Category Archives: blessings

“Killing me softly”

So there I was in the Colonial Pantry gas station & convenience store at the corner of Green and Illinois Avenue. It was the convenient store that I would walk to alone in the middle of the night to get cigarettes. I really didn’t drink a ridiculous amount back then, so rarely alcohol. This store was located right by the apartments where I learned how to lay tile and also learned about rape. It was also across the street from where I had my first crushing break up of my college career and both of those moments were pretty pivotal in every. single. thing that ever I experienced after that…

AND THAT’S HOW STORIES GO for sexual assault survivors just so you know. Out of nowhere I just got to run down those memory files again…

So there I was in the Colonial Pantry buying cigarettes. I cannot afford my usual hard pack of Camel Lights so I buy Doral 100s – little bit more smoke per pack.

I always said that I was committing suicide slowly and I just made a connection to that with the alcohol and of course the cigarettes and the short-lived drug use. I did, in essence, kill myself and I suppose that’s where this rebirth comes from – this  phoenix rising from the ashes. I was on fire and instead of tending it, I poured ethanol on it. I included a link there to some research about the links between alcohol and cancer. here’s another one.

I lost two of the most special women in my life to cancers identified as connected to alcohol: liver and breast. It is literally on my to-do list to get my ferritin levels re-checked since quitting my habit. I cannot lie and say that fairly heightened levels was a final factor in my big quit, though it certainly resonated.

Back to the original story – I saw a story on Instagram about how people are using social media to help others with their mental health struggles. That’s what I have been trying to do my entire teaching career and for the last 20 years with trying to get this book I wrote called, Something from Nothing published.

For the longest time in my life, one got published with publishers. Then there were companies that would charge you THOUSANDS of dollars. And then there was Amazon.

CLEARLY I need a little marketing help. I always knew I was on to something and OF COURSE, I was before my time.

I may have to hire a real editor since my current person is coming up on two years pissing around with it. If she can’t find some passion for it, then – someone else!!

I think if I could get a timeline for when it might actually be finished, I would know how much to share with others in social media. But also there is the whole I have to have a certain persona as a teacher and is it okay for me to share the kinds of things that I would need to share. So I have this huge struggle with my own identity while I’m trying to be my own person. It is just a cluster $u@*.

So I have chosen to live and am on day 136. I honestly have to look that up every time. I bet there’s an app for that (wink wink). Doesn’t matter though because I won’t use it…I just don’t worry so much on counting the days as I count the moments where I’m catching up for so much lost time and just drinking every single feeling in and through me instead of drinking to cover me.

In case you’re curious, I don’t link my personal writing website or name to this website because I am open about that aspect of myself at this time, as much as possible, given my conservative profession, but I am not “out” about the rebirth, where the girl who was damaged by all that decided to walk back to herself. You know, to get the more she always wanted!

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Poof!

And the job offer imploded. Just like that.

I have lots to say about it already…I’m about six hours into the realization of this inconvenient truth…but I just don’t have the time.

I have recon to do – starting with an email to that vice principal from the best district in the area. I let him I know I had an offer but that I wanted to explore their district. I’m sure it didn’t entice him. And now I need to make sure he knows I’m still interested in their positions.

I am many levels of unhappy about this.

I get that it wasn’t “the one.” And, while I am not going to let it discourage me, it is a setback, to be sure. I now have to take the energy to save face to try and court the best district by telling them I didn’t sign the contract.

Well, like I was saying…not much time – have to figure out how to put a positive spin on this.

Glad to see their true nature now before moving my family. Who does that?

Our home went on the market Friday morning. It has shown ten times already. We’re keeping it on the market even though this job fell through.

Please send blessings and fairy dust our way while we continue our efforts to elevate our everyday existence. This just got a little scarier.

Half a World Away

Half a World Away

Go ahead, give it a click. Aurora is quite lovely.

Coincidentally (or not?, if you’ve followed my journey of signs on this blog), she happens to be my newest artist discovery. A childhood friend shared her and it appealed to me and now, I cannot stop listening.

Turns out, Aurora is also a city in Colorado where there is a job with my name on it.

Well, I hope my name is still on that job. Allow me to explain what I have been up to in these past weeks. On the 5th of April I attended the Teacher Fair of which I spoke in a previous entry. Here I connected with five or six viable districts who were in need of services I could excel at providing. I had some nice leads. As luck would have it, my offer came in a form other than what I expected, but that I have grown to love.

I have been offered the position, there is the matter of the contract remaining. So, it’s as if we are moving and getting our wish granted, but kind of  NOT, all at the same time.

So, we are digging through the boxes in the attic and purging our home of clutter and things we simply do not need anymore. We are excited about taking very little with us and starting over and buying new. Our attitude toward home furnishings has changed. We want practical and temporary – not lifetime pieces. We did that already and that beautiful cherry furniture served us well, but it is time to let it go to serve someone else.

As one can imagine, it’s been a busy and kind of stressful time lately. My current students are doing a great job reinforcing my desire to leave and I am just tired and nervous and scared and elated and re-energized – and…and…and…

ALIVE.

And thriving.
So! Here’s to making it SUCCESSFULLY through a THIRD OF A YEAR (Day 121, y’all!) without drinking! For all the craziness right now, I can trust one thing – myself. I can finally trust myself after years of second guessing. Could be age, could be new brain pathways forming in my noggin while detoxing…No matter – I can make big decisions and trust that I am leading my family, instead of being led by that saboteur, alcohol.

Cheers to new adventures!

(whatever they may be!)

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Physical changes

I don’t really know a lot about BMI and water percentages, but I got a new scale in the midst of tracking changes in my body during my first days and months of sobriety and I think I have some decent results. I decided to post here today as I currently have no shorts or jeans that I cannot pull on and take off without buttoning or unzipping. I am back to my regular size, but I feel petite yet strong.

But, that means the yoga pants I took out of the spring/summer bin are a bit big.

Body Data

I’m not sure if you can tell anything by these “before” pictures, but I can’t find the ones where I showed my big belly. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)IMG_0438IMG_0425Being good to my mind and body has been good for my soul.

 

 

 

 

Self-Care crunch

I am in a really big jumble right now. I have so many deadlines and responsibilities upon me, but mostly I want to focus on my inner journey and growth. I have so many creative ideas and juices flowing and it’s frustrating to have to set them aside when I have finally we reawakened them.

My husband and I have been on a tremendous journey the past seven years and we feel as though all of our hard work is about to break open and this change that we have put into motion is about to come to fruition and it is an exciting and scary time.

I can get overwhelmed in times like these, and I remember that I have forgotten my morning self care ritual of yoga and breath work for about two weeks now.

I had a nice morning off feeling my way around my home and the responsibilities and things that need done over this weekend and I believe that starting tomorrow morning I will be getting up and doing my yoga stretches and my morning breath work and we’ll see if this helps me to handle the forthcoming challenges and give me the energy to do all the good that I want to do.

There are deadlines for my current career as well as applications and job interviews for the next chapter in two possible locations. There are conversations with the distraught 13-year-old about not wanting to move. There’s blaming and there’s doubt and it’s muddy, but I am a Warrior of the Light and I will continue to be attentive to the signs that keep leading me along this journey.

I think it’s safe to say that alcohol has not been a contributing factor to my success in life and now it is time to break free of those chains and take my training wheels off for good.

Perhaps when I get through the deadlines I can get focused and carve some time for adding the regular writing into the self-care mix.

Day 110

I just had an amazing growth experience in Colorado and am still reeling from the amazing positivity and energy there. I visited some people dear to me and I felt welcomed and inspired.

According to Doreen Virtue, a popular spirit healer, “1, 11, 111, and 1111 in Angel Numbers all mean: ‘”Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts are manifesting instantly into form. Focus only upon your desires and not upon your fears.”‘

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I could not bear to be inside earlier today and I had so much to do. Sometimes, even with the best plans, deadlines approach faster than expected. I took on a lot this year because I thought if I could handle the administrative licensure while working full-time last year, I could do anything. I tell you what I know for sure, and that is that sacrifices must be made to follow dreams. I am thankful I am able to do just that.

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I have had much encouragement from the universe in these past months and I am watching and listening carefully.

I just returned home from some time at my mother and father’s house in Texas. My little brother hosted my son on a wild game hunting trip on the land he leases just 12 miles north of Mexico. It was a wonderful trip for my son and, as it turns out, for me.

I can hardly write for wiping my tears. I’m trying to be discreet as I am not alone and these moments are so personal to me and because I have so little control sometimes, I love for my moments alone to be alone. It just so happens that my study is in the heart of the house.

A house that I have grown to love so much. It cradled me in its arms and spoke gently to me. We grew together and it will be the hardest thing to leave behind when we pack up and head to Texas. Because we have to.

I believe it was Monday night that everyone went to sleep and I still had plenty to think about so I jumped into a Master Class through Mind Valley Academy to embrace my energy body. Since my session with Grace I have been chipping away at educating myself and the classes I’ve found are not lining up with my schedule. It was well explained and I was able to feel the warmth of my energy between my hand as Jeffrey Allen described. I coaxed that block from my sacrum and I replaced it with fresh new expansiveness.

While my mom was taking an afternoon nap and my sweet husband was driving our ten-year old around on the golf cart, I sat on the back porch rocking. I am interviewing for positions in education again this summer in and around Austin and I saw myself driving to the Lake on the weekends to visit my mom. Her respiratory issues are just not good.

She has taken such good care of herself almost her whole life and smoking, combined with toxic chemical exposure, has really  done a number on her ability to breathe and live.

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Cannot be any accident that I have discovered my breath this year. I rocked on her porch, strolled over to the pond and just let all of my thoughts and feelings wash over me. The bitterness from getting the raw end of the deal was absent. Suddenly I felt like I was the lucky one. My boys are 13 and 10 and my brother’s first son is not quite 8 months old.

So I redoubled my efforts and got a few more applications in to other districts while I was there. She had very little energy, having battled bronchitis for three weeks and so there were no big outings or anything so I had plenty of time to do it. Things were very low-key with my Dad and oldest being gone and there was plenty of down time.

I am back home now decompressing and processing the moments of the past few days, which included a digital video interview for a HUGE position in Austin and some crazy little details and connections being revealed that may or not be synchronicity, or as I always called it, as a young girl with a favorite book, Serendipity (1974).

I have been looking to purchase this book for myself for a number of years and I went ahead and bought a first edition, just like the one I used to have. Many of my childhood toys and keepsakes were missing from my grandparent’s basement when my mother and I returned from her first tour in the service. I have always been sad to have lost those things.

About three years ago my mother found “my” Raggedy Ann doll on Ebay, bought it and sent it to me.

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I will be so curious to peel back the cover and see the name of the original owner of Serendipity and that little girl (?) and I will share a moment of acknowledgment that “Knowing who you really are will bring you happiness” as is the theme of the book. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my connection to this book has been steadfast my entire life. I look so forward to re-reading it. Perhaps the next time I head down this spiral, I will treat myself to my other favorite: Flutterby (1976), with the moral: “Be just who you are.”

At any rate, I am feeling a certain pull to the area. Perhaps a real connection to the idea that this is finally the real move that is due. It was no trouble at all to be present in my own skin without being inebriated or drinking at all. Maybe I am ready to surrender to the idea that my Mom is certainly not perfect, but she has done the best that she could for me. Maybe I can learn to forgive her for things that hurt me.

I guess she has probably had to forgive me hurts over the years.

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Independence Day 2016

I bumped into a yoga instructor and holistic healer on social media. It was a bizarre meeting, but we have many things in common and she is conducting a Nourishing Awakenings women’s nature retreat just a few hours from my home. Fire walking is involved and I am very seriously considering going. I contacted her about it and in our conversation it came up that I am trying to get my family to Austin and we’re saving money and all of that and of course, that’s exactly where she was on her travels as we spoke. Anyway, I have saved this much since quitting drinking…I continue to want to reinvest it…2017 word = truth. This could be my celebration of my SELF. My real self. This event takes place post 100 sober days…walking on fire…hmmmm…Just all seems so serendiptous.

We shall see – I have until the musical I’m directing closes this time next week to make a final decision, so the timing could not be better.

This post is a reflection of me at 81 days. Getting clearer and clearer.

Tonic and Lime, please.

10 weeks. 70 days.

For ten weeks I have not allowed alcohol of any kind to pass my lips. Strange that even though my last drink of choice was red wine, the drink I miss the most is BEER.

Ice cold draft beer.

It’s a great time to live in Memphis as there are craft and micro breweries popping up all around town. There are a fair number of outdoor events and the food truck craze is full on here. Couple that with spring weather and a nice afternoon in a hammock…a beer is an excuse to take a break and I sure do forget to do that.

img_4848That one time I spent TEN WHOLE MINUTES resting in my son’s hammock. I likely had an afternoon beer after I snapped this proof that I do stop moving sometimes.

 

When I was looking at how to quit drinking this summer, one of the options I thought to give myself was to allow only beer when out and about at festivals and concerts. In my mind, I was pleased with the image of being “that” kind of drinker. That image appeals to me, but the jury is still out … not sure if I even want to think about what might be in store for me – someday. Gotta concentrate on today.

Based upon the limited recovery reading I have had time to do, it doesn’t sound like a “healthy” relationship with alcohol is likely in the cards for a girl like me. The data indicates that I’ll be fine with a beer or two at first, but that after time, and a short one at that – I’ll be chasing 12 packs and kegs again because those addiction pathways are deep and not easily mended by a little sobriety thrown into the mix.

So, I continue to choose NOT to drink. Went to a concert Saturday night for a college and life-long favorite, Ben Folds. Ordinarily, I’d have “pre-gamed”having at least two drinks before I even left. Then I’d have spent half of the evening wondering how I was drinking so fast and when I could get another drink from the bar without missing my favorite song. Or, I’d have spilled all over myself and been an embarrassment. That last part’s not entirely true, but it has happened before. At minimum, the drinking at the concert would have been automatic. It may well have been my first sober concert ever.

Turns out that I was perfectly happy drinking a tonic with lime. They actually didn’t have lime wedges, so the bartender used lime juice and it was DELICIOUS! It’s like I play a little game with myself – where I used to call it a “treat” to have an alcoholic drink (even though I would have four or more daily), I now reframe it and call my “non-alcoholic replacement drink” a gift to myself. Something about allowing that psychological process to happen is helping to shift things for me.

I have always struggled with self-talk. My inner critic is a blazing ASSHOLE. My mother was (is) very critical. She’s wicked smart, but because she had me at 15, she lost out on many opportunities to advance herself. She made a wonderful career in the USAF and obtained her Bachelor degree in journalism, but she still has untapped potential. She is an authority on just about everything. So, I carry that with me and it’s loudest when I am not perfect. You know, all the time. 

Strangely, I find it easier to silence that critic now that I am free from alcohol. There’s less happening in my brain to confuse the issue. Things are far from perfect and I have a heaping lot of mess to sort through yet, but I can much better discern bullshit from truth.

Good thing, since my 2017 word is TRUTH.

I’m getting plenty of it.

 

Gong Sound Bath

You may have noticed I have been interested in all things holistic lately and engaging in the closest I can get to a toxin free life. I have worked to heal my mind through various talk therapies over the past thirty years. EMDR was a wonderful way to put a good seal on my childhood sexual abuse and the assault that took place in college. Now I am trying to finally remove myself from the family traumas of my youth.

I think a large step toward that came when I enlisted the assistance of a group on Facebook called SearchSquad to locate my biological father. They helped me also to craft a letter and made suggestions about how to send a self addressed stamped envelope and photographs. It has been almost 9 months and I have heard absolutely nothing. The first months brought a touch of sadness when the mailbox didn’t contain my SASE and then, after a while, I just forgot to look for it.

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Meanwhile, my relationship with my mother remains at a distance. I am allowing her the space to be consumed with her latest grandchild. My parents have somewhat recently moved to Texas, about two hours from my only sibling (yes, half brother) and his wife. They have married and had a child in these past three years. Prior to this, my parents had moved from Louisiana to my father’s hometown in Massachusetts. This cut our regular visits dramatically.

I have had a struggle with hurt feelings and longings for my family to be something that it is not, has never been and likely simply never will be. And it has been a bitter pill, indeed. So I continue to measure my words and stay aware of my expectations and ground them in reality. My breath work in this regard has been most helpful.

My husband and I have been considering a move to be closer, but this is such a complicated situation and there is a tugging that tells me to go on ahead and fly out. I booked my flight Tuesday to see what Colorado might offer and I could really use a few signs from the universe to the effect of whether or not we are heading down the right path.

Naturally, when I saw this Gong Sound Bath at a local holistic studio, I signed up and then in a fun twist, invited my husband and he decided to attend as well.

“Immerse yourself in healing vibrations at our upcoming Gong Sound Bath. Sound healing has been shown to relieve stress and tension, combat anxiety, help regulate sleep cycles and digestion, normalize blood pressure, and create feelings of overall health and happiness.
Aaron, a professional drummer/percussionist with fifteen years experience, has fallen in love with the gongs. The vibration of the gong impacts the body and its meridians on a physical and emotional level. Prolonged exposure to its sound can activate higher states of consciousness and trigger inner healing of deep emotional traumas. If you have wanted to experience a more meditative state, but felt some assistance could be of service, the gong could just be that friend (or tool) you were looking for.

Lie back, relax, and rejuvenate at our Gong Sound Bath. Blankets and bolsters will be provided. Please bring pillows, special supports, and whatever else you need to lie down comfortably for one hour.”

My husband seems to have really enjoyed it so I hope it resonates with him. (Yes. Sorry, not sorry.) I read that the effects can stay in your body for three days. I think that’s glorious. It was a carefree hour and I got completely lost in the sound, the moment.

I have linked the research I have done about sound therapy directly for you here, here and here.

I look forward to the signs that will eventually come…

Edit: Once I hit publish, I directed my attention back to the single piece of mail that had been placed on my desk while I was writing. A direct mailing for Planned Parenthood, an organization with which I have no real personal familiarity, but that arrived practically in my lap today. I was reminded of going to the local health clinic at age 15 or 16 to get my first gynecological exam and a prescription for birth control – you know, just in case, since I was the product of a fifteen year old getting pregnant…

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Keep the signs coming…I can take it.

Breathe in, breathe out

Heal the trauma and the decisions will make themselves…

Second edit: Even later after I published,  I looked down at my arm where I had put a temporary tattoo the day before. I had kind of randomly selected one of the quotes that didn’t resonate as much…”the universe doesn’t make mistakes – you belong”

Just going to keep listening…

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(yes, those “track marks” in the crease of my elbow are from lithium toxicity tests)

 

First Dream

I have taken a much needed day off work to keep to myself today – a “mental health” day if you will. I was putzing around and just realized that I think I had a glass of wine or a beer at an event I attended during a dream I had last night. I left a long day (and a week of Mondays) into evening at work to go home and address some personal issues with my son and his behavior affecting his education and I remember thinking as I got into my car, tuning out with a glass of wine would usually be in order about now. But I knew I wouldn’t and didn’t actually want to. The thought went through my consciousness as quickly as it came.

First of all, dreaming is pretty much a thing of the past. Well, it was, until now. How ironic that I should have my first dream in as long as I can remember after I spend sixty sober days and it is about drinking?

So many thoughts to process. Which rabbit hole shall I travel? The more I think about it, the more real the dream felt on a visceral level. I was ashamed of doing it.

These dreams are normal.

This forum has a thread of experiences posted by many others with drunk dreams. It seems to me that this might be common in these first months of sobriety. Looks like that is right on target. Textbook case.

I am looking forward to witnessing a blossoming dream world in my sobriety. I remember many years ago the revelations I was in tune with in my dream as a young adult, before I began to drink dreams away, unbeknownst to me all the while. I have been tossing around the reality that soon I will begin Julia Cameron’s “morning pages”. I have to wrap up the current youth theatre production at the end of March and then I will be able to explore it further.

Though I started The Artist’s Way on December 27th, my first day of sobrietyI quickly realized I would have to put it on hold until a prior commitment came to pass. I also wanted to firmly establish my morning  yoga and breathing ritual that I began attempting on January 3rd. Currently, I am just shy of a week of 100% mastery of that goal. I have talked about those morning routines here and here. I may elect to begin exploring the idea of morning pages before I conclude the play – perhaps when I have a dream that needs to be recorded. I want to make up for lost time now that my mind is healing, and I want to take full advantage of all of these rich experiences without getting completely overwhelmed.

I got the help of my husband to finish the shelving project in my study.

I just love this room of my own.

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