Beautiful and Tumultuous

The wind is making the trees dance in the setting sun. Spinning seeds find their way to me from an empty sky It is not quiet, yet it is peaceful. When this type of breeze makes my hair caress my arms and strands cross my face, I feel as if I must be important, strong. There is no booming, no cracking or roaring. Instead the power is quiet, soft and still beautiful.

I wonder if the wind has ever known where it’s going. As far as I can tell, it just goes. I want to be like the wind; beautiful in my collected chaos, freely fulfilling my purpose, not worried about where I’m headed.

The Dream

Though my dreams and aspirations have become somewhat fuzzy these days, I realized that a core desire still remains.

My “what do you want to be when you grow up” answer has ranged from being a mother, to being an event coordinator, to being an author, to teaching English in Japan. Realizing that I currently don’t know what I want to do and that my interest in any previous 5 year plan has flatlined, is both discouraging and confusing.

Years ago, one of my dear cousins and I were looking for locations to do photo shoots. Various abandoned buildings presented themselves but one lives in my memory, solid, to this day. It was the most beautiful brick instrument factory. Sun reflected off of the large multi-glass pane windows, vines climbed the exterior elevator and the sturdy front door: stained glass window and rich finish on the dark wood, provided contrast to the pavement and metal.
It was for sale. We dreamed of buying it and renovating the inside to be full of conduits for potential. There would be various bedrooms, a library, a professional level kitchen, a music studio, art studio, dance studio, workshop and room for more. The building was large. The vision was that people with cohesive personalities and interests could live there in community and create through the different avenues. It would be our place.
Of course neither of us had much money at the time and the lot was bought by someone else. I don’t know what became of that building. I’d like to think that the new owner did something beautiful with it instead of knocking it down and building cookie cutter condos. In my mind, it is what we dreamed it could be.

My more recent idea for a small business, I’ve realized, would fit into that fantasy as well. I want to create experiences for people who, like me, are stuck in the 9-5 grind and wish they could live a different life, but can’t. Boxed escapes brought to you not just by me, but by partnering with local artists and other small business creators. One of the reasons it hasn’t happened is because it requires a massive amount of prep, organization, community and time.
A different dear cousin is visiting me this weekend and she spoke of her roomate, an author who “collects” other artists. People supporting and working with each other, like minded, creating beautiful elements that, as a whole, reach the desired outcome. It brought me back to that dream of the abandoned instrument factory.

Admittedly, these particular people don’t fit what society deems normal or typical but there is a richness in individuals working to understand each other and support growth, even painful, in each other. It’s not something that I’ve felt comfortable sharing here before but I am what some call neurodivergent. It roughly means that my brain doesn’t work the typical way. There are a lot of people who fit into that descriptor and it’s still highly stigmatized. When we are able to share with like-minded individuals, unafraid to be ourselves, it is so beautiful. Safety to exist as you actually are in a community is not something that everyone has the occasion to value on the same level. Meaning, if you fit into societies expectations, you aren’t consistently putting energy toward presenting yourself in a way that is comfortable for others.

I may not know my solid, attainable dream for my future right now but I do know that having the support from people who understand me, and the ability to create and essentially share my heart with people in that way, that’s the dream.

Thank you for reading, strangers and friends.

Pinterest board for the factory is here.

The long way home

Whenever I saw signs for the “scenic route” while driving, I was never interested. Only more recently have I found the value of taking the road not suggested by GPS as the fastest or most direct. What a map or navigational system can’t see is what one can gain from going that way.

Taking the long way home, shifts my brain from rush to reflection. I wouldn’t have even seen the sunset spreading across the sky if I had taken the direct route. I wouldn’t learn all that I am if I was already in sight of my destination.

Not every trip is meant to hold that extra few miles but sometimes those extra few miles hold something precious, otherwise missed. I know, I’m being very vague and cryptic but this is the thought that struck me. Being told that I don’t have the same timeline for my life as everyone else, has never had a pleasant ring to it. Patience is a virtue but I never asked for practice.

Maybe what I’m trying to say, is that I’m still alright, even though I can’t see home. Though I am wandering, I’m just taking the scenic route. If my life followed the timeline that I see so many others following, maybe I would miss that gorgeous sunset. What am I missing by not paying attention to or valuing this extra stretch of road?

You’re not wrong, if you’re on a different path than me, a straight shot to the top. I hope though, that you’re able to take moments into your own hands and hold them. Give yourself the freedom to take the long way home; literally or figuratively.

Be well, strangers and friends.

The Perfect Life

Hello friends and strangers,
I must apologize for my extended absence. Life has been complicated lately. I know, when is it not. Battling burnout at my job, taking a wonderful trip from which I had to return, exhaustion and getting sick, focusing on my immediate space instead of the cerebral, and quite frankly, lack of wonder and inspiration in my everyday life; these are the things I blame for my lack of posting.

My eating and sleeping have been most impacted. Vivid dreams leave me tired and confused when I wake up. Interest in food or the energy to make it are in short supply.

This morning though, staying home to stream church instead of exposing people to whatever my body is fighting, I found that pocket of contentment. Nothing is perfect. I dropped my beautiful cheese toast face down on the rabbit-fur-covered rug. My stomach is still upset, but I was able to enjoy sitting on the ground by the windows, soaking up the sun indoors, since the smoke from Canada has impacted air quality. The black berries and crisp pickle slices, that escaped the fall, were refreshing and Clove convinced me to hand over some of the fur-covered toast, allowing me to fit in a few smoothings of her velvety soft fluff. No, things are far from perfect but, life can still be good.

Toasted sourdough, dill havarti, prosciutto, with blackberries, dill pickle slices and coffee.

Reflection of a Smile

I was taught to smile at everyone. You never know what kind of day they are having, what they are going through, or the impact a simple smile could have.

I still smile at almost everyone. If I can make even a small difference that way, it’s worth it.

Looking in the mirror today, tired, I smiled at myself. Then realized, I don’t remember the last time I genuinely smiled at me; not a pose for a picture, not customer service, not a reaction to someone or something else but instead extending that kindness inward.

Self love, worth, and identity are lifelong struggles for a lot of people on varying levels, whether it’s body issues, awkwardness, trauma or circumstances. I don’t have everyday solid advice, since humans are very complex with varying situations.

But, can you do me a favor, dear friends and strangers? Can you smile at yourself like you would a stranger, friend, or family member? Please be kind to yourselves.

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.

William Shakespeare

Thoughts; Out of Place

This blog originally, was meant to push me towards my dreams. Those dreams seem both unclear and out of reach these days. I know I’m making progress, have things that I’ve dreamt of, and if I put in the effort and work, more could happen. I don’t know what is wrong. It’s like I’m stuck in a cycle of not belonging in my own life. That sounds crazy when you say it out loud but no other description quite seems to fit; always feeling out of place in my own existence.

Having time to rest, as well as get things done this weekend, has left me motionless. It’s not a comfortable lack of movement. Instead, I have no interest in things that, even a few hours ago I was excited about.

I started working on cutting out squares for a memory quilt of t-shirts that I no longer wear. It was really fun at first, taking up most of my focus, even hiding the fact that I needed to eat lunch. But as each new piece brought up memories, my mental energy and excitement from finally working on this project drained; processing multiple aspects of the times past. Being a very sentimental person doesn’t seem to have an advantage at any point in time. There’s a large chunk of time that I miss how things were, though they were hard. This is a different hard I guess.

Maybe it’s because a milestone birthday is coming up for me and I don’t see the change that I want to. Maybe it’s the fact that the things I want and don’t have, won’t “fix” this.

Anyone else experiencing a strange, empty, stuck feeling as we are slowly coming out of the pandemic? The general public that I attempt to assist during the week at my job, definitely appear to have been affected. Almost no one seems to be able to process the changes happening without taking out stress and frustration on others. I digress.

There it is: Existential crisis, a world in crisis, frustration with myself for having a hard time despite everything I’m blessed with.
As I’m coming up on a new decade of my life, do you have any tips for a future that seems so uncertain? If you have felt the way that I am, what helped you?

Thank you for sitting with me, friends and strangers.

Pajama pants worn many Christmases, a favorite of my dad’s dress shirts, a very bright childhood shirt, and a shirt from one of the years riding the MS-150

“This day 4 years ago”

Someday the notification

That I have memories from a few years ago

Won’t remind me of what I’ve lost

What is no longer

Those good old days

Instead

What I’ve gained

Who remained

Maybe not a change

In circumstance

But a shift

In perspective

“The lost year” 2020

Escape into Reality

I’m sitting on my patio, iced tea creating a wet spot from the sweating on the cement next to me. Clove is tethered to my ankle, free to explore the length of her leash but close enough that I can be there before a dog or hawk. It’s a perfect 73 F only partially spoiled by hesitant grey skies and light mugginess.

Weather like this makes me sleepy and unmotivated to do anything except lay in bed and scroll TikTok or Pinterest. Actually, that is exactly what I was doing before this. I came across a TikTok of someone who was told that if they feel that way, to go for it, just outdoors at a park instead.

I have found that taking care of others is vastly easier than taking care of myself. Why that is, I’m not quite sure. I do know that the way I perceive things has a large sway on their impact. I have used my imagination to escape from real life as longa s I can remember and never once did it occur to me until this week that I could use my imagination and creativity to actually change my reality instead of escape from it.

“Bad” feelings are still meant to be felt. Greif, pain, anger, are not meant to be ignored and pushed down. Instead of beating myself up for feeling more than happiness all the time, I need to learn to process the emotions that are generally frowned upon, remind myself that they are ok to feel, just don’t wallow in them.

Maybe you came to this realization long ago or maybe you don’t relate to my same feeling of needing to escape life at times. Either way, I hope you’re finding a way to take care of yourself.

Thank you for listening strangers and friends.

(written May 23rd but forgot to actually post it)

Climbing

To make a dent in my never-ending to-do list, sometimes I have to trick myself with external motivation or a reward system. If I do a load of laundry, then I can eat an extra tasty meal instead of whatever is around. If I haul my trash out, I can sit and pet Clove for a little while and not think of anything else. A clean and organized living space is sometimes reward enough in itself. Attempting to push myself to get back on my grind today, I put on some upbeat music and blasted through cleaning my kitchen. Finishing that up by leaving an old potato in the little patch of forest behind my apartment, hoping that it will deter the critters there from feeding on my newly planted herbs for a little bit longer, it struck me. I really wanted to climb a tree.

So I did. Sap welcomed the grip of my hands on the branches and bare feet, testing my weight with each new step. The feeling of being a child again washed over me and I couldn’t help but smile as the breeze lifted a strand of my unrestrained hair to catch the bark. Looking out at a different height, far above my usual, the sun broke through the clouds and all of the little spores and seed fluffs floated past me, like a flock of fairies, merrily on their way.

I plan to climb that tree more often. It totally counts as exercise and certainly provides outdoor endorphins! Why is rock climbing normal for adults to do but it’s kind of weird for us to climb a tree?

I wish I could bottle the feeling that I was given climbing that tree barefoot, package barely noticing a scratch on my leg as I perch, transported to a different world within my own.
That really is the idea that lives, nebulous in my head, if I ever start a business: Small boxes that give people a taste of different adventures through products that capture that essence. Include a written glimpse of story to go with it and suddenly you’re baking bread in a cottage while your cat swats at a butterfly through the open window. You’re perched in a tree, unafraid of falling because you’ve lived in the forest your whole life. The hem of your cloak follows your steps down the corridor of the castle as you make your way to convene the council. It is a beautiful (and far more detailed) goal in my head but there is much to do before starting a business. Maybe someday I can bring that dream to you in the world we live in.

Thank you friends and strangers for coming on this current adventure with me. Do something that revives the child in you this week, okay?

Keep climbing, friends and strangers.

Outdoor Ambitions

A breeze keeps blowing my loose strands of hair into my face and if I tilt my head just right, I can see a threading of web reflecting light through the blades of grass. The smell of someone grilling and the sound of birdsong mix now with the quiet clack of the keyboard. I am somehow in a different life but it is my own.

I haven’t read an actual book in maybe, over a year. Someone was kind enough to send me one off of my Amazon wishlist, suggested by my mentor. It’s so beautiful outside today again, after most of the week being rain and snow. Going on a walk is suggested but the mentally tired bug bit me earlier today and was not shaken. Resting outside, reading for the first time in forever, carding my fingers through the velveteen fur of my rabbit, has melted the work day away.

It’s not just any book either. It’s not an escape (which I am constantly seeking) or a cover up. It requests that I face reality and ask myself hard questions.

we need to figure out where we are before we plot a course forward

Bob Goff – Dream Big

I am urged to open my eyes, take a clear look at everything I think about myself and why, sort through my desires and ambitions as if doing an internal spring cleaning, and truly put in the work to make my life what I long for it to be.

No more doing what merely occupies, entertains, and numbs us?

Bob Goff – Dream Big

Can you be honest with yourself? How difficult is it for you?
As the light fades into evening and the breeze becomes chilled, I will go back inside but take these questions with me.

From only three chapters into the book, I already highly suggest it. Have you heard of it? Read it? Dream Big by Bob Goff