37 Entering 38 - A Taste of What I've Learnt This Past Year
This is not just A life, this is MY life. How I choose to live it and show up everyday is solely on me. No good or bad. No right or wrong. It just is. Every moment leading up to this one has played out exactly as it should have. And today just happens to be my 38th birthday.
This past year has been one of intense learning’s for Kat Black, and I’d like to share a few:
Darkness vs. Light:
Every year since I stopped drinking has had an overwhelming impact on me. Scratch that – every month, week, day, moment. If I’m not learning or growing, I’m dying. Sound dramatic?
I have a lot of time to make up for. Not that all my drinking days were necessarily bad, they weren’t. I actually had a lot of fucking fun the past couple of decades. Where it got a little messy was when alcohol consumed my everyday actions & thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t drink to stuff my emotions, I drank to feel them. It was my release of happiness, sadness, aversion, anger, carefreeness, boredom. Especially towards the end of my drinking career. I had too much emotion pent up inside me and I didn’t know how to release it. Once I stopped drinking, it was time to dive into what these emotions were all about – Why was I feeling them and what were they trying to tell me and teach me – sans booze.
Enter my darkness. This is a place where I live most often and feel the most like myself. It took a very long time to see that my darkness is meaningful. So many days and nights spent alone (just as I am writing this), sitting with my anxiety, fears, doubts, loneliness, sadness, and yes, even overwhelming joy. And I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. But I embrace it all now - The time I spend alone understanding what it is that makes up this awesome individual. The counter to darkness is light. I struggled for a while about my “light” in this newly evolved version of myself. See, the thing is, I had been showing that part of me for years, and I never felt comfortable in my own skin in doing so. I was always the one smiling, laughing, trying to make others feel happy & comfortable, not thinking of what I really wanted and how I really felt. Not interested if I felt totally out of alignment with myself in doing so. And don't get confused with your perhaps definition of darkness - It’s not at all as though I’m this total ass or serious person now, that’s not at all what embracing my darkness is about. On the contrary, I just am much more aware of my behaviour and how I show up in my life and others. And it’s by living more in my darkness than my light. And I believe that is how I will continue to help & inspire others.
An example is this past summer, I updated my website. I made everything white with green accents. I wrote peppy content with a shit ton of exclamation points. Without being conscious of it, I ended up opening myself up to the masses, instead of those who are willing to show up, go deep and do the work. I mulled over publishing this “new” version. None of it sat right with me, but I did it anyway. Pushed aside my instincts which were yelling at me it was all a show, a façade. I HATED visiting my site and avoided it for a long while. Until just a couple of weeks ago. If this is a tool I’m consciously using to show who I am and what I'm all about, why the fuck is it so far removed from that?? So I went to town, revised the whole look in an hour. It may not be your cup of tea, but it’s ALL me, and I fucking love it.
And what is wrong with your darkness? If you are able to sit in the discomfort and want to really start to understand yourself, the darkness, in my experience, is where you’ll learn the most. And it’s not for everyone. We are where we are. What I am interested in doing though helping those who are willing to go into their darkness understand that it’s OK to make a stop there - for how ever long you need. It’s OK to honour your darkness and make it your friend. Embrace your shadow and see how she rewards you.
Connection to my Body:
A severe disconnect was happening within me. My mind ruled the show. You don’t even want to know what was going on up there (Or continues to haha). My body had very little say on what it wanted and how it felt. Going so far as really not feeling anything at all. I was totally and utterly numb. When my therapist would ask where I would feel memories or shame or guilt, etc, in my body, I wouldn’t have a response. I would make one up in order to please her. Truth is, it was all in my mind. It was extremely difficult for me to even begin to wrap my head around “feeling into my body”. When I felt shitty feelings, they were all happening in my head, swirling about like a hurricane heading towards shore. Energy was stuck at my throat chakra, which also made it incredibly difficult to speak my truth. Moving that energy and starting to connect my mind/body through my 5th chakra has been one of the most challenging components of this evolution. No one can help me through this. Yes, I have had some definite guidance along the way, but, for me, the only way to breakthrough is to place my attention and make connections with pieces of my body EVERY DAY. It’s exhausting, and some days I just don’t want to fucking deal with it, but I have moments every now and then that make it all incredibly worth it. Like that moment when the stars align as they were meant to and you were brought into this world. Yeah, like that.
My best resource in connecting mind and body has been breath. I never, ever understood why people, who were much more conscious than I, always talked about deep breathing. Yeah, I get it, breathe – In and out, in and out. No, not even close. I was breathing up to my chest, shallow breathes, not even near reaching other parts of my body. It was around this time last year I had my first experience with deep breath work. I allowed someone who I didn’t know well at the time (who has since become a significant ingredient to my make up), to do some body, breath and energy work on me. Less than 5 minutes into this session, I felt a slight dizziness and a tingling began to form in my hands. Soon after, my hands literally transformed into lobster claws. The medical term for this is called “tetany”, and although it looked incredibly bizarre and painful, I felt nothing of the sort. I felt, well, deeply connected to myself. From there, I slowly incorporated deeper breath work into my daily life through my meditation and yoga practice, and more recently through a sexual awakening course I attended. I had the privilege to attend this workshop that allowed for me to feel safe and connected with other women, and to release some past traumas around my sexuality and sexual experiences through breath. Although there are times that I forget to really breathe deep, when I am struggling, and when I feel as though the wall are crashing down around me, I remember my breath has the power to center me and calm my erratic, made up stories.
This is a DOOZY. I’ve had such a love/hate relationship with relationships. The only way to explain it is that I’ve continuously lost myself in them. It began at when I was just a child, wanting to have a certain relationship with my brothers. From there, it graduated to friends. And eventually to partners – love me, see me, include me, let me be a part of your world. I wasn’t enough for me. Constantly putting all value on myself if others accepted me. Enough was e-fucking-nough. Slowly (the theme of mt evolution being SLOWWWLY), I have started to chip away at what I thought made me not good enough. Some of it was material in nature – job, home, car, money - but the bulk of it was just a deep dissatisfaction within myself and what I could offer someone in any type of friendship or relationship. Which wasn’t much. My intentions weren’t pure, they were at times manipulative, desperate and unenviable. Holding up a mirror to myself within the context of relationships has been pretty disgusting if I’m being honest. Especially the one with myself. And if/when I do get into another relationship with a partner, I want to be sure, from the beginning, that you are you, and I am me, and I don’t ever want you to complete me or any of that bullshit. I have seen too many couples fall prey to that mindset. I stand tall as an individual coming into any friendship or relationship, and my only wish for those who I choose to include in my life is for you to grow and live through your experience. And I will be there to support and hold space for you.
This doesn’t even come close to describe other extremely relevant and major league lessons I’ve learnt this year, but if I continue to write about it, I’ll be here for days and not out living through experience.
So I will leave you with this - A snipet, a blip in time. This is all that we have here. Make it count. Make every second of it worth all that you are. I live to (deep) breath another day, and I’m going to crush it. 38 is going to be one hell of a year.