Friday, April 28, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Help

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

I'm drowning
In the
In the
In the
Just being.

There's been a lot of talk about 13 Reasons Why, the new show that just came out on Netflix based on the book. While I haven't seen the series yet, I did read the book years ago. Knowing the content and how it could potentially make people feel, I think it's important that everyone who is considering watching it do so only if they feel they can, as founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, Jamie Tworkoski, writes in this post. Check it out and, more importantly, please take care of yourselves, friends.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Mantra: *Insert Upside Down Smiley Face*

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: When life is upside down, create your own right-side up
Luke Gram
There's a party in my brain that my body wasn't invited to. It's really quite rude, you guys.

I have a vestibular something or the other, which basically means my inner ear is being weird and the messages it sends back to my brain are somehow all out of whack. When I look around me, the world is shifting and moving and weirdly delayed in some ways. It's like watching Blair Witch, with all the terrible camera action.

To be fair, I've experienced symptoms like this before when I've been on a boat, and in recent years, occasionally after I've had elevation changes. One doctor told me I had vertigo. Another doctor told me I had a sensory conflict disorder (the treatments are different). Regardless, I'm not new to this dizziness business, it's just never, not ever been this bad.

Two days before the wedding I got in a car accident. Nothing terrible, but enough to give me pretty good whiplash and cause some neck and back pain. Then, I got on a plane for a million hours and went through a bunch of elevation changes. To top all of that off, the last day of the honeymoon I got violently ill from what I think was food poisoning, so I got super dehydrated. I tell you all of this because these things are what (so far) the doctors think screwed up my brain. But hey, I just started getting piercing pain in my left ear, so maybe something new and exciting is right around the corner for me. Yippee!

Here's what having a party in your brain is like.

Day 1: I'm supposed to sleep a lot during the day because it helps with the imbalance, but that's impossible because I'm not a vampire.

I'm also supposed to limit things like computer, phone, and TV time because those can boggle the brain and work against the re-balancing. Clearly, I should also not drive.

So, basically, I can sleep and eat and contemplate life, all while being alone and stuck in my house because my husband is out of town for work.

Excellent. Time is going to just fly by.

Day 2: I take the dogs for a walk because I'm at least still allowed to walk. Pretty sure the neighbors think I'm drunk even though I did my best to walk in a straight line.

The dogs may or may not also think I'm drunk.

What feels like Day 742 but is really only Day 3: Bored.

Sooooo bored.

The dizziness is so bad that even normal, every day things like putting the dishes away is challenging. It's like my brain has a delay. I want to put a glass on one shelf but for some reason I put it on a different shelf. I want a fork, I grab a spoon. I forget things really, really fast. It's weird, but mostly a pain because that just means I'm bored bored boredboredbored because I can't freaking do anything.

Same day, 10:00am: I'm lying on the sofa staring at the ceiling thinking of things to think about because I've already thought about everything I could possibly think of!

I come up with something new (whew) and, after a bit, am certain I've killed a considerable amount of time. I look at the clock. It's 10:09am. *facepalm*

Day 5ish: Literally have no idea what actual day it is. My days and nights are all the same and somehow I'm sleep deprived now because my body is all out of whack from all of the over sleeping, to the point where now I can't sleep. At all. This is the funnest.

I start talking to the dogs in a Russian accent. Pretty sure they enjoy it, but regardless, I must keep practicing with them because my new plan in life is to master the accent and become a spy.

This is what happens when you have this much time on your hands.

Day ???: I finally get to see another human being. It's the most exciting thing ever.

I'm at lunch with my friend and having one of the worst episodes yet. One fun fact about this kind of dizziness is that it's incredibly hard to focus. Impossible, at times. So just to try and, you know, be a good friend and pay attention to what she's saying, I have to kind of squint my eyes and furrow my brows and stalker kind of stare at her, which results in this face:
For lunch I ordered sweet potato fries to go with my sandwich. I dunk one in some ketchup and then completely miss my mouth, thus ketchup-ing my cheek.

Still the best, most entertaining day I've had in a while.

Day maybe...7...or so: I finally get to see the specialist. Apparently, he has no idea what exactly I have because I could have something like 1,000 different things. Yay me!

We do some brain exercises, which actually hurt and somehow simultaneously help. It's weird. He tells me a mix of very confusing things. Apparently, I'm allowed to watch TV and play on the computer for a couple hours a day (that's why we get to have this post, ladies and gents. I would've had one sooner for you if it hadn't been for this mess) because he wants me to practice focusing and force my way through the craziness. This is the exact opposite of what every other doctor has ever told me, but I am so bored out of my mind that I don't care and I go home and watch four episodes of Nikita. Spy research, obviously.

Day Something or the Other: My new and so sweet husband is chauffeuring me around and trying to cheer me up because over the past week I've turned into a complete weirdo. I got very emotional for no reason on multiple occasions. I mean seriously, you guys. I saw a butterfly land on a flower and I started crying because I have no clue. I cried at a commercial the other day, not even a particularly touching one. It might have even been an ad for viagra, now that I think about it.

I guess all of these things are normal with this kind of an imbalance, and they will go away as soon as my head re-balances itself, but still. I wasn't really planning on turning into a complete fruit loop until I was at least in a retirement home. Even then, that level of craziness is all part of a plan me and a couple friends have for living it up in our 80's, so me going at this on my own so early on is just downright rude.

So, on Day Whatever It Is Now, I'm just having fun with it. I laugh at myself when I do the opposite of what I was planning on doing. When I realize I've repeated something two minutes after I've just said it, I just shrug it off. And I've decided to embrace the furrowed brow look. It could be the new duck face in 2017, you never know.

I find that hard, challenging moments in life often become much easier once you learn to laugh at them. Once you learn to go with them rather than fight against them. In this case, I'm learning how to make my upside down world feel right-side up. I'm learning that it's not so hard once you start finding the fun in all of it, even if you walk into a wall sometimes.

P.S. If none of this makes sense, which is very possible, I blame it on the party in my head. I think it's turned into a rave.

P.S.S. That's another bonus of this mess. You get to blame everything on the imbalance. I bought cherry ice cream instead of cherries? Whoopsie. *wink wink*

*No offense with all the spy talk, Russia. You know I'm kidding. You're just the only accent I can do and even then I sound like The Count from Sesame Street.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Simple

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

I'm hoping my complexities will lead to my

It's National Poetry Month (wooo!) and I've missed most of it with all the wedding and then relaxing shenanigans. I figured I'd make the most of what remains with starting out simple and working my way from there over the last remaining couple of weeks. More to come my friends!

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Temple of Love

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
The Temple of Love

My hugs will be the frame around your kisses,
Your lips will be the key to unlocking my words.

My laugh will be an echo in your smile,
Your eyes will be the answer to long awaited questions.

Our hands will lock and get lost in one another.

Our thoughts will mix and create a love song.
Our memories will entwine to tell the same story.

Our future will laugh at our past,
And we will be the temple of true love.


This will be the last post for a little bit, gang. The wedding is almost here and I need to finish up some final tasks, plus give myself a little R&R from all the craziness. I'll be back soon!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Mantra: Mischief, Mayhem, and Memories

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Life is strange sometimes
I've turned into a crazy person, you guys.

A fruit cake.

A nut.

To be clear (and to sort of, kind of defend myself because hey, I have feelings), not a bridezilla. I say that because I don't care what shoes the girls are wearing or what their hair looks like or what jewelry they wear. One of my girls might dye her hair purple. More power to her.

I care about things I have never cared about before, not ever in my life. Like how napkins are folded. What the distance is between the aisle runner and the chairs. Whether or not "greenery" means eucalyptus or rosemary.

Crazy stuff.

Even normal things that I do care about typically have gotten derailed. For instance, I've always been a big fan of having a good font on pretty much everything. I am a word person, after all. But ohmygoodness, there are too many options. And too many options drive people to the nuthouse, I tell you! Prior to the wedding planning I hadn't fully realized (or cared) that my name could look so very weird/bad/good just depending on which font I used on our invitations.

Don't even get me started on nail polish colors. Do I want silver glitter? Gold? Silver and gold on a pink base? Or is glitter too glittery? Should I go with a pastel? A bright color? Maybe dark, to offset the pastels? Normally, in Normal Land, I couldn't care the slightest. But now, in Wedding Land, I care. I care in strange and unusual ways. I care so much I painted all of my toes different colors combinations, took a picture, and sent it to my friend so she could help me make a mother effing decision. (As I write this I'm pondering whether or not this post might actually be a cry for decide.)

Outside of that fun, everything else is coming along well. Mostly.

My godparents got into a bad car accident about a month ago. They were both in the ICU and have been released, but they won't be in good enough shape to make it to the wedding. My godfather, along with my favorite teacher and longtime friend from high school, were going to walk me down the aisle. One halfway and the other the rest. Clearly, that won't happen now, which is fine. All I care about is that they're OK; wedding shmedding. Yet, I still wish my godfather could be there.

My godfather, Earl, is one of the last links I really have when it comes to family. I've known him my whole life. He used to live right down the street from my house when I was little. He was friends with my grandparents. Having him there meant I had more family with me, which I have so little of.

When I asked him if he wanted to play a part in walking me down the aisle, I didn't expect the reaction I got. He's a big man, built like a wall. Over a foot taller than me and almost gigantic in some senses. I've always loved that about him. So when I asked him and he broke down into tears, well, it kind of broke me too. Because as big as he is, he's also one of the kindest, most thoughtful, compassionate human beings I know. While I care much more that he's safe and sound at home, I also know how much he was looking forward to this as well. It hurts me that he hurts, whether physically or emotionally.

So, to try and make sure his heart isn't hurting and he doesn't feel bad about not being able to make it, I'm going to make the best of it and bring the wedding to both him and my godmother the next day. We're going to pack up some cake, bring them some favors, take them some of the flowers. We'll have our own little celebration.

On the flip side, to end this on a happy note, let me share with you this story:

When I was in high school, I kind of stumbled into the best thing ever: agriculture. I know how that sounds. Dirt? You found dirt and gardening? 

I was a freshman and I wasn't really enjoying any part of my high school experience whatsoever. My friend was in an agriculture class and had been trying to talk me into switching classes, but I had the same thought you probably did. Dirt? Gardening and stuff?

One day she took me up to the ag. building to try and help me see what I was missing. From the second I waked in, my life changed. It wasn't just a class, it was a family. It was this group of people that all knew and loved each other. They were rowdy and loud, hilarious and fun. They would meet up there before school, at lunch, after school, on the weekends. People of all backgrounds and interests who came together. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. But, it was October and far too late to switch classes. I had this feeling, however, that I had to do whatever it took to join these people. So I begged and pleaded (and begged and pleaded) and the ag. teacher, Mr. Stevens, helped me get moved into his class.

Absolutely every happy high school memory I have stems from finding and joining ag. Literally.

Mr. Stevens, who taught the ag. program, became, in many ways, the father I never had. I know many of us kids felt that way. He wasn't just our teacher, he was a mentor. He was the dad of the ag. family. He cared about each and every one of us. He invested his time in us. He asked questions that he wanted real answers to. He had hundreds of students in all grade levels and he knew all of their names, their interests, their stories.

I took his class all four years. Most everyone did. Once you found that group, you stayed until you were forced out by graduation. Most people came back even after that, to visit on lunch breaks or volunteer for events. No one ever really left.

Over those four years, I told Mr. Stevens I had basically adopted him and that one day, when I got married, I would have him walk me down the aisle. He told me he would be honored to do that. Thus, a promise was made. One we would repeat to each other randomly, like when I graduated and he reminded me to keep him posted. Mr. Stevens is a father to two boys, so I've kind of always thought that maybe, just maybe, this promise might mean even more to him than I realized.

Unfortunately, I didn't keep that promise the first time I got married. That's a long story in and of itself, but I think part of the reason I didn't ask him was because something told me to wait, like it wasn't the right time for some reason. So I listened. Even then, I regretted not having him there. It always bothered me, always. But I also just...couldn't. Life is weird like that sometimes for reasons you can't explain until much, much later.

The moment I knew The Fiance was The One, I also knew Mr. Stevens would be walking me down the aisle, just like we had talked about so many years ago. All my instincts told me this was what I'd been waiting for. This is why I wasn't supposed to ask before. So while I won't have my godfather, I will have my teacher, my friend, my ag. dad. I will finally be able to uphold the promise we made all those years ago.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Lies

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

You're not mine.
We're not us.
It's a lie.

Can't you see?
I'm off key.
Lost my beat.

Turned to dust.
Never was.
This is just


In denial.
Faking smiles.

That we play.
That we lose.
Make us break.

In our hearts.
In our heads.
This is just


Once the best.
Always said
'Till the end.

Of better days,
Of better things,
Of different ways.

Gave us wings.
Gave us dreams.
They all died-


Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Mantra: I Live a Fortunate Life

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: I live a fortunate life and I will not forget that
Rachel Caldwell
Recently, on more than one occasion, I've been reminded of how fortunate I am. In loved ones, in health, in work, in kindness shown to me by others. In so many big and small and in-between ways, like the text messages of songs my friend Noah and I share with each other. Or the wiener dog eraser my friend Nichole bought for me, just because. In love and in laughter and in sacrifices from others. I live a fortunate life.

Anytime I write about being grateful, I never feel like I express it sufficiently. Like nothing I could ever say would be adequate enough to express how truly thankful I am for my life, my people, my path on this journey of living.

There have been many times where I've faltered in compassion, in kindness, in patience, in trying. Times when I feel like I'm failing in living. Those are humbling, helpful moments. It is in those instances that I learn, and it's usually because shortly after I've failed, I'm shown someone else who hasn't. Someone who radiates love. Someone who sacrifices themselves for the joy of others. Someone who has kept going, kept giving, kept kindness as their anchor. When I see those people, when I am reminded by them of what I should strive to be more like, I dust myself off and start again.

I live a fortunate life because of the people in it. Because of countless individuals who have done so much for so little. Because of people I don't even know who, without even realizing it, have paved the way for me and so many others.

I live a fortunate life and I will not let myself forget that.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Oblivion

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Mission failure-
Our surroundings
Silence screaming
All around us
Life has shattered.
Star explosions-
Blinding light.
Black holes dancing
In the sky.
Taking shape.
Only darkness
In this place.
Creeping in.
This is how our
End begins.