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They say you can’t go home again. Or is it that you can? And where is home anyway?

I have several.

I’m at one now. Corolla, NC. I was not born here, I have no family here, I never even visited until I was in my mid 20s – yet I grew up here.

I raised my babies here. I sought refuge in the sound of the surf. I walked the same 3 miles of this shoreline an infinite number of times – seeing something new at every vista. I laughed here. I cried here. I struggled and I revived.

I haven’t been here in about 5 years. A far cry from monthly jaunts and hoa meetings for the better part of 2 decades .

I didn’t know I would be mere blocks from my home, until I was.

Tears well up repeatedly. Memories, fond and fragile pour in.

I say I used to have my shit together. And maybe I did. What does it freaking matter anyway? That was yesterday, a lifetime ago that feels like it never happened. Was it a dream? Did I treasure it like I should have?

Again, irrelevant. I only have this moment. The now. This decision, right this second, where I choose to explore my memories through words.

Tears well up again.

I am grateful. I am sad. I show Dylan all of the places his brothers know so well. I remember his first Easter here, as a baby, and a family of five. I recall naming him in a local restaurant. I look for the wild boar I have yet to find. I fixate on the surf and question the universe too much. I cry for what never will be, what once was, and the missing pieces of hopes and dreams that I seem to have misplaced.

This is home. A safe place to explore and grow – full of history and possibilities.

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Accepting the unacceptable

This poured out of me onto my facebook page this morning….

I had an ah-ha last night. The dots connected some more and bits and pieces of what I’ve heard over the years I finally got. So maybe it was more like a “duh”.

Authenticity, our truths, our stories – it is how we see ourselves AND the world around us. Even the most open-minded person shows up with a preconceived notion of how things should be.

Some most will agree with – for example stealing is bad. You would be hard pressed to find someone argue differently when put so bluntly. But does everyone act with integrity on that statement? Not for a second.

Because our lives are not simple, black and white. They are complex with many “if this than that” layers.

When a shake up occurs it’s because our story was rocked. Our truths were shown false and personally this has been a tough one for me.

I’m still stuck in the failure of my first marriage. I believed that you got married, you had kids, you bought a house, you raised a family, you retired, etc. No where in that story did you swap kids back and forth between houses. A mom knows her kids intimately, she didn’t have to wonder what they were thinking or learning, she was involved. Well wait a minute, if I’m not with Dylan when he’s at his dad’s house, I don’t know those things, therefore I’m not a good mom. Well fuck. I am a good mom, wait I’m not. And so the spiral of stress goes when truths are found to be gray instead of black and white.

Take the top stressors from all of those lists…

Divorce, death, jobs, kids, illness, infidelity, marriage.

These are all things that we have some pretty tight stories, rules, and truths about. So what do we do when our system fails? What do we do when a child dies before you? When your health fails? When your partner steps out?

Personally I tried denial. Then I beat myself up. After that didn’t work came slow acceptance that I was wrong, although with a sticky dark side. The depression lasted a while.

See this is where we get to the nuts and bolts of it all. This is where emotional maturity and life skills come into play. This is where we need those tools.

As the world has become more connected it has hindered and helped this process. We are no longer in our cocoon of people who think like us. We are more exposed to deviations of the norm – so much so that deviation IS the norm.

How do we cope with that?

I can tell you fighting it doesn’t work. Life will happen, people will die, health will fail, vows will be broken.

Staying small doesn’t help. If you’re not growing you are dying.

Rewiring our brains to our newly discovered truths is not easy by any stretch. Interrupting the synapses that occur subconsciously is a seemingly impossible task. For we cannot change what we don’t see.

So how then? How do we live authentically, with love and joy, amidst chaos?

We zoom out.

Take in a bigger picture. Allow for more input.

Does it change our wiring? Can you overcome cheating, illness, divorce? Yes. We’ve seen others do it. Change is possible, in fact it’s inevitable.

Some harden, some adjust, some accept, some wither away.

This is where our actions and choices come in. This is where we influence the outcome.

What will you choose today?

Is it an end or a beginning?

There has been quite a bit of turmoil in my life the last few years…akin to living life in a snow globe with a toddler picking it up and shaking it vigorously, randomly, without warning.

It’s really not how I thought my life would turn out.

I never thought I’d run a business.

I never thought I’d be divorced.

I never thought I’d travel the world.

I never thought I’d get sick.

I never thought I’d be alone.

I never thought I’d be starting over, again, at 45 years old. (Yeah I always claim #42forever, I’m done with that facade too).

In the morning I’m buying a house. While not a first, or my only, it is a milestone nonetheless.

I’m buying it for me. For my boys. For my cat and my dog. For stability. For hope. For the future. For safety. For security.

It’s scary af.

I’m fiercely independent, yet there’s a little girl inside of me that desperately wants someone to take care of her. And today I know that someone is also me.

My visions for this time in my life never included coparenting or crutches, I never wanted to be the only person I could rely on.

I question why I chose this life.

When I watch dyl sleep I wonder the same for him.

What lessons do I have in front of me?

When do I get to flow? Does it ever get less difficult? Maybe this is easy? Will I ever forgive myself for the last 5 years? Or is it 6? Hell, I think it might be more like 8.

Where does the time go?

I know my sadness means I’m looking backwards. I’ve never been an anxious person, I’m either in the now or lost in my history.

It is time to write a new chapter.

I have moments when I’m frozen in fear. I’ve been here before, on the brink of awesomeness, and I’ve caved. Reverted back to a scared little girl, old habits that were comfortable.

It is in this space I’ve bounced around, seemingly aimlessly, doing some sort of growth cha-cha.

The time is now.

When I get that unfamiliar anxious feeling I tell myself to “keep going”.

I will not stop this time. I will not sit down and pause. I will not retreat.

My eyes fill with tears as I attempt to quell the lonely pity party of fear, stagnation, and regret that my old patterns pull me to.

Dylan asks “mama, why do you cry so much?”

“I’m sad” I reply.

And I take a deep breath and forge ahead, making new tracks, down the road less traveled.

I can’t help but think of Dr Seuss and Oh the places you’ll go!

“I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.


One foot in front of the other, we are walking through that door.

XO

Pain, pain, go away, come again another day….

I think back to when I was first diagnosed…

29 years old. Mama with 2 babies. My body went rogue on me.

I felt a combination of fascination and fear each time my nervous system would misfire.

I would play with the bouncing vision in my right eye – the lesion was in the back of my neck and standing in front of air conditioning could actually make it stop. “Tigger Eye” I called it. The likelihood of anyone ever experiencing this is slim, if it does though, DO NOT close the good eye to experience only the jumping sight, you will vomit. May you never have to heed this advice.

I had numbness, burning, and stabbing in my thighs. Shooting pains and firey heat that would hit randomly and cause me to lose my breath. I have long since lost all feeling permanently in those areas…a new normal. Quite frankly, I hardly notice it now.

My bladder went. This mortified me. I told no one – literally not a soul – and stifled tears at the doctor’s office for that fateful first appointment. It was this symptom that eventually led to my diagnosis. I didn’t share the journey with anyone until several appointments in, when it was time for the spinal tap and MRI.

Ah, that first MRI. I was scared to death. With and without contrast – scanning from my brain to the base of my spinal column twice I was “shooting the tube” for almost 2 hours. Today I would welcome this time as a much needed nap.

My hip pain was very intermittent then. And I unfortunately let it stop me. I bowed out of many activities when it would flare – not wanting people to see me weak. What I would give to “only” have that pain level today.

It’s been constant for weeks now. Slowing my walk, bringing me to tears, dropping me to my knees, and yet I keep going.

What else is there to do?

I’ll be back at the doctor again within a few weeks when my ability to move, sleep, and push through is exhausted. I doubt I will be able to avoid drugs this time. I’ve been forging my own path and beating the odds for so long, I begin to question what is best.

I’ve never been able to run around with Dylan.

Tears just filled my eyes when I typed that.

He only knows his mama in pain.

This breaks my heart.

I pray for gratitude for the good moments, faith for the dark times, grace for myself and others.

I pray for a cure.

I believe we will find our answers buried somewhere between genetics and lifestyle.

I don’t like having a label – quite honestly I have been given so many at this point I consider them all a joke. The reality is the medical community doesn’t really know why autoimmune diseases are running rampant. There are many clues and no definitive answers.

Sometimes I play Dr Google, convinced I will find the missing piece.

Most times I push through each day, accepting my symptoms, with little energy left from enduring them to pursue answers.

I’ve heard the medical community tell me on more than one occasion I wouldn’t be able to walk again. I hear those words often in my mind and remember those moments vividly.

I may be slow, I may have pain, I may even cry and curse – I also continue to walk and absolutely refuse to let statistics be my fate. I am not a number. I use their words as fuel for my fire and flip them off in my head as I crawl up the stairs. I will not be stopped.

I am a force for good. šŸ’–

Chronic pain

It’s impossible to understand just how devastating it is unless you’ve been there and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

The emotional toll is the highest imaginable – relentless, never ending, slowly debilitating. One minute you are deep in the trenches engaged in battle and a split second later you have nothing left and quit.

It sucks your soul from you without even knowing it is happening.

You become an angry person. You negotiate with your creator. You concede. Then you muster up the strength to fight back again.

It’s a roller coaster you didn’t ask to ride and can’t get off.

You feel guilty for needing help. You feel worthless for accepting it. You push people away and then lament being alone.

You wipe your tears and climb back in the ring, determined.

You plaster a smile on your face.

You read and research and are willing to try anything – absolutely anything to end it. This time will be different. This cure will work.

When it wanes you have hope, when in waxes you fill with anguish. It never leaves though. Always by your side, gnawing at your thoughts, eating away at your body.

You fill with remorse and anguish. You beat down regrets as they run through your head. You dig deep, breathe in, and focus on the fight.

You live large when you can, knowing it won’t last. You retreat into hiding when you can’t.

Chronic pain and I are like tumultuous lovers – dancing a toxic dance and I fear the music will never end.

This moment is hard. There will be more of them. I hold onto the flicker of faith that it will pass, like the ones before it, and I vow to not take any second of my respite for granted.

It will get better. It has to.

A shitty moment does not define the day.

Today was a 9, although it started flatlined, even negative….  As I reflect, I’m actually surprised I didn’t let it totally derail me. I sit here quite contented that I had a good day, maybe there really has been a wee bit of personal growth over the last few months…
So y’all know about MS, and my recent 6 day fast in an attempt to reset. Well, it didn’t work. One by one my symptoms came back, worse. My best guess is that there might be some sort of food allergy (getting tested next month) or that the stress of the whole ordeal set me off. 

One of my original presenting symptoms was bladder control – at 29 I was mortified. Still am. For the most part it is controlled, only when things get really bad does it come into play. Like last night.

Great way to start the day. Add the second snowless snow day for Dyl, contractors ripping apart my master bath, and a full schedule – I was stressed to the max the second I woke up. 

A little short on patience as baby d dilly dallied his way to breakfast, he responded with “I wish I was at papa’s house.” That was one hell of a dagger. I held it together, or so I thought I did, as I limped downstairs to the kitchen when I started sobbing. Piling on the self blame for everything from MS to leaky showers to the dissolution of my first marriage, I threw my tea mug in the sink – and shattered 3 more glasses that were in there in the process. Tears streaming down my face, I began cleaning it up and getting breakfast ready. 

Contractors arrive, noise ensues. I serve Dylan his breakfast – complete with strawberry smoothie – that he promptly spills all over the table, chair, and into the cat food. 

I literally just finished the great glass massacre cleanup when the strawberry disaster occurs. 

More tears. This time both of us. 

Meanwhile phone is blowing up, banging from above, cat wants food – life is still going on.

Don’t they know I hurt? Don’t they know that everything in this moment totally sucks? 

Or does it. 

I took a deep breath. Refocused. Pulled up my big girl panties and proceeded with the day.

And you know what? It got better. Things got done. Progress was made. Joy was had. 

So much so that this morning was but a distant memory that I was only reminded of just now when I went to climb into bed, and realized I never finished washing the sheets.

Life is what we make of it. It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we respond. My tears and guilt were normal reactions, it’s ok to feel those feelings, process them, and move on. 

When we stay stuck or try to avoid feeling them, we don’t serve ourselves or the universe. We reject the gift that each day is and we let our future be decided for us. That is a life by default.

Mine is a life by design. šŸ’– 

To fast or not to fast

The last week of 2017 I chose to begin a water fast. Having watched a documentary (The Science of Fasting) months ago about it, I was intruiged. I continued to research and talked to people who had completed fasts of various lengths – I decided to go for it.

My total fast length was 6 days, 3 minutes. The only thing I ingested during that time was water.

My goals were to reset my body. I have Multiple Sclerosis (diagnosed in 2001), and have reached a point where I can’t manage it without meds much longer. I had nothing to lose as far as I was concerned.

Day one: This day was fairly easy. We’ve all gone most of a day without food, so I had scheduled regular work activity for the day and went about my day. I found that I would enter the kitchen to graze whenever I was bored – not necessarily hungry. This habit was strongest whenever I would first enter the house. Seems I would beeline for the kitchen automatically. Interesting to note. I began to get a headache as well – likely caffeine withdrawal.20180104_075013.pngDay two: I can sum this day up in one word – hangry. I was grumpy, hungry,Ā and my patience was at a minimum. My headache continued, and again I had a fully scheduled work day. This was rough. I didn’t want to talk to people, I didn’t feel good. I made it through and was grateful when it was time to go to bed.

Day three: Hell. I woke up at about 3am feeling awful. TemperatureĀ regulation was a problem – hot then cold, headache, body pains, heartburn – tossing and turning until I got out of bed a few hours later. It was at this point that I reached out to my circle who had completed a fast previously to help pull me through. I was reading when to quit a fast, and I really wasn’t sure I could do it. That morning I didn’t have the strength to stand up and blow dry my hair, so I sat on the floor to dry it just enough so it wouldn’t freeze. Again, I went to work – however I had a difficult time standing and talking at the same time – it took too much energy. This was by far my most difficult day.20180104_075043.pngDay four: After a good night’s sleep I awoke feeling rested and ready. My headache was gone, my energy was higher, my mind clear. I had broken some of my morning habits already – the primary one being sitting for about an hour each day – fiddling on my phone, drinking coffee. My schedule was light, as I wasn’t sure how the end of the week would play out and I found myself knocking things off my long standing to-do lists. I was also building a sense of accomplishment over the fast and excited to see what would happen next.

Day five: Even better than day 4. More energy, more clarity, it was almost a spiritual experience. Focused and determined, I was able to work on my business and home at a level I hadn’t in a long time. Rashes were clearing up, my skin felt amazing. Pain was gone, I felt almost invincible! I began to plan for breaking my fast, as I didn’t want to go through refeeding syndrome and felt like my body was a temple not to be tainted.

Day six: Another amazing day. I was sad that the fast was coming to an end, and I was pumped for the future. Feeling healthy and strong, clear headed and determined, ready to take on the world. That evening, I broke the fast with bone broth.

I am now 4 days post fast. I have been eating quite clean (following a detox diet – although unable to eat all of what is on the menu daily) and the focus and clarity continues. However, not all is well. I have noticed that I lost muscle during the fast – my strength level is low. My rashes have already returned and my pains are back. This leads me to think that there might be some sort of allergic response to the foods I am eating – although my diet is super clean – perhaps something is not syncing with me. This is something I am going to explore much more in the upcoming months, as I am not a fan of a life of medicines and truly believe that if I am nice to my body, it will be nice to me.

I am eating now using the intermittent fasting method. I have an 8 hour window each day in which I eat (12-8) following the theory that this way my body does not run on sugars alone and it is said to limit inflammation. The jury is out, although personally I’m quite disappointed as I sit here having bounded out of bed this morning only to fall to the floor when my right leg gave out unexpectedly(classic MS symptom for me).

As far as weight – I started at 140.0 (literally Christmas day, so this was a somewhat high spot for me) and ended at 130.2 – for a total loss of 9.8 pounds in 6 days. 4 days of food later and I am back to 134.7.

IMG_20180104_074139.jpgOriginially I was certain that this would beĀ something that I would do again – the clarity and energy while I was in ketosis was addictive. However given my weakness from muscle loss and the return of symptoms so quickly, I don’t think I will put that stress on my body again.

I am forever grateful for completing the fast and for all of the support I had going through it. Wouldn’t change a thing. I am still excited for the internal clarity shifts that occurred and look forward to what this 2mm shift will do to my trajectory. I do feel like a bit of a badass for completing it and added it to my overall life experience bucket.Ā C81A4320