The Return to Now: How I Created Shifts Within - Part 1

Wow. It's been almost a year since my last entry, Hulk Smash and Detox Baths, when I was in a weird space. Actually, that's being too gentle. I was scared shitless. I was stewing in dark yuck physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was stressed to the max regarding my business. I was truly just floating through my days trying to keep my eyes up and out toward the horizon, but it honestly didn't help. I felt detached from all emotions, others, and myself. I planned a trip to California late December through the first half of January as a way to stay focused on a future endeavor, to help pull me from the underworld.

I read a lot of brilliant novels by Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking and Play It As It Lays) and reread one of my favorite novels, White Oleander by Janet Fitch. All aligned properly with the beauty of my sunken spirit as I often like to read things that help me feel like I'm not alone. I wrote a few poems. I sat in the sun. I went for walks to release nervous energy. And I drifted. I can look back now and see that I had absolutely let go to the current. I picture myself on a makeshift raft floating in the ocean, letting life take me where it will.

I never did receive answers. My low white blood cell count was flagged as odd, and I was passed from one specialist to another to discuss my symptoms over and over again. I hated it. I hated the waiting room and being told over and over again that my veins are small and that they have to poke the other arm. The last straw was being told by a hematologist that he'd like to do a bone marrow biopsy to see if I have indicators of leukemia simply because nothing else he tested explained anything, so as a hematologist, his job is to rule out all things related to blood.

I checked out. Said no thanks. Booked appointments with a holistic doc and an acupuncturist and decided that I didn't want to associate with pain or illness any longer. The acupuncture succeeded in providing a space for calm contemplation and relaxation which I decided I could create on my own without having to spend the money I actually would need for my trip to California, and the holistic doc listened to me, counseled me, explained my blood work, and offered multiple remedies for various ailments, 90% of which helped. I'll create a post about those goodies later. <3 

Late summer brought about a new set of rules for my life: Quit reading about diseases. Quit obsessing over your ailments. Stop stressing about what you can't control. Express your gratitude. Focus on one thing at a time, right here, right now.

I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin that lit a fire under my ass to tackle anything left undone that I think doesn't bother me, but does when I really stop to think about it. Rubin calls them "nagging tasks." She also suggests writing your list of Adult Secrets: things learned up until the present moment. Mine surprised and satisfied me:

  1. Things are always in flux.
  2. Letting go is not failure.
  3. Reading pulls you out of your darkest places.
  4. Resistance is wasted energy. 
  5. Coffee is an incredible tool (when, the Katy today will add, used with purpose and good intentions) In other words, ENJOY IT and DON'T ABUSE IT THOUGHTLESSLY.
  6. Movement is a powerful key to unlocking physical, mental, and spiritual stagnation.
  7. Homemade meals are honestly the best meals.
  8. Nostalgia can be dangerous.
  9. Expectations often lead to disappointment.
  10. Laughing at yourself makes life easier.
  11. Writing is therapy.
  12. Always be drinking water.
  13. Loneliness is real.
  14. Honesty is difficult yet rewarding.
  15. Aside from the cyclical nature of nature, the only constant is being, and you can be afraid of that or find peace in it.
  16. Being vulnerable is a hard but necessary process for growth.
  17. Parties and events create mass amounts of joy.
  18. Tragedy carves a space in your bones and settles.
  19. You can't please everyone.
  20. Play is a requirement for sanity.

I expressed gratitude in my journal and out loud almost daily. I indulged, of course, in moments of intense joy and beauty and love and will never forget them: camping with family, long bike rides with best friends, an outdoor festival, rebuilding our deck, hikes, funny movies, and always so much delicious food. I wrote out snapshots of these joyous moments from my day to day life or weekend activities as a way to recenter myself and pull myself out of my old habit of settling on negative ramblings. 

Most importantly, I practiced what I preached. And I wasn't always totally successful, but I forgave myself and continued practicing the next day. 

As summer and fall wore off and Wisconsin settled into the usual dreariness of the start of winter and I into the lack of routine that comes without steady work, I turned resentful. I resented negative ramblings from others because I was practicing releasing negative energies. I resented people constantly on their phones instead of being present in the moment with me. I resented people working late and feeling exhausted daily.

On December 21st, I wrote:

This past week has truly prepared me for my trip. I couldn't be more ready to leave and for a number of reasons. The biggest is that I need to be away from this life--my house, Dale, his job, Ziggy with that fucking cone on his head to keep him from licking himself obsessively, doing dishes, making people make dinner with me, cleaning crumbs off the damn coffee table every. fucking. morning.

Honestly, I'm kind of tired of it all, and I know I can't change any of it, so I have to change myself. The only way I know how to do that is to do something out of my ordinary. I'm falling into my usual wintertime resentful state, likely because I'm not working as much. I have so much beauty, kindness, intimacy, and sexualness that I hold back because we have a roommate or the day has been too fucking long or I honestly can't get in that headspace because I take care of too. much. shit. Yesterday, I thought, "Man, these guys won't survive without me," and then I realized how ridiculous that was and how everything I do in the manner I do it is mostly for me. They're going to live how they like to live without me around. We like to think we're more important than we are, but it's not about how we do things, it's who we are as a person.

Alas, I'm tired of being a "mom," but I think I act that way in an attempt to get these two to grow up. And what I really mean by that is, I'm tired of having a relationship with people addicted to the couch and devices. It's overwhelming me with sadness. I force living on others and am often given shit before agreeing to go live life with me. I can't accept this. I can't let it go. I can't be the only person who wants new experiences. I'm seeking inspiration and motivation and never receive them at home. Passionate people are important to me.

So let's conclude this lengthy rant with this: my frustrations lie in the fact that I have no idea how to express my passions of all kinds when I feel like I'm living in a vanilla world. It's bigger than the people around me, and it is, by no means, anyone's fault. I just wish people were as itchy as me. Once again, I feel alone. Once again, I feel restless. I'll work it out. I need space for my soul to breathe.

Fast forward to now, and I could point out all the moments I was projecting my own internal issues onto those around me and explain how everything happening around me was simply a mirror reflecting myself back at me. THAT realization is always fun.

The point of all of this: Let yourself feel and hash out and live and laugh and love even while simultaneously cringing and drying up inside, breathe into the ugliness and the beauty, the light and the darkness, the good and the bad, because the truth is, you can't have one without the other. Be gentle, dear soul, and know that you're right where you need to be.

As for California and the start of 2016...more on that to come...


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