Growing My International Comfort Zone

Standard

September 24, 2014 (2 years ago in Miami Beach, Florida USA)

It’s amazing how quickly my comfort zone is expanding.  I am no longer afraid or self conscious about saying hello.  It started with a passing stranger, a quick “good morning” and a smile.  The return smile enhanced my day, the returned shocked “hello” even better.  It’s funny how many Americans here are shocked by the pleasantry that is displayed in the South, even here in Miami.  Sure, there are upper class people, some of whom look like they are scared to be infected by poverty, just by acknowledging a blue collar person, but for the most part, people are friendly, and will return whatever is projected to them.  Yesterday I entered the W hotel to find an ATM machine.  I immediately felt out of place with the obvious wealth of the place, and fort knox, security guarded entrance.. the one of a kind cars parked in the front, and various other “toys”.  As I walked around, somewhat lost, it was my own self conscious, “less than” thinking that separated me.  I eventually had to ask for help locating the cash machine, and was treated quite pleasantly, guided to the machine and wished a healthy day.  Another encounter that I discovered a new path to self worth.

In the hostel, I am meeting some amazingly beautiful people from all over the world.  Last night I asked Jette and Yana if they’d like to join me in a walk to a little spot i’d found the day before, where the Miami skyline looked quite beautiful.  I wanted to see it at night, and take some pictures.  Ironically I forgot my camera with all the talk while getting ready.. I forgot all that is involved in getting ready for girly girls. 🙂

I should’ve known when Jette (from Denmark) let me know that she is traveling to celebrate her weight loss, and how beautiful she is, and feels.  She is a princess who loves Pink (which i noticed as she picked out every pink travelers guide from the tourist rack).  Yana (from Israel) hasn’t  claimed to be a princess, but definitely wins the award for the most time spent in the bathroom of the 12 of us.

As we walked, we found a limo, and wanted pictures of us infront of it.  As we rotated and snapped the camera, the limo driver lowered her window and offered for us to climb inside, so of course we did!

 

We spent about an hour at the waters edge, watching the building repeat the dancing lights girl on the side of the building, and admiring the reflections of lights in the water.  The breeze was very welcomed as it was particularly humid last night.   It was “a romantic spot” Yana kept saying as she played with an Old English sheepdog, out with his owner.  We laughed as we each three talked about our own cultures, and the differences in them.  I listened tentatively as they exchanged travel stories.  Mexico certainly made it to my list while India became ruled out for me.  The way the culture was described sounded way too touchy feely towards women, especially if traveling alone.  Maybe one day I will face that fear, but no time soon.  Yana added it to her list, but only if she traveled with a group.  Maybe that had been an invite.. I’m not sure.. my Passage to India was already closed.
This morning I met someone who arrived in the night from Sidney, Australia, tho we didn’t talk long enough to exchange information.  I’m sure we will fix that this evening! Then I met Vecchiato, from Venice Italy.  🙂 She was very friendly, and thought she knew me from a previous hostel stay.  One day I will meet this twin of mine.  We exchanged information right away as she invited me to visit her when I travel Europe.  I look forward to getting to know her more, as she seemed really cool, and laid back.. knowledgeable about traveling.
Tomorrow Jette and I are leaving for the Keys.  I’m a little nervous about having a travel partner as I have learned I enjoy my space and freedom, and struggle with using my voice to achieve my goals rather than cater to others.  I’m feeling under the weather, full of a head cold, and camping on the beach, and being in the water may not be the best idea for me.. but then, maybe it is a good thing I won’t be traveling alone?  Universe… I’m sure you know what you are doing.
Well, time to clock in for work.. need to stack the bank account a little as funds are beginning to slide the wrong way.  I’ve been having technical difficulties with the app that dispenses the deliveries to me, and stayed pretty laid back about getting it fixed.. the result has been a decline in income, but I’ve still profited each day I have been here, so I can’t complain.
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY EVERYONE!!!
Advertisements

Stormes’ Shelters

Standard

20160830_224251What’s on my mind?

Stormes’ Shelters – There’s a reason I spent a year backpacking and camping.. and THIS IS IT! It was to have the understanding of basic needs in survival mode so that I could be used to help people in survival mode. (and I thought it was just for me to see the world lol)

This might be a lot of reading but bare with me.

 

This is Mrs Emma’s tent sitting beside the pile of what used to be all her belongings.  She is a 79 year old lady with COPD who was living in the trailer that flooded. She couldn’t get anywhere because her car flooded and she has had a knee replacement.  Her story has continued to inspire me throughout the last 4 weeks.

So.. having said that.. I have spent a good amount of time in Louisiana with people that cannot afford to leave their homes.. despite that fact that being there is literally making them sick.. ‘but what else can I do? Where can I go?’ They ask me.. and I haven’t had an answer.. until now. I’ve spent the last couple of hours rearranging my wishlist by priority. Highest priority are tents.. shower tents.. tarps.. cots.. shower heads .. special laundry camping bucket.. camping toilets.. extension cords.. means for cooking.. pack and plays (so everyone can sleep without fear of a toddler running away!)

If you read my comments on each item you’ll get to see the picture that I’m manifesting. Mrs Emma told me that 7 people from her neighborhood come to her house to shower each day as her water heater miraculously started back up (thankyou Jesus!) but for many neighborhoods that isn’t the case. A hot shower is on many people’s lists of ‘needs’ and some haven’t had one since before the flood. I have ordered the means for one shower tent so that I can delegate times of the day to neighborhoods and transport it around to offer showers.. as more are purchased from my wishlist I’ll be able to leave them in neighborhoods.

Tents purchased .. self explanatory. My initial goal is 100 but I know the need is far greater.

Adult bikes – for many, these are the only means of transportation.

Shopping Carts – many are walking to their local gas station to purchase food items and walking them back in the heat. The carts will help increase how much they can carry.

This was taken on September 19th .. 5 weeks after the flood.  In some areas the water didn’t go down for a month. 

My overall goal is to supply the basics for camping so that people can stay put of the mold infested homes with the least amount of inconvenience. These communities are coming together to share their resources. Love is growing abundantly in this time of need.

There are also other items on my list that aren’t high and highest priorities .. toys.. Kids bikes.. linens etc .. initially the housing is priority but these things will be needed too.. the toys really just help to bring smiles.. and give the kids something to do so the parents can catch a break. For those parents put there.. imagine if your kids didn’t have any toys or things to entertain them.

I plan on documenting as much of this as possible to share the stories with you all. I’m not sure yet if amazon allows me to see who purchased items.. but my gratitude is overflowing to everyone who has and will.

I’ve been informed that collecting donations in this form is something I need to have a nonprofit for so that the IRS doesn’t come after me for taxes on all these gifts. While I could probably research it myself and get it filed.. that would be time away from the cause and people have been waiting long enough. If anyone out there can take care of that.. it would be GREATLY appreciated! I have faith in God that I’ll be okay.

Up until now I’ve been driving 4 hours round trip each day that I go out to the devastated areas. My heart says that camping with the fine folks of louisiana will only help me understand their needs so we can meet their needs.. so I’m thinking that’s what I’ll be doing.

How appropriate is it that I was named Storme? Now I know why. To donate to Stormes’ Shelters please visit the wishlist

Stormes’ Shelters for the Louisiana Flood victims – click here!

Thank you God.. we love you and we praise you for all that you are doing.. for giving me the burning desire to travel on little or no money so that I could learn the ways of the camping world. I thank you for everything you took away during Katrina so that my heart could be pulled the way it is today to help those affected by the floods. God, I know that the seeds of love and hope you are allowing me to plant in these hearts will flourish and bloom in years to come.. and create multiple testimonies of the time faith was restored. Please bless all those who are affected.. whether it’s the victims or the volunteers for we are all being imprinted on in these days. Lord we love you and we thank you.. in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thank you everyone.

Mental health tools – blogging

Standard

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. 😍

Dear Wife who won’t let her cheating lover go,

Standard

Dear Wife who won’t let her cheating lover go,

For a long time, I was you.  Relationship after relationship, fighting to hurry up and change to be the person that my lover was seeking out elsewhere.  The PANIC! that they were one foot out of the door, and I didn’t even know we were on the rocks.  I remember all the doubts and suspicions that I had but couldn’t ask, for fear of rocking the boat and throwing her back into the arms of her new fuck buddy.. oh god.. what if he/she wasn’t just a fuck buddy?

Wedding rings on a dictionary showing the word infidelity

Wedding rings on a dictionary showing the word infidelity

I remember the work it took to hold that relationship together. The threads of bribery, silence, promises to do better, try harder, earn more, spend less etc etc.  Whatever it took to keep her!  I know, all too well, the sleepless nights, the psychological warfare that came with tearing myself into two.. me, and the me I thought I needed to become.  I remember compromising my values and my boundaries.  I remember saying “it’s OK!” to being cheated on so many times, because I had to make sure that she knew this wouldn’t be spoken of again.  She made it clear enough that there was “no point in us working it out..” That I’ll “never be able to forget what she had done.”  I even rationalized why it had happened for her.   “No one had ever loved her for her before.”  “She didn’t know that I really would stand by her side no matter what.. now she does.. See! It happened for a reason!!! This was a good thing!”

tumblr_nj2ebqq8fw1tw5mk6o1_500

The self talk and torture that was “holding on” – I forgot what you looked like.  It’s been so long since that part of the cycle was “now” that I had lost sight of you.  While I am thankful for the reminder, as it is a lesson I wish to file as learned, I am disappointed in myself.  I’m ashamed that I am now “she” that you are competing with.  I am now the person you are trying to become to avoid losing her.  I am the ears that listen.  I am the object of her lust.  I am the reason that arguments occur out of left field.  I am the reason she wants more from you.  It’s me that she is texting.  It’s me that she originally took that selfie for.  It is me… and I know you hate me, because you can’t hate her.  I know that you believe in your mind, that if I just fucked off, everything would be okay between you two.  What you don’t see is that I have fucked off, many times.. and she always came back.  What you don’t want to think about is how much I too, was in love with her, because I didn’t have “a right to be”.  “She isn’t mine.” “I am wrong for having an affair.” You’re right.  There was a time when I believed wholeheartedly that you are right, because I was you, and I felt those feelings and I told myself those same things.

Being on the other side of this triangle has brought so much awareness, understanding, and acceptance into my world.  I know what it feels like to love a forbidden love… to wait patiently for my turn; while you aren’t home, or while she is at work.. to hold sacred those few moments in her day that she choose to talk to me.  The pleasurable times that she was taking a bath.  When she went out of town for work, and we met, went on dates, and spent the night.  Those times that the Universe allowed us to spend time together, getting to know each other, and falling in love.  I know what it was like to see pictures of the two of you, and feel the guilt penetrate me with such blunt force.. to walk away and swear that I couldn’t do it anymore… only to find that the one thing that hurt more than going against my morals, was not having her in my life.   I know what it was like to wait forever.  To love unconditionally.. even if a condition was that she was married.  I know what it is like to love without fear of losing her, because I never really had her to begin with.  I know what it was like to fear losing her anyway.

johnny-depp-quotes-6.jpg

I look back on the younger me, and I realize that every one of those relationships had already ended, the moment I realized I needed to save them.  The moment I found out that they were seeing someone else.  I look back, and think about where they are now.. and I am thankful that each and every one of them happened, and came to an end.  Everyone involved is happier.  I look back, and I forgive the “home wreckers” because I now know that a true home cannot be wrecked by someone else.  I have forgiven them, and understand that they just didn’t have the communication skills and honesty that it takes to have those uncomfortable conversations that something was wrong.  I didn’t either.  In that, I have learned how much I want that in my future relationship.  I have begun practicing it in my friendships.  It has helped me recognize it in others, and share it with those who don’t have it.  I don’t judge them like I used to when I thought I had that skill.  In that lesson, I have learned to look at people for what they do have, as opposed to what they don’t.  That in every disagreement I have with another person, I have an opportunity to learn a new way, which is awesome.. because sometimes my way doesn’t work for me anymore.. and maybe they were put in my life to prepare me for such a time?  I look at life very differently these days, and it is a result of loving and having been loved by your wife.

I know you know about me.  I know that you’ve accidentally been the one home when my package arrived.  I don’t know if you know about the packages I received.  I don’t know if you know everything she has told me that you know.  I sincerely doubt it, based on everything that came to light in the end of my failed relationships.

apologies-dont-mean-anything-if-you-keep-doing-what-youre-sorry-for-quote-1

To the Wife who doesn’t want to let go… I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused.  I am even sorrier for the pain that you choose to hold onto.

 

Sincerely,

Your wifes’ mistress.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Standard

I wrote a private blog a couple of weeks ago.. I guess it was like my way of saying a silent prayer.. manifesting what it is that I am looking for in life.   My life is already so blessed that I felt somewhat greedy asking for more than I have, but I have been taught that I can manifest what it is I want to create in my life, and the yearning to share life with an amazing partner has never truly gone away.

The silent prayer began as a reintroduction of myself to someone that I thought knew me well enough, but when I really listened, I realized they didn’t know me at all.  I wonder how many times that shows up in my life.  As I wrote, the vision became clearer and clearer.. in fact so clear, that I felt I reached a finishing point.  I saved it.. sending it out in the Universe, and went on about my plans to research converting the minivan and travel.

 My name is Storme 🙂

I’m a fucking amazing person who is passionate about anything I put my hands and mind on… Those things often change.. It used to be painting.. And photography .. Lately it’s been writing and traveling.. Helping others.. Dulling the suffering that goes on in the world even its just putting a smile on someone’s face. I seem pretty social but I like my me time too. I’m the kind of ex that every ex wants back, but I don’t look backwards. I crave a family more than anything.. A home filled with love. I’ve rarely known either. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last three years mostly on my own discovering who I am and what I enjoy.. I’ve been able to do some of the things I always resented past relationships for preventing me doing. The grass is always greener on the other side. It’s been pretty awesome but none of it has filled that hole.

I love campfires, beaches, swimming in salt water, mountain views, and the great outdoors. I don’t care for materialistic stuff. I’m a simple person that just loves to love. I’d give the shirt off my back even if it were my last.. Well maybe not my last bc i am insecure about my body image lol I’m easy to fall in love with but I don’t fall too easy.. I’m skeptical and I’m not willing to change the dynamic of my life unless I know that I love that person unconditionally .. That means you need to piss me off a few times and I need to be able to see that I won’t just say fuck it. It’s rare that that happens. I’ve beaten enough dead horses and life’s too short.

The most valuable thing to me is time. I don’t believe in waiting for anything because who knows how long I have left. I want a life partner.. Not someone that’s gonna be up my ass 24/7 .. Like I said .. I like my me time and I want someone who enjoys their own space. I’m not a babysitter. I want someone who is passionate about things in their life. Someone who loves themselves and isn’t looking for a partner just to feel validated. Someone who wants to take the time to really get to know each other .. I’m not about the uhauling. I am ready to build a home with that person whenever that person appears in my life. I wish for it. I tell the universe all the time that that’s what I want.. And when I meet new people., I access them to see if they match what I’m looking for.. Just in case the universe is sending them my way. If they hit enough points, I spend more time talking to them.. Making great friends along the way, but when it becomes apparent that this isn’t going to blossom into something further, I tend to drift away. That’s something I need to work on.. Communicating what’s going on. I want life with a partner as opposed to without but It’s not a necessity.. I’ve had the best three years of my life in the last three years.. Falling in love with me.. and implementing a lifestyle that keeps me mentally healthier than I’ve ever been before. It’s in both of our best interests that that isn’t disrupted too much, which really narrows down the pool. Not too many people can genuinely be okay and understanding that no matter what it is that we were about to do.. I’m having a panic attack and simply cannot do it.. It leads to lateness or even being absent.. Social gatherings.. Needing help with something.. I understand it can be frustrating.. Another reason it’s mandatory that we spend time getting to know each other.
I want to build a house from scratch.. I don’t know where yet and was hoping traveling would answer that but it hasn’t.
I am diagnosed as mentally ill for various reasons and symptoms, but I don’t take meds. I was on and off them from the age of 16 and I think they’ve made things worse rather than better. Ive now been off them for over a year, and been able to manage my symptoms effectively. That doesn’t mean life is normal.. It just means it’s as contained as it can be and doesn’t stop me living life anymore.
Things i am working on.. Using my voice. I still struggle with standing up for myself. I pick my fights .. I’m mostly laid back and would prefer To avoid confrontation.. But if it starts affecting my mental health and becomes an obsessive thought then I speak up. I’d like to get to a place where I speak up before it effects me. I’m still working on managing my PTSD. It’s like a spiral Spiraling up wider and wider. There was a time I was afraid of my own shadow.. Now I travel across seas and stay at men’s houses that I don’t even know.. Creating pretty cool friendships. My zone has gotten so wide that it throws me off when something triggers me again and I get pretty angry at myself initially.. But part of loving myself is accepting that it’s going to happen.. And knowing that I have the tools.
My goal is to never work for an employer ever again. I don’t like having an authority figure over me. My parents weren’t active parents and I raised myself practically so it’s difficult for me to respect elders and law enforcement.. Bosses.. Anyone that comes across as having power over me. I’m the boss of my life, and so far I’ve been successfully unemployed or self employed for 6 years.
My savings plan for my future financial security is real estate. You really can’t go wrong with it. I want to own a couple of houses internationally .. Mostly because I have a paranoia about being stuck to one place should a world war break out or Mother Nature go nuts.
And that’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
Until I remember something else

Upon returning home I visited the animal shelter in Conroe Texas.. And there I found Athena.. A mixed dog that stole my heart in an hour.  My prayer was answered.. I would no longer be alone.. And in her companionship, I no longer needed to find a person to share my life with.  We make pretty awesome road buddies.. And I am truly blessed to have her.  It’s definitely an adjustment, but she’s my child now, and in that, all adjustments are possible.

Moving Forward After Losing A Child 

Standard

  

 Three years ago I lost my 4 year old
son, Tyler. I was a stay at home mom in a long term relationship with another woman. I was there before he was ever even born.. Went to the doctor appointments, cooked the nutritious food for his biological mother to eat, so that he would be healthy.. I was his mother.. Until we broke up, and she exercised her biological mother card. If I’d only known what would come next I might’ve fought a little harder.  It’s been a long ongoing process of letting go.
My plan was to pick up incense and warming oils at the flea market.. But apparently that isn’t that high on the totem pole. Luckily I finished writing my last entry late, because right after that I got a phone call from the HSSM, the local humane society, wanting to send a truck to pick up the stuff I wanted to donate. I let her know that I had a meeting to go to at 11am… Completely fighting the urge for this to be the excuse that I don’t make my first OA meeting. She sent the truck right away…

  
I hurried to get dressed and went downstairs to start moving the load forward. “Well, goodbye Tyler” I thought to myself.. Kinda sad. I debated holding onto the things people had asked for.. Until I saw them.. Or the crib so that I could sell it… “Nope.. It’s time for it all to go… Everything” I thought.. Kinda excited about what my storage room and garage was going to transform into. I’ve accumulated so much camping stuff that it needs some organization down there.  
  

  
Up pulled the truck. I saw the animals on the sides of it and smiled. The fact that Tyler’s belongings were all going to the thrift store at the animal shelter, to help animals.. It was pretty puuuurfect. Tyler and I used to have outings to the animal shelter.  

  
We’d see the animals and watch the families all excited that they had a new family member. There is a lot of love in those buildings, and even tho we didn’t need to bring one home.. It still put love in our hearts. Nowadays it wouldn’t be responsible for me to adopt a pet. I travel a LOT 

  
and I wouldn’t make a very good parent. I believe that I’m not meant to be tied down right now. I need the freedom to stretch and grow.. Make my mark on the world.. Be the change I want to see.. And inspire others to be and do the same .. And then one day when I’m older.. And I’m ready to settle down.. I’m sure there will be kids that would love a home.. Pre teens, or teenagers… The kids that our society throws away. Teens that I’m sure will benefit from my love.. “Grandmas house” will have a home for a dog.. A border collie 🙂 but until then.. Visiting the animal shelter and hanging out with them definitely gives me my fix. It’s always great therapy.  

  

They loaded everything up, and pulled away.. Thanking me for the donation. I feel embarrassed a little because the stuff was in need of another clean .. There was a bike that I didn’t think would be new enough to take.. But they took it. I guess if it was that bike or no bike it would make a child happy. I’m so thankful for the every day lessons of gratitude that come into my life. The clear mind that allows me to see the blessings in my life… To see the way the universe shows up for me.. My higher power.. My God.  
  They left just in time for me to head to the OA meeting. Boy…. Wait until you read that one!! 
  

🇺🇸Good Morning America… It’s time to wake up! 

Standard

Here I am, back in the good ole U S of A.. It’s 6:45a and I’m wide awake. I’ve been awake for a couple of hours now, adjusting to the time difference I’m sure. I’m laying on my friends couch, the same couch I’ve slept on dozens of times while visiting her in New Orleans. The daylight begins to appear behind the blinds, and I walk to the curtains to take a look at the outside. Drawing them back a little, I realize there’s houses, with yards.. She lives in an apartment complex, and until this moment id never looked out of the window. The curtains always stay closed, and I’ve only known what’s within the walls of her home. Within her apartment complex. A HUGE possum awkwardly makes its’ way along the fence, and I’m kinda shocked by its size. A woman in the yard to the left is sat out in her yard, reading the Sunday newspaper.. Unaffected by the creature that’s just passed her by. To the right there’s a street legal, off road capable vehicle (pictured).. Painted in camouflage, and an American flag hanging, resting over the property. These subtle differences in the way of life here had been lost on me for so long. I thought about the boy that might aim his BB gun at that possum some day.. Or his older brother that might shoot to kill. I thought about how huge the vehicle is, compared to the tiny Fiats and Citroens of Europe. I thought about how many tiny cars are over there, some with their difference in fuel, to cut down the high costs of transportation… And how pricey small cars are in America… Usually purchased because their “cute” and a novelty. I thought about the distance from my friends house in Metairie, Louisiana, and mine in Pass Christian Mississippi.. A good hour and half away. For people in England, and Europe in general.. A trip to visit a friend who lives that far away is planned a week in advance.. It’s budgeted.. and it’s a treat.. Because even in the smallest, economical car… It comes with a price tag. At $8 a gallon, how can it not?
As I looked out the window, I was flooded by the number of things, I never knew I took for granted living here in the United States. Ways of life that had become my normal. I thought about the fact that right now, the United Kingdom is being battered by its 8th named storm of the season.. Lives and landscapes forever changed by natures’ fury, and yet I’m sure most of my friends here in the US have no idea. If it doesn’t impact what we know as life, we don’t hear about it, and go about our days as if nothing else exists outside of our walls. I think about Hurricane Katrina.. And how catastrophic and devastating it was for us… How we couldn’t believe that we were left stranded in our streets for so long.. Why it took our protectors so long to protect and help us.. And how many times since Katrina, I’ve heard it used to make a point.. That if it had been a tsunami in Japan, or or an earthquake in Nepal, for example, we’d have help there the same day.. How we help third world countries but don’t take care of our own homeless veterans. I have to wonder just how many third world countries, tsunami and earthquake victims.. Refugees of war that it is we, as a nation, have helped? I doubt it’s many at all. I’m sure that by the time every “charitable organization” takes their cut to maintain themselves.. There’s little left to provide relief.. It’s just another industry. It helps us feel better about ourselves to throw a couple dollars in a bucket.
The truth is, we don’t know what we don’t know, and the good ole USA does an impeccable job of filling our minds with mindless drama and entertainment, that we don’t have time to step outside of our own world. It’s a doggy dog world, and we are cattle, raised in a farm that demands the disease of more. More clothes, more things, bigger houses, newer cars, more land, more money… Bigger… Better… The good life… Because we are America.. The biggest and the best.. We are proud to be Americans.. Offspring of our forefathers.. All immigrants that fled our bloodlines roots to find this bigger better land of the free. “There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese”… That’s the line in An American Tail that sold me.. As a child, sitting in England.. AMERICA…. I remember feeling euphoric at the thought of the land where dreams come true, anything is possible, and everyone is rich.. The God of all countries.. It’s what I moved here looking for, like so many others.. An escape from the struggle that life is for so many people… Yet no matter how much we acquire, we stay busy on our hamster wheels trying to get more.. It keeps us quite self absorbed, and leaves us little time to think about the rest of the world. When the rest of the world invades our individual lives .. It’s usually thru fear.. Media gives us breaking news of a terrorist attack.. Or a natural disaster .. Our humanity feels bad for the victims.. We wish it weren’t that way “out there” but our animal instinct is too busy trying to make sure we “survive” that we “can’t” do anything about it.
I think about the word “survive” and how it’s had so many different lives within my life. I’ve survived childhood.. School yards of bullies.. A parentless home where we learned quickly to fend for ourselves. I’ve survived decades of mental illness where I’ve wanted to take my own life and on several occasions, I’ve attempted. I’ve survived heartbreak, and moments where emotions weighed so heavily in grief, sadness and anguish that I couldn’t see how I would go on. I’ve survived homelessness and dereliction.. Living in the back of an old station wagon in a junk yard, with no clue where my next dollar came from.. But when $10 dos come my way, I used it to buy diapers and orange juice for my son, because I didn’t need anything that bad. In that memory I can feel the humanity alive and well in my soul, and it’s a feeling I want more of. I’ve survived cancer.. An illness that’s taken the lives of my mother, grandmothers and grandfathers before me.. An illness I never thought I could beat. I’ve survived loving paycheck to paycheck, no matter how much money I earned.. It never felt enough… The struggle really was real… Because I hadn’t yet figured out that I didn’t need all the materialistic things I’d buy to justify all the hours that I worked. I’ve survived 9/11, hurricane Katrina, a broken down car thousands of miles from home, camping alone in the woods where there are bears, road tripping around America, backpacking alone around Europe, drug addiction, stereotypes, my own negative thinking … Life…. I’ve survived life… And until it’s my time to go, I will always survive life! If you’re reading this, then so have you… And so will you … It’s okay to let go of the fear that we won’t survive..


As I look at the monster truck sitting outside, and how much petrol it’s probably drank.. Just to ride around in a muddy field, joy riding.. I think about how far that same petrol could go back in Europe.. As I think about how huge even a one bedroom apartment is .. How open the floor plans are.. And how much electricity we just run.. All the time… I think about how cramped the small island of the United Kingdom is. How the number of people living there is becoming too many for amount of land they have to build on. As I think about the hundreds of thousands of refugees that have been taken in by the different countries of Europe, who are already in financial crisis’ themselves.. I think about the financial crisis we are taught that we are in, here in America. How our lifestyles keep us trapped inside the prison of paycheck to paycheck. The prison of money. The institution of wealth, and all the laws that have surrounded the right to earn money to survive.

 

There was once a time when money didn’t exist. If you wanted to eat, you planted some seeds and grew some food. If you wanted a home, you drew from the land.. Mud and trees,… Or mined stone and built shelter .. Shelter from the elements of life of earth.. I wonder if we were meant to take shelter so far .. Creating the luxurious forms of shelter we all take for granted now.. Even in the most basic apartments.. We have electricity, climate control, instant entertainment on the tv.. Which wasn’t even sufficient, so we introduced “on demand” and Netflix. If we wanted to go somewhere, we walked.. Sometimes for days.. Creating new shelters along the way.. We weren’t tied to our homes, and our bills and mortgages… We didn’t have social security numbers that said whether we could work or not … That dictated who was allowed to thrive.. We traded skill set for skill set.. And worked as communities to provide all of the basics. Each skill was needed and as valuable as the next. There weren’t rich doctors and lawyers.. Doctors became rich because fear of dying is so huge. Lawyers became rich because laws became so many, and money became so valuable.. The more money one has, the more skills they can but, and lazier they can be. We buy our way back to the freedom from the grindstone.. Freedom to once again enjoy our earth.. Freedom to travel.. The richest of us but their own boats, build their own oasis’ in their backyards.. Of their bigger better houses.. They fly first class or on private planes to remote islands .. And in those places they have arrived .. They’ve achieved the goal… But I promise you … They still want more. That feel good achievement.
What would happen if currency became acts of kindness, goodwill to others, selflessness… If money were abolished… If love for one another replaced money… If we all did unto others as we want done for ourselves.. I think we Wouldn’t be as fearful.. As stressed.. As angry… As lonely..
Traveling has opened my eyes.. Not only to what I find out there.. But to what I couldn’t see here at home. We took a wrong turn somewhere along our timeline.. A turn that led us right back to everything our forefathers were freeing us from.
“WE, THE PEOPLE…” I wanted to learn about the actual people that wrote our Declaration of Independence. What were we declaring independence from? This is what I found…



 So basically, the colonists enjoyed their freedom they’d found in being neglected by the British.. When the British came back to rule the colonists.. The colonists fought to keep the freedoms they’d found.. Freedom from being ruled by a country where money dictated the power.. And taxes were used to keep the money and power in limited hands. This is why the most memorable part of the Declaration of Independence is
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Wow! I have to wonder what our forefathers are up there thinking, watching all that America has become. Have we realized their vision for this great nation? Or have we allowed the same greed and thirst for power that governed Britain in the 18th century become our way of life here in the colonies. “All men are equal” yet the likes of Donald Trump is a front runner for Presidency.

While traveling thru Europe, I heard the same repeated message in several countries in regards to America. It’s the country they are most afraid of.. Not Iraq.. Not Syria.. America.. Because in America we have guns. The look on their faces when I tell them I have a gun back home… It’s unimaginable to them. They tell me stories of how we kill ourselves thru school shootings, and mass murder.. How they’re afraid to be a foreigner in our land because all it takes is a second and you could be dead. I can completely understand their concerns. We have the right to bear arms, and we fight daily to keep that right. The reason our fore fathers gave us that right was so that we could fight for ourselves to keep our freedom, should we ever have to. It wasn’t to hunt. It wasn’t to protect ourselves from enemy states.. That’s what the military was for .. It was so that, in the event our government needed to be replaced, we would have the ability to fight for that. Times have changed.
Americans are beautiful people. America, for me, is home. It still is the land of opportunity, where anyone can make their wildest dreams come true. The civilians of this great nation are as good as any other country I’ve visited. They’re completely unaware that our military is out in the world, terrorizing smaller countries.. Being the present day pirates, stealing oil, raping towns and villages, bombing lands and killing people by the millions.. Forcing families to flee and seek refuge, all in the name of “more”. They’re unaware that while they complain about $3 per gallon of petrol, Our allies.. Our nations friends, like France and England, are paying $6-$8 per gallon, but continue to be “friends” so that it doesn’t increase any further.. Sending their military in to drop a couple of bombs in order to share allegiance. The great people of America don’t know that they’re constantly being groomed by the media.. To only know what the government wants them to know.. To create conflict of interests about things like gun control, and foreign affairs.. So that when our government is exposed, we won’t be able to carry out the wishes of our very own Declaration of Independence.
We don’t know that we are no longer free… We don’t know that we are wasteful of precious resources.. That we are noticeably fatter than any other country.. That there’s more to life than Facebook, binge watching Netflix on 60″ TVs, and driving that 2016 convertible off the lot. While people are living in tents year round as their homes, we cringe at the thought of tent camping for fun, and rent a log cabin or an RV instead. We don’t know how good we have it, because the only thing we are repeatedly shown, is the glamorous lives of those who have it better .. The carrot that keeps us going to work for that paycheck to paycheck life so that the rich get richer.


Good Morning America… It’s time to wake up!