Enduring the American News Cycle as an Empath

ponyofhteapocolypseIt’s been a TOUGH few weeks here. I went from standing at the top of the hill, looking down at a series of massive personal accomplishments, to feeling nothing but hopelessness and despair. Normally my mood is a lot more stable than this but a series of events of in my life made me feel a bit emotionally battered. I was falling, the world around me started to shake with a contentious political atmosphere, and I saw so many others dropping like flies from the stress of it all.

I know a lot of people who suffer chronic illness are empaths, people who feel the emotions of others far stronger than most. After a while it can cause burnout or just kill our immune systems. And the world we’re living in today is not made for empaths! The American News Cycle is THE WORST. They should just call it, How to Slowly Slaughter the Soul of an Empath, and it’s constant and everywhere. I stopped watching news on the TV after 9/11. Witnessing that much devastation and loss of life was too much for me. And for a number of years my mental health improved! I was happier for not watching the news! But today you don’t have to stare at the TV to know what’s going on. It’s everywhere – FaceBook, Twitter, all other forms of social media, around the water cooler. You can’t escape it unless you are lucky enough to live under a rock…. on Mars…

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zooIt all started a couple weeks ago when the #MeToo movement kicked up again in the face of the Kavenaugh nomination. The #MeToo movement was a wave of women, some may say just about all of us, who started to share their stories of sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination. It brought a lot of very important conversations to the table. Suddenly we were all talking about various male dominated fields and how women were often forced into sexual situations just to keep a job or advance in the field. We were talking about the sexualization of teenagers and even children and lamenting how old we all were when we received our first cat calls or creepy sexual comments (hint hint: most of us were between 8-12.) And we were talking about how women everywhere are constantly looking over their shoulder and altering their behavior to avoid being assaulted. We really came together and some progress was made. As hard as it was it seemed picking at this wound was somehow healing.

motherandbabyBut then, seemingly in response to the threat of women actually advancing in society, we were all given the gift that keeps on giving – a supreme court justice that basically is just a drunk handsy asshole at best! Don’t worry though, it’s only a lifetime appointment in the highest court in the land that defines our laws… no biggie. This was a flagrant and disgraceful display of Look-What-I-Can-Do-and-There’s-Nothing-You-Can-Say-About-It! It came out that this walking dickbag was less than a gentlemen in high school and soon we saw ourselves watching like rabid dogs as this train wreck transpired. We watched as a woman who he went to high school with gave brilliant touching testimony about how she was held down by this piece of shit, her mouth covered so she wouldn’t scream, and forcefully undressed. Shock and horror, and a churning sick feeling in the gut of any sexual abuse survivors, made us all believe this would be the end of it, but then Kavenaugh himself had to have a hearing, basically a job interview, before he could be sworn in. He got up there, gave his own testimony while fake crying, victim-blaming, gas-lighting the audience, making up shit, not taking any responsibility for anything, claiming not to know anything, letting everyone know how very much he looooves his beer, and then when he felt cornered enough he just full out raged. If this display were given by a woman she’d be called hysterical and unfit for any government position. Not this guy! Rich and white he actually was accepted, all while his own political party decried how innocent he was, how boys will be boys, how we shouldn’t be judged by shit we did as a teenager or perhaps drunk, before tearing his accuser apart as a liar or for having an unconvincing testimony. She literally went into protected hiding as she was given so many death threats.

forbodingWHOOSH. I fell HARD. I am not a survivor of sexual assault but I am a survivor of mental and emotional abuse and this guy in one fucking hearing showed ALL his cards about what a manipulative prick he really was, and now in such a position of power! Women responded with #WhyIDidntReport telling thousands of stories of vicious rapes and sexual crimes. Shocking statistics rocked even my view of the world – like only 6 in 1000 rape reported to authorities end in a trial and a conviction. Let that sink in. Women also came out in droves and started to tell stories about every day mundane experiences that turned into terrifying nightmares. They fought back to this gas lighting and victim blaming by owning their own histories… and there was SO MUCH. I couldn’t tear myself away from all the trauma they’d endured, story after story… more and more issues coming up… It was like being pulled over shards of branchesglass until my skin was torn from my flesh. I was left numb.

I could feel every woman around me, victims of molestation, rape, and abuse, as they were re-traumatized over and over, as the resistance to sanity pushed back and blamed them. By now I wasn’t sleeping. I was having panic attacks. My chest was hurting sooo bad but that would soon be replaced by anger, pure rage, when it came to other women, notably mostly other white women, who picked up the conservative line. Boys will be boys! Girls should just be more careful! Rage festered in me because even though I am not a parent I know that by saying these things these women are telling their own daughters and grand-daughters that their experiences don’t matter so long as the man involved has something to gain from secrecy. It was just so fucking wrong. I saw so many of us wandering the streets like zombies, vacant expressions in our eyes only coming to life while shaking and screaming about wanting to stab people with forks.

Then this week happened! In ONE WEEK this has been the news:

  • A mob of white fascists (The Proud Boys) went rogue through the streets of NYC beating the shit out of minorities and the police watched and DID NOTHING
  • A transgendered child was left in the hallway of their school when a school shooting drill forced all the other kids into their perspective bathrooms, both of which denied sanctuary for this poor little soul whom I only want to hug in response (oh and stab all those teachers in the eye with a fork. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! You left this kid out TO BE SHOT. It does not matter this was a drill – your message was pretty damn clear.)
  • The hundreds of kids separated from their parents and shoved into child prisons at our border were taken in secrecy to giant tent cities in Texas were some were given away in adoptions to strangers without their parents ever knowing what happened to them. (And in this one sentence I’ve described I don’t know how many violations of basic human rights but what the fuck are we doing?!!? These are refugees, and children!!)
  • Climate change became another enormous issue as scientists decried our eventual suicide from it if we don’t change things now. And on that note it was nice knowing you, I’m sorry my country probably doomed the rest of the world with our greed and ignorance. Really. Truly. Sorry.
  • Trump announced it is now once again legal for private health insurance companies to deny applicants for any “pre-existing condition” meaning that anyone who happens to have had a slight cough at some point in their life, or who may find themselves in ownership of a womb, can be legally denied coverage and left to die or plunge into terrible medical debt.
  • Voter registration purges were allowed in several states mysteriously effecting minorities the most by trashing their registrations and denying their votes for a series of tiny made-up technicalities.
  • Hundreds of polling stations were closed in minority communities to make it harder for the remaining to vote.
  • Identification laws started targeting even more minorities – this time disqualifying up to 50% of Native Americans living on reservations (who do not have typical postal addresses)

chucksAnd it goes ON AND ON AND ON. Somehow in the United States we’re being run by a government utterly infested with narcissists, psychopaths, the empathetically retarded, the sadistic and cruel. As all this happens murmurs about our increasingly divided country belies fears of an upcoming civil war.

And here I am. Home. Powerless. All I can do is cast a single vote and hope for the best or offer a hug to those who need it. I’m EXHAUSTED, I’m dizzy, I’m burned out. I have nothing left to give. I daydream of a future where the old don’t allow self interest to fuck over younger generations, were people of all persuasions are treated with dignity and respect, where this dog-eat-dog world makes way for a kinder gentler place where we all take care of each other. I realize that only miserable people seek to shit on those they think are inferior to them – it makes them feel better to know they’re better than someone else. We need to put these dysfunctional people back in their place and reclaim a civilized society! But how? Everything’s such a mess… and so many of us are so tired…

featherSo now I am trying to turn off the social media. Trying to get back in touch with the good things in life. I’m reading books, taking baths, learning French, indulging in my art and hobbies, and telling everyone I come across how much I love them. It’s been difficult but I’ve weathered this storm pretty well. My advice to other empaths? Take care of yourself! Make time to enjoy silence, make time to connect with others, take time to recognize the beauty in life, take time to just breathe and be you, and if you have a partner hug them tighter and love them harder.

Hugs.

 

**All photos taken by myself, Theophanes Avery**

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What They Don’t Tell You About Oral Contraceptives

When I was twelve years old I was welcomed into womanhood with a bloodbath. This was considered “normal” in my family. My great-grandmother, grandmother, aunt, and mother, all had hysterectomies before they hit menopause. A second aunt died before menopause so we’ll never know what would have happened there. So when my time came my mother gave me a sack full of the thickest pads on the planet and wished me luck. It was almost immediately a problem. I’d bleed at random, with no predictability what-so-ever, and in gushing torrents of blood. I would bleed through my underwear and pants and onto the chair I was sitting on before I even knew what was going on! I wore layers to school every day so that if this happened I could take off my outer shirt and tie it around my waist to hide my crimson tide. This I did frequently.

cautionMy mother brought me to the doctor, a male doctor, who looked at me in the same way he might look upon a three year old and said, “Oh well, you’re young! You’ll grow out of having bad periods.” I SHIT YOU NOT. He told me I’d GROW OUT OF MY PERIODS. But who wants to sit around waiting for menopause when they can’t even legally drive a car yet?!

halfsizeFrom here I was trundled off to a gynecologist at the age of 14. Her answer was not to poke and prod and figure out what my actual problem was but instead give me that golden pill, you know the one that solves every female problem, the one they simply call The Pill, like it’s some sort of goddess in its own right. Being fourteen, and also a partnerless virgin, I can’t say I was really great at taking THE PILL. In consequence my angry ovaries became even angrier and wheeeew! Wasn’t it fun having a period for four months straight?! See, that’s what happens when you kinda sorta take the pill. In time I’d learn my body was insanely sensitive to it. I had to take it at exactly the same time every day. If I were more than an hour off I’d have to face the wrath of an unwanted womanhood.

ponyofhteapocolypseIt wasn’t just this. I lived through every side effect there was! Well, except for blood clots and death, but you know, can’t have it all… I went from having a period once in a while to having a blood flow once a month and cramps all the fucking time whether I was bleeding or not! And there were mood swings, weight gain, bloating, insomnia, and whatever else the Fairy of Irregular Menstruation felt like giving me on a day to day basis. My gynecologist claimed this was because we hadn’t found the right pill yet… and this started years and years worth of pill swapping from one month to the next, which only resulted in the swapping of one side effect for another. This went on for most of my adult life because eventually I entered that phase of life most of us enter… where we find ourselves fucking… and well, I didn’t want a baby and sure as hell didn’t trust anyone else to insure this didn’t happen, not in our patriarchal world!

P1010153So two years ago, when I found myself single again, I decided I’d had it and flushed the rest of my pills. A strange thing happened. I became healthier. My periods weren’t 100% predictable but they were a hell of a lot closer than they had been in the past and although I still bled like I was being tortured this only lasted for two days before I’d be allowed to bleed lightly for the remainder. I lost weight. I stopped having mood swings. I slept better. Even things I never thought about got better – like constipation. It disappeared! And worse still, at the age of thirty-one I discovered I had a libido. My entire life I thought I was asexual because I never really felt like fucking anyone… This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy a good romp, but it was like going to Paris. I can really love visiting but I feel no burning desire to go back. Now I had a sex drive I felt like a teenager for the first time in my life! And since I was without a partner I just about went out of my fucking mind. It was cruel, really cruel, to suddenly learn in my thirties I’d been chemically shackled all this time.

2010-12-3123_00_00-390I will not be going back on birth control. Sadly in addition to losing all faith in The Pill I’ve also lost all faith in gynecologists, which despite going to four different ones, never once decided to test me for any underlying possible problems or give me any other alternatives. This needs to change. The Pill isn’t fucking magic. It has so many side effects that when men were tested with their own version, despite having only a third of the side effects women reported, they said they’d never take it because it had too many side effects! If it’s not good enough for a whiny-ass man I’m sure as shit not going to put up with it. Why should I?! Just because I have tits and a twat doesn’t make it OK to force me to endure pointless pain and misery! SERIOUSLY. What. The. Fuck.

DSC_0258There are a lot of options out there to prevent pregnancy. There seems to be almost nothing to deal with ovaries that seemingly want to kill the body they reside in. When is this going to change?! Because right now I am living with no help for my female problems and that’s still a better option for me than going back on The Pill!

DSC_0990I guess that’s the point of this whole tirade. Ladies, if The Pill works for you good for you! But if it doesn’t, please don’t feel obligated by your gynecologist, doctor, partner, or society, to stay on something that’s making you suffer. Stand up for yourself and do what’s right for you. And join me in demanding more options!!

 

**All photos taken by myself of random sights within my life**

Applying Positive Thinking to Help Cure Hoarding

DSC_0712It’s been a while since I updated any of my blogs, mostly because I have been busy trying to make my life manageable. For those of you following along you probably realize I am living with a hoarder and that this is only because I have no other real options right now. With that being said it’s not all bad! In the past month, two years since my life fell the fuck apart, I reclaimed a great deal of sanity by cleaning up almost the entirety of my living space – that means I now have a functional bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. A second bedroom, a breezeway, and the back yard remain to be hauled out but I am taking a well deserved break before hitting those!

DSC_0780If you have chronic illness you’ll understand just what a disaster clutter is. Everything has to be super easy in order to keep on top of things and when they’re not… well, you’re easily defeated as everything spirals out of control around you. I have been overjoyed recently at the simplest things! Like being able to keep up with the dishes because I can get to the sink. Things that should never have been a problem.

DSC_0923As I clean I am also repairing the house and fixing things that were never finished. For one I grouted the kitchen floor which was hoarding dirt and completely unable to be kept clean until I did so. This has cut down my general sweeping and vacuuming time a TON. Next I will add handles to the cabinets and drawers so I can have ease of access to their contents! But first I will likely finish putting tiles down in the bathroom so that I can shower, step out onto a clean floor, and make my way to the bedroom, without the need to immediately put slippers on my feet.

DSC_0828I must admit moving back here I felt completely defeated. Having lived here before and knowing what a contentious issue hoarding is I knew that no amount of fighting or pointing it out would ever fix it. So I have decided to apply my positive thinking on this issue too. I bull dogged through my own area, was cut-throat about what I’d let stay down here (hint hint, only my things) and got it done. Now it’s MANAGEABLE. Now I don’t spend all day cleaning and all night stressing about what else needs to be done! I am actually able to relax a little!! I haven’t been able to do that in years!! And the positive attitude is actually working! It’s leading by example and now I can show how much better life is without all the excess clutter my hoarder is actually throwing shit out on her own. No bitching, no fighting, no nothing! And things are improving!

DSC_0945This summer I didn’t get out much and I thought it was a bit of a waste but really it’s not at all. Not if spending my summer making my life sane was the price. Now I can come home and actually be happy to be home and travel because I want to, not because I am trying to escape my own living situation. This has been a huge relief. With the lessening of stress levels I’m more energetic! In fact my mind races in 300 directions at once all the time! Sadly my body has not caught up and may never so I am still subject to crashes and pain, but at least the positive attitude helps me get through those days a lot better than I used to.

 

***As usual all photos in this entry were taken by myself of other beautiful things in my life that calm and soothe me.

 

Moving Back in with a Hoarder – the Consequences and Eventual Peace

I haven’t updated this blog in a long time even though I have had more to write about than ever before. It’s been over a year now since moving back home and in with my mother, a hoarder. Things have improved vastly but progress is always slower than I’d like. Upon moving in here I started sleeping on the floor, in a room literally filled to the ceiling with stuff, not even a space to walk (I could just flop onto the bed from the doorway.) Those were dark times. I was still pumped with adrenaline and probably pickled in an assortment of other stress hormones that kept me going. My first inclination was not to clean the mess up but to escape – so I did. Whenever my health allowed, usually every three days or so, I simply got into my car and drove into the wild blue yonder. It was amazing. I discovered all sorts of mind boggling places, I started a wonderful travel blog, I found peace within my churning soul, and I learned so much. But then I’d eventually have to come home, and stay home, as I endured one health/body crash after another. The longer I lived here the more defeated I felt, the worse my health became. It was a snake eating its own tail and I had no solution, no out.

Sure, I cleaned what I could and did my best to work this out. It took me four months to even get far enough to get a real fucking bed but with every little improvement I had reason to claw further. Eventually I would be able to haul out the kitchen, the bathroom, and one bedroom. Still, everything was fucking nasty all the goddamn time. I could not keep this place even remotely clean. Since the kitchen floor was never grouted dirt collected in the cracks between the tiles and then spread everywhere whenever you walked over it. No amount of sweeping helped and I couldn’t mop unless I just wanted to create mud instead of dirt. My mother’s precious little dogs would occasionally break in down here and shit and piss wherever their paws landed rather than getting wet in the rain. I hate those dogs.

Because I had such a hard time reaching the sink the dishes were only washed once a week and flies began to build up. It seemed with every problem I solved a new one formed. Long gone were the days of running around barefoot, sleeping naked, actually staying clean after a shower, relaxing, or having any semblance of normalcy. Eventually I just fucking gave up. I was licked, defeated, and just so done. Even when new messes I could clean up arose, like spilling a bottle of ranch dressing in the fridge, I didn’t care enough to fix it. Not like I’d ever have anyone come over here. I resigned myself to being that person who has no social life because I live in squalor and don’t want any more headaches. Did I want to live like this? FUCK NO I DIDN’T. But sometimes you’re given circumstances you can do little about and that’s just life.

DSC_0988Then I left… for almost a month… and lived somewhere very clean, organized, without any clutter, or dirt, or flies. I took baths, I sunbathed, I traveled, I got myself back together, and when I returned home I did so with the renewed energy I needed to get shit done. I attacked my living space again. I hauled out the kitchen so I could reach every bit of the floor in preparation of grouting. I needed a floor I could fucking mop. I washed all the dishes, and kept them washed, I locked out the dogs, and started cleaning my bunnies and the cat box every three days while also putting up a ton of fly strips. I tore the fridge apart and scrubbed every last inch of it. I swept and swept and swept and vacuumed until I had gotten rid of half a yard worth of dirt. I attacked the bathroom with a steam cleaner and washed all the encrusted fly poop down the drain. Things started to improve again and I mean really improve, like this place looks like its suitable for people to live in again. Is it ready for visitors? Not yet, I still have a long way to go, but at least now I don’t think it’s bad enough to condemn anymore. That’s progress!

And as the flies die off and I grout the floor sanity starts to return. What changed? Well, if you’ve read this or any of my other blogs you know I have been busy trying to make a life for myself, trying to get a career going, and trying to obtain financial independence, which is nearly impossible for someone with as many health issues I have, but it’s going! Most of this was me frantically trying to chew my way out of this hellhole but eventually reality hit me. I am very likely going to be here a veeeery long time. It wouldn’t surprise me if I am here as I hit middle age. I stopped trying to escape. I stopped mourning the life I thought I deserved. I refocused on trying to fix my surroundings to be bearable, functional, and as inviting as possible. After I get done cleaning I will also be adding some fucking color to this beige limbo.

DSC_0159A peace like I have never known has settled over me. For the first time in my nearly thirty-three years of existence I don’t feel anxious. My sternum isn’t shooting sharp pains, I’m not burping up stomach acid every five minutes, my hair is growing back! And with this calm, this knowledge that I am doing what I can and there’s no point in pushing myself past my limits, I am once again firmly within the belief that all this has some deeper purpose and reason. I’m here because I need to be here. I’ve grown so much over the past two years that I have people in their retirement years telling me they didn’t learn enough life lessons to live as confidently as I do until their lives were almost completely lived.

Lessons I have learned:

  1. Don’t take shit from anyone. You’re good enough not to need any BS. If you know how something should be done in your life do NOT let anyone else talk you into anything else!
  2. Demand respect, don’t ask, demand.
  3. Take care of yourself first and foremost or else you’re going to burn the fuck out.
  4. Always have an escape plan and a financial cushion. Never depend on anyone.
  5. Be yourself always. If people can’t handle that then they aren’t worthy of being in your life anyway. Keep those that do accept you close. They’ve earned it.
  6. Never stop fighting.
  7. Be positive whenever you can. The happier you are the harder it’ll be for anything to rain on your parade. No one can take away your joy unless you let them.
  8. Be kind. Karma rewards kindness in the most beautiful ways.
  9. Always strive for your goals but also accept where you are in life. Life is not always what you expect it to be and that’s OK.
  10. Never let your mind or body become stagnant. Be involved. Participate. Surround yourself with other positive people, places, and influences.

And so that’s where I am now… deep cleaning instead of travel blogging. Will I return to travel blogging? Of course, I still really love it! But I am not going to beat myself up for not doing more faster. That’s insanity. And with this new calm I hope to inspire it in others and draw people who are at the same level of chill to come and sit down for a chat. Life isn’t perfect but when you take the time to appreciate the little things it’s not so bad either.

With my living space returning to functionality I find myself creating at a pace I haven’t done since I was in my late teens. I’m writing, I’m reading, I’m sculpting, I’m sewing my own bizarre fashion of clothes, I’m even bartering my skills for things I need and gifting people truly inspired pieces I am actually proud of for once. A sense of playfulness and whimsy has crept into every iota of my being and I can’t help but smile. Sure, whatever I do from here on out will still have the goal of making a few bucks so I can earn my way out of here, but more importantly I’m doing it because it makes me happy and I know I won’t regret trying. All my work, be it writing, sculpting, or otherwise has gained so much from this new relaxed mindset. Pride and joy fill every detail. Yep, I’m good. Are you?

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Learning to Balance Intellectual Intensity with my Flakey Health

This summer has been pretty slow going for me. It seems every time I wander out I end up coming home and paying for it for up to three days afterwards with a migraine or the usual stomach complaints. For me it’s been hard to figure out if this is due to the fact I am living in a house that’s killing me, or if it’s my mood making little crashes into bigger ones. Quite frankly I have grown mentally and physically fatigued from having to deal with the aforementioned house even though it is now almost to the point I can say it looks halfway decent. It’s taken me over a year but I have de-hoarded and deep cleaned most of it – all that’s left is the bathroom and the extra room I plan to set my sewing machines up in. From there I honestly I have to focus on fixing things up and making it my own – so it’s not all as bad as I make it seem. I just needed a break.

sepiaSo I am up in Maine for a couple weeks hoping to reset myself. I have decided that next winter I shall make arrangements to be here in the darkest time of the year for me – after the holidays when my various ailments usually keep me in the house except for one excursion to the grocery store or Wal-Mart once every 1-3 weeks. I’m hoping by allowing myself to be isolated somewhere else I won’t fall as hard. Perhaps I can even use it to my advantage and use it as a writer’s retreat. Maybe actually finish one of these books I am working on rather than just saying I am going to. Or work on my sculpting! Or just fucking sleep it off. It’s all a good plan.

retrodoorI have noticed that balance is a very hard thing to maintain. Whenever my physical health fails my mental health suffers because of the isolation and then my physical health gets even worse because of that. Lately I have been pushing myself to be more outgoing and social as I seem to have retreated back into my former super introverted self – but this is not good for me and I know it. I need people around no matter how much I pretend I don’t. But they have to be the right people. I no longer have any tolerance whatsoever for drama or self-imposed misery of any sort. Those people suck the life out of me.

DSC_0033I find myself craving and needing more and more these days. As I return to reading, something I haven’t done in years, my brain whirls, a bottomless pit just sucking in every story like a sponge. I am loving watching documentaries, another past time I had long forgotten, and the outside intellectual stimulation that keeps me going has gotten pretty intense. I need to go places I have never been, learn something new every day, and the new people I find… well, they’re often as intense as I am, something that apparently is causing alarm in my family. My desire to fill my life with other creative, intense, intelligent individuals has made my mother lament, “This is how you get in trouble. Your taste in men! You always like the ones who are a little extreme!” As usual she had a hard time figuring out the right words for her sentiment, I cleaned up the idea of it. I told her people could easily say the same of me and illustrated to her all I have done in the past year despite vast challenges to do so. She grew quiet. I think everyone was hoping I would find some super relaxed gent to settle down with but… I get bored too easily. I can’t see myself ever being satisfied with that sort of life for long. I need creative outbursts, goals to achieve, new things to stimulate my never ending mind. What I don’t need is drama. However I do not see these two things as being two opposing ideas. Surely there is such a thing as a purposeful driven life without any ongoing drama or toxicity.

DSC_0016The conversation got me thinking. First it sort of made me laugh because I have kept my taste in men very much hidden from my mother in particular since…. well birth. I have my reasons (she’s a worrier.) Though it did make me wonder. Years ago I always seemed to form crushes on a very specific kind of individual – depressive ones. I purposely did not pursue any, knowing this is not socially a great trait to find attractive, but then as I thought about it longer I realized it wasn’t the depression I found so alluring, it was the cause of the depression – I adored individuals who saw the injustices of the world and broke a little inside. But you know what that is? Empathy. It was the empathy I was attracted to. And that’s not a bad thing by any means!

birdSo here I sit, trying to get everything just right, working on at least a dozen different projects, hoping someday maybe I will find a little peace. With that being said I am pretty happy as I write this, content to continue my journey, excited to see what may be around the corner. As usual I have decorated this little blog entry with photos I have taken as of late. Photography has been…. oddly healing to me in the past few days.

A Slow Start is Still a Start!

dandelion1Well, I’ll be honest, this spring I was slow to get started. My body took way longer to recover from this winter than it has in previous years, probably because I am back living in the Love Canal house, which I think started my various ailments to begin with… but I am doing the best I can.

rootsIt was both a mental and physical struggle as I spotted the yard and the horrible condition it was in. Trash everywhere, things needing to be fixed, my mother’s hoarding habits spilling out into the open air. This place had become just one massive dump, like the houses you see in the boonies of Maine. Just looking at it made me want to immediately give up, but I planted my garden anyway, only to have it eaten a week later by chipmunks. It took me a while to work up the mental energy to change how I was looking at everything. I can and will clean it all up, in small chunks, as energy allows, and I will reward my own effort by building an outdoor pen for my bunnies and buying myself some more veggie plants! My buns will LOVE their new outdoor enclosure and I’ll love seeing them play in it! It’s a win win! Sometimes all it takes to feel good about yourself is spoiling your pets or loved ones and seeing them truly relish in it.

rocktreeI was getting super anxious because I wanted to  get so much done but I just couldn’t. I’d get up, have a flurry of activity, and then be too tired to function in three hours. Nap. Repeat. I wanted to resume my traveling, my photography, my gardening, and just basically getting involved with life again. I was starting to get a bit lonely, and a bit depressed, but then these past three or four days have been awesome and have completely restored my peace of mind!

lookingupI finally got up enough energy and the funds to drive three hours into the middle of nowhere to see some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen at the Flume Gorge, where the photos from this blog entry were taken. I took all sorts of photos for Catching Marbles and enjoyed a really awesome afternoon with my mother. Everyone seemed so happy that day. Even the women at the ticket booth had ear to ear grins and were laughing. I keep forgetting I have bright fucking orange hair and that’s probably what they were reacting to. I always smile in return and it puts people at great ease. A great ice breaker for someone as socially awkward as myself. After I came home my mother showed me a photo she’d taken of me taking my own pictures and I couldn’t help but look at it and wonder who that person was…. so confident and self assured, so passionate, so intense. I never used to be those things, at least not in public! I knew in my heart if I could see this, so too could others, and at some point the stars will align and I will begin to form new stronger friendships and relationships with the people I meet when I am out and about.

portrait

It was another three hour drive home and when I got there I was two  hours past the point of being tired and wanting to be home. It was quite a hike in addition to the driving, two miles, much of it up stairs and hills, and I was EXHAUSTED. I wanted to go immediately to sleep but again my anxiety kept me up. It likes to keep me up, as well as wake me up to nightmares, and keep me up after that. The only thing that calms it is knowing I am doing enough in my life… and I was getting there but not quite.

pemigewasset riverI spent the entire next day sleeping. I had NO ENERGY for anything. It was like having the flu. And I was sooooore! It was a completely unproductive day which only ticked off my anxiety issues more. Sitting there thinking, “I should have set up at the Farmer’s Market today…” and knowing I wouldn’t have been able to while still keeping my eyes open! Take it from experience no one buys shit from vendors they think are passing out into a heroin induced stupor (which is what I’d probably look like with my grave yard tan and drooping eyelids!) Even so my mother came back home with the contact information of a farm here in town that’s doing what I want to eventually do – it’s an educational community based farming operation. I made plans to go over next week and talk to them, to see if I could maybe volunteer, and write up a blog entry for Tales from the Birdello. And just like that I felt involved again.

pathToday was still lacking in energy but had enough to go to Wal-Mart for a few minutes and build up even more energy to go to an Arlo Guthrie concert. That was amazing! The crowd was wonderful, almost entirely old hippies, some of them telling stories about living in a commune. I felt SO at ease! And joyous! And calm! The vibes of this place were more than enough for me to get a bit of a contact high. I was so chill! And of course all the songs start coming up, I know all of the old ones, his own and covers of other great singers and songwriters like Pete Seager, Donovan, Bob Dylan, and Leadbelly. I was loving it. During intermission I chatted with the lovely silver haired woman sitting next to me. She loved my orange hair and wondered if someone as young as me could possibly be enjoying this. I told her I had a record player and grew up with these songs too and it was true. After intermission I got to see Alice’s Restaurant performed live and I was over the moon to hear that! I sang along and smiled. Then his daughter sang a version of Phil Och’s When I’m Gone and I was reduced to tears. Something about Phil Ochs always gets me… and to hear a song he more or less left as a suicide note was a bit much. But it was beautiful and strangely life affirming. I can’t believe I was sitting there, crying, in public. I have never been that in touch of my emotions or that willing to express them. It was actually really nice! The concert was finished with Woody Guthrie’s My Peace which put into words exactly how I have been feeling:

losthat“My peace my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you
My peace is all I ever had that’s all I ever knew
I give my peace to green and black and red and white and blue
My peace my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you

My peace, my peace is all I’ve got and all I’ve ever known
My peace is worth a thousand times more than anything I own
I pass my peace around and about ‘cross hands of every hue;
I guess my peace is justa ‘bout all I’ve got to give to you”

featherYes, I am on the right track. I am doing exactly what I was meant to do and am exactly where I am meant to be. I will find my tribe and fulfill my purpose no matter what struggles may come. I just have to keep working hard and be patient and understanding with myself.

 

 

And hey, if any of you out there want a good cry here’s Phil Och’s singing When I’m Gone.

Finding Peace within the Chaos – My First Baby Steps Back into Homesteading

DSC_0084Ah! I cannot tell you how good it feels to have crisp fresh spring air in my lungs, sweat on my brow, and dirt under my fingernails! Gardening has brought me a blissful state of zen in an otherwise chaotic environment. In my last entry I was lamenting how much I missed my farm and being able to raise livestock. I will always miss this, until I find a way out of here, and onto my own little slice of heaven, but in the meanwhile my mental state has improved greatly. Here’s what happened:

DSC_0206About a week ago the snow here FINALLY melted the rest of the way and I made my way back out into the yard to check it out. I wanted to set up some new spaces for an expanded garden this year. What I found was a real horror show. My mother’s hoarding had grown out of control in the years I didn’t live here. She has no less than three sheds FILLED to the brim with random stuff taking up about a third of the yard out back. But even that didn’t prepare me for the stuff everywhere else! I’ll admit, I was part of the problem. When I moved in nothing was functional. I started with a mattress on the floor, the only space I could find, and didn’t have anything to collect trash or recyclables in or anything else. So a lot of the mess was me trying to cope with that as more problems built up. The breezeway and all around it were just covered in trash, which I had nowhere else to put at that time. Remnants of last years gardening was also scattered about because I didn’t have the energy last fall to deal with it all. And then there were things like  pieces of chicken wire laying about, the grass having grown through it, making everything even more challenging. Looking at it all I very quickly became overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was pick up the front yard to make it nice (because some of this mess had made its way out there) and make the back yard functional enough to have a garden. I went back inside and slept on the problem until I could deal with it.

DSC_0306Now spring is here I finally am starting to see some energy spikes that I can actually use to be productive. They’re small bursts and I can only do a little bit before having to take a long break but I have a determination I never knew I had. I started picking up. I hauled out the breezeway, I cleaned in front of it, I threw as much as I could in the dumpster, I threw all the recyclables in the car to be taken to the recycling station, and took all the soiled rabbit bedding I had saved during the winter and spread it over some newly cleaned spots for my garden. Bunny poop is wonderful in the fact it doesn’t have to be aged like more traditional cow manure (which you can buy.) It can be spread and plants grown under it all at the same time. Cow manure would burn plants to death if not aged a good six months.

DSC_0097I started to remove the vegetation in a bunch of different little areas prepping it for a larger and more serious garden this year. It took me a long while of getting up, working until I got tired, which wasn’t long at all, taking a break, and repeating, but I managed! And then I took all the seedlings I’d grown on my windowsill and I delicately plopped them into the soil.

DSC_0266Things are starting to really improve. I still have a lot of cleaning to do before the back yard looks decent again, but I have learned how to not look at the whole disaster and just pick one small workable corner to do at a time. In this way I don’t feel overwhelmed. If anything I feel accomplished and encouraged. It’s true I will never be able to have a farm here like I did at the other place. I will never be able to build fences and raise livestock, have people over all the time, or start a business which requires visitors. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do other homesteading things… so I focus on the garden, I begin to do a little landscaping, I start to learn about collecting wild mushrooms on my adventures into the woods, and I continue to find building projects that will teach me new skills and provide better function. I wish to build an enclosure outside for the rabbits as well as build a few pieces of furniture for the inside of the house including a pallet couch and a cabinet for my bathroom. Things are improving! I just have to be patient in my own slow pace and be content that things are getting better, even if it is a lot slower than I’d like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the meanwhile I am almost to the point I can pick up my traveling again. I am super excited to get back to Catching Marbles, my travel blog. I have thrown myself back into my writing, something I haven’t really done, not like this anyway, and I am started to  be rewarded with higher traffic, the occasional meaningful comment. I feel like the things I write are doing good in the world much like what I was doing on the farm before. If I can spread joy, encouragement, hope, or even a good belly laugh, then my life is not purposeless as I sometimes believe.

DSC_0328I have also learned that indulging in my photography has a very grounding effect. I bring my camera with me everywhere – on my little hikes, on any little ventures out of the house, even out into the back yard as I garden! The reason is simple – it forces my mind to acknowledge the beauty that surrounds me everyday both great and small. It also incites curiosity and wonder as I do simple and weird things like play with a spoonful of fluff! And lastly it connects me to others by giving something bright and beautiful to look at in all my writing pieces.

dsc_0286I don’t know where I am going to end up, or what I will be doing to find the financial security I could so use, but I am filled with optimism and hope. As I watch my little plants grow so too does my heart. I have to believe this inner joy shines so bright that someday the universe will reward me. In the meanwhile…. baby steps.

Spring, Spirituality, and Sexuality with Chronic Illness

BernieandGirlsolivereyeSince I lost the farm spring has become the hardest season for me to endure. I get to sit back and watch as all my friends and peers buy their chicks for the season, prepare their gardens, and make plans to expand their own little homesteads, and I ache to be part of it all again. It’s in my veins now and will never get out. I had so much going for me when I had a farm. I actually had a purpose, a function, a standing within an actual community, and I loved it. Mentally and emotionally I just thrived on the whole thing. Now I am stuck somewhere I can’t have livestock of any kind and it kills me to have nothing to expand or improve upon either. I mean I grew about one hundred fifty vegetable plants for my garden this year but the garden is… laughable. There’s not much anything but sand here and I don’t have the money to invest in artificially mending the soil, definitely don’t have the resources to replenish it like I did at the old place (with so much manure and compost!) I will do the best I can and it will bring me some joy but my need to be more enmeshed with nature is deep seated and spiritual. Working on a farm gave me such an inner peace.

bramblesNow when my body allows I escape into the woods and for those few hours I am finally at home. I sit on the rocks, listens to the birds, breathe in the fresh air, take photos with my camera, and just enjoy everything around me. For a moment I feel connected again. For a moment I am at absolute peace. But then I have to leave, return to reality, and I become morose.

meltingsnowI didn’t expect this winter to crush me physically as badly as it did. I was capable of almost nothing for months at a stretch and I went completely bonkers. Now my energy is returning to me my body is still kicking my ass and haunting my every step. The second I do too much (which isn’t much to begin with) I am visited with pains and fatigue that I don’t think most people can even imagine. I thought spring would give me respite but so far… I am still struggling, though I have made progress in my emotional state. Anxiety rarely drowns me anymore. A lack of toxic people and situations have allowed me to reflect upon my life and I have learned a great deal. But having come out of this monastic phase I feel it’s time to move on. My body seems to think so. I have the raging libido of a teenager, something I didn’t even have as a teenager! So something must be working in this weak shell of mine.

coralskeletonAnd this brings me to sexuality. It’s rarely spoken about in the chronic illness community but I think it needs to be because those of us with problems are still fully functional human beings with the same needs and desires as anyone else. I think the world at large sees us largely as asexual creatures, just existing on our own, and often we are. I was for the first twenty-five years of my life but now? Not so much. I equate sexuality with spirituality. It’s connecting to another individual, another soul, in an act of creation that binds us all to a much larger picture – call it the Universe, the energy that bonds us all, our creator, or God, I don’t care. It’s all connected. We’re all connected through this energy. For me, it’s like a prayer. But I’m a crazy Pagan with very old world views.

aliengooMy point is, having any sexuality what-so-ever when you’re chronically ill is… often impossible. I find myself alone, a precarious position to be in, living with my parents in their nasty hoarded up basement. Even if I met someone perfect for me I’d rather die than bring them back here. And even if it was a sweet little home I have severe issues sharing my private life with my fucking parents. I’m in my thirties now, I shouldn’t have to. But whoever ends up here… will be known. I feel like I have one option – find someone goddamn perfect and settle down. What if that’s not what I want?! Christ, the amount of drama it’d cause if I started having flings, or fuck buddies, or polyamorous lovers! I find the lack of privacy often too much to bear and I don’t bother. I haven’t signed up for any dating apps – don’t really have any desire to court the local serial killers. Another thing people with disabilities rarely talk about – how their lives are rarely wholly their own.

WIP2This brings me to a whole other issue – it is hard to meet anyone when you spend so much time at home. Trust me, if my body would cooperate, I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I’d be working a job somewhere and living in my own place doing whatever I pleased. I’d also be out traveling, indulging in my hobbies and joys, and would be more likely to meet other people along the way. You know, “Get yourself out there!” Not relying on the mercy of godawful blind dates.

zipperI think all this comes full circle in how disconnected and isolated one can feel when they have chronic illness as a constant obstacle. Suicide rates are phenomenally high in people who have had chronic illness for more than five or ten years and this is why. We’re strong people but we’re still people and we still need the same things everyone needs to thrive – connectivity! Be it with our lovers, our community, our family, or preferably all these things.

I know my entries are usually very positive but I’m just at a loss these days. I don’t quite know where to go from here but I continue to work on everything I was working on before and hoping and praying that something pans out. I have no solutions so I just keep going… hoping maybe to start a dialogue as I go.

**All black and white photos have been taken by me in the past month or so – some of my art, some of nature, some of animals, some of random fun textures. The colored photo at the top is a memory of days gone by – some of my Dorking chickens from the farm that was.**

feraltom

Spring is Coming!

DSC_0057 (2)Spring must be coming because today I woke up feeling fantastic. I haven’t felt this good for months. It’s been a looooong hard winter for me. Every year, around September, things start getting a little harder for me to do. I get a little slower, a little more tired, a little harder to keep up and do everything I want to do. What follows is three months with three major holidays that I scramble to get everything done for (and yes, if you saw how I celebrate Halloween you’d consider it a major holiday too!) By January I am usually toast and fall into a winter torpor that consists mostly of sleeping and ignoring increasing aches and pains. This gets worse as the months go by. For years I had physicians tell me this was clinical depression and like a fucking idiot I beat myself up and believed them. This year I realize it has nothing to do with depression. I still wake up every day excited and eager to see what it can give me. That is not depression. Still, even though I may wake up perky, this usually only lasts an hour or so and after four hours I am usually having such a hard time cognitively functioning I am back to sleep. This schedule is hell if you want to get anything done..

DSC_0046 (2)These past couple months I have made exceedingly few trips out of the house, mostly to the grocery store, and each time it has set me back days. One day I decided to help a friend and that resulted in me being up for 48 hours or so. I haven’t done that since I was in my early twenties and I got sooooo sick. I was dizzy and would have been puking if I had anything in my stomach but I had long since stopped being able to eat. It took me a week and a half to recover from the hangover that ensued afterwards. I’ve been out a few more times, sleeping over wherever I was going because the idea of driving home on the same day was too much.

DSC_0127The worst part of all this is I am a Type A personality and want to keep achieving things every day. I made a ton of plans this winter. Very few have come to fruition as I just did not have the energy… but the few that I did have been monumental in allowing me to start having a somewhat normal life again.

19577213_10211815044105866_8705962669530691471_oFor one I managed to get myself my own room again – which has an actual mattress, up off the floor, and a working space to do my art. This is HUGE. When I moved back in with my mother I slept on the couch or the floor of a room so filled with her hoarded up shit it was literally to the ceiling. I had a small walking isle to get to the bed and that was it. I moved into a different bedroom but it had to be 100% hauled out first and cleaned because she had kept her pet cage birds in there and it was so dusty I couldn’t enter it without getting a massive migraine every time. Relying on others to do something for me has never been easy for me. Mostly because I almost never ask for help and when I do I rarely receive it in any meaningful way. You learn self sufficiency to the extreme in this way but it’s not always possible in these situations… And this process took about eight months which would have tested anyone’s patience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was so happy with having my own room and bed I splurged some of my very meager earnings on two super fluffy blankets and another body pillow. It is so soft and warm and I can spread out like I am making a snow angel! It’s awesome! And the second body pillow has made my bed into a couch-like set up if I chose it to be. Finally I am comfortable and can RELAX in my own environment and sleep at ease. It’s been a looong time coming…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom here I have gotten up for fifteen minutes at a time to sort some of my own belongings, most of which are still in boxes and storage and scattered everywhere. I had to wash all my clothes again as they got too dusty for me to handle and I now have a wardrobe set up for their proper storage and ease of use like a normal person. My art supplies are mostly in a closet in my bedroom, I have almost everything sorted there for easy access and use. Now I have to go through my kitchen whose cupboards were used as temporary holding places for literally everything I owned when I moved back in. It’s time to haul that out and leave only kitchen things in there. Then I can start cooking for myself again! No more frozen pizzas and Ramon!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFINALLY I am almost able to keep up with normal ordinary tasks in this place without it piling up and getting overwhelming. Now I can actually have people over and only be embarrassed about the fact everything’s falling apart and not because it’s too filthy or cluttered for human beings to live here. This is only going to do good things for my social life as well as my artistic and writing life.  I can finally relax, breathe a sigh of relief, and enjoy being here. My mother would like to see me making this space my own with decorations and whatnot but after I get done making everything efficient I have many months of work repairing everything that’s broken before I can do that. As it stands one linoleum floor has been ruined by flooding and needs to be pulled up, the rest of the linoleum floors were put in so shittily that they now have one inch gaps between boards and I will eventually be ripping those up as well and likely replacing it all with tile – easy-to-fucking-clean, hard-to-kill tile! The door handle on the bathroom busted off, as did the knob in the shower, obviously that needs to be fixed. The drop down ceiling is… well dropping down. The grids have succumbed to gravity and many of the foam panels are fallen out or missing. The ones that remain are soaked in a shit ton of dust and mouse pee (from an infestation I dealt with after moving in.) They need to be trashed just to give my sinuses a fucking break. A drawer in the kitchen no longer functions – actually it never did if I am to be honest. The kitchen tile needs grouting still – four years after being put down – and the bathroom also needs tiles put down and furniture built for it. I don’t actually have the money to fix these things… so I will likely just live with a lot of it. Granted a new paint job could really liven the place up and I sort of look forward to that. Fuck normal unoffensive colors – I’m going all out metallic on this place!

22519542_10212712003289285_3275204858516634061_nBut back to the present! The other things I accomplished this winter were migrating two blogs – my travel blog Catching Marbles (where all my photos are from today), and my homesteading blog Tales from the Birdello. I did this by myself without any help and it took me months because everything that could have gone wrong did and I had absolutely no technical training. Still the move allowed me to put AdSense up on them and I am now the proud new owner of two shiny pennies! I know, doesn’t seem worth it, but I am hoping in the future it’ll earn more than a penny a week… I also added Donate buttons in case anyone enjoys my stories enough to give me gas money to keep on adventuring in the warmer months. Now I am focusing on a third big website which instead of migrating I am just completely redoing. It’ll be a website for my future farm – a place to share a vlog (maybe blog as well?) of my philosophies and a place to encourage people to join in my message of community, peace, and education. I’ll attach a store to it to sell my sculptures and art which seem to be peeking a lot of curiosity lately. My mother can sell her hand made soap there as well and I may have guest artists sell their stuff off it too just to bring people in. Who knows. It’ll either go somewhere great or nowhere at all and I will try something else.

I am overjoyed to bOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe on an up swing because I can now spend a little more time and energy doing these things in the hopes someday I will be able to provide a service useful enough to be financially independent despite my disabilities and difficulties. My dream will always be to get the hell out of my mother’s house and on my own – on a nice homestead with a lot of land I can use for growing crops, raising livestock, and teaching others all my hard earned lessons from a lifetime ago. Although I am not anywhere I can have livestock I have kept my homesteading skills sharp by ordering seeds for the spring. I’m also contemplating bees… because I don’t think they’re considered livestock. I know in my heart a proper homestead is where I am meant to be and why literally everything that happened in my life, including my terrible health, happened. Because it all brought me here – to this goal, this life, and I’ll continue to fight for it until I can’t move any more.

TO SPRING!!!

Keeping Your Mind Open to the Tiny Joys in Life

twitteravatarLife can be a real mental struggle when you live with a body that’s constantly fighting against you and a society that refuses to see this war within yourself. Every day is a battle and every day is a battle that needs to be won. It’s tiresome and easy to get discouraged in the face of such hardship but it’s really important not to. This chapter of my life has seen me in the worst living situation I have ever been in – I’m now living back in the toxic polluted house that I am pretty sure made me sick in the first place, back with my mother at the age of thirty-two, single, shiftless, and if it weren’t for her – destitute. To make matters worse she hoarded this house up bad while I was away so when I came back… it was filthier than it’s ever been and impossible to keep up with. So why is it now that I find myself the happiest I have ever been?

It’s because I have learned how to work towards the future, how to keep myself motivated, how to keep going, but also to see the little joys in life and hold dearly onto them. Every day it’s something new.

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Another delightful cow I once met.

Yesterday I took my sorry carcass out for a few hours after two weeks of living in a near coma. I was fighting against really intense stabbing pains and fatigue but I said I would man the tables at this tiny craft fair and I held true to my word. I am glad I did. I got lost on the way there. I couldn’t find the right address. Instead I wandered aimlessly up and down this road turning around in just about every drive-way as if I were some sort of adult trick-or-treater. My favorite driveway however was a small property – no more than two acres at the very most, with a house on one side and a small cow paddock on the other where three Angus steers jostled, jumped, and played. I was frustrated at being lost but suddenly delighted to lay my eyes on these beautiful cows. How delightful it must be to have cows right out your front door! They were almost big enough for slaughter but they seemed gleefully ignorant of this fact, just such happy animals. I sighed. Someday I shall be back on the farm. Oh how I miss watching animals just be themselves – free, joyful, and only one step away from being wild. This reaffirmed my faith that I am to keep working towards having a farm of my own.

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My clay faux leather magnets.

When I finally found the fair it was small, badly advertised, and had no customers what-so-ever. I paid $25 for the table and sold one magnet for a dollar. This is usually how these things work – and why I gave up on coming to these things a long time ago. Craft fairs usually bring a lot of lookey-loos but even when you have your goods marked at Wal-Mart prices no one wants to buy. The magnet was hand-crafted, unique, and probably took me ten or fifteen minutes to make. I wouldn’t have been able to sell it for more than a dollar… but today wasn’t about money. I learned that pretty quickly when another vendor came over to chat me up about my mother’s soap. She sold essential oils but as luck would have it also had pigs. We discussed using their lard for soap. It’s little moments like these that I know homesteading is in my blood, intrinsic to my being. I fucking love the community and the people in it. Later on that day I had a small girl walk by with her mother. Her mother and her were cheerfully burbling about how fragrant my booth was with all the soap when she turned and said, “It smells better than dead chickens! A LOT BETTER!” Her mother gave a pained expression as if to say, “Why would you say that?!” and she shuffled the poor dear away. I am guessing someone wasn’t happy with the family flock becoming dinner recently. Another sweet moment I couldn’t help but put in my pocket for safe keeping. Finally I noticed a photographer across the isle selling prints. I watched as people rifled through them and couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy at the fact I seemed to know where the vast majority of these shots were taken – as I spent much of my summer on photographic tours of the area for my travel blog Catching Marbles. I felt so lucky to have had those experiences and to be able to draw upon them.

daisyOn other hard days there is always something to remind me to keep smiling. Not long ago I struggled for three days to gather the energy and where-with-all to go to the grocery store and as I was leaving I drove by the neighbor’s child coming home from school. I guess it was the first time he saw my heavily Sharpie doodled car, Daisy, and he stopped dead in his tracks, staring with his jaw practically hitting the ground, right there in the middle of the road – in total awe. I smiled, laughed, waved, and felt wonderful for the rest of the day.

DSC_0952Sometimes it’s not even the physical world that brings me such deep satisfaction but the strangers I will never meet online. I was thrilled to learn recently that a piece I wrote at fourteen is being used as mandatory curriculum somewhere in the world – something I became aware of when a teenager came forward to bitch about how unfair this was. If I could have reached through that screen, laughing, and pinched his little angsty cheeks I totally would have!

zooAnd of course sometimes life is beautiful because of the spirit of discovery. I notice even the tiniest of things – a slight breeze through the top of the trees that tickle the uppermost leaves, strange and fantastically colorful insects, caterpillars, and bugs that scurry unnoticed all around me, and the joy of learning something new and amazing. I find I am intellectually voracious. I need to keep learning, every day, by whatever means possible. In these colder months when my body is shit and I can’t physically explore, I find myself trying to fill this insatiable desire by consuming documentaries, articles, and sometimes on very good days when I have quiet and focus – even books. I thrive on tremendous sessions whenever I am allowed the privilege. I listen intently to intense strange individuals and I probe them to go even farther into the depths of their endless minds into the wee morning hours.

whimsy1In being this hyper alert I find that everything is connected and everything has a reason. Life brings us where it needs us to be and if we’re open to the experience the journey can be fucking amazing. So my lesson for today is to keep your mind and hearts open at all times to receive these positive little messages from the universe. Allow yourself to notice the tiny details that can turn your whole day around. I know when we are grumpy, or tired, or frustrated, this can be hard but it is so worth it.