Dust to Dust

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Last weekend, I started a yoga teacher training program.

A friend had told me about this program just about a month and a half ago. When she emailed me about it, I instantly KNEW. I needed to do this. I had no idea why. I had no idea where I’d get the money from. But, I needed to do this training.

It’s a unique training, to be sure. It’s not just about asana, or physical, practice. So we’re not getting together and just doing yoga all day. It’s holistic yoga – yoga in life, as a whole. Yoga as a spiritual practice. As my teacher says, capital “Y” Yoga.

Class format is 1 intensive weekend a month, and one Sunday. Last weekend was our first intensive weekend. When I saw an Andrea Gibson poem among the handouts for the class, I felt even more intensely that this was just where I was meant to be.

The weekend proved this out. My class quickly became a family. We did asana together once a day, and the rest of the time talked about life. About being your true Self. About SHOWING UP. How to show up. How Yoga helps you show up for your life. How spirituality is not about getting out of your life, but about showing up to it.

From Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

I felt a sense of connection that I have deeply missed. I got my heart broken open in the best way. I deeply crave connection, and yet so often I feel like it’s out of my reach. I have a deep achey loneliness that lives in my center like an icy core. I get paralyzed by it. I get suffocated by it. If you’ve ever had the experience where you’ve contacted me, and I’ve not texted, emailed, or Facebooked you back, that’s what this is about. I crave your presence. But I feel overwhelmed when I think about letting it in. I literally get tired and it feels exhausting to return communication. (and you wonder why I haven’t been writing as much lately…)

For a moment last Sunday, I let tears wash my soul and clear out a space for people to come in. It felt like I could breathe again after being underwater for a long, long time.

I am realizing that my hardship in connecting with others is really my hardship in connecting with myself and with Life at large. I was asked to write about one of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for class. Last night, one was almost hand-delivered to me; I stumbled on it through a blog post. Ishvara Pranidhana Dva – the surrender/offer of self to a higher Source as a path to samadhi, enlightenment. Or, basically, surrendering to the flow of life. Um. Yikes. That’s terrifying. What if life screws me over?

And this is where my history comes in.

Really, the more I walk this path, the more I feel I was meant to walk this path at this time, specifically. I read this sutra last night, which encourages offering yourself to Source. I went to bed shortly after. When I laid down to sleep, I laid on my stomach with my arms above my head, setting an intention to offer myself to Source.

I fell into the deepest sleep I’ve had in weeks and promptly had a nightmare about a shooting, perpetrated by someone who, in my dream, was in a close friend group (he was not someone I know or recognize from real life).

Funny enough I take it as a sign that it was exactly the Yoga sutra I needed to read and write about, because this is just where my Yoga lies right now. The lack of safety and trust I feel in Life, generally.

How strange then, that today I discover further information about trauma and yoga and the body. Krista Tippett’s latest podcast featured Bessel Van der Kolk, a psychiatrist who is discovering how Yoga can heal trauma. The episode is here and I highly encourage that you listen.

During the program, Mr. Van der Kolk addressed how trauma victims disconnect themselves from their bodies. Trauma impairs the imagining of how your physical body feels, as well as impairing the self-observational parts of your brain that are aware of what is happening inside. Trauma activates the primitive brain (limbic system) and at times, so overactivates this system that the rational mind (prefrontal cortex) doesn’t kick in. In other words – full scale freakout, and rationality is nowhere to be found. Because of this, trauma victims can be “hijacked” by previous experiences at almost any time. When triggered, the limbic system is activated and then control is lost. Because of the constant state of “heartache and gutwrench” that trauma victims go through, they shut down their body so as not to feel it. At times this is through alcohol or drugs, at others it’s shutting down emotional awareness in the body.

*takes a deep breath* You got all that? I know it’s all science-y speak… but mostly it just says, trauma victims are disconnected from their bodies, or even try to disconnect from them because traumatic situations affect the physical body and cause pain.

From personal experience I can tell you that this is the truth. A few months ago, I wrote a spoken word piece about my sisters, in which I penned “my DNA still trembles from the paralyzing shock” and other similar phrases. Many times I do get the sense that I can literally feel it in my body.

And in yoga, sometimes it’s emotionally excruciating for me. Deeply cleansing, but wow. Coming back to your body is deeply painful after having disconnected from it. I think to begin with, I was using alcohol to disconnect from my body. After I stopped drinking, I shut off emotional awareness of my body. It’s funny, because I actually have quite high body awareness of what emotion is stored in what area. But I know it, so I can silence it. NOT so I can connect with it.

The connection actually feels so excruciating that I had a really rough meditation experience back in June, one that kept me from meditating for about 2 months. I was doing a meditation day, and we started with meditating through a full body scan. I thought to myself, “Oh, cool, this will be good.” Nope. It was at that point that I realized just HOW MUCH trauma was residing in my body. Wave upon wave of emotional pain washed over me. I had no resources with which to deal with it, and the situation it occurred in was very unsupportive for me. In many ways my body felt it had been re-traumatized.

Mr. Van der Kolk says that the feeling of being safe in the body is not there, for a trauma victim. He talks about how it is hard for a traumatized person to relax fully during savasana (corpse pose). When he spoke of this, tears jumped to my eyes. Savasana is hard for me. I cannot relax most of the time. When I do, it’s a beautiful, healing, cleansing experience and many times I cry. But it’s hard for me to fully wind down most of the time. There’s a sense of itchiness and discomfort, groundlessness, in the pit of my stomach.

Certain poses, too, trigger things in me. Twice last week, I did a pose (Supta Padangustasana, in case you were wondering) in which my outer hips were stretched. It’s probably the tightest part of my body, first off, and I can barely move into the stretch. Each time I do it, I have flashbacks that make me tear up. They’re not horrible flashbacks, but that stretch really touches into the lack of safety I feel in my body. (Yogi friends – root chakra, anyone?)

But… this is actually a good thing because I can feel like I’m in my body again. And another good thing about yoga is that it actually changes something called heart rate variability. This is where the heartbeat and the breath sync up and create a more mindful and calm experience. Yoga is a way to feel the life inside yourself, to connect again to the body. It’s not just effective on a verbal level, it deals with the whole body where things get stored physically.

Bessel Van der Kolk says at the end of his broadcast that the feeling of safety and at the same time interconnectivity to others and life is really the essence of trauma healing.

It seems that I have landed in a program that will promote both. My Yoga training is my satsang – spiritual community. And it’s through the practice of Yoga as a whole that I am reconnecting with my body. It follows then that I’ll be able to reconnect with others.

I feel it’s summed up in a beautiful song that brought tears streaming down my cheeks on Monday. It’s called Dust to Dust, which I have to say I find really profound; in the creation myth in Genesis, our bodies are made of dust and to dust we return. Again, the return to the body and the return to connection.

Breakthrough

Last night I decided to give my new tarot deck one more round of “let’s see what it comes up with” before bed. For those of you who don’t follow my Twitter, I’ve been obsessed with tarot card reading lately. And by lately I mostly mean the last 3 days since I bought this deck of cards.


(Can be purchased at Osho.com)

A friend of mine had used these cards before, so I was familiar with them. This particular tarot is very heavily Zen Buddhist based, one reason I like it. I also love tarot because I’ve always been a highly intuitional person, and it really resonates with that part of me. Hence, the obsession I’ve had with them the past few days…but really maybe always without knowing it. When I had the cards in my hands, I truly felt as if they’d been waiting for me.

So, back to last night. I poured my energy into the cards, shuffling away one last time before bed. I decided to use a paradox setup – 3 cards, one representing past, one representing present, one representing the insight into the paradox. As I shuffled, a card danced its way right out of my hands and fell upright on the floor.

I stared.

I had read earlier yesterday that when a card falls out of the deck like that when shuffling, it’s probably significant. Well, no doubt. Even the picture on the front screamed its obvious significance.

I also knew right away that this was the “present” card of the set of 3. I laid it down, still staring. I continued to shuffle then drew the other 2 cards.

Past:

Insight:

The present card was obviously the highlight of this reading. But the other 2 cards were also loaded. I’ve been flowering – obviously. That’s the past image. True of the past long while, especially of the last 2 years. Insight – I’ve still felt like an outsider. On the edges of life. Unable to fully connect with people. You can’t tell in this picture, but the lock on that gate is ACTUALLY unlocked, the child (inner child?) just doesn’t realize it.

And present is breakthrough.

Today, I got it.

I woke up this morning and immediately felt cautious. My first thought on waking was wondering, “Will today be as good as yesterday? What if it’s not?” Fear came on me instantly. I’ve been struggling hard with fear for the last few months in general, and this one in particular struck right at my fear of loss. What if I lose what good I have?

All morning I tried to combat this feeling. I tried to make the fear go away. My mind whirred and turned over itself trying to analyze it away, to stave it off. Really, I was obsessing. Trying to create a barrier between the fear and myself. Trying to analyze its roots, trying to MAKE IT GO AWAY.

(This is how I always treat uncomfortable feelings. Analyze obsessively to find the root so I can MAKE IT GO AWAY. I can remember starting this as a teenager and I haven’t stopped since. Find the root to make it disappear. Self-awareness is a curse sometimes when your perfectionist nature uses it in such a cruel way. In making pain disappear, I’ve had to make myself disappear too.)

I was a mental wreck and I hated my poor overwraught mind as I watched it torture itself. I tried to have compassion, but I was really frankly rather disgusted. Thankfully, I had grabbed The Untethered Soul and left it in my car so I could read it on break. I’ve been reading this book for the past month or so (because of Sarah Somewhere – thank you beyond words!) and it has been immensely comforting.

I read voraciously on break, trying to find some way out of this awful fear prison I was tangled up in… terrified that the fear was real and I’d lose everything. That the Universe doesn’t give a crap about me and nothing good is headed my way.

But while I was reading, something finally clicked.

I was afraid because I didn’t want to lose. I didn’t want to lose because that would hurt. BAD. And I know how bad, oh, I know. I’ve experienced quite enough to know. To keep myself away from that pain, my brain could whir on and on forever, creating layers of self-protection.

This morning, I read through a chapter in this book and some words at the end rocked me, and I got it:

You must be willing to accept pain in order to pass through to the other side. Just accept that it is there and that you are going to feel it. Accept that if you relax, it will have its moments before your awareness, then it will pass. It always does.”

My entire perspective changed in that moment and I relaxed. I let the pain in. Instead of contracting around it like usual, I relaxed. Expanded. For a few moments, I shook and tears came to my eyes. Then it settled down to a soft burn, and it’s been there burning all day. Slowly burning all that I’ve been so afraid of.

I feel different. Like anything could happen and I would be okay because… it’s just pain. I can handle the pain. I will feel it, and it will pass, like it always does.

It felt exactly like the picture on that card.

Legacy

We’re not up for that.

The countless times I heard that phrase as a child. It started with disinterest. It became a lack of time. It became a lack of motivation. It became a lack of energy.

It was too hard to interact with the world, to interact with life, to interact with others. So much easier to shut it all out. I think my dad was really, really afraid.

I see his legacies still hanging as paintings in corners of my mind.

BIG

 

They’re lovely dreams, really. My dad just thought that because something was painted in technicolor, it was real. Or perhaps it’s just that he wanted them to be and was afraid of what real truly was.

Some days I don’t blame him, either. Living in a low-income apartment complex carries a certain amount of stress with it. Children throw rocks in the street for entertainment. Heroin needles are littered by the trash can. We were awakened in the middle of the night to drug busts, hysterical drunk women calling for taxis, and overdramatic boyfriends driving pickup trucks across the lawn. Murders happened first down the street in shocking drive-by fashion. Then one day an apartment is boarded up and you’re told it’s because someone murdered his wife/girlfriend. Posters for sexual predators are hung on light poles, and your sisters are followed home by strange men.

I can’t understand why we stayed so long. 10 years in the same apartment. 1997 – 2007. In the beginning, we were on food stamps. At the end, my dad made almost 100K a year. And yet he felt somehow trapped. Perhaps those paintings had become reality.

Or maybe it’s just that when you shut yourself away from life, from reality, the light can never reach you enough for you to grow. Energy disappears because you have nothing to innervate you.

I’ve gone through periods of anger at my dad for his fantasies of riches.

1.7 billion dollars, Dad? Really? And did you really have to maniacally twist my life around the stunted tree you were growing from the seeds of your delusion? Did you have to ruin my life for your dream? I had to listen to you every damn night for 10-15 years, talking about what coincidence that day “PROVED” that God was going to give us this money.

So many words became loaded with the bullets of your desperation. Persia. Imminent. 1.7. Montana. Any time Iran was in the news, I knew about it. Every Montana license plate or moving truck that drove past our car, becoming an endless blur of reasons. Riddling me with holes.

We were

We were all shot through with the emptiness by the times my sisters were shot in reality.

Maybe that’s gratuitous of me to say, but we were all slowly dying anyway. When your 16 year old sister is desperate to move to Virginia to live with her best friend, there’s a problem. When you’re slowly suffocating inside your life, there’s a problem. I lived in a glass box.

I heard “no” so often. No, it was a family day so I couldn’t go to a concert with my then-boyfriend. No, our family was busy so I couldn’t go hang out with this or that friend.

Louder were the silent “noes” inflicted. No friends nearby because church was 2 hours away and we were homeschooled. No boys because courtship was the name of the game. No speaking up because Dad was head of the house – ok… that wasn’t a silent no, it just became one after we spoke out one too many times and had to face wrath.

My parents slammed the door in the face of Life, a wragged wraith disguising the sorceress beneath. They became the beast, but I was the one locked in the castle for years while the rose dropped petals and I waited for love to find me.

It’s legacy.

I still struggle to open the door.

I have flashes of insane rage at my dad for doing this to me. But somewhere down the line I calm down because I realize I’m still doing it. I am my father’s child, just as he was his father’s child.

My dad used to come home in the 1960’s, and no one was there to greet him. My grandma says he used to ride the streets on his bike trying to stay away from my grandpa. My aunt says the atmosphere at home was abusive. I don’t know what the truth is, but I know that my uncle is a sociopath and my dad has very obvious delusions.

So it’s no wonder that my dad carried this legacy on. The anger that he unleashed on us if we “crossed him” although it almost always was never our fault. The way he pushed away life as if he couldn’t bear it. He had never been able to. He had never been taught to. And reality gets very heavy sometimes. Especially when your dreams fail, and you have to eke out a living on food stamps for awhile after making 20K a month, as he had in his younger years.

He just closed his eyes and shut it all away. And in fear, he shut all of us away, too, lest we threaten his world with our unique version of earthquake. With our uniqueness in general. He disguised our prison with beautiful visions of future wealth, and they became our virtual reality.

I have learned well to shut out the light. I still do it. I was taught all the right phrases. “It’s too much for me right now.” Maybe though I’m just really, really afraid. Because I have learned how the pain of loss aches through your bones long after the loss has passed. To let light in means I might lose it soon.

Why do I feel such exhaustion? Maybe it’s not because I’m too tired to open the door. Maybe it’s precisely because the door is closed. Growing things can’t create food without the sun.

It’s been so long, though, and I was taught the ways of caged life so well that I struggle to learn what it means to live free. Liberated. I still stand behind the door feeling too tired to pull it open. Or that’s what I tell myself because that’s what I’ve learned to label it as. That’s the story I’ve learned about this dogged weariness.

I'm frozen in fear of even the beauty of

I’m not in constant anger at my dad anymore. Compassion is more often the norm. I have no desire for anything more than a shallow conversation with him, and I will never ask his advice. But I understand it now, the way that reality can feel like a stalker haunting your steps. I understand because I run away from it, too. Reality can equal hollow, endless loss.

I shut out good too, though. Just as the Universe extends its warm loving arms. I don’t know how to accept it because I’m always waiting for the backstab.

It’s legacy.

And I know it’s time I start a new one, for the sake of my future children. It’s what I continue to strive for. Backstab is no legacy to pass on.

But please hold me in the light, because some days it feels like too much for me to find on my own. Just know that I am trying.


 

An update to how I’m working through things with my dad now – It’s Complicated

I… am a Sisterwife

You might have heard rumblings around the blog world of this whole “Sisterwives” thing. “Who are the Sisterwives? Is this some joke?” you might ask.

Although we do like jokes (and that’s pretty clear by the fact we call ourselves Sisterwives), we are so much more than a joke. In fact, the Sisterwives are a group of truly bad-ass women, coming together to make the world a better place and to remind everyone, everywhere, that they too have a voice. As evidenced by my last guest post (which I encourage you to go read, right now!), having a voice is something I am deeply passionate about. I have been lucky enough to unite with these women in that same cause. I am so proud to say that I, too, am a Sisterwife!

Our site went live today. Comments are closed here so you can go comment there! Please go visit, drink in, enjoy: The Sisterwives

Professional Death Defier

I have had my share of craziness in this lifetime, and as my therapist loves to remind me, just because a lot has already happened doesn’t mean I will be exempt. This theory has proven out quite regularly.

For instance, I had a neighbor last September who had a shoot out with the police. A neighbor who literally shared a wall with my apartment. Thankfully, I heard gunshots and got the hell outta dodge to stay with some friends. I came back the next morning and my street was blocked off, with a big black truck sitting on the street next to my apartment house. I dealt with the whole ordeal fairly well; after hearing the first gunshots I hid for about 5 minutes and then decided calling the police was a good move. I stayed with friends for a week and a half. I didn’t unravel.

But I still had a moment when I saw that blocked off street where I couldn’t stop the cursing that flowed proficiently from my mouth, and the trembling that spread through my fingers, and the hysteria grasping at my mind.

I felt like a big black X marking the spot where missiles go to die.

But you know that the badass thing is that I defied death for the SECOND time in my life. (You could say more if you count my stupidity in drunk driving, but since I’m counting things out of my control, we’ll skip that for now) I walked around singing Titanium for the next week and wearing my Bulletproof perfume (made by Tokyomilk, if you were wondering).

“I AM TITAANNIIIIIUMMMMM!!!!” I belted, with great aplomb. Basically I was saying, “COME AT ME, BITCHES! You can’t take me down!”

 

Last night I again proved that I am in the business of defying death. I kinda feel like Batman.

 

(I say Batman because he’s my favorite and he’s cool and superhero-y but also normal. We’re pretty much twins. Also, coming back from the dead, anyone?)

For the second time in a year, drama went down at my apartment. It began with strange banging noises that I at first paid no mind to. My cat started freaking out and I started paying attention. I thought I heard something at my back door, which also happens to be in my bedroom. I crept in there and flipped on the light. Then I flipped it off and peered out the window. Nothing. So I flipped on the light again and pulled the curtains over my blinds.

The banging continued, along with some glass crashing and the neighbor dog barking. I was very aware of all the noise and a little wigged out but figured it was some drama upstairs. The sound moved downstairs, into the uninhabited cellar basement below my apartment. Then I stood up and felt a very distinct, very heavy shake underneath my feet. Instantly I knew that someone was in the basement who was not supposed to be.

This basement is reached by cellar doors, DIRECTLY outside my back door. The handle for the cellar door is maybe 6 inches from my back steps.

I freaked out. I grabbed my cell phone and purse and left, cautiously, through the front door. The hallway was dark. I tried to flip the lights and they weren’t working. So I made a beeline straight for me car, almost peeled away from the curb, drove around the block and called the police.

Honestly at this point, I almost feel like the dispatcher is my homegirl. “Yooo heyyy girl wassup it’s Laurie again. Yeah another emergency I’m defying, not much else up tonight, you?” We’re tight.

I gave her all the information and hoped she would tell me when I could go home, but, unfortunately she could not. Since she couldn’t, I drove around the block to see what was happening.

Only to see an extraordinarily familiar sight – my street blocked off and my apartment surrounded by cop cars.

This gave me an extreme head rush and again, cued excessive cursing. I tried to figure out what to do, who to contact, who to call. That’s almost impossible when you have adrenaline doing a mad dance through your bloodstream. After searching my very rattled brain for ideas, I sent a text to people I randomly picked from my address book. Looking back at them this morning, it was a little nonsensical, kind of like drunk texting. Then I drove back towards my apartment so I could talk to a cop and see what the hell was happening and when I could come back.

I met up with housemates across the street from my apartment as police continued to surround it and go for the guy in the basement. They had apparently told my housemates to go across the street. My poor housemates, I hysterically babbled to them while I tried to figure out how to find a cop to talk to without getting myself in major trouble or freaking all the cops out. I also bummed a cigarette off of them; they were both smoking and my hysterical mouth beyond my control spit out, “Can I have a cigarette?”

I get really, really weird when I’m hysterical.

What I found out from housemates was that the guy was apparently running from the police, had asked my neighbor upstairs to let him in and when she wouldn’t, went down to the basement and tried to hide. From other reports there may or may not have been gunfire involved; I gratefully did not hear this. What I heard in itself was PLENTY.

I finally talked to a policeman, got his card, and headed to a friend’s house for the night. My adrenaline was still pumping. I’m sure the cigarette didn’t help. My thoughts were totally spacy and went from thing to thing without a consistent logic. (My friend also said this morning that my eyes looked a little crazed last night.)

I walked into my friend’s house and immediately sat down on the floor and did not want to move. She wrapped a robe around my shoulders and gave me a cup of chamomile tea, and regaled me with stories of her life which thoroughly distracted me until I calmed down enough to sleep.

Today, I’m back to my defiance. My life is so ironic that I can’t help but be amused. All I have to say is…

Cuz bitch, I am a PRO-FESS-IONAL DEATH DEFIER.

 

What about you? Any death defying stories? Any crazy neighbors? You know you’re dying to tell me about it! <–see what I did there? Ha, ha…

The Dating Plan

In my few posts on love addiction, I’ve referenced my dating plan a couple of times. This post is to clarify what exactly I mean by a dating plan. In my love addiction recovery work, I work through the 12 steps, based on the ones founded by Alcoholics Anonymous. Once I got past step 5, my sponsor announced that I was ready to make a dating plan. In my alcohol recovery, I have at times been asked to make a list of my “ideals” for a future mate. This list was then presented back to me and I was told that these were the things I needed to build in myself.

Think of the dating plan as the same thing, but on steroids.

See, before the steps, before the dating plan, I had this idea of a perfect fantasy man. Of course, he would fall at my feet and serve me and give me all the love I could ever want. Every day would be like this:

cinderellastory
(Source)

Not that that’s bad. But expecting every DAY to be that way is a little lot unrealistic. Nowadays, I can’t go around expecting a man to give me a fix anymore. Tell me I’m beautiful and get me all high on that affirmation. Or get high on all the dramatic ups and downs of the relationship – the intense romantic moments that reek of toxicity, as well as the heightened rage. Or even more so… stay with a man whom I don’t love, who doesn’t love me, who is stuck in active addiction… all because I am terrified to live life alone.

I spent steps 1 – 5 recognizing powerlessness, asking for help, surrendering, making inventories, and telling on myself. In short, learning how to build myself from the ground up. A lot of my work, too, was learning how to be alone. In my sobriety work, I not only have bottom lines (things I refrain from to sustain sobriety), I also have top lines: things that I do to actively promote a healthy, fulfilled life that I can love being in whether I am with someone or not. Almost all of my first year was spent on steps 1 – 5. I didn’t make a dating plan until after that. All the while I was also working on consistently doing my top line behaviors – journaling, time with friends, yoga, creativity, visiting the ocean, writing, blogging, music, calling my sponsor, going to meetings.

But even after all of that work, I’m not “cured.” Humans aren’t meant to leave relationship in the dust forever, though. So how in the world does a love addict navigate the world of dating? It would almost be like an alcoholic being a cupbearer in the old days – i.e. tasting the wine for someone. Which we all know is a horrible plan for an alcoholic. We’re likely to guzzle the whole damn cup, not even realizing it’s poisoned. So how does a love addict steer clear of guzzling poison?

redpillbluepill
(Source)

Enter the dating plan.

I am not smart enough to see my addictive patterns on my own all the time. I could easily get lost (also why I go to meetings). Part of my dating plan was to go over all of my addictive patterns and cycles so I could see them. To look at red flags of when things are not going well in relationships. Having bottom lines in dating that I need to steer clear of. Maintaining a list of absolute deal-breakers (things like active addiction, for instance). These things tell me what to be careful of… they are the wine in the cup that has been poisoned and the cupbearer spits out.

But also within the dating plan, I do list ideals, which for the alcoholic would be like drinking sparkling water. Ideal characteristics in a mate (things like spirituality, physical and emotional sobriety). Ideal characteristics in a relationship (someone who is my best friend). Ideal goals for emotional and physical intimacy, including specific timelines. And, an especially important part – my ideal life. Basically, a bucket list. Why is this a part of the plan? Personally, I think it’s because then I can see if my life goals align with someone else’s. I also get the added benefit of seeing what I really want to do with my life! 🙂 What I am passionate about and what really makes me tick. It’s important to know this stuff before you find out how someone else ticks. And if you tick on the same beat.

At this point in the game, I am not settling.

marryself
(Source)

Nor can I, for the sake of my sobriety. One of my bottom lines is not to go against the dating plan, so it’s pretty damn important. If I go against the dating plan, I’m in huge danger of losing myself and my sobriety.

But my dating plan, and my entire program, have done something else that was really important for me. They gave me a detailed how-to on facing real, healthy relationship. I’ve never been able to do real, healthy relationship and I felt like I was shooting wildly in the dark at first trying to find some kind of game plan for it. Now I have clear guidelines. Look for this, but not for that. I also know that relationship with myself FIRST is the most important thing. If I don’t have that, I don’t have anything really.

And I can be happy alone – which is a complete miracle!

So here’s the dealio, Stealio… aka the New Year’s/Year End post

[Disclaimer: the second half of this post includes GIFs!!!!]

I don’t choose words for the year. Okay. Well sometimes I do. But the last time that happened was in 2007 and my word was “hope.” Interesting word for a year that was the worst of my life. I suppose it was fitting because I needed hope like a lifeline by December 31.

I love words though. Two words dropped down from the heavens like shooting stars last night. Right before bedtime, of course. I had to run and grab my journal to mark the first one down before I forgot. Audacity. Audacity is, in my opinion, entirely overused. But it’s still charming. Because the connotation makes it a little more jaw-dropping than brazen. Yet it doesn’t have quite the scandalous ring that brazen does. Brazen just sounds like a woman’s eyes in the red light district. Audacity sounds more like the unexpected. What happens when an old woman drives a 60’s red convertible mustang at over 100 mph down a country dirt road screaming, “WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Yeah. That’s audacity.

The other word was querulous. I just now had to look this one up in the dictionary to get the meaning. What I love about it is how it sounds (I most certainly will NOT be picking this one for my word of the year). Que-ruuu-lussss. Snotty in the extreme. The meaning gives me a picture of the elderly grandmother in Anne of Avonlea the movie. (Or Anne of Windy Poplars, if you’ve read the books) She was querulous.

I may love words, but I’m not sure I want to pick a word for the year. It’s a bit damning. Even though I really, really love audacity right now and it may just become my word of the year through osmosis. (Because I am stubborn and will not pick it) So you might see audacity returning throughout 2014. I have some ideas for that word.

Speaking of ideas… one thing I would like to do in 2014 is to make this little blog a little more official. A redesign and my OWN DOMAIN. Yikes. That’s a little scary. And also where I might be thinking about using audacity. I really want to push forward with my writing and see if I can make anything of it. If yes, cool. If not, no harm no fowl. Thankfully, domain names are only about $15 a pop for the year. Could be a nice experiment.

As for 2013… it’s been quite an interesting year. I was writing out some highlights yesterday, and since I’ve been recently obsessed with/crushing on reading Aussa Loren’s new blog, what I wrote all came out as sarcasm. 😀 That is not this version since I left that version at home, safe in my Mac which is probably being warmed by my kitty as I type. Plenty of sarcasm is still dead ahead, though. Also, lots of Happy Endings memes, since I don’t have cable and can’t watch the marathon tomorrow (Fail. Epic. Fail.).

My life has been extraordinarily adventurous this year (and always, but who is counting).

Tumblr_drama_500

First off, my neighbors were crazier than yours. From the schizophrenic crazy woman who talked in a deep male sailor voice to herself…


(like this, but slightly younger. Everything else is accurate)

…to the psycho whose favorite pastime was shootouts with the police…


(pew pew pew!!)

And yes the twain were friends. It was an unlikely pairing: old schizophrenic witch woman and young, sunglasses-bedecked (AKA tweaking) male… but they both talked to themselves so in the end, they probably had great conversations.

After the shootout incident, I also wore THIS perfume

For like a week straight. I AM TITANIUM, BITCHES!

I was surrounded by insanity this year. And the burning of copious amounts of sage. Especially around the back wall of my bedroom, which I, ironically (not so ironically?) shared with crazy shootout guy.

The other weird thing that happened this year was that on December 9th, the anniversary of my sister’s deaths, I had to get stitches. I was rolling out of bed TO PRAY and hit my head on my nightstand/garden table (that has metal edges).

 

But on to other, more epic things from this year:

Marked one year of sobriety in the back of a hippie van singing beautiful music. It was spontaneous and amazing. I still feel sparkled with stardust at this moment and it happened 7 months ago. 🙂 Best Higher Power ever, y’all.

2qn2u6q

Started EMDR therapy with the coolest therapist ever. EMDR is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing… basically it’s reprogramming your brain. So thanks to EMDR, I’m much less neurotic than earlier this year.


I think…

Also, my therapist is both sensitive and sarcastic, which quite frankly is probably the best combination in the world. I get eye rolls and sarcastic renderings of myself one minute, and the next minute he’s tearing up at my tears. The. Best.

The Bestie in June. I went to Langley, B.C. the first week of June to spend some long-awaited time with my bestie of almost 20 years. We laughed, we cried… we pranced around Vancouver in 50’s swag. We looked like this:

Hermione, my kitty. Who forever seals my fate as the old cat lady. But with her leading me, I go willingly into that dark night. It was love at first sight at the adoption event in June. Then stark hatred for 3 months as I came to terms with sharing my space with this… creature. Then when psycho neighbor went all Live Free or Die Hard on everyone’s ass, Hermione was my sweet salvation… if she were a hero she might look like this…

except she’s not a boy. Also, I think I should have named her Prof. Trelawney instead… if you knew her you would know why.

Graduated from COOOLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEGGEEE!!!
After 5 years of being in college for my undergrad, I finally walked across the stage. This was so big for me because in the last 5 years, all this has happened:
Got engaged and married to ex-husband
Ramped up my drinking career – the worse my marriage got the more I drank
Realized ex was not going to stop shenanigans and started going to a 12-step group for wives of sex addicts
Realized ex would not change so filed for divorce
Divorced
More drinking
More men
And THEN I got sober in May and June 2012
And moved to NC for 3 months
Then moved back
Celebrated 18 months of sobriety
Then graduated on 2 years to the day that my divorce was final.

Talk about awesome.

So what does 2014 have in store?? I think audacity is definitely going to become my word by osmosis, just looking at this year. I will be starting grad school sometime between June and September, depending on where I choose to go. Now that’s pretty audacious if you ask me. Especially if I end up leaving the state to do it.

I also want to love with more audacity. My prayer for the past 2 weeks has been to open my heart (just not literally).
I want to take on life with more audacity. Take some risks.
I want to write with audacity – no holds barred, not obsessing about mistakes and grammar. And maybe a domain name and better branding. That’s pretty audacious because it’s taken a lot of work to get the followers I have (not many) and I don’t want to lose them but…

you know… audacity.

Happy 2014 everyone!!!! may it be filled with Happy Endings for everyone!!!