Friday, February 23, 2018

Sometimes all you need is a match.

I've lost myself over the past few years. It took something almost heart-shattering to realize how far into the dark I've stumbled.
It's time to light a candle. Then another. Then another.
But right now all I have is a match. A single flame in the dark.
I miss who I was. I was fun, flirty, confident. Did I still have anxiety and depression? Yes. But my heart was a torch and i used it to guide my path.
I can't turn back the clock and undo past damages. But what I can do is rekindle my fire.
I'm going to start with practicing mindfulness and helping my physical body feel better.
I'm running on very little sleep. The sleep I had was rife with anxiety-laden symbolism. It was a rapid cycle of running a particular gambit of parts of myself (expressed as people I'm close to), ending with sleep paralysis. I was able (with increasing difficulty) to force myself back to physical consciousness, only to slip back into the next repeat of the same dream, followed again by sleep paralysis.
I hadn't had sleep paralysis in months, maybe a year. Last night/this morning I counted at least 6 full cycles of dream then sleep paralysis.

My body, my mind, my heart want to fly again. I have to figure out how to open the cage and to spread my wings again. I'll have to relearn all of it. But I did it once, and I can do it again.

I don't want to use the word hope yet. But I'm not dead. I want to fight. I'm going to fight.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Something on the Breeze

For my previous posts, I've always written about my inspiration from an artist or a specific song. This time is a little different.
I know it has been a while since my last post, but here I am, back with a vengeance. I have been doing a lot of mental and emotional work on my journey to self-acceptance and generally being a better human being. I have thrown myself back into my art and let me tell you, Reader, it has been amazing.
I was hanging out at the local Starbucks today, working on a knitted t-shirt bag (yes, pics to follow) that I learned how to make from a fellow Maker in the Alamance County Makers Guild. Sitting at the table next to mine outside was a young woman playing guitar. She had a friend with her, and they would occasionally sing. The ambient music with lovely voices intertwined overtop was incredibly inspiring. I let my hands knit and my mind and heart got the chance to wander among the drifting notes. I couldn't make out the words half the time, but it didn't matter. Those women were putting their souls out there in their music. It was the most peaceful I think I have been able to be in quite a while. Just thinking back on it brings me a moment or two of peace and that timeless feeling that makes true memories.
It is because of this experience that I write today, dear Reader. I want to offer a piece of advice: Find the chance to listen to some live music, especially outside. Even if you can't find some live music, try listening to any kind of music and feel the breath of the world on your face (that means sit outside, for those of you who aren't riding the same inspirational high that I am).  Just breathe. If your thoughts race, let them fly away in the wind. Let them pass through your mind, recognize them, and let them keep on going, right out into the air. Don't hold onto them. Don't worry about them. Let them be and let them go. In that moment, be free.
Thank you, Reader...and thank you to those women creating sweet music today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Strangers in the Night

I like Lady Gaga. Wait, that's not exactly right. I admire Lady Gaga. I adore her music and love the messages she sends to her fans.

"Rejoice and love yourself today, cuz' were born this way."

I recently saw her performance of You and I at the 2011 VMAs. She was dressed as her alternate persona, Jo Calderone, who is a Greaser-type man with a penchant for dancing, drinking, and smoothing out his coif. She has been called a man, called transgendered, called so many other things, and this performance combined with with other recent songs (Born this Way for one) takes it all in stride. I can just hear her saying, "So? What if I was? Would that be bad? Or wrong?" And you know what? I agree. What if she was? Would she be any less inspiring to me? Would she be any less real?

Absolutely not! It wouldn't matter a single bit to me, because what matters is the music. Is her expression and passion for feeling good about yourself.  She doesn't always wear the same thing or act the same way not because she can't figure out who she is, but because she KNOWS who she is...and it is always changing! She lets herself enjoy...she lets herself have fun with who she is and how she chooses to express herself. 
We are who we are...on the inside. 
So what if you were born biologically male, but in your heart you feel like a woman? 
So what if you were born biologically a woman and you are attracted to other women? 
So what if you feel comfortable dressing in another gender's clothing? 
Own it. Accept you for you. 

This is a hard lesson for me. I'm not preaching to the choir in this post...I'm talking to myself. I have a lot of trouble accepting myself and not hating all my eccentricities, my emotions, my depression. But they are all part of me. Nothing will change that. I am trying to realize that it is okay to be what I am. It is okay to be me. In fact, it is pretty awesome.  I am pretty awesome. It is hard to even write it...let alone believe it. But every day, I get a little closer. I may not ever reach complete acceptance of myself. But it isn't about reaching the goal. 

It is about what you do on your way there.

So Reader, I'm glad you are here for my journey. I would love to hear about your journey as well. After all, aren't we all just travelers passing through this place?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baby, you can't drive my car

I love to drive, especially in the fall or spring. The cool weather changes the look of things. It's as if the world relaxes and takes a deep breath. There is more space, more air...the muscles of the world stop flexing and just...Be.
I put on some music that means something to me (Radiohead's The Bends reminds me of driving to marching band practice in the early mornings with my sister), turn on the heat and point it at my feet, roll down the windows, and sing to my heart's content. What a way to find some inner peace! The cares of the world just melt away and I feel free. I think it is the closest I come to flying: my hair whipping around in the wind, my hands in control of my destination, and my spirit unfettered. 
The changing of the leaves paints a background that matches my life right now. Everything is changing and it is hard not to miss the old lush green of life, but if I just take a moment to really look at all the colors, I realize how beautiful it all is. The slow death and decay is necessary. It is the way of things and try as I might, I cannot stop it. So, with my windows down and my toes toasty, I will embrace it. It won't be easy. There might be traffic, or stops for fuel, or even a breakdown. But I will remember that everything changes, and it's okay.

Reader, want to take a ride with me?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stop whispering!

I am in the middle of a move which is hard on my heart. Each car load is difficult and sometimes tear-filled. But I am getting through it. Too often, it is so much easier to let the world decide your fate when things get tough. Not this time. I will not let this or any other hardships in life beat me down.

Driving to class today, I popped in the Radiohead album Pablo Honey. Skipping around the CD while sitting at a stoplight, I settled on a song I had not heard in years: Stop Whispering. A light turned on inside me as I sang along and I found a joy filling me, despite the difficult day. Stop Whispering is about standing up into your own life. "Stop whispering, start shouting," singer Yorke advocates. Don't let other people tell you to be quiet! It is your life. Speak up! If you see an injustice, or something not right in the world, why would you just sit by? It should be the same in your life.

Reader, live. Don't let anyone else live for you. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inspirations and Beginnings

The title of this collection of musings comes from a song by the artist Jewel. I have long been a fan of her music and poetry. The soulful and often simple gleanings from life touch me and bring me a measure of comfort as well as peaceful inspiration. This particular song, entitled A Life Uncommon, could easily lend itself to a speech empowering the masses to stand up for themselves and to "lend [their] voices only to sounds of freedom." Jewel continues, empowering her listeners to "no longer lend [their] strength to that which [they] wish to be free from," and to "fill [their] lives with love and bravery," so they may "lead a life uncommon."

The past year has been full of turmoil, anguish, and love (lost and gained).  My mother's ordeal with breast cancer, my paternal grandmother's descent into Alzheimer's, the burden on my little sister that is likely multiple schlerosis, and my own dealings with depression have all been weights that threatened to knock me off my feet. For a time, they did knock me down though.  I was despondant and had trouble caring about everyday life around me. Those closest to me saw my struggles and stood by me. Others showed their true colors and walked out of my life.
I am thankful for both types of people, for one cannot appreciate love and kindness without understanding desertion. 

I see now the chains I put on myself, and I am unkinking them and casting off more each day. It will take time, but even as I write this, I am smiling. Months ago, a year ago, it would have been a rare occurance. Nowadays, I am thankful and happy to open my eyes each morning.  I am hopeful.

I see now that we must be our own Joie de Vivre.
Reader, look around you and be happy. You may find little reason at first, but keep looking. There are always reasons.