Author Archives: charissa

on my own

i have never been comfortable asking for help. i don’t think many of us are. somewhere along our journey as human beings we decided that our narrative should be built on the expectation of everyone having their shit together. that the inability to be self dependent means failure. failure of your own. failure of the family that has raised you. failure of the path you have chosen. just, overall failure. so there’s an incredible pressure to present a picture of having one’s shit together.

how much time is wasted trying to paint that picture.

this has followed me into relationships with loved ones. the discomfort and unfamiliarity in asking for help or conveying my needs results in an expectation of the other party knowing who to be, what to do or how to help and a frustration or dissatisfaction upon not having my needs met.

but i have come to understand that having my needs met is my responsibility and mine alone. whether i meet them myself or i communicate those needs to others so they may extend their love to me in those ways. because love is not owed. it is not a prerequisite to having a relationship. we all know very well relationships can exist with no love at all. and because i am not entitled to anyone else’s love or kindness, i have to be alright with asking for what i need or accepting what i do or do not receive with grace.

it is easier said than done. existing in a society where you can be seen as inconvenient for expressing opinions and needs makes it hard to do just that. it is easier to remove one’s needs than try to communicate it in hopes of finding a workable solution. easier. but all that accomplishes is silencing people to a point of isolation and non-existence.

i believe we all yearn communion. it takes a village to get anything done – building houses, farming a land, raising children, managing a household, running a business – yet we constantly find ourselves without one.

isolation replaces the village. isolation becomes the narrative. you are on your own.

we are quicker to doubt people than we are to trust them. in fact, to trust and rely on others is naive and stupid. we are better off walking around with filters and walls, to protect self from all the things that could go wrong in life. so much to fear.

it took a lot of reflecting to see how i’d built my relationships around that narrative. hardships faced alone because of keeping people out of my struggles. feeling frustrated in relationships when my partner failed to understand my needs. anger when the action of others caused me pain. so much unnecessary loneliness and finger pointing.

but how is anyone to know what i need if i don’t communicate it? and why is the norm to brace one’s self for impact before trying to address an issue. as though humans are so tiny and limited that we are unable to handle situations any better. 

love and life are expansive. our capacity to grow knows no bounds. we limit ourselves because we are afraid. afraid of failure. afraid to try. afraid to ask. afraid to need. afraid of judgement.

so, what if i remove that fear? what if i just ask. what if i just communicate my needs. so simple. so what if someone thinks i am inconvenient for asking. so what if my request actually does trouble people a little. so what if i seem irresponsible or incapable for being unable to manage everything myself. one’s opinion of me need not matter if my opinion of me is fine. i can be fine with being a failure within the old narrative. i can create my own narrative.

because what i do know to be true is that i am always here, waiting to be needed. always here willing to participate. willing to help. willing to show up. willing to be that village. and if i am, i have to believe that others are too. all it takes is asking. to shed the belief that my worthiness as a human being is somehow tied to having my shit together…and just ask.

i replace the narrative in my mind and in the hearts of my relationships. it’s only just the beginning, but already it feels so good. so good to let others into my life. so good to involve them in the things that matter to me. so good to not need to paint any picture. so good to be free to ask rather than expecting, being disappointed, feeling frustrated, getting angry, sitting in pain, fear, distrust and shutting down or just cutting right through everything and entering a situation already shut down.

this journey back to self is so incredibly beautiful. inner battles fought to remove the walls that keep me from feeling supported and embraced. and with every victory i am rewarded with a reminder of what it means to live with and through love.

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enigma

life is an enigma. i have always functioned under the assumption that there is some place that you get to in life where everything feels alright. as i have journeyed, it has only become clearer that alright doesn’t really exist. not as a stationary destination you can remain at forever. alright exists in between the currents of life. that moment of stillness after a wave has hit the shore and climbed to its highest, before it retreats back into the ocean. alright is being in the present and experiencing the present for what it is, with no questions or expectations of what things should be could be would be. alright is not an outcome. it is acceptance. and it is ever present as it is fleeting – just as our ability to remain in the now is.

the cyclical nature of life is such that it is constantly throwing you for a loop. questions = answers = certainty = action = experience = uncertainty =  loop. and no matter how much i work out, there is always more to understand. sometimes it is the only reason for hope. other times it is positively maddening. to believe one has it figured out is the work of ego. i have lots of ego. almost as much as i have love. i used to have more. ego, that is. and it fills me with the same familiar emotion – every few years when i make time to read through some old posts – a somewhat mundane realization of how little i understood in regards to what i spoke of prior to the experiences to come.

i think the biggest difference i feel in this stage of life is a sense of unknowing. contrary to the certainty i was prone to feeling in the past. perhaps i was chasing something and felt as though i was getting there. for the first time in my life, i don’t believe there is anything to chase anymore. i have all i could ask for. probably more. yet…there is still this feeling that something is not “alright”. but i no longer know what. nor do i have a plan.

could it be that i have reached my “goal” only to be faced with the reality that in the pursuit of that goal, i glazed over the details that truly mattered? it is wholly true to my character to be so focused on getting what i want that i do not stop to care about how i am getting it. to be impatient and therefor reckless.

or perhaps i have reached my goal and find the lack of something to aim for entirely uncomfortable. because to aim for is all i’ve ever known. all i’ve been taught.

i am allowing myself to sit in this uncertainty a little longer this time. i am widening the gap between questions and answers. and honestly, it feels quite numb. and a tad bit paralyzing. i have moved through most of my life by ego-lead-certainty. how could it be any other way when that is how i was raised? now that i am less certain and less enthusiastic about asserting my opinions, i just feel blank.

i wonder if blankness can be alright. if the absence of certainty and all the thoughts and feelings that form from it is a form of peace? there are moments where i am neither happy nor sad. that moment of stillness. but then the ocean begins to pull back and the lack of happiness, of all things, causes me to feel sad. so i am sad over nothing.

what if i can hold on to that stillness a little longer?

to be present is to quiet yourself. to let your senses take in everything as is. to observe, with no judgement. the sky is blue. the sun is incredibly bright. the fan is making a noise. the wind blows. the trees blow in the wind. the air is hot. my children laugh. or cry. i am reading the words off a book. this book has pictures. my child asks me a question. i think of an answer to the question. i continue reading the book. continue trying to be present.

my little taurean

maya [sanskrit] dream or illusion.
taurus 🌞 sagittarius 🌙 leo rising.

this birth was a dream come true. our plan for an unassisted birth was to prepare as much in terms of knowledge and situation management and leave the rest to instinct. with our previous birth, i was honestly afraid of the contractions. not wanting to feel the pain allowed it to overwhelm me causing me to freeze and not allow my body, mind and soul to work as one to bring ella earthside like a warrior.

with this birth, i wanted to do different. we addressed all our fears and from the moment i felt the first real contraction, i did my very best to welcome it. feeling the energy surge through my body, down my spine, through my hips, up my belly, embracing maya in the womb and moving her down with a release. i moved to music on an exercise ball for as long as my body allowed me to before moving into a birthing pool. i can attest to the effectiveness of warm water as a natural epidural. i knew the moment i got in that maya would be born in the pool. and she was. arriving at 1.40pm on the 23rd of april @ 3.8kg. peaceful and healthy.

i do not know how women are expected to navigate labour without support (many government hospitals do not allow for a birthing partner) as i would not have made it through the many hours of intense contractions without yoong to be my strength and motivator in moments of fatigue and weakness. labour is no walk in the park. and the moment of transition where baby is ready to make an appearance is honestly the most warrior i’ve ever had to be in my life.

but beyond the space of pain and fear is a place of absolute bliss. bliss of accomplishing the seemingly impossible. bliss of holding my baby in my arms, having birthed her naturally, catching her on my own. most would think we are insane, for daring to attempt an unassisted labour. to that i say, i am so glad we are. because we did it, and i have no regrets. only joy and love.

que sera sera

this time, 3 years ago, i had just welcomed earthside a beautiful, intense being that would forever change my life. being a mum has given me most reason to be my best self. forcing me to think about even the smallest of things i would have let slip by without a thought before. everything i am, the experience i curate for her up to the point she ventures off on her own, creates the memories and building blocks of her foundation. i strive so hard to be perfect, knowing full well that i can never be. this knowing that there is someone else – a pure, innocent being whom i have so much impact over is both amazing and terrifying. because at the same time i am trying to be my most free self, i am incredibly aware that i am sometimes not able to or should not make selfish decisions for just myself. it is confining. to not be able to choose me. to not know if choosing me is what will give my children the best version of myself. if those choices will be better than the ones i make out of the desire to give them the best life they can have. it’s confusing, to not know which door the “best life” is sitting behind. especially for someone who does as much thinking as i do. i try to think less. trust more. but it’s incredibly hard to not to think when it comes to the larger decisions in life. where we live. the lifestyle we choose. if the sacrifices made to achieve the life is worth the reward. if i should live for the present or the future. for myself or my children. i wish these things were easier…but don’t we all? i just don’t allow myself to run from the feelings, which leaves me overwhelmed by them sometimes. should i technically avoid dwelling on them? is a certain level of avoidance healthy? life sure was simpler when it was just me. but i love being a mum. and i love my children so much. they matter so so so so much. their experience, their emotions, their needs. so much it kills me to not be alright sometimes. to not be my best for them. to not have things figured out. to struggle. but i guess struggle is as much a part of life as joy is. and we take it all and try to make the best out of it. never really knowing all the ways things may play out. and what will be will be.

pot of gold

it’s so much less likely for me to make time to write down the happy things nowadays. that’s because the reality of full time parenting means little to zero time to myself. even when i’m struggling and my thoughts won’t let go of me, i have to make do with an hour in the morning before bambina wakes up. happier times are obviously just spent as a family, in the present. which is why my writing has been erratic and unrefined. it has mutated from something i put a lot of thought into and proofread and correct into just an expression of the thoughts that run through my mind on the spot. but sometimes that’s good. because getting to feel and see my thoughts as the whole truth and nothing but the truth reflects back to me where my mind really is/goes. the pain/fear, the absurdities, my loops. there is no more pretending. and that’s the thing i find with parenting.

there is no longer any space left to pretend. it’s so very real. and the stress of not having any break to put things aside to deal with later can really get to a person. and get in the way of partnership. because the reality is when one has an ounce of personal space, the other is holding the fort down. and vice versa. doing something nice has gone from spending time together to tagging in so the other can tag out. which is an incredible adjustment from being single together. where there was once time for self and then the relationship. of course ideally, the child would be sent off to be taken care of for the day or weekend or to daycare/school for selfish reasons. and i don’t mean selfish in a bad way. everyone needs to selfishly look out for themselves sometimes. but ideal is not always reality. and reality isn’t always ideal.

the beauty is though, that as we journey on and begin to acknowledge the stresses, hardships and sacrifices we individually make/tolerate for each other and the family at large, it begins to feel very much more like teamwork. and in the most clearest of spaces, it feels as though we are one. and the oneness can’t be taken away, even when we are functioning separately. it sounds so obvious, like obviously both partners give their all because of love or the commitment that matter enough to make all these sacrifices. but it is incredibly easy to take things for granted, and not be grateful for all things large and small that we do for each other.

…and here comes bambina…

the truth is, selfishly, i have my expectations of what love should be. and what a relationship should feel like. but life gives you what you need to experience to grow into a better self. not what you want to feed your ego self. every step is an opportunity to go beyond expectation and preconceived notions of what love is into a space of true understanding of love.

and the truth is, as a couple, we are breaking through to that space. sometimes we get stuck and it feels as though i’m banging into a wall, which is what brings me here to sort out my thoughts. but then sometimes we find a way to take that wall down and it feels like a different, much better space than before.

recently, it feels as though we have truly broken through to a space of empowerment and love. the changes on both sides that have set in are monumental. and we have been able to deal with situations in a much more accepting and positive way. it feels “normal”, or more accurately wholesome, which we all know is not actually the norm. so really, it takes a great incredible amount of healing and unlearning to be wholesome. and boy, did it. but with every step we take in the right direction, it shows me that this is all i need. and all i ever asked for. and i am grateful. so today, i’ve made the time to write out some of the happy as well. i’d love to express so much more, but bambina being awake means a chatty toddler in my face and no personal space to form coherent thoughts so off i go.

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