Although we have not yet met face to face in this lifetime, I feel as if Courtney Walsh is a creative kindred spirit, and soul sistah whose astonishing way with words, sets my heart to dancing. I love the combinations of phrasings that seem to come from the cosmos through her fingers and onto keyboard. To look at her, you would not know, and even the closest among her, were not aware that she harbored a secret that she divulged after years of suffering with depression as a near constant companion. Today, she is a shining example of being a thriver who has taken her personal trials and turned them into triumphs, reaching out to assist others.
How do you live your bliss?
Big question. Ok…I started by identifying how I wasn’t living it. And I worked from there. Contrast. It can be a delicious and powerful teacher. For example—in the corporate world I was always stressed and rushed. Overworked. Undervalued. I was one of the many BUSY BRIGADE…You know the ones. The people who sell their time and souljuice for a roof over head/food on table version of ‘safety’ and an illusion of security but they overeat, drink, take pills or use TV and drama-laden relationships to avoid the lifeforcesucking deathboredom of timepunching and timemarking.
It was literally killing me. It was worse than cancer. It was soul suicide by inches and degrees. So I slowly started writing. And writing. And writing. And it brought me into a more authentic and juicy life. I traded the paralyzing fear of change or disruption of comfort for my own version of freedom. I am not gonna lie and say it was all sunshine and roses or that I have cracked the code or that I am living a fully balanced and productive life 24/7. I still have days where I cry onthe couch and eat a can of Pringles for dinner. B ut when I write? I have that euphoria. That aliveness. That BLISS that we think of as one thing but really sneaks up on us and is quite something more fragile, invincible and perfect than we ever thought it could be.
What was the meandering path that led you from being a ‘happy go lucky’ child who wanted to squeeze the juice out of life, to feeling as if the life was being squeezed out of you?
Happy-go-lucky is a funny term. Though I suppose it’s very accurate. I was an imaginative, creative, sensitive and fun little kid. I was popular whatever that really means. Mostly I just think people liked & felt safenurtured in my sadkind eyes and around my infectious laugh. I think at about the age of 9, when pre-puberty started hitting…my mom and I started fighting like cats and dogs. I was individuating. She was unhappy and angry. Power struggles ensued. The whole idea of Squeezing the Stars comes from my first full sentence as a toddler. I believe I must have been impatient and frustrated (some of my less perkycute qualities) that mom was doling out slices of orange to me. I’m sure she just didn’t want me to choke. But I wanted MORE. I demanded: “GIMME THE ORANGE!” I think even at that tender age…I knew. It wasn’t the love I could choke on. It was the fear. Not the smothering. But the neglect. I started getting sore throats very young and feeling that I had no “VOICE”. I was to sit there quietly and look pretty. Not to talk back. Not to ‘be fresh”. To be fair…I’m sure I WAS a handful ball of sassyfiery starpower and my poor earthmom just wasn’t equipped. She, like many suburban moms in the 70s and 80s used to be home a lot, probably lonely, bored and restless. She is a painter. A wild personality of her own. I imagine her own wings felt clipped. It was a source of tension between us and sadly to this day in many ways still is. She looked out the window once and mused, “Maybe artists shouldn’t have children.” I hope to prove her wrong on that front. We are still working on our compassion, forgiveness and communication. We are basically estranged. Feeling thrown away or cold shouldered or misunderstood by the woman who birthed you was the greatest wound of my early life. I am not blaming her for this—she DID HER BEST. I believe I chose her. I respect and love her. We just don’t really see eye to eye or heart to heart.
Was there a defining moment that had you saying…”Enough!” of life and then one in which you embraced life again….or perhaps allowed it to embrace you?
That moment happens every day when I wake up and get out of bed. But there were contributing aha moments along the way from Rock Bottom to Rock ON! One was a friend dying of colon cancer at age 33. Recently, one was a broken heart that I learned a GREAT DEAL from. Still learning actually.
What makes mental health issues so challenging for people to speak about openly?
You know—it’s all just fear. Fear of perception. Fear of being judged. Fear of being labeled and dismissed. Just conditioning, misperceptions, stigma and fear.
How can we support people in our lives who are facing them, perhaps in secrecy and shame?
OK…so Edie Weinstein…here’s how. I’m going to do it and COME OUT OF THE SHAME CLOSET right here on YOUR BLOG…thank you for this opportunity for total transparency, even though my heart is beating a billion miles a minute and my pits are sweaty. You do it first. You tell the truth. The whole truth and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. So you know that I am an author, speaker, world traveler, role model, college graduate, have been on national television, social media rockstar etc.
But what you don’t know…and might never guess is that:
I am currently on disability.
And food stamps.
And I have no Internet.
So there you have full, total, humbled and deep transparency. Can’t get clearer or more naked than that, can I? You can support us by loving us out of our victimshame feelings and worthiness issues about BASIC HUMAN NEEDS. See us as thriving. Love us into our wholeness. Believe in us. Help us believe in ourselves. Speak/think of us in glowing, loving terms, not pitying, judging or angry ones.
Please speak about your book Lipsticks and Thongs in The Loony Bin…catchy title!
All I can really say is it is a memoir. It’s deeply personal. And yet hopefully also—universal. It’s about a suicide attempt and the healing journey back to myself. To my own soul. It’s funny though, too. Humor is a key part of what I do and how I choose to show up in the world.
And then your second book: Squeezing The Stars…what’s that about?
It’s a compilation of the status updates of the past three years that I have offered for free on Facbook. People kept asking me to put it into some kind of format so Terri Kennedy—a complete angel from Utah stepped up and helped me pro bono because she believes in me, my voice and my talent. One thing I have been very blessed to do since my teen years is to manifest surrogate mother/sister figures into my life who show up at just the right moment when I need encouragement, support, to be seen, cherished, appreciated and loved. Terri has been a godiversesend in more ways than I can count. She sees me as I truly am and I want to become. I am so grateful for that. SO GRATEFUL.
I have admired your wondrous way with words ever since I laid eyes on them…how does your writing write you?
It comes in fully formed mini-transmissions. I really do feel like I am merely taking dictation. Scribe on loveduty more than tortured wordwarrior.
Does the Muse awaken you at all hours as it does me?
YUP. Though my sleep regime has improved vastly because I asked my guides/muses to cool it a little on that.
You use the word YUP alot in your writing. What’s the motivation for it?
YUP to me, is an acronym for: “You’re Unbelievably Precious”. Because I believe that we all are. Every single one of us.
Have you always been so colorful?
Not in the murkyshadowy greydeeps of depression or dark night of the soul moments. But yeah, mostly. I just know stuff. It makes life interesting. Sometimes, ok, often, it challenges and catalyzes those who love me. They sometimes don’t get it or can’t keep up or get burnt out on it. I don’t blame them for that. I believe that the ones who know stuff (and who embrace, honor it and consciously develop it) are drawn to me too. And we get to play and cocreate and know stuff and learn stuff and grow and laugh and cry and LOVE and combine our divine shine? Together. Sometimes, I must be truthful…it hurts to feel like you are out on this lonely leading edge ledgelimb and people look at you like you are “too difficult’ or “too much work”. That’s an old story I’m replacing. I know that I? Am worth it. And that I am not too much work. Hiding is. Lying is. Pretending is. Duality is. So if I signed up to challenge those distortions, those illusions and those harmful, dying beliefs…then that is MY WORK HERE. I genuinely like my own company and spend long stretches in nature by myself. I’m a pretty good date! So my current theme I am reading/writing a lot about is intimacy and love. I believe these are very worthy topics as they permeate all parts of life. And they sure are COLORFUL.
Who inspires you, as you inspire a lot of folks?
Any of the Hay House authors are magnificent. Of course the Abraham materials. My Nana. My dad. The angels. Any female author who was ahead of her time. Aristotle. Shakespeare. That Choose Happiness woman. Rumi. Mike Dooley. Really—it ranges and depends on my mood. Lately I am also fascinated by writings that talk about harmonizing materialism and spiritualism.That is one code I have yet to crack in my own life. But I will. I most certainly will.