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It’s Ok to Be Floor People.

Words and thoughts on breaking down, vulnerability, and destigmatizing rock-bottom
by Mateo
An animated GIF of two giant hands holding small humans with clouds floating upward in the background.
Image description: An illustration of two large, blue hands with long, pointed fingernails holding human figures. One hand is closer to the viewer, entering the image from the right side. This hand is holding a human, about the size of its middle finger. The human is androgynous, nude, lying on their stomach. Their skin is magenta and their hair is short and purple. They are staring blankly into the distance. The hand that is further away is entering the image from the left side. This hand is holding a greenish-grey, nude human who is lying on their back with their calves and feet draped over the side of the hand, the legs are animated to slowly dangle back and forth. This human looks blankly at the sky. In the background is an animation of a soft, pink sky with pale, yellow clouds floating upward. The picture is framed by a dark blue, wavy line and has the signature “WVR ’20” in the lower right corner. The “R” is backward.

On the outside patio of a bar in SF, my best friend Cameron and I were having an impromptu night out together with responsible consumption of alcohol and other things. The conversation eventually focused on spirituality and religion, and I began to express a growing frustration I was having at the daily scriptures and prayers my Christian grandmother was sending me for the purpose of morning fellowship. I couldn’t place why these daily messages were bothering me, especially since my grandmother and I have a loving relationship. She and I share a spiritual identity, but I vibrate heavily with queer, indigenous, divine feminine energies which often feels at odds with Christianity.

The inebriated conversation revealed larger feelings of spiritual disenfranchisement, issues of self-hate, and identity insecurity within my own communities. Suddenly, I had unleashed the flood gates of a spiritual healing journey, and these revelations brought overwhelming emotions with them. Wanting to maintain composure and my makeup, I stuffed these feelings down. I even thought I’d found a temporary peace with them, until I got home and crossed the threshold to my room. The moment I walked in my sacred safe space I felt my legs buckling. I reacted fiercely, saying aloud, “Stay standing, stay strong.” And then quietly thought, “No, allow yourself to fall,” and I collapsed on the Floor.

I cried deep and loud. The tears flowed like a broken dam, and all I could do was fall into the process. I had finally recognized a significant source of the daily pain I was carrying, and fully acknowledging and naming it brought me to the Floor. Cameron was surprised, to say the least, but instinctively came over to me, reaching for my hand to hold. Upon taking it, he could feel the intensity and was brought down to the Floor with me, allowing himself to be another conduit for my overwhelming emotions. He lay there as I wept, holding my hand (shedding a couple tears himself) until I had released enough to gain my composure.

“Wow, that was a lot,” he said, catching his breath and grounding himself. This was sacred work, whether he realized it or not, and we spent the rest of the night talking about the next steps for my healing journey. But in that moment, I was unequivocally a Floor Person.

We Are Floor People when we have reached a physical, emotional, and/or mental state of being so overwhelmed that we collapse under our own weight.

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and our collective liberation! Every $10 gets you a raffle ticket!

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Mateo, the author
Mateo, the author

Whether literally or figuratively, the Floor is the state when we can’t find the capacity to lift or move our body and therefore must exist on the Floor, weeping, grieving, waiting for the energy to move. It is a state of significant fatigue in which existence alone seems laborious, and it can feel as if there will be no other way of living outside of our anguish and suffering. This occurrence is akin to a feeling of “rock bottom.” Things have fallen apart, fallen through, been taken, or are withheld in a way that leaves one feeling alone, inadequate, and/or without basic needs met.

It is not shameful or wrong to be a Floor person. I have been a Floor person. We have all been on the Floor at different parts of our lives. And that’s ok. If it weren’t for the Floor, we may keep falling. The Floor holds us when we cannot hold ourselves. The Floor is a powerful tool of protection while we take the time and space we need to rise in our own power, strength, and purpose once again. The Floor, when we allow it to be, when we are able to ask for help, is a place for healing.

But asking for help is hard. It’s not a thing we’re encouraged or taught to do. Because of patriarchal, capitalist, and religious-moral dogma, we are taught to perceive our suffering as a consequence for our failures and mistakes; consequently, many of us suffer alone. Unnecessarily alone.

When we are alone, on the ground, surrounded by the horrors of our guilt and shame, the Floor is a difficult, painful, and lonely place to be. On the Floor, we watch our loved ones pass us by, thriving, and unaware of our hurt. Sometimes, we project our own negative self-talk and judgment on them; we assume they are better off without us, and we lie, pretending that we’re fine and don’t need their help. We reject their love and tell them to go shine without us.

When we become a Floor person, we are in need of a foundation, of the space and time to ground and remember who we are, and a few hands to help pull us up. Sometimes, we can provide a hand for ourselves, but healing is so much easier when you have the loving support of a community. We all need our Floor team. But we cannot assemble that team if we don’t tell people when we’re struggling or warn our loved ones when the Floor is looming.

On too many occasions, I personally have done everything possible to avoid acknowledging the Floor in my own life. Let us acknowledge our collective lack of comfort with appearing and being uncomfortable. At very young ages we learn that to be seen as vulnerable or in need of something (especially if the need is something we could potentially provide ourselves) is to be seen as weak or effete. We are taught fiercely to avoid the appearance of being weak, breaking down, or needing the strength of the ground. We live in a world that severely uglifies people when they are in the midst of struggles, weakness, and crisis. That uglification often leads to ridicule and unfair assessments of our character and our choices. We are blamed for our oppression, gaslit so severely that it’s hard to recognize when the reason for being on the Floor is a result of the world that refuses to allow us the space to be whole.

Because so many of us are socialized to focus on how other people perceive us rather than the spiritual and emotional tending that’s needed to persevere, we focus on our image, beauty, and accomplishments rather than the discomfort we’re feeling. We focus on shining the outside while the inside is crumbling. For me, this has looked like bombarding myself with an array of internalized rules and regulations about how I should act and present myself. This is a result of the toxic social structures we are immersed in.

These structures are age-old, rooted in protecting privilege and systems of exclusion, and exist in every aspect of our society – a society that we all have to function in and interact with in some way. Consequently, even those of us who have managed to unlearn these mentalities and regularly practice remembering our innate perfection can sometimes get caught up in the performance of perfection, of avoiding our spiritual and emotional needs, and ignoring the ground. So much effort is put into the cosmetics of strength that the care and softness we actually need to uphold us is often left unacknowledged and ignored. When you are in the midst of the grind, be it prosperity or survival, it is easy to forget to honor and acknowledge the ground and the purpose it serves. These are the times we fall and don’t even know it; and when we don’t know it, we can’t catch ourselves, we can’t brace ourselves for the impact, and we are more likely to shatter.

When we purposely ignore and avoid the Floor, we are ignoring information that is critical to our wellness and survival.  Being brought back to the Floor is an indication that the structures, practices, and values we’ve created for ourselves and centered our lives around are not sound. Remember, these behaviors are less about who we are, and more about how we were taught to perceive ourselves, our worth, and the world around us. Falling on the Floor is not a result of your failure; it’s more about capitalism, or ableism, racism, and other oppressions informing your personal pace more than your self-compassion and self-awareness. Examples might be: attempting to run a marathon having gotten no sleep or food for energy; starting a new relationship after recently having your heart broken and not giving yourself space to heal; or avoiding your need to practice self-love through thoughts, actions, and decision-making.

If and when we are brought to this state of extreme need and vulnerability, we must first understand and trust that this is normal and natural.


It is okay to be on the Floor, catching our breath, looking up at the sky, giving our weight to gravity, and acknowledging that we are held by the ground. The ground has always been there for us, providing varied supports with its minerals, soil, alloys, and general steadiness. From the Floor we can acknowledge how we have (and have always had) whatever we need on a spiritual level. From the ground, we can remember who we are when we are not in competition with ourselves or false notions of meritocracy. From the ground, we may even see that not everything has fallen with us, and this perspective provides keen insight into which material values need replacing, which parts of our structures are sound, and the integrity of the tools we use. It is when we are broken-down or vulnerable that we are made profoundly aware of which parts of ourselves need the most attention and love. If there are parts of ourselves repeatedly denied care (whether it be parts consciously avoided or subconscious pieces never tended to), those things will make themselves known in the most dramatic ways.

I know this dynamic intimately, from my own time as a Floor Person. Fortunately, I was blessed to have Cameron join me there and help with the mental and emotional weight. Because I allowed Cameron to witness me when I was low, he was able to support and love me through the process of my self-defined ascension.

I share this concept and experience with you to demonstrate that the more we embrace what the Floor experience is trying to teach us (and release the stigmas associated with this state of being), the more we can see exactly what we need to keep our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual structures sound. It may not be in the nature or existing skill set of every person to hold onto these moments as sacred healing spaces, but when we are open to them it can do transformative wonders to note and normalize their necessity when they do manifest.

We learn and model that vulnerability is our insight into our deepest needs. We learn and model naming and meeting them effortlessly. We learn and model building, and rebuilding, and rebuilding ourselves and our practices whenever and wherever necessary. We learn and model endless possibility.

So if ever you find yourself in the space of the Floor People, embrace the notion of rebuilding, rewriting, and redrawing, and acknowledge that you already have and have always had what you need to continue creating and developing your existence. Not only can the Floor hold you, and hold you safely while you heal, you don’t have to do it alone.

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