“This is almost touching what the beauty is.”

A thing happened this past Friday.

I saw Kelli O’Hara on stage for the first time.

It was a real thing that actually happened.

For those who don’t know, Kelli O’Hara is my favorite voice. There is something about her voice that is so clear, calming and soothing to me. On top of that, she is a talented and passionate performer and has always seemed like a genuinely good human to me. As it turns out, I was right. She went above and beyond anything I could have ever expected.

When we were walking to the venue entrance before the show, we saw what we thought was an accessible path to the stage door. We all definitely wanted to stage door after the show, so once we went inside and were settled in our seats, Shimaali went to talk to someone as to how we could do that. They told her to come talk to someone in the lobby after the show and that was that.

Please note: Our seats did not suck and I was about to burst with joy everywhere.The excitement I had, had been building for years. The concert hadn’t even started yet and I was smiling like a big goofy kid with a heart full of wonder and magic. It all just spilled over the second Kelli walked onstage.

Newsflash to nobody: When Kelli O’Hara opens her mouth, the sound of the angels fills the room. It was like we were in this cozy cocoon of music for an hour and a half. My friends and I could have stayed in those moments all night. Everything about it was perfect.

The two songs that were the biggest highlights for me were “The Light in the Piazza” (The Light in the Piazza) and “To Build a Home” (Bridges of Madison County) – All I have ever wanted was to hear her sing live from those shows. During “The Light in the Piazza” I couldn’t believe I was finally getting to hear her sing from that show. I couldn’t look away. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. On the other hand, during “To Build a Home” I had to look down and close my eyes. I couldn’t even look up and witness that this was happening in front of me. I NEVER thought I’d get to hear her sing from Bridges. I was bawling. It was stunning and transcendent. So much so that I came home and thanked Jason Robert Brown for writing music for Kelli’s voice. Seamless perfection.

The whole concert turned me into a giant ball of emotion, which is a surprise to no one. I still don’t have all the right words, the ones I’m using don’t seem like enough.

And then something completely unexpected happened…

After the show we went to pick up my walker and talk to someone in the lobby. They told us they were just going to see if it would be ok to just bring us backstage. We were cleared and a few minutes later we were in the hallway backstage with Kelli and all of her other guests.

You can guess what happened next… Yep. I cried. A lot.

I mean… I’d never seen Kelli. I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me. But sure… come on back and say hello, Kimmie and friends. What?! I still haven’t fully wrapped my brain or my heart around the fact that someone could just be that easygoing and kind.

So. I met Kelli. We all met Kelli.

There was a joke circulating between the girls that I wouldn’t remember my name. The last time I met someone who inspires me and has a piece of my heart, I couldn’t remember my name or even speak words. I’m proud to report that with the help of My Person text-chanting my name at me all the way from NY, I remembered my name. HA! Take that, overwhelming emotions!

Not only did I remember my name, I got to tell her that I’ve been trying to see her on stage since Piazza, in several shows, but for some reason or another, something always happened and it never worked out until this concert. I told her that this was the first time and it was more than I ever could have dreamed. She was grateful I was there. She asked me if I lived here and when I said yes, said she’d try to get out here more and when she does, I’d have to be there. Well yes, Kelli O’Hara, I will be there with bells on. And then I gave her a card I wrote just in case I had forgotten my words. She talked with Shimaali, Emelie and Bianca. We took photos. We laughed. She told us we collectively had the best hair she’d ever seen. We laughed more. It was all a beautiful whirlwind that I never wanted to end.

I hope this happens again. The joy I feel is filling my very weary soul. To say that I am grateful would be an understatement.

To Kelli: You are the warmest, most humble human being I have ever met in my life. Thank you for your unbelievable kindness and for sharing your time with us.  We’ll never forget this night. Those moments are everything. I will cherish them forever. I apologize if my note was a jumbled awkward mess, I had a lot of feelings.

To Shimaali: Thank you for doing the work to get our tickets and then making the night extra special for all of us. I never thought this would happen so I appreciate it more than you will ever know. I love going to things like this with you, we always have the best time.

To Emelie & Bianca: Thank you for coming with me. I’m so glad we got to share this together. It was something special.

I love all four of you.

To the VPAC house manager: You’re awesome. Thank you so much for making our night even more incredible than it already was.

(A note about the Valley Performing Arts Center: This may be one of my favorite venues I have ever been to from an accessibility standpoint. There was no fighting with stairs. EVERYTHING from the grounds outside, to the lobby, the house and the walk backstage was flat. The doors were wide. Our seats in the orchestra were incredible. And the accessible parking was right outside the front entrance. When we were leaving, I desperately wanted to walk through the whole building again filming a video with my phone to show other venues how they SHOULD be doing accessibility. Maybe it was because it was a college campus, but even still, venues like this seem to be rare and I appreciate them all the more when I can get around in them without stress or frustration. If anyone else I love ever does a show there from this point on, I may just have to make the trek to be there.)

To my friends & family: Those of you who, over the years, have made plans with me to see Kelli, those who have sat with me and made travel plans, those who have tried to get me tickets to shows, those who got tickets and then something happened for it not to work out – I thought of every single one of you on Friday night. I wished so hard that you had been there with us too. You were there in my heart. Thank you for always reminding me when I was sad that it would happen when it was the right time.  Given the state of my world, now was definitely the right time. I love all of you.

My heart needed some hope. Right now hope is all I have and I will hold onto it for as long as I possibly can. Music heals what’s broken, if you let it.

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Big Magic (In real time) with Elizabeth Gilbert

“You have to be childlike in the pursuit of your life, but you cannot be childish.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert (from this interview with Marie Forleo)

As I mentioned previously, I spent a huge chunk of the summer writing a thing.  I wrote this thing and it did not go how I planned.  I was going to post it here just to… keep it somewhere.  Then I got my copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR and I started reading it after I wrote that last post and when my pal Sus commented about life and creativity informing each other and existing together, it was like this book was talking back to me through her words. (Thanks, Sus!)  So, instead of getting discouraged I combated the nagging idea of failure by going to see Liz Gilbert speak this past Friday in Pasadena.

Confession:  I love Elizabeth Gilbert.  There is no one whose words I love more than hers.  She is truly one of my favorite humans on this planet.  I was reading EAT PRAY LOVE when the first door to my own life opened nearly ten years ago.  That book changed the way I saw the entire world and softened me to the idea of letting the family in that I have now. I just become so empowered when I read her words that I run off a cliff without a parachute with my creativity and the intention to fly. It lights a fire, for sure.  So getting to see her speak? Forget it.  I knew I needed it and it was something else.

I have to say, it was the first time in my life that I sat in a room with a group of strangers and it seemed as though all of our brains were wired the same way.  It was the first time I didn’t feel alone as far as how I live and see the world.  My lovely Kyla calls me a “childlike wonder” because I can exist in a solid reality, but so much of my life is engulfed in magical thinking.  People tend to lose that as they get older, in this room there were the people like me, the ones who hang onto it for dear life, and we embraced the others who wanted to exist there with us.  I just… I went to a completely different place the other night.  For someone who loves words so much, I can’t seem to find the right ones capture what this night was.

I’ve never seen connection happen between people the way it happened on this night.  The whole room stopped for each person.  Not only were they growing in wisdom as their questions were answered, but there was a little morsel that EVERYONE could benefit from as well.  Did I ask a question?  Before I got there, I had planned on it. However, I did not.  Once I was sitting in that room, my brain activated “little sponge” mode and I ended up just soaking up everything going on around me.  It was seriously something powerful just to behold.  (And now Kyla is reading this wondering if I thought of something to ask at all… Yes, Kyla.  in the middle of reading the book last night, there was my question on paper, so I got an answer anyway. Funny how that happens.)

Also, Liz loves karaoke so someone asked if we could end the event in song.  (Because who doesn’t love singing out of sheer joy at the top of their lungs with other people?! I hear those people exist, but I don’t know them.) So we sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” together.  I honestly felt like I could have jumped out of my chair and ran across the world afterwards.  It was SO MUCH FUN. This was Big Magic in real time, and I was so grateful to experience it.  I was so filled with joy and inspiration after this that I finished the last page in my lyric art journal, which sat unfinished on my coffee table for months.  I’m kind of proud of myself.

The one thing Liz said that seems to be lingering with me?  “It’s so weird to be a PERSON. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.”  She’s not wrong.  In these moments I was grateful to be the person that I am, living this life, no matter how hard it is sometimes.  Thank you, Liz.  For everything.

From the Outside Looking In

(When you can’t sleep and you HAVE to write stuff down at 1AM so your finger swipes upwards publishing things prematurely, that’s just obnoxious. I apologize to anyone who got an email with all of  the fragment of a sentence.)

ANYWAY. MOVING ON.

For the last year or two, I’ve been practicing not looking back on the past too much. As it has been pointed out to me from a place of truth over and over again, looking back doesn’t serve me, my future, or the moment I am in right now. So, I’ve been doing the best I can to be more present and to keep looking ahead. Looking and moving forward is like walking into a room filled floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall with sunlight. There’s such a gratitude for life in that room of warmth, but still there are days when the door to that room is locked and it seems as if I’m alone in a never-ending darkened hallway. This is the can of worms that was opened this week.

Remember when I said I was in a creative drought? Well, it seems to have manifested into more of a life drought. Granted, most of it is due to situations out of my control and I sit here and fixate on things I can control… But I think in that case, it just seemed to make things worse.

I created one thing all summer. Just one thing, during my internet hiatus when a project dropped itself in my lap and I spent a whole month devoted to it away from everything. You want to know what happened next? Nothing. It didn’t accomplish what I set out for it to accomplish. (More detail on this specifically another time.) I knew going into it this outcome was an enormous possibility, I was ok with that and did it anyway, then when it came down to it, when it didn’t go how I’d hoped, I got really discouraged. I think as the cloud of failure formed and hovered above me, it started to affect everything else going on around me. But like I said, the rest of it has been completely out of my control.

Around mid-August, B got a second job unexpectedly and we are nearly in October and still trying to work out her schedule with me. The schedule changes every week, and most of the time it changes daily, so the shake up and lack of routine is really getting to me. Every day it’s like someone comes in here and flips my world upside-down. Like I’m living in Wonderland with nothing but a handful of nonsense. The situation is giving me crazy amounts of anxiety and I’m not so sure what to do about it. I know you’re probably thinking, if it’s that stressful, let her go. I can’t do that though, I wish you all could see how good she is for me. I am better because I have her help. I just need to figure out a way for a sense of normalcy and stability to return to me.

Aside from this, it feels like there is not a single human around me with the ability to follow through with their words into actions these days. It’s quite simple, right? If you say you’re going to do something, you should probably do it; or don’t loosely commit to anything at all. When someone doesn’t follow through, it makes me feel like I’m not worth enough or good enough and I’m not doing enough. I beat myself up. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s what happens and then I go back to the fact that I can only depend on myself.

The other night ALL of these things collided together and in a moment of shame, I fell apart. I reached out and told my Kyla that I was struggling and I needed some help navigating a way out from under the pile of pressure and stress I was buried underneath. She told me what it was like watching me carve out a life for myself the last few years. (Using the most epic Wizard of Oz analogy ever to exist…) I told her how I felt like I’d never be enough or doing enough and I felt like I hadn’t done anything at all. I told her how it feels like I can’t ever catch a break. So what was her response? She wished I could see my life right now from the outside looking in, so she gave me an assignment. She said to me, “Write your story five years ago; then write your story now. Read them both.”

Okay then, let’s give this a shot, shall we?

Five years ago: September 2010: I’d grown restless of living with abusive, neglectful chain smokers where I seemed to be sick all the time. I ran away from that situation over that summer. I moved in with old friends in Orange County because we wanted to be able to help each other. I was truly happy there, until one day several months later it caught up to me and I wasn’t emotionally equipped to deal with reality. When you run, you don’t take the time to pay attention to the lessons life is trying to teach you. But now I wonder, how could I be of any kind of help to anyone if I couldn’t even help myself? I lost friendships that were family to me then. I will always love them and deeply cherish our time together. At the time I took it incredibly hard so the fact that I ended up back where I started was devastating to me. I lost myself for longer than I care to admit. I’m so grateful to every little thing that kept me afloat.

Now: September 2015: I live alone with my cat in my own apartment. I have a team of people who work with and for me to help me navigate adulthood. I may have had to grow up at a very young age, but it’s true what my pal Cady says — when you aren’t taught the simple things growing up you don’t know how to do them as an adult because no one took the time to show you. Now people show me those things. I may not have nearby friends, but I have a massive encouragement and support system that spans all across the world. I am creating again, even if Creativity and I may be on a break at the moment. I have a huge creative endeavor in the works with my sisters that could really be something special. I am going out and doing things because I want to. I am planning a family reunion with my heart family. I am going back to physical therapy for the first time since I was a toddler. I do my physical therapy every day at home.  I am starting aquatic therapy next week. I am seeing doctors. I am trying to be patient and gentle with my body as it adjusts to everything I’m doing to make it stronger and healthier. I am talking to every social worker who steps into my apartment without a shred of anxiety. I am doing everything I can to help myself be the best I can be in every way possible. Maybe it’s not as broken as I think it is. All that matters is that I give this moment the attention it’s asking for and then I must continue moving forward.

Ah, Kyla, I see what you did there. Once I got into this part of this post, I let go and just let my fingers type whatever they needed to. I am pretty sure you did not mean for me to post those on my blog, but I wanted you to see that I did it. I also felt like posting them publicly holds me more accountable. So, you were right. From the outside looking in, I’ve done more than I ever imagined I could. Nor am I finished changing the landscape of my life and then the world.

Inhale. Exhale. It’s all ok. Take another step, Kimmie.

Summer Stuff

It seems I can’t go an entire summer these last few years without losing my hearing at least once. My doctor looked at my ears two weeks ago after I told her of this issue and everything looked good. My ears are just that damn sensitive and now here I am on Labor Day weekend not able to hear anything. Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday cannot get here soon enough. So let’s do some writing about the summer, shall we? BECAUSE I CAN STILL WRITE. I’m all about being grateful for what I CAN do.

I spent December of last year all the way through the entire month of July fighting my medical insurance and ultimately I won. So this was both an uneventful summer, but it has also been a summer of getting stuff done. I have a new social worker, a new doctor, and a physical therapist now. Currently working on getting an optometrist and a dentist. My doctor has given me medication for things every other doctor I’ve ever had would not. Thanks to that, I am already feeling much better. This doctor is not messing around. I like her.

I had my physical therapy evaluation last week. I have two exercises I do at home for now and my first regular appointment is next Friday. To be honest, I am a little (ok, more than a little) afraid for my therapist to work with me. I had PT until I was three years old and my parents stopped taking me because my old therapist tore the Achilles tendon in my left foot. I may have been very small at the time, but I remember that day and that pain like it just happened yesterday. I’ve made the new therapist aware that happened so I’m going to be spending this week telling myself I’ll be safe with this person and it’s her job to help me. I’m sure it will be just fine. I am so grateful to even have this help. I’ve wanted PT my entire life and I’m so on top of it. Even though my ears are causing me to feel not so great at the moment, I’ve been doing my exercises every day. I’m so excited about all of it. And yes everyone who has said “take it slow” — I promise I’ll never overdo it. I’ve never been that person.

On the summer fun side of things, here’s a list…

 – I took a social media break and spent an entire month just writing. And reading. Mostly writing.
– If you’re a creative type, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast on iTunes. Trust me. Just do it.
– I’m obsessed with Inside Out because sometimes I am a child. Well done, Disney/Pixar.
– Bianca and I took the train to LA to see my Kristin get a star on the Walk of Fame. It was worth the longest, hottest day if only to hug KC on her birthday, truly. Also, Carol Burnett was one of the guest speakers and that really doesn’t suck either.
– There is now a couch in my living room. My Person is good to me and I am grateful.
– Speaking of My Person, Janice was back in LA for the month of August. We took the nieces out to play. We had our favorite tacos. We went to our favorite vegan restaurant. I was introduced to shaved ice. Basically, when Janice is home, we eat.
– My Jessica from Orlando booked her flight to come visit me for a week in November. Happy Birthday to me!
– I randomly won free tickets to see Kristian Bush and Rita Wilson in LA last week. That man’s music is soul-changing. And Rita Wilson is pretty classy too. Her new album is going to be fantastic. (Side note, B is now kicking herself for not telling Tom Hanks when we saw him that she played Woody at Disney World. I am just amused over it.)
– I am now mourning the loss of the mango black tea lemonade at Starbucks. Damn you, pumpkin spice latte… It’s barely September!
– I have the best cat on the face of the planet. Just a reminder.
– Playing House is the funniest show on television.

All is well. I need a nap.

The Break in the Drought

As I write this on the last day of June, it is dark, humid and raining in my little corner of Southern California.  We desperately need this rain.

I’ve been feeling entirely too overwhelmed by social media as of late.  The idea that you need to be connected on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever social media outlet to stay in the know of your loved ones lives was just something that has been really getting to me. I just feel like I need a break for a little while; it could be a few days, weeks, I don’t know. I will be back, just unplugged for now.  The weird thing is, usually I’d try to get to the root of why I’m feeling this way, but right now I’m just letting it be.  I like it.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative drought. There is one blank page left in my art journal before it’s filled up.  I know what song will fill that last page, I just can’t bring myself to be finished with it.  I’ve been avoiding doing anything with it because I know that means one of two things: buying a new one OR going to the craft store to buy new paint supplies.  It’s not that I can’t decide between the two, my plan when this journal was full was to buy some canvases and recreate a few of the pieces in the journal. The thing is, I started  with the paint when I got the journal and I hated everything I created.  Maybe I’m scared I’ll mess up again, or maybe I should just see what comes of it.  In any case, I haven’t created anything in about a month.  I mean we built a footstool but that doesn’t really count, does it? I was reading something recently which said that creative people go through equal cycles of creative bliss and a kind of depression.  I am not really in a “depression” but I am still finding this to be true.  I need something to reignite my creative fire.  I’m sure I’ll find it.  Meanwhile, I can’t seem to stop reading. Books have always been my thing, going hand-in-hand with words, but I can’t seem to stop.  One right after the other these days and I am okay with that.

On the other hand, I have given myself a project that I cannot really talk about yet.  A writing project dropped itself into the universe and I said to someone, “I think I want to do this.”  So I’m doing it.  A book I have read more times than I can count for inspiration has become more like a textbook for this project.  It’s strange having this project sitting in my lap.  Brainstorming, writing, rewriting, words words words and deadlines.  Maybe this is what my social media break is for, to focus on this, even if nothing comes of it.

Focus on something else and the break in the drought will come.

The weight of words

It’s Monday. I’ve noticed the general population has a distaste for Monday.  It means the restart of routine and a work week. Unless you love what you do with every fiber of your being, I can see the struggle there. And then there’s me, I love Mondays in my new life.  Mondays mean my mother’s day off. Mondays mean Bianca is here an hour longer than she is the rest of the week. Mondays mean I can emotionally and spiritually recharge from the stresses I’ve let go of from the week before.

Except, not this Monday.

Bianca had an obligation from before she started working for me and has been gone since Thursday. I’m so glad she got to do something other than sit with me all weekend and she’s told me she’s having a great time. I like to hear that because she is amazing and she deserves it.

However, I had a weekend that has left me struggling to recover and teetering on edge.  So, on this Monday, I am sitting in my living room alone with the breeze from the open windows coming in, music on that makes me feel safe and I’m just going to write this out in hopes that I’ll feel the weight lifted.

In an effort to cover B’s three shifts, the agency that runs my building had one of the overnight staff people cover them.  We’ll call this person “C.” There are two overnight people who work here.  One of them works Sunday through Wednesday and the other works Thursday through Saturday.  One of them has helped me before, the other has never helped me.  Nothing against her, I just don’t seem to stay up late on the nights she works.  So when it came time for covering shifts, I was given C, the one who has never helped me before.  I am not great with new people, I will be the first person to admit that; but I am always open-minded and willing to teach someone what I need.  I went into this figuring it would be interesting, a new learning experience for both of us, and it would be just fine.

Day one: C walks in here and I ask her not to touch my front door while it opens and closes or it won’t lock and thus will open on its own and my cat will get out. It only stays open for ten seconds, so it’s not much of a wait.  She listened.  It was going to be fine. How someone reacts when I tell them not to touch the door is a good indicator for how well they’ll listen to me when I’m trying to show them what I need.  We’re good. Or so I thought.

“I’m scared of ALL animals” is the first thing she tells me after she comes inside.  Everyone has something they’re afraid of, so I can understand this. However, I have a cat who has the kind of personality which makes her believe that anytime someone comes into this apartment, they are here to play with her.  Sunny loves to play and just wants to be your friend.  This was going to be a problem for the next three days.  It was a problem in a matter of minutes. Anytime Sunny would start to come near her, C would start to freak out. I spent the entirety of the next two days trying to keep Sunny away from her. It stressed me out to my core and I feel like that isn’t something I should have had to deal with in our own house.  I tried to let it go and just be grateful there was someone to help me, but then there was all the other little things… I told her the stove was electric and she responded by asking me if she needed a lighter to light it.  No.  She thought it was weird that I don’t eat meat and I don’t drink anything other than water during the day after I’ve had coffee or tea with breakfast.  So what?  When I needed help in the bathroom, she talked down to me like I was a child.  When I tried to focus on something to curb my stress, I decided to work in  my art journal and she watched my every move.  I should have known by this point not to do something like that which is so private for me. When it came time for her to help me in bed and leave, I kindly reminded her again to wait for my door to close without touching it. I prayed she would do just that even though I wasn’t watching this time.

Day two:  I wake up to my mother walking into my apartment asking, “Is the cat in the bedroom with you?”  No, she’s not.  Since moving here, Sunny rarely sleeps in my room.  She likes having the living room to herself at night to cause chaos. Turns out my front door did not lock because C must have touched it, my guess would be out of fear of the cat.  This meant that my front door was wide open when my mother got here and therefore, wide open all night long.  My cat was gone.  Waking up in immediate panic is terrifying, luckily the cat came home when she saw my mother and all she brought with her was a dead cricket.  But this was still a scary situation for me because I had no idea the door was open.  Anyone could have come in here during the night and stolen my things or worse could have hurt me.  I am grateful that neither one of these things happened.  Thank you, God.

After this incident, I sent C a text message telling her what happened and that I wouldn’t be letting her in that day. She’d have to get my spare key and let herself in and out with that. She proceeded to ask me why I didn’t tell her the door was open during the night. Um… because I didn’t know? I cannot see my front door from my bed.  She then proceeded to blame me and my cat (“Sunny is the one who opened it!”) for what happened and stated that when she left the door was closing. Which just proved to me that she didn’t bother to wait the ten seconds for it to close and probably touched or moved it slightly as she was leaving.  Once she blamed my cat, I was shaking in rage and couldn’t even respond.  I couldn’t handle her for another shift so I was grateful I had arranged for my mother to cover Monday.

Day two went a little easier.  She let herself in with the key and I stayed curled up in bed with my cat for the first couple hours of her shift watching Harry Potter.  I didn’t bother to have her help me in the bathroom again because I didn’t want to feel less than myself.  Dinner rolled around and she was completely baffled that I “actually don’t eat that much food.”  Maybe she didn’t mean it in a harmful way, and maybe I am over-sensitive, but the way she said this really got to me.  The day before she judged me for being a vegetarian and not having anything other than water in my fridge. The next day she was genuinely surprised that I don’t overeat.  Yes, we make extravagant food AND dessert in my kitchen often, but I rarely overdo it. I just… I felt like she was expecting that because I am overweight, that must mean I eat a ton of food that is bad for me.  I don’t.

I am overweight.

I am aware of this.  I do my best to make it easier and better for myself and it takes a lot of time and a lot of work.  Comments from the last few days made me feel like I needed to explain to people that most of the reason I am overweight is because it is difficult for me to move my body without assistance and has very little to do with what I do (or don’t) eat. Much like having to restrict my cat in the house, I felt like this is something I should never have to explain to someone who doesn’t know me.  The words really hurt me.

Remember when I contributed to The Conversation?  I’ve felt like that ten year old girl inside me these last few days and I’ve been unable to talk her down from that ledge. I’m in a terrible emotional place now and I don’t like it. I’m hoping by acknowledging it, it’ll be easier to light the way out.  Recently, I came to the defense of someone being bullied on the internet and a stranger said to me, “Words don’t hurt, they really don’t.”  This statement has stuck with me ever since.  How glad I am that this stranger has never been emotionally scarred by the thoughts of another.  Some of us don’t have it that easy.

All words carry with them a kind of weight.  All words have the power to be uplifting or destructive to our beings; both forms of weight are strong.  Kind and positive words have a strength that lifts us into the light and nurtures the truest forms of ourselves.  Words that come with them an intent to hurt have a weight that is soul-crushing. It is far too easy to let negativity eat your confidence from the inside out.  We must encourage each other.  We must not let this negativity continue to happen and recognize the value of humanity.

And this is where I’ve been.  Those words said to me have been eating me alive.  I don’t like it.  I got angry at myself because I let this person hurt me.  I gave them that power to say “Hey, you’re less than this. I feel bad about my life choices so I’m going to make sure you feel bad too.”  Why? Why am I so sensitive that I allowed this to happen?  I’ve been beating myself up for it and it needs to stop now.  I know I am better than what I allow someone else to make me feel.  I just need to find that place again.

Breathe.  Stay focused. In the meantime, share twice the kindness for half of how dark it feels.

B will be back tomorrow and if I haven’t found it by then, I hope a sense of normalcy will follow.

Decorating Space and Time

As of yesterday, I’ve officially lived the first year of my own life.

The past year may not have been the hardest I’ve had to face (and thank God for that!) but it was probably the most challenging. I’m not a quitter and am always up for a challenge, but I’m not gonna lie, it seemed a little bit extreme at points. And I fight, but I fight alone here. I don’t have the luxury of the unexpected. The weird thing living in this setting is, my every move is documented. People know what I’m doing and how I do things at all times and any changes have to be cleared through a number of channels. That said… I DO have the luxury of a team of people to guide and teach me. Although, I constantly feel like I’m supposed to know exactly what the rest of my life is going to be. I’ve never been that person. I am always grateful to just see another tomorrow.

When this fight started, I struggled with seeing things on too large a scale — the big picture. I had to learn baby steps. This month, because I now live in a different county, I got a new social worker. She came for her first visit this past Wednesday. She’s fabulous and I kind of love her, but she was asking me all the “big picture” questions. My brain is no longer trained to think that way, so I felt strange and a little insecure when I couldn’t answer in a way that seemed to please her. But… I am not here to please anybody. I am here to be happy. The truth is, I am currently only concerned with getting my medical situation squared away so I can get the kind of care I should have always had. I know my body and I know that once doctors start doing things to help me, my body is going to have to completely readjust itself. So, I’m very sorry that it’s difficult to answer anyone’s questions about school or work or other big-picturesque goals right now. Taking it one baby step at a time is all I know I can do, and that has to be enough for the moment.

I also have my cat, who drives me insane, but I love her to death. I have Bianca, who is absolutely incredible. When I interviewed her, we both said, “Yeah… I’m quiet.” We’ve been anything BUT quiet ever since. We have so much fun. It might be my favorite when we spend half her shift at IKEA and then come home and decorate. Making a home has nothing to do with the stuff you have, but making a comfortable space that reflects your personality is the most fun there is. I’ve been all about creating, decorating, finding myself and realizing I never knew who I was. I’m going through what I’ve referred to as a “creative rebellious phase.” And you know what? It’s soothing. Paint, chalk, crayon, dye, photos, FOOD… I can’t stop creating myself through the things I’m playing with and learning. The other day, Bianca shared a quote she saw on Facebook with me:

We use art to decorate space. And we use music to decorate time.

She said it made her think of me. I could not believe she could actually see me. That quote? It’s  basically my formula for a functioning soul right now.

No one can do this alone. I feel like I should be proud of myself. I hope my heart family and my angels are proud of me too. One year, still here. I’m excited to see where and who I’ll be next year. Thank you to everyone who has been continuously supporting me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over and over again in the past year, it’s that if I’m only good enough for someone to call friend under certain circumstances, they’re not worth it. You can support me and I’ll support you or you’re welcome to leave. I don’t have time for anything that doesn’t involve unlocking a spectacular explosion of joy.