A Ray of Love

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Tonight, (November 6, 2014) towards the end of my shift, a man walked slowly back and forth in-front of the store a couple of times before coming in. He had a walking stick, and looked shaggy.. But a lot of people look shaggy in Mississippi. I was topping pizzas by the time he came in but I had been watching him, mainly because I knew my car was out front and unlocked. He leaned over the counter and talked to my manager. At this point I knew he was looking for something to eat, so I walked around to see if that was the case. She told him we didn’t have anything and pointed to the “no soliciting” sign. He left and I followed. I stood outside removing, my car top sign, and asked him when the last time he had eaten was. He told me at the hospital he had been discharged from. After five minutes or so he wasn’t a stranger anymore. He was Larry, a veteran who had just been discharged from the hospital following an aneurysm where he had lost partial eye sight. That explained why his hair looked somewhat clean under his sweat stained hat. He showed me his hospital bracelet. I walked back inside with my car topper and ordered him a pizza under his name and then invited him in to sit. He’d had back surgery a few years before and that’s why he needed the cane. My boss looked at me with a look that said she felt somewhat foolish. She told me that that was sweet. I told her I’ve been homeless, and you can never judge a book by it’s cover. I’d seen him pace in-front of the store, as he probably was gathering the courage to ask for something to eat. When his order came out I handed it to him and told him he could sit in the lobby instead of trying to juggle the box and the walking stick outside, but he said he didn’t want to take the only bench in case “real customers” came in. He looked ashamed and embarrassed. I felt my cold heart warm up a little. My actions appeared to be full of love, and though I knew I was doing the right thing, I didn’t feel it like I usually do.. But I did feel it. I’ve been so concerned with myself and lost in trying to figure out how to find my feet and fix myself… Who is Storme? What would Storme do? So I started asking others about trials and tribulations I know of in their lives.. And just checking in .. Letting them know I care and I love them.. Two hours later I am now home from work, and tho I still have this headache, and I’m completely exhausted again.. The fog has lifted quite a bit, and a ray of love is shining thru.  I’ve missed feeling that.

2016 update – that same pizza store now feeds the homeless on a regular basis.  The ripple effect of that day is felt daily.  Unfortunately, Larry died a few months later while still in Gulfport.  The staff at the store were effected by it.  Larry was a veteran and should’ve never been homeless, facing hunger and medical needs in his home country.. the land of the free.. for which he fought.  I know I will never forget the impact of that day.  It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you are doing for others.  #payitforward

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Mental health tools – blogging

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Well it’s been a while since I wrote a blog, and it’s been a while since I was panic free. Courtney even responded on a post I made about having anxiety for hours, “when’s the last time you blogged or did some artwork” but I was so caught up that I didn’t really hear the message. I had just written in my notebook that morning trying to ease the anxiety and it hasn’t helped.. But it had, it just wasn’t at the level that blogging helps me when I’m practicing it every day. It’s like exercise for my brain, and just like the stationary bike sucks on the first day after not getting on for three months.. Writing is the same. These tools only work for me when they’re part of my daily life. Doh!
Ok.. So what’s going on in my world? 
Well, I’m currently writing from a commune in chicamauga, Georgia. It’s an abandoned elementary school on the Alabama/Georgia/Tennessee state lines. It’s 10 minutes from Chattanooga, which is an amazingly beautiful town. Last night we went to the river walk to watch the sunset. I can’t tell you how big my smile is that I can write “we” .. Third year in a row that I’ve made a New Years resolution and it’s become realized.  
  So Yupp.. I’ve been traveling.. When I got back from Greece on March 16th, Amber went home, back to New Orleans and I stayed in Conroe, Texas at my besties house.. Courtney (the one with the bad ass food truck Falacos – if you’re anywhere near Houston, YOU WANT THESE BALLS IN YOUR MOUTH!!) and Benny (the artist behind the badass wall murals and famous peeps paintings that y’all see me posting) .. I have so much love for these guys.. Definitely on the inside of my circle, and have been a rock of support in walking with me thru this recovery journey. So I wanted to stay and visit before heading home from Greece.. and a friend came to visit for Courts birthday.. Introducing Kate.. Now, I wasn’t expecting to meet someone in that moment.. I was jet lagged, working on little sleep, and attempting to be present for the day at the food truck.. But something about listening to Courtney tell me about her friend that was coming over had captured my attention. I wanted to know more .. And after meeting her.. I really wanted to know more… and now I’m in Chattanooga Tennessee, with Kate.. And Athena (who I adopted the day after meeting Kate) and here we are .. A happy lil family road tripping!
  So .. New Years I made a resolution that I wanted to manifest a wife. Kind of a weird one isn’t it.. But in that moment, I asked God to present that person in my life, and I made the decision to really focus my energy into envisioning what that person would look like .. I don’t mean physically.. I mean, what qualities would I want.. Ability to travel, ability to be patient wit my panic stricken ass.. Someone I felt safe with, and could talk to without fear… Someone secure.. That wouldn’t get jealous or possessive and not be ok with me traveling alone still. There has been quite a process of really picturing the role that this person would play in my life, and learning myself enough to know the role I can offer to play in theirs. I’d love to be Casanova every day for them, but in reality.. There are some days that I just can’t be that.. There are some days when I need to just be by myself.. I’m learning how to be open and honest during panic instead of acting like I’m ok. I’m learning how to ask for my needs to be met.. Because I never wanted to bother anyone before .. I didn’t wanna be a burden, and I felt like I was on my mental days.  
  I have to say, God delivered when he introduced me to Kate. This road trip is showing me how true that is. 
So.. Where else have I been since Greece?? 
Miami, home, Pensacola, Orlando, Cincinnati, Ohio, Galveston Texas, and now the smokey mountains… And I’m supposed to be staying home for my therapy. Oops! Truth is .. My anxiety is better when I’m on the road and distracted by life, and falling in love with the new places.. 


Having said that, it’s time to get dressed and check out Rock City! I’m so excited.. And now my anxiety is down so I can get dressed and start this day! She’s so patient.. Just sitting in the chair across from me.. Athena on her lap.. Taking care of her own affairs. She’s amazing. 😍