The Unscratchable Itch.

I’m as prone to the decadence of a Netflix original series as any American. I get sucked into the drama and binge watch. Lately it has been season 4 of Scandal and the president’s son was murdered. Millie, the first lady, loses herself in her grief. I cant help but feel a little jealous watching her total lack of regard for what anyone thinks. She immerses herself in the grief; she surrenders to it. She stays in her robe all day sipping martinis from the balcony of the Whitehouse, gorges on fried chicken, and is unabashedly broken. Her character is generally not one I would identify with at all– cold, manipulative and pathologically opportunistic– yet, here as a mother experiencing great pain, we are equals.

I find it quite difficult to share my grief with others, have discovered a wall between myself and even those closest to me that, despite earnest intentions, I cannot seem to tear down. My good girl instincts and self-preservation impede me at every turn. The closest I come to sharing my pain is here in the blogosphere. My friends and family check on me daily and mostly I say I’m alright. And, I AM alright. But I struggle to open my heart to receive nourishment; from others, and especially from myself.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I made a career and a living from trying to help others avoid the trappings of self neglect. I employed heart speaking marketing tactics attempting to compel action. Even then, I wasnt always walking the talk. But I find it almost impossible now. I am working quite diligently with my therapist and myriad other helpers on this. It is deep and I am working hard on changing my mind, and changing my relationship with myself.

It is proving to be the most difficult task, wading through grief and doubt and fear and years of the muck of self sabotage. I can only say that it feels, suddenly, like my life’s purpose. In honor of my Self, in honor of Isaac.

There have been moments of feeling like an utterly silly woman– for being 38 and still struggling with self-love but also for finding myself desiring it in the midst of this enormous vacancy in my soul. Yet, it is clearer than ever before that I cannot thrive without it. I may somehow survive, but for my life to feel rooted, anchored to something I can count on, I know that I must do the work.

I want it to be easier! Damnit!

And I want to be free. Free from the abyss of self-doubt, self judgement, comparisons, and even all this self centeredness. I keep returning to one truth. There is no way out but through. I know I am not alone in this. If I could find it in a book, video, workshop, degree, relationship, title or any external pursuit, I would have by now. We would have by now.

It’s an inside job, man. And I have to believe all this effort and energy expenditure is leading somewhere besides exhaustion and defeat.

Lets all be kinder to ourselves and inspire each other through our example to Shine On, shall we?



Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


4 thoughts on “The Unscratchable Itch.”

  1. I love everything you write. I’m a horrible communicator, and so in awe of how beautifully you articulate your experiences. I know it’s through such horrific pain, and have to tell you I think it’s an amazing gift. Love you, Christina. Please continue to shine on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you ever see “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”? The idea behind that movie appeals to me so much. Wouldn’t it be nice to wipe that never-ending loop in our brains? I know a lot of it for me is chemical. I have OCD, especially as it pertains to relentless thought patterns. I’ve tried shouting “STOP IT!” to myself, singing hymns, but it’s impossible to concentrate on the reverse of an idea. Time helps, and believe it or not, the things I read on Facebook and blogs. Primal Scream out in the woods helps too, but sometimes I think I’m rehearsing my anger (sadness).

    Your honest, openhearted approach to life and grief inspire me.


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