March 18, 2015

Public Healing

Why am I so public with my story?
Well, for healing.

Sharing my story is a release. There is a weightless freedom that comes when I am open. The ability to turn into words all that is spinning inside of me is a powerful detox. And the potential for my journey to reach others who may be silently suffering is so very healing to me. We are all connected. One heart. One beat. One pulse. One rhythm. And this story is not just mine. It is all of ours. To learn from. Grow from. Gain strength and passion and wisdom from.

I have shared so much of this story throughout the years. The tone of which has morphed over time as my perception has morphed. Always drawn to a public release. Trusting and Knowing that it belonged out here, among all of us. But I also kept pieces of this story hidden. So very hidden. So much shame. So much self hate. So much fear.

I was afraid of everything. But mostly; I was afraid of judgement. I was already judging myself so harshly, for all of it. For staying in a relationship that caused me so much pain. For my own codependency and misdirected guilt over causing him to cause me pain in the first place. For my want to "fix everything" and find our happy; happy with the least amount of baggage; the least amount of judgement. And more then anything, I was so very harshly judging my Mama'ing. I couldn't bare to hear any of that validated by others. And I couldn't bare to hear the judgements that others may feel about Nick, either. I didn't... still don't want to hear people talk badly about my husband. Or ex husband, if that's the path we decide to take. And the comments on my Mama'ing, ooooh boy, those ones are the toughest for me to absorb. Even the comments that are expressed so very gently, and from a place of obvious love, even those ones feel as though someone has just punched me in the throat and all of the air is escaping my lungs. Fear has let that be enough to stay quiet. Deal with all of this silently. And alone.

I expressed this to a friend recently, and I realized that I still feel that fear of judgement. It's there. Strong. Really strong. Twisting my stomach into a knot. And causing my thoughts to return to erratic and angry. But I am stronger then that fear. So much stronger. And I am finding my breath. And my light. And my truth. And my village full of gentle, kind, love based words that I am learning to accept and embrace; rather then shield and block. So it's taking less and less time for the knots in my stomach to loosen. And for my mind to slow. And for my heart to remember that I am lights love. I am no longer willing to let that fear of judgement prevent me from stepping into my light, and sharing my heart. I’m no longer willing to be tethered to my own judgements. Part of this process is owning my reactions. My triggers. And really, that's all that judgement is. Reacting to a situation based on a past experience; a trigger. And I can choose to create separateness, rather then become entangled. Ask myself “where is this thought or belief coming from”. I can sit with that question, free of judgement and cynicism, and trace the belief back to it’s root. I can feel that root. And I can determine whether or not that root is serving my light. My life. I can release the roots that were never mine; as well as the ones that used to be mine, but are no longer relevant. I can create a new experience; a new perspective; a new root

Judgement … the very thing that was keeping me silent is helping me to open fully into my being. I can make a different choice. I can see through fear based actions and lean into the love that is at the core of me. The core of all of us. And I can release THAT out into the world for us all to learn from. Grow from. Gain strength and passion and wisdom from.

For us all to heal from.

And that's why I do it.

March 17, 2015

Breathe Into the Waves

Oooh Mama Ocean; you teach me so much. The strong emotions of grief, of trauma, behave very much like you. Your waves. Coming in slowly at first. Calm. Steady. Gradually the pressure builds. Intensity increases. You rise up higher and higher. Fierce. Intimidating. Darkness with no end in sight. Ultimately you reach your highest point and ... you recede. There is calm again. And light.

When we're caught up in emotional reactions, it can feel so crushing. Permanent. Fight or/and Flight is our instinct. Our body arms itself with everything it needs for protection from this seemingly endless darkness. Our muscles become tight. Or breathing turns shallow. Our judgement irrational. But if we can remember to just breathe. Deep. Create some separateness between this reaction and our reality. Feel the sensations of the darkness. The emptiness. The hurt. Telling ourselves that these sensations will pass. The light is still shining. Behind a storm cloud, perhaps, but that storm will pass, and the light will be felt again. Love, not fear, is at the center of us all. We just need to breathe. Breathe into the storm. Breathe into the waves. Rise up. Strong and Powerful. The calm is just beyond this crest. And the light is shining bright. Always. 

March 13, 2015

Peeling Back the Layers ... Abuse

This recent instagram photo led me to write ...

"I've been ashamed of pieces of my story for far too long. A story that includes enduring abuse and infidelity and abandonment. Feelings of shame, of embarrassment, of misplaced guilt & self blame left me feeling powerless and alone. I am slowly peeling back the layers and exposing these dark, hidden, scared places within. I am strong. I am brave. I am opening. "

I had plans to write a blog post that day and link to it in the instagram photo, but that short little exert into my heart proved to be enough. In fact, it felt like too much. I unraveled after releasing it, and spent the next two days in a haze. Going through the daily motions of Mama-hood. And also crying. There was so much crying. And yelling at trees. And throwing rocks and lettuce ends, with all of my might, into oblivion. And being full of so so SO much anger. More then I knew I was capable of. I tapped into some really deep, raw, vulnerable pieces inside of me, and I was feeling the effects in every cell of my body. And even though it felt like "too much", there was also a sense of calm within, telling me I was okay. I was ready. I was ready to dig into the darkest of the dark, the scariest of the scary, and find my way through it. I cursed that calm. And argued with it. And insulted it. And when I found myself late last night sitting in a dirt pit down the trail from my home, sobbing into the tall grass, and nearly dislocating my shoulder from the force with which I was chucking rocks, I decided to lean into that calm within; and ... it caught me in such a soft embrace. The anger I was feeling immediately dissipated. And the recurring vision that had been haunting my daytime suddenly had more depth, more softness, more ... love.

And so today, as the last bruise from our latest encounter fades, and the sun is shining bright and warm, and the sounds of woodpeckers and morning doves fill my spirit, I am feeling the air around me begin to thin. Lighten. I am breathing easier, again. My heart feeling more open, again. Options, rather then "have to's", are becoming clearer, again. And I find myself stepping into my center and wanting to peel back a few more layers. I am safe and I am ready.

Abuse is not a word I throw around carelessly or dramatically. I grew up in an environment where abuse was prevalent. Abuse perpetuated on me from numerous adults in my life, but today I'm talking about the abuse I witnessed my Mama enduring from the men in her life. So much pain, on every level, to include the big, scary, nearly killing her (often) kind of physical abuse that you see in Lifetime movies. And I was the one calling the police. And screaming for him to stop. And trying to pull him off of her. And getting thrown into the wall. Sex, and Drugs, and extreme Domestic Abuse made up much of my childhood.

When physical abuse entered my own marriage; I knew immediately what it was. I knew immediately that it was wrong. I knew immediately how to defend and protect myself... and boy did I, with gusto. But I also had such a strong point of reference when it came to physical abuse, and the contrast between what I grew up witnessing, and what I myself had just endured, was so stark. So, so very different. I eventually convinced myself that while it WAS abuse, it was a different kind of abuse, and it would be okay. I could help him work through the fear that drives him to see me as the enemy. The enemy from which he must escape, by any means necessary, even when those means were literally bulldozing & trampling over me on his way out. He wasn't evil. He wasn't out to hurt me. HE was hurting. I could feel his hurt. I could relate to his hurt. I wanted to help him. I wanted to take his hurt away. I wanted to make him feel okay, and loved, and safe. And in turn, that would make US okay and loved and safe. I was convinced I could do it. And it was all going to be okay.

And then it happened again. The same bulldoze & trample kind of abuse. Police were involved this time. And my children blurry witnesses. And my whole body shook with rage and fear and sadness over what my children had just endured. The difference between my own childhood and now theirs was seeming less and less stark. In fact, it was looking identical in that heightened adrenaline moment, and with that vision, something in me snapped. My guilt grew to an unbearable size. How I could I have let this happen. How could I have given them the exact environment I was still healing from. How could I do this to them. And then ... how could I have let him down like this. I told him I would help him. I told him I would be here for him, I told him it was going to be okay, and I failed. How could I let myself fail. No! No! I would NOT let his fear win. Or the military win. Or the goddamned fucking war win. No! I would just work harder!

And then it happened again. Bulldoze & Trample, again. And it involved police, again. And my children were witness, again. And this time ... it put me in the hospital. I knew I couldn't help him alone. I knew it was bigger then me. Or him. He needed so much more then I was capable of. I didn't want to be his support anymore. But reinforcements weren't coming. He pushed everyone else out of his life; and they went. And then cancer came. He had cancer. And he had noone. I felt a sense of obligation. Of responsibility. My husband, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, the thought of leaving him when he was so desperately in need of support made me sick. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to help. I didn't know where to turn. I grieved for Tony. My sweet Tony. After my Mama left her string of abusive husbands and boyfriends, she started dating Tony. A man with his own set of demons, but oh so gentle and loving and kind. He was so special to me. So important in my life and so so loved. He killed himself after my Mama left him. I was mad at him at the time; wasn't even speaking to him. So mad that he and my Mama were fighting again. So mad that he wasn't getting help for his demons. So mad that he may have just ruined his last chance with her, and I'd never see him again. I figured I'd stay mad for a while. Not speak to him so he would REALLY understand just how mad I was. Fully feel the absence. And then I would reach out. Only it was too late. He was all alone; and then he was gone. And it was too late for me to reach out. To remind him of my love. To lend support and help. It was just ... too late.

No! I wouldn't let that happen again. It wasn't too late for Nick. I wouldn't make that same mistake. Not to Nick. Not to myself. Not to my children. This cancer, thyroid, likely played a huge role in his lack of self control and emotional turmoil. It gave me answers to the Whys. And comfort to the guilt. It was cancer. I could blame cancer. And it was tangible. It was something that we could see. And feel. And FIGHT! And so I rallied. Again. And spun myself inside out looking for different resources and support for him. Staying up until the wee hours of every night researching new techniques. Booking appointments, and making calendars, and setting alarms, and driving to and from drs, and therapists, and acupuncturists, and, and, and. Going toe to toe with the military big wigs when they tried and tried again to kick Nick out, dishonorable, with no financial compensation. All the while having a deep fear of him. Scared to be alone with him. Scared to talk with him. And he felt that fear, causing him pain, and then anger. Which caused me to be more afraid, with more walls. Round and Round.

Those 3 incidents all happened within a year or so; it's been almost 6 years since that 3rd one. And then it happened again. Just over a week ago. We'd already been separated a month. We thought maybe we could work together on this separation with the goal of reconciliation at some point. Him seeking some serious alternative healing options; and me lighting up the home front while he was away focusing on him. A happy reunion at some point in our future. But he couldn't figure out the steps to take to get there. And I was no longer in a place to want to map that out for him. So then; fear won.

I still see the love inside of him. The light. The kindness.
And I still see the fear, not evil, that drives him to act out of a war based mentality.

But ... Abuse IS abuse, different as it may look, or seem, or feel.
And abuse is bigger then me.
It's bigger then any of us alone.

I can still see the love inside of me. The light. The kindness.
And I now see the fear and guilt that drove me to fall into a very unhealthy codependent role.

I can't see what our future holds;
but I am seeing our past more clearly,
and that, I know, is my salvation.
My light.
And I'm going to keep leaning into it.
Open and Safe.

March 8, 2015

Sunday Songbird ... Gunpowder & Lead

Yoga is my lover. Hand in hand, together, we find Peace. Breath. Center. Calm. Balance. Strength. Foundation. Open. We find Self. Yes, yoga is my sweet, sweet lover. But super angry chick music is my best friend. A friend that so passionately sums up everything I am feeling. Offering rhythms, words, and energy that I can blast. And scream sing with. And pump my fists with. And dance out everything that is raging inside with.

I'm not a huge country fan. Nor a big fan of "hit music". Also, guns, I'm pretty sure you people know just where I stand on those. But this one. Oooh this one. Right here. Right now.

On a travel day. As the kids and I prep everything that needs prepping. And we doing it so well. And fast. I knew it could be done fast. And I'm feeling determined. And then a plan needs to be made. And I realize I've been holding my breath this whole time. Busying my mind. Intentionally not thinking of the logistics of this next step. And I lose it. I scream and cry and fall apart. And then anger washes over me for being put in this position. After what I've been through at the hands of a man; I just want to be in pieces right now. Not strong. Not holding it together. Not packing up and driving this fucking house by myself. I want to be held. And comforted. And taken care of. And I cry some more. And scream some more. And then get mad some more for feeling like a victim. And then I blow my nose. And wipe my eyes. And I yoga back to whole. And I hook the truck up by myself for the first time. And high fives fly all around me in celebration. And I feel empowered. And then my best friend shows up with a lyrical version of the best whiskey I've ever tasted. And I know I've got this. I've got this so hard!

"I'm gonna show him what little girls are made of"

And while, no, I have nothing to show him.
I am sure going to show myself!

Oh hell yea!!!

Gunpowder & Lead ~Miranda Lambert
County road 233, under my feet
Nothin' on this white rock but little ole me
I've got two miles 'til, he makes bail
And if I'm right we're headed straight for hell

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

It's half past ten, another six pack in
And I can feel the rumble like a cold black wind
He pulls in the drive, the gravel flies
He don't know what's waiting here this time

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

His fist is big but my gun's bigger
He'll find out when I pull the trigger

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and, gunpowder and lead

Gunpowder and lead

February 17, 2015

i've had these wings all along

and then suddenly I realize I've had these wings all along

February 15, 2015

We Loved

my heart • my soul • my breath • my blood 
my sun • my stars • my moon • my tide
my light • my path • my road • my beacon
my strength • my calm • my power • my love

I woke to a canvas that these three sweet boys used to create a patchwork mountain painting from all of them. And my heart exploded. So tender; these boys. Filled with such an inspiring amount of empathy and compassion and love. We held space for our grief on this Valentine's Day, a day made hard not because of the commercial implications, but because 17 yrs ago today our family's heart came alive, by a conception surprise, when Larson decided he was ready and we were the lucky ones to carry his soul, and the memories of where we were, colliding with the reality of where we are, is heavy. And sad. We honored that. But mostly, oooh mostly we loved. We laughed. We loved. We let go. We loved. With everything we have. At the beach. Together.

February 12, 2015

i run to you

I run to you. 
Like a child runs to their mother. 
Scrapped knees and a broken heart. 
And I sit in your embrace. 
I need to hear you tell me it's going to be okay. 
Tell me I'm going to be okay.

February 10, 2015

it's just ... food

I received a handful of messages after my last blog entry on animal welfare/rights & veganism. The question asked in each message? ... "What do you EAT"???

This happens every.single.time, yet this question always stumps me. And the longer I've been vegan (nearing 15 years) the more perplexing this question is to me. 

Food. I eat food. 

I mean, I get it, for a person not familiar with a plant based diet, I'm sure there's curiosity, intrigue, confusion. And really, this is true for any dietary choices outside of what we're used to. When someone tells me they don't eat any fruit and very limited veggies especially the "green kind", my mind swirls for a moment in the "what the hell do you eat then" clouds before coming in for a landing. So really, I get it; it doesn't make it easier to answer ;-). But I want to help those who want to understand, and I do better with photo support, so here you go, the boys' lunch today ...

There's a corn tortilla on the bottom. 
Homemade hemp seed pesto smeared on it. 
Cabbage & lettuce massaged with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt. 
Bell pepper, tomato, avocado slices. 
Ground pepper. 
And a homemade veggie&quinoa patty on the side to finish it off. 
All organic. 

*My lunch was slightly altered 
(no corn, bell pepper, or tomato. i'm on an elimination cleanse to find this rash culprit ... again). 

And see, without that photo support, I would have said something like "Umm, we had... salad ... ?" 
And yes, it's true, salad. But it's so much more then the typical image that pops up in ones head when "salad" is the dinner description. And it's that finesse for describing our food that has up and left me; unless I have photo evidence to point to. 

When something is second hand for so long; it's hard to see it as unique anymore. It's just ... Food. And I don't see our food as different, or unusual, or special. There was a time when ALL I wanted to talk about was vegan foods. And then I went completely Raw Vegan, and oooh lordy ... I thought about it constantly. Researched endlessly. Played in the kitchen until the sun came up. I could rattle off recipe after delicious recipe after delicious recipe; most of them my own. And then one day I realized it mostly just ... stopped. I was no longer learning *how to be vegan/raw vegan; I just was. I still crafted recipes, new and old, but they all came *through me now; leaving me a delicious meal at the end that I stopped questioning. Learning about and sharing recipes was no longer my gig. My interests shifted. 

I do love having conversations about Veganism. More so as a lifestyle rather then a dietary choice, but I do realize that most people start with the diet. I did. So bring it. And I'll work to bring the food descriptions up from "salad" to something that actually sounds exciting to the general masses :-)  Maybe I'll start carrying around a portfolio of just our food photos; so I'm always prepared to ... point! lol!

February 9, 2015

The Ghosts in Our Machine

I cut meat out of my life early on in my adulthood, when I was free to make those decisions, simply because I felt, for as long as I could remember, deep down in my childhood belly, that I had no right to take the life of another living being. And I was so damn proud and humbled by my life declaration… “i am a vegetarian”! Hell yea. 
What I learned a week or so after that, by way of a documentary, was the biggest eye opener and gut check that I had yet experienced; the dairy and egg industry was… heinous. Heinous; that word will have to do, because still, to this day, I cannot come up with a word that encompasses just how evil it actually is. Up until that point, I had harbored ill planted ideas of happy little dairy cows, and a complete and utter ignorance of egg laying hens. I ate eggs, devoured cheese, and drank milk with the best of ‘em, my whole life (I’m from Wisconsin after all), never giving it a second thought. It wasn’t because I didn’t care enough. Or that I didn’t want to be inconvenienced. Or that I was just too lazy. Nope … it was simply because I.Had.NO.Idea! Not a single inkling. 
That day was a turning point for me. I learned to question and rethink everything. I still do. And maybe it’s the part of me that works hard to protect my heart. Or maybe it’s my bleeding hopefulness. Or my instinct to see the best in everyone, always. I don’t know … but I have to believe that if most of you knew just how horrendous these industries are; you’d rethink everything, too. 
In that spirit, and in honor of the start of my own awakening, I’m sharing a documentary … The Ghosts in Our Machine. Now streaming on Netflix. It is hauntingly beautiful in it’s capture of the individuality of animals. Spanning many different industries (fur, testing, sport, food (yes, even of the “free range” organic variety)…) this film depicts the roles we have placed on animals in our society; and begs you to look deeper.
Ignorance can indeed feel like bliss, sometimes.
Awakening can indeed feel burdensome, sometimes.
Fuck sometimes.
Knowledge is power.
Wake up today.

*there are a few harder to watch scenes nearing the end, but this film is free of gore. It's not aiming for shock value. This film depicts the journey of one photographer's struggle to capture hauntingly beautiful photos, photos that so brilliantly capture the individuality and emotion of each animal, in some of the most cruel industries and settings you can imagine, and then walking away. We're all born with compassion and empathy... these photographs tap into that compassion... this is where and how we can create real change! Shock and Awe won't do it ... love will. 

I share that passion with this photographer. Wanting to use my photography skills to illicit feeling and create change; animal welfare and rights being my biggest platform. I've tossed around the idea many a nights, but in the end, I just don't know if I have what it takes to walk away. To leave them. This film both re-inspired that dream; as well as validated my feelings for not pursuing it. I don't yet know which way I'll lean; I am so humbled and appreciative that there are people who know and are doing it! Thank you, Jo-Anne.

February 8, 2015

Sunday Songbird ... Overboard

Music has always been such a powerful force in my life. And, much like my artistic self comes alive during times of trauma; music swirls in and delivers more energy during these times, too. Sooo, Sunday Songbird is back (though I don't do constraints very well; so "back" is used loosely here, haa) with a delicious bit of angry awesome this week. I picked this particular video to embed because ...

Melissa uses the word "fancy"; always a seller for me. 
She tells me a story; and I love stories.
And I mean, c'mon,  the dude that screamed BOYGINA! Win!

Melissa Ferrick
everybody got one
a definite tipping point
one particular push on a nerve
that'll send ya overboard

everybody been hurt
everybody been in love
so why do i feel so alone
sitting here with this heart you burned
yea with the heart you burned

you're nothing but a liar
we were nothing but a joke
you may have a heart in there somewhere, baby
but it's covered in smoke
you're nothing but a mirror
and you can't even look at yourself
i'm glad you cheated on me, honey
i'm better off by myself
by myself

and i got myself all mixed up here
because i believed your lies
when I heard you screaming for help
split in half is how it felt
when I came running up that hill
to find you laughing, laying there, sunning yourself

I said you're nothing but a liar
you're nothing but a joke
you may have a heart in there somewhere, baby
but it's covered in smoke
you're nothing but a mirror
and you can't even look at yourself
i'm glad you cheated on me, baby
i'm better off by myself
by myself
I'm better off by myself

I want some answers, answers, I want answers

I'm gonna rise up
I'm gonna rejoice
I'm gonna hold the hand of everything that's real
I'm gonna lay down on the dirt of this earth
fix my eyes on the moon repeating to me
I am constantly in motion; I'm a vessel for the truth
I am constantly in motion; I'm a vessel for the truth
I am constantly in motion; I'm a vessel for the truth
I am constantly in motion; I'm a vessel for the truth

I said you're nothing but a liar
were we nothing but a joke
you may have a heart in there somewhere, baby
but it's fucking covered in smoke
you're nothing but a mirror
you can't even look at yourself
i'm glad you cheated on me now
I like it here by myself
by myself

February 4, 2015


oh, mirror in the sky, what is love
can the child within my heart rise above
and can i sail through the changing ocean tides
can i handle the seasons of my life
ooh, oh oh, i don't know
+stevie nicks+

And yes, yes I do know. Sometimes. I know that I can sail. And that I can handle. And that I can breathe through. All of it. It may not look pretty. There are tears. And screams. And snot. But there is also courage. And strength. And joy. There is the drowning and the flying. The certain and the wavering. The fear and the love. I'm leaning into all of it. Feeling all of it. Loving myself through all of it. 

And also dehydrating all.the.things. Because it keeps my mind busy. And my boys fed. Shock can only be felt in small increments. And I thank my higher frequency for knowing just how much to release. And when. Because sometimes I don't know, too. 

February 2, 2015

all about legs

I didn't have any big, politically charged, feminist reasons to stop shaving my legs.
I just wanted to get to know them better. 

Let me back up a little.

I spent a great deal of my life not liking my legs. I cursed them. Cried about them. Hid them. Abused them. To be fair, this disgust and abuse was targeted to most of my body, not just my legs, but we're just focusing on legs here. And these legs of mine have taken a lashing from me. 

So much energy... wasted on picking them apart. 
So much time... wasted on hiding and holding back.

Something shifted in me several years ago. Hitting my 30's, perhaps. I looked down for the first time and thought "Oh hell yea, this body ... these legs ... this is me. All me. Strong. Beautiful. These legs have held me up through it all. They never gave up on me, even when I gave up on them. They supported my body growing 3 amazing children. They gave me the ability to walk those babies to sleep on restless nights. The ability to run around with them when they became mobile. The ability to play soccer and ball and tag. The ability to hike and climb and explore. They're amazing. And dammit, they're pretty sexy, too. Not as sleek and tight as they were when I was younger. When I hated them and wished them different. They have some wiggle and dimple to them now. And stretch marks. Oooh they have stretch marks. And I love every last one of them. Telling my story. A story of strength and courage and life and love. 

My new found love for my legs led me to want to get to know them a bit better. 

I've been shaving since... I can't remember. A long time. 12, maybe. 13. My first shave was quite the experience. I gathered my supplies: razor, cream, water, towel, boombox. You need tunes when you're shaving, ya know. My tune of choice ... Skid Row. Yea, me and my legs were going to do it right! I was all set. I laid out the towel on my bedroom floor; the cup of water sitting next to me. I dipped my fingers in the water, and flicked droplets at my left leg. Uncapping the shaving cream, I lathered up. A lot. I used almost a full can when all was said and done. (insert big bulging eyed emoji here). Dipped the razor (the pink disposable kind) in the cup of water, angled the blade near my ankle, placed the slightest amount pressure onto my leg, and slowly pulled the razor upward against my skin. That was so ... easy. And smooth. And pain-free. What the hell was all the fuss about? Cautions of cuts, rashes, burns all seemed like complete bullshit to me. Like a lie perpetuated to keep young girls from shaving. But why? Why lie about something so silly? The cost of razors I concluded. It's always all about the money, after all. I dipped and wriggled the razor around in the cup of water to clean off the mountain of shaving cream atop it, and I proceeded to shave the hell out of my left leg. And you know what ... every last swipe of the razor was just as smooth as the first. I felt triumphant. I was a woman now. No denying it. And I uncovered a massive widespread lie to all girls everywhere while I was at it. Haa. I was singlehandedly going to change the world with this information! But first, I had to finish the task at hand.

I set my sights on my right leg. I dipped my fingers in the now drenched-with-shaving-cream cup of water, and flicked the droplets at my unshaven leg. I had a thought as I cleaned off the razor again... how often are you supposed to change razors? After each leg? I wasn't sure, so I decided to inspect the blade to see if it was ready to be tossed. Wait. Where was the blade? What the hell was this pink plastic thing? I pulled at it, and POP, off it flew, revealing the shiny metal of razor blade underneath. 

Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously? I shaved an entire leg with the razor cap on? And I didn't notice? 

So much for smooth.
So much for triumphant.
So much for uncovering *Code 76* lies.

oooor maybe not ... 

And then my first REAL swipe of a razor against my skin left me with a cut. 


And so began the long affair with shaving my legs. 
  • I've learned over the years that shaving cream is, in fact, not needed (much less a whole damn bottle). Water alone does just fine. 
  • I've learned that those pink disposable razors suck. They hurt. They don't last long. And they are bad for the environment.
  • I've learned that there is no lie when it comes to cuts, rashes, burns ... even if you haven't nicked yourself in a long long time, you're not invincible to it.  
  • I've learned that sometimes it's nice, the rhythm and ritual of shaving. Meditative, even. But most times it's really just a time consuming pain in the ass that is on constant repeat. 

It was nearing the end of summer this past year. We were in Seattle. The weather was ... ehhh. The beach was too far away. I hadn't shaved in a couple of weeks. Standing in the shower day after day deciding, nah, maybe tomorrow. Days, turned into weeks. And weeks into months. Pretty soon I was so far into this no shaving thing, without even "trying", that I decided I would continue. Purposely. To see what would happen. You know, get to know my legs a little better. How long would the hair get? What color? How thick? Would it have any curl or texture to it? What would it feel like? 

It's been about 6 months now. 
There are many different colors swirling around down there. 
Pretty fine, as far as thickness goes. 
Not too long. Or curly. Or textured. 
Feels soft. 

And... mostly I don't even notice. 

Except when I'm getting out of the shower. 
Standing there after turning the water off,  my legs feel like a Plinko Board as the droplets of water maneuver themselves down my legs. No longer in just a straight line; the drops zig and zag through my hair. It's quite funny, and funny feeling, cracks me up every time. And then the fact that I am cracking up in the shower, alone, cracks me up even more. My showers have now also turned into a great ab workout! 


Feminism and politics weren't my reason for this experiment, but now that I'm all in, bigger energy does play a role in what I do going forward. It always does ;-) There were a few times that I felt the urge to shave, but I held off because I couldn't be sure of my motives. It's not that I'm now against shaving my legs. Totally not. But I do want to make sure that when/if I do decide to shave again it will be because *I* want to shave, for whatever reason; not because I'm feeling self conscious in a culture that puts way too much pressure on women to change themselves in order to "appear more appealing". Nope... won't be a part of that. Not this girl. Not anymore. 

January 30, 2015

searching for my smile

searching for my smile
its here
in these waves
their consistent rhythm
the tide so strong
unwavering in it's commitment
even on the darkest of nights
the longest of days
she's churning
i'm sure my smile is here
until i'm ready to feel those roots again, too

January 27, 2015

if i could just

lying on the cold grass in the midst of chaos
mind swirling with disconnected thoughts
can't make sense of a single one
hands cupping the sides of my head
putting pressure on my temples
hoping to disrupt the turbulence inside
if i could just slow it
if i could just slow it

looking around for distraction
anything to get out of my own head
helicopters flying high above
truck breaks screeching from behind
plastic bag rattling in the trash can
sensory issues causing sharp pulsing through my body
arms wrapping around tight
if i could just calm it
if i could just calm it

turning my gaze to a towering tree in front of me
searching for grounding
eyes fixated on a single piece of bark
the way it's pulling away from the trunk
veering off of it's projected path
yet still holding strong to it's foundation
what happened to it
did trauma push it away
why is it fighting so hard to stay
if i could just hear it
if i could just hear it

sadness washes over me
a chill claims my spine
tracing the tree up to it's highest branches
many dead leaves still hanging on
will they know when it's time to let go
have the courage to fall into the unknown
do they know that by setting themselves free
rebirth is attainable
if i could just talk with it
if i could just talk with it

feels so incomplete . this writing . left to sit all afternoon . waiting for more words to find their way . some type of closure . sense making . end . nothing more came . incomplete is it's complete. no, there's no irony in that...

January 24, 2015


My guiding word this year. As much as I tried to fight it. Wanting something that sounded more ... Pizzazz-ey. Release. Savor. Be. Nope. Not happening. Open was persistent. Loving. Gentle. Kind. Yet, very persistent.

She became my pizzazz. And I love her already.
Open to let the light in. Open to let the light out.
Open to be. Open to become.
Open to share. Open to receive.

So here I am.
Wide open.
Baring my truth. Again.
Sharing. And receiving by doing so.

Most of my writing the past year or two has been done privately.
Not wanting onlookers.
Feeling the need to pull in and protect.

Protect what?
My heart, perhaps.
My ego, maybe.
Who goes through this shit for this long without feeling foolish.
Used. Pathetic. Weak.
Yes, ego ... for sure.

This space, in all of it's forms throughout the years, has been such a beautiful light for me. A safe light. Cozy; Warm. Full of so much understanding and love and connection.

I didn't feel so bitterly alone in my journey when I came here. So many sharing similar stories with me. And thanking me for mine. United. Hand in Hand. Heart to Heart. Hope. We gave each other hope.

So the need to pull in, protected from outward expression in this space was foreign.
And it hurt.
It was cold.
And lonely.
and cold.

Still, I needed to pull in.
I needed to breathe.
I needed to take care of my heart.
And my ego.

And, oooh, how simultaneously bright as well as grim this this breath of perspective feels.

I've come full circle.
Learning, again, how important it is to reach out to a tribe.
To lean on a village for strength when it gets so heavy.
It all gets so heavy.

That village. That tribe. It includes you sweet souls that have been here with me through my cyber journey over the years. Supporting me. Accepting my support. Loving me in all of my beautiful mess.

I've learned how to embrace my broken heart.
Hear her. Feel her. Comfort her.
I've learned how to tend my bruised ego.
Her hear. Feel her. Comfort her.

And I'm now ready to release myself from this cocoon of protection.
I'm ready to let you in again.

Long time readers will remember my husband is disabled military ... Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as a Traumatic Brain Injury. He came home after Iraq so very changed. Anger and Secrets and Destruction that I couldn't dream up if I tried. I didn't recognize him. I still don't. Anger and Secrets and Destruction lingering on. Gaining momentum. Becoming stronger in many regards. It's been 11½  years.

For as much growth as there has been, for both of us, individually as well as together, I feel like we're still swirling in the same patterns. 3 steps forward. 3 steps backward. End Point is the same as the Start Point. I feel like I'm losing my grasp. Or my footing. Or both. Yes, both. My mind, too.

So fast.
Too fast.
I want off.

For as much as he has come to terms with his reality, he still fights it equally as hard.
So confident it's not the cause of his anger in any given situation.
There's denial and blame shifting for that.
Fight or Flight.
Who am I kidding...
Fight AND Flight.
The land-mine has been tripped.
He amours up and starts firing with his full arsenal.
Pushing away the ones he loves the most.
Nothing off limits.
Until he can escape the enemy.
And he's gone.
For days; weeks; months ...
as we wonder if he's even alive.

For as much as I've come to terms with his (our) reality, I still fight it.
Seeing the man I fell in love with inside of him.
So confident and trusting that that man and his love will prevail over his demons.
Fight or Flight.
I'm ready to go to bat for this man, for my family ...
but unable to not take personally his targeted attacks.
And eventually I let him push me away.
Or I push back.
Until I feel safe from the enemy.
And he's gone.
For days; weeks; months ...
as we wonder if he's even alive.

Caring about, loving, helping someone with the level of demons and injury that my husband has is by far the hardest thing I have encountered in my life ... a life that has not been short on hardships even if short on years. I haven't gotten a handle on it. I haven't figured it out.  I don't know if I want to figure it out.

It's been 11½ years.

So fast.
Too fast.
I want off.

I'm taking those first steps.

This is my wide open truth.
So very open.