Rainy San Diego Night: #NaBloPoMo Day 26

I had a good day at work today, but it was busy for Small Business Saturday. I had five massage clients. It started raining in Bird Rock around 3pm, and a huge palm frond fell right in front of our doorway. The clouds off in the distance looked pretty ominous. By the time we were closing up around 5pm, everything was dark. The rain had dissipated, but it came rolling in again and hard.

Driving home in it was pretty typical for a rainy night in San Diego. It was really hard to see on the twisty roads through La Jolla, so everyone was driving like 20mph. Then 40 on the freeway. I listened to jazz and the blues and channeled some patience. There were a few accidents. I eventually made it back down to where I’m house-sitting in North Park.

It makes me happy to be greeted by a meowing and purring kitty, and that’s just what was waiting for me. I got lots of kitty cuddles. Aww, yeah.

Tonight I was supposed to go out dancing, but the rainy weather has everyone in the mood to stay in. I think I will just practice guitar and enjoy the nice big bathtub here, maybe catch some Gilmore Girls and Black Mirror on Netflix, then pass out. I had two huge coffees today, and got like 12 hours of sleep yesterday, so I don’t really have high hopes of getting to bed early.

It’s so hard to write with a purring kitty in your lap. Cats have a magical relationship with keyboards. They must interfere with typing, directly or indirectly. Maybe once this cat has had her fill of me, I can get some writing done for these last few days of NaBloPoMo.

It’s been nice meeting and chatting with other bloggers, but man I am I tired. Just a few more days. I feel like an astronaut at the end of a mission, giving my daily notes into the video cam with my hair messed up and a complete lack of enthusiasm. But I will get there.

Thank you for reading and encouraging me.

The Guru Trap: #NaBloPoMo Day 25

In other posts, I’ve gone a little bit into why I left the Baptist Church when I was 14. I have always been very spiritual, and that thirst for a connection to a higher power never went away, I just channeled it into other things.

For a long time I practiced Wicca, and then just called myself pagan. Mostly I practiced alone, and when I attempted to join in on a coven’s ritual one time, everything went sideways. The women, who should have been supporting me, were instead catty and jealous. The men, for it was a mixed circle, were overtly sexual and while respectful, it made young me very uncomfortable. The whole experience left me feeling bitter, just as the hypocrisy within the church had.

After that, I sought a spiritual connection through shamanism and yoga. Both are very satisfying. I am happy for the time I spent studying under Mara, learning how to journey and be in touch with the earth and spirit guides. I am grateful for my experiences in yoga teacher training, and the path I took to get there. In all ways, I have felt supported in my spiritual ventures.

Throughout my spiritual quests, there has been one common archetype: the (False) Guru. It’s not that I don’t believe in spiritual leaders, I just think that many people pass themselves off as such when really they are in it for egotistical or materialistic reasons. Sometimes I don’t even think they realize it, or if they do, it is years later. Mostly, I believe people are good and approach sharing the knowledge they have learned with good intentions. But things can go very wrong.

Things start to get sticky when money becomes involved in spiritual teachings, for instance. On one hand, the leaders of the community are devoting their time and energy into these events and lessons, and deserve to be compensated for their time. On the other, I fundamentally believe that anyone seeking spiritual knowledge should have access to it, should not be turned away. So where does the line go? Is a women’s retreat weekend worth $1,000? $500? What about an evening in a shared lesson, $25? Should the hat just be passed? If it were do you think people would honestly pay what they believe the lesson to be worth? I do, for the most part. I think those that cannot pay tend to be happy to help volunteer, as well. They just want to be involved.

From what I’ve seen on the San Diego “spiritual scene”, spiritual knowledge can get very pricey. It becomes an exclusive thing, rather than inclusive. When the sharing of knowledge begins to shut people out, I have a problem with it.

Authenticity, honesty, compassion, kindness. When I see these qualities in a real spiritual leader, it brings me joy. Perhaps most important of all is humility. True spiritual leaders can stay in beginner’s mind and approach problems, people, the world, without ego. It’s not that they have no ego, we are only human, but they have learned how to balance, work with, conquer their ego so it does not rule them.

Across the board, I have seen teachers and heroes that I admired falter, show their humanity, fall prey to their egos. It happens, and it is a real problem. Something I see far less of, is people owning their own bullshit. You can’t do better until you know better, but I truly believe that once you know better, you have a duty to act upon that knowledge and really try to do better.

The true spiritual leader spends a lot of time in self-reflection. They listen more than they speak. They are happy to share what they know with whatever student presents themselves. These people, and they do exist, bring me hope. They keep me going in a way that I cannot explain.

In all my searches, the only true goodness I have seen comes from other humans. Unfortunately, the only true evil comes from other humans, as well. In my mind it boils down to each and every person devoting themselves to doing the best they can, serving their fellow humans, and being kind both to themselves and each other. We are the only people that can make this world a better place, and it starts at home in our bodies, our families, our communities, and from there the world.

Do good work. Bring joy. Be joy.

 

 

Thanksgiving: #NaBloPoMo Day 24

I’m up early on Thanksgiving morning. I’ve been chopping carrots and celery and onions and boiling up some eggs to make deviled eggs. Feeling pretty joyful, although my daughter informs me that she is B O R E D already, and it isn’t even 7am. The mimosas are ready to go, but I think I will wait for Matt to wake up and Neil to get here.

That’s two of my exes. One ex is making a turkey breast for the other to eat. I’m not sure when or how we became so evolved. All I know is that I am very grateful to be where we are now.

The past few years I’ve endured a lot of hardship and heartache, and to be at this point of joy now is incredible. I’m happy my mom is coming down with her boyfriend, I’m even happy that Neil’s mom is coming. Everything we are making to eat will be delicious. It’s going to be a great day.

In the meantime, I have more cooking prep to do. Molly has been temporarily entertained by the addition of Pop Pixie on the TV. The kitty and fishy where I’m housesitting have been fed. Even the caterpillar got some new celery this morning. I am hoping it doesn’t turn into a butterfly before its little caterpillar mom gets home from vacation! It’s going to be close.

Food always makes me feel secure and abundant. It is hard to feel poor when you have a table full of food. Even if it’ll mostly be gone home with folks as leftovers or devoured over the next couple days, at least for one day we will feel supremely rich.

food1

Just the stuff I am prepping this morning, not counting the meats or Neil’s sides!

2016 has been a rough year for a lot of people. We have seen our heroes fall and evil rise within our country. It is nice to take a time-out to appreciate what we have and the people we love. I love making other people happy, and enjoy being in service on Thanksgiving, at least to my family. It is difficult to get out and volunteer, but I hope to do more. Our neighbors will probably enjoy some leftovers though, and the goodwill we share amongst ourselves will ripple out to our immediate community.

I love my little hodge-podge family, and wish you all the very best this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

7 Days Left: #NaBloPoMo Day 23

There are only seven days left in National Blog Posting Month. This has been my first year participating, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I write. Writing every day hasn’t been as challenging as I expected, in terms of time. Prioritizing writing feels new and shiny and interesting, and outside of a post or two, I’ve managed to get them all up in a timely fashion. At least I’ve gotten them all up before midnight.

What has been more challenging than I expected has been dealing with the emotional aftermath. I don’t do well with change, and keeping journals all my life has helped me get a lot of those emotions out. But this month I’ve just been pouring everything out for all to see. It isn’t a new thing for me, but I had forgotten how vulnerable it is, to feel so exposed with all of my words left up for the masses.

Part of me is getting bored, honestly, telling all of these personal stories. I am starting to see why some people only post recipes or fitness tips or other topics, while keeping their personal lives hidden as much as possible. But I love most those blogs that are messy and personal and filled with authenticity. If I can’t see you through your blog, I am not interested.

People really seem to enjoy my most personal posts, where I talk about dating or my experiences with my mental illness. Those are the hardest for me to write well, balancing getting truth out and not hurting others, or myself. I try to practice being gentle with myself these days, and a lot of times that means leaving some posts unpublished. Maybe someday.

I do have a few juicy topics left for this last week of posts. I’m planning on being grateful all damned day tomorrow for Thanksgiving, so maybe I will write about gratitude. We will see. It is a strange feeling to start a day without a topic already picked out, but it is kind of nice, too. I can roll into the day and write about whatever I like, instead of picking up something I’ve already been working on.

Writing for myself has proven to be very fulfilling, and I foresee this blog continuing beyond this month. I don’t see myself writing every day on it, but maybe once a week? I have a lot of fiction that I have been actively avoiding working on, but those deadlines are starting to loom as well. It is time to focus and work on my book, too. 2017 will be a good writing year for me, I can feel it already.

Back in my video game design days, I got burned out on writing fantasy. Having to name things and come up with backstories people never saw, and dialogue people never really read, was disheartening. Fun at first, but ultimately soul-killing. Or maybe I just worked too damned much. Now I am just beginning to explore writing fantasy for myself, and it has been an amazing journey.

I have come to accept that I am a writer, at last, and that to be so, I must write. And write I will, until I can no longer see and my fingers can no longer type or hold a pen. I have a lot to say, and I’m not finished yet.

 

 

Musical Awakening: #NaBloPoMo Day 22

I’ve been enjoying so much this renaissance of music in my life. My mom bought me a record player as an early Christmas present. It has a lot of features and I am in love with it already. My roomie had some records, so we got to try it out the other night. We listened to Cat Stevens and Michael Jackson and I can’t wait to hear more.

I’m looking forward to getting the Luke Cage soundtrack, and also starting a collection of blues, Motown, maybe some gospel. My mom can’t wait to get me some Janis Joplin and other rock.

I’m not sure why records seem so appealing now. I mostly listen to Pandora on my phone, or the radio in my car. I always lose or break CDs. Cassettes drove me crazy because the tape would inevitably come out and get tangled. There’s something big and solid about records. I know they are delicate, too, but at least they’re large.

Maybe I’ve just been feeling nostalgic for a time I never knew.

recordplayer

Ta-daa! My new record player.

An interesting feature of the new record player is that it records to CD from record or cassette. I’m really looking forward to curating some old music and making CDs for my car. Now that I am starting to rediscover my own music, I want more and more of it all the time. It is strange, how much I let it fade from my life. I will never let someone else’s musical tastes completely override my own again.

I also decided to gift myself with some metallic pink earbuds the other day. They were an impulse buy. My last pair each had a cute blue octopus on them, but I lost them somewhere. I’ve had my new earbuds for like a week and have already misplaced them a few times. But so far, I am victorious.

It’s amazing how much a simple thing like some $10 earbuds can change an entire world. I wish I had had them when I was taking the trolley to work every day. Now when I walk around I can listen to whatever I like, and my day gets infinitely better.Like magic, I am transported somewhere else and everyone moving around me is moving to the beat of the music.

When I lost my old earbuds, I just got used to living without them. Kind of like how right now my car radio isn’t working because my mechanic had to disconnect the battery to fix something and I lost the anti-theft code. I contacted the dealership and they said they can walk me through getting and entering a new code if I call them, but it’s been over two months and I have yet to make that phone call. Making phone calls makes me extra anxious, but I will get around to it eventually.

I want to wrap myself in music and never let it go again. Something has been awakened within me that will not be forced back inside its box, and I’m just going to have to ride it out. I’m looking forward to it.

Thanksgiving in Jail: #NaBloPoMo Day 21

If you’ve followed my blog since I resurrected it over the summer, you may have read my first two posts, about having a nervous breakdown and my ensuing arrest and diagnosis. If not, well, they’re down there under all the #NaBloPoMo posts. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I in November 2013, while in jail in San Mateo.

The whole thing was horribly embarrassing to me once I regained enough of my mind to be embarrassed, but at the time everything felt like a terrifying and grand adventure. During my week of being a missing person, I got close to getting into a lot of trouble several times, and then I actually did.

The day I stole the RV, I had spent the night in a ditch after having my nose broken by a guy that mugged me and took all of my money. I had wandered the streets, without a phone full of helpful phone numbers, my face covered in blood, and nobody helped me. I felt less than human.

Shortly after dawn, I knocked on the door of a nice house in a nearby neighborhood. I felt so bad to scare them, some random weirdo knocking on the door at like 6am all covered in blood. I had picked up a stack of newspapers and was pretending to deliver them so it looked like I had a reason to be there. They didn’t even question it. The nice family that opened the door let me go get cleaned up in their bathroom and gave me a ziploc full of ice for my nose. I told them I had slipped outside and fell. I still don’t know why I was so scared to tell everyone the truth at first, maybe paranoid that the guy would find me. I’m not sure now.

After getting cleaned up, I thanked them and split. Some other interesting stuff happened that morning, but let’s skip ahead to the RV place. I’m not sure what I was thinking, except that I knew I had enough money left in my bank account to rent an RV for a few days, and I really needed somewhere to sleep. I figured I could take the RV to Half Moon Bay, which was close by, and look for John Paul’s mom, Janice. If I was unable to find her, I planned to take it south to San Diego and figure everything out once I got home. It was sort of a plan.

Anyway, my intentions were nothing but good when I walked in. But for some delusional reason, I told them my name was Rose. I also handed them the wrong driver’s license, since I was carrying around my old maiden name expired one as well as my current one. I was a mess. Anyway, they weren’t about to rent an RV to someone with an expired driver’s license, so that’s as far as I got.

I turned to leave and I really don’t remember what happened, but I walked out of a side door instead of the door I came in, and the RV was right there. The next thing I remember, I had hopped into it. The keys were inside. I turned on the radio and Let Her Go by Passenger was playing. I started crying and drove off.

By the time I got onto the freeway that connects San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, I already had a few people following me. I think one of them was a guy from the RV place, and then shortly thereafter the police were following me, too. It was a very twisty road, and I was driving pretty dangerously. I passed everyone, even with cars coming at me. It was scary, but I felt like I was part of a grand parade. I flashed the peace sign to everyone I saw and smiled and waved. One news article said I appeared intoxicated. But no, I had just lost my mind.

The police and sheriff and well, several kinds of police, all followed me all the way to Half Moon Bay. Once I got there, I very calmly used my turn signals and navigated to a side street and pulled over. Instantly I had like 10 guns in my face. They pulled me out of the RV, and one of the cops I had run into earlier in the week had me wait in the back of his car while they figured out who got me.

A different cop wound up driving me back to San Mateo, and he was super nice. We chatted the whole way back about everything except RVs. He booked me in when we got to jail, and a lady cop took my mug shot and had me strip down and change into orange clothes. Oh man, this was so really happening. I still had no idea what was going on. I was way too out of it to try and bail myself out of jail, and when I called Neil to let him know where I was, I wasn’t making any sense on the phone.

I was so out of it, I spent the first 3 days in jail in my own isolated room in medical with my bed taken away because they were afraid I was going to try and kill myself. I finally started accepting the meds they were offering me and started to calm down a little bit. Then they moved me into a shared area in medical for a few more days. When it was apparent I was not going to freak out on anyone (at least, not badly) they had me transported over to the county jail. The medical cells were part of the police station itself, or something. It was pretty weird.

Anyway, I had an upper bunk in a big room with maybe 40 women in it. All we had were the bunks, an exercise bike, and playing cards, newspapers, and one box full of a weird assortment of books. We had coffee, but no access to hot water except from the tap. So we had lukewarm coffee, which was had to buy ourselves from the commissary. There was also a TV, which the correctional officers controlled the channel of, so it was usually on Wendy Williams, Dr. Phil, Criminal Minds, or Law and Order.

I made friends with the women in the bunk under and next to me, so I had 3 friends. We pretty much stuck to our corner and tried to stay out of the inevitable fights that popped up. Women also got busted for doing meth in our room while we were all there. How do they get meth in jail? I have no idea. It was so sad. Most of the women were girls, with babies at home, and many were going to be gone for a long time.

I had been back in the general population for a few days when Thanksgiving came up. I still hadn’t figured out that I could bail myself out of jail, and I kept thinking that there was NO WAY that my family would leave me in jail over Thanksgiving. But I was wrong. They wanted me to stay in jail until my first or second court date, to get some days served and ‘regain my sanity’.

Jail was NOT good for my sanity.

Where I was, we didn’t really get time outside to exercise or anything. There was that one exercise bike for forty women, after all. Instead, as long as everyone was good, we got to go outside for like 30 minutes, into a cement area. But there were a few times, like after the meth bust, where we spent days inside without being able to go out and see the sun. It was terrible.

By the time dinner came up on Thanksgiving Day, I realized nobody was coming for me. They decided to feed us a traditional turkey day dinner, which was nice enough I guess. We were all very excited to eat something else. Everyone was in a really good mood that day, too. It wasn’t like holidays outside where everyone bitches all day long. It was a special day. There would be special food. People were accepting our phone calls. A good day.

I have to say that my Thanksgiving in jail wasn’t even the worst one I’ve had, not by a long shot. But the food, oh my god! It all looked so good and tasted so terrible, but for some reason that day it was still good. Normally we didn’t get dessert, but they had pumpkin pie for us. Now THAT I was looking forward to.

The only sugar I’d had in jail was from sugar cubes people bought for coffee, but they were super expensive so I hadn’t had many. When I got my pie and took a huge bite, I was SO disappointed! It had NO sugar in it. It was absolutely the worst pie I have ever tried in my entire life. I couldn’t even finish it. Most of us couldn’t. It was a cruel tease, to offer this terrible dessert. I wanted to cry.

But I got over it. We played cards and talked about our exes and our lawyers and how we wound up stuck in jail on Thanksgiving. We drank coffee and stayed up late watching Law and Order. There was a sense of belonging and family that you don’t normally feel in jail, like everyone had called a truce for this one day.

It sucks being locked up over the holidays, especially when you have kids. I think we were all feeling that a little, and everyone was a little bit kinder. Even the super cunt CO smiled once or twice. I won’t lie, it was not a great way to spend a holiday. I hope to never be in jail again. But compared to a few days of being under lockdown and having no privileges, a holiday in jail isn’t so bad. It was better than some others I have experienced.

Be safe this week, and hug your family tight. Have a great Thanksgiving week!

Worn Out: #NaBloPoMo Day 20

I got to sleep in until 7am! Amazing. We are nearly always up by 6am, and it is hard for me to sleep later than that sometimes. I was NEVER a morning person before having my daughter. Having a child changed me in so many ways that I didn’t expect.

I’ve been feeling pretty worn down the past few days. Life is good, just have been tired and a little overstimulated and navigating some tricky passages within my heart. I feel like I could sleep for a week. But I must adult.

My daughter and I are house-sitting this week while she is off of school. Unfortunately, her dad is being sent to work in Long Beach all day on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. So we are going to try and get our grocery shopping done tomorrow, and I will prep dishes on Wednesday while he is gone, then he can cook his remaining dishes on Thursday while we are drinking mimosas and hosting people. It’ll work out, I think!

I have several blog posts started but unfinished, I’m hoping to have some time to sit down and write today and tomorrow and flesh them out a bit. I just haven’t had it in me to sit down and dig through more memories quite yet.

All I’ve felt like doing this week is playing guitar. I’ve been practicing a lot, and playing with Mr. W a lot. I still suck like a bunch, but it has been fun to follow along songs on YouTube and curse about what bullshit the fingering for an F is. I am fine with being a beginner, and for the first time I can really allow myself to practice without worrying so much about how it sounds as I get together the basics.

Singing while playing guitar is tough, but it is weird and nice having the melody for a change. I’m an alto, and I always played instruments that were bass clef, more complimentary than melody-carrying instruments. So I am used to never having the melody, ever. But now I can! How nice is that?

Also, just before I left to start house-sitting, my record player arrived! It is my mother’s early Christmas present to me. I am so excited. I can’t wait to go home and set it up and try it out. I can start collecting records now! I don’t even have a single record to play on it yet. I know there are some great record shops around town, so I can’t wait to go take a peek at what they have.

I’ve always felt self-conscious in music stores, like an imposter that someone is going to suddenly corner and question over their musical tastes. I hate it when people ask me what kind of music I like. I have no idea. I am working on that. I mean, I know I love goth/industrial, and choral music, and the blues, Motown, all of that. But what else? Having my own space to explore music again on my own has been so magical.

This National Blog Posting Month challenge has been good, but twenty days in it is getting tough. I’m used to having more downtime to replenish between posts. There are only ten days left of the challenge, then I can go back to posting whenever I like. I think that will be more often than before, but certainly not every day! I just keep thinking, I am 2/3s of the way there. I can absolutely do this.

I’ve really enjoyed reading people’s blogs this month, especially ones that touch on personal topics, or mental illness, or politics. There has been a lot of stuff going around that needs calling out, and I just have not had the energy to do it. I’m glad other people are. I’m so proud of the cast of Hamilton for speaking from the heart to Mike Pence.

My heart has always been with the artists and freaks, the rebels and outcasts of society. Their ability to observe society while skating around on the edges of it is amazing. I can only hope to use my voice in such a positive and truthful way to shine a light on hypocrisy.