OK, I’ve been failing at The Fail Feed. For the last few months, “post FailFeed post” has been on the top of my bedazzled To-Do lists. In the morning, it usually sits like a regal crown over the day. By nightfall, when it still hasn’t been crossed off, it morphs into a creepy Chucky Doll frown.
The truth is, I’ve been procrastinating because I’ve been undergoing one of the biggest transformations/ breakdowns/ breakthroughs of my life. And as a journalist, as a storyteller, as an empath, as a founder of two organizations that empower women, I’m still figuring out how to package my own turmoil to best serve you all… all the while remembering that I can’t heal others until I heal myself.
To wit, over the past few months I’ve been transitioning out of a five and a half year relationship. No matter how amicable, breakups are never easy.
There have been countless moments along the way when I’m desperate to document, record and then share it all: my voice-note journal entries, field notes from packing up one’s life, fragments of emails with dear friends and mentors, sage kernels of wisdom from my therapist, ugly tears, weird emotions/strange feelings that I still don’t have a name for.
Like in all my work, my purpose is to use my own experiences – personal and journalistic -– to help others with their own journeys. And sharing in our pain and anger and sadness and grief is one of the most powerful things we humans can do. Our highlight reels don’t connect us – our suffering does. Our vulnerability is power. The Fail Feed was born of this need for more connectivity and solidarity among us, for more recognition of the unfiltered hard stuff.
If social media is an aspirational projection of ourselves, a scrapbook of our achievements and joy and bliss – especially in our romantic relationships – it’s no wonder many of us feel bereft of tools to cope when the going gets tough. After all, we only post the good stuff. We only see the walks in the park, both literal and metaphoric. We don’t talk about how hard the whole project called Love can be; how muddy elbowed and wrenching the journey of digging deep and recalibrating.
One of my new favorite spiritual guides, Melissa DeLynn, a beautiful Yogi soul sister based in Savannah, Georgia broke it all down in one of her recent Instagram posts.
She was tired of people telling her that she and her boyfriend have a perfect relationship; tired of people anointing their union as #Goals. During a particularly trying period in their relationship, she wrote:
How could I have known love would be this painful? This deep? This expansive?
How could I have known that another soul could offer me such an honest reflection? That he could bring up all my wounds. My hurts. My insecurities. My pain from this life and lifetimes beyond. The pain of being seen in full. And seeing another in full. All honesty. All wounds. All lies. All ego. All the things you thought you could hide. All the secrets. All the triggers. How could I have known that one night as more than friends could have turned into 2.5 years of pure bliss, immense darkness, deep healing and expansive love.
I have been humbled to my knees. I have cried more tears than I knew I had. I have begged and pleaded with God for understanding and integration. I have prayed for relief. For respite. I have prayed for insight and signs and clues on what to do. And what to say. And how to get through. And to show me the way. I have screamed “help!!!” to the sky many nights. I have sought teachers and tools to help me fight for this love. I have trudged through doubt, and hurt and confusion, and questions and shadows.
There is nothing pretty or perfect about love or the way people try to portray it. It’s honest. Raw. Carnal. Primal. Sometimes, it’s fucking ugly. Picaresque pictures may speak a thousand words but I hope my words speak for a million feelings. Of how transformative love can be. How unbearable it may be to open your heart just to know it may be hurt. And to know that in the uncertainty of vulnerability you grow more. And see more. And feel more. You understand more about humanity. And suffering. Yourself. And the word “love” that is so shallowly tossed around between lustful lovers and strangers. Love is War. And when there are times that you lose battles, and you WILL lose battles, you realize what you were fighting for.
And then you learn it’s not about fighting, but about surrendering.
Indeed, letting go and surrendering to the universe – committing to going downstream with it – is a freaking process. It’s a commitment you must make and re-make every single morning and sometimes hour, especially when you want to resist and go upstream.
One day, when I was writhing in pain in a hotel in Guatemala where I had been distributing bikes to school girls (the universe’s sense of timing is always a gift), I sought solace in a YouTube talk my cousin had sent over. Initially, Matt Kahn threw me off (“WTF is up with his creepily quiet and calm voice?” /” WTF is with the tacky flower arrangements?”) But soon he had me vibing with the following words.
I hope they help you today through whatever you’re working through, through whatever your soul is building.
And in the spirit of sharing in — and celebrating — our vulnerability, below is a selfie from that particularly painful day. #IWokeUpLikeDis
Everything is going to work out. It’s just not going to happen when you want it to. If it did, you wouldn’t realize the thrill-ride of the universe. It’s a roller coaster called ‘Everything always works out.’
Through the eyes of the universe, everything that happens in your life is how it was all meant to work out. So when your life is flipped upside down, it’s just your life being worked out.
It’s like you’re going to renovate a house, and you tell your friend you’ll have a garden and library and a master suite. He comes over and sees the house while it’s still under construction and says, “Huh?”
“Yes,” you say. “This is what my house looks like… it’s still being built. This is what it looks like working out. We are still on the Before side. We’ll soon be in the After.”
But in between? It can be months of torture.
So, in the same way, you’re living through your spiritual renovation. How your life is right now is how it’s working out.
If you resist that, you’re basically telling yourself that until you see the best case scenario, you’ll just assume you’re in the worst case scenario. You’ll start asking yourself why things are the way they are. And you’ll start blaming yourself. You’ll put yourself under a microscope and inspect how you’re changing and why you aren’t changing.
If someone told you, “In six months, everything will be amazing.”
What would you do? Would you put yourself under a microscope and say, “Well, let’s focus on my flaws. And analyze everything I have and haven’t done.”
Walk around your scaffolding and enjoy your lavish house before it actually gets built.
Everything always works out.
Things are only torn down in your life to build something bigger.
This is the destruction before the construction.
It’s here to help you.