Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Introducing Spring, DBD, Holly, and the rest of the characters in my head

One of my favorite podcasts is 10% Happier with Dan Harris. I've listened to most of the podcasts; ok, maybe lately I've been behind because I can't stop listening to political podcasts (I'm looking at you, Rachel Maddow.)

The podcast today had Dan talking about an idea that I've liked for a while but not spent much time doing or paying attention to. When Dan gets distracted while meditating, he sometimes slips into common personality aspects that he's given real-life names to. The idea is that when we realize our brain is thinking the thoughts common to that character, we catch ourselves and come back to the present by naming them.

Anyway, based on Dan's advice, I'm going to devote this blog post to the different characters who often spend time in my mental ramblings. I'm going to attempt to name them, but I won't promise the names will stick. Maybe just identifying them will help me in some way to get myself out of the stories I often cast myself in.

Disclaimer 1: I promise, these are not evidence of any multiple personality disorder.
Disclaimer 2: These personalities might show a bit of my vulnerabilities, gulp.

  • Spring. Spring comes around when I'm feeling particularly mother-earth-goddess-yoga-slash-meditation-instructor-y. She wants to be one with the earth and think that she can rise above all the problems if she just remembers that All! Things! Are! Impermanent! She narrates when I'm very, very content, or trying to Just Be With The Universe. Sometimes she's natural, sometimes she's forced. She's not a super common visitor, but she's always wanting to get her .02 cents in. Or just her sunshiny outlook, because Money Doesn't Matter to Spring so she doesn't have .02 cents.
  • DBD. DBD is when I'm working something out with certain family members in my head. She is always undefended from other people's points, and she never wins. She pleads her case, citing examples of what she's done since birth that makes her not guilty of being a terrible person. DBD used to be really loud, and she would very often show up while driving. I can spend a lot of time lost in DBD's thoughts. I've made a lot effort to tell her to shut the efff up. But she's always there, waiting. DBD knows she is guilty of Everything.
  • Writer McWriterson. This is the person who shows up mostly when I'm working something out in my life or mind, who thinks Everything She Has to Say is going to be important to society. She comes out most of the time when I'm walking in the tunnel beneath State Street on my way back from McDonalds. She can ALWAYS come up with the most profound blog posts, and they are really well written and flow and make the exact point that is important in my head. 
  • Writer's Cousin, Photo McPhotoson, who takes the perfect photo. 
  • Sister K. She is the Becky that both loves and resents religion. She's around a lot lately.
  • Holly Hobby Lobby. She's the one who buys 2 or 3 extra fat quarters at the fabric store, and then also gets 3 more books that weren't on hold at the library 20 minutes later. She gives me grand visions of finishing my housework so I can sew followed by reading followed by deadheading the lilies outside followed by a nice walk or run followed by 20 minutes of meditation on the porch in the sun followed by making banana bread for the neighbor followed by listening to that awesome podcast while also singing loudly to all of the songs from my favorite bands followed by re-reading the Harry Potter series. And then, vacuuming takes forever because I keep taking breaks to look at my phone and I need another coffee before I sit down to sew, so....I never get my sewing machine out. and the rest of it was never happening to begin with.
I'm thinking six people to identify at first shot is pretty good. I'll try to notice when they stop by. Hopefully I can say hello, give them a lemon drop, and send them on their way.

Who is taking up space in your head?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Mid-fall 2018: an update post

Whew, 2018 has been something.

A few things to get off with right off the bat.

In April, after much discussion and sleepless nights and a whole lot of other stuff, I went on an antidepressant, went off my inhaled steroid, and started treating for reflux. It was a whole lot of stuff to get through with the stoppings and startings and all that. For a while I thought my body and mind would never feel familiar again. I'm glad to say that it's gotten better. About being medicated...

  • I felt the medication hit my brain the first time. Whoosh. 
  • I ended up changing from one formula to another because the first didn't let me sleep. I love my doctor for being willing to change things up for me on desperate April day, 5 days after I started the first medication.
  • Many many things and beliefs and shit I carried around have fallen by the wayside. Good and bad.
  • I can no longer keep things to myself. Probably a good thing. After starting medication, words and conversations fell out of me that had been aching to come out for years. I cleared a lot of air that badly needed clearing.
  • I'm finally in a space where I'm not constantly 2 parsecs away from full panic. Panic left me in degrees, which was fascinating to both experience and observe.
  • I'm constantly comparing "before" to "after."

It was one of the hardest decisions, and it wasn't easy or fun for months. But things are better. I've grown up in ways I didn't know I could. I am thankful every day for the chemical reaction in my brain that results from a pill I take every night.

Now THAT's out of the way, let's talk about 2018.

  1. Went on the best California trip we've ever taken. We went back to San Diego and our home away from home. I savored every moment of running, playing, eating, drinking, strolling, laughing, observing, and being. Not constantly spinning on how something could be different or better (as I did "before") allowed for every moment to count, perfect or not.
  2. Sat in the sun for many, many soccer games. My tan has never been so good.
  3. Celebrated 43. I spent my birthday on a hike with a friend, then went to dinner with my family wearing a new dress that I never would have dared wear "before." Shane got me a new Fitbit and enjoyed every moment of the day. We celebrated with cupcakes from the grocery store that were amazing.
  4. Read a few books. The 1,000th Floor, Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine, The Monsters of Templeton, Britt-Marie was Here, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (when I needed familiar, comfort reading because I couldn't face any serious shock or need for my empathy; I was worried for a while that I wouldn't ever enjoy story again. So glad I came out of that!), Night of Cake and Puppets, Weird Things Customers say in Bookstores, Still Me. 
  5. Sewed. I made a friend in my neighborhood who has become my sewing wise woman. I fell in love with a black and white fabric line that I ended up using in 3 different projects, and I designed all of them myself.
  6. Ranted about politics. I'm so tired of trump. I'm so tired of our broken government.
  7. Walked. I hurt my back in June inexplicably, so I haven't ran much this summer. Or really since April, if I'm honest. But I've learned to love walking. Each Sunday I spent out walking on the Mountain View Corridor, watching the thistles bloom and die off, giving way for the sunflowers that make me so happy. I also started walking with friends on my days off. It's easier to reach out to others now, after. 
  8. Walked with Shane. Oftentimes, we did nothing but argue about current family events. but lately, we've been in this sweet spot of peace, well, except for politics. Being medicated allows me to listen without being flooded by cortisol. We can actually have difficult conversations now that mostly work, mostly because I'm medicated and I've learned to listen and speak my words.
  9. Felt more like myself than I have in 20 years.
  10. Wore tank tops and running skirts almost every day. But for sure on my days off. I haven't shown my shoulders in years, because, well, because. And then I realized that there was a whole subset of clothes that there was no reason I couldn't be wearing and so I got some. And then my work started allowing sleeveless tops and so I really could buy new clothes. I was so uncomfortable the first time I showed my shoulders at work. It was liberating though. And I bought a lot of cute running skirts that make me happy every time I put them on.
  11. Discovered the deliciousness that is PSL. Why did I wait so long? I mean, probably because of all the mochas I usually drink, but mmmm. There's something to that pumpkin spice fad.
  12. Moved my mom into an assisted living center. 
  13. Learned to make Dresden plates as well as hexies (sewing lingo for different kinds of flowers. Love!)
  14. Started PT for my back.
  15. Admitted that I'm #metoo to a number of people. As a result of the trauma that was the Kavanaugh hearings, I realized that I'm not happy living in a patriarchal society. I celebrated my own day (the Saturday of conference, the day that in both arenas of which I'm a voting member I realized the patriarchy gets its way and doesn't really value my dissenting voice) that I called F*** the Patriarchy day and got a tattoo, the tattoo that I've always wanted: a combination of the daisy chain around the ankle with the flower modeled after my beloved marble flower from the Roman Forum.
  16. Found every stray photo around my house and put them in albums. 
  17. Started learning Canon in D.
  18. Discovered the Rachel Maddow podcast, as well as Trevor Noah. 
  19. Hung out with my kids. We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings, La Luna, Zupas, Costa Vida, and Salsa Leedos quite a bit all together. Thomas worked at the rec center all summer, and Ben played a lot of soccer. 
  20. Saw Florence + The Machine with Amy. Sooooo good. Soooooo much fun.
  21. Got a new mattress - heaven.
If you've made it this far in the post, thanks for sticking with me. 7 months between posts results in a lot of catching up and documenting random things. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Currently? List? Right Now? Searching for appropriate title....

Hello? Are you still there? Am I still here?

It's been so long since I blogged. 6 months! Just because I haven't written any actual words here doesn't mean I haven't thought a million different blog posts. One of my "thinking" minds is when I'm crossing under State Street on my way back from a mall walk or a coffee run, and I mentally compose blog posts about snark or problems or what I view as irresistible witticisms that most of the world would kill to read. (Tell me I'm not the only "blog composing thinker" out there!)

But, despite the plans, I haven't written a word here. I'm remedying that today with a list. I'm not going to limit or stretch for a number or goal. Let's just see where we get to.

  • Asthma. I freaked out one day after I got lightheaded during an interval run on the treadmill. I found myself in a familiar landscape, one I'd hoped never to see again. When has hope that a situation not ever presenting itself again actually ever resulted in that situation staying away forever? Never is when. So I put on my big girl pants and picked a new pulmonologist and went to see her. 
  • I've avoided treating my asthma because of the emotional side effects it had on me 7 years ago. I thought I had it managed, and then stress and life and the sudden but lasting cold snap and vicious winter storms threw it into a tailspin. My doctor very literally talked me down off a ledge. She put me on a steroid, and I then went right back onto the ledge over taking it. But now I'm 2 weeks in and I'm starting to breathe again and sleep again and exercise again. 
  • Nothing ever lasts forever; it just feels like it.
  • My mom. My mom got sick in December, and hasn't gotten back to herself. She had multiple surgeries, one quite suddenly right after Christmas that if she hadn't had, she would have died. It's been a rocky road. Having her sick brought back many memories of a few years ago when she was in rehab after her radical 16 level back fusion. I wasn't my best self during that process, and I felt many of the same emotions. 
  • Things often repeat themselves, but they never happen in exactly the same way. I've got more tools in my toolbelt, and even if they haven't completely kept me from being overwhelmed, I have found more islands of calm. 
  • Shane's mom. Shane's mom has also had a lot of challenges. She had 2 serious back surgeries 3 months apart. Seeing her in pain and frustrated at being a patient for so long has also been hard to witness. I'm glad she's on the mend finally.
  • Life. I've watched very real life events happen in close family and friends lives that make my heart ache. I want so much to do emotional heavy lifting. I want so much to solve these problems. I know I can't do anything more than listen and love. There is something beautiful and sacred at being a witness to another's pain and suffering and watching them stand up every day and carry it with them. 
  • Fear. Fear backed me into a corner more than once recently. I've gone over, around, under, across, against, and every other direction to avoid it, and yet it's been my constant companion. I'm starting see fear differently. More on this another time.

I didn't get as far as I'd have liked in this. Once I start to write, I don't want to leave anything out and then I realize all I want to update about, and it gets unwieldy.  I'll call this a good starting point. I have some more real life to attend to today, and so I'm going to put on my pants and show up for myself and my loved ones.

Ending with a poem that I've been thinking about for the past week or so.

Living in the Body

Body is something you need in order to stay
on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not
be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful
enough, it will not be fast enough, it will
not keep on for days at a time, but will
pull you down into a sleepy swamp and
demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry
from one day into the next. Always the
same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same
skin when you look in the mirror, and the
same creaky knee when you get up from the
floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and
costly—better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave
eventually. You know that because you have
seen others do it, others who were once like you,
living inside their pile of bones and
flesh, smiling at you, loving you,
leaning in the doorway, talking to you
for hours and then one day they
are gone. No forwarding address.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On Expectations

On the July 4th while Amy, Kayci, and I were running down University Avenue in Provo, I commented on the Provo City Library. When I was young - probably kindergarten or so - I had a dream about it, when it was the abandonded BYU Academy. I remember being in the building, and there was a bridge that I crossed and went down some stairs. It's mostly just a snippet, but I rarely pass it now without thinking of the dream. In my mind, the inside looks like what I imagined through years of dream and memory and story.

I told Amy and Kayci my dream and how I've always wanted to go in, and Kayci told me that I should visit, that the library is really cool and she loved visiting there when she lived in Provo. I didn't expect to ever go in, but on Saturday, Shane and I had some time to kill in Provo and so we visited. I was really excited to see it finally.

It was nothing how I imagined. I had hoped I could look out of the western-facing windows onto University Avenue. I wanted it to feel like an old building and have eccentric quirks that usually come along with old buildings. In other words, I was hoping that it would feel just a little how it did in my dream.

I heard a quote yesterday while getting ready for my Sunday School lesson that said, "Expectations are disappointments waiting to happen." It's so true. I didn't enjoy the gorgeous tile on the stairs and third floor. I didn't explore the tiny art gallery off of the main hall. I wasn't interested in crossing into the new section on the east side of the building to see the main part of the library, nor the what I imagine is an amazing children's collection on the west. I just wanted to see something impossible.  I wasn't seeing what I wanted to see, so everything it was - and wasn't - was lost to me.

For so long after my anxiety started 2 years ago, I wanted to just be able to drive to work without being scared. I would spend all morning with a pit in my stomach, fearing what I thought was inevitable. If I could have magicked the fear out of me, I would have. Every day that I drove on the freeway I followed a pattern that became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Whenever I would have a good drive to work, I didn't trust it because I didn't know if I could do it again the next day. When I would have a bad drive, I let it ruin my whole day, because my expectations were that if I didn't have a perfect drive to work without anxiety, everything was lost.. My overarching expectation was really that I could go back to being who I was before I freaked out, and that driving was going to all of a sudden become not a problem, and I could move on and never look back.

But life doesn't let you go back. There is also no around or over or under or even across. There is only through. Once I started accepting my fear, instead of avoiding it and then punishing myself for it later, my relationship to it changed. When I finally had some space in my head and my heart, I found a way through. I stopped expecting to be afraid, I stopped fighting my fear, and instead just said hello to it when it happened. I stopped believing every stupid, irrational thought that sent my heart racing. Challenging those thoughts, not believing them, was one of the bravest things I've ever had to do.

Life doesn't really meet our expectations. But that doesn't mean it isn't great, or that we can't hope for things. Acceptance is counter intuitive. But once I got brave enough for it, it's changed so much in me.

I'm sad I visited the building. Not because I lost the imagined interior, or my dream. But I lost the hope that that place existed. And I lost the ability to see the library for the beauty that it really truly is. Maybe one day I'll go back. I'll go back so I can see the tile, and look out the northern windows. I'll go and smell the books and think about the old Provo Library that my grandma used to take me to. I'll recognize that some things will break my heart no matter what, and that's ok, especially if I remember that I still have choices, that nothing stays the same, that most things aren't permanent.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The summer of the dragonfly


I can't count the times this summer that I've seen dragonflies. They've been on my hikes, at soccer games, at cross country meets, and even outside in my Rose of Sharon. I've started smiling and noting everytime I see one, as it seems to be a harbinger of good. Because - dare I admit it? Am I tempting the gods to say the words? - Summer 2017 was pretty good.

  1.  I finished the first Faber Adult Piano course and started on the second. I also love to play out of a Faber classics book and a Christmas book. I spend a lot of time at night playing the piano simply because it makes me happy to make music. I'm getting better. It helps that a person has put every song in both books on YouTube where he talks about the piece, describes concepts that might be new, and then plays it slowly with a metronome so that I can play along with him. While it makes me feel all sorts of vulnerable to put this here, here is a video of m playing Prince of Denmark's March. (My piano is old and out of tune...) 
  2. In late July, we went to Park City for two nights. It wasn't fancy or even very notable, but we enjoyed it. We played in the pool together. Ben and Shane watched a soccer game at a tournament that was being played there that weekend, while I sat on the blanket and enjoyed my book (Strange the Dreamer) and tried to stay in the shade that they cast as they paced the field. We ate delicious breakfast both mornings, and even wandered around the Park Silly art/craft festival on the last Sunday it was held. 

  3. August was a blur of soccer tournaments and games and training camps, as well as cross country meets and camps and Thomas's 12 hour fund raiser run/sleepover at the school. It felt like we were always rushing somewhere, but I enjoyed most of it, because sitting around in a folding chair outside or wandering around a park is pretty good down time. 
  4. We had a few runs together that were adventurous. There is a canal road that I've always wanted to run on which came about one week thanks to soccer practice being held nearby. And we went to Sugarhouse Park on the afternoon of Labor Day and slogged through some 90-degree miles. I'm officially the slowest runner now in the house, which is awesome and humbling at the same time. It was bound to happen...
5.  My mom was sealed to my dad in the temple. I wasn't there, but I'm sure that it made my dad very happy.

6.  I was anticipating the first week of school being difficult. The start of school is a trigger, as my freeway incident happened on Ben's first day of 5th grade (why do I have to remember these things? Anyway.) I've finally gotten to a place, a real place, where I can be calm getting on the freeway. It's not always perfect, but I can do it and be confident that I can do it. I think that believing I can do it, and that I can trust that I can do it, has been one of the hardest mental struggles I've ever experienced. So in anticipation of the day, I decided I needed a henna tattoo for the first week of school. A girl in my neighborhood who I only very slightly know but who does henna answered a text from me one Friday night. The next day I had my hands done. I can't really describe the connection between knowing I can drive on the freeway and henna, but it gave me calm and reminded me to trust the universe just a little more than I'm naturally inclined to do. (The flower is modeled after the flower on the broken stone I loved in the Forum in Rome.)

7.  Reading: Game of Thrones book one, Midnight at the Electric, still getting through Full Catastrophe Living (everyone should read this book!!), When Things Fall Apart, The History of Love, Neverwhere, and a few others I can't remember.

8. Listening to some new podcasts: Tara Brach, The One You Feed, Slate's Trumpcast, and Oprah's Super Soul Conversations.

9. I cracked my phone. After almost 6 years of iPhones and dropping them hundreds of times each, my phone met its match at a soccer tournament.

10. Our summer menu consisted of a lot of hoagie sandwiches after soccer practice, watermelon, banana bread with pecans, stir fry, Cafe Rio Tacos, and Buffalo Wild Wings.
How was your summer? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer 2017, so far

It's almost the Ides of July, so I thought I'd post a review of summer.

  1. Memorial Day weekend, we went to Park City and stayed for the night. It was really fun and relaxing.We found the best breakfast spot - I can't wait to eat there again.
  2. On a whim, I went to a Dead & Company concert in June. It was so much fun! I got there late and spent a lot of time finding my brother-in-law and nephew, but even so, it was a great time. I didn't ever imagine myself seeing any of the remnants of The Grateful Dead again - the last time I saw them was in June 1995, just a few months before Jerry Garcia died. But it was an enjoyable reminder of my youthful days. Hippies haven't changed much in 22 years, which is both surprising and comforting. I knew I could show up and even if I didn't find my people, I was still pretty much with my people.
  3. My BFF Rebecca, came to Utah also in June. We spent a lovely morning whiling away the hours in her hotel room. I got to meet her daughter, who was just delightful, and adorable - she took a nap on my chest, which was a little bit like heaven. I haven't seen Rebecca since 2013, so it was a sweet reunion with (most of) her little family.
  4. Our other BFFs also came to Utah in June. We spent 2 days visiting with them at their rental house in Salt Lake. We spent a lot of time laughing and going to the store and Starbucks and visiting with them and so many other people who love them. It was so nice to be able to drive across the valley to see them. The kids swam in the pool and played soccer in the front yard and Thomas took a 5 hour nap on the couch and none of us could have been happier.
  5. Thomas has been going to cross country practice again this summer. It's fun to see him improving so much - the coach told me last summer it takes a year to make a distance runner, and I totally can see that now. He's also practicing driving so he can get his licence next month. They grow up too fast. He went to his first concert last Friday with friends, and he had so much fun. I love watching him start to have grown up experiences.
  6. Ben tried out for and made the same soccer team that he did last year. We love the coach and the players. They did a tournament last week and it was fun to see him playing again, even if it was 150 degrees in the shade. (I might be exaggerating a little.)
  7. I started riding my bike more and doing the stair climber at the gym. Every now and then, I remember I can't just run to stay in shape.
  8. I went on a lovely hike with a friend the Friday before my birthday. I love hiking and want to do more of it.
  9. I did the Provo Freedom Festival 10K with my sister Amy and oldest niece Kayci. It was so fun running with these women I love. We've never all done a race together, and we almost ran out of time before my niece moves again. So grateful that the stars aligned and we made it work.
  10. After the race, I had a lovely breakfast with my mom. It was fun to just sit with her one on one and visit. 
  11. I'm realizing that as my kids get older and start going this way and that with their friends, Shane and I have more time to just be together. We had 2 days in the space of a week where we were on our own. I love that we are still friends and enjoy each other's company.
  12. For the first time in our lives, we were on the groom's side for a wedding! My nephew Zac got married at the end of June. It was an adorable wedding. I loved being with my family all together.
  13. My car has been in the shop most of the summer due to transmission problems. I've been driving loaner Subaru Imrezas, and I'm getting a bit spoiled by them, with their fancy back-up cams and digital radio screens.
We still have a mini-vacation planned, and a few more soccer tournaments. I hope to do more hiking and spend more time with family.

How's your summer?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

41, A year in review, of sorts


Subtitle and spoiler alert: there is nothing to figure out.

A year ago *today!*, I decided I’d had enough of living how I’d lived for the past year and I determined that I would Turn Over A New Leaf. I’d Power Through Anxiety. I would Stop Living In Fear. I had Figured It Out.

As if one can just decide that. (Well, they can.) As a high-achieving sort of person, I could will myself through any struggle. Push through, determination, rah rah rah!, and all of that. It was cute, and a good goal. It was me, setting out to run a figurative marathon that I was not trained for, at a full sprint, wearing spikey shoes and cotton clothes and needing to go to the bathroom.

Cute, as I said.

So the thing with life and milestones and stuff that we want/need to overcome is that we think we can do this. Our sheer willpower will help power us through the things we don’t like, the ways that we suffer. But, a year ago, I still had so many things going against me. Resistance to reality being one of them, thus the cotton clothes I was wearing. I thought that just by not wanting something to be the way it was, it could somehow be magically better. My spikey shoes were my constant self-battering, my internal dialogue of criticism and negative though patterns and feeling unsafe with myself, because, well, I was unsafe with myself. I set out in spikey shoes because were a symbol source of pride and of immense pain. There was no safety or compassion or understanding or forgiveness for that person. She evoked my ire simply by failing to drive to work one day. And I was going to fix it all as soon as possible, so I set out in a sprint, because I had to Win. Needing to go to the bathroom symbolizes just how unprepared I was to go, carrying uncomfortable truths with me that I couldn’t let go even though they begged to be released from me.

“But Becky, here you are again, saying you know so much more than before, and NOW you’re going to be so much better?!” I hear you, dear reader, and see the irony.

But the thing is, there isn’t a race or anything to figure out. That’s the huge irony and wonderfulness of it all. It’s just my life. It’s changed and I often hate the changes that have happened more than anything, but I also love them too. “Who knows, what is good and what is bad?” It’s all bad and good. It brings us to our now, and whatever the reality of that now is.

I’d like to acknowledge some of the things/people/books/whatever that has brought me to my current now.

Shane, who read a marriage book with me and then went on to find a source of peace for us that is as surprising as it is effective. He found us a common language, a gift that can never stop blessing us. Who has been patient with me even when I’m kinda crazy in an effort to make all of this work. I told him things this year that I’ve never told anyone.

Podcasts (and the personalities in the podcasts) 
  •  Secular Buddhism
  • 10% Happier
  •  Happier with Gretchen Rubin
  • Waking Up with Sam Harris

  • The Places that Scare You – Pema Chodron
  • 10% Happier – Dan Harris
  • When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) handbook/guide – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Playing the piano, which is finally something I can say that I do. I love it dearly. I love when my left wrist aches from playing chords. I love when I can learn a single song in a night. I love that I can’t think when I play the piano and so it is a source of pure delight and enjoyment.

Meditation: podcasts, learning about emotions, learning how to meditate from Pema Chrodron’s audiobook How to Meditate and finding out what meditation can and cannot do for a person. Knowing that it won’t solve all of my problems and not asking it to. Knowing that it gives me space to react. Feeling it bleed into parts of my life that need calm. Feeling so damn grateful for this bit of craziness. When I compare the feeling in my body and soul today to where it was 2 years ago today – I don’t know how that person made it through a day, she was so wound up and hard on herself.

My time spent in Young Women, and now being released. It’s strange, but since I’ve been released I have a sense that things are easier, that a force that has been unrelentingly pushing against me has left. It’s surprising and I don’t really know what it means, but that’s ok. I loved the girls and women I served with.

Friends and family: watching my kids get older and wiser, texting and hiking and running and everything with Amy, seeing and texting and playing the piano and all the things I do with Melanie, my piano teacher Nicole, my high school friends and our long-running group text, God for letting me tell Him I was angry and for helping me find answers in places that are strange but are a blessing, for letting me see the path ahead sometimes.

And now I get to be 42. But I’ll admit, 41 wasn’t too bad.