Ashes

It started with a spark.

That small, miraculous ignition

Kindling my existence, my

Experiences

It flickered, tiny, vulnerable, but

Protected by other flames from extinguishment

Fanned by the air around me,

Fueled by the knowledge imparted

I grew, a steady flame, strong, bright.

Until the collision. The damage done to me, torched through me,

Fuel on flame, I burned…

Higher, brighter, angry

I scorched so many in my passage

Leaving permanent scars, in some cases, from the trauma of my touch.

A bonfire cannot burn forever.

Rains came.

Soothing, healing,

Quenching fires I never meant to set.

Until I was naught but ashes, and

Deeply banked coals, glowing in the dark.

Would that I could heal away the scars,

But that’s not how fire works.

So, I wait for the phoenix to rise.

Soft Reset

Ever since my cross-country move from Washington to Georgia, I’ve been living in a sort of time limbo.

I am fairly quiet these days. I work remotely for the same company I worked at in ND, which is wonderful. I truly love what I do, and the company’s flexibility has worked in my favor to allow me the privilege of doing what I love, while living where I’m happy.

I’m just minutes away from BelovedNephew, now, and we get to see each other pretty much whenever we want, barring work.

I’ve been here now, for a little over 2 months, and yet…

Every once in a while, I stop, and realize that I am actually doing this.

Soft reset of the brain and emotions.

I’m actually fulfilling a dream I’ve had for years by moving cross-country – and twice, at that!

It’s only a little over over a week shy of the 1 year anniversary of my first move from North Dakota to Washington.

I’m really here. I’ve really done it.

And, my 2nd move from WA to GA I drove a 36-foot RV with only 2 cats for company!

My copilot, Sally; and the backseat driver, Cinders.

When I have these moments, I’m overcome with almost all the emotions; awe, fear, happiness, sadness, excitement, & dread.

It’s a lot, & there are times I have to pull back into myself to try to process the rush.

Soft reset.

Nothing jarring, no explosion of temper or giddiness. Just a quiet withdrawal, a period of isolation, until I can stick my chin out again & move forward once more.

Today, I’m sitting in an airport, headed North for the weekend. (I’ll write a separate post for that after my return home, it needs its own space)

I had my soft reset moment, staring out the window of the terminal.

I can’t have my physical withdrawal right now, in all the public.

But, I can withdraw behind my mask, and drop into my Kindle, mentally.

It’s gonna be a loooong day of flights, airports, walking, & sitting uncomfortably.

But, I’ll get through it.

Look how far I’ve already come to realize my dreams!

Jekyll Island, GA. (Mini vacay excursion with BelovedNephew a couple weeks ago)

Turn The Page… Again

So, I’ve moved – again. 😂

This summer, my ElderDaughter informed me that they were going to sell their place in Washington & move to Texas.

Now, anyone who knows me, even a little, knows I am very liberal-minded.

One might even say… A little feral… In that direction.

So, I told ElderDaughter that, as much as I’d miss being near them, I couldn’t move with them to Texas as they wanted me to.

My mouth would be writing checks there, that my old, overweight, arthritic ass can’t cash anymore.

What does a 52 yr. old feral woman for when faced with this dilemma?

She moves to Georgia to be closer to her best friend, BelovedNephew.

Fourscore… Errr… 7 years ago

This man really, truly is my best friend. He’s been there for me as ChosenFamily/friend for so many years now, it feels more like lifetimes.

So, in September, I gassed up the RV, hitched the Jeep to a tow dolly, & drove, by myself (well, my 2 cats kept me company) for 5 1/2 days to south Georgia.

I’m now living in the bus, parked in a mobile home/RV park about 45 minutes from the ocean.

And, I’m so very happy.

I’ve been able to work my own way off my anti-anxiety meds. (I still have GAD, don’t get me wrong, but it’s much more manageable now, with less stress in my life.)

I get to go on adventures with my bestie!

Last weekend, we went to Fort King George, the remnants of an old British fort here, & I also got to go to Jekyll Island & put my feet in the ocean for the first time in my life!

One of the buildings still on the fort (they’re a LOT smaller than you’d think)
Walking thru the fort
I love the gnarly trees
The beach from the pier at Jekyll Island
DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!

I’m still adjusting to this new phase of my life (I can’t believe I’ve already been here 2 months!)

But, I am content.

Living small, and alone by choice, I am actually content.

And that’s not a small thing.

I’ve started working on crafts again.

I’ve been contemplating writing fiction again.

Things are changing.

And that’s ok.

The Broken Road

I’m tired of walking the broken roads

Alone.

The pitted pavement beneath my feet

Stretching out, with no end

Me reaching out and

You, not reaching

Back

The road runs both ways

You know

You say “Life’s just so busy”

Which means I’m not a part

Of yours.

So

I’m done with those

Broken roads.

Those overgrown paths leading to

Weed-choked thickets

You won’t miss me

Because you never did

So, I’ll pave my own road

And be met by those headed my way.

The Other Side of Fear

In November 2021, I sold my house and moved.

Now, that’s a very generic statement, for the extremely complicated and intricate dance of events that took place.

I’d been wanting to move for years.

Living where I was, in North Dakota, had so many painful memories and so little joy left for me. Yes, I have many good memories there as well, and I treasure those; but you can’t live in memories.

I struggled everyday to find a reason to get up, to go forward, and couldn’t find enough reasons to stay.

So – I made a lot of choices that ended up with me moving to Washington, to be closer to my ElderDaughter & my grandbabies.

And, my life has changed so much, that I’m still amazed on the daily that I actually live here now!

Pre move-in

I bought myself a used RV, & hooked it up in my ElderDaughter’s backyard.

It’s perfect for me & Sal.

Front window wins!

It’s big enough for the 2 of us, without being too much for me to handle.

And, I haven’t been this at ease in a long time, if ever.

My anxiety has dropped to the point where I’ve been able to lower my meds in half.

I’m finding myself having moments of pure contentment and joy out of the blue. It’s been years since my depression has been this minimal.

I’m finding a new balance, here.

Everything you’ve ever wanted, is on the other side of fear ~ George Addair

A Dozen of this and that

Today, it’s been 12 years since I started blogging on WordPress.

Oh, sure, I had my blog on another platform for a while prior to switching over here, but, I can neither remember the platform name, nor the length of time I was there, because I’ve been here so long.

And… My whole life has been completely upended multiple times in those 12 years.

It tends to happen.

See, when I started all this, it was a way for me to “scream into the darkness”, as I used to say, but… I had a hard time actually doing that, for a long time.

I started off with my original reason for blogging, which was that I’d needed a safe place to put all of my feelings, questions about life, the universe, & everything.

I had a blood relation take offense to something I’d written, on my own space, for my own reasons. It wasn’t aimed at that person, had nothing to do with that person, but they still had decided that I was a horrible person, & raked me over the coals for, what to me, was a simple, philosophical question I had, & was looking for answers to.

So, I started an anonymous blog to do my soul-searching.

And, after my initial posts, I fell into writing about normal, everyday, mundane things. Humorous, usually. But not the real, raw, self-intospection I needed.

Until, my past & present started to bleed into one another.

My introspection started uncovering things I’d “conveniently” forgotten. More like buried deep within my own psyche.

It led me to reasons why I’d lived as I had, self-destructive behaviors and all.

I started to get a handle on my own flaws, foibles, failings and faults.

I also started to see the good things.

It took me a while to allow nyself to truly be vulnerable here, but I was encouraged by friends I’d met while blogging, & led with my chin.

And, the tone of the blog changed, to become a journey of self-discovery, mentally, emotionally, and more.

I’ve posted some flash fiction here, too, because that is also a part of who I am.

Or was. I haven’t posted any fiction in a loooong time now. Life has led me down a long, dusty path, & there hasn’t been any fiction for a while that was yelling to get out.

I’ve been too busy, just hanging on.

I want to start blogging again, though. I do miss it, sometimes. There are a lot of things I still want to explore, explain, & examine.

But, I can feel the tone changing again.

Don’t ask me how it will end up, because in all honesty, I’m not sure where it’s going yet.

Maybe I should just hop the train, and settle in for the ride.

Another dozen years couldn’t hurt… Right?

I’m not Angry, I’m just…

I am not ok.

I haven’t been, for a while.

And that’s ok.

Circular logic, I guess, but there you go.

Something happened in my family in July, & I’m not ok about it.

And honestly, I feel as though it’s been a long time coming, this fracture, but I kept holding back the floodwaters by putting my back to it, & ignoring it.

I heard something the other day, that has been rolling around in my mind ever since.

Constantly examining your feelings & trying to logically define them, keeps you from feeling them; which prevents you from healing them.

I know that I need to get all of these things that are surging forth in my brain out there… But I have no one right now that I can actually tell these things to.

My kids don’t need that burden, and I don’t want them “in the middle”, which is where they’d end up if I told them how bad things feel for me right now.

My Beloved Nephew has enough chaos going on in his world, that he sure as hell doesn’t need mine; even in periphery.

That’s it.

That’s the list of trusted ears & shoulders.

So, like always, refusing to burden others with my problems, I try to work through shit on my own.

Did you know that hyper-independence is a trauma response?

Executive Dysfunction has me sitting & zoning out, when I have a list of things I need myself to accomplish.

My depression is so thick right now, I’m having a hard time not just curling up in the fetal position, & sleeping through the day.

I know I desperately need help with my house (which I’m trying to get ready to sell), but I refuse to ask for help. Any help would either come with judgment, or conditions, or both – and I can’t and won’t deal with either of those. Anyone even offering, gets pushed off with a “it’s fine, I’ve got this”.

Winter is coming.

I wanted to be out of here before that, and I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen now.

And again, I’m disappointing people, because of my mental state.

It’s times like this that scare.

Because the way out is so far above me, and I don’t have a ladder.

It’s very dark here.

The Weight of it All

I’ve had to deal with weight issues all my life.

As a kid, it was the fact that I loved sweets so much.

Ugh, Ice cream is my Nemesis.

When I die, this is how I’ll probably go.

As a teenager in high school, I was called “the fat girl” in my class, even though I was a pretty healthy 130-135 lbs at 5’7″.

I’ve never been svelte, like some of my Scandinavian extended family members; instead being closer to the stockier build of my Germanic/Austrian family.

Age 17, I’m the one on the left. My cousin on the right is German/Italian.

Looking back, I don’t see a fat girl when I look at myself, but I was sure made to feel that way by others.

After having my third child, my weight ballooned. Part of it was getting older, having kids, & not fighting super hard after the third one to get back to my pre-baby weight.

Part of it was emotional abuse I suffered during my marriage.

And, the weight was a “convenient” way to subtly protect myself, and fight back.

The weight prevented anyone from getting “too close”.

It prevented anyone from seeking to get to know me, because there’s that invisible dividing line that stands around fat people…

Fat people are lazy

Fat people are not attractive

Fat people aren’t worth the time, because if they don’t care about themselves, why should anyone else?

And so on…

I lost a bunch of weight after my divorce, too. I went on a program of supplements, worked out really hard, & lost almost 70 lbs, at one point. I felt better physically, sometimes, & mentally, a little.

And then, shit started to go downhill.

I had a bunch of things happen that affected me both physically and mentally, that just…stopped… any progress I’d made.

And, I started to go backwards as far as my weight was concerned.

Physical limitations due to my Rheumatoid Arthritis didn’t help.

And mentally?

Well, the weight was yet another wall between me & the outside world.

People couldn’t, wouldn’t get close enough to hurt me if my weight was keeping them away, right?

Right.

Yet another unhealthy coping mechanism I adopted.

*sigh*

But, unfortunately… It’s very effective.

Sister Sarcasm

I’m sarcastic. This is a given fact, and if you’ve ever met me in real life, it’s fairly obvious after about 5 minute’s worth of talking.

When I’m at work, in front of customers or certain coworkers, I mask.

Masking – a process in which an individual changes or “masks” their natural personality to conform to social pressures, abuse or harassment.

If I’m in an unknown social situation where I’m expected to “conform” to social norms, I mask.

But catch me in a known, comfortable, or laid-back social setting (ex., with friends, or my kids)? And you’ll get the Sarcastic Sister.

And… I use it to deflect criticism, as well.

In fact, I will use sarcastic self-deprecation to head off criticism from others.

I mean, if I’m cutting myself down… what good is it for someone else to attempt microaggressions & insults?

After all, I got there first, and with far better sarcastic insults about myself than anyone else can come up with. Who knows me better than me? Who knows right where to stick the knife so as to thwart further injury by outsiders?

Yup.

I emotionally cut myself to prevent others from doing so.

That’s priceless logic, ain’t it?

So, to show what I mean, a friend of mine upon moving away, gave me a box of affirmations. In the “advent calendar” style, you can pop one open & read something nice, that’s supposed to boost your mood about yourself.

So, of course, I’ve started opening them, & immediately twisting them.

Cause of how I do.

Pandora’s box, Trojan horse…same feel.
My body doesn’t make the sweet feelings anymore, so I use store-bought.
Because – science.
Cloning – not for everyone.
*sigh* is the picture clear enough, or..maybe a couple more.
No caption necessary
My personal favorite – simple & eloquent

One day, I decided the shit was deep enough around me, so I’d take it easy on myself…

Nice enough, yeah?

One of my coworkers asked me yesterday

“How the hell.do you think these things up? Do they just pop into your brain as soon as you read the cards?”

*sigh* yeah.

It’s called Maladaptive Cognition.

There’s always that small “voice” in my brain that pipes up to knock me “back into my lane”.

Another coworker told me I should write “sarcastic self-affirmations”, cause they’d sell like crazy. Meh. I know they might, but why risk yet another form of rejection among so many others?

I usually just shrug it off in front of others, & lay it off to “Well, I’m just twisted.”

They agree, & we go on about our business. They’ve been entertained with my antics, & I’ve prevented someone else from hurting my feelings by beating them down a little myself.

It keeps the hyenas off my lawn.

Sarcasm – the ultimate self defense.