“She’s Gifted” October 25 2015

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“She’s Gifted”

This was originally inspired by a comment “you’re gifted” on one of my painting posts, and how those words have evolved over the years, and being gifted is something i treasure now vs feeling like a freak when i was younger.  Tho I was never in special needs classes, I was pushed forward.. given college math to solve at the age of 11.. spent time after school with teachers that saw the potential within me, and nurtured it to excel.  I knew I was different, being only 1 of 3 kids in the school to be offered this opportunity.  I remember being selected to learn violin, based on a test administered for the best candidates.. there were many signs growing up that I wasn’t your average bear.  Unfortunately, all i wanted to be was “your average bear” so that i’d feel accepted, and normal.

Pictured is Tessa at her 9th birthday party.  I remember shopping for her birthday.. I wanted to send her on a shopping spree to the Disney Store, an ice cream stop, and Toys R Us.  I wanted to then do a photo shoot of her, dressed as her favorite princess… I wanted her to feel like the Princess that she is.  At the birthday party I witnessed Tessa being the princess that she is.  Her authentic self shined bright at all times.  If she wanted to dance, she danced! If she was upset, she was upset.  If she wanted to sit next to her best friend when she was “supposed” to be doing something else.. she sat next to her friend.  Tessa taught me a huge lesson about being authentic that day… Thank you! ❤

After years of trying to be normal, fighting the natural, beautifully flawed person that I have been blessed to be in this lifetime.. Extraordinary is a word that fits … and it’s okay that sometimes that means I will have a freak out moment… sometimes I won’t be able to handle any noise.. or if i can.. it can’t have words, just music.  It’s okay to let my friends see me when I am out there.. and to ask them to give me some time to let my brain run wild, which means i won’t be able to focus on a conversation in that moment.  It’s okay.. because it is in those moments that my mind reaches a place where it clicks.. and something beautiful is produced… today it is this poem… enjoy…  and as always.. feel free to share if it resonates.

“She’s Gifted”
She sorts her toys by color…
And eats her food in groups
Seems socially awkward…
Maybe even mute.
Perceived as rather quiet
Rarely makes a sound
But inside her mind and soul
Everything is so loud
“She’s retarded” they used to call her
“She’s mental” they would say
“She’s special… ”
“Yea, special needs…” They’d tell each other
“She’s gifted, in her own way”
Surrounded by authorities
Trying to fit her in their box
Seeking treatment to make her normal…
Gifted didn’t shine a lot.
focused just long enough to get dressed
Take her meds
And eat some food…
Taking time away
 from all she had to say
and remember
When back in her own world
Constantly trying to keep up
Sticky notes posted in the furthest universes’ of her mind
Isolation became her greatest friend
The key to play freely and let her gifts shine.
Free to be herself,
Just as she is,
Her gifts multiplied and became fine tuned.
Picasso paintings
Pretty pictures
Expression expressed in magnitude.
“She’s gifted” they began to say
This time with a new air,
For no one was around to see the “mental”
State of mind
She needed to be within
To allow herself to be there …
There…
Where she could be gifted.
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I wanted to die. More than anything in the world..

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Valentines’ Day… when I type that, my fingers glide over the keys as if they are playing the piano.. gracefully, romantically.. a little bump in the rhythm of my heartbeat. It feels quite nice actually.   Valentines’ Day.. 🙂

So.. what does the big day look like for a hopeless romantic single boi such as myself? I’ve gotta say.. I felt pretty content. I didn’t hate a single picture of roses, chocolates or teddy bears posted on any social media. I felt love. I felt romantic. I felt mindful and present.. and completely okay with the fact that I didn’t have a Valentine. That only improved as I hung out with the boys, and talked about what healthy dating and relationships look like.. I felt solid on my path.. that I don’t need someone in my life to feel whole.   For a co dependent, borderline personality like myself, that is HUGE! I am emotionally independent!!! They are no longer dictated by drugs, alcohol, shopping, lust, sex… manipulated by endorphin’s released by my pleasure centers.. they are completely and authentically real. I don’t need to be validated by anyone. I know I am fucking awesome! That positive affirmation I never thought I would be able to wear, and own.. “I am awesome” … I finally convinced myself.

Three years ago today, I was admitted into River Oaks Behavioral Hospital, into the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder unit. I wanted to die. More than anything else in the world, I wanted to die. Correction.. I wanted peace. Peace of mind and heart. Calmness in my soul. It was something that I was convinced would never be possible for me. I’d wanted it for as long as I could remember. Twenty plus years I had been in and out of the mental institutions, bouncing up and down, over and under the bars of mania and depression. Suicidal ideations were the only thing that brought me peace. Knowing that if all else failed, I could take my life, and it would all be over. I knew in my heart that there was a solution, but fighting for so long to keep going, thru all the extended dark days where everything ripped my guts out completely, or nothing fell upon me, creating a shell of numb and void. My partners, through the years, left.. having had enough of the constant roller coasters. Believing that I no longer loved them because I didn’t have the ability to feel it, let alone express it. Or having enough of my impulsive behaviors when manic. Gambling sprees, drugs to try and bring me down so I could sleep. I felt like I was losing my mind. I was losing my mind. I had so much insomnia that it has caused changes in my brain that effects my memory. I took the anxiety medications, the pain medicines, drank, and anything that was considered a downer. You know, a common misunderstanding about drug addicts is that they just want to be high.. and that they’re irresponsible.. while that may be true for a small percentage.. a LOT of addicts use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their mental illnesses. It gets to the point where it doesn’t really matter anymore.. it doesn’t matter if it is illegal.. it doesn’t matter if it might kill you.. you hope that it will.. it doesn’t matter that you won’t be able to function.. as long as it breaks the current psychotic symptom that is throwing everything out of whack.. that is the ONLY goal that can be focused on, because if you try to think of anything else, the brain malfunctions and goes into shut down.. the fuck its.  Mental illness is a bitch. Some days are so busy, just trying to keep within the realm of grounded that nothing else gets done. I spend days circling my house, one room to the next to the next .. maybe cleaning a little bit here and there, but mostly just trying to remember what it is that I am doing… trying to complete the tasks of things that I have already started. I never get to the end of that haunting list.. it just grows and grows and grows.

 

Anyway … totally got off topic there lol … some things take longer than others! So yea.. from three years ago, wanting to die, until today.. where I am emotionally free, and have so much in life that I want to do before I die… it’s an interesting transition. It’s a program that actually works.  A path from the deepest darkest depression, to the most mind blowing life anyone could wish to live.  I am living a life that I never thought would be possible for me, stacking up the evidence of the things I thought I couldn’t do.. and have done. It’s an amazing journey so far! I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wish I could sit down and compile a book on how to do it,.. but I can’t.  I don’t have the focus to spend that long on one project.. maybe over the course of my lifetime I will have written it, but for now, I am just able to share the tools as they present themselves to me.  Todays’ tool id square breathing.  Whenever you feel overwhelmed with an emotion, square breathing helps to take it back down a notch, to a level that the next level of self care can be applied.  It’s a very slow process, but reprogramming our minds takes time.

 

Happy Self Love day to me! Okay.. time to go back to the karaoke! Lol

So What If?????

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What do I wanna write about? I feel like there are so many things that I have wanted to stop and write about, but I didn’t have time in the moment.  I have those books that I need to read too.. to figure out how to start compiling the 3 novels that I want to write.. theyre so freaking awesome.. and just sitting in my mind, waiting for me to find the time to make that happen.  I think I am busier now… now that I don’t have a formal job that tells me when to report to work.. which is completely backwards of how I thought it “should” be.  Ha.. there’s that word.. and with that word.. we have a topic.. the role that the word SHOULD plays in our lives…

I bet some of you are already squirming in your seats because you know better.. you SHOULD know..:)

So in my mind, the fact that I don’t have a formal job creates all sorts of messages in my mind.  I should be thankful.  I should make sure I stay busy.  I should use the time wisely because it is such a gift.  I should give back to others.. somehow repaying everyone that does work because I feel guilty that I don’t… not enough to go back to work of course.. if that happened it would be a catastrophe.. trying to fit my mind back into focusing on the same thing day in and day out .. forever… if I want to consider it a solid successful career.. then I would have to do it forever right?  Yea.. see, .. I can’t do that.. I literally crawl and shrivel up inside at the thought of attempting to do that.. my brain scatters.. I’d rather die.. quite literally, I would rather die than get back on that hamster wheel and convince myself that I am happy.. it was always such a lie to myself that I tried to shop my way into avoiding.. or succeed at work to feel purposeful.. it eats me up inside… and I feel like I am suffocating.. just the thought of going back to work.. but I SHOULD work.. right?  I mean we all have to work.. to survive..

Survive… lets define that .. because at the time that I was forcing myself to fit into that mold.. my definition of “survive” was to keep a nice house over the heads of myself, my son, partner, her family her friends.. etc etc etc.. now even if I boiled it down to just my son, her and i.. that’s still a life consuming job.. the electric bills.. the water bill.. the cable, and car payments.. for both cars, because we NEEDED one each.. insurance and the lawn guy that comes every weekend.. the Netflix and hulu and whatever other subscriptions.. the cellphones, and then clothes.. and food.. and …………… yea.. you know what I mean.. just the basics to survive.. that’s without a vacation.. school supplies… the non monthly bills.  I had to redefine the word survive for myself.  Basically, the bare minimum that I need to survive is water, food.. clothes if I don’t want to go to jail .. and that is it.  Now I prefer to have a space to sleep, so I added a tent to that list.. and there I had the bare minimum that I needed to survive.  Now if shit really ever hit the fan.. I can grow my own food.. but id most likely be moving around on foot, so food would probably rely on goodwill if I didn’t have money.. maybe barter a service in exchange for a meal.  I certainly wouldn’t eat as much as I do now.. it would be strictly be on a hungry basis.. this already sounds healthier for me than the life I SHOULD be working towards.

There’s no wonder that I get along with homeless people so well.  All this time I looked at them as though I was better than them, and in a place in life where they were probably striving to be.. offering them food or coffee and a chat to keep them going.. it wasn’t consciously, but now that my perspective has shifted, im starting to wonder if they had already figured out that letting go of all the materialistic things was a happier place to be than on the hamster wheel.. food for thought.

Sooo… here I am, cooking seafood gumbo for a bonfire on the beach party tonight.  I am excited about it, and nervous about it.  Those feelings are one in the same, physiologically, and it’s all a matter of perspective. So what is my perspective?  Well.. I am excited to see some faces that I really haven’t seen in a while.  I am excited that it’s something that we have pulled together (thank you Ruthie and Kim!) and it’s a bonfire on the beach .. who wouldn’t be excited?? I am nervous because there are a few people that I don’t know.  I’m nervous that it won’t be good enough.. that people will be bored.. and I won’t be entertaining enough.. that they won’t like my gumbo, or we will run out of wood.. what if the fire isn’t big enough? What if people don’t get along? What if no one shows up?

Silly rabbit … so what if … SO WHAT IF?

You’re going to be surrounded with your friends, at a bonfire, on the beach, eating seafood gumbo… Save your worrying for something that threatens your basic needs.. today it’s all covered with plenty of bonuses…

And this is why I write…. Better go stir the gumbo…

I love my Student ID!

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Twigs carved by the children and colored into Santa Claus

Today started out with a plan.  The plan was to see the sculpture garden, that I had a hard time figuring out how to get to using the public transport.  Definitely a language barrier there, and tho I “think” I found it on the map, I’m still not certain that it wasn’t something else with the name Froggenklein.  So after many failed attempts at mapping it, I set out blindly to the city center once more.   I figured I’d take a bus to the end of the line, and see what was there.. something that would hopefully give me some scenery to look at.. the 31 bus ended in what looked like a harbor.. good enough for me.

So I reach the city center, and find the correct platform from which I can board the bus.. as it approaches, it looks PACKED.. I’m talking wall to wall people, and tons of people at the platform waiting to get on.. I squish in and practically sit on someones lap as the guy behind me squishes me even further in than what I originally thought I could fit.  We’re like smashed sardines.. seriously.. it’s been a while since I have been that up close and personal.. so much for the blog that said to refrain from personal contact with Norwegians.  Apparently it isn’t welcomed, outside of a firm handshake of respect.  So people are chatting away with each other.. everyone looking pretty excited.  At this point I’m feeling the loneliness kick in, and wishing I had someone with me to share the moment.  It seemed like I was the only person by myself.  A moment later, two more people crammed onto the bus, sucking in their stomachs so that the door could close around them.. they stepped on the guy that was basically stood on top of me.. “sorry” he said.. and the guy responded “are you American?”

“yes” he said “we are from New York”
“Me too.. I’m from Alabama” At this point I decided to chip in too..

“that makes four of us, I live in Mississippi” We talked back and forth about how cheap it was to fly here.  The guy from Bama was staying with family, so he won “the cheapest vacation” discussion.. the two from New York said they had scored a roundtrip flight from NY to Norway for $300 – that’s even cheaper than what I came over here for.. I asked them if they knew where they were going, and they told me about an extravaganza going on at a museum on the line.. I assumed that was why this particular bus was so packed, and decided that that was where I was going today.  When I reached the admissions, I showed my student ID, taking my admission price from 120K down to 40K.  $5 to get into the museum for students.. they love their students.  Word to the frugal traveler coming behind me… MAKE SURE YOU BRING A STUDENT ID! I am SO glad that I did!  It turned out that not only was it an amazing outdoor museum of the houses used in Norway from the year 700 DSC_0339.jpgall the way thru until the present, but there was also a Christmas Faire going on where props were used to make it feel like the era in whichever section of the museum we were in.  Folkemuseum – Jordemarked.  Amazing experience.  I’ve been using that word a lot lately.. maybe I need to look for some synonyms!

The first section I walked thru had a teepee, and a mud hut next to each other.  I took a pic of the mud hut and posted it to facebook, asking if they liked my new airbnb… the funny part is that some people thought I was seriously staying inside the mud hut.. I kinda like that they would believe I would do that.. they know I’m just that adventurous, because I would.  I think it would make a great airbnb personally.. but maybe not in Norway in the Winter.  The teepee was too cute.. the smoke bellowing out of the top of it.  As I walked around, a man stepped out of the way of the entrance and told me that I had to try the coffee.  Inside, there was a fire burning with a pot of kaffe over it.  He told me that there was meat and cheese in the coffee.  It was black so I was hesitant to try it.. I like mine with a lot of milk and a little sugar.  I am caffeine sensitive, and didn’t wanna spark anxiety. I asked to take their picture, and then moved on.

The next section were wooden structures, built out of burnt looking wood.  I still haven’t figured out why the wood was all black and burnt, and need to google that, but I did look up the reason that there is grass growing on the roofs.. even on the modern houses up in the mountains that are presently in use.

Building on a rocky mountain foundation, there is movement from the gravity, and with the landscape change over time.  The sod on top of the roofs weighs about 250kg per cubic square meter.  The weight of the sod keeps the walls straight, and makes for a solid structure.

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Twigs carved by the children and colored into Santa Claus

It also provides insulation.  Pretty cool!  In this section there were fires built with more coffee hanging over it.  Around the fires were haystacks with animal skins stretched over them for seating.  IMG_7017A man was serving the coffee to those taking a seat.  Two children in full ski onsies were eating toffee apples.  The children in Norway were so polite and well  behaved.  IMG_7095.JPGI don’t remember seeing any of them on any electronic devices the entire time I stayed in Oslo.  Some children played lifesize Jenga with wooden blocks, while other were carving tree twigs into points, and then coloring father Christmases onto the stubs.  I sat at on a haystack, the animal skin surprising me at just how warm it was.  The man handed me a coffee, poured thru the spout of the kettle that had evergreen in the spout as a filter. _DSC0379 The coffee was dark, and bitter.. a very distinctive taste.  It reminded me of the hot chocolate the night before, as neither drink tasted like what my memory of those drinks would’ve expected.  It was good tho!  I definitely didn’t need a lot.  As it hit my stomach I realized I was hungry, and got up, thanking the man for his hospitality, placing a tip in the box, and moved on to the next section.IMG_7166

This section had actual brick houses.  In the market square there were stalls with different foods.  I chose the bolle.  I’d seen sign for it from the moment i’d arrived in Norway 3 for 40K or 25K the further I seemed to be from the city center. I didn’t know what it was, but I can best describe this one as a cinnamon bun type thing, but I think in general they are different forms of bread rolls.  I know I know… I’m gaining a ton of weight on this journey because there is simply too many new foods to try.  As expected it was delicious.  It hit the spot while giving me time to stop and enjoy the Norwegian Brass band.

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It was about 1:30p by this time, and I wanted to catch daylight pictures of the coast, so I left the museum, hopping on another bus to the end of the line.

There were a couple of museums there also, and I decided to go into the Maritime Museum.  Again, 40K for admission.  This museum was relatively small, showing the history of the boats in Norway.  Viking boats, and cruiseliners filled the displays.DSC_0455.jpg  I found it interesting to see the cargo that these huge monsters of ships held within them.  After looking around for a little while, it was time to take some picture of the coast .. not as exciting as I thought it would be.. it was overcast, so I didn’t get a sunset evening. DSC_0465-3.jpg Ironically I bumped into a man that had been on my flight the day before.  He had a backpack, and we had talked about cabin size luggage.  This trip was my first without Trek, whom I think I am going to rename to Takk.. it’s Norwegian for “thank you” and this is certainly a trip that I am thankful for.  \

Having a cabin sized bag with everything in it will save me $20 per flight, which is why I was considering mailing Takk back to America.  Traveling to Norway with a rolly wheeled cabin sized suitcase wasn’t the most convenient way I could’ve done the trip.  It’s frustrating to roll over cobblestones.  It gets heavy carrying it up 4 floors of stairs, and my apartment building didn’t have an elevator.  Even inside the airport there are stairs, and pulling the handle in and out over and over to go up and down, or waiting at the gate, and then moving it into the boarding area.. again when walking up the stairs of the plane… I def missed Takk.  I saw a few backpacks going on as carryon, Takk isn’t too far outside of RyanAir’s 55cmx40cmx20cm – I think we will manage to make it work, and I’d prefer having a backpack on than carrying that suitcase.  I am thankful that my sister had one that I could try out, before I bought one for myself.

The sky grew darker, and I boarded the bus back to the city center.  Hunger began to strike again and I decided to take the bus back to the apartment.  Across the street there was an indian restaurant – my favorite.. Dinner and a night of photo editing, coupled with some facetime with my bestie, Amber.. a perfect night!PIJF0579.png

Welcome To Norway

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Welcome to Norway 

 Omgosh it’s beautiful.. It was beautiful before I even got off the plane, and now I am on the bus and it is even more beautiful! So many rocks with waterfalls falling down them.. The bus is going thru tunnel after tunnel, thru the mountainous terrain. 

   The sun seems to shine brighter, and everything looks so vibrant and warm. The houses are few and far between, among fields. It feels like there is a lot of hard work here. I can’t believe I am actually riding thru Norway .. Just three months ago I was nervous about traveling to Chicago, NYC and DC without a car, relying only on public transportation, and now I am in Norway! So this is what happens when I stop making plans.  

  
I love watching the scenery go by.. The anticipation of a break where the mountains and valleys in the distance can be seen.. Across the water.. I wonder what water that is.. My service won’t allow me to find out because we are inside another tunnel. I’m pretty sure we are driving up the coast. Oslo is on the coast, an hour and a half from the airport. We will be driving up and around, and I can hardly wait to have my camera in my hand to record all of this. The immediate landscape reminds me of driving thru northern Georgia and Tennessee.. There’s just so much to see in the world. The thought of what I am about to learn and experience.. It makes me realize just how ignorant I am. As much as I know about life, is nothing.. It’s microscopic compared to what is out there in OUR world. Soooo much … We need each individual person and their microscopic grain of knowledge, to fill up the beaches of our collective worldly knowing. It’s impossible for anyone to “know best” even when we put 200 MPs into a room and have them debate and then vote on the future of millions of lives miles and miles away.. Sigh
These views are too beautiful to be missing…

  
I can feel my smile as I see bits of powdered snow on the ground .. We must be higher up .. Pinch me! 

Day One to be continued..