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Grief Cocktail, and Other Things I've Learned About No-Good-Terrible Life Events

Amber Adrian

I've learned a lot about grief in the past ten years. From watching my father die, to a miscarriage, to more breakups than I willingly admit to, I feel like a bit of an expert. 

Which may be yet another cloud of hubris encircling my head, but I'll take it. Since my thirties yielded none of the things I expected (marriage, nope; kids, nope; career success that makes sense to my mother's book club, nope) and I'm now staring down the barrel of a brand new decade,  I will take what I've been given and like it.

(While also sending up a request that my forties feature exponentially more fun and exponentially fewer grief cycles. Thanks.) 

Therefore!

Here's what I've learned about grief:

Grief is the heaviest emotion.

As the grief rises through your system, it lifts every other emotion up and out with it. Misery, fear, sadness, anger, loneliness, you name it. It's a feelings cocktail mixed by one of Satan's underlings and served with a maraschino cherry.

So you think, "Well, hey. This royally blows, but at least I get a maraschino cherry." Then you bite into it and have to hack it into your napkin because it's so damn foul. You didn't even think it was possible for maraschino cherries to go bad, but then your horned bartender turns to you and grins the grin of someone who ruined a maraschino cherry on purpose. 

I joke about hell's minions, and that's often how the process feels, but my father's death was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I say that feeling like a grade A twisted asshole in my human self and like it's 100% true and perfect in my higher self. 

Being forced to drink the grief cocktail is nothing you'd ever want to put on your calendar, but it swept me clean of so much emotion that I'd been carrying around my entire life.

I think of my dad's death as my Cracking Open Moment. Those are the moments that shatter you, but in the breaking, you let all the sticky emotion flow out, everything you were holding onto and protecting without even realizing. 

After you put yourself back together, you realize that there's so much extra room now. Room for joy, room for love, room for peace. 

Grief comes in waves. 

Sometimes when you're angry, you're really grieving. Sometimes when you're lonely, you're really grieving. Sometimes when you're pissed at the world and especially everyone currently driving a car, you're really grieving.

Sometimes you think you're done, and you aren't - and the grief wave knocks you into the sand. 

See: grief cocktail mixed by Satan's minion. This time with gritty sand in indelicate places. 

Don't beat yourself up for riding the emotion roller coaster. 

Be extra careful with big financial decisions while you're in a grief cycle. 

Everything is all over the place, so stay out of your bank account and away from your credit cards if you can.

But since life happens, you may need to sell a house or something. Call in someone you trust with a dispassionate perspective to help you do whatever needs to be done. 

But also trust yourself. If you need to take some fancy trip, maybe that's the exact perfect thing for you to do. 

(But don't do what I did, which is try to take a trip and then end up not taking the trip after paying for half of it. Whoops.) 

Love doesn't die, it only changes forms. 

I believe the more of the grief cocktail we drink, the more room is created for this to make sense. 

Do whatever you need to do to get yourself through. 

If that means developing a weird relationship with a stuffed otter and taking her on road trips, so be it. 

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Go on long drives with your therapy otter, take classes in things you're terrible at, read anything you want, eat fried chicken in bed, upgrade to first class.  

Ramp up your self-care exponentially. Shower every day. Treat yourself like a toddler, making sure you've napped, eaten, cried, and played with crayons. 

Let yourself feel without making it mean anything. 

One of the grand challenges of being a human is allowing your feelings to be felt.

Feel them as physical sensations, as something passing through, rather than something that needs to be stuffed into your spleen until one of you dies. 

As the feelings are rising, your brain will frantically try to give you reasons why the feeling is happening, and it doesn't care if those reasons make you feel better or not. So your brain might make those feelings mean something about you, something about your life. Do your best to disengage your brain from the process. Just feel. Let the energy move through your body. Up and out. Hush, brain. 

Keep crawling through the tunnel of sewage, Shawshank Redemption-style.

Keep going, keep crawling, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

You've got this. It will pass. You will feel better. You will feel joy again.

You just need to move through this season of your life until the next season arrives with cherry blossoms and red convertibles driven to Mexico by Tim Robbins. 

Creating Worlds With Rubber Bands

Amber Adrian

I have quite a history with frustration.

As a wee one, I would lose my EVER-LOVING SHIT if things weren’t exactly as I wanted them to be. I appeared in the world fully expecting it to conform to my whim. When it didn’t, I became confused and upset and, more often than not, a holy terror.

While it must’ve been quite challenging to raise me (sorry, Mom), I’m not sure I want to eradicate that tendency completely.

Because I see the world as a place where we’re all loved, all valued, all supported - simply because we exist, simply because we’re here, and we’re all our own weird and awesome expression of love and divinity. If I hold strong to this vision, the world will rise up to meet me. Kicking and screaming, but it will happen.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I can’t help feeling - all the way down, in the deepest pockets of my soul - that this is truth.

Maybe if we all keep seeing the world that way, it will shift in that direction. 

Because we create the world around us. My two-year-old self felt that (and she really wanted a world where her lacey socks never wrinkled - bless my dad for putting rubber bands around my ankles in an attempt to make it so). My 39-year-old self is finally catching up to what I knew as a child.

In the mean time, I’m working on my tendency toward frustration. Because it doesn’t improve anyone’s experience, least of all my own.

Luckily for my personal growth, baffling new laws around privacy policy and the laundromat are helping me out this week.

Thanks, world. You’re constantly doing your utmost to help us humans create your highest possibilities. We’ll keep trying til we get it right. 

 In the mean time, here is my frustrated face. I’m working on it. At least I don’t throw tantrums in the street any more. Progress! 

In the mean time, here is my frustrated face. I’m working on it. At least I don’t throw tantrums in the street any more. Progress! 

Cash from the Great Beyond

Amber Adrian

My dad adored sci-fi novels. Loved them. He was the reason I saw Star Wars multiple times and how I got hooked on Firefly after an initial "Space-Western, Dad? Really?" resistance phase.

He had a whole series of novels in his head that he never actually got down on paper - I like to think that he'll write them in his next life. What he did have was an entire wall filled with hundreds and hundreds of sci-fi paperbacks that we had to deal with after his death.

After about half the books had been disposed of - the man had a LOT of them - the used bookstore my mom had just visited called her up and said, "We just found $400 in one of the books you just dropped off. Would you like to come pick it up?"

Let's unpack that.

First, an employee of a used bookstore finds a reasonably large amount of cash in a book and makes the effort to return it. 

Second, my father was stashing wads of cash in his books.

Third, we had already gotten rid of -hundreds- of said books. How much cash floated out into the world via yellowed fantasy novels?

While I didn't hate the extra money - mom split all the cash found from there on out between me and my brother - my favorite part was knowing that whatever cash was in those books will be found by my father's kindred spirits. People who love books, who love science fiction, who have wild imaginations.

I like to think that some of the people who find that money are very much in need of two hundred dollars, or flip to the cash right when they need a lift or a little gift from the universe.

If you live in the Bay Area and ever buy a used sci-fi novel and find a hundred dollar bill between the pages, it probably belonged to my dad and he's sending his love from the great beyond.

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Self Love Epiphany

Amber Adrian

Here’s a game-changing epiphany I had in the shower a few days ago: 

Whenever things aren’t going well, I always ask myself:

How can I do better? 

How can I do more, work harder, push myself farther? 

While some people thrive under the push, I do not. I am a creature of naps and wood walks, I am a sprite in a world that values the nine to five. Pushing, while I can and have done it, makes my whole system collapse in a pile of harried Why Does It Have To Be This Way? 

I'm a bit of a princess, to be honest.

But asking that question has a subtle energetic implication that in order to be worthy, in order to be loved, I need to do more. I need to be better.

Feeling like you need to be better - whether in your own head, in a relationship, or at work - is a goddamn soul killer. 

NO MORE SOUL KILLING PLZ. 

Instead - and here’s the shampoo-inspired epiphany - I’m starting to ask myself:

“How can I love myself in this place?” 

How can I love myself when it looks like I won’t be able to pay rent? 

How can I love myself when I’m in the middle of a breakup? 

How can I love myself when I’m having trouble getting anything done? 

How can I love myself when it takes a buttered trowel to shovel me into my jeans? 

How can I love myself when my financial spreadsheets don’t look the way I think they should?

How can I love myself when it feels like everything is collapsing? 

For me, the way to love myself in this is to remember that I am worthy and lovable no matter the circumstance. 

We are all lovable and worthy, simply because we’re alive. But we’ve been so rigorously trained out of that idea that it requires some rewiring to remember it. 

I love myself by being gentle with myself. By loving my legs for how well they work, even when they strain denim. By loving the energy of money and how it’s always taken care of me. By loving the roller coaster ride because it’s always taking me somewhere better even when, in the moment, it feels like somewhere much worse.

By loving myself just goddamn because. 

Of course this “How can I love myself?” question has a different answer for everyone. 

Just follow what feels best for you in each moment. If an action feels good, take it. If thinking a thought feels good, think it. If something you want requires something you resist, feel into it and ask how you can make it easier on yourself. Ask how it could be fun. 

As we learn to be gentler with ourselves, we learn to be gentler and more open in the world. And when we're in the world radiating the love we already feel for ourselves, everything changes.

Hoo-fucking-ray! 

In the meantime, be good do you. Do it however you’re guided. You know what’s best for you, always. 

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Magic Requires Space

Amber Adrian

Making space can be one of the hardest things for smart, driven people. What do you mean, space? Won’t the world crash into some unseen barrier if I stop working? Shouldn’t I be doing something?

Nope. Not always. Sometimes when you give yourself some time to just sit on the deck in the sun, mind blank, the problem your brain has been wrangling will suddenly snap into focus.

Sometimes it doesn’t, but you still got to sit outside in the sun rather than glaring angrily at your computer and a project that refuses to cooperate.

I’m in big building mode right now and it is vaguely terrifying. And by “vaguely terrifying” I mean MOSTLY TERRIFYING.

I am terrified. Sometimes when humans get terrified, they freeze. So do deer. But, unlike deer, when I’m terrified I get to crawl onto the couch with Sally and watch season four of Mozart in the Jungle. Instead of, you know, getting shot by big game hunters.

But the terror actually feels similar. When you step outside your comfort zone, your brain immediately yells UNSAFE BAD IDEA GO BACK. And will flood you with fear and adrenaline and, if you’re a delicate peony like me, sometimes you collapse.

Onto aforementioned couch.

(At least I’m dog-sitting right now, so I’m being kept company in my terror by Homer, the biggest floofer that ever floofed. When I got here, I spent a solid seven minutes singing about how fluffy he was. Homer was not impressed.)

On Monday, I was accidentally still in Napa, sitting on a deck in the sun, not expecting anything of myself. It seems that when I don’t expect anything of myself, it unlocks that flow state and suddenly I’m having a merry time creating things on my phone and eating truffle fries.

I’m trying to hack this quirk. Because my aim is to be in that glorious soul-flow most of the time, just letting things unfold in a way that also makes me a lot of money.

But apparently my subconscious is too smart to be fooled by me not expecting anything of myself in order to be massively productive. Or maybe such convoluted hijinks are too much and my subconscious just rolls its eyes and wanders off to do something else.

I think I’ve spent a lot of time suppressing my Type A drive because I have trouble turning it off. Once the switch gets flicked, I push myself until I collapse, and I know that's not the way I want to live. 

So what's the choice here? Because I believe our choice is the most powerful tool we have. 

I choose to allow it to be easy. I choose to let my business be guided by my joy. I choose to show up as me and have that be more than enough. I choose to allow myself to be visible so that anyone who needs or wants my work can find it. 

If that looks like sitting on the couch with a fluffy dog and watching TV instead of creating the business thing I told myself I'd make today, that gets to be perfect. 

I choose to create space for magic. Maybe that's all it takes. 

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Where's my Utopian Farmhouse and Baby Goat So I can Stop thinking about all this stuff already?

Amber Adrian

I hate selling things. Hate it hate it hate it. From my days as an elementary school student being required to sell things door-to-door for whatever wrapping paper drive was happening, I DESPISED it. I don’t even like answering my phone when people call me, much less WALKING UP TO PEOPLE’S DOORS AND ASKING THEM TO BUY SOMETHING. Oh my god. Even now, over thirty years later, it makes my stomach clench up.

In fact, I just had to stop typing and go sit down and sit with all the sticky awfulness that was rising up. Who knew Girl Scout cookies would result in emotional wounds decades later?

I love my work. Love it, love it, love it.

But in order to actually do it, I need to sell it. Stupid universe and its stupid sense of humor.

In Amber’s Perfect World (you should build one too, I highly recommend visiting whenever this world pisses you off), you would just show up at my farmhouse, knock on the yellow door with some nice roast beef sandwiches and iced tea and we would hang out under a big tree and do whatever needed to be done with your energy or life or questions that day. A baby goat would probably be wandering around and you would ask if you could hold it and I would say of course and you would walk home happy and calm and delighted. And if I needed a massage or the radiator leak on my car fixed, I could just show up at someone else’s house with a chicken and get the same treatment.

But since that is not currently the world we live in, some form of sale needs to be made for me to channel and teach and work with magical people. And, ironically, the bigger the dollar sign, the more transformation is available. (That’s an energy thing, not a greed thing. Though my greed probably can’t be denied, especially when it comes to red shoes, cupcakes, and trips to see giraffes.)

Selling things feels like convincing people of something.

I don’t want to convince anyone of anything ever. That sounds exhausting. It is exhausting. I know from all the times I've tried to force myself to do it. I don’t want to have to convince a man to commit to me, I don’t want to convince people they need what I do, I don’t want to convince myself that any of that convincing is necessary or useful.

Trusting that everyone knows what they need and what's best for them just seems like basic human respect. You know you, you know what you want and need, and I trust you to take care of yourself in whatever way best suits you. If it feels like I would be helpful, fan-flippin’-tastic. Otherwise, we can wave at each other from across the room and go on our merry way.

Now, there’s a lot of deeper stuff in this whole selling thing. Sticky old stories, fear of not being worthy, stress absorbed from my father’s sales job, garden-variety resistance, blah blah blah.

Ultimately, I want to approach my entire life from a place of joy and ease and peace. I think this is something we all deserve and can all have. But that means re-wiring our brains in whatever way our particular life and history and cerebellum requires.

I imagine there are ways around this. But for me, there seems to be some magic in working through whatever makes me despise this sales process. 

Since I do believe that the answer exists from the moment we ask the question, I am asking the question: “I DESPISE SELLING THINGS AND WORRY THAT I’M NOT WORTHY OF RECEIVING ANYTHING FOR THIS AND SHOULD JUST BE DOING IT FROM THE KINDNESS OF MY HEART (from a refrigerator box on the side of the road, obviously) WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE A THING? WHERE IS MY UTOPIAN FARMHOUSE WITH BABY GOATS?” I’m asking it of myself, obviously, because I’m the only one who has my answer. You are not required to come up with an answer, although if you know of any baby goats who need to be adopted, I'm in the market. 

I know the answer exists and it will show up and then I will feel so much better about this whole process and so much more supported in this weird talking-to-unicorns and channeling-guidance thing that I do.

In the meantime, I will think of all the things I want to do when people knock on my door and ask for them. And watch videos of baby goats, preferably snuggling stuffed animals. 

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Dear Empath,

Amber Adrian

If you’re an empath (or any super sensitive human), here, let me give you a hug. 

Cause that shit is hard.

I basically didn’t get out of bed for actual years. 

I Netflix binged like a seasoned pro, scarfed Pringles and gummy bears like I was being paid by the pound, and - well, honestly - kind of loved life. Except for the part where I was clinging to financial solvency by a thread because 1) energy and 2) I didn’t believe I was allowed to have money if all I was doing was taking care of myself and writing whatever made me happy. 

(NEW WORLD ORDER: I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE MONEY - LOTS OF MONEY! - IF ALL I DO IS TAKE CARE OF MY ENERGY AND WRITE AND MAKE WHATEVER FEELS FUN.) 

(Sorry for shouting. I’m doing my best to rewire my brain and sometimes that requires yelling over the old stories.) 

I spent so much time curled up in bed with my stuffed therapy otter because I was so exhausted from trying to carry the pain of the world. 

Remember Marley’s ghost at the beginning of A Christmas Carol, carrying all those chains behind him? Yeah, it’s like that. Only empaths carry all that clanking weight because they’re trying to be good people. 

It’s a hell of a pickle. Empaths without boundaries are in for a rocky ride on this planet.

We tend to think we’re required to heal the world by taking on its pain. So we do. Pass a homeless woman on the street, pick up some stray trauma and deep loneliness that we carry for years. If our partner is angry - whether it’s at us or something entirely unrelated - and we start feeling that anger too, thinking it’s our anger, and acting on it. Oops. 

You can make a hell of a mess when you act from someone else’s feelings rather than your own. Often, it takes empaths a lot of practice to know which is which. 

Vacuuming up all the emotion in our vicinity takes an impressive toll - on our energy, on our relationships, on our ability to do the things we love. 

My sensors were fried from trying to process other people’s emotions my entire life. 

So, bed. It seems reasonable. And often felt like the only viable option. 

I was in a very slow and profound healing process for a long time. I was cleaning up a lifetime of accumulated emotional baggage, toting it out to sea and tossing it overboard. Leaving it on the ground, feeling it leach out of me as I lay in the grass. Engaging in the slow grind of learning what was my pain and what belonged to others. 

But here’s the good news, if you are an empath on this journey. 

IT GETS BETTER. 

(I’m not yelling at you, I’m yelling at the story in your head.) 

What you clear makes room for joy. For peace. For inspiration.

Where you set boundaries gives you fresh energy to do the things you want to do, experience what you want to experience, create what you want to create. 

Doing this work is hard, but it’s worth it. 

You get to engage in unabashed napping. You get to learn who you are and what you feel, rather than being constantly overwhelmed by everyone else's hulk-smash emotions. You get to step into the person you always knew you were meant to be, you just couldn't quite get there and you weren't sure why. 

There is nothing wrong with you. There never was. You were just learning how to operate your superpowers. 

Love, 

Amber

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Phoenix Rises and Coughs Up Magic

Amber Adrian

Last week was a phoenix week, and, boy, the phoenix does not fuck around. 

It felt like everything was being torched into oblivion: my family, my business, my bank account, my relationship, my energy, even my car. 

Burn, baby, burn. 

What I’ve noticed about those deeply uncomfortable, everything-is-disintegrating times is that, once you give up the illusion that you have any say in your life whatsoever and breathe through every awful feeling - sometimes that's when you get the biggest breakthroughs. 

My week featured exhaustion, being ready to throw in the towel on this business I love, knowing a final breakup was imminent, bad-news-of-the-your-car-is-dead variety, shooters in my town, and my bank account yelling code red before gasping and dying a pitiful death.

All I could do was throw up my hands and surrender. By Tuesday, I was still clinging to my shreds of control. By Thursday afternoon, I had given up completely. 

By Saturday? It felt like everything had shifted. Even my car was revived. 

Sometimes when you let your life burn to the ground, you create space for rebirth. 

It’s not comfortable. In fact, it’s downright terrifying. It feels like everything I depended on for stability, for safety, was crashing down around my ears. 

In these moments, the world is asking you to trust, to let go of control. Mostly by wresting away the illusion that you ever had control. 

Trust becomes the only option if you don’t want to a) find yourself rocking in the fetal position or b) hitch a ride with the first spaceship off this planet. (Sometimes you rock in the fetal position anyway because that's the only option.) 

When you trust, when you truly surrender - maybe in a way you’ve never surrendered before - something opens up. 

My whole life shifted in a day. I even got my beloved car back.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all burn, knowing that you are safe, you are supported, no matter what it looks or feels like in the moment. 

As humans, we have a limited perspective. We can't see the path ahead of us. The path behind us is littered with false beliefs and skewed memories and wounded stories. All we have is the present moment. 

When I remember to step out of my head and just breathe through whatever's happening, with curiosity and faith that everything will ultimately be okay, that gives life just enough room to cough up some magic.

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Then you get to stand on a mountaintop, spread your arms in triumph, because you are a goddamn phoenix rising. 

Also, you still have a car.

Happiness Is Holding a Baby Goat

Amber Adrian

I joke about the magic of good hair, but evidence is mounting in favor of my head's ability to produce strands of pure blonde witchcraft.

(Just kidding. I'm not really a blonde.) 

Today I drove down the coast to Half Moon Bay to get my hair done by my aunt at her salon on Main Street. (Yes, it's actually called Main Street.) We chat, she covers my head in foil, I walk out with new hair. 

As I'm parking my car to get the best sandwich I have yet found (and I consider myself a connoisseur of the art of putting stuff between slices of bread), I see a woman walking a baby goat down the street. 

Let's just pause to appreciate this for a moment. A baby goat on a leash tottering down the sidewalk. To whomever reads the universe's suggestion box: YES PLEASE ALWAYS.

While gaping at the baby goat from the driver's seat, I see a couple stop. The man picks up the goat and, as I'm climbing out of my car, he says "This is the best day of my life" while wearing a grin that cracks his face open. 

So, of course, I ask if I can hold the baby goat. 

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My mouth does basically the same thing, because...

GUYS, I CRADLED A BABY GOAT. HE ALMOST FELL ASLEEP IN MY ARMS. 

That, my friends, is pure magic. And, obviously, the magic is my hair. 

Get your hair done, get the best seats to a Giants game for free. Get your hair done, get a baby goat. Maybe this means I'll finally take my new curling iron out of its box.

Predictably, now I want a baby goat so I can walk it around small towns and make people happy. Hire a photographer to take pictures of all the delighted baby goat cradlers. Put the goat in a Karmann Ghia and drive around the country. Maybe put a box of Sallys in the trunk and pass out stuffed therapy otters to anyone who needs one. There will probably also be glitter and cupcakes.

In my head, this is called the Happy Goat Tour and it has its own Instagram account that, of course, becomes wildly popular and raises money for animal sanctuaries. 

Though I'm not sure how happy a baby goat would be on multiple long car rides. My fantasies often have holes.

Regardless: I GOT TO HOLD A BABY GOAT BECAUSE OF MAGIC HAIR. THE END. 

"Fuck It, It's Showtime."

Amber Adrian

"Fuck it, it's showtime." 

... is my new life motto. Thanks, Deadpool. 

(P.S. Peter "I just saw the ad" is my new hero.) 

My usual brand of cinematic escapism tends toward cartoon animals, love stories, or inspirational odds-beating, but every so often I like a good (anti) superhero. I just cover my eyes whenever there's blood. 

It may be because a friend once called me a warrior. He was referring to me and dating, because I am all too willing to stride out into the arena to get the shit kicked out of me, but sometimes I think that the creator of Wonder Woman was really tapped into something. A lasso of light? Deflector arm bands? Pretty sure there are dimensions where such things are 100% real life and I'm pretty sure I've spent time there. 

Or I just have an extra good imagination. Does it even matter which? 

I feel like there are a lot of things I'm here to do, and I think I've been holding back more than I thought I was. So much is welling up in me daily and I don't write it down or put it on video or otherwise unleash it. 

 

Malaise, depression, insecurity, and anxiety ensues. I'm pretty goddamn sure most of my downward spirals into such gloom can be traced back to the moment something wanted to bubble out and I stuffed it back down. Because I didn't have time. (Or it was scary.) Or I've already posted today. (Or what will people think?) Or I should put the effort into things that will pay the bills. (Homelessness is clearly the result of doing things you love.)

In other words, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. And not just because - let's face it - I always have time. Because nobody cares how often I post or don't post. And I always have so much more energy for paid work when I've put out what wants to come through me on any particular day. 

I HAVE SO MANY WORDS IN ME AND MOST OF THEM HAVE BEEN STIFLED NO WONDER MY BRAIN IS BASICALLY MADE OF STATIC ELECTRICITY AND PASTA. Also otters. 

A lot of my attention has gone to where my feelings have been stifled - and I think that was time well-spent - but it's really time to start paying attention to the words too. So many thoughts, so many stories, so many projects. And I have all the time in the world. 

So.

Fuck it. It's showtime. 

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Another tick in the "all my excuses are bullshit" column? I CAN DO BASICALLY EVERYTHING ON MY PHONE. Whether I have good hair that day or not. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Good Hair

Amber Adrian

Stop wanting, stop expecting, let it look entirely different ... and you end up eating free fried chicken in the fancy seats.

Since all that kicking and screaming I did earlier this week, I've managed a new level of surrender. Surrender is one of my big lessons in life - meaning, I'm absolutely terrible at it and despise the very thought.

Sure enough, the second I give up and offer up a big fat FUCK IT, life decides to reward me.

When Lan and I met up in San Francisco on Wednesday, it turned into one of those magical days that only ever happen in movie montages.

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Cinematic hair! (Mainly because someone spent forty-five minutes aiming a blow-dryer at my head which, I can assure you, has never before happened in my life.) Stunning scenery! Amazing sushi! Random invitation to a ballgame in, get this, the fanciest seats they have!

You know what they have in the fancy seats? Free beer! And fried chicken and chocolate chip cookies! Our seats had cushions! No wait in the bathroom line! There simply aren’t enough exclamation points to properly convey the experience.

This, apparently, is the true power of surrender - and great hair.

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Thanks, Lanny. Thanks, hair. Thanks, magical day. Two thumbs up, would surrender again.

Trading Dreams For Joy

Amber Adrian

Turns out, telling your truth in the moment clears out so much space.

Truth really does go moment by moment. Just because something feels like the truth today doesn’t mean it will feel like the truth tomorrow. This is really important for me to remember. 

While I was embarrassed about sharing all those Disenfranchised Dreams last night, I’m so glad I did - and not just because people are so dang kind. I feel so much more hopeful today.

Being an empath who’s still learning good boundaries is like having to vacuum up after the world, because half of it just tramped muddy footprints through your kitchen as it tossed used sandwich wrappers on the floor.

I spend a lot of my time clearing space.

(“Clearing space” is my vaguely obnoxious term for shuffling through all the emotions and feelings and thoughts that I pick up from other people and finding room in my head for me.)

Anyway, saying "HI I’M SO SAD THAT NONE OF THIS HAS HAPPENED, ALSO A BIT HUMILIATED, LIKE IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT HOW UNWORTHY I AM (it doesn’t) AND LIKE PEOPLE WILL JUDGE ME (you won’t) FOR IT"… is actually a huge goddamn relief.

Because saying the sticky painful things without staying in the painful sticky things is so crucial for me. Me, the relentless queen of cantankerous melodrama. 

Here was my Blab All Over The Internet process for feeling better about disenchanted dreams, if you're curious:

  • Think a thing about hopeless dreams, start writing the thing, keep writing the thing because it helps me understand my feelings about the thing.
  • Feel vaguely queasy but share the thing anyway.
  • Read kind things and let them soothe me to sleep, hand clutching the phone precisely the way you're not supposed to do.
  • Get out of bed the next morning, pretend to exercise (hand up if this is a thing you do), and realize “Hey, that doesn’t feel so much like my truth anymore.”
  • Sure, I’m almost forty and that baby thing feels a little pressing (which means the relationship and the money thing definitely feels pressing), but all that could shift tomorrow.
  • Or not. It doesn't matter.
  • Realize that stating my truth in the moment cleared space in my head, heart, and feels. Enough to realize that it was just that moment. I'm not even 40 yet. My life is not over.
  • Maybe I just need to do my thing and enjoy all the many things there are to enjoy in the everyday.

Being careful to distinguish my own feelings and energy and thoughts from whatever I just picked up at the grocery store from random strangers or when on the phone with a friend is an ongoing process - and crucial to dreams.

More than that, clearing out my own space has the unintended but welcome effect of making some goddamn room for joy. I feel joy so much more powerfully than I did a few years ago.

Joy is a pretty good trade for dreams. So maybe I should just surrender to that and let my dreams do whatever the fuck they want to do. They can tag along, they can fall into the abyss, they can tap me on the shoulder. Whatever.

You do you, dreams. I’ll do me. Maybe we’ll meet again sometime.

In the meantime, there are so many things that make me happy. Make my wizened little soul feel joy.

Giraffes. Cartwheels on beaches. Road trips with Sally. Toasted rice tea. Dance class. Wearing my unicorn horn. My little cottage. My hippie weird. Giraffes.

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If you want to share some of the things that make you happy, I would love that. 

Or Maybe I'll Just Delete This Whole Thing Because I'm a 39-Year-Old Woman Whose Primary Relationship is With a Stuffed Otter and That's Embarrassing Enough, Thanks

Amber Adrian

At what point to you relinquish the desiccated ghost of your hopes and say, “Okay, this dream is dead”?

I’m not super good at giving up. If I want something, I will fight for it until the undertaker has to pry the dream from my cold, lifeless fingers.

But at what point is it just too exhausting to keep clinging?

One of my great lessons in this life is surrender. Going with the flow.

I am fucking terrible at going with the flow. I’m even worse at surrendering. I will grip the steering wheel and attempt to control the direction until all hope is lost, along with its extended family and pet hamster.  

But, oh my god, I’m so tired. It takes a lot of energy to want something for years and years and years and not get it - and I don’t have a whole lot of energy to spare. One of the reasons I cobbled together this weird unicorn career is that I literally can’t have a full-time job. Or any kind of situation that would regularly require me to be in a room with other humans and get things done.

(I adore humans but I find them so exhausting. Humans have so many thoughts and worries and feelings and I take them all on until I have no idea where your thoughts and feelings end and mine begin. Navigating life in a swirling vortex of ceaseless emotion will certainly tire a person out.)

Obviously, nobody but me can decide when to surrender my dreams, so I’m not really asking for advice here. It feels more like I'm taking the first step of admitting that most of my dreams have gone direly unfulfilled, and that’s pretty embarrassing. I literally had every advantage in the box and somehow managed to squander all of them. Whoops?

Now that we’re here and I’ve typed for long enough that this is happening, I’m trying to think of one dream I’ve let myself accomplish.

(Sally's making the crickets noise. I don't mind telling you that I find it quite obnoxious. Someone won't be getting any sardines this week.)

No long-term relationship / husband-type person, no babies, no dog, no books published, no comfortable nest egg accrued. I did some traveling but it was always sort of accidental. My big travel dreams - Kenya to go to the giraffe hotel, Iceland to see the Northern lights - those haven’t happened. I haven’t even done that road trip through the south I keep talking about.

Now that I look at it, it sounds rather pathological. Like, come on, you couldn’t even get a dog? You’d think a dog would be do-able.

Unless you live in the Bay Area and every place that you could both avoid people and have a dog requires quadrupling your income.

But I could offer up an excuse for every single one of those dreams, and I’m not really sure I want my legacy in this world to be excuses.

(Yes, I have this bizarre channeling business and I love doing it. But it was never a dream. If it were up to me, I would’ve aimed for some fancy Silicon Valley job with really good health insurance. But I haven’t been employable since 2009. And if you asked my last boss how many times I cried at my desk, she'd say "an awful lot.")

I’ve never been very good at finding the balance between “Hi, I want to be vulnerable about this thing that's kinda humiliating” and relentless complaining.

I honestly don't mean to complain. My life is pretty damn good.  I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, I work with incredible people, and I have a very supportive (except for the cricket chirping thing) stuffed otter named Sally. I have my health, a good brain, limbs in working order, and I always manage to feed myself, even if “feed myself” mostly means “existing entirely on string cheese because I'm an adult.”

I’m finding myself panicking a little bit. Perilously close to sticking my head out the window and shrieking “ONE OF THESE DREAMS HAS TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR OR I HAVE TO GIVE UP ON ALL OF THEM BEFORE I TORTURE MYSELF FOR ANOTHER DECADE” into the Mill Valley void.

Now, I could just go to the pound and get a dog and trust that the universe will provide another home when my landlord kicks me out of mine. I could just climb in my car and start driving toward Tennessee and trust that everything works out and that Kristin and Scott will be willing to feed me when I get there, because I’ll have been eating string cheese for 2300 miles.

But the thought of surrendering to that extent, when I'm clinging to the edge in a few crucial ways, feels a bit hard to swallow.

I don't know. Obviously, I have zero answers. But I'm sick of beating myself up over the things that haven't happened for me, that maybe would have happened if I'd done things differently. But maybe there was no differently. Maybe I genuinely did the best I could in every moment and I ended up exactly where I'm supposed to be, even if it doesn't look anything like I hoped.

Maybe on my fortieth birthday this year, I’ll have a bonfire for my dreams. I’ll write them all on little pieces of paper, hike out to the beach, and set them all alight and watch the ashes drift toward the sky.

Or maybe I'll just get in my car and start driving. 

Happy Birthday, Dad. Sorry I Have No Idea When You Were Actually Born.

Amber Adrian

My dad's birthday may be coming up. But I don't know for sure.

I'm embarrassed by this, obviously. Like, thanks for feeding and singing the ABCs when I was panicking and putting me through college, dad! Sorry I forgot your birthday for over thirty years!

It's less awkward now that he won't notice if I don't call or write. But guilt is an emotion that transcends death.

Other birthdays stick in my head just fine. I can rattle off my mom and brother's birth dates, zodiac signs, and preferred method of celebratory communication at a moment's notice. But no matter how often I put it in my calendar or asked my mom what it was, I could never remember my father's. 

After dad's death, I handled all the paperwork. I must have seen and written out his birth date dozens of times. On the hospital and insurance paperwork, relaying the information to the social security office and to the undertaker for his death certificate. But I can't for the life of me remember the date. I'm not even one-hundred percent certain it's in April. 

On the surface it doesn't make any sense. I'm not the high priestess of details, but I do all right in life. I'm not the best daughter, but I'm not a terrible one. 

But since he passed away, I've learned that people can make themselves invisible. 

In fact, I used to be one of them. In high school, I could waltz into class thirty-five minutes late, carrying a takeout cup of coffee, and the teacher didn't even pause his lecture. I once napped through most of my economics class, head down on the desk, and the teacher didn't say a word. I always assumed it was because I was generally a good, quiet student, and didn't abuse the privilege of napping or caffeinating. But now I'm not so sure. 

Once I deeply distressed a date when I told him I was walking home through San Francisco, all the way from the Mission to the Lower Haight, at eleven at night. It didn't even occur to me to be worried. It's like I went through life with Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility. Or stupidity, which is an argument I probably can't deny. But I honestly felt one-hundred percent safe. 

My only defense against stupidity is that you can't sneak up on me. A friend once saw me from a block away and was going to yell out my name but decided not to, because I was with a date. He told me later that, as he was deciding whether or not to shout my name, he saw me turn and look over my shoulder in his direction, like I was looking for something. 

(I also know when people are mad at me or thinking unkind things about me - even if they never say anything, even if they're thousands of miles away. This is a less fun psychic power, but it's been confirmed often enough that I've stopped thinking I'm paranoid.) 

Superpowers are great, unless you unconsciously use them to block off the world and then wonder why no one ever sees you.

I think my father was in hiding - and it affected most everything in his life, from work to relationships to his goddamn birthday that I can never remember. 

Why are some of us so scared of being seen? Being recognized? Being loved? Wounds can run deep and we are so powerful at protecting ourselves, even when it means walling ourselves off from everything we actually want.

As an empath, I have a deeply aggravating habit of bringing thoughts, emotions, and wounds onboard that aren't my own. Sometimes I wonder how much of my invisibility is mine and how much of it I took on from my father.

Trying to sort out what's mine and what's someone else's is like trying to file sand. Each grain is questionable, convincing it to stay happily in its assigned folder is basically impossible, and there's just so damn much of it. 

Sometimes you can heal something in an instant, sometimes it feels like swimming through quicksand for an eon or two. I'm tired of swimming through quicksand. It's exhausting and fruitless. So I think I'm just going to let myself off the hook about my father's birthday. I know he doesn't care. He's good, he knows I love him. He just wants me to move on, to find and do the things he didn't, and finally let all those wounds heal. 

Maybe I don't have to file the sand. Maybe I just have to run across it, chasing seagulls and dancing just out of reach of the waves. Shake it out of my shoes, before I get back in my car and drive home.

[EDIT: My mom just informed me that his birthday is April 7th. As in, yesterday. Guess you can still be an asshole to your dad even after he's dead! WHAT A RELIEF.]

We Are All Cosmic Travelers Wearing Human Suits

Amber Adrian

It's so weird being a channeler. Not for the obvious reasons - like talking to Jesus and unicorn visitations at three in the morning (though that's plenty weird, thanks) - but because, when I'm in the zone, I know all this stuff I say on the internet to be true. I feel calm, at peace, loved, and all is right with the world. 

But after I'm done with the channeling and back to the human stuff of making breakfast and paying bills and driving through rush hour with every other lunatic on the road (yes, I'm one of the lunatics), my brain cranks up the volume and is all THAT COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE RIGHT, LOVE AND LIGHT MY ASS, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, HERE HAVE A CHOCOLATE CROISSANT. 

Sometimes I can take a big enough step away from the chatter to remember that my brain doesn't have all the answers. It says a lot of things, it makes a lot of noise, but just because my brain says it doesn't mean it's true. 

Last week, I decided to release a meditation album on the spur of the moment. That's the fun part about this job - being blasted with inspiration while you're hanging upside down and all the blood is rushing to your head, and being able to just do it and see what happens. 

Because there's so much forking construction in my neighborhood (and it makes me want to throttle the world), I had to record the meditations after six at night or before eight in the morning. A few days ago, I woke up at six, turned on the microphone while wearing my flannel moose pajamas, and started receiving a whole bunch of meditations about tuning into your intuition, following your soul's path, balancing your energy (I put one of the meditations up for free - if your energy feels wonky, check it out!and it all felt awesome. 

But after I stopped and made myself an egg sandwich, all the doubts and anxieties and oh GODs started flooding back in. 

My challenge at the moment is hooking back in with that calm, loving, here's-the-handy-guidance space more often. Hour by hour, minute by minute. Keep honoring the feels and the crazy humanness while reminding myself of the truth and course-correcting my brain. 

Living this way is like eating salad or being in AA. You can't do it once and then be done for the rest of your life. You have to work the program. Over and over and over and over again. Every day.

It does seem to get easier. Eventually new pathways are created and it becomes easier to dwell in the land of ahhhh... rather than the land of FUCKING HELL EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PLANET IS THE WORST I WOULD RATHER DIE.

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Smug statue says "I'm cool, no problems here."

Being a cosmic being of infinite light in a human body - as we all are - is a daily flow. I wanted to say challenge, but I think it's just a practice. Like, practicing the piano can be a challenge but whatever you just show up again tomorrow and the next day and eventually you get so much better you can't even remember the time you got stymied by the dumb flamingo song. (Pianos just don't sound like flamingos and there's nothing anyone can do about that.) (Yes, I had to learn a dumb flamingo song in elementary school and apparently it angers me to this day.) 

Honoring the feels without getting bowled over by them, feeling the pain without drowning in it, observing the worries without getting stuck in them, noticing the negative thoughts and remembering the truth and putting the train of thought on a new track. Being human. Being cosmic. Same thing really. 

This feels like a good place to leave my favorite quote of pretty much all time: 

You are a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust riding a rock floating through space. Fear nothing. 

Here We Are, Riding This World Together

Amber Adrian

We are in powerhouse times, my friends. 

If you've been feeling like you're on a teeter-totter - irritated one minute, crying because someone did something kind the next, angry an hour later, then spilling over with enough inspiration and energy to move Mount Kilimanjaro before passing out on the couch twenty minutes later  - you aren't alone.

Sensitive peeps are doing a lot of heavy lifting these days. There is a LOT happening - energetically, astrologically, on the world stage. Our shadows are coming up to play. To be seen, acknowledged, breathed with and released or integrated as a worthy part of the whole. And those shadows are little bastards. Sticky and representative of the parts of us that we mark "here be monsters" and attempt to ignore for the rest of ever.

But we can't seem to ignore them any more. (Goddamnit.) 

So we do what we have to do to stay with it. Sometimes it means running as far into the woods as you can and still make it back to your car by nightfall. Sometimes it means watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on your laptop three times in a row because the rest of the season hasn't been released yet (and that's just mean). Sometimes it means eating ice cream. Sometimes it means drinking green juice.

Sometimes it means doing it right, sometimes it means doing it wrong. While we're learning that there is no right or wrong. There's just you in all your human glory. There's just us, riding this spinning world together. 

The day after Trump was elected a thought jumped into my mind "This is what we've been training for." If Trump isn't the most farcical manifestation of America's shadow, I don't know what is. But this is why we've been learning how to take care of ourselves in new ways, work in new ways, see ourselves as whole rather than fractured pieces of an imperfect creature. 

You are perfect and I am perfect. Even while we're dancing with our shadows and trying to stuff pieces we don't like under the rug. Especially then. 

I can't say I've been blasting it out of the park. While I do feel like I've identified how I can best help in my own stuffed sea otter delivering / story sharing / unicorn wrangling way, I get paused and plagued by self doubt more often than not.

I hide behind coping mechanisms. I numb out. I isolate myself until I may as well be Gollum eating a raw fish in a cave. I may legitimately have zero friends left by the time this is all over. Thank god for the cats. 

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Cat in question. How can you not feel better about the world when that's happening?

So, for today all this means signing "don't get rid of net neutrality you assholes" petitions (paraphrased) while singing along with the B52s on the radio because the 80s are everywhere and pondering the feasibility of recording 13+ meditations to support all the feelings and calm the churning brain hamsters in the next week. That's the work today. 

Tomorrow's work will be something else. I don't know what yet. Because plans are even more liable than ever to be tossed up into the air like confetti. But it's getting up, showing up, and doing what I can do. (Or staying in bed. That's sometimes the best you can honestly do.) 

Five Years

Amber Adrian

My dad died five years ago today.

Actually, this probably isn't the fifth anniversary of his death, because he died the day after Thanksgiving and the date changes.

But, to me, it will always be the day after Thanksgiving. Which is appropriate, because he loved being in charge of the turkey - basting it in butter and booze, with cornbread crumbs and bits of rosemary flying all over the kitchen.

Last night, we told stories - of how he got bitten by the rattlesnake and was a bit of a medical celebrity. How my aunt came to visit him in the hospital with a tin of rattlesnake meat. How we once ate Thanksgiving dinner at midnight because he didn't start put the turkey in until noon.

A few weeks ago, I was walking through the living room and thought I saw my boyfriend standing by the record player. When I turned my head to say something, there was no one there. Then I got the strong sense that it was Dad, poring over my boyfriend's record collection - just there to say hi.

Five years feels significant. It's a long time. I've changed a lot. We all have - because, let's face it, it's been a hell of a five years.

While no one ever wants to lose a parent, I do think of it as the event that cracked me open so I could see what was inside. When everything I'd been bottling up for most of my life came tumbling out, I got a chance to know myself better. Maybe for the first time.

I think that's what we're given in all these experiences - the opportunity to know ourselves better. When life hands us the nutcracker and gives it a firm tap, our shell shatters, showing us what's in there.

One of the last things my brother said to him was, "I'm excited for you, Dad. You're about to go on an adventure."

Hope it's been a fun adventure, Dad. We miss you.

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From Seething Rage to Restoration (Hardware)

Amber Adrian

Do you ever get so mad at someone that you would deeply enjoy watching their head go up in flames? Probably not, because you're a better human than I am.  

It's rare that I get so angry that violent destruction feels like the only solution, but it's happened a few times. It's never fun. When the mad hits me that hard, I do things like kick holes through my bedroom wall. (High school. That happened.) (About the same time my brother punched a hole in the hallway. Maybe repression is genetic.) 

This morning, my rage boiled over.

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Raging hellfire of my anger. Also, a rather pleasant fire from a gloomy evening last week. 

I tried meditation. I had to imagine myself encased in ice on a frozen tundra - seriously - to quell the mad long enough to let the ten minutes on my timer tick by before getting up and pacing around again. 

I tried running. My skin felt like it was chafing inside my running clothes and, because the temperature was a blasphemous 49 degrees, it felt like I was breathing ice. 

I tried throwing a fit. In the privacy of my house, of course. I highly recommend a good tantrum - screaming into pillows, swearing, crying, etc. But after about twenty minutes of that, I still wasn't feeling any better and I was starting to get dehydrated.

So I turned on Atomic Blonde, that fall-of-the-Berlin-wall spy movie with Charlize Theron. I finally understand - after decades of rampant media consumption - the attraction of violence in movies. Charlize (can that possibly be her real name?) is a damn competent action hero and, as she kicked her way through East Berlin in awesome late-80s era shoes, my need for blood was satiated without doing any actual harm. To me, another human, or a hapless wall. 

After the mindless emotional pacifier of watching Charlize Theron kick KGB ass, I decided retail therapy was next up. Somewhat ironic, given the premise of the movie. Hooray for capitalism! 

Honestly, it worked brilliantly. Strolling around in the outdoor mall in the sun, buying shiny hair clips to replace the gap-toothed brown monstrosity I've been using for months, splurging on a pink sweater (half off at Banana Republic!) and pair of cream gloves (which I actually did need) with golden thread (probably didn't need that) and an animals-in-mittens mug was super soothing.

It finished wrangling my rage into submission. Which is actually sort of miraculous for a mall around Christmas time. 

I even went into my favorite store - Restoration Hardware Baby and Child. Seriously. I love it. It's where Marie Antoinette would go to set up her nursery if she lived in early 21st century California instead of 18th century France. They have unicorn rocking chairs and mini birch trees covered in fairy lights and hand-drawn giraffes and tasteful tea sets for tiny tea parties. And, no, I don't have kids.

I can't really explain why I love it so much. It's like when I told someone at a party that I went to see Bad Moms...and really liked it. She turned more fully toward me and said, "Why?" in enough of a disbelieving tone that I honestly felt kind of dumb because she knows I don't have kids - and I also didn't have an answer. 

I LIKE WHAT I LIKE AND I WANT TO LIVE LIKE A PRIVILEGED MARIN SIX-YEAR-OLD. Apparently. (I mean, who wouldn't? Later, I saw a kid in a pink sparkly tutu with a matching pink wig topped by a tiara. She was eating a chocolate chip cookie and I thought, "That eight-year-old is living my best life.")

All this actually makes sense. When I get so overcome with anger that I can't manage my emotions, I basically turn into a tantrum-throwing four-year-old. Then I plop myself down in front of a movie and buy myself a chocolate chip cookie. Hey, whatever works, right? 

Frankly, I'm just proud that I tried meditating before giving up and turning on violent TV. Also proud that my coping mechanism is now "chocolate chip cookie" rather than "bottle of bourbon." I take my wins where I can get them. 

Locked Out and Muddy Subtitle: Fuck Friday

Amber Adrian

After I pressed publish last night, I sat down on my bathroom floor and sobbed. Like something deep yet mysteriously prominent had rearranged itself in that quantum box where I keep everything I don't fully understand. (It's a really big box.) 

Sobbing on your bathroom floor is never fun - I've done it a fair few times in my life, and somehow, it's always on a white bath mat. Perhaps I should only use colored bath mats from now on. Because the color of my Cost Plus purchases are obviously the culprit here.

I've given up trying to explain my feelings. They've always been a mystery tsunami, like just hanging out on the beach in the sun with lemonade and your dog and then all of a sudden, "HOLY SHIT THERE'S A SEVENTY FOOT WAVE RIGHT ON TOP OF US."

(Don't worry, the imaginary dog is a champion swimmer.) 

That said, It felt like I was grieving something I had only just realized I lost, but had disappeared long before. I still can't explain why or what the good green earth was going on. 

All I can do with feelings is ask whether or not they're mine (half the time they don't, being an empath is annoying). If they do belong to me, just let myself feel them in my body without letting my brain attach a story to them. I'm usually only about 37 percent successful at this, but that's better than the last decade's .003 percent success average. 

For reference, attaching brain story to feelings often looks something like: 

Feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness, pain, grief, etc, from apparent nowhere. 

Brain, ever helpful, hops quickly in: "It's completely logical that you feel this way, because x, y, and granny smith apple happened last week. In fact, we should probably obsess about x and granny smith apple for awhile, or maybe forever, so these feelings never happen again." 

Helpful, brain. Thanks. 

Anyway, post traumatized-bathroom-sob-for-no-apparent-reason, I wake up feeling much better and ready to greet the morning with vim and, I dunno, vigor - or at least coffee. And then there's another quantum collapse. I don't have a better description than that. Kinda like the black cat in the Matrix. The one you see after they've changed something. 

I'm reeling from latest quantum shift when I realize I don't have my keys. They're just...gone. I search my path from house to car, and conclude I must have locked myself out.

IS THAT WHAT THE MATRIX CHANGED? IT TOOK MY FUCKING KEYS? Come on, Matrix. Be better, 

Peering in my back window to ascertain location of said keys - are they really in the house? did I drop them on the stairs and they're now in the ivy? shall I call a locksmith or try to engage a wily raccoon? - I slip on my rain-slick deck and fall on my ass in the mud. 

Fuck Friday, is basically what I'm saying. 

Hours later, after licking my wounds at Starbucks and driving almost two hours to means-of-unlocking-my-house-without-my-key (luckily, I had a spare set of car keys in an accessible place), I get back into my house.

My keys aren't there.

It's like they slipped into another dimension.  

Which would've been pretty sweet, except no. After retracing my steps for the seventh time, it seems that, actually, they're IN THE GARBAGE CAN. Couldn't the Matrix at least try? Try and make a slightly cooler shift in my reality? 

But this is the joy of blogging again. As I'm hopping mad on the freeway, because of course I don't have time to drive multiple hours today just to unlock my door, I think, "At least I have something to write about now."

Even if I'd rather Friday would slip casually into another dimension, maybe the one where my keys were hiding.  

Blogging Like it's 2005 and I Haven't Aged Twelve Years

Amber Adrian

Shasta is one bossy mountain. My boyfriend and I went up last weekend and we caught the first snow fall, which was pure frozen joy - even before the golden retriever in a bright orange jacket started bounding ecstatically through legit winter wonderland.

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Legit winter wonderland. Well-suited to ecstatic bounding.

In addition to the snow and donuts - not to mention the snow donuts that my race car driving companion took it upon himself to pull at the top of the deserted mountain, scaring the absolute shit out of me, because he didn't share his plan before starting to spin out - the mountain also gave me an assignment. (See: bossy mountain top.) 

Stop everything and write for 21 days straight. 

Also some stuff about silencing my brain and drinking green juice and exercising and, let me just say, I have not been as diligent as the bossy mountain probably intended. 

Mostly because all of this is terrifying. Doing nothing but writing when you're self-employed and "doing things" is where your money comes from is terrifying. Moving after months of sloth is terrifying. Writing after being in a creative funk for years is terrifying. Silencing my brain is terrifying. (My brain does not enjoy being silenced and becomes exponentially more obnoxious whenever I try.) 

Drinking green juice is actually pretty easy so that's fine. 

At this juncture, I should probably note that I am a super sensitive human and as diligently as I try to unhook myself from the collective emotional energy, sometimes I still end up in fear and, ya know, faintly hysterical terror. 

That said, getting back into this writing game is not going smoothly. 

Pushing myself doesn't seem to be working. Starting yet another novel and getting four pages in before abandoning it doesn't seem to be working. Journaling mostly just turns into all-caps yelling as I let my brain throw a tantrum to unleash all the feeling I've carefully hoarded thanks to that aforementioned sensitivity - so that doesn't seem to be working either.

Maybe the solution of my bright-eyed twenty-something self will work for me now. Back in 2005, at the virtual dawn of personal internet musings, I started a blog as a way to write daily. It worked and I loved it. But that was when we were just talking about our lives without much expectation and our friends were doing it too. It was a big ol internet party in those sweetly naive pre-social media years. 

I mean, the technology still exists. Where did we all go? What happened? It feels like it wants to come back. Some of the bloggers of yore are at it again - and some never stopped. (Who's still doing this? If you are or know of people who are, please share.) So here I am too, doing my utmost to silence the plague o' self-doubt and use my voice. 

Going back to conversational writing and less curation sounds like a goddamn breath of peppermint-flavored arctic air. Overthinking is choking the life out of me and my poor beleaguered words. 

Who would want to read this? - my brain 

You've lost your special spark and I refuse to subscribe to this claptrap. - person who unsubscribed to my newsletter and felt it necessary to tell me why

Should I be talking about this? Am I complaining too much? How is this adding to the world? - my brain

HEREBY BANISHING THE BRAIN HAMSTERS. AND NEVER READING PEOPLE'S REASONS FOR UNSUBSCRIBING EVER AGAIN. There. Problem solved. 

We'll see what happens. Whatever it is, I will do my utmost to squash the brain hamsters, unhook sticky emotion, and speak what is true and loving. And possibly annoyed and cynical. But that's the beauty of not over-thinking. You get to just be. 

So here's to just being. Like it's 2005 and we're in the first flush of internet sharing and I don't yet have that alarming trench between my brows.