truly compassionate in the first place.

Anyway, all of that is basically just to say, in my mind, we are ALL worthy of love and respect, we are all enough, just as we are, imperfect messes and all. It is our very imperfections, in fact, that make us beautiful.

And to those of you who have been forced to grow up under the hot, relentless spotlight of this vicious digital age, my heart goes out to you, and I love you, my dear sweet darlings. I will always believe that we are all uncancellable. And I hope that you can believe that of yourself too, especially if society ever tries to tell you different.

love from trish
+ woman with insomnia lying sleepless in bed

O-Oh, Those Sleepless Ni-iiiights: An Insomniac’s Anthem

Sleeplessness is a slow, maddening torture. And insomnia is a torture that, I would imagine, many of us are suffering under the weight of these days — especially with all of the stress and anxiousness that the events of 2020 have heaped upon us all.

I spent many years of my adult life struggling with a slowly but gradually worsening level of insomnia — a struggle that became most pronounced in the year leading up to and the year following a very emotional and energy-draining divorce process.

Not coincidentally, this is also the same period of time during which my alcohol overuse became most pronounced.

Now, I’m absolutely not here to focus on the alcohol-induced part of all this, BUT… since reports of alcohol use and alcohol-related issues have been on the rise this year, ever since COVID, ever since quarantine, ever since the resultant dramatic increase in our collective sense of isolation… well, I will say this:

Probably one of the deepest, darkest, sneakiest trap-door pits that alcohol can send you careening into is the pit of insomnia, my friends, because at the very same time that you are becoming psychologically reliant upon the comforting numbness and emotionally anesthetizing effects of alcohol, you are also strapping yourself into the hurtling roller coaster ride of alcohol’s effects on your blood sugar.

And the result is this:

You become psychologically dependent upon alcohol to deaden your mind and quiet your thoughts enough to fall asleep, and YET… as you lie in bed, as your body processes and metabolizes the alcohol in your bloodstream, the resultant spikes and drops in your blood sugar actually PREVENT you from getting the deep, quality sleep you need. In fact, those blood sugar changes are actually the CAUSE of those incessant 3am wake-ups you start having, the ones that leave you so restless and awful-feeling that the rest of your night is basically shot to hell. Unless you down a bunch of alcohol again. And thus begins the cycle again. And you still never get the deep rejuvenating sleep that you really need for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Anyway, it sucks. But, of course, as we all know, alcohol isn’t the only cause of insomnia. It just makes the experience so much worse.

Even before my journey into teetotaling began, though, even from very young childhood, I had my fair share of experiences with stress-related and circular-thinking-induced sleeplessness as well — being a pretty classic Type-A personality, an overthinker, an analytical mind, and a worrier by nature. I mean, I remember worrying about various things that were happening in my life even at the tender age of 5 years old, y’all. Yep, I was an overachiever, even in the anxiousness department.

(Sidenote: A lot of those overthinking/analytical-mind qualities were what made the escapism of drunkenness so appealing to me, when I finally experienced that mind state for the first time. But that’s another story.)

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about how it used to feel, being locked in that cycle of sleeplessness, the hopeless feeling it induced, and for some reason, a bit of lyricism struck me (set to the tune of “Summer Nights” from the movie “Grease,” of all things).

And I was inspired to complete these parody lyrics as a little nod (pun intended) to a time in my life that was a true BEAR of a struggle, but that I am conquering. Because sleep is a frontier that I continue to take back, to take ownership of, to fall into the healing arms of, one night at a time.

So here is my little creation, entitled “O-Oh, Those Sleepless Ni-iiiights: An Insomniac’s Anthem,” and including a YouTube video featuring a totally pawsome a capella rendition of the piece by my oh-so-sweet vocalist assistant, BunnyKitty:

LYRICS:

β™ͺ Darkness falls, inky and vast.
β™ͺ I crawl in bed, but sleep won't come fast.

β™ͺ I toss and turn, but never go deep.
β™ͺ Nothing works, even counting sheep.

β™ͺ For zzz's I pray, as in my bed I lay
β™ͺ On o-oh, those sleepless ni-iiiights.

        β™« Sleep's a chore, even a snore
        β™« I just cannot achieve.

        β™« Por favor, nevermore!
        β™« I just want a reprieve.

β™ͺ 3am -- I stare at my phone.
β™ͺ Alarm clock mocks me; I let out a groan.

β™ͺ Have to get up, in less than 2 hours.
β™ͺ If only I had... sleepy-time superpowers!

β™ͺ Feeling restless and tight, my tensions ignite
β™ͺ On o-oh, those sleepless ni-iiiights.

        β™« Thoughts they race, as zzz's I chase,
        β™« Circling 'round in my head.

        β™« Worries displace my sense of grace
        β™« And leave me brimming with dread.

β™ͺ Blinking up, at my ceiling fan.
β™ͺ Can I bear it? Don't know if I can.

β™ͺ Insomnia, you insidious mess,
β™ͺ Leaving me nothing but distress.

β™ͺ Morning sun says the new day's begun,
β™ͺ Ending o-oh my sleepless ni-iiiight.

As I said, the VERY good thing is that I don’t feel stuck in that anthem anymore.

But if any of that rings true for you, and it’s something you’re struggling with right now, you’re soooooo not alone, love. And there are steps you can take.

As part of my efforts over the years to beat my insomnia struggles — in addition to embracing sobriety — I spent a lot of time learning about how the brain works and researching and trying various techniques for getting more high-quality sleep.

I can’t say that I’ve tried everything, but I’ve certainly tried a lot, and being the type of person who embraces the odd, the quirky, and the weird, I’ve maybe tried some things that you’ve never even heard of. I definitely tried a few things that I never thought would work but that did!

And in the spirit of giving back, I’m in the process of putting together an online course filled with all the MOST helpful tips and tricks I picked up along the way, as well as some useful techniques that I created myself and that helped me a lot in getting back on track.

Of course, in true Trish style, this course will be infused with all the pizzazz, flavor, and spirit of my “Not Socially Acceptable” Life (Un)-Learning Academy, since that’s where I’ll be creating and hosting it.

Keep an eye out for more info here about the upcoming launch of the course, “How to Sleep Your Way to the Top: A Field Guide for Those Who Just Aren’t Getting Enough,” or, if you’re super impatient like me, go ahead and get on the wait-list now at NotSociallyAcceptable.Life. 😜

love from trish
+ book on a white wooden table

Journal Entry #19: A Hildegard von Bingen Writing Party!

So one of my good friends recently hosted a writing party with a bunch of writing prompts inspired by the work of Hildegard von Bingen, and it was so very muchly, muchly, like… super fun, and really also just… wayyyy more productive than I could have ever imagined. So I just wanted to repost the products of that writing party here, because it feels like a significant part of my journey, and I wanted to share it with you all.

And I guess, maybe that’s all a bunch of gibberish to anyone but me, but I think writing is just like that sometimes, isn’t it? I mean, there are some famous poetic writings that people are still debating the meaning of, after all.

The important thing about all this, to me, is that I can definitely see the ways that I’ve changed and grown and the things that I’ve learned over the years reflected in these writings. And that has a lot of significance to me. My growth feels like a big deal. And, for just a minute or two, I felt like celebrating that. (And that part — the whole “feeling like celebrating myself” thing — yeah, that’s big-time growth in itself, for me.)

Anyway. I love you all. ❀️️ Thanks for being here, and for reading. πŸ™

And many prayers and warm wishes to you — my most heartfelt wish for you being that, if you haven’t already, you are able to find that place in yourself that has grown and expanded and evolved in positive ways over the years, and that you are able to celebrate yourself in your own beautiful life’s accomplishments as well.

For context on this post, and links to related journal entries from this particular piece of my life's journey, see My Sobriety Journey, Journaled.
+ person wearing red hoodie

Journal Entry #18: On Feeling My Feelings

I don’t think I knew how to feel any real feelings, except maybe brief, barely contained spasms of all-consuming rage (though even that much was rarely expressed), until I was 19 years old.

But as far as the rage goes…

I remember vivid bursts of white-hot intensity at various times in my youth, mostly stemming from feelings of indignation and feelings of being wronged and feelings of very much not being heard by the adults in my life.

And I remember that screaming into a pillow and punching the bedsheets repeatedly with all my might felt like not NEARLY enough to contain my anger… I remember that I wanted to literally DESTROY something.

And at the same time, on some deeper, instinctive level, I knew that there was no possible PHYSICAL outlet I knew of for that overwhelmingly destructive impulse (born of overwhelmingly destructive emotional pain that I didn’t know how to release) that wouldn’t also destroy me… so I bottled it, more often than not.

And I remember feeling HUGE tsunami-sized waves of shame over the very existence of that anger and that destructive desire, at several points in my adolescence.

And so.

As you may have picked up from my previous writings… I’ve been a closed shell for most of my life, but most notably in my younger years. Much of it stems from what I attribute to a lack of physical affection at a very young age, since I was in and out of the hospital frequently as a newborn, due to health issues… and when not in hospital care… well…

I was the child of a teenage mother — a mother who was a wild child, a flower child in many ways. And the only memorable photo I remember finding in my grandmother’s things of the two of us — my free-spirited mother and I — spending time together when I was an infant was an image of me lying alone on the sofa, clearly in designated “tummy time,” surrounded by pillows, all by myself, with my mother sitting beside me but yet completely apart from me, not touching me, not smiling at me, even her attention focused on someone else out of the frame of the photo.

So anyway.

My true, deep, non-rage-induced feelings finally erupted out of me for the first time in the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot when I was around 19. But that’s another story. A complicated one.

But the feelings… I drowned them in alcohol, because that was what I knew, at the time. It was all I knew to do.

Why?

Because I knew that PURPOSEFULLY drinking an excess of alcohol… for the first time ever in my life, in an incident which had happened less than 2 years prior to this Wal-Mart incident — 100% coordinated and orchestrated by ME (because empowerment, y’all) — was the first time I ever in my life could remember laughing heartily, for no reason at all, just staring at my reflection in a bathroom mirror, all alone. Seeing me, and being joyful.

At least, it was the first time I remember experiencing anything close to what I could equate with “joy” at the time. (I know it wasn’t true joy now. But it was the first step along a spectrum, for me, that I had to walk, to get to where I am now.)

And so.

How do you even begin to learn how to effectively and healthily manage your emotions when you’ve never even learned how to let yourself experience them in the first place?

I think that’s where a lot of recovery programs go awry, to be honest. The root problem starts a lot earlier than we all imagine it does.

Anyway, as I was saying… I went through high school in a haze, an automaton, for the most part, programmed to success mode, to “get the fuck out of here” mode, to “make money at all costs” mode. I got the grades.

I avoided getting close to anyone. Not that I could have, even if I’d wanted to. I didn’t know how to connect, how to trust, how to TRULY let anyone in. I didn’t have the slightest clue how to begin doing any of that. And I didn’t believe that anyone liked me much, anyway, so why would I even bother trying?

In high school, I was actually teased and bullied more times than I’d care to admit, by more people than I’d care to admit. I rode a long-distance school bus to and from my downtown-area school for all 4 years of high school, which entailed 45-90 minutes spent idling in traffic each way, all of which was funded by my nerd scholarship, which of course contributed to my popularity problems in ways that only those traumatized nerdy individuals who vividly remember their school years can possibly relate to.

And, because it was a location from which I couldn’t escape, this school bus became where I was subject to teasing most mercilessly… by even the ELEMENTARY school kids who rode that bus with me. And besides just hurling insults, they would throw things at me. Food, mostly, that I remember. Orange peels. Nobody cared. Nobody stuck up for me. And seeing no other real options, I mostly ignored it.

The few annoyance-fueled protestations and outbursts that I allowed to escape from me over the years, though they happened rarely, only proved to me that giving any attention to the bullying offenders only made the offenses become much worse.

Because, as I learned, the cardinal rule is always: Never throw fuel on a bullying fire. Never let them see you upset, no matter what. That’s what they are going for. That’s their reward. You cannot give it to them. Ignore the injustices at all costs.

Which means, essentially, that you cannot stick up for yourself. It’s the all-powerful double-edged sword of bullying that I’m not sure even the recent anti-bullying campaigns have been able to completely eradicate. (Although I am grateful beyond any words can even express that I grew up in an era where cell phones, Facebook, and Instagram were not the institutions they are today.)

This bullying continued, of course, throughout my high school years, despite (or perhaps aided by) the fact that I’d made it through every single year of school at the top of my class, and was graduating as my high school’s salutatorian. It didn’t matter that I was, throughout a good portion of those torturous bus-riding hours, writing and practicing (silently, in my head) a rousing, inspiring and comedic speech that I would later give to a packed house of over a thousand parents and family members at my high school graduation (the content of which was actually a lot of bullsh*t, because I never once talked about how I never fit in at that school, and how it was ironic that I was chosen to represent the group, and how no one there loved me or even KNEW me, really).

But the fact is, all of that unsaid stuff was true. And bullying doesn’t stop just because you wish it will.

I had always been bullied though. It wasn’t only in high school.

I remember, once, letting my true feelings out about how horrible school had become for me to my mother, sometime around the 4th or 5th grade, when I was being mercilessly teased by a few male classmates for being tall and giraffe-like, taller than all my classmates, whiter-skinned than all of my classmates, a true “haole” girl. (I grew up in Hawaii, where being tall and pale-skinned made me different than most of my classmates, and as a result, I was often teased and derided using the term “haole” — a Hawaiian word meaning foreigner or outsider — despite the fact that I was born and raised in the islands and had a significant amount of Native Hawaiian blood running through my veins.)

And of course, I was seriously hurt by the teasing and cutting words, since it was the first time I could remember ever being treated so badly for what seemed like NO REASON at all. (Sidenote: Is 3rd grade when kids start all that divisiveness bullsh*t? I really wish there were some sort of warning signs to look for, or some kind of book written about it for parents of kids who were “doing their own thing” like me.)

Anyway, I expressed that hurt I was feeling to my mother, and it is one of the only times I ever remember crying throughout my entire childhood (except, of course, for the time I was LOCKED out of the house by my entire family, as they attempted to force me to learn to roller-skate in a truly fucking traumatic — yet I would imagine probably well-intentioned — “ride or die” fashion).

And my mother responded to my hurt feelings and to the whole incident (it was a series of incidents, really, but I didn’t bother telling her that) with righteous indignation, telling me that she was going to talk to my teacher, and to my principal, and to the parents of the boy who had made me cry, and she would put a stop to it, by god, because nobody treated her baby that way!

As an adult, of course, I know where this urge to protect and defend comes from, but even now, if I had a child of my own, I think I would be able to recognize the “more harm than good” truth behind this line of actions and hold my tongue.

Because I’ve been a child. And authority figures are not ALWAYS there.

And there are always creative ways for mean-spirited children — who have been thwarted in and/or chastised for their devilish actions — to express their frustrations at such chastisement by taking retaliation for the apparent tattling that caused it.

And, as shouldn’t surprise anyone, children can always find new and vicious ways of being cruel to one another. Ways that aren’t immediately obvious to the casual parental eye.

Anyway, I was terrified by my mother’s proclamations of “making things right” by “talking to them all,” and — amidst voicing STRONG protestations against any such actions — this is where I learned the importance of not airing one’s feelings. Not to anyone. Not ever. Because it didn’t seem to ever help anything. (This was a difficult habit to unlearn later, though I did, thank goodness.)

I never really got the emotional validation or the reinforcement of a sense of consistent strength and stability that I think is what I was truly looking for from that interaction with my mother. She tried her best, I know she did. But she was so young. She just didn’t have the life experience, the perspective, to think it through the way I can now, as a 40-something-year-old woman. And I don’t blame her for that.

But I can see it, and understand it. And that helps.

It helps me to be okay with just feeling my feelings — now, today, and all the days going forward from here.

It helps me to be okay with feeling my feelings without having to do anything about them at all. Without having to try to change them, or drown them out. Because I am finally in a place where I can accept life’s most basic invitation — to feel my feelings and just allow them to be. And to accept myself for having them, without judgement of myself.

But also. It helps me to be strong enough not to take sh*t from ANYONE anymore. Because I refuse to take on the burden of allowing myself to become the collateral damage of someone else’s low opinion of themselves. Because I am FINALLY starting to know and accept my worth, and to know and accept that NO ONE deserves to be treated with anything less than respect.

And my greatest hope for you is that perhaps, in reading this, if you are struggling with any of these things, you can begin to be okay with feeling your own feelings. And allowing them. And being gentle and kind with yourself for having them. And accepting your own undeniable worth.

I love you.

Thank you for being here.

Thank you for bearing witness to this process.

Thank you for bringing your sacred energy and emotions to this space.

Your presence is felt, and you are deeply appreciated.

For context on this post, and links to related journal entries from this particular piece of my life's journey, see My Sobriety Journey, Journaled.