an excerpt.

y’all know i hopped on the stratejoy bandwagon this year. i’ve done two courses with molly and also have the journal prompts, which i’m woefully behind on (and i’m forgiving myself for that. forgiving. right now. see, i have learned things!). it’s been a rather transformational experience.

for a very long time, i can see now, i did not want joy. and even now, i waver. that may (will probably) seem silly to you folk at home but – well, we are all different, right? for a long time i thought the only way to be beautiful or to have depth was to be tragic. for a long time i thought i wasn’t made for happiness or joy or anything positive at all – i thought it was in my bones to be darker than that. i side-eyed positivity with an envious glare, but a glare nonetheless. i thought that joy was pinkness and asinine quotes and essentially trite, and i wanted no part of it because i was better than that, or because really, it was terrifying.

to be open to happiness is frightening. it means leaving a dark little cave that is dark and little but also quite comfortable, because we are creatures that consider comfort to be what we know. it means trying, and changing. it means being prepared for disappointment. it means work, guys, it really does.

i hesitate in saying that i am fully ready, and fully open. i am still afraid, tentative. but i, at the very least, will proudly declare my tentativeness. i speak often of chains of my own making and this, this commitment to pain, was one of them. and i don’t feel it anymore. i know now that it is a choice, and that i, like anyone else, can choose something else.

in order to do the courses and prompts, i needed a journal – something the actress got me for my birthday. another pretty notebook from my friend kim over at the deep old desk is supplementing with some other work. the latest course i did involved several free writing exercises, and as i was looking over it the other night, i couldn’t even remember writing this. but i love it, so here, i share.

the question was, what is it time for?

it is time to be unafraid. it is time to let go of expectations. it is time to leap forward. it is time to laugh. be a force. stride. learn and explore without hesitation. light up. light it all on fire. dance. exist purely. let it all shine. let go of the prickly layer. stop hurting. time for real love. burst forth.

dreams last.

i have difficulty dreaming.

not at night. i actually, recently, have had a very easy time dreaming at night, and i often wake up in various states of confused deep thought at what’s going on in my dreams. this, i believe, is a result of getting a nice healthy chunk of sleep every night – i need my 7-8 hours. this is all an aside though.

i have difficulty having dreams for my life. i never thought beyond what i should do, what was prescribed into my path. well – that’s not completely true. i did, as a teenager, dream of being thin and beautiful in my 20s, magically not working and having an amazing apartment in manhattan, and going out to fancy restaurants and sexily dancing the night away in the hottest clubs every night. all in the latest hip couture, of course. look, we all have varying levels of depth, ok? mostly, i just really needed some fun. moving along.

one of the things we covered in my course was permission and even encouragement to dream. all very much fueled by a “you’re worth it” mentality, and i’m making it sound much more trite than it is. but seriously. you get this life. it is all you get. you get a day, the same day everyone does, and you choose what you do. you can chain yourself to things you do not want or you can be free. true freedom is terrifying – i have felt it through my bones. but these, these are the facts.

i see life lists on other blogs and i will admit that i’ve scoffed. lists and i do a strange tango wherein i am madly in love with them and soundly terrified of them. what if you do not finish and you are then obviously a complete failure. but that is just a lie i tell myself out of fear. and it is not a crime to have a dream.

so i am beginning to. i dream of flying first class on an airplane one day. i dream of seeing the northern lights, and the california redwoods. i dream of making a living by baking or crafting. i dream of being a professional powerhouse and making a name for myself in the world of nonprofit tech. i dream of turning this blog into a real success – making new connections and friends. i dream of friends, a marriage, children – not right now, but not too far into the future either.

it actually makes me dizzy to acknowledge these things in writing. it is unheard of for me to think about something possible without shutting it down mentally within seconds. but i think i really like this new way of looking at things.

a little journal.

so my group is over. our last call was last night and i am legit sad about it. i’ll miss my new friends, though we’ve vowed to stay in touch through our blogs, the facebook group molly set up for us, and of course, the twitters, as i like to refer to them. molly, by the way, is a new hero of mine. i don’t really have heroes, so this is kind of a big deal, but i think she’s fucking incredible.

i’m inspired to write about many of the things that we covered. and many things we didn’t. one at a time though, i suppose.

i bought a private journal. actually, the actress bought it for me as a birthday present, and i got to pick it out. it’s been a very long time since i attempted to journal outside of the public sphere – it was never about exhibitionism, but i just adjusted to the medium. my closest friends were here. any new friends i could make were here. i wasn’t afraid. i have grown some fear, that i’m working valiantly on getting over – but the real thing is, i need a space that’s free of pressure. the pressure of improvement, of positivity, of creating art. some have called me a writer and i have a difficult time claiming the title, but i would be hard pressed to say i have not found some of my deepest creative release with the written word. i need a space where it’s ok to write without metaphor, without regard for what people might think. i love my little journal. i picked a design that’s very me but also steps a little outside of my comfort zone in its design. i love exploring myself, uninhibited, in its pages.

there’s more to come, about a lot that’s gone down in my head and my world in the past few weeks. for now though, it’s time to go write in my little journal.

a love letter.

so, as an exercise for the course i’m taking, i had to write myself a love letter.

guys, that’s way harder than it seems.

so it puts you in this impossible space where you don’t want to be too self congratulatory because that just feels weird. it put ME in a weird space because it truly feels wrong inside to list positives about me – it sort of ties back to what i talked about here, about a fear of satisfaction. but once i pushed past that hump of uncomfortableness, holy crap. the empowerment. the world will not explode or implode and nothing bad will happen if i speak well of myself with reckless abandon. who knew?

so here it is.

dear dominique,
i love your name. it’s beautiful, and unique, and doesn’t have many things that rhyme with it. it’s got enough hard sounds to fit who you are, a person who has grown edges. it has always fit you well, through all of your stages.

just today i noticed how the sun catches your skin when walking through the sunset and i thought the particular shade of bronze that shone from your skin was gorgeous. the same goes for your hair, when the light catches it right, it shimmers with deep red. it’s beautiful.

i love you because you think, and because you have many layers. and because, with time, you have the capability to show all of those layers to people who have earned the right to see them. you have been a party girl and a philosophy major. you have found your greatest joys in analyzing the works of history’s most amazing thinkers, of studying the essence of what it means to exist and be a person – and also on strobe lit dance floors, where the beat reverbed through your ribcage and gave you life. you are multifaceted and interested, and because you are interested, you are interesting. i love your capacity and hunger for knowledge, and your curiosity.

i love that you are responsible and that you are careful to keep the bits of your life in order, and that part of that order is ensuring that you are showing appropriate kindnesses to the people you love. you’ve grown to have values and you hold close to them, and you have a tenacity that i have seen in few others. you know what you respect, and you refuse to be the kind of person that you wouldn’t respect.

i love how you have grown into yourself. you used to hide yourself behind big clothes, you used to be so ashamed. slowly, you’ve learned what flatters you and that you can be beautiful, stunning, even. you’ve learned to wear makeup not as an obligation to the world or to hide your imperfections, but for the sole purpose of making YOUR day a little brighter, making yourself feel a little special. you’ve learned that you can be the kind of girl who wears both flip flops and high heels, and that there is no rule in the book saying that you have to fit a mold. as a matter of fact, love, there’s no rulebook at all.

bringing me to the idea that you don’t succumb to pressures as easily as you once did. you’ve developed your own eyes, your own spine, and you no longer rely on the will of those around you to bring you to your truth.

you are strong. you are so very strong. you have stood and survived through trials and tribulations that i know you never envisioned and weren’t prepared for, and you are here and you are ok. you did not let any storms destroy you, and i love you for this strength.

i love you because you deserve it. never let anyone tell you anything else.


turning pages

I don’t want to call it a struggle, because I haven’t been fighting. I’ve been lying limp in a corner of the ring, I gave up in too many ways. I haven’t been able to figure out where to go and what to do so I’ve done nothing. I have existed, and I have done so in turmoil and pain. And now, I want it to stop.

It dawned on me today that I’ve experienced loss, and that I’ve been grieving. Or that I’ve needed to grieve, and I haven’t done so. This is a semi-miraculous revelation for me. I didn’t realize that there was even a word for what I was experiencing, that perhaps my experience was shared. That the slow numbness and disconnection that’s settled over my life had a definable reason – I knew the reason, of course, but I didn’t know the magic word that connected the reason to the feeling. Grief. Loss. These, perhaps, I can work with.

Last week I did something that I’ve been afraid to do for over a year. I remember talking to the actress about it a long time ago. I’ve been following the comings and goings and opportunities presented by Stratejoy. I was attracted to several of Molly’s openings and offerings, but I never clicked purchase. I’d tell myself it was hokey, that I shouldn’t need any sort of self help anything. I ignored evidence like the amazing women that have served as guest bloggers on the Stratejoy website. Some time back, Molly posted some really smart shit on positive psychology… and I thought, “well, maybe this is legit. This stuff is well thought out and makes a lot of sense. It even seems scientific.” Still, I held back – none of the course offerings seemed right for me, and I was entirely too terrified to apply for a guest blogger spot (I was sure I’d be rejected, and still think I would be). Then, it popped into my twitter feed. A group coaching course on Fierce Self Love and Inner Confidence.

And before I even tell you about it, I have to confess my intense fear of a) participating in this group, where I will work on myself outside of the comfort of my privacy and reveal stuff about me and my life to a life coach and seven strangers and b) my fear at revealing that I’m doing this. That I need something like this. That I am not just able to handle all of my emotional shit on my own and be amazing. That I need help.

So yes, friends, Internet, I stand before you and declare that I really need this, or something, and this is what I’ve chosen to be that something. And it came to me, while mulling over how afraid I am, that it would take a cruel person, or would at the very least be a cruel act, to judge someone who is standing up and admitting vulnerability and a need for help. Facets of my life and my history inform and validate my mental state, I promise you. Life as a human possessing a soul can be mighty rough. Sometimes we need some triage.

Succinctly, fuck the haters.

I want to learn how to love my life – to build a life I can love. To actually work through, process, and absolve myself of my losses, my tragedies. To think myself valuable and worthwhile. I kept waiting for these answers and its finally sunk in that they are definitely not falling out of the sky, and maybe I need some guidance to figure them out.

I remember when I was job hunting and i was fully thrilled with the possibilities in front of me. I was shot through with the most intense happiness at the idea of choice and growth. Every day, I was thrilled. I want to feel that way again – but about life.

So here’s to turning a page.