Deep Cleansing Breaths

It happened.

The US has a new president. A new vice president. A new incoming administration. A new congress.

A new hope, as it were.

I’m a bit speechless. I know that there are a number of ways we are still working to improve our country, and the world at large.

But this feels like a real step in a better direction. And I feel like I can really breathe again. We can collectively breathe a bit easier.

And that feels wonderful.

I want to post our guided meditation here today, to help aid in anyone’s healing journey as we navigate what’s to come next. We’ve endured years of fearing for our safety and the lives of people we care about and those who are in vulnerable populations.

I know I want to take today to have a little victory happy. Take a breath.

And get ready to keep fighting for myself and for others.

❤ Kay Jay

Trying to stay Optimistic

So this month has been the worst month of the pandemic for me…so far. I don’t know if its the length of time we’ve been in it, starting a new job, dark winter days or if its the insurrection, but this month has been a lot.

Yet I am trying every day to get on track and set myself up for success as much as I can.

But good news this week, we are getting a new president! The last 4 years have been nothing but this country going backwards and it had definitely weighed heavily on me, and all of us. I am scared for this week because of the right wing nut jobs threatening more violence, but I will be relieved after Wednesday.

We need a change so bad and I’m hopeful that after Wednesday we will see some serious changes in regards to COVID 19, police brutality and all the other issues surrounding this country.

So, although I am fearful for this week , I also am hopeful! I will continue to work on my goals and hopefully this week will end on a good note!

Peace and Love,

-Shim Sham

Lovin’ Myself

Good morning Shim Sham! Hello world!

I’m sitting here with a new style.

Because I colored my hair again!

And this time, I didn’t start with bleaching my hair fully blonde. I just utilized my own natural brown (and silver hair) and gave myself some dark magenta highlights – which is making me so happy.

Anyone who’s met me knows that I LOVE a moment to change up my look. I shave my head, fade up the sides, dye my hair, cut it by myself… (the latter is no longer advisable because I’m not great at scissor cutting my own hair at all.) I love to change up my makeup looks and experiment – and I’ve gotten much better at it this past year.

I am finally getting more adventurous with my personal style and allowing myself to utilize my outward appearance to reflect how I feel inside – which has been an incredible experience this year.

It still scares me. I still sometimes get very wrapped up in how others are perceiving me. I am still not fully able to go as full out as I want.

But there has been progress!

I’m learning to love the body I have and how to use it to create the look I want to see. I trust myself to try things in a way that I never felt comfortable with in the past.

I look in the mirror and I am working to take the first initial reaction (which can be very cruel and negative) and work to rewrite the narrative. I’m discovering how to utilize my more unique features and physically intriguing aspects of my body to my advantage and turning the hateful thoughts on their head.

I’m someone who doesn’t like to be in a box. And sometimes I look at people who are in the “beautiful, sexy, whatever blah blah blah” boxes and wish I could be them. But then I realize.

They all look the same.

They all sound the same.

They all seem to be THE SAME.

(and before you get it twisted, I know that everyone has unique perspectives and their own interesting personalities – it’s just the way that we are inundated with the imagery of a “beautiful” or “successful” human person and how it ALWAYS seems to be the same.)

I don’t love being the same as other people. Part of it is stubbornness (you don’t even have to tell me.) And some of it is just feeling contrary.

But a lot of it is because every time I try to shove myself into one of those mainstream boxes, it just doesn’t go well for me. I get sad. I feel like I’m not enough and like I’m not successful or being authentic to myself.

I want to be my authentic self – and I am learning to love who that is.

All of the past experiences where I was put down or downright punished for being myself and feeling authentic have become an inner dialogue which used to serve me in holding me back – but it also kept me safe.

It isn’t safe anymore. It’s hurting me. I want to be free of it and learn who I really am.

So here goes: I love my belly, my legs that are shorter than average, my barrel chest, my sometimes very greasy skin, my ridiculous midwestern accent that sneaks out when I’m excited, my loud laugh – it all makes up who I am. And I can love every bit of it as I work towards becoming the future version of myself.

I’m learning to love myself. It’s hard and it doesn’t always feel possible.

But I really am learning.

❤ Kay Jay

Seeing the goddess in Everyone (except for YOU and you know who you are)

Dear Shim Sham and world,

I’m trying to so hard. SO HARD.

SO VERY HARD.

I am working to be a more loving and accepting person of those who I do not see eye to eye with. Those who may have beliefs or lived experiences that vary from that of my own.

And I personally think that I am making progress! I have taken a look at my own implicit biases, my own internalized self-loathing. My own racist thoughts, my inaction, my willingness to change. And I believe I have made headway on that in the past few years. And the work continues.

But recently, I am finding it harder and harder to find common ground with those who seek to destroy the small comforts I have found in life. Who are actively working against others like myself. Those of us who have found safety in their identities.

Some felt that it was harmless to vote a certain way, because they were voting for someone “anti-establishment” who would shake up the system. And then decided after four years that four more sounded like the best option. That is an aggression and violent act towards myself and many like me. Many people I love and care about very much.

Some continue to fight against progress out of antiquated fears surrounding morality, control, power, spiritual beliefs….And they are entitled to those beliefs! (However unwilling they are to extend that same entitlement toward myself and people like me). Spouting hatred is not a “value.” You are fanning flames near a pile of dynamite. It is an act of violence.

Some actively lie, cheat, and steal to maintain power and the status quo that continues to keep them in the social and economic standing that they have enjoyed for far too long without extending that same opportunity to others. Worse still, utilizing that power to continually undermine the rights and freedoms of others. Including myself and others like me. This is an act of violence that can beget more violence.

I am not writing all of this to get anger or anger others. I am writing this to continue my path of spiritual wellness.

I have continued (and perhaps misplaced) hope that we can build a better future. And I do not want to let others take that hope away from me.

But hope without action isn’t worth much. Particularly now.

My spiritual wellness journey this year and in the years that follow will include a continued effort towards understanding others. Finding connections, particularly now when connection feels so difficult and at times impossible. And this includes those who I do not find common ground with. Those who do not have the facts and follow movements blindly because they align with their narrow world view and experiences. I want to seek the goddess in everyone. I want to believe that people have the capacity to change as I have and plan to continue changing.

However.

This does not mean that I am not paying attention. It does not mean that I am not taking stock of the actions of others. The ways in which their privilege overshadows their capacity for empathy. The ways in which their choices continue to undermine the lives and opportunities of others for the sake of their own so-called values.

I do believe in karma. I do believe in universal alignment and ways in which our actions cause reactions. And I am now seeing that reaching peacefully and diplomatically across the aisle may no longer serve me positively (if ever it did to be quite frank.) I am seeing people for who they are choosing to be, in light of easily identifiable facts and realities.

And some, including members of my own family, are choosing to actively work against my happiness, my successes, my opportunities – all for the sake of of a limited worldview they seem to have no interest in expanding. It is a price they continually make clear they are willing to pay.

So yes. I am seeking to see the goddess in everyone I encounter throughout this life. But some of you (and I certainly hope if you ever see this that you KNOW WHO YOU ARE) might have already used up all of the goodwill I have left for you.

And it is not in my best interest to continue all of this one-sided work. My physical and emotional wellness are at stake – and I am done compromising myself for you and your lack of empathy, your lack of willingness to change.

Again, I write all of this not to stir up anger or resentment within myself. Not at all. Rather, I am solidifying my commitment to myself and to my own spiritual well being. There is too much at stake. I have too much to offer others to continue offering it to those who I cannot reach and who have repeatedly shown me that my best interests – are of no interest to them.

See the goddess in everyone – whenever possible.

Except for you. And you know who you are.

❤ Kay Jay

Monday…..

Today was a long rough day. I don’t have a lot of energy in me today all im gonna say is this month is gonna be about diet and rolling with the punches. When I have a bad day I am gonna come home and treat my body to some vegetables, that is the only way it will recover.

I used to use bad days as a reason to binge eat and not anymore. Tasty and healthy food is what is gonna get me through.

Peace and love,

Shim Sham

An Out of Order Post to End 2020

Hello Mama Shim Sham and everyone else!

I decided to switch the order of my posts for this week to give me more time to make my video. I have some ideas for how I want to end out this year and I want to take some more time to get it done.

Instead I want to talk today about where I’m at, what I’ve done, and how I want to move forward. We have all had a hell of a year, and everyone’s experience has been incredibly difficult to varying degrees. All of our experiences have been collective as well as painfully individual – and some have suffered a great deal more than others. Many of us focused on survival mode this year – and that made it difficult to take stock in the day to day and moment to moment.

We have had to set new boundaries that may have felt threatening to others and even threatening to OURSELVES – a difficult dichotomy to deal with. Just today, I had a moment with my partner which forced me to walk away from a conversation regarding activities in the winter. I don’t feel safe out and about right now – I’m asthmatic with upper respiratory issues. My doctor has made it clear which activities are unsafe for me. We are still in the middle of a pandemic which continues to make life difficult the world over – and there is no clear end in sight. I have had to set boundaries which make me feel rigid and cold – and I have had to deal with that. It puts me at odds with others who have set different boundaries. My partner and I don’t always agree right away about what is safe and what isn’t. But we continue forward and we work together.

We all need to work together.

This world needs all of us to take better care of one another. We need to be better at chronic empathy – and take others into account more when we make decisions. Things will not get better if we just ‘wait for it to happen.’ I was reminded yesterday by a friend that the ‘oft forgotten step to manifesting and magic’ is the ACTION step. We need to DO things in order to change things.

That doesn’t make it more desirable. Or easy.

The same is true of our own personal journeys. I have been through a YEAR. My life has been upended at a pivotal time. I graduated from Grad school at a time where I can’t put my degree to use. I am being expected to begin paying my student loans back (a considerable amount given my family history, level of inherited wealth, and personal income level) beginning in February with no end in sight of this current chapter of our very (at times) stupid timeline we are living through.

And yet, I still managed to accomplish.

I completed this Master’s program with a 4.0, while having my entire thesis project postponed, changed, and creating months of extra work to a program which was to end in April.

I made it through.

I have recorded over 3 hours of music this year – with over 2 hours of this original music. That is an accomplishment that I would not have thought possible even 2 years ago.

I am teaching professionally. I am performing professionally. I am finally involving myself in the performance arts scene in the Twin Cities. Things are actually looking up in certain ways I would have never been able to imagine.

These are reasons to CELEBRATE.

I need to take stock of these and the significantly smaller (but no less important) ways I have made positive changes in my life this year. I am reconnecting to my spiritual side in meaningful ways that felt lost forever. Stolen by the church and religion I grew up with that not only rejected me, but showed it’s true face while I was in my most vulnerable years of coming up and coming out.

I found strength to reconnect and take that back.

I found new layers to my identity.

I found the courage to come out and to live more authentically.

I found new skills and new loves, new passions.

I sat and watched more TV and learned about new genres that I never knew were there for me to learn from and enjoy.

I walked around my neighborhood more than I have EVER done in the 3 years I have lived in this apartment – and now have a better sense of where I live and thrive. That is HUGE.

There are a number of ways I have grown and suffered, and learned and developed. I need to take stock of it.

And I hope you all will too. We have all been through a lot. And we aren’t done yet. This is a time to develop a new world and to forge new connections. And that takes major changes to our daily lives. And that’s scary.

It’s HARD.

But we need to start by recognizing our own beautiful lives and see how we have changed and developed during all of this. Connect to ourselves and see how we can connect to others.

There are a lot of reasons to despair. But there are still reasons to celebrate – and I believe we should do both. As much as possible. There are so many ways to be human – so many walks of life. I hope to experience more, and I hope we all will as we turn the page on this calendar year and continue into the next. This story isn’t over.

And hopefully we will all do our part to pen a new storyline for the future.

❤ and a Happy New Year from Kay Jay

Last week of 2020

So, this is not going to be a long post reviewing 2020, maybe next week.

Right now I am going to celebrate my win today. I meal prepped yesterday and today stuck to a healthy diet. Thats amazing! I feel better, and I am so glad I did it.

This is the proof. This is the pudding! I need to meal prep to be successful during the week, and I’ve developed a strategy in my head.

Each week I will bulk cook a pasta dish full of veggies and beans. Then each week I will have salad ingredients at the ready and also have frozen veggies available. They are so easy to pop in the microwave and throw on some mustard or hot sauce or spice.

Then I will also bulk cook a soup or stew in the insta pot. That way I can cook the pasta dish on the stove and the other one in the instapot and have two meals going at once. If I do this thats my meals for the week!

I will expand on this but for now this plan I think will help me. I will make sure I eat veggies at every meal and during the day I can snack on fruit or veggies.

I am going to finish 2020 feeling good.

I still need help getting exercise and sleep, but this is a process.

If you have any advice let me know and let’s finish 2020 feeling good!

Peace and Love,

Shim Sham