Find your bliss, follow your arrow, do good things everyday.

Sunday my husband and I said goodbye to a very dear friend of ours. We have known here since she was 12 years old. I was her Girls Camp Director her very first year at church sleep away camp.

She has always been her own person, from the people she includes in her life to the music she writes to the youtube videos she creates. In summation, she is awesome!

J’s life hasn’t been all cookies and jam. She has had some bumps and bruises and wounds caused by people that were supposed to love and protect her.  Along the way she has gotten older and wiser, she has stayed open and loving of others and herself.  She is becoming an awesome woman. I look up to her and she knows it.

The reason I share a micro bit of her tale is because she has opened me up. She has encouraged me to be a better person and to find my bliss, follow my arrow and do good things every day.

So how do you find your bliss?

Believe me it’s not easy. You have to quiet all the voices around you that tell you what you should be and what you should do. Then you have to quiet your own voice and listen because in that silence you will be able to figure out what you love to do and what makes you happy doing it. See life is too short to do something you hate, dislike or really don’t care about.

It may take years for you to find the thing or things that make you happy when you do them. You should totally and completely be in love with what you do to pay your bills.  I know it is an odd concept isn’t it?

I have found that it’s a good mental health strategy. If you love what you do then you don’t mind doing it every day, all day long, 5-7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  It can feel like an eternity when your job is not something you care about or love doing. Sometimes we have to take those jobs so that we can find our bliss so that we can pay the bills. But along the way, once you find your bliss you have to do it, EVEN if you have to do the thing you hate to get to the point where you can do the thing you love to do full time.

How do you follow your arrow? 

This is not going to be easy either because again you have to step away from where society says you should go. You have to step out of the mainstream and look around at what is available. Finding your bliss and following your arrow go hand in hand. If you figure out what you love to do then it is easy to follow the path to doing that in your life.

I spent much of my life headed in the direction that I thought other people wanted me to go. I joined several churches because I saw those around me doing so. I tried so many jobs that I can’t count on two hands and all my toes the different things I have done.  I even dropped out of society and intentionally homeless for a period of time. This was my first encounter with stepping away from what I thought everyone else wanted me to be.

When you grow up in an abusive home, you are constantly trying to do good things to avoid being abused, you become a people pleaser, it comes with the territory. Like I said I spent the majority of my life trying to please others.
The first thing I did to please myself was allow myself to fall in love with my husband. That was the first step. In the ensuing 11 years, I tried many jobs and have done many things. I’ve worked with non-profits attempted to be a stay at home wife, and now I have a job I really like, and I’m in college to get a degree in my chosen field of study so that I can follow my arrow.

Many people spend their entire lives doing what they think they should do instead of doing and going where they want to go, in the end they look back on their lives with regret, I for one do not want to do that.

Do good things every day

This comes from Kid President If you haven’t seen his videos go now, yes you have my permission to leave this page and go visit his page. This kid is so freaking positive he can turn any bad day instantly good.

He often talks about doing good things every day.  J and I have taken on the motto and both try to do good things every day.  It’s a simple mantra and ideal to follow, it’s so easy that well a kid can do it.

We see so much bad in the world around us that we can forget there are good things as well. We can be part of that good. We can do simple things every day that are easy and need no elaborate planning.  It is as simple as letting someone merge into traffic during rush hour, hold the elevator even when you are in a hurry, saying hello to everyone you meet as you go about your day. Life can be hard and really suck sometimes and when you work hard to do good things every day, it sucks a little bit less until you have formed a habit. Until doing good things. becomes like a 5th appendage. You will find yourself less stressed and letting the little stuff stay little and the big stuff getting smaller.

So simple yet so profound.

Find your bliss, follow your arrow and do good things every day. So simple, so easy, just try it

Solo Journey…

My journey is mine alone. We may often share some joys and heartaches but, for the most part the path I am on I must travel those trials alone. This does not mean that I am truly alone in the sense of not having anyone to share it with. It just means that the trials and tribulation, the ups and the downs, the good and the bad are all something that I have to experience as myself. Not as a woman, wife, sister, daughter but as just lil ole me.

I feel there are two types of alone. There is the type of alone where I have no friends, no family no one to share my life with and the alone where it is just me. Where I exist as just me and my feelings and experiences. See we can share experiences with others but what they personally experience and the feelings they have after are totally different from yours. There is a nuance here that makes it so different.

This path I am on this year has been a struggle. While my husband was there with me every step of the way his pain and grief were of a different sort.  Where he had accepted some time ago that we would not bear children, I, on the other hand was still holding out hope and desire. Not to say he didn’t grieve as well. That happens when the hope or potential is gone.

We have each been dealing with the loss at the same time but in much different ways we are solo.

There have been many things and people that have loved and cried and helped us along the way. There have been many changes in our lives since February  2015 and I’m sure there will be more yet to come.

One of the positive changes we have made in our journeys is our path to better health and well-being. We starting going to a boxing club three times a week. There is something so gratifying after totally putting all of yourself into a workout, sweating it out leaving it all on the heavy bag, punching out the frustration, pushing yourself to do more, hit harder, move faster. Just be. Because when you are in front of that heavy bag, it’s just you gloved up throwing punches, focusing on hand and foot placement, moving your hips as you hit, all the little tiny things that go into such a large overall movement.

That is how a solo journey is, little tiny moments that make up one big change. We are barely two weeks into our boxing journey but each and every class 3 times a week I learn something more about myself. I learn I can push myself just a little bit harder each time, punch a little bit faster, do more crunches and butterfly kicks and do a knee plank just a little bit longer. AND if I can survive all that and come back for more than life gets just a little easier to deal with.

It’s all about small movements and changes that make the big things so much better.

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Flex Friday Feature Title Boxing Club Green Hills

The Other side….

Well, it’s been a month and six days since surgery. I’ve still continued with my therapist working on tearing it all down and now we are building it back up. I started a therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) it is used quite often with people who have PTSD. It is a light, sound and thought exercise therapy. I had my first session yesterday and I’m actually feeling better, lighter and more in control of my emotions. The trauma we worked on doesn’t seem to carry the weight it previously did.

On the other side of surgery has been emotional and hard. While I still had all my “parts” there was always hope that we would get pregnant. With that comes a loss, a loss of hope and that is the hardest thing to deal with. You don’t realize just how much the loss of hope will hurt. It is wrenching and painful and crowds your mind with negative thoughts and ideas about who you are and your perceived worth as a woman.

Before you even say it I know that adoption is an option, it has always been an option on the table. It was really hard to think about it in the first couple of weeks after surgery when the mental and physically pain is so present. Again working on things with my therapist has helped immensely.

I feel as if I am starting to let go of the loss of my uterus. The nice 70-degree spring days have helped as well.

Two more weeks and I will be going back to work. I’ve started back working on my classes today so I am slowly moving back to the center of my life. I am probably more centered that I have ever been.

There is finally a lightness within that is such a different feeling than the weight of infertility. I know I’m basically in the same spot as before but this is different, and I’m not going to lie not having to wear a pad and tampon every day of my life has been pretty great for the last month. So I guess that is positive, and I’m focusing on the positives of this entire situation.

I have grown and learned so much in the last few weeks that I’m sure I am a different person with a different outlook on everyday things.

I will come to a place where I am ready to look at adoption and foster care again, for right now I am rediscovering me.

Existentialism in a Nail Shop.

So we are just two days from Surgery.  I keep running things over in my mind. Like who do I need to talk to, what amends to I need to make in case the surgery goes sideways and things don’t end up the way we hope.

I know they do thousands of these surgeries everyday across the world. This is my first open major surgery. While the fear has abated a bit it still lingers.

I had an amazing experience yesterday. I had to get my acrylic nails taken off for surgery because they need the O2 sensor to read accurately. So after a yummy bowl of Pho from Love, Peace & Pho here in South Nashville….so good! Then I went next door to the nail place and had my nails taken off.

The woman that was working on me seemed to notice that I was gloomy and kept asking what was wrong. I assume thinking I was not enjoying my manicure after the removal of the acrylic. I told her the short version of what was going one and she took her mask off and stopped what she was doing and told me about her sister who is also a manicurist and about how one of her clients had brain cancer and had a 1% chance of survival after surgery. She said the client told her sister goodbye but if she survived she would be back. Her sister received a phone call two days later, she had to have someone translate but it was the client calling to tell her she was okay.

She then told me a story of a woman in her country with no insurance that ended up with cancer as well and was okay, she told me I was lucky to be in the US with the excellent medical care and the amazing doctors and that she could see that I was a strong woman and a good woman and that strong good women are rewarded and taken care of. She said your grandmother and mother were strong too. (Never told her anything about them) She said I will see you when you get better for surgery and then…

She stopped talking and looked at me directly in my eyes as if reading my soul and said to me “I don’t know what you believe, God, Buddha, what ever, I say to Buddha every night thank you for my life and my child and my job and all that you have blessed me with. Even if you don’t believe in anything just talk. Just say what you are grateful for and you will be fine.”

It was such a powerful experience there was nothing in the room but the two of us for that moment two strangers. One comforting the other. I began to tear up, it was as if a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was as if this stranger had been tasked that day to remove the fear from my mind. Sure I’m still worried but as for being terrified of dying and leaving this world, this life that is so undone, I’m lighter, I can breath.

I may be in state of flux regarding religion but I do believe that there is something that binds this world together that brings things to and away from us for some reason. I believe that things happen right when they are suppose to happen. I don’t have a name for what it is. You may and that is fine but for right now I’m not sure and that’s okay I’m allowed to have this existential exploration of what I do and do not believe. I believe we all have the right to believe as we choose or right to not believe or whatever. We do however need to support each other in those choices and beliefs even if they are not shared.

Who would have thought and I would find peace and comfort from a Vietnamese Manicurist?

The Fear of Death…

For as long as I can remember I never expected to live to see old age. I’m not sure if it was losing my grandfather when I was 10 or so that triggered my fascination with how long I would live or just what it was.

I was surprised when I turned 25 that I was still alive, then again ten years later, and living to 40 what a shock as well. See deep down I never thought I would live a long life. I never expected to honestly and truly. If you have been reading the last couple of weeks you will know that I am now 41 and at the age my mother was when she started showing signs and symptoms of having cancer, and that I have pre cancerous cells and major surgery coming in just over a week.

My ob oncologist is very thorough. See I have liver disease and there is an increased risk of my liver failing during surgery due to the way the body reacts to anesthesia.  So I’ve had to have extra blood tests and doctors visits and ultra sounds. Each time with the warning of the risk of my life during surgery.

I know I shouldn’t panic. I’ve already had one surgery and came out just fine but it was not as serious as this coming surgery. I am afraid I won’t make it to recovery, I’m afraid that my life will end on the operating table.

See after all these years of feeling like I wouldn’t live to be old I’m afraid now I won’t make it.  People keep telling me it’s a rational fear and that it will be okay and the doctors are just taking extra precautions but I’m afraid.

I’m afraid when I hug and kiss my husband just before they wheel me off that it will be the last time I see him. I wonder how it will feel to just not be anymore.

These are the fears that can eat you alive, these are the not so rational, rational thoughts that plague you when you face your mortality. This is why I’m going to see a therapist on Thursday. This is why getting help when you have a mental illness is so important. I know I’m spiraling. I know i’m fixating. I know in the rational part of my brain that this will be fine, but there is that little voice that keeps saying what if? What if…….I guess I will deal with what if when it happens.

So I guess that’s that…It’s not fair.

Well the visit with the oncologist was long and informative and exhausting all at the same time. It boils down to this.

I have a 6 inch cyst on my left ovary, yup you read that right six inches.  It is pushing my bladder and my uterus out of position which has been causing some auxiliary problems that I just thought were part of getting older.

The surgery will remove both ovaries, both fallopian tubes, my uterus and my cervix. They will be doing an open incision because they want to remove everything in tact so that they can do a frozen dissection and test for any other pre cancerous/cancerous cells.

I will be spending 4 to 5 days in the hospital afterwards and then 6 to 8 weeks on home rest after that.

Good news is that I will have plenty of time to complete my last three classes, bad news I won’t be able to do anything much.

We were hoping to keep one of my ovaries so that we could harvest eggs and possibly use a surrogate but the percentage of having viable eggs is less than 20% so adoption it is for us.

I’m sad, angry and ready to shout at the world it’s not fair. Because to be honest it’s not.

My husband and I have stable income a beautiful home and deeply desire to have a family of our own. Nieces and nephews are great but it’s just not the same.  Why is it that those that do not have these things can pop kids out seemingly on a whim?

I believe in choice and accountability for your actions but it’s just not fair. When I think about all the babies that are lost to abortions or not wanted or harmed by their “parents”.  Especially when their are loving couples that can provide all the love and support for these children. How do we live in a world where children are abused and tossed away so effortlessly?

When did it become okay for human life to become disposable? AGAIN and I can’t stress this enough what you decide to do with your body and the things that go in and come out of it is your business and your choice. I have no right to tell you what is right for you but for those of us that don’t have a choice it is very painful. It crushes our very souls. It weighs us down and makes us want to rip a new one in the fabric of society.

At the end of the day I will take my meds, put my cpap on and lay down and go to sleep and wake up in the morning with all these feelings bubbling to the surface. It has been like that for ten years. The yearning and desperate desire to be a mother, and who knows how much longer that desire will go unfulfilled.

At the end of it all I get to feel like it’s not ever fair nor will it ever be. I know there is no promise of fairness in this mortal life we live. I know that, and can’t change it.  I can acknowledge it and struggle to accept it but I don’t have to like it. Acceptance and like are not equal to each other. So therefore I can accept this hand dealt to me but I don’t have to like it.

Twenty Years later.

I graduated high school in June of 1992. I had big dreams I wanted to be the first college graduate in my family. I was the first to go to college I was also the first to leave college.

See I started school and immediately got in over my head. Twenty years ago the the only time I ever talked to anyone about my college path was to talk to a financial aid counselor about being declared an independent student because I had no parent or guardian living, that I knew about at the time.

See back then I choose a  degree field that I thought I wanted, there was no advisement. I ran to the arms of the local community college with not a single clue. I wasn’t ready for the commitment, the homework or anything remotely college related. I had no one to lean on, no support system that understood what I was jumping into. I was 19 and I was clueless.

I spent several semesters at the local community college in two different degree fields. I was so sure that I wanted to become a lawyer that I started the paralegal studies program. Mock Trial never prepared me for the classes I was taking. After a few semesters I met some people from a private college that told me all about campus life and how wonderful it was. I was hooked. So I applied got accepted and dove head first into a four year program. This time I only had 3 different majors. One of those majors was teaching. Something I had thought about doing other than being a lawyer.

Boy was I in over my head yet again. See in all of this I didn’t take into consideration my personal history.

See the February of 1993 I lost my mother to cancer. I felt all alone surrounded by well meaning family. I was also a people pleaser so I did what I thought I was suppose to do. Not once in the entire two years of my college experience did I have a clue as to what I really wanted to do with my life.

Truth be told it has taken me twenty years to know what I want to be when I grow up.

I think often of my 7th grade history teacher. He was inspiring. We got to choose to write a research paper or do a project.  I always picked the project.

It was in his class that I learned to program in Basic. It was in his class that I learned that I had more potential then I ever dreamed. It was in that history class that I learned to love history.

In the last twenty years I have learned many things. Of all the things I learned it was a silly Facebook game that ignited a fire in my.  I’m sure you probably saw the game or even played it. If you commented on someone’s status they would give you a number and you were suppose to share that number of things that your friends probably didn’t know about you. I got the number seven.

As I was creating my list of all the things one of those seven was the regret that I never got my degree. My sister in law commented that it wasn’t too late that I could go back to school and get a degree.  Pondering exactly that I pulled out our tax forms from last year and filled out a FAFSA to see if I qualified for any financial aid at all. While I was waiting to see if I would get any aid another friend posted about getting a scholarship to the only NCATE ( National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) accredited online university. It peaked my interest and I took a look at the school and the programs they offered. I asked for more information and then paid the application fee and started the process not ever really expecting to get in.

So what did I decide to be when I grow up? I want to teach. I want to teach history. I want to teach history to 7th and 8th grade students.

Just a week or so later my application has been accepted, my financial aid is in place and poof I am a college student again.  My husband and I had talked about me going back to school after he graduated.  The day he graduated I got my acceptance letter to Western Governors University .

I never expected to get any financial aid.

I never expected any prior credits to transfer, but I am so happy that 19 of them did.

I never expected to be 40 years old and back in school and ready and focused and determined to succeed and graduate on time if not early.

It just goes to show you that when you decide to do something and it is the right path you are suppose to be one all the doors will open for you.

So what is one regret that you can fix? I shared mine how about sharing yours?