Reading the Bible on a 100 level

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Okay.. so as many of you know, in July I was baptized in the name of Jesus and church has become a bug piece of my lifestyle.  I’m currently following a plan called “Love like Jesus” which shares scriptures every day for 21 days which pertain to learning to love like Jesus more and more.  I have a confession.. I am really struggling to read the Bible without challenging what I read.  Some of it is truly inspiring.. and other passages I completely repel and then feel conflicted about whether Christianity is really in alignment with what I believe because the belief about the Bible is all or nothing.  Of course sharing this out loud feels terrifying.  Think of all the judgement that could come by my fellow church members.. and then I think… well maybe they struggle with it too? 

My most valuable asset is my word.. my truth.. honesty.  Any time I am hiding from being 100% honest.. it cripples my recovery and my mental stability.  Over the last couple of years, honesty isn’t just about not intentionally lying.. it’s about being 100 at all times.  No sugar coating.. no people pleasing..  no avoiding those uncomfortable c0nversations… and it really has changed my life.  Lately tho, I don’t feel in alignment with that.  I know that the Bible says;

1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God

and I am 90% gay on the spectrum.  This isn’t something that is going to change.  I don’t feel conflicted about it.  I believe God is love and His love flows thru me and touches more lives than I can probably imagine.  I don’t give love in this world to buy myself a seat in Heaven.  That would be selfish and I believe that to love like Jesus, it should be unconditional and selfless.  I don’t feel the need to someday have my moment with Jesus when this life comes to an end.  He is with me in every moment that I am here on earth.  The awakening and fullness that I feel in my heart for each and every living creature.. for in each and every one of us, is Him.  Imagine if every Christian could love each and every person like they were Jesus! 

Anyway I got off track.  My point is this.. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the abomination that surrounds how my heart is pulled to love.  I choose not to share them in this particular blog because it was today’s scripture that really caused me to open a blog and begin typing. Here it is.. and I’ll break it down at the points I feel conflicted about it.  If anyone would like to enlighten me.. it’s very welcomed.  Maybe I’m misinterpreting it? 

Matthew 18:1‭-‬4‭, ‬6‭-‬35

​In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them, and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.   

Okay.. so I am all for remaining humble and open minded like a child.  I have a really hard time with threatening manner of causing someone to stumble.  I think back on how many times, as an atheist, I have challenged and debated with people who I felt were using the bible against me.  How many times I’ve listened to someone quote a story and I’ve thought about how incredibly unlikely it was that it was a true story.. and debated my reasons for thinking that way.  Would God really give us the freedom to think and learn for ourselves to then want to chain an entire factory around our neck and let us sink to the bottom of an ocean.. for using our own voice to express those thoughts and feelings?  I mean debate causes stimulation of our minds and whirls up emotions in our hearts.  We are all His children.. I have a hard time believing He would wish such a wrath of punishment because of a stumble.  

 “Woe to the world because of occasions of stumbling! For it must be that the occasions come, but woe to that person through whom the occasion comes!  If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. 

Ok.. again.. time out! I’m a literal person.. and in envisioning this.. if I stumbled over my foot and cut it off to prevent that stumble again.. I guarantee you I will fall a lot more with one foot left to walk on.  I understand the scripture is using dramatic effect (which causes me to wonder how feminine Matthew might have been) but I think cutting off my hands because I’m writing this blog would be a shame.  What about all the good that come from these same hands?  Again .. the all or nothing factor comes up here for me.  In psychology this behavior has a diagnosis… borderline personality disorder.. and it’s a VERY destructive disorder.   Let’s continue… 

 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna  of fire. 

Again … a little dramatic in my opinion. 

 See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.  For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.    “What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray?  

Is this a trick question?  It would depend on several factors.  Would the 99 sheep be at risk by leaving them to find the missing one?  

If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.  Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. 

So bottom line is don’t stray to begin with.  Ironically a good lesson for me right now because obviously if I am questioning if Christianity is right for me.. that would be a step in possibly straying.  In order not to stray, for me, I need to let these questions out and play it out on paper to really digest it.. and be at peace with it.  I guess that line is a conformation for me to continue blogging.  He is so amazing. Thank you Jesus for always providing the direction. 🙂 OK moving on … 

   “If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone.

ALONE! just wanted to highlight this.  All too often I see posts on Facebook or other outlets that broadcast a person’s disagreement.  Cut the drama guys and girls.  Don’t be and villain… address it like a leader .. like Jesus .. with love. 

 If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother.  But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 

Having third parties can help… referees make a living of it 😉 

  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector. 

Can someone explain what that means?

 Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven.

This is so powerful for me.  What I hear it telling me is that if I live a life of selfless love here on earth … that life is what is waiting for me in Heaven.  This speaks volumes!! I witness Christians waiting for this life to be over so they can join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven all the time.  Knowing that it’s going to be a extension of what we are creating here on earth just completely motivates me to continue living this life to the absolute fullest.. where love is my main currency. Thank you Jesus! 

  Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the middle of them.”   Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.  

Forgiveness … it’s the key to setting ourselves free of the bandage that resentment holds on our hearts.  I highly recommend it every time.. but heed the wisdom that comes also.

Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants.  When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  But because he couldn’t pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!’  The Lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.    “But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii,   and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’    “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you!’  He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due.  So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their Lord all that was done.  Then his Lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me.  Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’

A great story for “do unto others…”

  His Lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.  So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don’t each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds.”

A little contradictarary.  So the Lord will forgive us countless times.. except the time that we don’t forgive someone.. then He will punish us? 

This is where I have a hard time with the Bible.  Quite obviously from the beginning of the story “the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to reconcile with his servants” this is Matthew’s analogy of how he interpreted the lesson of forgiveness.  This isn’t God’s Word… this is Matthew’s account from his perspective.  It’s very valid and a great analogy.. but like any one person’s account of something.. it isn’t the best all and end all.. and in that lies a great example for my having a hard time with all or nothing when it comes to the Bible.  Anyone who has been in a lecture at school can tell you that tho there is one teacher… the lessons learned by each student would vary if they were to recant what they had learned.  

The floor is open … I look forward to the insight that will come as I sincerely want to learn and grow in my faith while reading the scriptures. 

Matthew 18:1‭-‬4‭, ‬6‭-‬35 WEB

http://bible.com/206/mat.18.1-35.WEB

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From “Fuck You” to “Thank You Cancer”

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Six months sober, and divorced… A few days after my final goodbye to my four year old son, I hit my knees.

the second cocktail of chemo drugs caused a reaction and hair loss

 No, I wasn’t praying.. I was in so much pain that my body collapsed into a ball without much thought.  One minute I was texting “sweet dreams” and by the time she responded I wrote back “I think I’m going to the hospital”.  I felt like I was going to DIE; like a gremlin and the monster from the Alien were doing the monster mash right there in my gut.  I panicked, not only because of the pain but because I lived alone.  What if I got worse before I could alert help? One of my fears of being alone coming to life.  I called my friend asking her if she could please take me to the hospital.  She asked what’s wrong and I told her “please just come quickly.” I debated calling an ambulance but I didn’t want the attention of the street.. My self consciousness still winning, even in an emergency.

  By the time she arrived I had slithered down the 18 stairs from my raised house and was sitting balled up on the bottom step counting the hour long milliseconds that it took for her to arrive.  Once at the hospital, it took 45 minutes to be seen, and another 30 to get any kind of pain relief.  They wanted to do testing first.  I can’t say I blame them, I’d hit every emergency room in the area in pain at one point or another, seeking pain medicine to get high. In the moment tho, I hated every last one of them.  Restraining myself from punching holes in the wall felt impossible.  Laying waiting in our little cubical of the ER, I felt the mess starting to kick in.  The edge of the cliff began to get distant, and the doctor came and asked my friend to step outside.  She returned in tears, the doctor behind her looking somewhat apprehensive.  They told me they had found a tumor… A 19cm tumor wrapped around my left ovary and Fallopian tube.  It was the size of a 5 month pregnancy.  I remember the doctor looking at me like I was crazy.  “You didn’t have any symptoms before now?” He asked.  I thought about it and told him that I did have an increase in pain but I assumed it was because I was sober, and I could actually feel pain now, or maybe because I had started walking and my body was adjusting.

Pictures from the initial surgery

A symptom of PTSD is unmanaged dissociation.  Everyone does it on some level whether it’s entering auto pilot while driving,  and you end up wherever you are going but you don’t remember getting there.  That’s the mild side of the unmanaged dissociation spectrum.  Extreme sides of the spectrum are cases are dissociative identity disorder or DID (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) where the psyche completely splits into separate identities to perform various roles to the host.  There are many stops along the way of that spectrum, and I fall in at about the 60-70 range.  If you want to know more on this feel free to ask!  The point is,  my ability to separate from the feeling of physical pain was so fine tuned that the magnitude of the symptoms weren’t registering.  There was a disconnect.

  So, back to my story.. It’ll be a miracle if this blog actually tells the story I opened it to tell!
  From there I was rushed into surgery, the tumor was removed, along with my ovary and Fallopian tube.  A week later I found out that it was indeed cancerous.  Another fear.. Both my gran and my mother were killed by cancer on my mothers side, and my dads mother was also killed by that monster, and now it had me.  I won’t go into all the specifics.. Maybe another blog piece, but that was where my faith really began.

It wasn’t in a foxhole prayer, “God, please save me… ” it was real faith.. It was where I stopped bartering with the “if there’s a God” and started accepting the current moment exactly as it was.  I had been working on my third step in AA, “we made a decision to turn our will and our life, over to the care of God as we understood him” and I was almost all in.. The only reservation I had about staying sober was “if I lose my son I’m getting fucked up” and then I’d lost my son, and stayed sober.

Truth be told, I was secretly in love with another recovering alcoholic and I wanted to prove how committed I was to sobriety.  She had so many years sober, and I had only months.  I thought if I could tackle these monsters of reasons to drink, without drinking, we could bypass the “sober for a year rule”.

  I fought, every day, well almost every day.  There were some days when I couldn’t fight, and I had to lay in bed and just rest.  I remember feeling so much anxiety and panic when I would try to lay down and rest.  This video pretty much depicts that part of the fight (i record and document everything because my memory isn’t too great, and i lose time a lot… a big part of my recovery has been trying to piece together and accept that these things will happen, but looking for ways that i can take care of myself to make them less intrusive)

I was so scared that while I was resting, the cancer was taking over. No imagined it to be like a black cloud that I’d dispersed with my light of my sun, but crept back over when I wasn’t looking.  If I stopped, my body would get weak and I’d lose the fight.. And that just wasn’t an option.  Most breakdowns actually served their purpose in bouncing me back for the next round…

I spent many manic nights awake.  I began painting.  I didn’t want to watch tv, and so I started painting and found that I could paint! I had no idea.  I was pretty amazing at it too!!

Painted from a photo of Chicago that I found online
My secret love challenged me to try spray painting after seeing a video of the NYC spray paint artist..


Time lapse Video of 48 hours of learning to spray paint… not bad!

I gladly accepted the challenge, and within 24 hours I was spray painting my way to a masterpiece. 🙂 I remember selling some of those to my friends on Facebook, helping to generate some money towards the mounting costs of prescriptions and co pays.  I delivered pizza part time for Papa Johns in the evenings, and worked the back drive thru window of McDonalds with my AA sponsor and good friend in the mornings.
Having fun on the job 😉
  I bounced between photography and painting when I didn’t have the energy to walk.  In finding the gift of artwork, I saw a reason for being sick.  I would’ve never known I could paint if I hadn’t slowed down.  I remember how I felt the first time I realized that.  I’m crying again now just remembering how intense that feeling of trust in the universe was.  I remember telling the universe that it could’ve been a little more subtle than the big C, but then I thought about all of the times that I could’ve slowed down, and should’ve slowed down, and I didn’t.  Always running running running because I didn’t want to feel, and if I slowed down or stopped then the feelings would come flooding thru me at an overwhelming rate and I didn’t know how to adjust the faucet.  It was stuck wide open and I couldn’t handle all of that so I ran, staying busy.  It’s why I got fucked up to begin with. Thank you cancer.
a dresser from my sons room that became a painting project
  Four surgeries, and five chemos into the fight I began researching what could I do to improve my chances.  I asked questions on Facebook, and you guys responded with juice recipes, plant based diets.. And so I tried it.  I remember I couldn’t eat much at the time, but I kept telling myself “if I’m going to force myself to eat something, it’s going to be something that will help kick this bitchs’ ass! And I’d add a spoonful of peanut butter to a very green leafy disgusting  cocktail, blend it up and drink up.  I remember making music videos and joining the happy days fb group where my newsfeed filled up with all of these reasons people were happy that day.  That’s where I met a lot of you guys!  There was something about knowing people were watching, or at least feeling like they were, that grounded me.  I didn’t want you to see the real me.  I didn’t want you to see the crazy me, so I attempted to hide it, failing miserably with those I got close to, but it served its purpose.  I kept striving to improve, to be a better person, to show all of you how amazing I really am.. Because I didn’t feel it.. And you guys would tell me I am, and for a moment I would feel it… And as a true addict, it felt good so I wanted more.

 I began a bucket list which I named the “remember when list” because it was a list of things I would one day sit on my front porch telling stories of “remember when” to what I’d hope to be, my love.. Sitting next to me, saying “yes dear” 🙂 – that fantasy pushed me.  It set a tone inside of me and I wrote that list of things I wanted to do in my lifetime!! As that list grew, I realized that I didn’t have time to have a job.. Not in the traditional sense.  I started thinking of ways I could make money without actually going to work, and reading nomad blogs, learning how to travel as cheap as possible.  Again the faith came in, as I thought about everything I had already survived, and I saw how each individual storm in my life created a piece of evidence that I would be okay, no matter what.  Dealing with mental illness, never actually killing myself despite many years of feeling that was my only safe place to live mentally… Katrina.. Being homeless.. Heartbreaks.. I had survived  many storms, it’s what I do! In that I found strength and courage.  I saved links, and took notes, learning and forming the vague outline of how I could actually start working on some of these bucket list ideas.  Sure.. I couldn’t go backpacking Europe that day, laying in bed feeling sick as a dog, hurting, and generally wanting to die on some level.. But I could start studying.. Figure out what id need to do.. What equipment would I need? I’d only been camping twice.  I started looking on craigslist, and reading more and more.

What could I sell to generate money? I started painting sand dollars, and furniture, and whatever else came my way.  I sat out on Saturdays at the farmers market, hoping to sell a piece.  I went to galleries and talked to the managers, showing my portfolio.. I read blogs on how photographers make money with their pictures.. And the majority of the money is in portrait photography.. It wasn’t something I felt I was good enough for, having seen others work.  I didn’t have the money for the equipment I really needed, but I took my Panasonic LUMIX camera and did the best I could.. Watching YouTube videos on how to edit portrait pictures.  Touch ups etc.  I had the eye, I just didn’t have the knowledge, but I learned!

Adorable little girl and her mother that responded to a FB ad

I posted questions in fb photography groups, and they came back with all the answers to help me improve.  It provided the money to travel some more, but I didn’t care for it enough to pursue it further.

I took on a couple of website gigs, rehashing skills from my earlier years, and hustled flipping a broke down car.

Changing out the brake calipers – gotta trust the Universe to learn this on YouTube!

There’s never an easy answer to “how do you afford to travel” I just do whatever the moment presents itself with, and I am always provided for.  The Universe takes care of me as long as I allow it to.  I never thought I’d be a paid blogger.. $5-$12 a day, but it’s something! Every little something adds up and creates opportunity for more experience, and with more experience comes more opportunity.  It’s an amazing circle of life.

  Now my hope is to use my blog to not only record doing all this with mental illness.. (Which I really want to write about the transition from traveling to home.. I definitely need a better plan for reentry.  The last few days have been rough and I feel very spacey, ungrounded), but not only that and frugal traveling, but I’ve been writing the story of the travels from a first hand perspective as if the reader is the one traveling.  Once the story is written I want to record it and put pictures and videos to it so that the viewer or reader feels as if they are really traveling the world.

Then I want to donate it to everyone fighting a terminal illness, so that they can dissociate into the story and maybe get a little relief from the reality of the pain and treatment that they are going thru.  I hope it inspires them to fight, to really see the world, or whatever their bucket list things are, and if that’s no longer an option, I hope I get to help fulfill at least one of them by having this experience to share.

  Having said that..
I’d like you help me out by clicking on all the ads you see on this page, clicking back to the blog between each one.  I get paid per reader and per ad click.. And that helps fund this adventure.
I’d also like you to shared story if you believe in me and want to be a part of it!
And lastly, there is a box to subscribe to the blog, if you want notifications of new posts to the blog.
With that.. I hope you enjoyed my story.. It’s what got me to where I am today.. This year I have seen 22 states in the USA.. Fallen in love with traveling, seen my nephew for the first time, seen my first concert, mastered camping, backpacked four cities, opened an Airbnb of my own, become a paid blogger, met sooo many amazing new people, and next month I am leaving to backpack Europe! It’s wild!  If this is a dream, I never want to wake up.  Thank you Cancer!
“It’s a perfect day for a perfect day!”

$135 all included in Chicago… blessed

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I decide to head for the first tourist attraction on my list, backpack in tow, after-all, I cannot check into my airbnb until 5pm.  Who cares tho? $18 a night, how can I complain? Airbnb has really changed my life! Goodbye tents, and hello wifi, electricity, shower, and a real bed!


The John Hancock building, where I have read that you can see all of Chicago from the signature lounge bypassing the $20 fee for the 360 deck.  I set off.  Walking in circles looking for the red line.  The map shows its location, but my gps seems confused and the street names don’t indicate which direction in which to go.  This certainly isn’t New York.  I feel the wind bellowing down the avenue towards me, and I decide that that must be where Lake Michigan is.  I proceed to walk in the North with this assumed directional sense.  Three lefts later, I am going the right way.
Distractions!!!!!
Everywhere…
 Tall buildings leaving my head forever tilted towards the sky.  But as my eyes come in for a landing to quickly ensure my safety they find new wonders upon which to gaze.
Old castle like buildings intertwined with the new skyscraper structures.  Beige monuments, standing short against the backdrop of the glass windows.  The contrast taking me quite off guard.  “You never know what you don’t know, and who knew?”  Holy churches and fire stations.
Bricks carefully laid one by one, the pride completely evident.  The tourist leaps out of me, pulling the real camera out and snapping, spinning, snapping some more.  Photo after photo, eager to share my discovery with the world.  I can see Willis Tower ahead of me.  The Sears Tower I should say, or else my local chitown friends will be sure to correct me.  I look at my GPS, which is now cooperating, and continue to walk around the block, looking for the John Hancock Building.  Around and around I walk, skipping a block, “maybe it’s behind the Willis Tower?” I stop to read about the water tower, that now houses and Chicago Tourism center and art gallery.
The water tower was built to draw water from Lake Michigan, and was the only public building to survive the Great Fire of Chicago.  It’s beautiful.  I continue walking, until I have come full circle, and another block before I realize that the Willis Tower is in fact the John Hancock Building.  #tourist
It turns out that the signature lounge has overly priced drinks, and while it may still be cheaper to purchase a $15 mixed drink than pay the $20 to get into the 360 deck, there’s s special for $21 where you cons visit the deck twice within 48 hours.  As a photographer, the chance to see the skyline during the day and at night is totally worth the extra dollars!
  Breathtaking… This is one of those moments that I wish you weren’t reason my blog and looking at my photos.. It’s a moment that if you can get to Chicago and experience this, I totally recommend it, and I’m writing this blog to prove it doesn’t cost as much as you’ve probably assumed..
This is probably a good spot to get a financial breakdown of the cost of this trip so far.
Parking car in New Orleans – FREE (thank you Gloria!)
Flight from New Orleans to Chicago via Southwest Airlines – $44
Bottle of water in the airport (because my waters were more than 3oz I had to pour them out) – $3 (lesson learned)
Orange line train from the airport to the city $3
Dublin Donuts Coolata (don’t judge, we don’t have Dunkin Donuts near where I live) $4
John Hancock 360 – $21
AirBnB reservation $20/night
3 nights booked ($60)
Total so far = $135 and that’s including the next two nights lodging!
As heavy as this tall backpack is, it’s totally worth it!
Can’t beat that! Well, maybe I should tell the next story about my airbnb 😉
To be continued

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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Allowing emotion – Rage

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Raging 
My head is vibrating. I can feel the tornado inside of me whirling up strong and stronger. I keep having flashes of destroying everything in my path.. Throwing the paintings from the walls.. Smashing the tv.. Punching things and just swinging uncontrollably .. Whats the point of it all??? What’s the point in experiencing all that “awesome stuff” if I can’t feel it.. If I can’t remember it.. If the fucking pictures on the walls could just have easily been bought at the store? What’s the point of wasting hours and hours painting ?? Who cares if I can paint or not? Who cares if I can write? Who cares if I can adopt all these amazing fucking tools and share them with others??? What does it matter, if sitting here in MY living room, in MY house.. I still feel this. I still feel everything. It still fucking hurts. I’m still alone. I’m still fighting with myself every moment just to get up and take a shower.. It’s a fucking shower.. I still feel black hole depressed. I still don’t wanna leave the house, but wanna run far and wide. I still can’t escape the tape player of reasons why I am feeling hurt. It’s just gotten longer. New things added to it.  


I feel so sorry for myself.. How pathetic is that? Millions of people out there trying to survive.. Literally.. They may not survive today.. And I feel sorry for myself. Raging inside my mind, and nothing but a tear rolling down my cheek to show it. So afraid to allow myself to physically feel anger. So afraid to allow myself to ever get close to that line where anger turns rage. I just keep stuffing it back down. I need a healthy outlet. An outlet for anger. Something physical.. But I’m so tired before I ever move… And all I want to do is sleep. 

Intercepting panic and morphing it into pride 101

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Damnit … I was supposed to go the whole time home without a panic attack ://////
Wtf? I wasn’t even doing anything. What was I doing? Wrapping the painting for Michele.. Ohh .. And thinking of how far I’ve come since I first started seeing her almost ten years ago. I’m remembering the panic attacks that brought me there. So technically this isn’t happening.. Technically this is a memory.. Of how I felt then.. That was a good try…
Ok fuck .. Breathe .. Stop trying to rush thru this to get back to what you were doing… Chill out .. Focus.. Walk thru it .. Stop running … No running!! :))) Courtney 🙂 here and now… That’s it .. Plug into another feeling physiologically … Omg .. Of course!!! Why else would I be so in tune with describing emotions on a physiological level .. So that I can slip in and out of them ? Maybe ..
Ok so I’m feeling panicked.. Chest is pounding.. Stretch it out by breathing .. Sit up straight .. But we need a new feeling … Instead of trying to fight it back down to “calm” which is the largest span to cross .. How about a feeling like happy .. Or excited .. Hmm excited is too close to anxiety .. I want my body to actually feel different.. Ok love … What does love feel like.. Grans kitchen .. That hug from behind when she came to check on my progress mixing the cake.. Being tucked in at night .. Having my back washed.. The warm towels out of the dryer .. Ok that feeling is too emotional .. I’m missing all those things .. Ok .. Happy thoughts … Umm .. Victory!!! The time I bowled a 299 in an adult junior competition with my dad .. That feeling of making him proud … :))) Yupp there we go .. Full Chest.. Standing tall.. Kinda embarrassed to be that focus of attention .. But fuck it! 11 strikes in a row!!! You’re a bowler .. A damn good bowler.. Let it shine!
Ok .. Let’s see if we are grounded .. Cos Adele is on and that shit sure doesn’t help calm the storm lmao .. Ahh Adele .. I love you .. Always adding your two scents on this journey … Not this time tho …
and I’m out the bathroom .. Time Check 9:47 .. Started at 9:33 … 14 minutes!! Woooohoooooooo under the 15 minute adrenaline dump time zone!!!!

I find it so fascinating when I go back and read what I write when i am in the midst of the storm.  This one I happened to read for the first time in therapy later that afternoon after a very exhausting morning of panic.  I felt better when I left, having gained some insight about where to go with it.. but it didn’t stop further panic attacks once I got back home.  Luckily I have a ton of homework from her to work on, so that’ll be fun <- note the sarcasm.

Yesterday seemed like a day where a lot of people seemed to be struggling.  I had to step back at one point and just take care of myself.  I wish I could plug my brain in and just let everyone check out the tools they need in the moments that they are needed, but it doesn’t work that way.  Not yet anyway.. I am sure that will be possible one day.

Over the next 8 weeks, I will be facing the monsters inside of me once again.  Thankfully I have already cleaned, swept and mopped my closet once, so this time won’t be so bad.  On a good note.. I have a whole lotta pictures and footage of my travels that i’ll also be unpacking, and working on when taking mental breaks.. maybe even some artwork.. who knows?

For everyone who asks me how to get from where I was to where I am (because it’s usually when I am flying high on life that they wanna know) it’s time to tune in.  Lemme know you’re tuned in and wanna know.. I’m undecided at the moment about just how much I wanna share publicly.. preferably all of it so that it can help others.. but not exactly sure yet.

Goals: complete abstinence from self harm, binge eating, dissociation, panic attacks

Ok.. time to stop avoiding!

 

“but that’s about you” – owning my anger towards cancer

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It doesn’t take much for me to get distracted.. but you can bet your boots that reading a post where someone wishes cancer on someone else.. that will do it everytime.  Not just one person, but this person wished cancer on all the management people at their cable provider because 300GB of data just isn’t enough to keep up with her gaming lifestyle.

  
I debated for a few minutes after reading it, to figure out if I even wanted to respond to that.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Why would anyone WISH CANCER ON SOMEONE?????  And over bandwidth??? Seriously? I responded.. and responded to the response.. and then decided to walk away.

  
  
  I was so fuming mad that I took screenshots of the post and sent them to a friend.. needing some sort of validation to my anger from some rational thinking person.. to which I got back “but that’s about you”

What?? What the fuck?? I wanted to pour out all the anger that came along with this whole conversation.. but she was right. It was about me.  It was totally about me that I was so entirely pissed off that this person would wish cancer on someone because with that statement, a thousand images of what that one word, “cancer”, brings.

fcancer
  The hours I spent vomiting, long after there was nothing left to vomit.  The longing to go outside and feel the sun on my face, but not having the strength to get out of bed.  The pain. The pain of feeling my cells fight each other inside of me. The pain of radiation killing cells inside of me.  The sores and blisters inside my mouth.  The lockdown to prevent further illness with such a low immune system.  The rooms of other patients, and faces that change, or don’t make it back for the next round.  The fear.  The fear that death was knocking on my door.  That I could die.  The smiles I put on my face so people wouldn’t worry… because I didn’t want them to go through what I went through when my mother was dying of cancer.  

  
I remember watching her fade in and out of sleep.. her breath stopping for longer than it should until she gasped for another breath.  I remember her going thru the stages of grief, knowing that she wasn’t going to beat this thing.  I remember the blood transfusions, and the tests.. each result almost unbearable to wait for.  Every answer weighing down on just how much time we had left together.  I remember watching her favorite movies with her, and putting her in the wheel chair to keep getting out and living to the best of her ability.. even if that was only a 10 minute wheel around the block.  I REMEMBER WATCHING MY MOTHER DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH .. and do it with SO MUCH dignity.

  

I remember my gran fighting this same beast .. Like a champ! And the other family members that have ALL been taken by this monster.

   
    
   I REMEMBER FIGHTING MY ASS OFF so that I didn’t die that same slow painful death.  Walking miles after surgeries against doctors advice.  Getting out and about when I was supposed to be on bedrest.  Drinking those foul green smoothies and juices, if I could eat or drink anything at all.. because if I was going to force it down me, it was going to work towards the fight.  I remember avoiding tv, and finding things I loved to do.. discovering I could paint.. and write.. and sing.. although I rarely had the breath and energy to get thru a song at that time.

This upcoming week makes 10 years since my mother passed away.  It doesn’t feel like it’s even been 10 months.  She was only 49 when she died… ironically, because she always said “I’ll be lucky if I make it to 50”.  I wish she were still around.  We didn’t have a very close relationship, but in those months that I was able to spend with her before she died, we grew close..  what could’ve been the beginning of the kind of relationship I had always wanted with my mother.

I wish she were still around.  I wish she could see her grandson.. and experience being a grandparent.  I wish she hadn’t been diagnosed with Cancer.  I wish that no one would ever be diagnosed with cancer ever again.  So yes… when I read someone wishing this awful illness on a group of people just carrying out their job descriptions to cap data to 300GB per month.. I take it quite personally.
/rant