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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our second journey, part eleven…gig harbor, wa to bremerton, wa…

so, there buggs and i were…surrounded by the beauty of the harbor and the forests. i walked around and took photos.

i felt weird physically. i was having a shooting pain going down my lower spine and it hurt to walk.

i also felt weird psychically…like something was lost or gone and like things were beginning to shift.

i got into the car with buggs, sat down, and smelled the sea air…i was home and it was beautiful. i missed it so.

then, i just felt overwhelming sadness and a sense of loss. the tears came down my cheeks and i sat there sobbing.

when i was finally able to pull it halfway together…which was hard because i was sleep starved.

i made an online reservation at a hotel in bremerton and pointed the car in that general direction.

we drove by the naval yards and saw the big ships and aircraft carriers. we were listening to j**s’s playlist.

by the time we got to the hotel, i could barely walk and i was beginning to slur my words and not make any sense.

i stumbled into the lobby to get the key and nearly dropped to the floor from the excruciating pain that i felt.

i got buggs and i situated and i began writing about everything that i was feeling and thinking.

even though my body had no sleep, my mind was awake and writing and creating. i was wired and focused.

i put my hand in my pocket and pulled out the carefully folded hearts. i took photos and wrote about them.

i stayed up all night and went to asleep finally at about 0300. 0900 came around and i had to crawl to the bathroom.

i couldn’t walk and standing wasn’t much better, i took a hot bath in hopes that it would make things better. it did.

we decided that we weren’t ready to leave home yet and ended up recuperating there for a few days.

more tomorrow…

our second journey, part ten…gig harbor, wa…

brunch was over and my friend was gone and that was that. i reached into my pocket and felt something familiar. it was the art project that i so happily created for her the valentine’s day before last…so 2016.

the paper was very soft and delicate. the project was tie dyed hearts of different sizes and colors made from coffee filters. it was a throw back or homage to our texting valentine’s day “date.” we imagined the date and “talked” about it.

it all started because she was talking about how times used to be. she waxed nostalgic about handmade paper valentines and kids having boxes to receive them in. she had me imagine finding a very particular valentine.

it was a handmade paper heart…decorated with yarn and ribbon and sparkly glitter. i “opened” it and it said, “will you be my valentine?” it had three words with three boxes inside. the words were yes, no, or maybe so.

i imagined the card and how special and honored i would feel to have received it. i was instructed to check the appropriate box and give it back to her. i thought about it for a moment and then wholeheartedly checked “yes.”

so anyway, three of the nine hearts that i made had words on them “yes,” “no,” and “maybe so.” all of them traveled with me from montana to nevada to gig harbor…across the country to niagara falls (the site of jim and pam’s wedding).

i felt those hearts that were carefully folded up in my pocket. i brought them with me to give to her. i made them for her and thought that she should have them. not as anything other than a purely platonic gift.

however, i held back…something stopped me. i didn’t know what it was at the time or even for months later. a few days ago it occurred to me that those hearts are now a part of me. i didn’t give them away because they’re mine.

they are mine. i have carried them with me. they are a part of me. this journey has changed me profoundly. they belong to me and i will choose “yes” everytime now. i choose myself…my own lovely, kind, remarkable heart.

more tomorrow…

december 25, 2017…

today, i am grateful for… 

…great friends who support and encourage me, and who love and accept me as i am…

…exciting adventures and explorations across the country… 

…my co-pilot and constant companion,  buggs and my co-co-pilot, j**s… 

…stories, memories, photos, and videos that i’ve been able to compile of our travels… 

…a place to stay and rest… 

…my car and the independence it gives me… 

…clean laundry… 

…food to eat… 

…my phone… 

…waking up to a good dream and being happy to get out of bed… 

i am not feeling my best right now, but my health has flourished over the last year. i am a little weary, but i am also antsy to begin another adventure. i am a little hesitant about where i am, but i am ready to be a true road warrior and make it my own for now. 

i am truly fierce and independent. i am full of curiosity and wonder. i am worthy of love and companionship. 

namaste. 

***this was from yesterday. i have the flu and fell asleep before publishing. tomorrow, i will be back and try to finish my gig harbor story and try to pick up the pace a little, as i am still on our second journey. in case anyone wonders, on our way back to nevada…after niagara falls, after the ocean that is lake erie, after columbus, after the gateway arch, and a three am harold and kumar-like white castle experience…we decided to get our kicks on route 66…and landed in oklahoma on thanksgiving day…spent some time with my friend l***a…and although no longer visiting l***a, we are still in oklahoma.***

challenge accepted…

the other day, i talked to my friend, g***e. when we got off of the phone, she mentioned that i should do something, that hadn’t occurred to me before. 

she suggested that i put an array of photos together, that could be used as a measure to see exactly how far…i’ve come on this journey. i decided to see for myself.

(i know that a couple of these got a little cut-off, but you can still see my cheeks.) 

i guess that my biggest takeaways were the fact that i looked much less, heavily medicated. my eyes seem to open wider. i have healthy color and more clear skin. i also seem to have developed a giant, pointy chin, and roman nose.

(oh and that damn moustache…that’s what happens when menopause grabs your ass.)

and…there you have it…

my journey so far – still a long way to go

oprah/deepak 21-day meditation experience, day 5…

the focus of day 5: when you are real, you have infinite hope.

the centering thought: i have every hope in the world.

the sanskrit mantra: aham brahmasmi. 

the translation: i am the wholeness of universal existence. 

the message of the day: “hope…is the companion of power, and the mother of success; for who so hopes has within him the gift of miracles.” – samuel smiles 

your day 5 meditation can be found here

i used to (conclusion part three)…

it’s funny, because i must have pushed that last concert experience far out of my mind until now, because the other night i wasn’t worried about a blasted thing…other than getting myself a great spot, cursing richard for all of his bullshit, and forgetting my phone. i’ve been feeling so good, so healthy, and so well, that it never occurred to me to have any worries, even though i would be all by myself.

i had absolutely no doubts in myself or my abilities whatsoever. i didn’t think about how far or how fast i would be walking. i had to walk through the parking garage, through the hotel, and through the crowd…which was like being a salmon swimming upstream…to get myself up to the stage. i never stopped for even a moment. i was one determined woman. i was resolute in my plan to have a good time and to do what i wanted to do.

i had no muscle fatigue, no shortness of breath, no panic, no anxiety (except for over being late and forgetting my phone), and no feeling like i didn’t belong or was out of place. i was prepared. i looked my very best and i knew it. i was filled with confidence and maneuvered my way to an awesome spot right up in the front, right next to the stage, by some really nice girls…oh, and right next to the giant speakers, which i love.

i claimed that spot, planted my feet, and was completely non-displaced for the duration. the opening band was pure bathing culture. i had never heard of them before, but after listening to their 30 minute set…i decided to download some of their music when i got home. they were pretty good, visually very interesting, but their sound was a little muffled. i did really enjoy them, but i was waiting for death cab for cutie.

during the intermission, the girls asked me if i could save their spots, while they went to the restroom. i told them that i would try, but couldn’t guarantee anything. so, i spent my time trying to make myself as large as possible, to occupy as much space as possible and i found that i really didn’t need to because the people for the most part were very nice, pleasant, and respectful. the girls arrived back to their spots and they brought me a water.

i’ve got to say, that that felt quite nice. i was acknowledged, treated very nicely, and thanked. i wasn’t just stared at or talked about, or ignored altogether, like i was invisible. i guess that i’ve allowed myself to grow accustomed to poor treatment by others and have just come to accept that, as being the”norm,” but my therapist has really helped me to see that the more i value myself and show that i do, the more others will follow suit.

the lights went down and i began to anticipate something very unexpected and magical…my heart began pounding, my ear began roaring more loudly and my stomach became weightless, like it was just floating up and down inside of my abdomen, not knowing where it truly belonged. and my god, i just had a feeling, an overwhelming…motherfucking feeling…

and, i do this sometimes to test myself to see if i’m right or not with feelings. i know that it’s weird, but it’s math. it’s statistics. it’s logic. and, i like seeing how often i’m right, versus how often i’m wrong. i tell myself something like, “well, if “x” happens at this point, then “y” will happen at this point.” basically, i’m just keeping “score” with myself for myself and usually that’s something that i just don’t share.

but, i had had this feeling for several days. i don’t know if it was just wishful thinking or fate, or the luck of the draw. i don’t know and frankly, don’t care. my feeling was about the first song that death cab for cutie would open with and i just felt sure enough to bet my life on, but of course wouldn’t. so, i “upped” the ante with myself and told myself,”okay if they open with, i will possess your heart, and, you are a tourist, is at some point after…”

what sarah said, then i’m about to experience a wonderful shift in my life.” so, there you have it…crazy, stupid, ridiculous…or, just a fun game that i’ve always played with myself. anyway, so my feeling was so absolutely palpable that i felt like i might just float off into the universe. the lights were down and first i heard the drum, the lone bass drum…beating, pounding like a heartbeat…pounding with the beat of my own heart.

and that, was all that i needed to hear and feel to know that i was absolutely fucking right…well, at least about the first part of my self-test. my heart was beating out of my chest, by the time that the first note was played on the piano, and a lone spotlight lit, ben gibbard, sitting at the piano playing. i didn’t need anyone to be there with me. in that moment, i had absolutely everything that i needed. i had myself and i had music.

i could let the music, the visuals, the smells, and the feelings wash over me…soak into me…and set my soul on fire. i could feel as the music exited the speaker and entered into my “good” left ear, and it vibrated inside of me, shaking me where i stood. it felt incredible. i was there at my first singular concert experience in 22 years, but i didn’t feel alone, nor was i. i was one of 1,000+.

i’ll have to say that time both seemed to stand still for big chunks at a time and move very rapidly, because the show seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. i was mesmerized and in my own little world. i wasn’t at all tired or fatigued, considering all of the walking and standing that i had done. i felt stronger, healthier, and more vital than i had been in years. i know of course, that i’m not super human and i still have to budget my energy, but wow!!

i impressed myself. i was able to see just how far i’ve been able to bring myself….from my last concert experience to this one…from huffing and puffing going up a single flight of stairs to walking all over a parking garage, a hotel, and a theater…and, from having to grimace and use a walker, to just walking and having no obstacles. i felt very blessed and very grateful for the two people that have helped me the most on this journey.

i still hadn’t heard either, what sarah said, or, you are a tourist. i didn’t care. after all, this was just a self-test, i had nothing to lose or gain. well, what sarah said, ended up being what i counted as the tenth song. i think that i must have been wearing a shit eating grin, because one of the girls whispered to me, “what’s so funny? care to share?” i wasn’t sure how to answer that question, so i just smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

and then, there it was…my song. the song that describes exactly how i feel about myself and my life as it stands right now, especially after the debacle of yesterday. you are a tourist, began and i was pressed up against the stage very tightly, with everyone else, including the girls. i could see everything, which was very exciting for me. my only wish was that i would’ve had my phone, but that would have caused me to miss the moment.

i believe that on one hand the phone removes me from being present in the here and now. it takes me from being a participant to being an observer. i guess that some part of me always knew that, but never really cared enough to put it into thought or words. maybe i spend so much time on my phone, when around people, so that i won’t have to participate. i don’t know for sure, but the thought entered my mind.

without my phone, i was forced into the here and now. i was forced to interact one way or another, to look at other people and to be looked at, to notice and get a sense of feeling for my surroundings. during my song, as i stood there and intently watched, i was suddenly aware of a blinding white light, a warmth, a pressure, a kind touch from a stranger, and words being sung directly to me, although i could not see it, i heard and felt it.

it all happened both so quickly and seemingly in slow motion, that it’s nearly impossible to describe. one minute i was standing there watching and listening, the next i couldn’t see anything, but felt someone touch the top of my head and then move their hand to my cheek, and as they did that i heard the lyrics of my song being sung, “…save the tears, save the tears…” and then, i could see, but the hand and voice had moved along.

i was kind of beside myself, not in a bad way, but in a surreal, ethers kind of way. i wasn’t exactly sure what happened and i felt myself fighting really hard to remain present, and not to “float” off to another destination. i felt for my emdr rock inside my pocket and grounded myself. i looked at the girl who whispered to me earlier, with a quizzical kind of look. she began whispering again and i was kind of able to piece together what transpired.

i guess that the reason why i couldn’t see anything was because they were shining the spotlight on the lead singer (ben gibbard) and apparently, he was standing right in front of me, with his hand on me, while singing to me, and i couldn’t see any of it. of course, i heard it and i felt it…but, i just can’t believe that i didn’t get to see any of it!! the girl told me that i was pretty lucky…and, yes indeed, i do believe that i was!!

from that point on, i found it incredibly hard to focus on anything, so, i just listened with my heart and closed my eyes. the band came out and played three encore songs.overall, they were awesome!! the sound was much better this time, than it was last time, in the portland, rose garden arena. i came away from my first singular concert experience in 22 years…feeling excited, overwhelmed, and emotionally and mentally spent.

it’s funny, because i still had to walk through the theater, the hotel, and parking garage to the crv, but physically, i was still fine…a little bit tired, but fine. i got to the crv and there it was…my phone. and, i just moved it aside and ignored it. i figured that i had already had more than enough stimulation for one night. as i drove back to where i live, i was hit by the sadness that i had no one to talk to about my experience.

but then, i remembered that i could always write about it instead…so, here it is…what i used to do…the final installment. oh, and by the way…i am about to experience a wonderful shift in my life and i couldn’t be more ready. 🙂