Stream of Consciousness

i don’t know

i’m turning thirty years old this thanksgiving.

something about this coming birthday has me really thinking. and feeling. which is good, considering my bad habit of checking out instead of living inside myself. I’ve been doing better at getting present but as of late, my house of cards has come crashing down. again. shocker, i know.

i guess life is more cyclical than i would’ve predicted. i climb a bit, get good at simply allowing an awareness to exist within me, take steps to work on it, and WHAM! what do ya know? something new gut punches me.

which is to say, life keeps on keeping on.

to be honest, i thought 8 years of al-anon, therapy, self-help books, getting honest with myself, and really working on my weaknesses and conditioned behaviors and thought patterns…. i thought i’d feel better. i thought i’d be better. hell. i thought i’d be doing better.

and i am. feeling, being, and doing better.

but i let a certain chain sit around my throat, getting tighter and tighter and tighter whilst i continued on, not a bit aware, consciously.

expectations.

i expected myself to have reached certain milestones by now. milestones people typically reach when they’re healthy, grew up knowing how to have an identity and boundaries, or at the very least had some sense of self. which i did not.

and of course, societal pressures got jostled all over in there, slithering into my operating system so i was running off of unhealthy beliefs about myself and life.

and no, this isn’t a pity party. loads of people figure it out way before me. loads of people get healthy almost immediately, figure out their current selves and desires, and make huge headway, all before hitting twenty-five.

that simply isn’t me.

i’m turning thirty years old this month and i’m only now deciding that BLOODY YES, i want to have dreams. and go after them. i want to want things for myself, good things, and go after them. whether the world cocks an eyebrow and judges or not.

but mostly, i’ve grown to welcome the truth that i don’t know. i don’t know how to go about things perfectly. i don’t know how i will feel tomorrow. i don’t know where i will be in five years. i don’t know, i don’t know, i don’t know.

what i DO know, is that it’s not my job to have it all figured out.

it’s my job to live.

genuinely, truly, mundanely, magically, in the present, in my passion, contributing, with joy, lovingly, live.

i’m grateful that so much pain has left. and that i know the remaining pain doesn’t have to destroy me.
i’m grateful for the beauty. and that i know it never has to leave me.
i’m grateful that i can honestly say i like myself, i like the changes i’ve chosen to make. i’m proud of the work i’ve put into building myself up. i’m no longer ashamed of where i’m at in life. i’m genuinely at peace and excited for my future.

the oddest thing of all – and best – is that THIS peace & excitement for a future i can’t yet name (though i dare to desire a certain direction now), is immeasurably better than any expectations my younger self had based on those milestone markers and societal norms. that future me would’ve still lived in misery. instead, here i sit. okay with the discomfort. hopeful for more. feeling, whole.

Affirmations

*a note on positive affirmations


we can edit them.
that’s it.
that’s the secret. at least, it is for me.

you see, when i first heard about positive affirmations, i could’ve caused an earthquake across the universe with as hard as i rolled my eyes.
uh, no. i cannot think myself into a different reality.
and no, no i cannot. neither can you. i can tell myself the sky is yellow every day, all day. and guess what? it’s still blue.

so what’s the point of affirmations?
why have i begun using them (at the suggestion of my therapist)?
what does editing an affirmation mean?

when i first poked at affirmations – they felt like a lie.
if you know me, honesty is a HUGE importance. in everything. always. intent, trust… these things make or break a relationship for me. including my relationship with myself.

so when it was suggested i use the affirmation, “i am kind to myself”, i balked at it.
it felt dishonest. because it was. i was just lying to myself. which is why i never used it. or any other popular affirmation.

but once i started looking into neuroscience and listening to growth podcasts and listening to high performance coaches, i realized there was absolute, obvious truth to self talk.
and what is self talk? either negative or positive affirmations.
(if you don’t feel comfortable with the term “positive affirmation”, you can simply say “positive self-talk”. same thing)

after coming to the conclusion that my therapist knew what she was talking about (i already believed that, i just didn’t know how to healthily wrap my mind around this subject), i decided to do what i always do, with everything.
i edited it.

literally.
something doesn’t work for me but science/behavioral studies/common sense backs it up?
i pick it apart and put it back to together in different ways until i find one that resonates with me.
and i did.

i found a way to say positive affirmations without them being a lie.

instead of repeating, “i am kind to myself”, i said, “i am working toward being kind to myself”. or “i am a kind person based on facts, even though my emotions are confused. that is okay, i am still learning”.
things like that.

i would turn the affirmations, or self-talk, around until it was both positive and honest.
and it’s working.

what are some affirmations you’d like help re-writing or subjects you’d like turned into positive self-talk?

Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry

hope

i’m not sure i have a voice


you see, there’s a slumbering trembling that takes a step into something warm and inviting, like the sun, but with training wheels

and every time the light of day hits it, someone comes along with a sledgehammer and takes it all away

i keep lying there, catching my breath. before sitting back up, playing with my fingers in the sand, writing maps no one understands but me

it’s lonely


but i can still feel the pulse of it in me, thrumming into a hurricane of neediness, ready to explode and take everything in its path with it. down into this dessert of warmth and cool breezes and nothing that really belongs in these flat lands

do you remember the first time you felt the sun’s heat on your flesh? i think i must’ve had a hand over my mouth, but it wasn’t mine. i think i must’ve had some words fall out, but they came from another tongue

so i grab my shoes and shake the dust out and, what do you know? i’m still entirely ready to get the wind knocked out of me by hope.

Affirmations

💚affirmation for love💚


we brainwash ourselves.
(true story)
our parents/caregivers brainwash us.
(also a true story)

whatever we think – our brain takes it as fact. and begins searching for proof to back it up. and guess what?
our brain is bloody EXPERT at finding what it’s searching for.

so why not actively feed your brain what YOU want it running on?
this is where positive talk *ahem* positive affirmations come in.

we are simply programming or feeding our brain nutritious food. instead of self-hate, re-abuse (based on the abuse we’ve experienced, then copied and pasted into our blueprint for living), unhealthy beliefs, and negative social and familial pressures.

so, here’s an affirmation (a dose of positive thoughts for you to administer to your brain) for love.


“I am worthy of receiving love from within and without. I am now open to attracting the successful love I desire.”


**this affirmation is brought to you by yours truly (me, Daphne Shadows) and a lot of therapy.

Fun Stuff/ Research

🔥halloween (samhain) never dies🔥


as i type this, it is november first.

well, technically. it is twelve in the morning, after all.

i love this time. the in between. and so i sit in the darkness as time moves. but i don’t sit idle.
you see, according to the ancient Celts, Halloween or Samhain (pronounced sow-in) was the end and beginning of the new year.

it was the end of their harvest, the end of summer, and they now faced winter. the darkness.

some believe the Celts held this time sacred. a time where the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead thinned.


… don’t worry, i’m not going to delve into a history lesson (as i’ve done in the past because i LOVE this time of year and research is my jam). instead, i’d like to focus on something else. the meaning. the fire. i’d guess you’d say, the feel of this time of year. and how cathartic it has become for me, especially as i work and grow in therapy with my new therapist).


samhain is a time to sit still. to be. to acknowledge the darkness in us. to let go. let die. and grow anew. to honor. to remember.

change always begins inside us. high performance experts, spiritual gurus, therapists, and motivational speakers alike, often direct us to work with ourselves, not against. to tie the new changes we crave, need, and desire to rituals.
and in case you’re wondering – a ritual is any series of things you do in regular repetition in a very specific manner. think morning routine, night routine, they’re all rituals of a sort.
to tie a new change to a ritual and to fill oneself with new healthy somethings, is the only way to begin negating harmful somethings we wish to rid ourselves of.
samhain is the perfect time for this.
it’s certainly something i’m going to work on.


another aspect of samhain is darkness.
darkness isn’t often seen as safe. it is to me. always has been.
it’s where i found safety to look at the pains, hurts, things about myself i didn’t like, questions and doubts, fears, and uncertainties – without fear of overstimulation, begin judged, or feeling too raw or exposed.
i feel like we live very exposed lives these days. anyone can call us, text us, pop over to our home, expect our time, expect to see and know everything about our private life. almost like we owe them front row tickets to our soul…. not a fan. it gets hard to live, to grow, to introspect, to even connect with oneself when we don’t have any time to ourselves.
samhain is the perfect time to draw inward.

i sit and look back at my life. how did i get here? how has the past me grown me into who i currently am?
what have i accomplished, my successes, failures, new experiences, important memories, new relationships, new wisdom, what firsts have i experienced, how have i changed? how did my goals and plans turn out? what’s changed? what do i need to allow to die? what newness do i desire to bring in?

i absolutely love symbolism. (shocking, right? that a writer loves symbolism?) i think this year i’d like to look specifically into the questions, prodding’s, and lessons of the Death and Hanged Man tarot cards. maybe that’s what i’ll do tomorrow.

i’d like to sit in darkness and meditate.

to set some new healthy boundaries, intentions, goals, and healthy daily rituals.


samhain is a time to honor contrast. to celebrate it.
life and death
death and rebirth
old and new
ancestors and living love for them
darkness and hope


i’ve already begun something new. something beautifully personal but wonderfully mundane to honor and think about the relationships i had with my deceased loved ones. samhain is the perfect time to remember them.
to grieve them. after all, “where there is deep grief, there was great love”. i don’t know who wrote that quote but i’d like to reword it from ‘was’ to ‘is’. because there is no extinguishing love. it doesn’t go anywhere. it lives on forever. and no matter how cliche or trite that sounds, it is no less true.
its also a time to grieve what relationship i didn’t have with those who i could have.
a time to look at my current relationships with new perspective and vow not to take them for granted. tomorrow is never promised.


an ancestral altar is always a fun, creative, personal, and emotional way to physically do something about your love, grief, and deceased ancestors and friends.
i find physically doing something with my emotions is much healthier for me. i want something to do about what’s on fire inside me.
you can do it however you’d like. but it is simply bringing mementos of theirs that you keep out of love, photos, and warm memories. light a candle and allow yourself to feel. we don’t do that much anymore. its tremendously healthy.


and please, for the love of all that is holy, have fun.
be true to who you are.
spend time with yourself and spend time with your loved ones.
make choices for you.


halloween never dies.
it lives within you, within me, within all of us, always.
we are all made of duality. ebbing and flowing. changing. in light and darkness.

Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry

i act like i need it

I stared at the words written on the wall for hours without ever seeing them.

The warmth of the day bloomed in me until all I knew were the leaves above in their muted dance.

And my lips recognized the lyrics before my thoughts did. Paint splashing against the wall of my heart. Your voice reverberating through the hollows of my dreams.

You follow me into the empty. Crushing colored glass under my toes in paradise, some sense of you leading me forward.

I can feel you breathing beneath my skin, I see you speak every time I close my eyes.

And there’s this buzz, deep in my flesh. Past the marrow and into the atomic darkness, hidden where the dancing lights of misery and joy fight. It puts a gun in my mouth one second. A love letter the next. Because I remember.

I have to feel it. So I wake up.

And you’re not there.

Shadow Poetry

Remember Me

Little moments.


Remember me as these little moments where my true self shines through this disease caking my pores.
They’re all I get.
These little moments.
Shuddering gasps of air, touches of soothing peace and mercy.
They’re not enough. They hide behind eternity now, growing farther away.
Bare slits in the bag over my soul, leaking until I can see the sun, for a brief reprieve.


And I give them to you.
Little notes. Filled to the brim with what my tears can’t communicate.
Before I crumple back in on myself, alone and suffocating.
I know it’s not enough.


What happens when that’s all I am? Scraps left behind.
As the void reaches through my skin, wrapping it’s charred claws round my heart?
The silence is breaking me.
All these little moments, huddling together in the dark, begging for more.


Just a blip on the screen of the body that was stolen from me. I am running out of time but I’m not the one using it all up.

Shadow Poetry

every wild animal


love has teeth

slides deep

leaves a mark


breaks in

with a noose

in the dark


in the rafters

hangs your

every enemy


sweeps out

the rug

easy remedy


clears out

your closet

in full, before


before they can

break down

your door


searching

for your dirt

in the garden


because love

love

won’t pardon


love is

a rose

soft petals aplenty


but her thorns

they don’t spare

any


she’ll take

all

of you


you’ll pay

in full

her due


when they

come to

plunder


she’ll dazzle

with passion

and wonder


touch a

soft petal

of yours?


they’ll find

what it means

to be hers


love is

armour

impenetrable


warmth

at night

unbreakable


love will

slit their

throat


stand there

laughing

til they bloat


hate doesn’t

protect like

love does


claws to

open bellies

because


you don’t

you don’t

touch

what love does


her war

cry

comes


to your chest

blood soaked

drums


love has teeth

don’t touch

what’s hers


every wild animal

every wild animal

purrs