it’s all just a blur now…

life has changed radically for me. i have gone from being dependent on others, heavily medicated, unhealthy, and really not doing much…with a lot of free time on my hands to write…to being completely independent of others, not heavily medicated (went from 26 meds down to 5), healthy and able, and doing so much with my life that i don’t have as much time to write as i once had.

i live independently of others. it’s just me and buggs. while we help others in my family…mainly my sister and dad…we no longer live with them. i come and go as i please and i am accountable to no one else but myself and buggs. i have made many new friends and we do stuff like plant a garden, play cards and games, go out to eat, go to the free movies, and more. it feels good to be beholden to no one.

when i was in washington…i was on 32 different medications. in montana, that amount was cut to 26. in nevada, that amount was cut to 24. and now…here in oklahoma, i take a total of 5 different medications. i no longer fall asleep, when i am supposed to be awake. i don’t feel at all sleepy when driving. i feel alert and alive and it feels so much better than being overly medicated.

i walk and workout each day, being mindful of burning 1000 more calories than i consume. i am eating a healthy diet and lots of protein. i am building muscle and losing fat. i am strengthening my core and gaining endurance. i am stronger and more able-bodied than i have been in 10-15 years. i am proud of myself.

i am always busy here. there is always something to do. i’ve had five dog transports in the last 4 weeks. i have visited arizona, new mexico, texas, arkansas, kansas, and nebraska as of late. i’ve been busy helping with my nieces and running errands. i’ve been going all over taking photographs. buggs and i are having one adventure after another.

i am happy being independent, fully alert, healthy, stronger, and able to choose my own adventure each day. i feel vital, capable, useful, and free. those are good feelings to have. i like me much better now. i know that i am worthy and deserving of love.

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busy…

lately, i haven’t had a moment to stop, slow down, catch up, or breathe easily. the last few weeks have been filled with new journeys. while still struggling to write about our second journey, buggs and i have completed journeys number four, five, six, and seven.

in comparison to our first three journeys, these have been rather boring and uneventful…perhaps that’s because they have been shorter trips and trips to places that i’ve already been and really don’t interest me.

for the first of these trips, we transported a rottweiler/pit puppy from norman, ok to tucson, az…from there we drove down to odessa, tx and picked up a terrier going to cookson, ok. next, we picked up a bulldog in moore, ok and took to hardy, tx. then we went right back and picked up a bengal kitten in edmond, ok and dropped off in kansas city, mo.

there was really no time to do much photography, except for a half an hour in hatch, new mexico. my driving team was in place as always…my co-pilot buggs and my co-co-pilot j**s…however, as i said these were all fast, long trips…the last one was seventeen hours round trip.

once buggs and i arrived back in oklahoma, we were extremely exhausted and crashed hard. we both woke up feeling worn out and sick. buggs with allergies from all of the pollen in the air and i have been laid flat by the flu. the only time in several days that i’ve been outside, is to take buggs potty.

i have been laying on top of my bed, under my blanket watching house hunters on hulu and going in and out of consciousness. i can’t seem to stay awake for very long. my head is full of snot…i have a fever…and i just basically feel like shit.

i have fallen behind on my blog and i feel bad about it. as i begin to feel better, i want to get back to posting daily and eventually back to posting several times daily. life never really seems to turn out how i plan it, so we’ll just take it as it comes.

yesterday at this time 20:18…

yesterday at this time…buggs and i were on foot walking. we were walking laps and with each lap, the sky changed. the combination of the clouds, the howling winds, and the historic backdrop worked together to create some highly dramatic photos.

here are the photos that we took yesterday at this time 20:18…

irony…

so, buggs and i went for a drive the other day and we saw a sign that said, “cemetery” and had an arrow pointing eastward. ever since s***h and i were in digital photography class at wsu-v, whenever i see a cemetery…i generally stop, drive-in, and explore looking for the unusual and unexpected.

s***h and i used to do this often. we had a night photography assignment once and we went into an old vancouver (washington) cemetery and shot. it was exciting and fun and spooky. we never knew what we were going to encounter. it was interesting to go to school the next day and see what we had captured.

i remember staring at my computer screen one day and taking in a phenomenal image of a headstone surrounded by radiant, glowing, orange light. i was both surprised and fascinated. the light seemed to be emanating from the grave and behind it…through the tree line. it was amazing.

i have photographed cemeteries in washington, idaho, montana, nevada, iowa, and oklahoma. every cemetery is different and holds it’s own mysteries. i always feel as if i am drawn there for a reason, as if there is something there that i need to see and photograph. as i go, i feel kindred spirits all around me.

this particular day, buggs and i were drawn to the lawnview cemetery in cordell, oklahoma. we drove through stopping to photograph points of interest. three quarters of the way through, i found what it was that i was supposed to see and i let out a chuckle. i reveled in it’s dark irony…it’s fantastic.

boom…

without realizing or planning it…i have planted little, ticking, time bombs all around me…both online and in real life. no, i am not talking about literal bombs that destroy physically. i am talking about figurative bombs that trigger emotionally.

this morning, i was texting with j**s and i received a facebook notification. it told me that i had a memory from two years ago. normally, i don’t click and look, but for some reason i did today. i clicked and found a photo that i had taken two years ago today.

Capture+_2018-03-11-12-53-38

i am guessing most people would not have given it a second thought, but me, i can’t stop thinking about it. these little bombs come in the form of photos, texts, emails, music, quotes, symbols, numbers, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, surroundings, and activities.

they trigger me emotionally and take me right back to that place, person, or thing. i remember exactly where i was and what i was thinking, feeling, and doing. i remember every little detail of every little thing. once i am triggered, i have a hard time turning it all off.

i had traveled to gillette, wyoming for a second, third, and fourth date. i got this room at a nice hotel for $45 on priceline. i remember calling and letting my date know that i had arrived. then i scurried madly around my room trying to get ready.

this whole thing was brand new to me…driving at all…(since I really didn’t do too much of that when i was with my ex) being out and about independently (since i had been with my ex for almost 10 years)…and dating…it had been at least 10 years since i had dated anyone.

at the time, i was much heavier. i was weak and in pretty poor health. i couldn’t walk even 1/10 of a mile without stopping and everytime i went up a flight of stairs…i was left doubled over, while huffing and puffing. my date, a nurse was terrified for me.

no one had expected anything of me in years and apparently, i expected nothing from myself as well. the previous 8 years or so…i lived with my ex and self soothed with food, while blowing up like a blimp, getting more and more unhealthy…waiting to die.

by the time my date arrived, i was exhausted, sweating profusely, and breathless. i was quite the prize!! thinking back, i don’t even know how i got this woman to go out with me in the first place or why after seeing me on the first date, she invited me for more.

there was a knock on my door. my stomach flip-flopped and my heart felt like it may explode. i opened the door and in bounded an exuberant, firey soul…she embraced me with a big hug and kissed me on the cheek. she was excited to see me. i was shocked.

she was wearing a poncho and jeans with some kind of lace-up moccasins. when we hugged, i smelled patchouli and something spicy. an obvious beauty with long brown hair and smoldering brown eyes. i stood there on sensory overload, absorbing her energy.

she came to take me back to her place. i wasn’t wearing shoes but had socks on. i had two pairs of slip-on vans on the floor, but i was a little shaky. she asked me which pair i wanted i went back and forth a few times. she picked up the black pair and slid them on my feet.

she drove us over to her place where her son was waiting. we got there and sat down to watch a “hunger games” movie. i don’t remember which one because i fell asleep within minutes and snored the whole time. i woke up when fingers ran through my hair.

she took me back to my hotel and we sat comfortably on the couch. her legs were over my lap and i rubbed her ankle, while she showed me the video of her best friend’s wedding. (***and oh my god…in this very moment…2024 of 03.11.2018…i have just come to a realization.***) i remember doing exactly what i had done on our first date, what i had done on the phone once that i regret, and what i did at our brunch together. i kept telling her something like, “you know, you can go now. you do not have to stay here on my account.” fuck…i am a douchebag and an asshole!! and now, i absolutely don’t know why, but she kissed me with her lips that tasted like coconut chapstick. i did not deserve that.

and with that brand new revelation, this ticking, time bomb has exploded, and left my mind working overtime and my heart with a new hole in it…

…boom…

our second journey, part sixteen, short story and photos…gallatin gateway, mt to big sky, mt…

i have lived in montana and driven through it, but i have never gone south from bozeman. i am so glad that i decided to go back to nevada using that route. i will say that everything that i saw in bozeman and after…and all the way through idaho was completely breathtaking.

it was fall and all of the brilliant colors of change were reflected in the constantly changing landscape…red, orange, rust, yellow, plum, magenta. i soaked every ounce of it in…knowing full well that i was headed back to the dull desert.

i kept finding these wonderful places along the way to stop and take photos…and as i did i shared them with my co-co-pilot j**s…who was also stuck out in the land of intense heat and cockroaches. and, i shared them with my roommate, j***y, who was from sweden and missed forests and nature.

gallatin gateway was basically the entrance to yellowstone national park…somewhere that i had never been and my dad always promised to take me to. the gallatin river runs alongside the road through the valley and pass. it’s beautiful with it’s little waterfalls and emerald green water.

the gallatin river inn and rv park was a super fun, kitschy place to stop and walk around and take photos. they had signs everywhere. i loved, “slow the hell down.” the river ran alongside the rv spots and it looked like a great place to camp. buggs was enamored of a giant sunflower that danced and swayed in the wind.

i had to stop and pulled over in front of the lazy t4 ranch. it was an absolutely gorgeous spread of land, with trees, fields, and rolling hills. the ranch houses were big and impressive, but it was the gate and mailboxes that i really liked. it began snowing there in big sky and buggs and i got back on the road and kept moving.

more tomorrow…

our second journey, part fourteen…laurel, mt to bozeman, mt…

before leaving laurel, i mapped out our journey back to henderson. i knew that we would be heading west to bozeman and then heading south through the gallatin gateway to yellowstone national park.

i knew that time was of the essence, because a big storm was moving in. the clouds were dark grey and the temperature began to drop. we were wasting daylight and dry roads waiting on a motherfucking, moronic liar.

of course, i’m me and it’s my nature to be rebellious and spiteful at times. sometimes, i make bad decisions and end up doing stupid things. the moron pissed me off by wasting my time, so i wasted his. i “poked” the “bear.”

by the time i finished making a report at the police department, the sky was dark and night had fallen. i really don’t see all that well at night. buggs and i were headed west for the pass and it began to snow. the wind whipped the snow around making it even harder to see.

we hit the pass and i watched the outside temperature gauge change, as we climbed the mountain. i was shocked when my car began flashing a word on the speedometer. it read, “icy.” i panicked because i knew that i was driving on a sheet of ice.

as i drove, i remembered and repeated to myself…not to slam on the brakes. instead, i kept my speed down and when i needed to go slower or stop…i pumped my brake lightly. the drive was tedious and scary, but i did it. i did it myself!!

once over the pass, we could see the lights of bozeman a little lower down. i was so relieved as we made our way to our room in the super 8 hotel, that we booked along the way using booking.com. we were very fortunate that we got the last room.

more tomorrow…