if you met me socially, you’d probably think i’m silly and breezy and cute and, like, really really funny. i’d probably be the appropriate amount of interested in you as an individual and humorously awkward myself, but in an endearing way, in a way that makes you feel comfortable. i’m cute enough to be cute, but not enough to make you feel insecure or threatened. i’m approachable. i’m easy. i’m likeable and bright. that’s the beth people have been seeing for a lot of years, i think. it’s true and it’s untrue. it’s real or not real. i’m actually not sure.
let me start at the beginning though. well, one of the beginnings.
i moved to kentucky from california nineteen and a half months ago. i count the time in months, like it's my newborn baby. each day is meaningful and i have to acknowledge each one. i cannot reduce it into some mere estimated number of years.
i am, in essence, a baby, because i moved, ostensibly, for love. that's the story people like to hear. it's romantic and hopeful and much easier to tell. it's also true, but it was only the catalyst, not the reason.
i moved, really, to become a newborn again.
i moved, because i had a lot of shit to drop, and i didn't know how to drop it other than starting again entirely. i am learning that, for me, the best way to recover is to just start again entirely.
to explain: i've recently begun meditating. not only meditating, but doing a whole fucking 40 day program based around meditation, yoga, journaling, and conscious eating. if that's not your thing, don't give up on me now. that wasn't my thing for the better part of 30 years, the majority of which was spent in the bay area, which is a nonstop, major celebration of all things meditation, yoga, and conscious eating. i wasn't into it either, and i get it.
all i'm saying is, i have a solid background in late night frozen pizza and binge drinking, so if people who meditate make you feel barfy, believe me when i say they once made me feel the same way.
but that's another part of the story. the part of the story that's important now is that, in the guided meditation, we are often reminded to “begin again,” which feels like a gentle way of saying, if you're fucking up, just decide to start over. don't bury yourself in the idea that all is lost. don't let your meanderings from perfection become an excuse to give up entirely. begin again the second you realize what you were doing before wasn't working. begin again the second after that when you realize that the previous restart has already been foiled. begin again right after that, if you need to, too. it's okay. just begin again.
kentucky was my begin again. my new birthday.
i came here to give up frozen pizza. sort of.
not just frozen pizza, but all the things it represents. the unhealthiness, the lack of self-care, the hastiness, the drunkenness that preceded it, the distance from all things whole and nourishing and sustainable. i moved to kentucky and began the process of unlearning thirty years of bad habits and ugly stories.
i still think pizza is fucking delicious, by the way. and i eat it. sometimes. but i came here to give it up as a lifestyle. i came here to give up a lifestyle of treating myself like garbage and filling myself with garbage and talking about myself like i was garbage and wondering, as a result, why on earth i felt like garbage.
i moved here and i have been on a very slow, painful, and triumphant path of transformation ever since. i have been doing the work. shit, it's hard. but it's also good. i understand the pain as the beginnings of change. i welcome it.
part of the way i process all this is through writing infrequent, but epically long blog posts. (i have NOT begun again and discovered that i'm concise. i may never be concise. i'm okay with that.)
jessica fey invited me to guest blog for her website. she said, i want you to write on random topics, but first you'll need to introduce yourself.
i wrote something. it was overly contrived.
i started again. it was strained.
i started again. it just wasn't right.
i kept trying to say who i am. what i am. where i've been. sometimes i started with the humorous and light. sometimes i started with the grim, the disparaging. each time i was too concerned with how it seemed, what you would think. instead of thinking, is this true? all i could think was, will people like this?
and that’s not my truth. that’s not who i am, or at least not who i want to be. i want to be a person that likes myself, because i take care of myself and because being however i am is fine. is enough.
and i’m not quite there yet. i’m not there enough yet to give you any real introduction, because i don’t have enough perspective yet.
but i can tell you this:
my name is beth loster.
once upon a time, nineteen and a half months ago, before i was born for the second time, when i still lived in san francisco, i was holding onto a story that the only way i felt good was in the constant affirmations from everyone around me. i needed to be told i was good, repeatedly and with intensity, to bury the very real fear that i was not good at all. i was drowning in the terror that at any given moment, people might stop liking me and then i would have to acknowledge that i didn't like myself.
i have been writing and rewriting that story ever since i arrived here. i’ve been rewriting it with exercise and real food and self-care and adequate amounts of sleep and a great love that brings up every insecurity i’ve ever had and asks me to address them, patiently, repeatedly, and like an adult. i have been inviting myself to like myself by doing things that show i actually care about the health and happiness of myself as an individual.
the more i do that, the less worried i am that you will like me. and, i think, the more genuinely likeable i become. because, as i asserted at the beginning of this all, i’m already pretty likable. like, people really like me. i’m silly and breezy and cute and really, really funny. and the more i stop insisting on those very things from myself, the more organic they actually become.
so here i go. i’m going to fuck up. i fuck up all the time. but i’m learning that that’s okay. because i can always just begin again. take a breath and begin again. breathe, and begin again.