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My 40 Day Dependency Project (Part 3 of 4)

By Jessica Karpinske

SAT SEP 22, 2018


Day 21

Why do I do this work?  It doesn't come easy or feel lighthearted.  It feels restricting when I thought it would feel awakening and life-giving.  It's like I'm grieving for the way I've always known relationships to be which hasn't well for me, but has just become the norm.  When things haven't worked out, I could always default to saying, "Yes, see...it didn't work again..."

I'd really like to wrap up all the deep self-reflections because I'm tired of it all.

So...then, now what?  Maybe this is where I figure out what I'm avoiding or putting off through the man-stractions, alcohol, sugar, other dependencies and habits.  What is it that I am to be focusing on?

Let's see...my career, where I'm living, putting on a yoga retreat, sewing projects, traveling, empowering women, spreading my knowledge about health to the world, hiking, biking, becoming an awesome yoga instructor, maybe a beach gypsy, learning Spanish, being a more patient dog mama, paddle boarding, dancing, singing, surfing, becoming a  beach gypsy (strong reoccurring theme...), connecting with great people all over the world, being more of me, living on the beach (...goes with beach gypsy), cooking healthy and amazing food, being joyful and finding joy in each day, being my best self, taking my niece on field trips to the city, healing my body, loving myself, getting out of my head, enjoying life, being free to let go of things that no longer serve me...

Why would I want to distract myself from any of this?  There's so much to do and see and be!

Dependencies become less fulfilling the longer I (we) subscribe to them.  The longer they're around, the more that's needed to fill the void.  Maybe just for a few days, weeks or months, if I exercised a different part of my brain, the part that tosses pesky monkeys off shoulders, the part that refuses to passively accept anything that comes across life's assembly line AND FOR ONCE woke up and actively participated in saying an honest yes or no, I would get more of what I want.

We live in a very abundant period if time where there are endless options and choices.

So you pick...Do you want to merely exist or do you want to stop numbing yourself with sugar, drugs, unfitting partners, junk food, shopping, cigarettes, (pick the addiction and fill in the blank), and start living more fully right now?!  Clean out the old habits and things that no longer fit in order to make room for the new.  Sit quietly in that uncomfortable emptiness and listen.  If it gets quiet enough, the answers will emerge from the heart and soul.  They're already there.  The secret is, when shit comes flying your way to get out the paddle and divert it down another path.  And when opportunity and goodness come, put on your catcher's mitt and grab it!


Day 22

I am still missing my friend (who in part 1 I said I would stop talking to for the duration of this project).  I got used to talking with him at least a few times a week and I figured it would get easier in no time, but it's not...

I'm still just feeling like I'm naked in a field with no outlet.  It's a bit lonely here.


Day 23

I periodically go through times where I start purging my belongings that I don't need or want.  Sometimes this concerns the people around me.  Probably because I already live in a small place and don't own a lot of things.  My thought is that if I'm not using it, then someone should.  Based on cultural norms, I can see the concern, but based on those same norms, I don't actually understand this normal way of being because it doesn't fit how I want to live.  If my belongings don't hold a purpose in my life (either useful or beautiful) then why have them clogging up space and energy in my home.  I've been in the mode of purging things in my home that are wasting space physical and energetic space.  Is it beautiful or useful?  Does it bring joy or just take up space?  Yes or no?

A friend of mine (half joking) asked if I was suicidal.  Hmm...let me think...nope, but I can see why she might ask.  I guess people do that type of thing before saying goodbye to the world.

I wonder what happens after 40 days?  Then what???  Not going back to life as it was.  I already know that.


Day 24

...of being naked and alone in a field...

I had some good friend connections today, so I'm feeling loved and connected.  Feeling good!


I'm still truly disliking the reality that people who are chemically dependent are emotionally unavailable.  It's the ugly truth of our society.  It's so common and I've normalized it my whole life.  I am finding it a struggle to see through to another reality where there are people who are available for healthy relationships who are not chemically dependent or have untreated mental health issues.  It's flipped my world upside down and I don't know what to make of it, so I just keep circling back around trying to make loopholes.  At this point in my project, I've spent way too much time reflecting and doing it sober, that trying to make up lies to appease my mind doesn't work.


I really like something put out by Natalie Lue on Baggage Reclaim that said, "Talking about values, but not embodying them is like washing your front but not your back. It's not you having different values that's the problem; it's not trusting your instincts around them and living them.  It's believing that different is wrong." When put like that, I think....who would do that?  It just doesn't make sense.  But it's what I have been doing all along.


Day 25 

Today I am thinking of the use of food to fill voids.  I believe that overeating is a privilege that many or most people in the world do not have like we do in the United States.  It is wasteful because our body can only use so much nutrition at a time and harmful to the body because it puts extra stress on the body to process all the excess food.  I have a tendency towards overeating.  Not super crazy, but still it's always been a tendency and what I grew up to know.  It is an American cultural norm.  Kind of like me thinking chemical dependency is normal...overeating is also not all that abnormal.

Food abuse and addiction just shifts the addiction from drugs, alcohol, sex...to food.  Usually sugar, fat and salt.  It's all ways of coping with stress or whatever I (we) don't want to or don't know how to deal with in life.


So, today I decided I needed to address, clarify, deal with the ambiguity of the one relationship I've been circling around for the last 25 days and beyond.  (I refer to it as a "relationship" not in that we had/have a formal relationship, but because we are always in relationship with anyone we regularly interact with even if they aren't our bf, gf or formal partner in any way.) So, I already realize that I don't do well with casual relationships.  I have some patterns that are not getting me to a happy place in relationships and continuing on the same path is not going to get me to the place where I am feeling loved and fulfilled in these relationships.

I was going to just not deal with this until the 40 days were up, but couldn't wait any longer.  Mostly because the 4th week of my cycle is the best time to get everything done.  It's when the intensity of all emotions rises and everything that has been happening for some time all of a sudden needs dealing with RIGHT NOW!  I laugh at this because it's like clockwork and it's truly not the best time to do anything that involves seriousness.  It would've been best to deal with this at a different time, but the urgency was there, so why not jump at it!?

This person fits all the patterns of my usual relationships with guys.  I hate to generalize, but it just fits the patterns of my past in so many ways even though everyone is different, the pattern is reoccurring and now I can pick it out more easily than I had been.  I also felt like it was early enough to just clarify things and set up some different parameters around our relationship.

I decided to send him a message letting him know how I really like his endearing messages, but I'm not sure how to interpret them.  We are from different cultural backgrounds and what is normal in his culture may not be normal in mine.  How would I know without asking? I said, if it is not his intention to draw me closer in a romantic sort of way then to maybe not send messages in a way that I am feeling are very flirty...like with all the xoxoxo's and things.  I really love those messages, but my heart can't tell the difference when it comes to matters of romance or love.  In these situations my heart just gets wrapped up in a big happy "YES" and loses sight of reality.

So, given all these things...I just needed and wanted to put it out there how I was feeling and not "ruin" yet another relationship.  I really think a lot of him and wouldn't want him out of my life even if as nothing other than a friend, so best to set up some different parameters while there's still a chance.

I hit the send button then waited....

Sometimes vulnerability feels like my ego being pushed off the edge of a steep cliff.  Contemplating ego suicide.  Yelling to be saved, but I'm already a bit too close to the edge.  It's like the universe saying, "we're jumping, so get over yourself."  Ahh...trying to hold space and compassion for myself.


Day 26

I have a vulnerability hangover and am not feeling happy about it.  I often feel like I think about things way more than other people, but I can't be sure since I am only me.  I got a response which was kind of vague, but gave me what I needed.  I put it out there how I was feeling and feel like it set up some different boundaries in our relationship for the time.  I find it really difficult to hold space for myself and for other people.  It's sometimes hard to feel like I fully respect what someone tells me AND act in the way that respects my own needs.  In the past I would hear the other person, continue to chase them and continue to neglect my own needs.  This is a good opportunity to practice something different.

I am feeling like having brought this up is more work than staying silent would've been.  Part of my journey is knowing that speaking up is worth it even when it doesn't feel like it.  This doesn't feel like it.  Being heard is worth it.  But when we stay silent, we never know.  And not knowing is a mask.  We don't know if something is a yes or a no.  We never gather the information we need to move forward and it's like being stuck in purgatory.  Purgatory, being stuck, indecision and not letting go creates suffering.  Needless suffering.  Hell.


Day 27

In the area of relationships my heart has 1 setting and it is LOVE. 

Love and attachment are my default settings. 

Find those who will handle with care.  

I have come to the place in my heart that I know I am unwilling to do the heart work of relationships and feelings with anyone who is currently regularly using/abusing drugs or alcohol or has mental health issues that are not being actively managed or dealt with.  It is hard enough doing this work with people operating with a clear mind and an open heart, but impossible to do with someone who has these additional limitations.

I have normalized this behavior my entire life from friends and partners to myself.  The limitations of the men I have chosen, have translated to my shortcomings.  I'm too sensitive, can't roll with the flow, my heart is too open, I'm too needy, too controlling, too strong, too much.... Over time, this has somehow turned into my need to fix them so they can love me.  But I didn't know that it's not my burden.  Not my weight to carry.  It's not my job to fix their limitations in order to fix my shortcomings.  They only told me these were my shortcomings because they are limited themselves.  I've opened my heart over and over to a similar type of man and continue to have the same results.  (Yes, it's insanity, like the saying goes.) I always feel like, how am I misunderstanding what appears to be common attraction?

I'm a love kamikaze and it's a high stakes game of hearts.  Jumping over and over onto charted grounds of thorns.

So now having a better understanding, I can make different decisions.  I will not enter not romantic waters with these people.  No flirting, dating, etc.  Off limits.  I feel like removing this factor gives me more clarity as to what I"m looking for if and when I am seeking a partner. Even if I'm sensitive and needy and all those things...they aren't my shortcomings that make me an unsuitable partner.  They're just me.  I'm not perfect and have my own shit, but I'm not hiding behind chemicals anymore and I'm willing to do the heart work of a relationship with someone who also wants to do that work together.

I will not carry the burden for all these men anymore.  I will not let these people weigh in and validate or negate my thoughts, feelings, etc.  I have some really great people in my life who are emotionally available to me when I need love and support.

And with a smile on my face as I sit here on my purple love seat, when I close my eyes, I feel like I'm being uncloaked.  Like the load on my back is lightening up.  Ahhhh....yes!!!


What one does with their body may be an act all on it's own without the heart or mind attached to that action, but I'm not sure how that works.  I've tried training myself for years not to attach so much meaning to things, experiences, relationships, etc., but it has failed over and over again.  I'm human and I attach meaning to intimacy with another human.  (Intimacy being used broadly including any connection of the heart and soul with another human.)  It all means something to me.  We as humans are built for love and connection.  It is the fabric of life.  I feel that it is a humanitarian crisis that there are so many people out there who are able to detach their body from the heart and mind.  To not feel the connection or the bond that forms between 2 people.  It looks like the real thing, but it's not.  It's like imitation love, connection or bonding...a rip off of the brand name Love (with a capital L).


Day 28

I am not my old habits.  This one included.  I am not my old relationship habits.  Old story done...new chapter.  I'm starting to feel a little lighter and more clarity than I've felt in a long time.


Day 29

I am not feeling the need to write much because I've processed the hell out of everything over the last month.


Day 30

I listened to a great podcast today by Tara Brach on addiction.  Specifically eating addiction.  She talked about when a person gets focused on any addiction their world becomes smaller and they lose sight of the bigger picture.  An addiction is anything that causes a person to grasp for something in unhealthy ways and creates suffering and self-harm.

Also listened to an episode of the Living Experiment on Conscious Language.  They said if you have a place in life where you've stuck to ask these questions.

~ what is my fear telling me? 

~ what is my grief telling me?

~ what is my anger telling me?

~ what is my guilt telling me?

~ what is my shame telling me?


Day 31

Our demons are the shadows of our heart.  Keeping busy is a good way of ignoring demons, but they are still there waiting. 

The only way our demons go away is when we face them and make friends with them. 

Like signing a peace treaty with ourselves for whatever we are hiding from in our past and in our hearts. 

It is only then that we are truly free and can be open to all the greatness in this world.  

I had a moment of sadness and compassion for those who are emotionally unavailable today.  Their hearts are not open, maybe they don't love themselves and/or are too afraid of opening up and allowing love in.  It is our true human nature to desire love and belonging, so to be closed off from that seems like such a sad place.  To have someone with an open heart say they want to be with you when you don't want to be with yourself must be a difficult thing as well.  It's like having guards surrounding your heart, but they forgot who they're supposed to protect and now they've gone mad so they're keeping everyone away including you.  Like a civil war of the soul or an autoimmune disease.  Confusion...self-destruction...