Krav Maga…aka, Awesome Workout aaaaaaaand I Got to Hit Stuff!!!!!!

Ikms-logon following through with my plan to check out Krav Maga Seattle, aka KMS, I got up early, ate a healthy breakfast in plenty of time to let it digest before I headed down to the gym.  It was really easy to find, and there was plenty of free street parking.  I walked in, was instantly greeted by Ally, who helped me get set up for my free week trial (this is usually $20, but there’s a special going on right now where the trial week of unlimited classes is free!  Can ya say kismet??) and I took a seat and watched the final few minutes of Krav Maga 2 class, and holy friggin wow!  That class was no joke!  The amount of self defense, combat training, and technique going on amongst these amazing athletes blew my mind!  I decided to just watch the Krav Maga level 1 class today, but was planning on taking the KMS Bag class, which I’ll get to soon.

So, Krav Maga Level 1….yeah, not for the faint of heart!  The pre-workout, good gawd, I got sore just watching the class.  And after about 10 minutes or so, they all partnered up and started working on punches.  There was every kind of body type, fitness level, skill level, and intensity out there.  The first timers to the class were well instructed and people were so willing to help them do things correctly.  The veterans were friggin inspiring.  One chick in particular, she had dreads and a black bandana and she was a beast!  Her technique was impeccable, her focus was formidable and her intensity was inspirational!  They moved on from punches, to working on knee strikes.  They then worked on getting out of a hold if someone grabs you around the neck from the back and tries to choke you.  I just loved everything I saw, and can’t wait to take my first level 1 class.  Ally taught the class with help from a few other instructors, with the owners keeping watch and shouting out words of encouragement and inspiration throughout.  Everyone gave 110% in that class, and it was a powerful thing to watch!

An hour after that I checked in, grabbed a pair of boxing gloves from the loaner bin, and headed to the mat for my first KMS Bag class.  And Chau, one of the owners started us off.  We all grabbed a jump rope and jumped for 5 minutes.  That doesn’t seem like that long, but when you haven’t jumped rope since the 80s, yeah, it was so long!!  I instantly realized how out of shape I am, but I fought through the pain.  Fought through the burn.  And lasted the full 5 mins.  After that, we did some across the floor work, engaging our core, warming up the entire body.  I felt slow, and weak, but I pushed through.  Then, Ally took over the class and we strapped into our gloves and all grabbed a heavy bag.  And that’s when the magic happened for me!  Not only was my body already sweaty and exhausted, but it was invigorated and craving more!  And this is what I was craving!  I got to hit on the heavy bag!

Working in 2-3minute intervals on different punches, it felt so good to get back to working on a heavy bag.  My body instantly remembered the form I need for accurate, effective punches.  I heard my grandfather’s voice in my head telling me to center, engage my abs, use my hips, keep the punches at shoulder level, and exhale.  And I did.  And it felt great!  All was well until we had to drop down and do sit-ups, and that quick change of level send the first wave of nausea and dizziness.  Coming off of 65 days without sugar made it tough because my body was low on fuel!  My pace may have been a lot slower than the rest of the class, but ya know what, I didn’t quit!  I went at my pace, but I didn’t quit!

I got back up and pushed through.  More dizziness came.  More nausea.  The coaches checked on me, I slowed my pace, but I didn’t quit.  And somehow, at the end of class, I was able to complete a pyramid series of punches, roundhouse kicks, and splays and did so without puking all over the gym!  It hurt.  It burned.  My brain and muscles were screaming for me to stop.  But my heart was too far into it.  My soul was too hell bent on finishing.  I remembered that I have the word Forza, which means Strength in Italian, on my arm for a reason!  I am stronger than I’ve been lately.  I am one tough bitch when I want to be, and I was NOT going to give up!  And when I finished, not only was I so proud of myself, but all the coaches gave me high fives and congratulations!

For the first time, in a long time, I felt so welcome somewhere new.  It felt like I finally found a place I belong!  And even though my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was breathing harder than I have in a long time, and my entire body was shaking, I felt such elation, I can’t even tell you!

I am going to finish out the free week, cuz why not, but I can tell you right now, I’m already a member of KMS.  I am so stoked to workout at this place 5 days a week.  And the best part, it’s friggin walking distance from my office!  No excuses!  This was meant to be on so many levels.

I got to my car, checked in with my best friend so he would know I survived.  And then, I cried.  I cried a release of tears I didn’t know I needed to cry.  The release I got today from all the tension I have been carrying around for the past 6 years finally felt like it was letting go of me.  The weight I’ve been carrying felt lighter.  Yes, I’ve tried yoga.  Yes, I’ve tried diets.  But none of that gave me the endorphin rush, the fulfillment, and the sense of personal accomplishment that this KMS Bag class gave me today.  Some people run. Some people yoga.  Some people crossfit.  Me?  I like to hit stuff.  I like to spend an hour with a heavy bag. I like to learn to defend myself while getting fit.  I’ve found the place that is going to help me reach all my goals, both fitness wise and nutrition wise.  How’s that, you might ask?  Well, because they have a nutritionist there that I am going to work with to ensure I’m fueling and recovering properly for this level of pushing my body.

I more than found a breadcrumb today.  I found a lost piece of myself that I’d forgotten about, and was so ecstatic to find.

Ciao for now,

M sm

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What Do I Do With That?!?!

Sitting around a table at a dive bar with two men, one of whom is young, and the other is a little older  than I am, the subject came around to dating, mostly discussing the young one’s dating life, because as he’s young and pretty, has the most active dating life at the table.  I made a comment about my lack of dating life, and how I’m cursed to always land in the friend zone no matter what, and this is where the unsolicited free advice started.

“I would argue that you get friend zoned because that’s where you put yourself,” said the young one.  And as I blinked at him, he added, “You’re a beautiful woman, and my guess is that you don’t believe that.”  He’s not wrong.  I don’t see myself that way.  Never have.  And again, before I could respond, he goes, “You’re really fun to be around and one of the most interesting people I’ve met, and so I think in order to not get friend zoned, you’re going to have to open yourself up more.”

As my best friend, the older, and wiser one at the table just cackled, I couldn’t help but squint at the young one, because these are almost the same verbatim words that my best friend has said to me on numerous occasions.  Additionally, getting this advice from a young man who has never even once made a pass in my direction, has no desire for anything other than friendship from me can sit there and so quickly and easily blame it all on my is a bit bizarre.

So, in finally finding my voice I say to the young one, “I agree.  You’re 100% right on all accounts.  The problem is, I have no idea how to do what you’re suggesting.”  And the quizzical look he gave me showed me he didn’t believe me.

I tried to explain to him that, the time in life that most people figure out how to maneuver dating is in high school.  That’s where you should be cutting your teeth on learning the dos and don’ts about navigating romance.  I, however, wasn’t given that option.  My mother had me programmed to never see myself as attractive.  And God help any boy who even remotely found me so, as she’d figure out a way to run them off.  Whether it was forcing me to break up with them once summer hit because, “I was too young for something that long and serious” or talking a boy into breaking up with me because “I needed to focus on school and not boys” or manipulating all of my guy friends to act as body guards to ensure that no other boy ever looked at me as anything more than a friend.  And when all of that is happening without your knowledge, you learn to see yourself as nothing more than the friend.

This has continued into my adult life.  I can be at a party, gathering, event with single men, and while they might enjoy talking to me, and might laugh at my wit, they never ask for my number before they leave.  They never want to get to know me better.  They never pursue me.  So, in explaining this to the young one, he blatantly says, “Yeah, but that’s because you don’t seem open to it.  You have a logical way of looking at the world, compartmentalizing everything into a neat little box, so you aren’t open to being pursued.”  My best friend adds, “They can see your ‘Keep Out’ sign that is tattooed on your forehead.

And I’m baffled.  What the fuck are they talking about?  I have no idea what they’re talking about.  I had no idea that’s how I am perceived.  When I meet new people, I always try to just ‘be myself’ and I’m now realizing, that in doing that, I’m some how also giving off an unavailable vibe.  And i have no idea how or why that’s happened, so with all this very honest advice that I’m getting, as I sat at that bar staring at them, all I could think was, “What do I do with that?!?  How do I fix a problem I don’t even know I have?”  It’s not that I don’t believe them.  I’m sure they’re right.  I’m sure they’re telling the truth.  But how the hell do I fix it because I don’t see it?

I have no idea how to do things differently.  I have no idea what personality traits I”m supposed to hide, or which ones to make bigger.  I have no idea how to navigate this in any way, shape or form.  Mostly because when I do meet a guy I find attractive, I do try to get to know him, but the way I do it always lands me in the friend zone, so in addition to not knowing how to be pursued, I clearly don’t know how to pursue either.

And it occurred to me.  How is this completely all on me?  How is there not a guy out there who would see past the ‘keep out sign’ that is supposedly on my forehead? Back in the day, I’ve learned since my mother died, there were quite a few guys who wanted to pursue me, but didn’t for either fear of my mother or fear of my friends.  As an adult, only two men dared try to be with me, both not giving a crap about my mother’s tactics to run them off, but i was too obedient to choose them over her once the ultimatum was thrown down by her.

It’s been almost 24 hours since all this truth was laid at my feet, and still, I have no idea how to fix this problem.  No idea how to ‘be more open’.  No clue whatsoever.  Perhaps the curse of the friend zone is my fault.  But since I don’t know how to fix it, I guess it’s just going to have to stay as it is for now.  Maybe an epiphany will come to me.  Although, it does suck that being myself isn’t enough.  It does suck that who I am, who I know myself to be, and the things I like about myself aren’t enough.  That I somehow now have to figure out some way to be more.  I don’t know that I want to do that.  But I don’t want to be alone forever, either.

No breadcrumb, this time, sadly.  Instead, I fear this conversation and the emotions and frustrations that have come from it have led me down a new path of self evaluation that is taking me further away from the life I’m meant to have.  I probably should stop this path, and just go back…but I don’t know that I can just ignore it now that it’s out there.  Truth. What do I do with that?

I have no idea….

Ciao for now,

M

What do I want?

What, Mr. Gosling, do I want?  What do I want?  This scene, from the Notebook, one of my all time favorites, not only because it’s epically romantic, but because his delivery of the line “What do you want?” that he says over and over is so perfectly acted.

“Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants.  Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want.  What do you want?  What do YOU want?  WHAT do you want?  Goddamnit, what do you want?”

I’ve watched this movie  a million times, and never before tonight have those lines rocked me to my core.  What do I want?  What do I want?  Just me.  No one else.  Not my friends.  Not my boss.  Not my coworkers.  Not my parents, more specifically, not thinking about what my mother wants is such a foreign thing to me.  But she’s not here anymore, so what she wants no longer matters.  What do I want?  What. Do. I. Want?

As I sat in my favorite spot on Cannon Beach, Oregon tonight, I watched the waves gently crash on the sand as the sun slowly dipped below the water, and I thought to myself, “What do I want?  What do I really, truly want?”

My first reaction was ‘I don’t know.’  I’m so lost, I let go of everything I wanted so many years ago, how the hell do I figure it out now.  And then I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and let the clean sea air fill my lungs, and as the tears stung my eyes and rolled down my cheeks, I let it be ok that I don’t know what I want.  I let it be ok that I’m still lost.  And in the instant I forgave myself for not having it all figured out, clarity came to me.  And here’s what I want:

  1. I want to be happy.  Which is tough, because the last time I was truly happy was so long ago, it took a few moments to summon up that feeling.  Remembering where I was when I felt true happiness and bliss.  It was on the stage of the Playhouse at UW when I sang an oversolo for Seasons of Love and brought the house to their feet.  And it was because in that moment, I was truly in a moment of being who I was supposed to be.  I was performing.  Which leads me to:
  2. I want to perform again.  With my new job, I’d let myself give up the dream of performing.  With my love of writing taking over, I’d forgotten how much I love to perform, because when I’m in a good show, with a good cast, and a good director, my soul sings, my heart is full, and I’m at peace.  Guess it’s time to dust off my monologue collection.
  3. I want to stop hurting physically.  My health is in my hands, and my hands only.  I’ve been flirting with life changes in this area, but have yet to commit.  It’s time to stop fucking around with my health, and to get serious.  There are no more obstacles to blame.  It’s all on me.  And I’m done letting me down.
  4. I need to start saying yes to more things.  No is so easy for me.  The ‘responsible’ choice has been necessity.  And now, I can afford to enjoy life more than I’ve been doing lately.  Time to start saying yes.

I want to be happy.  Dammit, I want to be happy.  I want to be happy.  I’m going to be happy.  Knowing what I want is going to help me, hopefully, find the rest of these breadcrumbs so that I can finally get to the life I’ve dreamed of for so many years.

I was sheltered and isolated for so long, so focused on someone else’s wants and needs, it’s taken me this long to realize that I’ve yet to focus on what I want.  Old habits are hard to break, but as of today, this habit is breaking.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for Now,

M

The Reiki-ing

I’ve dubbed 2015 the year of the body, in where I am finally going to fine tune mine back to something I can be proud of, something I no longer neglect, something I am no longer ashamed of.  And the plan of attack is a combo of yoga, strength training, clean diet, and procedures.  And no, not those types of procedures, I’m talking chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and meditation.  And so far, so good, as we reach the end of the first month of January, but the emotional side of me wasn’t quite believing in my cause.  I was carrying around some negative energy, so a friend of a friend is a reiki master, so I thought to myself, “Self…I don’t know what reiki is, but let’s give it a try!”  So, I made the appointment and went on Friday.

Now, knowing me,  you’re probably wondering why it took a few days to blog about this experience, well, that is because it rocked my world so badly, and I have had so much to think about, right this second is the first time I felt like I could articulate what I’m feeling.

So, for those of you not in the know, reiki is an energy reading and cleaning by a reiki specialist/master/guru/magic-person!  And it friggin worked on me!  When you get done, you get told things about yourself that no stranger should know.  And without getting into he details of my very intense, very profound reading, let me just say it was life changing.

It reaffirmed a few health things i knew were going on.  It also brought to life a few things about my upbringing that I’d repressed, one of which was based in the learning/conditioning/family way that I’d been taught when it came to elders.  I was told from the time I could understand, by all the elders in my family, “You will find times that we make you mad, or do things you don’t agree with.  You are going to get quite mad, and maybe think you want to say something about it, but I’m your (insert family member here, mom, grandpa, whatever), and you will not disrespect me, so, you can think it, but don’t you ever say it!  If you say it, and I hear it, I will knock your teeth down your throat.”  And, well, I believed them.  So, I learned very young to keep my opinions to myself.

And what reiki did for me was let me know that even though I stayed silent all those times my grandfather’s behavior was abhorrent, or every time my mother was cruel, I was right in thinking they were wrong.  I was right in knowing that the way they were behaving, the way they were walking the world was wrong.  I was right in the opinions I silently carried all those years, because even when I vented to my friends, they’d betray me and tell my mother what I’d said.  I had no outlet, and the silence got worse.  I was right to have the thoughts I had about things going on around me.  I was right to know in my heart that the way my mother wrapped her ENTIRE world around me was unhealthy.  I was right to know that horribly tiny town was somewhere I never should have been, and I was right to apply to the best school in the country, and I was right to be angry with my mother for refusing to let me go.  I was right to go after my passion, and I was right to finally find my calling and I was right to change my major, and I was right to not fight being disowned by my grandfather for it, because I was right in that he was a terrible,  hateful man who never should have been in my life to begin with!

I was right to go home to care for my mother, but I was also right in my fear that she let me come home 5 years too soon.  I was right to want a life of my own, and I was right to fall in love with a man and I was right to think it was wrong that my mother not only couldn’t be happy for me, but did everything in her power to destroy that relationship.  I was right to cry so many nights in high school, wondering what was wrong with me that boys never liked me or pursued me, because something was wrong.  She was wrong, in secretly keeping them from me and actively manipulating me with her classic “You don’t need a boyfriend you need to (fill in the blank with get to college/focus on college/get a good job/take care of me as you like).”  Her fear of losing me and isolating me from the possibility of being anything more than her daughter was wrong!  And I knew it!  And I never said anything.  Even on her death bed, I couldn’t tell the truth, because I’d been silent for so long.

Reiki let me know the silence wasn’t for naught.  Because even though I was silent…I was right.  And there is something calming and peaceful about that thought.  There’s something comforting about it.  There’s also something very sad about it.  All those times I was too weak to stand up for myself within my own house, all the while fashioning myself a strong person is really sad to see.  Realizing that, since i left that awful house I’ve always hated, I’ve continued to be silent on so many things.  I don’t trust myself at all, and reiki opened my eyes to the fact that I’ve never trusted myself.

I’ve been reactive for so long, i don’t know how to be proactive.  I don’t know how to do this without checking every detail of life with my mother before I make a decision.  I don’t know how to do this life without her, and I am so mad at her because it was her job to teach me how to do this without her, and her fear of being alone created this isolating experience where we were so freakishly linked that i couldn’t make a move without her, and I still can’t!  And I hate myself for it.  At least I did….until the other night when a perfect stranger looked me in my face and said ‘You’re so intuitive and have amazing instincts and you should really trust yourself more, because you got this.’

So, in this year, the year of the body, I am going to start trusting myself.  Start letting go of the things I can’t go back and change.  Embrace the fact that I was always right and that it was ok that I was right.  And remind myself that I no longer have to be silent about it.

The reiki-ing of my world opened it up in the most amazing way, and I am so grateful for it.  I wonder what I’ll discover at my second session.

Breadcrumb very emotionally and eye opening-ly found.

Ciao for now,

M

And I Know Things Now, Many Valuable Things That I Hadn’t Known Before

Little Red Riding Hood, in Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods is the sweet innocent girl who gets who world turned upside down by the Big Bad Wolf, and after coming through the other side of that experience sings a song explaining how she’s smarter now than she was before she encountered the wolf.  And as 2014 comes to a close, and 2015 is waiting in the wings to make its entrance, I’m looking back on the journey I took this year, on the breadcrumbs I discovered, on the ones that still elude me, and I think to myself, I know things now, many valuable things, that I hadn’t know before.  So, let’s count them down shall we?

10) Real Estate is not something that is fun.  Especially if you are the seller.  I’ve never felt so violated as I did during the experience of selling my family home.  The bank of the buyer literally has you bent over and will rape you as they see fit, for as long as they see fit, and as the seller you can’t do anything about it.  It was such a horrendous experience, I don’t know that I’ll ever buy a piece of real estate again.

9) As strong as I knew I was, I’m actually a hell of a lot stronger than that, as this year kicked me around a lot and I managed to get up every single time.  I used to blame my mother for the hard things in my life, and she’s been gone a year and a half now, so none of this is her fault.  The house sell was her fault.  The dealing with probate without any financial help because her selfish ass didn’t bother to have life insurance.  But between cleaning out that house, packing and moving and unpacking twice, starting two new jobs, and starting my life over, and doing it all by myself is no small feat.  And I did it.  And I’m still standing.

8) Meeting new people is a wonderful thing, and sometimes those people bring level of clarity to a demon you’ve had your whole life and help you start to heal in a way you never expected.

7) Choices need to be made slower and more thoughtfully.  I have been so used to living my life in a reactionary way, because I could never truly plan for things.  I made that mistake with the last two apartments I’ve rented.  Next time, I will not rush, I will be proactive and plan to make sure I end up somewhere I actually want to live.

6) Seattle is definitely not the place I’m meant to be.  It is not home.  I know this mostly because I thought there was a community waiting for me here that I didn’t have in the Tri-Cities.  Not true.  I was very wrong about that.  The abundance of people who gave me shit the entire time I was home caring for my mother about ‘when are you coming back?’ and ‘i miss you so much, move back!’ have made very little effort towards hanging out with me.  So, if I’m going to be mostly alone, I might as well be somewhere I actually want to live…and it’s not here.

5) Finally working for a huge company making a huge salary and feeling like I have a career now feels really good.

4) No matter where go, your demons and issues will follow you until you deal with them.  I actively avoided therapy…might need to change that in 2015.

3) Even finding Sheldon the best home in the world doesn’t erase all the pain I feel from letting him go.  I hate not having him here with me.  Doing the right thing is rarely easy, and this was the right decision, and it almost killed me.

2) Holidays, like birthdays and Christmas, are really lame when you’r an orphan with no family.  These times of year are meant to have presents and people celebrating with you, and that didn’t happen at all this year.  So, the lesson I learned is that I will no longer celebrate them.  Instead, there will just be another day in October, and a day in December that I don’t have to work.  And in 2015, I will make sure to take myself on a fabulous spa day in October, and on an international vacation the last week of December.  No reason to wallow in my solitude.  Instead, I’ll just find a way to make them fun and less sad for this party of 1.

1) I didn’t focus on my goals I set out for myself in 2014, not by a long shot.  I will reevaluate for 2015 and focus on the things I really want to change and not dwell on the things I didn’t do last year.

2014 didn’t bring the happiness I had hoped it would.  I think that is because I was placing my happiness on external things/people/places/etc.  I will not make that mistake in 2015.

I learned a lot in 2014, and will apply it to 2015.  And hopefully, I’ll find that elusive last breadcrumb this next year.

Ciao for now,

M

Epiphany!

Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t play games.  Not at all.  I can’t play sports, I can’t play board games, I can’t play card games, and I sure as hell can’t play video games.  And this isn’t for the reason you might think.  It’s not because I’m not coordinated, because I’m very coordinated.  It’s not because I don’t know how to win, because I do.  It’s not because I suck at these things, because I don’t.  I do, however, have a chemical imbalance when it comes to games that manifests itself in the most competitive energy ever, and it’s zero fun for any who encounter it.

As a child, the competitive streak served me well as a gymnast.  My ridiculous intensity allowed me to push myself a lot hard than any coach could push.  It also helped in school.  My complete obsession with being first in my class had me making As without having to be pushed by my teachers or my mother.  And as I got older, the goal of college, and going to the best school possible kept me focused and unphased by the normal things that distract teenagers.  This intensity, however, became zero fun whenever a ‘friendly’ game of anything came into play.  I don’t do ‘friendly’ competition.  No idea how to do it.  I don’t only want to win, because the win is the goal of course, but what feeds the competitive beast inside me is the annihilating you on the way to my win.  I want to destroy my opponent at all cost.  I want you crying, bleeding on the ground before I claim my victory.  Had I been a boy, this would have served me well in sports, I think, but being a girl, it was less than attractive.  A trait often pointed out by my mother as she tried to cure me of this competitive affliction.

One of my first memories is playing red light/green light with friends around the age of 5 or 6 and being so intense, and so intent on destroying them on the way to my win, and having my mother jerk me into the house and sitting me in a corner because, if I couldn’t play nice, then I wouldn’t play.  I wasn’t phased by this.  It got worse as I quit gymnastics and tried to play school sports.  My softball team, comprised of tween girls, mostly interested in how cute they looked in their uniforms as opposed to actually winning a game. Their lack of giving 100%, as I was, made me insane.  God forbid I struck out at the plate during softball, I’d come back, throw my bat, throw my helmet, and immediately incur the wrath of my mother. She didn’t understand this wasn’t something I could control.  I didn’t understand my peers, and how they could care less whether we destroyed our opponents or not.  And it drove me insane!  I quit playing because I couldn’t take their pacifying nature.

This fixation during games continued through high school and in to my first year of college.  And when my sorority played a ‘flag’ football game against another house during a charity game, I hit a tri-delt so hard, I knocked her out.  My intensity had actually hurt someone, and it woke me up, and in that moment I vowed to not play games any longer, since I couldn’t control my intensity and my rage.

Over the years after that, friends would often try to get me to play games.  Mostly board or card games, or invite me for game nights, and I’d go, and not want to play, and that makes other people very uncomfortable.  They don’t believe me when I tell them that my playing is disastrous.  One friend in particular pushed and pushed, and i finally decided to play scrabble, and when he got a huge scoring word, I may or may not have flipped the board up and at him, Teresa Guidice style!

As an adult, this plagues me.  I want to be able to play games with people, I want to be able to  play games with friends.  I want to just enjoy a friendly game of anything for once in my life, but I am incapable, and it’s so frustrating to not understand why I’m the way I am.  I’ve talked to a shrink about this, and after careful examination, it was deemed that this is just my wiring, and the healthiest choice I can make is to not play.  So that’s what I’ve done.  But that explanation never really helped me or satiated me.

The other night, I spent the evening with my best friend and a new friend who was waxing philosophically about some advice his step-dad had given him when he was young, and said that sometimes in life you play games for the joy of the game (a concept I don’t even remotely understand) and that sometimes you play games like you’re in prison.  Because in prison, you play to survive.  And the minute those words left his mouth, it felt as if he was describing me, and I turned to my best friend and said, “And I’ve always been in prison.”  And we had a silent moment and that epiphany hit me.

And I’ve always been in prison!

My beautiful pictureMy home town, if you’ve read my earlier blog posts, you know never felt like home to me.  I’ve said my whole life that I hate that place.  I ran from it at 18 as fast as I could to get to college.  But never did I register that I was in prison in that town.  The childhood I had was full of people at my house all the time, watching my every move.  These same friends, so connected to my mother, that I couldn’t make a move without one of them ratting me out.  She was my warden.  I was rapunzel in the tower.  I was always in prison.  I was never comfortable at home.  I hated coming home to that house.  I hated the neighborhood, I hated everything, and I see that, it was a type of prison for me.

It wasn’t a malicious thing, but it was a thing, and my survival instincts to survive that incarceration was to be the best I could possibly be so that somehow, one of my talents could get me out of there!  And when I went off to college, I really wasn’t free.  I was still on probation, having to check in with the warden daily.  And when the warden got sick, I was yanked back into the tower for another six year sentence.

With no control on that environment, with feeling like my life wasn’t my own, the one thing I could control was whether I was the best at what I pursued or not.  I was always in prison.  My new friend’s words hit me like a freight train, and the honesty of it overwhelmed me.  I’ve been having dreams that my mother is not dead, and that I have to go back to the tower, and I’ve been sleeping horribly.  After this epiphany, I went home, cried an unbelievably cleansing cry and slept peacefully the whole night through and woke up lighter emotionally than I’ve ever been in my life.  It might sound overdramatic, but with those words, this person, practically a stranger to me, changed my life.  Thank you, Zak, I’ll be forever grateful!

I woke up in the morning to this horoscope:

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And even the universe was letting me know that the right words had hit my existence, and that I should trust them and move forward!

Tears are falling as I type this, but not tears of sadness.  They are tears of freedom!  I am no longer in that tower.  Rapunzel has been let out, and has not been stepped on by the giant, and now, she now controls her own life and her own destiny.  She has no obligations except to herself!

So maybe, now, just maybe, I can release my choke hold on my need to dominate in a  competitive situation, and can just play for the joy of the game…..perhaps, indeed.

Ciao for now,

M

Feels Like Home…But Not To Me

home-iconBreadcrumbs have popped up here and there since I started this journey, yet they are too few and far between for me to feel like I’m really getting anywhere new.  I feel so horribly lost, still, somewhere between the path my daughterly duty had me stuck on for years, and the one I’m supposed to be on.  And in the search, something occurred to me tonight.  The final breadcrumb I find that will be sitting in the middle of my path will be called one thing:  Home.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I absolutely hated the house I grew up in.  I hated it as a child, ran from it as an 18 year old, and only went back to take care of my mom.  And after her passing, having the chore of cleaning it out and getting it ready for sale was one of the worst experiences of my life.  And doing it completely alone just reinforced how much I absolutely hate that piece of real estate.  It holds no sentimental value to me.  It meant nothing to me to sell it.  I moved, and never looked back.

How strange to spend most of your life in one place and somehow not feel like you belong there.  And yet, that’s how I’ve always felt about this house.

And then this holiday season began and it hit me completely out of left field that this will be the first Christmas in my entire life that I won’t be in that house.  It’s not my first Christmas alone, that was last year.  But it wasn’t so much of a big deal, because there was something ‘normal’ in being in that place on Christmas day.  Cooking Christmas dinner in that kitchen.  Watching TV in that living room.  Hating it, yet comfortable in it.  However, this year, I can’t go there.  And it’s not like I want to go there.  I have no desire to go there.  But the finality of it brought up a ton of emotions this past week.  I blame the yoga (see previous post here for explanation).  Any way, as the tears stop falling, and the sobbing subsides, the end of my journey revealed itself to me.

I will finally be ok when I find my home.

I have no idea where that is.  It’s not the Tri-Cities.  It’s not Seattle, although Seattle will do for now.  It might be Venice, as I felt more at home there than anywhere else I’ve ever been in my life.  Cannon Beach holds a close second.  But neither of them gave me that sense of belonging to a place.

I want to find my place so badly.  I want to have that place that, when I walk inside, I feel peace.  My home.  My sanctuary.  The place that, no matter how hard it gets out there in the world, I can go home, close the door, light some candles and breathe.  And up to now, every place I’ve lived in has been rented, so never felt like mine.

Does that mean it’s time to buy?  Perhaps.  But I won’t until I am sure I want to set roots down.  All this haze still surrounds me, but I do see the light through it…I am ready for a home.  Not an apartment, not a rented condo, not a rental house…a home.  My home.  In my place.

No idea where that is.  No idea when it will happen.  But I trust that when I find it is when this journey, this journey of finding my way the life I’m supposed to have will be over and I can start the next one, whatever it may be.

Can’t wait to find that last breadcrumb.  Hoping it arrives sooner rather than later, cuz God knows I’m not getting any younger.

Ciao for now,

M

An Unexpected Release

butterfly-release

Release.  A simple word.  Yes, unbelievably powerful.  In my journey toward my new life, finding a few breadcrumbs along the way, some are more profound than others.  And some sneak up on me when I least expect it.  And the other night, at yoga, a crumb snuck up on me big time.  And the crumb was titled:  Release.

Between starting a new job and moving to a new place, yoga fell by the wayside for a few weeks.  And sadly, I’m too new to it to just jump right in, so when I finally got back to my mat Monday night, oh sweet baby jesus did it hurt!  My body was screaming in protest.  My muscles shook in revolt!  Bending was tough, twisting was torture, and balancing, gawd, that wasn’t even going to be an option.  I left feeling defeated, deflated, and exhausted…yet, proud that I’d gone.

Tuesday was a tough one at work.  Very busy and a long day.  I barely got home in time to change and get to yoga.  I stepped on my mat, and was full of pride for dragging my ass out there.  Practice began, and all was well until we got to the twisting section.  Suddenly, a bout of nausea that I have never felt erupted inside every time I bent in half.  The instructor said forward fold, and I tried, oh how i tried, but every time, it felt like I was going to vomit.  And being the ridiculously competitive person I am, especially with myself, I refused to let my body win over my mind.  I used every ounce of self control I had to push down the nausea, fight off the urge to vomit, and breathed through the pain.

I seemed to get a hold on things, and continued on with class.  And all was well, until we got to the damn half pigeon pose.  I bent my right leg, extended my left leg back, and leaned forward to release the tension.  And somehow, released more than that.

Out of nowhere, tears began to fall from my eyes.  No sobbing.  No crying, just tears.  A waterfall of tears cascading over my lashes, and I was unable to stop it.  The tears rolled and flowed down my face.  And I thought, jesus, am I working so hard that now my eyeballs are sweating?  Cuz this is fucking ridiculous!  And yet, the tears continued.

I closed my eyes once we reached Shavasana, and did my best to center and get the tears to stop, but they just continued on and on.  Until we came out, and bowed to honor our practice, and in that bow, the tears dried up, as if they were never there.  It was weird.  I did not enjoy it.

I spent the evening confused, frustrated, and irritated at my inability to control my emotions.  As I’ve written in past posts, overdoing emotions was really allowed in my house.  Too many tears were quickly ordered to cease.  I got really good at hiding how I truly felt.  I am a master at pushing emotion down and away from my reality so that they are not in control of things.  I literally feel incapable of fully breaking down and letting go.  Elsa, I am not.   Or was never allowed to be.  Either way, this level of tears freaked me out.

So, I reached out to my big sis, who is a yoga instructor, to ask what the fuck happened to me in that class.  And her wisdom, always being blunt and helpful in formed me that, what happened was that finally, in my yoga practice I was able to release.

She explained that certain poses, the sleeping pigeon especially, is meant to release negative energy we hold in our joints.  And sometimes that release comes as nausea, other times as tears.  And for me, since I wouldn’t let it release out my mouth, it released out my eyes.

Release.

Suddenly, the fear of what had happened, and the frustration made complete sense.  I’ve done physical work as an actor and acting teacher that has brought up a release of emotion like that but it was usually as an empathic situation to help one of my students find new levels in their performance.  Never, has it been my own release.  And now, I finally had let go of crap I’d been holding on to for god knows how long.

I felt relief.  I exhaled.  It was freeing.  Could yoga be the therapy I so desperately need?  Could, while I strengthen my body, I also manage to purge it of all the, as my best friend says, tears and screams I never allowed myself to have while I was doing my daughterly duty?  I think so.

Breadcrumb acquired.

I went back to yoga on Wednesday, and it neither hurt, nor did it make me cry.  It did make me feel stronger.  Did create stronger self pride as I went to all three of my classes this week. My dedication to my practice has been reestablished and reinvigorated.  And I can’t wait to see what it will bring to me next week.

Ciao for now,

M

Is My Mirror Broken?

Anyone who suffers from self esteem issues, or who is going through some sort of self-improvement physically has those days where you look in the mirror and thing, “Ugh.  I’m hideous.”  And I’m no exception.

However, lately, I’m having the opposite experience, and it’s kind of tripping me out.  For example, I HATE to have my picture taken.  I’m not photogenic.  Never have been.  It always takes hundreds of shots from random angles to get just one shot where I don’t look like quasimoto who has been on a drunken/drug induced bender for 18 days.  And godless digital photography and all filters and tweaks one can make to photos.  It’s helped me a ton.  Anyway, I digress.

Whenever anyone wants to photograph me, I always say, “Oh no, I’m much better in person,” and I say that because that’s truly what I think.  The live show is much better than anything anyone could catch on film.  But it got me thinking, why is that?  Why does the image of me captured through a lens not look at all like what I see when I look in the mirror, because in the mirror, I think I look pretty damn good.  Is, somehow, my mirror broken?

broken_mirror_by_E_NigmaDesignMirror Mirror on the wall, who’s not looking too bad today?  This chick!  Or at least that’s what I will think when looking at my reflection and if it’s good enough I think, “I should snap a pic of me, I look great today!”  Take a pic and look at it on my phone, and poof!  Happy moment shattered as I look at the not so cute reflection staring back at me, and I’m baffled.  I look back in the mirror, and things still look good.  Is my mirror broken?  Is my perception of myself so unbelievably off?

I’m not sure why this keeps happening to me, but it does.  Often.  Makes me think something is wonky in my brain.  My friends compliment me a lot, my best friend especially.  And I trust his opinion on all things, yet have a hard time trusting his assessment of my physicality because a photo doesn’t lie.  But, neither does my bestie.  Yet the two images don’t add up, so one of them must be lying.  Or maybe it’s my self-loathing flawed moments that are lying.

Perhaps it boils down to photogenic vs. non-photogenic, and nothing more than that.  But wow, would it be nice to just have a quick photo snapped and love how it looked.  Perhaps when I get a better hold on my insecurities and remove them from my life, perhaps how harshly I judge myself in photos will lessen.  I know I have a lot of work to do on myself still, and am happy with my progress so far.  And maybe, just maybe, the way I’ll know when all my breadcrumbs have been found is when I can take a pic of myself and simply like the image I see staring back at me.  Maybe.

The search continues….

Ciao for now,

M

Awaken Your Joy!

awaken your joy

I had an unbelievable experience on Saturday night that I have to write down so that I don’t forget it.  I went to this event with my best friend.  It was called Sea Compression, and the theme was “Let Them Eat Cake!”  It being October, it was a full costume party at this amazing Seattle location, and we fully dressed up in the spirit of the event.

Now, it’s important to note that my best friend and I go out quite often, and inevitably, something goes wonky during the outing.  Sometimes the wonky thing is a huge deal breaker and ends the night before it begins, and sometimes it’s just a small irritation, but never do we get a smooth, easy, drama free night.  Until Saturday night, that is.

I arrived at my best friend’s house where he was ironing the last bits of his costume.  With me in my black corset, black leggings, over the knee leather boots, full bustle floor length skirt in the back, and my cute tri-corner mini hat with its cheeky hot pink feather securely pinned amidst my mile high hair in true Marie Antoinette fashion, and my bestie in his leather pants, white vest, blood red collared shirt, and black velvet calf length livery coat, we were quite the pair.  Another friend joined us, and perfectly clad in her leather corset, and donning one of my venetian metal masks, off we went to this mysterious event.

We arrived and found a perfect parking spot one block away.  My bestie chose to leave his phone at home, so we were not interrupted while out having fun.  We met nothing but wonderfully nice and friendly people, and as we were there quite early, we didn’t even have to stand in line to get inside.

My best friend is one of the most amazing people I know, but he’s also very introverted most of the time.  Rarely liking to be touched by those he likes, and almost never wanting to be touched by strangers, his wit and sass often make him the most sought out company in any arena, whether he likes it or not.  And being an introvert myself, there were A LOT of people at this thing and it was slightly overwhelming.  At one point, my bestie said, “I’m feeling really exposed, I wish I’d thought to wear a mask.”  To which I said, “Well, why don’t you wear the one our friend here is wearing,” and she agreed wholeheartedly and gave him the mask.  And when he tied it on, something magical happened.  And that thing…..is joy.

Donning that mask awakened the joy inside him somehow, and even here, two days and many hours of processing later, I am still not sure what was the trigger.  But the minute the mask was on, he became a different person.  He was open, and happy, and friendly, and dare I say extroverted in the most beautiful way possible.  I’ve known him for so many years, and never in all that time had I ever seen him full of so much joy.

And that joy was beaming out of him like a lighthouse, calling all of the other joyful people home, as his magnetism and happiness attracted many people to come say hello, share a dance, or simply introduce themselves as they complimented our costumes.  He was the belle of the ball, so to speak, and it’s a mind blowing experience I will never forget.  And from the moment we left his apartment to the moment we returned, the evening went smoothly without one hitch, and each moment was linked together by one thing:  his joy.

As someone who is in constant search of happiness, not knowing where to find it on a consistent basis, and often only finding it in false idols and half truths, to watch someone have their joy fully awakened and embraced got me thinking:  what will awaken my joy?

Which actually led to the deeper question of, is there joy hidden somewhere inside me at all?  Do I have joy to be awakened?

And the reason I ask this is because after the event, in reliving the details, my bestie said, “I used to be this joyful all of the time.  I don’t know when I lost it!”  And I had to admit to him, as we keep no secrets from each other, “I don’t think I’ve ever had it.”

Joy and happiness are not things that come easily to me, and not emotions I remember having either as a child or as an adult.  Ask my friends to describe me, and I guarantee you, out of all the wonderful adjectives they choose, happy would not be one of them.  Loyal, funny, sassy, sure, but not happy.

I don’t remember being a happy child, I remember being a disciplined, serious child.  Not a child at all, really, I was always just kind of a little adult.  Always making the responsible choice, always focused on the future, so much so that I never fully enjoyed the present.  A good example of this is high school.  I was so focused on getting good grades and excelling so that I could get into a good college and out of that podunct town I grew up in that I didn’t take the time to really enjoy myself and build and develop lasting friendships.

And since then, not a lot of joy has come my way, and I’m wondering if it’s because when it did arrive, I had no idea of how to be grateful for it and enjoy it, but instead would just worry when it was going to leave.  How have I survived living like this all these years?  And how the hell did I never realize this before?  I think the answer is, until Saturday night, I had never seen joy in it’s purest form.  And now that I have, I want to feel it for myself.

In all this processing I’ve done over the past two days, I am so happy to say it has brought me to a new breadcrumb, in that I need to learn to live in the NOW!  Enjoy and be grateful for the things I have NOW!  I must stop rehashing the past in my brain and trying to make sense of all the things that didn’t work that I can’t change even if I want to change them, so as Elsa says, I need to let them go.  I must also stop worrying so much about the future and what is possibly lurking around the next corner.  And I must start living in this moment.  In every moment.  I think enough moments have been wasted.  It’s time to awaken my joy, which I now know, has to be inside me somewhere.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for now,

M