I wasn’t going to write this week. It’s been an unusual week. However, I seem to be becoming more emotional as time goes on. Not in an unstable sort of way. I just feel a lot. Both in terms of depth of emotion and frequency of occurrences. I suppose the correct way to say it is that I’m more empathetic and more connected. Today, I experienced such a range of emotions in one day, that I felt the only thing to do was to write. So, here I am.

I’m going to recount this morning’s encounter as vaguely as possible, in order to respect the privacy of the individuals involved. As I was going through my emails and prioritizing my work for the day, I was contacted by a friend who told me that someone of their acquaintance had come out to them as being demisexual and they were able to provide that person with resources to help because of what I had previously shared with them. (If you are the individual mentioned here, no names or descriptions were given to me. You have not been outed. You absolutely can trust this person.)

Cue the feels. All at once, I felt proud of my friend for creating a safe place for someone else, happy that the person was able to get resources specifically tailored for them, proud of myself for having been brave enough to be vocal about my own identity, validated that I am on the right path, and resolved in my belief that representation and access to resources are vitally important in our society. Crying seemed to be my only option in that moment. I’m a cryer anyway. I happy cry, sad cry, anger cry, laugh cry, nervous cry, all of it. When faced with so many simultaneous powerful emotions, it was inevitable. I had to take a break from work for a bit, just to feel.

This afternoon, again going through my emails, I came across one from Brooklyn Art Library. I had created a sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project in 2020. That was some time ago, so I was curious as to why they were contacting me. I opened the email to read that, while in transit to an exhibition at the end of February, the sketchbook trailer caught fire. Approximately 7,000 sketchbooks were destroyed (about 30% of the entire collection). They do not yet know the full extent of the damage.

I couldn’t fully process the enormity of the emotions I felt upon reading that. Sadness, concern, devastation, loss, overwhelm. Again, all I could do was cry. Interestingly, I wasn’t even feeling sad or concerned for my own work at all. I remembered reading that they have sketchbooks from all over the world and from artists of all ages. My immediate thought was that these lost sketchbooks are irreplaceable. I felt such tremendous loss for those artists whose work was destroyed. I know what it is to put a part of your soul into something, to hope that it will inspire or encourage others. The idea of that part of your soul no longer existing but in memory… I just don’t have the words.

I do understand that the sketchbooks are ephemeral (as most things, if not all things, are), but when something like this happens, it just brings that to the forefront for me. Art has always been my healer. It has saved me. Whether through my writing, by hearing someone else play piano, or any number of other things. As I’ve said, I feel a lot. I often cry at the beauty of Beethoven‘s Moonlight Sonata or van Gogh‘s Starry Night. It is impossible for me to describe the relationship I have with art.

We had our company quarterly meeting two days ago. Ironically, or perhaps it was fated, Fund for the Arts presented on their mission. They have a number of projects and programs going, but the overarching theme is that we are all artists. Additionally, we all participate in and experience art, whether or not we realize it. Do you listen to the radio while you drive? You are experiencing art. Do you sing along? You are creating art. The speaker closed by encouraging us all to find our art. For me, that is primarily writing.

Fragmented though my day may seem, I think both the positive and negative experiences illustrate the necessity of awareness. Both experiences also taught me that my work on my emotional reaction is paying off. Even with the depth of these emotions today, I didn’t identify with a single one of them. I experienced and observed. I wasn’t proud, I felt proud. I wasn’t happy, I felt happy. I wasn’t sad, I felt sadness. I wasn’t devastated, I felt devastation.

That isn’t to say I didn’t feel them at all. I absolutely did. I just didn’t live in that emotion. I felt it, experienced it, and let it pass. It wasn’t even consciously done at the time. I only realized much later that I had succeeded in not identifying with the emotion. I think it’s because of this that the sadness of the afternoon didn’t negate the happiness of the morning. I am smiling even now.

I used to believe that feeling so much was a curse. I’m starting to realize that it’s a blessing. The key is learning to protect yourself from overstimulation. That’s what I’m working on now by learning to observe emotions and to channel them creatively. Just one more way that art is beneficial.


I’ve been working to be more mindful. I’m not good at it, but I’m better than I was before and that’s something. I’m better at recognizing my emotions and not identifying with them. I’m better at focusing on my breathing. The biggest struggle for me has always been stopping negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts. How do you do that?

On an episode of Jay Shetty‘s podcast, he interviewed Tom Bilyeu. The topic was Breaking Negative Thought Patterns and Stop Being Lazy About Your Growth. One of the things they talk about is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is essentially retraining your brain to recognize negative thoughts right away and to stop being reactive to them.

An example that Jay frequently gives in his podcast is to say, “I am grateful for this thought because it reminds me that I am grateful for…” Then, you finish with a person, experience, etc. for which you are grateful.

I have never been able to recognize a negative thought and turn it around like that. The best I had been able to do was to recognize a negative thought and then try so hard to find something positive about it that I eventually forget what the thought was that I had in the first place.

Today was a rough, and a long, day. At work, we have a phone team. It consists of two receptionists and theoretically 4-6 Service Specialists. Service Specialists get rotated off of the phone team when a new Service Specialist is hired and trained. We had four, but one is out on maternity leave. Both of our receptionists are out today and tomorrow, so we’re down to just three Service Specialists. Two other employees volunteered to be backups to help us out. I am the primary phone person, so essentially the receptionist, for these two days.

This morning, the phones were acting up and they would ring and ring, but when we tried to answer, the call would drop. After about an hour, our IT guy had that problem resolved. After a little while, my phone crashed and tried to reboot and then it couldn’t connect to the server. The IT guy helped me get that back up. It was also difficult to get work done because every time I’d settle into something, the phone would ring and I’d have to spend a few minutes on the phone. My immediate thought was today is the worst day ever.

The internal monologue went something like this…

Me: Today is the worst day ever.

Me: What about that time you had to work in the summer and the power went out, so the air conditioner and lights went out, but you still had to check books out to people?

Me: And what about that time you had to help move things because the sewage pipe burst?

Me: And what about that time…

Me: Ok, you’re right. This isn’t the worst day ever. It’s not even really a bad day. And I’m so grateful to have this job. And I’m grateful for the IT guy.

I didn’t quite get to the point where I said I was grateful for the thought, but I did get to a feeling of gratitude from a negative thought. I’m not sure that using other negative thoughts to compare is the right path, either, but it’s a step in the right direction. At least I did get to a positive head space.

Since writing the above paragraph, I discovered that I was conned and double charged by a car rental company. The negative thoughts that followed that encounter lasted a lot longer, I can assure you. I was definitely reactive. However, I have calmed myself down now and I am grateful for my car and that my mechanic was able to fix it relatively inexpensively. I am grateful that this experience opened my eyes to what goes on at car rental companies and I will be much more careful in future because of it.

It was a learning experience. I will not take what is said at face value and I will not electronically sign for a rental car. While the experience left me feeling agitated, I am grateful for the knowledge I gained. I am also grateful that I have the tools to relieve the agitation and get into a better head space.

It’s ironic that this should come up while I’m writing about mindfulness. I shouldn’t have expected any less, though. That’s how the universe works. I was just reading the other day where someone said that people never own up to their mistakes. I thought about it for a long time. I do own up to my mistakes when faced with them, but I don’t necessarily admit that I was wrong or expose my faults when I don’t have to do so. Here is an opportunity for me.

I should not have called customer service while in the reactionary state I was in. I did not yell at the customer service representative, but I did raise my voice, which is honestly just as bad. Having worked in customer service my entire adult life, I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that. I could have been kinder. I should have been kinder. I should have taken a moment (or several) to get myself out of that reactionary state before calling. I should have done better. I failed.

This failure does not mean that I will always fail. I will practice recognizing my negative thoughts and turning them to positives. I will practice not reacting. I will do better next time. That’s all I can do.

My apologies for the disjointedness of this post. I just felt it was important for me to include what just happened to me and to admit I was wrong, rather than to hide that while posting about a small success in mindfulness. It would have been hypocritical of me to do that. I am not a perfect person. I don’t always get it right. Today, I didn’t get it right. Tomorrow, I will do better.


In May of 2019, I learned that I’m demisexual. I told a few friends, but I really went public with that information at the very end of 2020. I hate to say I came out, because I’m heterosexual and cisgender, so I feel weird about using that phrase. Demisexual falls under the asexual umbrella, and is technically part of the LGBTQIAPD community. However, I recognize that I come from a place of privilege within that community. Nearly all of my struggles have been with myself. I have not had to face the hatred and prejudice that others have had to face.

I’ve thought about writing on this topic for a while now and just kept putting it off. It’s a topic that has come up quite a bit in the last week. I also learned last night that today is International Asexuality Day, and that’s why I decided it is time.

Growing up, I always knew I was different, but I didn’t understand it or have words for it. I remember having a crush on a boy in my class in kindergarten. Other girls in my class had crushes, too. Here’s where it differs. I rode the bus with this boy because we lived on the same bus route. We sat close to each other, sometimes across the aisle or sometimes he’d be in the seat in front of me. I started talking to him because I heard him talking about dinosaurs. It sounded interesting, so I joined in. As time went on, I developed a crush on him.

One day, some of the other girls asked me who my crush was and I replied. I was met with “eewww!” I didn’t understand why they responded that way. Looking back now, I suppose it’s because he looked like what you would imagine the quintessential nerd to look like at the age of five. His appearance never factored in for me. Every last one of those girls had a crush on the same blonde-haired boy who ate paste. I couldn’t understand that either. Sure, he was aesthetically pleasing, but he ate paste and had nothing of any substance to talk about.

That is the first time I remember feeling different. As I got older, I began to feel broken. I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t feel the way other people felt. I also thought maybe I was just bad at relationships and was destined to be alone. What didn’t help was being raised in a conservative Christian home in the midwest, where it was implied that the value of a woman is to marry and have children. It was never explicitly stated by my family, and I was encouraged to be able to support myself should the need arise. It’s just that it’s “normal” here for women to marry and have children and for that to be fulfilling to them. I’d like to be married, but I’m fine if it doesn’t happen. I definitely don’t want children. So, again, I felt broken.

I was engaged at nineteen. I was young and naive. Since I hadn’t ever dated prior to that, and so many of my high school classmates were getting married and/or having children, I felt like I was behind somehow and that this might be my last chance. Therefore, I dated and got engaged to the first guy to ever ask me out, even though I didn’t feel any attraction. It was a mistake I wish I hadn’t made, but I did. I paid for that mistake. And I learned from it. Thankfully, I broke it off with him before we married.

I didn’t even want to think about dating for years after that. Eventually, I developed an attraction to a close friend of mine, but that went nowhere and he moved away. Years later, I started having feelings for another close friend, we’ll call him Alex for the sake of keeping the story straight. In February 2019, I told him about it and that was the catalyst for us no longer being friends. As that friendship was ending, I turned to a mutual friend of ours, we’ll call him Logan, to help me understand what had happened. He was a neutral observer and often brutally honest, so I felt I could trust him. Logan said, “Have you ever thought about the fact that you fall in love with every guy you get close to?”

“Not every guy,” I countered. “I haven’t fallen for you or the other guys that we hang out with.”

“Yet,” he replied.

I sat with that for a while, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. It certainly wasn’t every guy I got close to, but it did seem to happen when I got close to someone. Not every time I got close to someone, but there was never any attraction on my side without a connection. I still didn’t understand what it all meant.

Eventually, Logan stopped talking to me. I don’t know why. All I know is he had said on more than one occasion that he was afraid I’d fall in love with him and he didn’t want that. I tried telling him that there was zero possibility of that happening, because the surest way of severing any connection that had formed was for me to feel like I’m not wanted. And he had flat out said I wasn’t wanted. He never seemed to believe me.

A short time after Alex and I ended our friendship, a friend, whom I met playing an online game, was in the game group chat one evening. She was explaining to some of our game mates what demisexual is. I messaged her privately and asked if she would tell me more because it sounded like me. She did. I also did some of my own research. It is exactly what I am. And suddenly, I didn’t feel broken. Because there are other people out there who feel the way I do. And I know one of them personally.

In July 2019, I started reading Black Bird, a manga series by Kanoko Sakurakoji. I don’t know that she intended for the character of Kyo Usui to be demisexual, but so many of his lines resonated with me. That’s where today’s featured image quote comes from (Volume 14, if I remember correctly).

“There’s no such thing as beauty or ugliness!” That’s really how I feel about it. To me, people are like paintings. They can be aesthetically pleasing or not. Whether or not they are has no bearing on how much I like them. However, the more I get to know about them, and the more of a connection I develop to them, the more beautiful they become. Conversely, if I get to know more about them and I don’t like what I’m learning, they can become less beautiful in my eyes, even if the rest of the world considers them to be the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. I’m not attracted by physical beauty. I’m attracted by the beauty of the soul.

I’ve explained this as best I can to everyone. Some people have been accepting, others just don’t understand. Still others want to argue with me. The things I most vividly remember hearing in opposition to my declaration are:

  1. Why do you need to label yourself?
  2. I don’t think that’s a real thing. I think you just want to feel special.
  3. Everyone is that way.
  4. You’re just scared. If you date more, you’ll get used to it. You just need to practice.
  5. You just need to put yourself out there more so you can meet the right person. I just want you to be happy.

Let me address these. I, personally, feel the need to label myself because it’s how I understand myself. My brain works kind of like a database and that’s how I understand the world. I categorize and catalog everything. Some things have one label and some things have a hundred labels. That’s probably why I was drawn to librarianship. I recognize that not everyone’s brain works this way, but mine does. I need to label things. It’s also how I find others like me for support. There are plenty of people (demi, ace, allo, or otherwise) who do not like to be labeled. And that’s ok.

Demisexuality is most definitely a real thing. It’s as real as asexuality and allosexuality, and all of the other labels that fall on that spectrum. Learning that I’m demi didn’t make me feel special, it made me feel like I wasn’t broken. It made me feel valid.

Not everyone is that way. If that were the case, would one-night stands even be a thing? Whether they realize it or not, for allosexual people, a physical attraction is what causes them to take note of or have an interest in someone. For demisexuals, physical attraction doesn’t come into play until a bond has been established, if it even does at all.

Case in point, back when I worked at the library, I was manning the customer service desk with a co-worker, Lynn. A man approached and asked to borrow the stapler. I handed it to him and he walked toward the copy machine.

“You should’ve gotten his number,” Lynn nudged me. “He was hot!”

“Was he?” I asked. I really didn’t even notice. He was just a guy asking for a stapler. I looked at him again. Still just a guy. Not unpleasant looking, but that didn’t make me want to ask for his number.

While I do have some trauma that makes me afraid to date, I am brave enough to take the chance when I want to do that. Demisexuality is very different.

I can go out on a date with someone if I find them interesting enough, but there is such immense pressure in this day and age for a physical relationship, and quickly. I don’t know for a long time whether or not I even want to kiss someone, let alone do anything else. It has taken me anywhere from three months to ten years to get to the place where I feel like I want to kiss someone. That’s far too long of a wait for most people.

“Practicing” dating would be my worst nightmare. In addition to being demi, I’m introverted and have a lot of social anxiety because I don’t always understand social cues. Flirting goes right over my head. The idea of dating people I don’t know well enough to know it could go somewhere, and who might try to force physicality on me, is enough to make me never want to date. If I’ve agreed to go out with you, know that it means I think very highly of you.

Maybe I haven’t met the right person yet. Or, maybe there isn’t a right person for me. Maybe I’m the right person for me. If you want me to be happy, let me be. I’m happy with myself. I will date when and if I find someone who doesn’t disrupt my peace. Someone I trust enough to take a chance with, and who I know cares about my comfort. Relationship does not always equal happiness. I know plenty of couples who aren’t happy. Happiness is different for everyone. Please, let’s stop perpetuating the idea that the only way to be happy and fulfilled is to be married and/or have children.

This has been a bit of a lengthy post, but I felt it was important to share my journey. Demisexuality is not very mainstream and I think the more awareness we can generate, the better. If I had known at nineteen that I’m demi, I could have saved myself so much physical and emotional pain.

I’ll leave you with a couple of good resources:


As those of you who have been reading my posts know, I have been on a transformational journey lately. I’ve struggled my whole life to find my purpose. I had always equated purpose with occupation. I thought my purpose was to be an occupational therapist and I applied to a college with that program. When that didn’t feel right, I switched to secondary English education, thinking I should be a teacher. I started down that path and it didn’t feel right either. After a lot of trial and error, I kind of stumbled into librarianship. I worked as a librarian for thirteen years and recently left that job to become an insurance broker.

Is being an insurance broker my purpose? No. I have learned in the last couple of years that my purpose and my occupation aren’t necessarily one and the same. I have been told by many people recently that I should’ve been a therapist, and while I get it, that’s not for me either. However, hearing that multiple times was sort of the bridge to my understanding. What do all of these occupations have in common? They are helping professions. My purpose is to help others. That’s why I kind of fit into all of them, but none of them were a perfect fit.

If you’ve read my post, Impetus, you know that the beginnings of my journey were the isolation of 2020 and my starting vibrational sound therapy with Reiki treatment. After a few visits, I started to think maybe I should do something like this. Then, as I often do, I told myself it was ridiculous. I’ll show you how my inner voice and I argue…

Me: I feel like maybe I should learn Reiki. It seems like something I’d be good at and it would help people.

Me: That’s ridiculous. You don’t know anything about Reiki. How would you even begin?

Me: Well, I could ask Jason.

Me: Don’t bug Jason. Besides, it would be like asking someone if they can teach you how to be their competition. Who wants that?

Me: You’re right. I shouldn’t bother with it.

And this is how it always goes. I argue with myself until I talk myself out of whatever the thing is that I thought about doing. I recently learned that not everyone has an inner monologue, which surprised me. But, I digress.

So, I continued on doing what I was doing to try and heal myself. I went monthly to vibrational sound therapy and I read quotes and self-help books. As I was making a page-a-day inspirational calendar for my sister, I came across this one.

If you want to know where to find your contribution to the world, look at your wounds. When you learn how to heal them, teach others.

Emily Maroutian

It resonated with me, so I saved it, but I didn’t really know what to do with it yet. Some months later, I was talking to a friend about working through some things and he thanked me for sharing with him. He said it helped him to hear it. It made me remember that quote, so I read it out to him. He told me, “That’s your purpose.”

Even getting this confirmation from a close friend, I still struggled with what exactly to do and how to do it. So, I began listening to Jay Shetty’s podcast several months ago. So much of what he and his guests talk about are topics for how to heal and how to grow. Jay talks a lot about his time as a monk and frequently says that his purpose is to spread these practices and knowledge. The picture became clearer for me. I’m not a podcaster. I’m a writer. So, I decided to repurpose this blog that I had started when I began my HS journey into a general wellness/spiritual journey blog.

I decided that every time I was inspired by a podcast or a particular topic came up for me multiple times in a day or week, I would write about that thing. I had intended to publish a post twice a week, but some weeks are busy and I can’t always get to it. So, I do what I can. Even though I know this is the right path for me, I still felt somewhat directionless.

Last week, I had an out of body experience that I won’t get into right now, but I reached out to my new friend, Gina, who has become a mentor for me. We talked about the out of body experience, but she also wanted to know if there had been anything else that had happened in between that and the last time we had talked in January. So I caught her up on what happened with Gertrude at the beginning of March.

Gina said that I have been gently nudged in the right direction, but since I haven’t moved, the out of body experience was to push me a bit harder, to get me to take notice. One of things she asked me is if I know my purpose. I told her I want to help people but I feel somewhat directionless about it. She asked if I had ever considered becoming a healer.

I told her about the Reiki and how I had felt drawn to that, but that I hadn’t pursued it. I also told her about how I cook. Which seems like a weird thing to mention, but hear me out. When I cook anything on the stove, a lot of the time, instead of using a lid, I put my hands over the pan/pot and use my hands to direct the steam. I call it keeping the love in. I don’t know why I do it. I wasn’t taught that way. I just feel like I need to do it. I said I don’t know what made me think to tell her about it, but it came to mind when I told her about the Reiki. Gina told me that I’m subconsciously directing energy, which is the core of Reiki. She agreed that Reiki is a good place for me to start.

We talked some about connecting to the right people to help me with this, and to some extent, I am connected to the right people. Jason practices Reiki and I will ask him from whom he learned. I told Gina that my circle has drastically changed since 2020. I had thought it was mostly to do with the isolation from COVID, but I realize now that it just all kind of happened at the same time. Gina said that isolation forced all of us to sit with ourselves and many of us were awakened during that time. That reminded me of the following quote, which is also in the featured image for this post.

The Universe isolates you so you can find your soul’s purpose. It may seem like you’ve lost friendships and relationships but finding your path, passion and purpose in life is worth more! For where your soul is, there you will find your treasure.

And that quote made me think of a Bible verse that had always been my favorite as a child, Matthew 6:21. I didn’t know why. I just connected with it. Now, I begin to understand why.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:19-23

My favorite verse, in and of itself, is about not treasuring earthly possessions. That’s really at the heart of detachment from a few to practice love for all. But continuing, it goes on to talk about being healthy and full of light.

The Bhagavad Gita has a similar verse.

Pleasures conceived in the world of the senses have a beginning and an end and give birth to misery, Arjuna. The wise do not look for happiness in them. But those who overcome the impulses of lust and anger which arise in the body are made whole and live in joy. They find their joy, their light, and their rest completely within themselves. United with the Lord, they attain nirvana in Brahman.

BG 5:22-24

It’s all about healing, wisdom, light, and love. All of this is connected to my purpose.

At the end of our conversation, Gina asked if I journal at all. I do. I’m an avid journaler. Lately, my journaling has changed. I used to write about what happened in my day, what I said, what someone else said, how I felt about it. Now, I write more about topics, like I do on this blog. So I might write about something that happened today, but it will remind me of something else from three years ago, or a dream that I had, or whatever else and I write about that.

Gina also asked if I’m a writer. I smiled at that. I’ve started several books, but never finished them. I realized why recently. I’ve always started writing fictionalized versions of things that happened in my life, using my journals as reference. The problem is that I’ve removed myself from the story. I’ve made myself the observer, which is great when you’re trying to learn to manage your emotions. It’s not so great when you’re trying to connect with people. I need to write myself. I need to be authentic. I need to share my experiences. That’s why I started this blog.


Last night, I went to my dear friend Adam’s birthday party. One of the features of this party was free chakra readings by The Rooted Druid. I’d never heard of a chakra reading prior to this, so I decided to try it. I sat at the table and told the lady (whom I later learned is Caitlin) that I was new to all of this. She had a white tile on the table. She told me to choose colored dye and add the colors to the tile in whatever order and pattern I wanted. The only rule was that I had to use each color at least once.

My chakra reading tile.

Once I created my color pattern, she set it on fire to set the dye. She interpreted each of the colors for me, but the one I’m going to focus on for this post is the root chakra (red). The red looks brownish in the photo, but it’s the color on the top left and bottom right of the tile.

Caitlin said that my root chakra is small, which means that I don’t have much of it. She said there are two meanings to this: the first being that I feel disconnected from my circle, the people who make me feel secure, and the second being that I’m not as grounded as I need to be. She suggested that I take some time to walk outside and ground myself.

Up to this point, she had known nothing about me. Not even my name. When she finished the reading, I told her about all of the changes I’ve been going through. It makes total sense to me that my root would be small. I’ve completely changed as a person in the last few years, and that includes my circle having changed.

I told her that I do like to spend time out with trees, but haven’t been out much recently. I also told her about Gertrude. Caitlin suggested that the next time Gertrude gives me something, I should keep it by my bed so that I can still have that contact, even on the bad weather days when I don’t go outside.

When I got home, I asked Gertrude if she wouldn’t mind to give me something that I could keep with me, so we can stay connected. Today, I left the house after work so I could go to the grocery. Gertrude had indeed left something for me.

I thanked Gertrude and took her gift with me. It is sitting on my nightstand now. Even just this little bit has made a difference for me today. It’s something about the feel of the bark and the smell of the tree. I do feel grounded.


Flawsome: being awesome in spite of or because of flaws. Everyone and everything is flawed. Perfection is an illusion. It’s an ideal we strive for but can never attain. It sounds harsh to say that, but that’s actually a good thing. Flaws add uniqueness to our being and flavor to our lives. How boring it would be if we had nothing to do or be because we were already perfect.

That isn’t to say that we should just accept all of our flaws, end of story. Some are for accepting and embracing, others are for working on. Some we can even use to our advantage as we work on them. Flaws give us opportunity for growth.

I have blue eyes. There is a brown fleck in my left eye. This is a flaw. One I can’t do anything about. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it or bad about it. It’s just a genetic abnormality. It doesn’t negatively affect me in any way. I have no issues with it.

Another of my flaws is that I have a lot of self-doubt. This is a flaw that I need to work on. Accepting and embracing it would be detrimental to myself and to my colleagues. Just last week, I had an issue come up at work and self-doubt crept in.

A client e-mailed me to say that he had accidentally canceled someone’s insurance coverage in our benefit administration system. In and of itself, this doesn’t cancel anything. What it does do is send me a notification that I need to cancel the person’s coverage. However, the client e-mailed me immediately and I saw that before I got the notification from the system. I e-mailed him back to let him know that he absolutely did the right thing and that I would work on trying to get that fixed in the system.

I had just had a training session the previous day on how to update benefits in the system, but I wasn’t confident in my ability to do it because I had only seen it done once. I had never done it myself. I sent a message to the account manager and asked her if she would like for me to attempt it or if she’d rather I didn’t mess with it myself. She didn’t answer.

I sat with it for hours and, finally, I recognized that my having asked the account manager about it was me seeking validation outside of myself. A friend once told me, “The fact that you’re seeking validation means that you already know the right answer. You’re just afraid.” And wasn’t that the truth.

Then, I thought about one of Jay Shetty’s episodes that I listened to a couple of weeks ago. He said whenever you hear those negative thoughts, ask yourself these three questions: Is it true? What is the worst that could happen if I don’t listen to it? What is the best that could happen if I don’t listen to it?

I had no way of knowing whether or not it was true that I couldn’t fix the problem myself, because I hadn’t ever tried. The worst that could happen is that I don’t manage to fix it and the account manager will have to fix it later. The best that could happen is that I fix it. Since the worst case scenario is the same situation I was already in, I decided to try. It worked!

At the end of the day, the account manager came back and apologized for not answering right away. She’d had a situation come up, which I totally understand. That’s how it goes in the insurance world. She said that she looked at the confirmation e-mail I sent to the client and checked my work in the administration system and it all looked correct. She thanked me and told me I am awesome. The truth is, I was flawsome. I was awesome in spite of my flaw because I had been given the tools to confront it, recognized it for what it was, and applied the tools to regain confidence.

Another of my flaws is overthinking. I am currently learning the tools to work on this. Overthinking can be an asset, especially in my line of work, as overthinkers are generally good problem solvers. Because we analyze every possible scenario before we do anything, we can see problems before they arise and solve them or avoid them altogether. However, trying to see every possible outcome is a huge time waster. Not to mention, I can never see them all. I’m not perfect.

I was recently listening to a podcast about the difference between knowing everything and knowing enough. Overthinkers have a tendency to want to know everything before they make a move which is, of course, impossible. If I know enough, and I have self-confidence, I should still be able to fix a problem as it arises. Even when I haven’t foreseen it. That has already proven to be true in the aforementioned scenario. I knew enough about the system. I certainly did not foresee this problem. I was able to fix it.

It’s only by acknowledging our flaws and working on and with them that we can become the best version of ourselves. We can become flawsome.


I have ghosted. I’ve been ghosted. Increasingly, I’m seeing posts on social media about ghosting. Many of them end up with long chains of argument in the comments. I think that’s because “ghosting” can mean different things and be for different reasons. One person was upset about having been ghosted because they didn’t know what they did to warrant that. Another person said, “If you’ve been ghosted, you know what you did. You just won’t own it.” I think there are three types of ghosting and that adds to the confusion.


What I think of as ghosting is when a person stops talking to you with no warning. You have no idea what you did, or if it was even you who was the cause. You’re left longing for a resolution with none likely to come. The memory of this person haunts you. I think the usual cause of this is that the other person just wasn’t feeling it anymore and, rather than tell you so, they just disappear. It’s not necessarily that anyone did anything. It’s just that the vibes weren’t right.

Door Slamming

INFJs know this well. When someone has been repeatedly toxic, disruptive, or draining and you need to remove them from your life, the door slam is what usually happens. It’s called the door slam because it’s usually sudden, or at least perceived to be that way. I have door-slammed people before. If you read my last post, you know a bit about my situation with my mother. I door-slammed her, but I sent her a ten-page letter to explain why and to point out all of the times I begged her to change. Even so, she feels like it came without warning. This can seem like ghosting to the other person.


Perhaps there’s a term out there for this, but I don’t know what else to call it. Fading is when a person slowly lessens the communication until they aren’t speaking to you. Sometimes, they fade back in again after a while. Sometimes, they don’t, but if you reach out to them, they’ll start talking again and then the fading starts over. I’ve seen this happen a lot with a variety of people, myself included. I’ve never known it to be their intention to ghost. In most cases, it’s a lack of spoons, but it could also be a feeling they have that they’re bothering you by continuing to communicate. I’m guilty of fading, more than anything else, for both of those reasons.

Generally, I’d say it’s okay to keep reaching out to those who fade, but not to those who ghost or door slam. The problem is that when we’re the one being ghosted, we often can’t tell which of these it is. It’s in our nature to want closure. It’s also in our nature to hope, even irrationally.

If you’ve been ghosted and you reach out and they are angry that you contacted them, you were probably door-slammed. Let them go. They will reach out to you if and when they feel like they can. You may not know why. There were likely signs along the way. They probably expressed something that they wanted changed in the relationship.

If you reach out and they start talking to you again, you were probably faded. It isn’t always the case, though. Sometimes, people who ghosted you will talk to you again for whatever reason.

If you reach out and you get zero response, you were probably ghosted. Although, this can sometimes happen with faders if they’re still low on spoons.

Eventually, you just get to a point where you’re done being the only one to reach out. You want to move on, but it still eats at you that you don’t know why they left. If you’re like me, you’re left wondering if you were too much, or not enough. I’ve been told both before.

Like I said before, they may not know why either. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and podcast listening to better myself. One of the things I’ve learned is that some things just aren’t meant for us. Ultimately, that is the reason they ghosted, whether or not they’re aware of it. Sometimes, people are only meant to be in our lives for a little while. They intersect our lives to help us grow, but they aren’t meant to go with us on our journey.

It has taken me quite a while to realize that someone leaving me has nothing to do with me being too much or not enough and everything to do with it being our time to part ways.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, or The Byrds (take your pick)


Forgive and forget. That’s an expression I think we’ve all heard at some point. I’ve heard it so much that I subconsciously fused the two things. I thought that if I couldn’t forget something, I must not have actually forgiven the person. Sometimes, that’s true. Usually, it’s not. Memory is very different from action. Memory connected to trauma is a whole other animal.

It’s easy to forgive someone for the little things: cutting in line, forgetting to send you something they promised to send, accidentally bumping into you. Those things are also the things we tend to forget. Because they don’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, it will not matter to me even five minutes from now that someone accidentally bumped into me on the sidewalk or that they cut in line. Those things may cause me anger or discomfort in the now, but they don’t affect my life. I can forgive those things.

How do you forgive something that does matter, that does affect your life in some way? I never did know before. For years, I’ve lived with unresolved hurts because I didn’t know how to forgive them. I still don’t know how to forgive everything, which I will explain later, but I want to share what I’ve learned so far. Maybe it will help someone else. I wish someone had told me a long time ago.

I think the real reason I never could forgive before was because I wasn’t invested in learning how. I didn’t necessarily want to forgive people who hurt me so deeply. I felt they didn’t deserve my forgiveness. Maybe they don’t. Forgiveness isn’t for them; it’s for me. Most of them will likely never know whether or not I’ve forgiven them.

Something happened recently that prompted this urge to learn to forgive. I have a friend, we’ll call him Joe, whom I’ve known for decades. We weren’t particularly close in all of those years, but Joe moved back to the area a couple of years ago and we started chatting on social media some. Last year, we were chatting a lot. I learned he had a girlfriend, which is totally fine as we are just friends. Then, they broke up and he told me that she never liked me. I’ve never met her. How could she not like me?

The short of it is, I believe, that she was jealous of the time he spent talking to me and the connection that we had developed. For a while, I felt guilty, like it was my fault that they had broken up. It ate at me because I so want for Joe to be happy. He deserves to be happy. The thought that I could have been the cause of his being unhappy was crushing. Eventually, I came to realize that it wasn’t my fault. Joe should have set boundaries. I had even asked him if he needed to set boundaries when I learned that he had a girlfriend. But, I digress.

Some months later, Joe asked if we could hang out. We hadn’t ever hung out. I’d seen him a couple of times briefly, but that was it. I was so excited to hang out with him! I honestly didn’t know if it was literally just hanging out or if it was supposed to be a date (our most recent conversations had hinted that might be the case), but I was happy for either. I absolutely wanted to see him and I wasn’t opposed to the possibility of dating him (a rarity for me).

About an hour before we were to meet up, he said he’d had a COVID exposure and didn’t want to risk possibly getting me sick. He knows I’m immunocompromised and I can’t tell you how glad I was that he thought about that. We agreed to reschedule. A few days later, I found out that he and his ex had gotten back together. I don’t know that I can name all of the emotions that I felt at that moment.

Certainly, I was angry. I knew this meant we’d never hang out. She doesn’t like me, so there’s no way she’d allow that. I wondered if it meant we couldn’t talk anymore. He had told me at one point that she had specifically asked him before not to talk to me anymore. I also started to wonder if he’d made up the COVID exposure so he wouldn’t have to tell me the truth. I eventually decided he wouldn’t have lied about that. He has always been honest with me. Maybe not always forthcoming, but always honest.

I was sad. Even if I could still talk to him, I knew this would change things. I was afraid for him. What if she broke his heart again? I was hurt that he didn’t even consider me in the equation, knowing full well that getting back with her would mean he couldn’t see me. Didn’t I mean enough to him that he wanted to see me? I thought I did.

I hated these feelings. I didn’t want them. I wanted to go on loving and supporting Joe in the way that I always had. I wanted him to go on loving and supporting me in the way that he always had. I had no control over the latter, but I had control over the former. In order to go back to feeling good about Joe, I had to forgive him. But, how?

I had no real frame of reference for it. I thought about Joe and some of the conversations we’d had for a while. One, in particular, came to mind… the time he told me I’m an empath. And then it dawned on me that I need to empathize.

Why did he go back to her? I can’t know for sure. Knowing what I do about the situation, I think it was an opportunity for him to prove to himself that he is worth loving and that someone could love him unconditionally. I can understand that. As someone who struggles with a lot of the same insecurities, I can understand wanting a chance to be loved by someone with whom you had felt unlovable. I can imagine the absolution in that.

Why didn’t he consider me? Maybe he did. I didn’t know. Maybe he considered me and judged that his own happiness was more important than anything I may or may not feel. It sounds harsh, but it’s absolutely his right. And he should care more about his own happiness than mine. If he didn’t consider me, that’s ok, too. In the end, the only person we spend our whole life with is ourself. We should endeavor to make that life the best possible experience it can be.

It didn’t make it any less heartbreaking for me, but I understood. I forgave. I learned that empathy is the key to forgiveness. Joe taught me that. Even if it’s the only good thing to come from this experience, that makes it worthwhile.

Yes, even the heartbreak was worth it, because immediately after that, I thought about my mother. I won’t go into a lot of details about what happened. My goal for writing isn’t to call people out or air dirty laundry. I only want to share what I’ve learned and provide necessary context or examples.

Anyway, suffice it to say that my mother made some decisions that resulted in my having trauma responses every time I see her or hear her voice. Actually, every time I get mail from her too. Just the thought of having contact with her starts me hyperventilating and going fetal. Nine years ago, I made the decision to cut her out of my life. I wrote her a ten-page letter explaining why, in detail, because I didn’t want to just ghost her. I asked her not to visit, call, write, email, text, or send presents.

She has done every one of those things since. This past Christmas is the very first time I didn’t receive anything from her. I don’t know if my dad having to intervene is what stopped it or if he intercepted a package before I got it. Either way, this was the first time I didn’t receive anything. I’m digressing again.

So, to the point. I thought about my mother and why she did the things she did. I know that the immediate reason is that she felt lonely. Ironically, her choices pushed people away. The deeper reason is that she never felt loved as a child and therefore never learned how to express love. To her, love is forcing people to stay with you and guilting them when they don’t. What would I have done if I hadn’t felt loved as a child? What would I have done if I felt lonely all the time? I might have done the same things. And so, I forgive her. I will not invite her back into my life because boundaries are necessary and she likes to blur them, but I do forgive her.

As I mentioned before, there are some things I still don’t know how to forgive. How do you forgive someone who intentionally harmed you and has no remorse for it? Without getting into too much detail, I have been physically abused in the past. How do I forgive the person who abused me? I don’t know. Maybe I won’t ever be able to forgive them.

The only thing I can do is forgive myself. It sounds strange, I know. But, I can forgive myself for allowing it to continue for years. I can forgive myself for being afraid. I can forgive myself for blaming myself. I can give myself the empathy that I give to others. In that way, I can move forward.


“The grass is always greener on the other side.” We’ve all heard that one. The intent of this aphorism is to analogize comparing our own circumstances to those of others. I think that it’s a bit oversimplified and lacking some context, which means it can be easily misinterpreted (which is true of most aphorisms). I have known several people to use it literally, to express that it is actually greener elsewhere. They say that if they had what someone else had, their grass would also be green.

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

Steve Furtick

For this reason, I much prefer the above quote to illustrate comparison. We see what others show us. We don’t see the effort or the setbacks that went into making that grass green. We do see our own effort and setbacks, and the setbacks are the things we seem to notice more. Thus, we often feel like others have it so much easier than do we, or that they must have been born with some gift that we don’t possess. It may or may not be true, but it does us no good to compare in that way. We each have our own paths to walk and our own goals to meet. We also each have our own gifts. Our journey shouldn’t be the same as anyone else’s.

The grass is greener where you water it.

Neil Barringham

Recently, I’ve seen the above quote popping up everywhere. It’s true, but also lacking context. In the context of putting in the effort to achieve your own dreams and success, yes, it will be greener where you water it. However, there are other factors that go into this.

I’m going to beat a metaphor to death here, but bear with me. All things being equal, if you water your grass, it will be green and healthy. What if you haven’t changed the amount of water you give it and it starts dying? Does that mean that you aren’t effectively watering your grass? Not necessarily. Maybe your grass has a fungal disease or the soil is lacking the proper nutrients. Or, perhaps your neighbor is spraying toxins on it, inadvertently or purposefully.

I worked in a toxic work environment for years. I was told by my human resources manager that I was the problem, that nobody wanted to be around me, that all of my co-workers hated me. I believed her for a long time. I isolated myself from everyone at work, to try to protect them from my toxicity. Then, I started noticing that they would seek me out. Nearly all of them at some point or another would come looking for me to ask my opinion about something or just to talk to me because they missed me. I started to realize that I wasn’t the problem. So, if there wasn’t anything wrong with me (no fungal disease), then what was the problem?

Maybe the soil was the problem. Maybe I wasn’t being nourished in the ways that I needed. I couldn’t change the naturally occurring nutrients in this environment. I could only change to a different environment or add nutrients to this one somehow. I had previously loved that job and didn’t want to leave, so I sought to add nutrients. I began vibrational sound therapy. It helped, but it wasn’t enough.

As time went on, I learned that one co-worker was actively lying about me to the human resources person. She was spraying toxins. I also learned that the human resources person had told me “all of your co-workers hate you” in an effort to protect the identity of the one person who did. Which is a lesson in how what you say can have a lasting effect on others, if ever I saw it. But, I digress.

I couldn’t do anything about what my neighbor was doing or whether or not she moved on. Furthermore, I couldn’t combat the toxins. All I could do was remove myself from that environment. That’s why I think the quote below is more appropriate. It may be that you need to water your grass, but it may not be.

I had come to a fork in the road. Do I stay, having a pretty good idea of what’s to come, or do I choose the unknown path? I left that job and chose the unknown path. Honestly, I’ve never been happier! Had I stopped to compare my circumstances with the circumstances of others at my workplace or others in my profession, I might still have been there, my spirit slowly dying, wondering why they have it so much better. Instead, I looked at why my spirit was dying and took steps to correct that. I wouldn’t say I’m successful, but I’m definitely on the path to get there, having made the correct choice at the fork in the road. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have arrived at the same destination eventually, but who knows how much longer it would have taken.

One of my traits is that I question everything. I always want to know how something works or why it is the way that it is. This has really served me in this instance because it allowed me to really examine the situation. So many of life’s questions can be answered by asking why something is and looking inward.


When I applied for my current job, I was required to take the Predictive Index (PI) assessment along with submitting my résumé and completing an application. Honestly, this requirement is one of the reasons I wanted to apply. I’m constantly seeking knowledge and to better understand myself, so this was right up my alley. Plus, I figured if an employer wanted to know my personality, it was a pretty good indicator that it mattered to them that my personality fit the type of job I would be doing.

I have taken a lot of tests, assessments, etc. over the years. Those that I have found to be accurate descriptors of me are the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Enneagram, and now the Predictive Index. Moderately accurate are the Zodiac Sign (Astrology) and Evo Brain Type Assessment. The one that I have found doesn’t describe me at all is the Life Path Number (Numerology).

At the end of my first week at work, I was called in to meet with the CEO and our human resources person. They go over the PI results with each employee and explain what it means. That was another thing that told me I’m in the right place. The CEO himself fully believes in the PI and takes time out of his schedule to explain it to each new hire.

The assessment is simple, in terms of taking it. I was given a list of words or phrases from which I had to select those that I thought accurately describe my personality. Then, using that same set of words and phrases, I had to select which ones I felt my current job (the library at the time I had taken the assessment) required of me.

Predictive Index results.

The above image shows where I fall in each of the four categories: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality. The Self section is how I see myself. The Self-Concept section is how I believe my current job (library) required me to be. You can see from the graph that my extroversion level (B) was moved from the extreme left of the graph (very introverted) to right of center (extroverted). You can also see that my formality level (D) was moved from the extreme right of the graph (very precise) to left of center (flexible). I’ll get into that later. First, I want to explain the four categories.

Dominance: The Need to Control

The wording here indicates that a person is either more collaborative or more independent. I have always thought of myself as independent. I do prefer to work alone. However, the CEO told me, and showed me in the results, that independent refers more to taking a leadership role in this instance. I am more collaborative because I prefer to be part of the team rather than to lead the team.

Strengths: understanding, collaborative, accepting of others’ decisions, supportive, interested in team welfare and development.

Weaknesses (referred to as cautions in the actual results): shies away from tough conversations, has difficulty making unpopular decisions, overly cautious, may be seen as not strategic enough.

Self-Coaching Tips:

  • Shift your mindset from “I want to go along” to “I want to be fair.”
  • Stand your ground when you know you’re correct.
  • Come to meetings prepared to contribute.

Extraversion: The Need for Social Interaction

Not surprisingly, I’m introverted. Not as much as I expected to be, though. I’m technically classified as very introverted, as opposed to extremely introverted.

Strengths: creative problem solver, data driven, analytical, thoughtful approach to communication, reflective and introspective, anticipates problems.

Weaknesses (Cautions): slow to trust, reluctant to share until comfortable, communication may be pointed or minimal, may appear overly task-focused, may appear remote.

Self-Coaching Tips:

  • Give presentations in your area of expertise.
  • Initiate conversations or schedule time to speak with others.
  • Create processes that encourage communication.

Patience: The Need for Stability

I have never thought of myself as a patient person. I had a conversation once with a co-worker at the library. She had remarked on my patience. I said, “I only appear to be patient on the outside. On the inside, I’m screaming.” She said, “That’s what patience is, the appearance of being unbothered.” Within this framework, it’s more about how you work than how you interact with others. If you prefer to take things slow and steady, you are more patient. If you prefer to just dive into the work, you are less patient.

Strengths: calm, stable, thoughtful listener, builds solid group processes, gives people time to process.

Weaknesses (Cautions): uncomfortable with change, may over-analyze, has difficulty under time pressure, too comfortable with the familiar and slow to adopt new ideas.

Self-Coaching Tips:

  • Clarify timelines and focus on “when.”
  • Manage time wisely – start early and leave time for the unexpected.
  • Keep others informed when progress is made.

Formality: The Need to Conform

I’ve always thought of myself as non-conformist, though not rebellious. However, in this context, it refers to whether one is flexible or precise with regard to work structure. On this one, I’m technically very formal, but I’m on the line of extremely formal.

Strengths: strong discipline and execution, builds structure and respect for the plan, focuses team on how to get things done right, organized and thorough follow-up.

Weaknesses (Cautions): uncomfortable in ambiguous situations, struggles with situations that call for flexibility, seen as a perfectionist.

Self-Coaching Tips:

  • Learn how to move forward when “enough” information is available.
  • Ask yourself: is it worth this much time?
  • Recognize and respect flexibility shown by others.

Self vs. Self-Concept

As I mentioned, my extraversion and formality were shifted from one side to the other between my Self and Self-Concept assessments. This means that, while I am introverted, I was expected to be extroverted at the library. This is absolutely the case. I worked at a public library and was therefore required to pleasantly interact with hundreds of people every day. It also means that while I prefer structure, I was expected to be flexible. This hadn’t always been the case, but in 2017 everything changed. Our new director changed the staffing model and began a multiple-year renovation of the building.

My whole world was turned upside down. I was expected to work in the middle of a construction zone with limited resources, and we had gone from a staff of five in my department to just me. To top that off, when I asked the director if she could explain to me what the changes would look like (because I know I need details to function) she told me that she can’t because she’s a big picture person, not a detail person, and she likes to make decisions on the fly.

I hadn’t told anyone at my new job what had been happening at the library, but the CEO said that from the results he was seeing, I must have been put through the wringer. He explained it this way… Imagine you’re an introverted, structured bungee cord. Someone begins pulling on one side (your introversion). It stretches you, but it’s manageable. Then, they start pulling on the other side (your structure), too. This is enough pressure to cause you to snap at any given minute.

“I don’t know how you were able to work in an environment like that for as long as you did without breaking,” he said. I cried. I had never felt so understood by someone in my whole life up to that point, especially one who had no particulars of my situation, and certainly not by an employer. He knew it all just from the personality assessment. When he saw me crying, he smiled kindly at me.

“I can see that I’ve hit the nail on the head.” I nodded because it was all I could manage at that point.

“What all of this tells me,” he continued, “is that you are a very strong and resilient person. You can take a high level of stress for a long time and your work hardly suffers from it, if at all. But, we don’t want to do that to you. Because it also means that you’re the one who suffers. We want you to be happy, healthy, and productive.”

I tell this story today, because today we met as a company for our quarterly meeting and one of the things we did was go over our PI results and how that relates to everyone else in our group in terms of how we work together and how we can best communicate. Below is a card I was given to put on the outside of my cubicle at work. It tells everyone how to interact with me: let me collaborate, let me think it through, give me stability, and give me structure.

Personality tests aren’t the be all and end all, but they can be useful tools for growth. I think that is particularly evident with the PI, because it gives you tips for working on your weaknesses. Perhaps more importantly, personality tests help us understand ourselves. How can we expect others to understand us, if we don’t understand ourselves?