I Chose Van Gogh

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I overshared last night.  

I did this with a man I barely know and that I’m trying to get know better.

So, when I noticed myself pulling away from him, I went inside myself and I looked.

 I looked and didn’t look away and what I found were my fears, my patterns, my motivations, my desires, and everything else that would present itself. After spending time in meditation, I decided that the only thing that I could do in this moment to honor us both, would be to talk about it.

We sat outside, watched the sunset and we talked. We talked about a lot of things, our past and the experiences and challenges in life that shaped us and made us who we are today.  When I spoke I made sure not to leave out the real messy parts, the not so beautiful parts. The parts that show my history with violence and drugs and more. Those were actually easier to talk about then the next thing, because the next thing still seems to be so alive.

So, I said it. I said the thing that I do again and again with men, that I don’t want to keep doing. Like a bomb, I dropped it in and said, “I’m addicted to unavailable men.”There was a long pause and then he replied with, “So, what do you do with available men? Sabotage it?” We were both breathing deep at this time and I said,“Yes, sometimes for no good reason and sometimes for very good reasons. I believe most of them needed to end.”  And there it was, my cards on the table.

It’s not the news everyone wants to hear but it’s the news that everyone deserves to hear. I woke up the this morning and felt so close to myself and that feels like love of the grandest kind.  I just feel loved by myself and honored, that makes me cry, with relief. I also feel closer to him now and to everyone else in my life that has a ticket. I spent the day thinking of many of my friends near and far and I cried again, with relief.

Today I am also remembering a story from one of my favorite books, written by Cheryl Strayed, called Tiny Beautiful Things. The book is a collection of her favorite letters from a time in her life when she had a job as an advice columnist. Her column was called, “Dear Sugar”. People wrote Sugar letters about love and life and their desires and how desperately they wanted to choose the right thing. This book felt like a friend to me when I was going through a big change. I laughed and I cried. I read this book and at times dropped into the fetal position and wailed. I learned just how similar we all are if we let our masks down and show our stories. There is one story in the book about a woman that Sugar knows who was raped 3 different times as a young woman and today has positive and healthy relationships with men. When Sugar asked her how she does it, how she is able to move on from those traumas, the woman, a world renowned painter replied, “At a certain point in your life you get to choose who you will be influenced by.” She said she could have chosen to be influenced by three men that screwed her against her will or she could have chosen to be influenced by Van Gogh. She chose Van Gogh.

Ugly things happen to many of us but they don’t have to make us ugly. Anytime we are willing to sit at the table and talk about the stories that shaped who we are, we are choosing to get closer to the truth. Sharing stories has always been a place of connection.

So let’s do it. Let’s share the stories, the ones that challenged us and let’s talk about how we suffered and how we are choosing to grow from it. Let’s talk about what we learned and how we have been changed by the experience.  Let us talk about what we do now to stand a little taller. Let’s talk about it all. The people meant to stay in your life will want to listen.

To all of you out there reading,  no matter what has happened in your life, in the end, I hope you choose Van Gogh.



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