Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Manifesto

    If you hadn't noticed, I am a punk-rock hippie chick. I am a tree hugging, animal loving vegetarian. Peace and Love, No H8. Zen. Calm. Chill. Mindful living. At least I am trying. I have vowed to myself to promote what I love, instead of bashing what I hate. Life is too short for anger, hate, petty grievances, whining, sniveling, blame games, violence. Life is too glorious for unhealthy choices, thoughts, attitudes.
    The older I get the more I value peace and love. The older I get, the younger I feel. The younger I feel the less time I want to spend doing things that drag me down, leave me drained. As I shed myself of the negative things that leave me drained, my energy wells up, spills over, an endless tide.
    At any moment in any day there is the option to hit the Reset Button.
    People talk of "Baggage." It is the eternal excuse. I have decided to stop carrying Baggage. I choose to think of past mistakes, trauma, abuse, misuse, betrayal as endurance training. Obstacle course training. It is CrossFit for the psyche. The harder the training, the better the end results. So I carry no baggage. I own my past. I accept full responsibility, and credit, for the health and fitness level of my psyche, spirit, and heart. My body, my training, the endurance event that is life. I am ahead of the pack, and stretching my lead.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Fort

    Life is so busy. I am working rabidly on several projects that have nothing to do with business, writing, or self employment. Well, not really anyway. My current pet project that is absorbing all my time is The Fort. My Fort. My Fortress of Solitude. It has many names, and many driving factors behind it. What is this glorious structure that has captivated my every waking thought? It is the 10' by 20' outbuilding on the southeast corner of my property. A storage shed, with a gambrelled roof. What, until a few months ago, was a a repository for a bunch of junk that had sat in there collecting dust, cobwebs, and mice droppings every since I moved in three years ago. Much of it was remnants from a past life, random things that I would never use again, and knew needed to just go away. And now, they have... gone away, that is. I cleared the space, gave away a mountain of gear, and hauled a truckload to the dump. It was cathartic. And motivating.
    Strangely, what started the whole process was when I noticed that the bottom 24" of siding on the south end of the building was water damaged and needed replacing. At some point, some brainiac decided to insulate the back section of the building, poorly, trapping moisture against the siding and contributing to the rot. All evidence pointed to a pot growing operation, including fragments of foil tacked to the walls. What this meant was that in order to repair the siding, before more damage could occur, I needed to remove the insulation. I had known from the moment I saw the insulation that it needed to be torn down, but shuddered at the thought of such an onerous task. But, it had to be done. And I finally felt I had the time to do it. And yes, it was as gross, or grosser, than I had imagined, with mice nests and food stashes throughout.
    Okay, all that being said, once the space was cleared of junk, and the insulation removed, I could see the space for what it could be; a comfortable, livable, viable space. A guest house, cabin, playhouse (for me, not kids), studio, Fort. And it would be mine, all mine. And yes, I have done all the work myself, by myself, for myself. And am loving every minute of it, well, almost every minute.
    I will not bore you with the details of all the onerous tasks of reflooring (I put my foot through the floor in one section), stringing wiring and outlets for electricity, properly insulating and hanging a vapor barrier, installing the first of many windows, resealed the skylight. I will say, that slithering about, on my back underneath a building with 12" of clearance (I was so glad I am slender) while installing support stringers between floor joists, in the company of spiders and centipedes, was every bit as much fun as it sounds.
    I have glorious plans for multiple windows to let in natural light. There will be small "kitchen" counter that will be tiled with hand glazed tile, have a small sink, and a convenient GFI outlet for a coffee pot. A small closet will hide the composting bucket toilet. It will be well lit, snug, and relatively self contained. A perfect studio space.
    I did realize, as I was sweating away stapling roofing felt to the ceiling, that this is like a "Sampler House." The perfect place for me to practice a variety of skills in a no pressure situation. I have hung several windows, learned the basics of wiring, notched OSB for a tight fitting floor, crawled around underneath a building adding support, and reacquainted myself with insulation. Soon I will be sheathing walls, installing rigid insulation on the ceiling, framing and building my closet/toilet, building and tiling my "kitchen", and laying commercial tile on the floor. I am getting to teach myself new skills, and practice existing skills. It is an adventure all unto itself. And I am proud of my progress.
   My Fort. My Fortress of Solitude.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fit In? Why?

    Life, my life, is never as easy as I could wish. I try to move forward, make what the world deems to be positive changes. I sometimes wish I could fit in with what other people seem to expect of me. I sometimes wish my life was more plebeian, run of the mill, socially acceptable. I sometimes wish that non-conformity wasn't hardwired into my soul. I know that the way I live may seem chaotic, untidy, scatterbrained. But it is who I am. I can't change that. I am over half a century old and have fought against my nature for most of that time. It has only been in the last few years that I have felt more in control of who I am, the mistress of my destiny, the hand at the tiller. But still I fight against my true nature. What do I want from life? Where do I want to go. What do I want to be when I grow up? These are valid questions. Questions that I actually ask myself. Yet I seem incapable of answering them honestly, even to myself, because I want to give the answers that are expected of me. Today I decided that I need to learn to answer myself honestly and with integrity, and to hell with what I think other people expect to hear from me. What do I want to be when I grow up? I still don't know. But then, who says I have to grow up at all? Now, if you don't mind, I am going to get back to work on the epic fort in my back yard.

I Believe I Can

    Lately, I have felt a loss of focus and direction with all aspects of my life. Nothing huge, or blatant. Just a pervasive feeling of floundering. I am busier than ever, so much to do all the time. Triathlon training; firefighter responsibilities and ongoing training; planting my garden and adding to the collection of fruit trees and vines; leather business; creating my stone patio and fire pit; revamping my shed into the ultimate fort; time with my beloved family. So much to do, and yet I feel unfocused and adrift.
    I am having trouble seeing things through to the end. What my friend Mel calls "Task Completion." So much to do that life feels like a constant distraction. Am I enjoying life? Hells to the yeah. I love my life. But have still had this sense that something was missing. Today was the epiphany.
    I was on my bike, pedaling, sweating, when I realized that with all the focus I have put on my physical and mental condition, my spiritual connection has slipped. I have disconnected, lost my way, wandered from the path. I have always considered myself to be very spiritual, and still do. But I think I need more. And maybe it isn't so much about regaining my spirituality, as it is integrating all the parts that make up the being that is Me.
    I used to write so much about Brain, Body, and Spirit. Each as the important entity that they are. Each as an individual aspect, and yet all part of the whole. I have known that I need to keep Body strong to shelter Brain and Spirit when they falter, or are thrown against the rocks in a storm. Body has always been the strong one, the fortress, the temple. I have devoted a lot of time and energy into maintaining my strength and physical health. Brain has been on the mend and continually improving over these last few years, once it was free from the hamster wheel of anxiety and depression. Spirit has always taken a bit of a backseat in regards to regular tune-ups and maintenance. Spirit always seemed to do well on its own, not needing quite the obsessive care and feeding as did Brain and Body. But even the most durable of vehicles will begin to falter if it is neglected and taken for granted.
    It is time to integrate Spirit into the daily workout regiment. I have neglected this vital aspect for too long, and I am beginning to pay the price. Today I realized that it is this disconnect, this negligence that is at the core of my vague feelings of unease and dissatisfaction. I think that by reconnecting with my spirituality that I can regain focus, find my path, and lead myself to fulfill dreams and desires that I have thought were unobtainable. I believe I can do this. I can reestablish my inner energy flow, tap into the source of life and creativity. I believe I can do this. And it all begins now.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Heart of an Empath

I am not inclined to post the work of other writers. But I read this, and it struck home on every point. I felt the truths in this in every fiber of my being. I have tried to explain why I avoid large gatherings, and most social interaction, but my pithy attempts fall flat. I try to make people understand why I have lived alone for so long, it is self preservation, actually. I avoid confrontation of any kind because it causes a tremor through my body that leaves pain, nausea, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and anguish in its wake.  Having the heart of an empath is painful, and a constant cause of distress, even as it makes my world a wondrous place. Here it is, written in glorious prose.  (*I apologize for the weird formatting*)

Written by Naomi Hon

"The word ordinary ceases to exist in your dictionary.

    Every experience resides on either end of an extreme.
    Every day you see things that evoke so much emotion, your mood changes shades the same amount of times the sky does. It yo-yos between streaks of blue and glimmers of yellow—but never without silver linings of glitter. Life is but a giant paint palette of emotions, its colors too obscure to separate.
    You’ll find poetry in every conversation you have, sheltered amongst breaths and pauses, sideways glances and tones in voices. No one else sees, hears or feels it. But you always do.
    Your fingertips trace scars on lovers instead of perfect features.
    You see stories in the eyes of passersby on the street because you see souls instead of irises. You brush past them wondering who they love, what they’ve lost, where they’re going and who they’re trying to be.            Everyone and everything has a story you’re dying to memorize.
    Your heart bleeds at the sight of beggars because you know that somewhere under those rags lies a treasured item they’ve muffled roars of hunger to keep. It could be anything—a rusty gold locket, an oversized coat handed down by a deceased parent,or a crumpled picture of a loved one they’ve lost.
    Children in elevators fill your heart with so much joy, you always smile just a little wider the second their parents notice your gaze. You see the exhaustion in their polite smile, and picture the love they put into raising their children every day.
    Oil spills in gutters look like mini rainbows. Raindrops on windshields look like fallen stars. Fizzy drinks in glasses look like the evening sea. There is no such thing as a mundane day, and boredom is a problem you’ll never be plagued with.
    You enter rooms filled with strangers and feel suffocated by the invisible sparks of electricity flickering in the air. You can pinpoint who’s fighting or flirting without knowing either party from 20 feet away. Like a wet sponge, your body has this tendency of soaking up all the energy around you. Negativity gets sucked into your pores, and affects you so much it almost always ruins your day.
    Not caring just isn’t an option.
    No one has ever done you wrong, no matter how bad the crime, without you understanding why they did so. Friends seek your solace because they know you’ll help them realize what the person they’re angry at could be going through. This makes it virtually impossible for you to detest anyone. So you end up detesting yourself instead for never not understanding why.
    But this very trait enables you to love the broken. You refuse to believe everyone isn’t good at heart even though this permanent naivety is usually what ends up stinging you.
    To have the heart of an empath is both a blessing and a curse.
    You have no control over the intensity of things you feel, or how other people’s feelings affect you. But empaths were born with copious amounts of compassion and endless empathy for a reason. In a world where people numb their feelings and ignore chaos, empaths are there to demand that feelings be felt.
To see the beauty in the details, and in sadness, too."

Monday, April 13, 2015


    I am feeling sad and wounded this evening. For no reason other than the fear and panic of putting myself out there, heart and soul, risking the pain and suffering of living life. I have been living, playing, enjoying life body and soul. But there is the risk, and I teeter on the edge. I feel fear rise up in my throat, tears burn my eyes, and a pressure in my chest. I can't help the knee jerk reaction.
    I wish I could take my fragile heart completely out of the equation. Oh, I do try, trust me. But as anyone who knows me will tell you, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am not one to hold my heart in check, keep it reined in. That is not my nature. My heart wants to run wild and free, unrestrained by convention or etiquette.  I want it to be able to go haring off across the countryside, fearless, and maniacal. I wish I could turn it loose  to run rampant and unfettered.  My heart is a fearsome thing. It is huge, hot, and careless. It has no common sense, no concept of self-preservation. It will dash out into traffic, leap over the edge into the abyss, dive into deep waters, run with scissors, and play with matches.
    It is up to me to prevent catastrophe. As much as I hate it, I have to be the responsible adult in the relationship, because Heart certainly won't. If I don't watch out, Heart will burn down the house.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Retreat? No. Not This Time

    Last night I put myself through a brutal three hour workout. That in and of itself is not unusual. Not unusual at all. I was lonely, and angry with myself for being lonely, and needed to burn that anger and loneliness into the stratosphere with sweat and pain. That is not unusual either. I know I choose to live alone, and live a secluded life. So the loneliness really is on me.
    I do try, really. I put myself out there, meet new people, seek play partners. That is not difficult. I tell myself that satisfying the physical is enough. Brief interludes of  adult companionship, played out on a level playing field with spoken contract, rules, and expectations firmly in place. It is spoken aloud that these are not exclusive relationships, quite the opposite in fact. Not exclusive, though that is not my nature, being hardwired to be monogamous, so exclusivity on my end is a given. No risk of a broken heart, for mine has been broken too hard and too often. That is what I tell myself. But the risk is there. Social media helps fan the flames of discontent and sadness. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It is too easy to see why plans are changed, or weekends are unavailable. Too easy to see friends confessing love and adoration for their chosen partners. Too easy to see as they search for more. Too easy to see plans being made, other promises to other people. I can lie to myself, but I won't. I can tell myself that there are other reasons for silence, emails left hanging without response, texts unanswered. But I won't lie to myself, not anymore. Lies, even to myself, are a sure road to devastation on one level or another.
    This is what sparked my anger last night. Anger at myself. No one else. No one else is lying to me, and that is a pleasant change. But I don't know that I am strong enough to face honesty. I don't know how strong is the armor carefully constructed around my heart. Not strong enough. Because I want to lie to myself, tell myself that there is love and romance out there for me. Something beyond friendship based on mutual desire and kink. I want to think that somewhere in the world is someone who will love me, want me, choose me. Choose Me. Someone who will choose me above all else. It is a silly, romantic notion that has managed to hold onto a tiny corner of my heart all these years. That silly notion that someone, someday will decide that I am The One. That deranged notion that someday I will find love. And it makes me angry that I let myself still believe this, since time and again I am proven wrong. Angry, tearful, lonely.
    This morning the anger is gone, with sore muscles to remind me of the intensity of my night. There is residual loneliness though. A residue that clings like a light coating of ash that seeps into every crevice, and can never seem to be completely swept away. So what is there to be done? Retreat from the world once again in a vain attempt to protect myself from pain? No, pain is just pain. At least that is the one lie I still allow myself. Retreat? No. Not this time. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.