Trauma and a Date

I’ve been lucky in the last year that I’ve been living under some sort of a lucky star… the intensity of my ‘rehab’ if you will was not derailed (or even potentially derailed) by anything.  I was gifted with almost a year of stability to strengthen the parts inside me that needed strengthening.  To make habits that I had hoped would last a lifetime.  To define priorities and then work toward living based on those priorities.

One of the things that I have been very worried about in my own health and fitness journey has been what will happen when something tragic or traumatic happens.  Of course one traumatic event can not be compared to living in a steadily worsening abusive relationship but that time ruined me and I didn’t know if I trusted myself to be able to handle the sort of shit that life throws at you that you have to deal with while you keep moving forward.  What if this ‘new me’ was but a temporary sham I was living and the second that something bad happened, I fell apart again?

This is the very same reason that I have been uncomfortable up to this point in dating…What if I just gave myself away the second someone came along and asked… or worse… didn’t ask but just took.  What if I didn’t learn a single thing and I was just going to fall back into the same trap… That ‘what if’ has kept me from even considering dating…

Last week was emotional and difficult and that culminated in an incredibly complicated and traumatic weekend.  People at work keep asking how my weekend was and I’m certainly not going to share my personal life with them, but every time the question is posed, I am taken off guard and I become speechless as I look back on the train wreck of the last few days.

The good thing that came out of this… the one bit of silver lining I could find was that it didn’t level me.  It could have.  The sheer level of exhaustion I am dealing with could take my knees out from underneath me in an instant.  I will not allow it.  I will not allow something temporarily sad and traumatic to harm me. To derail me.  Did I cry?  Sure.  A LOT!  Did I take a nap?  Yes, of course.  Did I also eat all my Whole30 meals and grocery shop and do my food prep?  Yep.  Did I talk to my friends and my sister instead of going into hiding? Yes!

At the same time as this emotional trauma was happening, I just so happened to be starting to date for the first time in years.  (of course when it rains it pours!)  I am having a very nice time and I’ve met someone who is definitely considered a keeper and we have agreed to not see other people for now just to see where this goes… if it goes no where then fine but it deserves a chance to see if it goes somewhere and that means proper dedication to it.  Plus, there’s no way I could be a serial dater anyway…

I’m trying very hard to feel the fear and do it anyway… not that I’m planning on ignoring any signs that things may be off, but I have some serious hangups about dating, given my past and I will not allow them to derail me anymore than I allowed the trauma this weekend to derail me.  I will take quiet time to sit with my thoughts and feelings and work out if they are just errant self preservation and remnants of old me, or if they are genuine cause for concern.  I will allow my friends and family to meet this person sooner rather than later and I will be open minded about the entire situation, whichever way it goes… Because I owe that to myself. 

I think I’m starting to realize that I have learned my lessons… and I am strong enough to engage in even the tough parts of life and still make it out the other side in tact.

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Waiting for Superman

My friend says he’s confused as to why I”m not blissfully married yet… I told him it’s because I’ve been in hiding for years.  My sister said that in order to find love, to not worry about it and just keep living an open life… I was looking through pictures tonight and found all these selfies taken in 2013… I think if I can stay true to that girl in 2014 and stay out of hiding, I just might let my superman find me. (Music is from Daughtry’s new album Baptism)
(I certainly hope it’s just my ipad acting up and bouncing the photos around like that… I”ll fix it in the morning if it’s actually like that.)

Trust in the Timing. Always Trust.

I’ve been wanting to get another tattoo for some time now.  The one I got I love uncontrollably but I want to celebrate my new life.  When people had asked me what I was getting, my answer was that I could FEEL it in the back of my mind but I couldn’t SEE it yet… Frustrating right?  It’s so difficult to not be able to put words and descriptors to a feeling.  Even when I tried, I felt tongue tied and like I wasn’t meant to be talking about it.

Jumping the gun as I am wont to do, I booked a consultation with an artist that came on a recommendation from a friend of a friend before I could ‘see’ the design I was feeling.  I went down with my girlfriend and we chatted with him for an hour.  The style of her tattoos appeals to me and so she showed him hers, we talked about what was driving the tattoo, what I was celebrating, why I was where I am today and what I’d come through.  I really thought that he ‘got’ me.  As it turns out, I was either right and he did ‘get me’ but then didn’t spend any time on the work whatsoever… or he didn’t actually get me at all, which is reflected in his design.

The design is absolute garbage.  It has nothing to do with anything remotely meaningful to me at all.  I still couldn’t see my design through the haze but I knew for sure that this wasn’t it.  ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ was something I said to a friend about it.  I’ll just know.

So I sent the garbage design to my friend… mostly for a laugh… mostly because we’d just been talking about the design and the odd feeling I was getting from this artist.

Well as I’m sure you can gather, the reaction to the picture I sent wasn’t good, but then the most amazing thing happened.  The inspiration that I was searching for… the lens I needed to see what I could already feel.

“May I make a suggestion?” he said.

“Yes!  Of course” was my reply. 

“It’s simple.  I’m lending you the hummingbird coin back.  Use it to inspire you” he said.

 

And there it was.  A rush of emotion washed over me and I could finally see it.

I know what the design is, I’m in love with the inspiration and the meaning behind it and it all shone forth from the back of my mind… it broke free of the haze.

Maybe this all seems overly dramatic for a tattoo.  Maybe it IS overly dramatic for a tattoo.  The thing is that this tattoo is a part of my journey… a journey which is so important to the rest of my life.  I assured my friend many times that I wouldn’t get anything tattoo’d on me that I wasn’t in love with… that wasn’t the perfect thing.  And that was true.

I want to say that I shouldn’t have jumped the gun on going for that first consultation (since I’m actually on a wait list for the guy I REALLY want to do the work), I shouldn’t have tried to explain something that wasn’t ready for public consumption and I shouldn’t have tried to force the issue of seeing what it was.  But had I not had the awful design to show to my friend… to open the window to his simple suggestion, then I may not have gotten where I am now.  It’s a metaphor for life if you think about it.  Mistakes and decisions you make will inform the future.  You might not see how at the time and you might not know when, but if you’re open to the idea then eventually the whole picture is layed out in front of you.  Perfect and meant to be.  I love that!

The Hummingbird Coin

One day last year in the middle of my struggle for sanity and a firm grip on my life, my dad came down to visit. We took the bus down to Granville Island and while he was talking to a sales clerk, I was digging through a dish of small pewter coins…. On the front each one had a Northwest Coast Native animal symbol and on the back an inspirational word. I found one that said Peace on the back with the depiction of a hummingbird on the front. The sign on the front of the dish said ‘Pocket Spirits’ and while I’m not much for the idea of items being ‘spirits’, I felt compelled to buy it. I thought if I didn’t have any peace of my own, maybe I could at least have this… I carried it around in my wallet for a year… every time I went into my wallet I saw my small bit of peace.

The Hummingbird Coin

I was pretty far from being peaceful and it would take me an additional six months to actually find peace, but still this little coin I held on to… the only peace I had at the time. It was a small reminder that peace was out there and that it was something that I could have. Something that I wanted. I didn’t know what it felt like but I was sure that when I had it, I would know.

I’ve mentioned how I found my peace in December. The calm peaceful feeling that I now have is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I don’t know if you can identify the feeling of peace if you haven’t had the feeling of being not peaceful. It’s hard to describe… the immense sense of calm that I feel now. I still have my moments of course and I still have bad days, but I’m peaceful overall.

About three weeks ago I found the coin on my desk. I don’t know how it got out of my wallet but when I saw it on my desk I knew I didn’t need it anymore. I’d found my peace and it was stronger and more powerful than the piece of pewter I was holding. I sat, rubbing the coin for a long time… playing with it… contemplating it… and at that moment I knew that I needed to give this very important piece of my healing away. I have a friend that could certainly use some peace and so I said goodbye to my coin and put it back in my wallet so it was with me the next time I saw him.

I’m an incredibly sentimental and romantic type of person.

(Romantic:  defined as marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized).

Most people in my life don’t meet me there… my sentimentality is oft regarded as cheesy or ridiculous. My ability to remember tiny, seemingly insignificant details about people I care about, and my innate ability to understand someone more than they can ever know has been labelled as crazy. I assure you, it’s not crazy and it’s not something I can control. For those that I care a great deal about, it’s a built in operating system (to steal a phrase from a friend) function to care about and recall these small details… things that seem insignificant rarely are. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life hiding it… laughing along when my sentimental side is dissed… pretending that it doesn’t bother me that instead of appreciating who I am at my core, I’m mocked for it. Truth be told, it does bother me… of course it does!  It’s a side of me that is integral to my character and no one feels good to be mocked on about something that is innate to who they are.

I took a chance giving my coin away to my friend. In the ongoing effort I’ve been making to be true to who I am, I knew I was going to say what I wanted to say, regardless of how my sentimentality had been received in the past. I was pretty sure that this time would be different.

I took the coin out of my wallet and held it tightly in my hand. I told the story of how I ended up with this coin and then, pressing it into his hand, said ‘I’ve found my peace. Now maybe you’ll find yours’.

The gift was received in just the way I gave it. That it was just an object at one point but that it had meaning to me and I was passing it along. I was told that it was a true gesture of love and trust. And I wasn’t mocked as being sentimental or cheesy… I was met where I am with an understanding of who I am and why something like this would be important to me. The gesture wasn’t cast off, but accepted and embraced in the pure way it was given.

There are some ‘things’ that we have and hold on to that cease to become things… they assume a life and a power of their own and while to the naked eye this is just a $2 piece of metal, to myself and to my friend, it’s a powerful piece of love and friendship and powerful love and powerful friendship can change our worlds. When we change ourselves, we change the world… and when we find our peace, we find that the world around us has more peace.

My hope for my friend is that every time he reaches into his pocket and his hand grazes this coin, that he feels the power in the care of another. That he knows that if I can find my peace (and Lord knows, it was a hard road!) then he can find his peace and he will forever have a friend to walk down that road with him.  We are only alone on difficult roads if we choose to be… and those in my care… those who gain access to the core of who I am… they will never be alone.

I’m Willing to Wait for This :)

“Underneath The Apple Trees”

Dean Brody

I got the top off of my car,
Driving into the setting sun.
I got love in my heart,
Now I’m going to give it to someone.
Oh I haven’t met you yet,
But I know where you will be.
Traveling this same road
With a backpack soul,
Out there, somewhere, just like me

Someday we will meet
And we’ll park neath the apple trees
In an orchard, by a barn
Listen to some late night radio
Watch the satellites and stars
And I will hold you in my arms,
Till we both fall asleep.
Underneath the apple trees.

Will I meet you on a bus,
Or a narrow street cafe,
Find you in a Sunday market,
Or a lonely park bench in the shade.
Do you like you coffee strong,
Do you sleep in when it rains.
All those little things about you girl,
I can’t wait to learn someday.

You know I’m on my way,
And we’ll park neath the apple trees,
In an orchard, by a barn.
Listen to some late night radio,
Watch the satellites and stars.
And I will hold you in my arms,
Till we both fall asleep.
Underneath the apple trees, yeah.

When I was just a boy
I’d run barefoot beneath those leaves
Throwing rotten apples,
Building forts,
Rake the leaves.
I guess I never grew up
Cause I still believe in love
And that that day will come

And we’ll park neath the apple trees,
In an orchard, by a barn.
Listen to some late night radio,
Watch the satellites and stars.
And I will hold you in my arms,
Till we both fall asleep.
Underneath the apple trees,
Underneath the apple trees.