Existential Crises On The Road

nacho
Our valiant steed, Nacho. Look at the tires on that baby. Rawr.

“The people who are crazy enough to think they

can change the world are the ones who do.”  

Rob Siltanen

We were wild. We were free. Just him and me and our truck full of Peruvian imports, touring the West coast in search of a new kind of life. That which we sought felt, too often, just out of grasp. Still, we reached, because what other option is there? Giving up and settling back into the familiar path of job, apartment, A to B to C and then you wake up twenty years later and wonder where your life has gone… it wasn’t tenable for either of us. We’d gone through our years of sleepwalking, and the process of crawling out of that comfortable deathbed was both painful and seemingly irreversible.

truck setup
Get yer alpaca here! Can’t imagine why so few people wanted super warm sweaters in 90° weather.

We spent the summer driving from one festival to another, volunteering our time in exchange for a ticket and, occasionally, food. When I wasn’t working, I might spend time hanging out with the tailgate of the truck open, our wares laid out for purchase. Thick alpaca socks, brightly colored alpaca hats, tiny alpaca sweaters—are you sensing a theme yet?

More often, though, I’d spend my off time reading. Most of the festivals we found featured music and crowds that I had little interest engaging with. I’d done a lot of the discovery footwork, and while I’d managed to find a couple shining exceptions, most of our scheduled work landed us at bluegrass festivals. Nothing against bluegrass in particular—the skill I saw on display was mind-boggling—it’s just not my jam.

By late July, I felt burnt out and discouraged. We hadn’t made much money selling alpaca gear, the people we were surrounded by were often drunk (we were at festivals, after all), and the strain of summer heat and long hours in the car was getting to both of us.

truck feet
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of amazing. Like waking up here.

Wild and free didn’t feel so wild or free. It felt like scrabbling up a rock face, fingers bloodied and muscles quaking.

 

After yet another discouraging festival (which we left as soon as our volunteer shifts were completed), we drove to Colorado to spend some time with my family. Spending time at the old homestead is always a difficult endeavor, whether I’m with my partner or alone, and this was no exception. Morale continued to slip.

We drove north and spent the weekend working gate security at a bluegrass fest in beautiful Lyons, Colorado. The setting was spectacular, the festival itself left me feeling like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel. The whole summer seemed pointless. Nothing was working, motivation had fled, and the prospect of a desk job had started to sound almost feasible.

This was, as we refer to it in the writing world, my long dark night of the soul. I was nearly ready to give up, pack it in, accept the ‘truth’ of what I’d been hearing all along: stepping outside the norm is ultimately a fool’s errand, and can only end in pain, destitution, and calamity.

We couldn’t leave Colorado, though. We had one more festival booked in the state before we would make the mad dash back to Washington what was slated to be our last festival of the year. So we rallied our spirits and headed up to Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO.

arise rainbow
Thank you.

We checked in, found a spot for the truck—and turned around to find a huge double rainbow stretching over the lake at the far end of the parking area.

 

Everything changed for me, for us, for our focus, in the next few days. While other festivals left us plenty of time to hawk our wares from the back of the truck, the Arise Festival was saturated with music, workshops, classes, and presentations that appealed to just about every aspect of who I am as a person. My partner, too, found himself poring over the schedule, circling so many options that there wasn’t a spare minute left in the day. And while we’d made connections with people at the other festivals, within half an hour of pitching our tent we’d found kinship with a fellow festie that felt more real and more enriching than any other person I’d met along the way.

I’d been looking for Spirit all along, aching to find some sense of the Divine in dusty makeshift parking lots, air-conditioned casinos, and other people’s empty beer cans. (No glass at the festival, please!) Of course, the Divine is in everything.

It’s also true, though, that you become the kind of people you surround yourself with, and we’d spent precious little time in the company of others specifically looking to engage with Spirit.

Until we got to Arise.

flowersA Sacred Fire burned throughout the festival, attracting Water Protectors from Standing Rock, Storytellers weaving joy out of words, elders leading ceremony, and, of course, people eager to get warm after chilly Colorado storms. This space made the festival for me. The music was great, the workshops and yoga classes I attended were lovely, but the Fire and the environment it created were what took me from hopelessness to having more ideas than I knew what to do with.

We drove away from Sunrise Ranch early one drizzly morning and spent the next few hours brainstorming all the ways we wanted to change the world. I filled the pages of our glittery gold notebook with ideas for new forms of education, ways to expand our business by following our passions of wildcrafting and creating, thoughts about community action and political activism. The world felt like it had opened up, after feeling so very, very small.

Finally, we were wild. We were free.

More than anything, we believed.

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“She is repairing herself, hour by hour.”

collage 2

This essay comes from the prompt “The Beginning of the End”, in which we were asked to replay a memory, working with its birth and termination. I’ve been experiencing huge shifts in my energy in relation to my divorce, things rising up that demand attention, and this is just one manifestation of these curious and difficult earthquakes.

“I want a divorce.”

The sounds of early morning chatter and silverware scraping ceramic plates, children fussing and the squeak of wet shoes on tile dimmed around me, the world narrowing to the tiny piece of table that stretched between my husband and I. Forty-eight inches that might as well be a mile.

The words were not unexpected. They were years in the making, perhaps had even been bubbling up since the very beginning. It’s hard to say. Either way, these words marked the end, as they have a million times before. In the days that followed, I would contemplate that moment, replay it in my head until I couldn’t not feel the hard wooden seat beneath me, or see the tired droop of his mouth when I laid down to sleep. A mouth that, years before, made me fall in love with him.

I’ve always been a believer in love at first sight, for the very simple reason that I’d experienced it multiple times. This is not ‘love’ as in ‘this is the person I will be with for the rest of my life.’ It is ‘love’ that can take many forms, love that strikes deeply and demands an audience.

hands
A photo from the ceremony. I still have my stuffed goose, packed away in a box full of memories.

My relationship with my former husband—we’ll call him Adam for sake of ease, though I reckon most people reading this know his Christian name—started in much the same way. Only, the sight that struck me came not from our first meeting, but from me finding a photograph in his apartment, laid absently in an otherwise empty fruit bowl. He posed beside a young woman, wide smiles lighting up their faces. I saw that smile, and knew in that moment this was a person that would be in my life, even though I’d never actually met the man*.

What was I doing in the apartment of a stranger, pawing through his personal belongings? Let’s just say we knew someone in common, and gloss over the insanity that was my life at that time.

There was something in Adam’s smile that activated the familiar gut-tug of falling in love. I figured the woman in the photo was his girlfriend, though, and since I was wrapped up in my own relationship from hell, I thought my chances with this guy were slim to none.

I learned, over the next couple months, to never underestimate my gut. (A learning that I then proceeded to ignore with a steady conviction throughout most of our marriage.)

The woman in the photo turned out to be his sister, and that smile from the photo was soon aimed at me. I basked in it, like a flower emerging from the depths of winter to find the warm rays of the sun gracing it’s delicate petals. His smile held the world in it, I thought. His smile held me, and I needed nothing more at that time than to feel held. Supported. Safe. My relationship with Adam gave me all of those things, and so much more.

wedding kissIn time, though, I would realize that the payment for security is, too often, freedom. That being held can feel like being trapped. That what once felt perfect and complete can dissolve, like metal exposed to the sea air, rusting away until collapse is inevitable. None of which invalidates what was. I’ve come to understand that the success of a relationship can’t be judged by the length of the relationship, but by the health of it. Had neither of us uttered those four words-like-coffin-nails, and we somehow continued down the road we’d been going, there would have been precious little happiness. What’s the point of celebrating twenty years together if both parties are unfulfilled?

I want a divorce led to an eventual blossoming in myself and, as far as I can tell, in Adam, as well. I followed my dreams. I wept buckets of tears, yes, but the extreme pain of grief and renewal were far better than the prolonged pain of stagnation.

From a smile in a photograph to a wedding on a hill to a breakup in a diner, with countless stops in between.

*That I’d never met him before isn’t technically true. Our first meeting involved me being very drunk, in a Walmart, at midnight on Halloween, and is a story best left for another day. Suffice to say I didn’t remember meeting him.

The Weight Of Guilt

pnw winter
The cottage cheese skies of winter in the Pacific Northwest.

After a few days of being sick in bed, I found my way back to Leap of Words, the online writing group I’m working with. The challenge was to write an essay about what it feels like to experience guilt, and whatever else comes up with the practice.

 

This would likely be a heavy piece at the best of times. At this particular moment in my life, it ended up being especially dark. We’re in the middle of a Pacific Northwest January, which means cold air, rain rain rain, damp socks in the morning and chilly feet at night, and a sun that rises late and leaves early. I find it almost insurmountably difficult to get outside during this time of year, and I don’t have a comfortable space for a home practice at the moment, so my physical exercise needs have not been getting met. (This is a Really Big Deal, I’m coming to realize.) I’m in a transition state with my living situation in many ways, and I’m also being confronted with some deep stuff I’m not really prepared to face (though I trust that I am capable of doing so) (mostly).

Add to that lingering illness sniffles, a poor night’s sleep, and some internal struggles/misgivings about an important relationship in my life and I end up with a sleepy, slightly grumpy, Sarah afflicted with an acute case of self-doubt.

Fun stuff.

Hands
I custom ordered that ring. It never quite fit, and he stopped wearing it after a while.

So I sat down to write this piece about guilt and of course what came out is my divorce. Or, more specifically, the reasons leading to my divorce. I didn’t cheat on my husband, technically, but with the way the emotional power dynamic was at the time, I might as well have. And that, my friends, was the death rattle of our marriage.

 

Honestly, the marriage was over well before that. He told me, at some point a couple months after we filed, that he’d given up on our relationship well before that point. He “stopped trying”. Which, as I write that, makes me wonder why. What was it about me, about us, that made him give up?

And then, will it happen again?

Am I fated to find myself years into a relationship where I am given up on?

Back to the topic at hand: guilt. So, yes, I felt guilt for cheating. More than that, by a long shot, is the guilt I felt and feel over the desires and needs that led to the cheating. To feel loved. To feel wanted. To feel sexy, and admired, and empowered. To express those feelings through physical contact of all kinds, and through conversations that are less about words and more about connection.

I chafe, big time, when I feel like my relationship dynamic has become that of friends who happen to share the same bed. Who say I love you, but don’t say I want you. When eye contact becomes sparse. When the preference is to focus on anything but one another.

So the guilt comes into play when I find myself in that situation, with years of history and promises made. How dare I ask for more? How dare I want more, when I have stability? When I have a sense of security?

lightbulbUntangling this mess requires going way back, and honestly, I’m not sure where to start. With my father, probably, because it always starts there. The first relationship where I felt like I’d been given up on. Without his influence on my life, without that through-line of feeling like I was broken and awful and defective running through most of my childhood, I probably wouldn’t have cheated on Every. Single. Person. I dated. I probably wouldn’t have slipped down the hole of drugs. I probably wouldn’t have felt the need to become the smallest, spikiest ball of anger I possibly could. (I’m not blaming him. He did the best he could with what he had. We all do. That doesn’t change the scars that I have to carry.)

Maybe if I’d been told I deserved joy, and freedom, and love as a child– no matter what I believed in, how I wanted to dress, or who I came to love– I’d believe it as an adult.

Maybe if I’d seen my mother treated as if she deserved those things, I could have internalized it for myself.

trailI have to move forward with what I have. I have to find a way to move forward that doesn’t just translate to running away. Because that would be easy, to sprint as fast as possible in the opposite direction whenever I find myself in a situation that pushes on these points. I’ve done it before. More often, I get a running start, then chuck a grenade behind me to make sure I can’t go back.

I’m tired of blowing things up. I’m tired of settling for less. I’m tired of not knowing how to navigate the space between the two.

I think being able to write this shows an uneasy but undeniable progress. And I’ll take any progress I can get.

I Remember… A Writing Challenge

hand on wood
Running my hand along the textures of the past.

In an effort to stretch my writer muscles and foster connections with other writers, I joined an online writer’s group set up by a couple lovely ladies I know from a book club I did last month. (The book club was for Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. READ IT.)

 

Amber and Chelsea, the organizers, have been gracious and industrious enough to design a six week long writing challenge going over three types of writing: personal essay, fiction, and poetry. The first installment is the personal essay, a genre I’ve been interested in exploring more after reading books like Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner, and working on the Making Her Escape blog.

The first exercise this week was to write a letter to our writer’s block, an assignment I had little trouble with. It turned out full of gratitude and understanding that, for me, writer’s block is really a signpost telling me that something is off, and needs to be looked at before I can go forward. I like directions, even if they can be frustrating.

photos floor
A lot to remember.

The second assignment, which I just finished, was to riff off Joe Brainard’s memoir, “I Remember”. The concept is one you might have found in various literature or creative writing classes: start each paragraph with I remember. Follow the rabbit trail. See where it leads you.

 

Chelsea is sharing her efforts through this challenge on her blog, a practice I—and others in the group—have decided to emulate. So when I sat down to write what I remembered, I had this grand idea of sharing it with all of you.

Except, I remembered a lot of things that aren’t ready to share. A lot of things that could hurt people I care about, or expose wounds that aren’t healed enough to be opened to the fresh air. The whole piece is ruminating on a topic that I have sunk my teeth into over and over, and will likely continue worrying being the meat is still releasing tasty juices. But, I have to wonder in this moment, if sinking my teeth into the subject actually keeps that wound on this side of healed. Or maybe it just needs me to chew and digest until I find something clean? I don’t know.

stretching
And the memories take on different flavors.

 

What I do know is that I will likely continue to explore what has become—and really always was—a mystery in my life. I want answers. I think it’s a common human thing, to want to know what makes things tick, or fail to tick, or tick to a different rhythm than we’re used to and therefore comfortable with.

I remember wondering what is truth.

I remember thinking nothing is, not really.

Nothing, and everything.

I guess it depends on who’s looking.

If you’re interested in joining this awesome group, Leap of Words, here’s a link. It’s a private Facebook group, but only for the means of keeping the work and words, we share with one another away from eyes that may not know how to support the delicate process of creative growth. I’d love to see you there!

Moving, Shifting, Changing: Welcoming 2018

huanchaco burger
One of my last days in Peru, at a burger joint in Huanchaco.

Welcome, 2018! I know this post is a bit late to the party since we’ve all been living this shiny new year for over a week now, but I’ve never been hugely punctual. It’s part of my dubious charm.

 

We all went through some crap in 2017. Our first year having a reality TV show celebrity known for his crassness and shady business dealings as the President of the US. Natural disasters that have made it seem, in the States at least, that the Apocalypse truly is nigh. Political and social unrest across the world, white supremacists coming out of the woodwork, threats to medical coverage and incomprehensible political machinations that seem to be systematically stripping the common people of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

cat collage
Cats of 2017, from Peru to Colorado to Washington.

That’s just on the big scale. I’ve talked to so many people who have gone through some wild and challenging events this last year, and I can include myself in that category. I came back from Peru and immediately started having symptoms analogous to PTSD. (I still can’t quite bring myself to say “I’ve experienced PTSD”, which is another exploration altogether.) I spent months crying in my teenage bedroom, completely unsure about myself, my direction, my life, my purpose, my existence. I spent months reconnecting with my mother. I traveled up and down the west coast volunteering at festivals and living out of the back of a truck with my partner. I lost myself for a while in my old life in rural Marysville, doing things and behaving like someone I used to be until a number of face-to-face confrontations with abuse, addiction, dishonesty, and disrespect made my eyes snap back into the open position.

 

Finally, at the end of 2017, I moved. Finally. FINALLY.

sushi bunk
Our bunk at a community house in Bellingham. If it looks chaotic, that’s because it is.

 

It’s a move I’d been needing for months, years even. A move out of separation and solitariness into connection and community. A move that has meant shedding layers, relationships, and situations that were keeping me heavy and blocked. It a shedding that is still very much in process, and which has brought up all sorts of feelings of being unworthy and unlovable. After all, even if my relationship with certain people was unhealthy, they were still my relationships. And, by virtue of having so few of these friendships, the ones I had seemed intractable and of enormous importance, even as they were deeply problematic.

cards
You can never really tell what cards people are playing with, until they lay them down.

(I’m not saying friendship is unimportant. I’m saying that when you only have four or five people in your life, they take on more weight than any one person should ever have to carry. A situation which becomes especially detrimental when those relationships themselves are riddled with rust.)

 

Country living has its charm. Quiet nights, incredible views of the stars, daily visits by deer and hummingbirds. It can also be extremely isolating. When the nearest town is a twenty-minute drive and seems terminally devoid of all but the most struggling signs of community, it can be hard to maintain a sense of connection.

My new city is the opposite. (Except for the visits from the deer; they love downtown!) Full of vibrant people who bring themselves into the world through communion, through workshops, through discussion and communal living and art and poetry and D&D games and silliness and conflict resolution. There is part of me that asks myself to temper my response to this place, but there is a bigger part of me that says dig in, this is the good stuff.

travel collage
Oh yeah, we bought a motorhome. For one dollar.

 

I read a blog post recently from a woman who writes about her own experiences in community living. She expressed this feeling of bonelessness that comes from offering yourself to the world in the form of creative expression, allowing yourself to be vulnerable in a deep and very real way. On the other side of this jellied feeling there lays the possibility for breakthroughs. This feeling is a signpost that Big Magic is in the works.

I am not boneless, not now. But I feel the potentiality there, within my grasp. Here, I have access to people, structures, and thought patterns that make space for my own innovations and offerings—should I choose to do so. That part’s up to me.

May we all say yes to healthy vulnerability, discomfort, and breakthroughs a little (or a lot) more often in the coming year.

Shedding My Layers Part One: Polyamory

blog 11.1

You ask, “Why do you cry with such

sweetness all around?” I weep as I

make the honey, wearing the shirt

of a bee, and I refuse to share this

suffering. I play the sky’s harp. I

curl around my treasure like a snake.

You say, “What is this ‘I’ business?”

Friend, I’ve been a long time away

from my center. What you see here is

your own reflection. I am still raw,

and at the same time well-cooked, and

burnt to a crisp! No one can tell if

I’m weeping or laughing. I wonder myself.

How can I be separated, and yet in union?

-Rumi

“I curl around my treasure like a snake.” This line, in particular, has caught me from this gorgeous poem. It encompasses, to me, what I have so often done with my sense of ‘identity’. I have curled myself around pieces of information and used them to define me. It’s something we all do, to varying degrees. We identify as our roles: mother, husband, student. As our social standing: pillar of society, hermit, fuck-up. As our jobs. As our diagnoses. As our emotions. As our thoughts.

None of that really describes who we are, though.  This morning, I felt buoyant. That does not make me buoyant, but at one time I did feel this way. I have been a wife—that does not, in perpetuity, make me a wife. And so one. I’ve even changed names throughout my life, so that, too, is a wiggly definition. Yet, without these labels, I am left with…what?

Well, that’s what I’m starting to discover. What is under all these layers I’ve collected over the years? With each definition I shed, something new arises. A spaciousness comes to light.

I’ll give you an example, one that is really not fucking easy for me to own up to, because of the path that brought me to this point in my life.

blog 11.2When I was sixteen, I was given a book called The Ethical Slut. Many of you have probably heard of it, or read it. For those who haven’t, it’s an inspiring nonfiction work on the practice of ethical polyamory. I ate it up. I identified with the author’s views on love, and sex. This idea that we should be able to love freely and let relationships grow organically appealed to me immensely. That we shouldn’t be ‘tied down’ to one, monogamous relationship. That ‘sex is nice, and pleasure is good for you’. The information in that book took root, and from that point on I identified as polyamorous.

Fast forward a few years, to the point where I met my now ex-husband. We dated for a while, then broke up. Then got back together. Then, because of this identity—as well as another I won’t get into at this point—we broke up again. I wanted an open relationship, he didn’t. Then, we got back together, and I worked hard at pushing this identity under layers of repression. I didn’t address it. I didn’t explore it. I hid it. And six years later it exploded with the righteous fury of a really hungry zombie. The marriage ended, in part because I demanded an open relationship.

Moving forward, I tried to embrace this idea. The jealousy and discomfort that came up in the course of trying to model the kind of relationship and free-wheeling sexuality I decided I wanted did illuminate many things, but never quite became the tool of discovery I hoped for. Instead, I made myself miserable, and plenty of people I care about deeply were pretty miserable, too. Still, I pushed ahead, sure that I could just keep wading through until something started to shift and I could see the light. I kept hoping, believing, that there would come a time when me talking about polyamory to another person would feel natural, and not like I was dressing up in someone else’s clothes.

It never happened. But I wanted it to, so badly. Not in small part because I’d used polyamory as a cudgel to maim my marriage, and hurt a good man in the process. I had to be polyamorous. I had to be open, and sexy, and free-spirited because I’d built so much of my identity around this thing.

I curled around that treasure like a snake, and I was damned if I was going to let it go. It was me, after all.

Except…it wasn’t.

These last couple months—hell, these last few years—have been a thunderstorm interspersed with breaks in the cloud letting brilliant beams of sunshine in. Focusing now on the last couple months, I’ve found myself recognizing bits and pieces of clothing I’ve been wearing that don’t actually belong to me. Big bits.

Polyamory is one of them.blog 11.3

I’ve always liked to think of myself as counterculture. Too cool for school (literally). I have always kind of loved the shock factor that comes along with parts of my identity I collected, and polyamory is definitely good for a bit of taboo, a bit of titillation. But one thing I’ve come to realize is that adopting something with the hope that it will make people flinch, or lean in with a leer, is no different than adopting something with the hope that it will make them like you. It’s still acting based on what someone else will say.

Why polyamory, out of all the ‘shocking’ bits of identity I could have chosen?  Well, relationships are a sticky, tangled web. One that I have enjoyed losing myself in. One I have enjoyed escaping from myself into. For me, sex has been, at times, a weapon. An escape chute. A tool.

It has also been a joining of souls. A Divine experience. Transcendent.

At times when I’ve wanted to escape, I’ve used sex as a means to do it. I’ve used relationships as a means to do it. At times when I’ve wanted to be closer to God, I’ve used sex and relationships in an attempt to fill that uniquely God-shaped void. In the end, using sex and relationships at all has only ended in more suffering. They’re not tools to be used. They’re opportunities to celebrate, to practice gratitude and connection.

blog 11.4As I’ve grown stronger in my relationship with God, and as I’ve found a more personal relationship with Shiva in particular, this need I’ve felt to embrace polyamory has evaporated. It’s a strange feeling, but, like I said, there is a spaciousness left in its place.

I want to be clear that I am not looking down on polyamory for anyone else. I do believe that for some people it can be a holy, ethical, aware practice, and besides, that’s none of my business. I’m also not saying that I am totally closed to the possibility that at some point in the future I may find myself in a situation where having an intimate relationship with more than one person is truly my Path. But, I can guarantee, it won’t look anything like anything I’ve done in the past.

I am done using my sexuality as a place to hide, a place to escape, or a weapon to hurt. And that feels pretty fucking good.

Thank you, polyamory, for all you have taught me. I am sorry to all of those who have been hurt in the process. I ask for Divine guidance in the next steps of this journey.

Namaste.

How To Go Back Without Going Backwards

blog 10.2
Me. 18. Mere minutes after getting my lower lip pierced.

I write this sitting in the bed I slept in when I was 16. Sitting in the room I lived in when I was 16. Staring out the window at the same view I saw when I was 16. I’m 31, now, but coming back to my parent’s house has forced me to look at many, many aspects of myself that I’d just as soon forget.

 

I just finished watching the first season of “No Tomorrow” (which I highly recommend, cheesy romance bits and all), and there’s a scene where the main female lead breaks things off with the main male lead because he won’t talk to his father. “I can’t be with someone who isn’t their whole self.” That struck a chord with me. I can’t BE someone who isn’t their whole self. I’m not willing to live a life unexamined, just because some of the really painful bits I’ve glossed over happened ten, fifteen, twenty years ago.

When I was considering coming here, instead of going to Seattle or South Carolina or wherever the hell else, I experienced a lot of anxiety. Was I admitting defeat? Was I returning to comfort for the sake of comfort? Would I fall back into those dark, angry patterns I grew so familiar with when I was a teenager?

Upon arrival, and for a couple weeks following, these thoughts plagued me. This room is even organized more or less the same way, with the dresser next to the window, the desk on the far wall. There are different things in the closet, different art on the walls. But the most important difference has nothing to do with the window dressing.

blog 10.3
Dug up from my ancient DeviantArt account

It’s me.

 

Yesterday, in search of collage material, I went through some files of old paperwork, school assignments, etc., that my mom had kept over the years. I found some startling things. A missing poster, that my mother made the second time I ran away from home. A letter, begging my parents to let me quit high school, written the day after my best friend came to me in the hallway and said, “You’ll never believe how many people don’t like you!” A scrapbook I made, half finished, with the last bit of paraphernalia a postcard that said I HATE EVERYONE.

Memories of my formative years, marked by pain. Feeling ostracized. Feeling unworthy. Feelings that have followed me, even as I’ve worked so hard to gloss over those years, put them in the past, let sleeping dogs lie. All that bullshit.

Because those sleeping dogs wake up. And sometimes they bite.

blog 10.1
Standing in my room. The flowers on the dresser are still on the dresser.

 

I also found, in those scraps of writing, a girl I recognize wholeheartedly. A biting wit that takes shit from no one. A strong sense of moral ground. A desire to be better, do better, share with the world. She wanted the same things I do, now, in many ways. “Inside you,” she (I) wrote, “is all the talent and ability you will ever need.” Which comes down to saying, “I am enough.

And I am. So are you.

And you.

And you.

I came back to my parent’s home for many reasons. To help my mom with the house. To gain wisdom, guidance, and companionship from my parents, my brothers, a few old friends. But mostly, I came back to put myself back together. To reunite with the girl I, too, set out in the cold.

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard as hell. But going back is the only way I’ve found that will allow me to move forward.

Here’s to you Caiti. Sara. Zandila. Eliza. Spiro. The girl with too many names.

You have a home here.