Hahahappy Hangover To Me!

Rich’s birthday is the day before mine, so we’ve combined them for many years. Molly hosts a gathering every year, except for 2020, and we were ready to make up for it! I always felt so lucky, because we celebrate on his actual day, but it’s my party, too, and in the morning I get to wake up to a whole ‘nother birthday, all to myself!

This year I realized, “Wait… Rich gets the party on his birthday. I just wake up with a hangover on mine.” I’ve felt for so long that the joke’s on me. The thing I like about my life now is that I feel like I’m in on it, enjoying the punch line, not just the butt of it.

It was wonderful.

Another rainy April birthday for two!
Thierry and Margaux led a sing-along, in French!
Happy Hangover to me! In yestermakeup. With THIS CAT! >*..*<

Work is busy and challenging. I continue to mark meaningful progress. Catastrophinc defeats, too, haha! I feel like this job is the link in the chain to Adulting 101 for me. I’m not nearly as afraid as I once was. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a relaxed person, but I’m not derailed by failure. Setbacks happen, and always will. Onward and upward.

They surprised me with cake! Apparently, there’s an employee birthday budget and everyone gets treated on their day, but I didn’t know that. I didn’t expect a thing. Of course I was delighted. I think I might have clapped and exclaimed, and then moved on to enjoy dessert, if they hadn’t started singing. In my whole life, my coworkers have never sung to me. There was this split second that I’m standing there looking at each of them, giving me this moment, and thinking, “How extraordinary. How truly humbling.” You know it’s coming at a party, but work? Some were shy; Most felt awkward. It was beautifully out of tune and personal. Thank you.

This is the team I’ve been looking for. We have everyone from high schoolers on their first job to cooks who’ve been in the business for decades. We serve a population at the end of their lives, and we support and enjoy each other. If you had told me that I’d be working in a restaurant in midlife, I’d have thought myself a failure but, like I said, joke’s on me.

It’s a great surprise, to be so happy with where I’m at, when all my life I’ve lived in terror of where I was going and what it meant about me.

That’s the difference between Christie Then and Now. I’m in this. Good and bad continues to come and go. I feel lucky in life. I’m more happy than not, and I’m equipped to see myself through difficulty. I’m more basic than I could accept as a desperate child. I like it.

Happy birthday to me.

^ worth posting again

I’m healing, finally. Right on time. I always was a late bloomer, the perfect Spring baby. And if half the world should wish to throw petals at my feet to celebrate my birth, I mean… Who am I to refuse?

“You were born! You were born!”

Can you believe I spent my youth wishing I hadn’t been?! Life really is a mysterious gift.

3.21.21

Happy Spring!

Yesterday, it rained all day and today it snowed! I love Spring snow, because you can reasonably expect it to be in the 50s or 60s in a couple of days, and it’s the last chance to accumulate inches in our mountains. We desperately need it this year.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Click HERE to donate to scholarships for adults with Down Syndrome who wish to continue their education beyond high school.

I’m loving my new job. I worked entirely on my own today, for the first time. It got a little hairy – pretty rough, really – but I didn’t burn the building down and I’m getting better every day. My boss is precisely what I needed and didn’t get at my last job. My training was thorough, and I feel fully supported. All my needs are met.

I love the chance to learn something new. I love the opportunities it opens up for me, particularly feeding large groups at festivals as a way to support the community and participate. I love finally demystifying the kitchen!

Cooking for an army doesn’t help me cook for one, but it does widen my culinary imagination. Mainly, this job mitigates fear that’s held me back from cooking for myself.

I look forward to continued improvement at work. I look forward to returning to EMDR, haha! (My therapist and I worked the same days, with the last job, and I haven’t had my head shrunk in six months.) I LOOK FORWARD TO GREEN AND WARM, AND FLOWERS AND BLOSSOMING TREES!

I love Spring!

2.22.21

222! I love you you you! Happy 9th Blogiversary to me! 🙂

My friends called an impromptu girl trip overnight to Lava Hot Springs. It was such a wonderful, low-key, good time. Recently, for pain management, I started using Celebrex, which heightens the effect of alcohol. I was tipsy halfway into my first beer. I drank six beers and went to bed before 11pm, haha! Seems the party girl is officially retired.

It was lovely.

It’s interesting to arrive at my 9th blogiversary. Nine in Numerology signifies the closing of a cycle, and it feels like the end of an era. My intention, starting this blog, was to forgive. My understanding of forgiveness at the time was almost a sense of graduating from my hangups, so I could move forward unfettered by them evermore. I now understand forgiveness to be a kind of grace. The issues dogging me nine years ago (and all my life) aren’t going away. Grace is loving those things for the opportunity they offer to develop resilience and compassion. (On days when that’s too much, grace says, “You don’t have to. Take a day off.”) The wounds that made me are a part of me, and will ebb and flow in their effect on me. Forgiveness isn’t something you do and it’s done. It’s something you revisit again and again. Forgiveness goes deeper with each new layer you peel back, and its levels are infinite. You can receive its messages or not, but the invitation always stands: “I have more to teach you.”

I was dismayed at first to learn that. I was tired and overwhelmed by an awareness of more to do. Now I’m proud to seek it.

Further, I’ve changed the object(s) of my forgiveness from those who’ve injured me to me. I forgive myself for being human. I forgive myself for having to revisit things I’ve made peace with and come to terms with them all over again. I commit to doing it all over again, every time I have to. I forgive myself for being sensitive, and being more hindered by the damage of the past than another person with the same or similar background. I forgive myself my own impossible standards, and I forgive myself for hating me for being weak from time to time.

I embrace my sensitivity. I never want to lose it. I celebrate, also, my hardiness and determination. It’s sensitivity itself that generates my particular, unique strength. It takes courage to look honestly at hard things.

In preparation for my ten year blogiversary, I commit this year to inner work that remains to be done, that 2020 brought into focus. I’ve been making the right progress all along, but I set the intention now to make this, my native lunar year, The Year of The Ox, the thesis statement and its conclusion. I have a clearer understanding of how my demons have manifested. What remains is to continue practicing new coping skills and asserting healthy boundaries. I hope to sum up and report, this time next year, the journey of forgiveness and growth I took in this space.

Thanks for coming along with me!

2.21.21

I deleted last month’s forever long diatribe, then restored it. It’s embarrassing, but it’s real. I dropped low and hard. I hate how blame-y I was, but I really just found that my teacher would not follow through on any commitments or promises. I had to give notice.

Failure is hard. I still struggle with it, but I’ve come out of the bleak, vegetative state.

Now I’m a chef! I cook for 60 to 75 residents of an independent and assisted living facility four blocks from my house. It’s so nice! We have palm trees inside! The rent is outrageous, sorta where the wealthy go to live out their golden years.

The food’s amazing. It’s intimidating, but I’ll get it. I so appreciate actual training, after receiving no guidance, instruction, or assistance at my last job. I can sink or swim with the best of ’em, but my experience felt more like being thrown to the lions.

I love the community already. I think I need to feel like I’m making a difference for good. Already, there’s a feeling among the staff like the one I experienced when I worked in hospice ten years ago. There’s something sacred about it.

I call on The Brothers Jones – who loved to cook, serve, and entertain – to help me prepare the food, remember my training, and enjoy the process, and I consciously put love into my food. It’s very healing after feeling like I was actually doing harm.

So, yeah. Hard month-and-a-half there. I hadn’t thought that isolation was taking much of a toll, but it did at last. Seclusion, job loss, helluva time finding work, only to find a bad fit, finally to land at something I can grow into and love. I’m back up and going.

I love 2021’s Vision Board. Peace, balance, steady as she goes. Solid Taurus woman.

And I cut five inches off my hair!

And I’m encouraged by reminders of the following:

It’s okay that some things are lost. Rather than clinging to “essential” pieces of myself, I’m creating something new. My future is wide open, and very close. I feel my Salt Lake chapter coming to its conclusion, soon. Two or three years, at most.

The depth of last month’s crash was shocking, freeing. I think about what it means to give up. “I give up.” We’re supposed to. We outgrow things. We grow into new things. We ready ourselves for more robust challenges. We’re not meant to keep what no longer serves our growth, purpose, health, and joy.

Giving up is shamed and underrated, but keeping a strangle hold is childish, fear-based. I’m okay with giving up. When I’m well, I’ll think of it as giving way. When I’m not, I’ll give up. Time, productivity, activity, visibility, whatever it takes to get back to balance.

Becoming is hard work. I give up expectation, social conditioning, familial projection. I give up the “right way.” I make my way. It’s plodding and slow, fitful, meandering, and mine.

1.21.21

I was so hoping to post on 1.21.21 that the inauguration was a celebration of a kind of palindrome of U.S. leadership, into a four-year morass of an amoral ass, and back out to restore what Obama accomplished. I hoped to write about the participants, the feelings they inspired in me, to add my voice to a chorus of hope, relief, gratitude, and healing, to share in what is felt right now by so many in our shredded homeland. I hoped to record how the ceremony answered and exceeded every cry for restoration, purpose, and change the nation has been bleeding for.

Well, half of us. God, that’s overwhelming. However! If President Biden is known for anything, it’s for bipartisan labor and success. He is the person for this day and time. Never in my life did I think I would rejoice in a man so disinclined to impassioned oratory. Thank god he’s an old hat at doing the job and getting things done.

I wanted to write of the joy and relief of finally seeing a woman in high office. “I may be the first but I will not be the last.” Finally. Finally. Thank god, finally.

We watched it in school. I cried. I looked around and found another assistant silently sobbing and we both started laughing. Such a difference between the last five years of terror and division to unity, inspiration, elevation.

I was prepared to come home and write from a heart released from psychic assault and honor the quiet solace of reliable tradition. Of humble, plain spoken address, of exalted expression in music and poetry, of a celebration like none before for a weary nation in tatters.

Then afternoon came. Afternoons are harder; it’s scholastic fact. English is my 6th graders’ hardest class and the one I am tasked to lead. Alone. It’s day after day of battery and failure and rebellion and varying levels of verbal, threatened, and actual violence.

I gave my notice before Christmas break. Our teacher had been promising, since I started in October, that she would alternate teaching assignments. She promised this to me individually and in meetings with all of us.

It’s the only thing that could come close to working. When these kids attach the same face to the same dreaded class, they set their teeth against it (the face and the class), and we’ve lost them. No learning can occur in a power struggle.

I’ve learned so much about power struggle, and acquired so many new skills. In many ways I’m proud of myself for trying the hardest thing I’ve ever done, knowing it would be so, and never phoning it in. I’m so grateful for the joy and company of young people. And I’m delighted by irony. I attended a parenting webinar last weekend! (“I opted out!”)

For all my resistance, I turned into a teacher and, honestly, I feel born to it. In childhood, people told me to be a teacher. (It was always a put down for being demanding or bossy.) I got this from more than one teacher, by the way, and countless other adults.

In my adult life, nascent to now, people have continued to ask if I’m a teacher.

I am not predictable!

Yes, dear Taurus, you are.

How lovely to enjoy the joke! It’s been so rewarding to feel like my blood, sweat, and tears are worth it. It matters to me what these children experience at school. I do my very best, every day. I can’t say that about anything before this.

When my teacher failed to keep the promise she made – or even do it once – I stopped asking to take turns. I knew she’d never alternate us. Instead, I asked not to go it alone every day. More empty promises.

She waits until it’s fallen part apart completely, and the damage is done. I honestly don’t care if they learn anything. I only care that they leave with a positive experience at school. All they learn on my watch is I HATE SCHOOL. And school hates me. Especially that. Imagine how that feels every day of your life. I cannot witness educational trauma every day of my life. This is not something I can hold.

I can say that I’ve done my best, but I don’t believe it. I don’t feel it. I certainly can’t process it. I bring it home. I store it in my body, in my psyche. I’m not rattled, or even triggered anymore. I’m destroyed. I’m dead inside. I’m not capable of this job, and everyone else is doing it just fine. It’s hard not to compare and impossible not to feel like shit. I’m doing stupid fucking breathing and stupid fucking salts like it does stupid fucking anything. I’m an idiot. “Your best is good enough” is a stupid fucking platitude that fucking enrages me.

I hate to hear myself blaming her, but she let me down. She threw me in the lion’s den with no skills and no support. And who cares about that? I don’t even care about that. THESE KIDS! All they’re experiencing is trauma. Again. All that happens for them is confirmation that they’re bad and wrong and incapable and hated. All she had to do was sit with us!

It’s always the same. I start with clear instructions for the hour, the last 20 minutes of which are individual computer exercises. They know my expectations, but I invite them to participate every day. I acknowledge that afternoons are harder, “and that’s just a thing. Not good or bad. Just a thing about school.” I tell them it’s okay that they don’t like Language Arts. “I don’t like Math.”

I promise them that I don’t want perfect, because there’s no such thing. “Our best is different every day, but let’s try for it together. I believe in you. You have my permission to roll your eyes now…. And let us begin!”

Every day enthusiastic, ready, willing. On my own we’ve had two good days. Two. Since October. My teacher knows exactly how this will go. Their shut-down-break-down will escalate until they yell, threaten violence, or commit violence. And every day, she leaves me alone to get them there, to that place of rage, loss of control, fear, shame, and self-loathing. Then she removes one or both of them, to study with her, after harsh reprimand, in the naughty room. The room set aside for misfits. The stupid kids and bad ones, which is absolutely how they see themselves and believe that we see them. All this after they’ve lost the ability to regulate their emotions.

We’re all being traumatized while she works at her desk or helps the 5th graders, whose emotional age difference is more like three years than one and makes them easier.

I have cPTSD. I’ve descended as far down the rabbit hole of mental illness as I go. For fucks sake, yesterday I Googled, “I want to die,” just to see what would pop up. Fucking suicide hotline. Ugh. I don’t know what I thought I’d find. I don’t remember thinking at all. I am absolutely numb right now. Thinking about it today, I imagine perhaps I thought I’d find other people saying the shit I’m writing now, but I’m glad I didn’t. I would have denigrated it and hated on people, just like I’m doing now to this writer.

So there it is. I’m fucking insane, and I’m stupid for thinking I could do this. I understand these kids, because I am these kids. Except I test well.

I have to leave. It would have been devastating in any case, but now I’m at the lowest and worse state of my health. I have to leave now, disappear from boys who’ll believe in every cell, with the whole essence of their spirits, that I left because of them. That they are stupid and bad and wrong and rejected. They’re failures. And I did that.

I really thought I could do this. Why the fuck did I give up my unemployment? I had until April but I wanted to work. Obviously, I’m not fit to work. I just take up space and resources.

Before you go panicking, I’m not going to kill myself. I speak the unabashed truth, because it’s the reality of many people. I’m old enough to know exactly what’s happening to me and I’ll get through it. I always do. But I’m not trying to recover anymore. I’m closing doors and walls, and disappearing into half-living hibernation. I’m waiting out my cat, whose love I’m currently rejecting because I’m dead inside. I AM MY MOTHER.

Oh, great. Family. Did you know my perfect sister has done this job for 16 years, with excellence, equanimity, and promotion? (I swear to you that’s not why I did it! It was a random listing on jobs.utah.gov. I became interested in this field three years ago when my best friend’s daughter was born with special needs, but I took the job because a global pandemic caused mass job loss and no one would hire a middle-aged woman except for an administrative population of them.)

I know my sister and I are different. I know that I came out of our childhood with an illness and she didn’t, but they don’t. “It wasn’t that bad,” is the attitude – and words – of those who erase my lived experience.

FOR YOU! It wasn’t that damaging to you. I got sick.

I say I did my best in this job but I don’t believe it. I give up. I let go. It’s a relief to stop trying, to erase myself and my dreams, to see myself in the future through no lens other than that of my animal babies. I crave a small life in a tiny home, refuge in a place where no one will look. I’m broken and incapable of interaction. Deep inside I’ve died, and my students pay the price. I pay the price. My cat pays the price.

Penny’s freaking out. She’s almost 17 years-old and following me around the house meowing, instead of sleeping. I have no affect, no chatter, no response, other than to push her off. I actually did that. She’s desperate, begging me to come back.

When I cry, she comforts me. She licks my tears! She kneads my chest and belly. She attends me. Now, I’m not here. An empty, dead, Christie-shaped thing is here. She’s never seen me like this. Neither have I.

I’m really sad to relinquish hope. Admitting defeat is not natural to me. It’s a greatest strength/ greatest weakness situation (and a Taurus thing). I’m alive because I’ll be goddamned before I admit defeat. But I’m killing myself trying to be something I’m not. I hope to forgive myself for not becoming my vision board. I hope to forgive the Christie that emerges. I hope she’s happy with the choice I’m making today.

Right now I can’t imagine that, because I’m not even giving two weeks. I’m disgusted and filled with regret. It’s unprofessional, disrespectful, and so damaging to our vulnerable classroom community, but I gave notice in December when I confessed that I was unable to return for the coming semester and nothing changed. Again.

I was given personal assurance (with tears and begging) and I gave my trust to a teacher who had shown me already that she would not follow through with her commitments. I deserve to do what’s right for myself, but I did it all wrong.

I shouldn’t have accepted the position. What was I thinking? I crumble at hard things.

I’m devastated to lose faith in tomorrow. In spite of a filthy mouth and mental defect, I’m an optimist. Enthusiasm was the one thing I considered essentially characteristic of my nature. Enthusiastic is my first adjective. It was the only thing I had faith in.

When I left my family’s religion, I felt betrayed by the institution, but I gained an opportunity to grow beyond that one perspective, the freedom to explore and arrive at my own unique truth. This is losing my religion. I don’t who I am anymore. I want annihilation. I’ve never wanted that before. I’ve wanted change. I’ve wanted anything else, but never to disappear from everything I was and ever hope to be. I don’t want a future. I want to stop.

Since I can’t, I’m powering down. When the immediate crisis has passed, I’ll cultivate that picture of a small, cozy, quiet future. I might feel the truth of it for the first time. I’ve never explored it. I’m not too worried about that right this minute. Right now, I just want out of the screaming Fibromyalgia flare this stress has caused me.

I rarely take my prescription. I hate it. I’m high as a kite right now and still in pain. It’s relented enough that I can breathe, but only that much, and I have a backwards reaction. Most people get loopy and drowsy. I get jittery and grind my teeth. My jaw hurts SO BAD. (Plus, it’s dehydrating and you pay for that later, in pain! No matter how much water you drink.) Last night in bed, I was moaning from pain. At least it distracted from emotional pain. Nothing exists but pain when you’re in that deep. Good god, woman, admit defeat and manage it like your doctor told you to! This is what PRN means.

So there it is. I’ll be deleting this soon, but I’m glad I got it out of me. (?)

I’m glad the inauguration was so beautiful. The class enjoyed it, too. One of my students said, “I hope Joe Biden likes Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That would make my whole life.” So we wrote letters. “P.S. This will surprise you,” he closed, adding a second page and attaching an image of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Made my whole life.

I’m grateful to hold that memory along with the rest. I love my kids. I will miss them.

I was very grateful to be given priority for Covid vaccinations through work.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2021!
New beginnings, everyone!

Today, Jan. 5, 2021, is pretty monumental for me. I’m THREE MONTHS smoke free!

The last time I quit anything for three months, it stuck. It was October 2016 that I quit Diet Pepsi, and I don’t drink it anymore. It might even have been four years, I don’t remember, but no less than three since I gave it up. In that time, I’ve had less than five sodas. (Technically, I’ve had one cigarette and three drags, but I am SMOKE FREE!)

School started yesterday. My headache started today. That’s okay. It’s hard work. Every day, first thing after taking off my shoes, I wash my hands or shower with salts that I shoved a lot of energy and love into over Christmas. I meditated the hell outta my break, and I’m doing Kabalabhakti – Breath of Fire – two or three times per week.

I hope you’re enjoying a sense of well-being, even while we continue to shelter in place. I’m grateful to feel the fresh start of a new year, and looking forward to practicing ease and getting used to my hectic routine.

12.20.20

Hindsight 2020, year in review.

2020 was the opposite of the bucket list I expected it to be.

I love to checking off To Do lists. I was off to a good start. The top left corner of my Vision Board was done by February, with my attendance at Slay Lake City, and the middle was in progress. Top right is still proceeding, too. In fact, 2020 offered clarity on how I’ll actually achieve lift-off to Bolivia. Until this year, I had doubts that I could surmount fear and inertia when it comes to putting that big dream in motion when the time comes. I figured it out. I know what I’m doing, and I’m not afraid!

If you’ve read me for any length of time, you know I’ve been threatening to depart The SLC for years. I can’t seem to extract myself. The difference now is I’m ready. I’m hungry to go. I’m so excited, I actually feel guilty. Like somehow I’m just waiting Penny out.

(“I love you, Penny. You’re my best friend. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. Stay as long as you want. You tell me when you’re ready.”) >^..^<

So! I found some 2020 Vision, after all. I accomplished the whole first line of my board. Not bad before Covid stopped everything. That’s nice to realize. I’m on my way, in spite of the supreme challenges of this historic, singular, life-altering year.

Good. I needed to remember that, because I ended the year stressed.

I don’t know about assistant teaching. On the one hand, I’m good at it. I’m determined. I’m playful. I’m committed to these kids. But it’s taking everything out of me.

I haven’t done anything other than work since I started. With Covid, no one’s doing’s anything so it really isn’t much of a change, but I feel miserable coming home every day and falling asleep on the couch by 8pm.

I’m eating garbage. I don’t stretch. I don’t wash my face. I don’t even make my bed in the morning! (That’s my religion. Your momentum and mental clarity are set by the simple act of making your bed.) I come home, dump my things by the door, and sit. And snack. And binge. Until I fall asleep. I don’t even work eight hours a day! How can I be so tired?

It’s a real shift jumping into work that matters, after a life of completing tasks. Competently, yes. Always with integrity… but a different thing entirely when you care with your whole being. These kids, oh, these kids. I love them. I worry. Am I good enough? I’m just some woman off the street! What were they thinking? I’m doing my best, but what can I do? Adolescence and learning differences are a real double, triple, unquantifiable whammy.

I scheduled a massage the first day of Christmas break. When my therapist asked how I’ve been, I laughed and told her, “You’ll see.” She got into my shoulders and I got into my story of the last few months. I always enjoy her perspective on matters intuitive, but when she asked me, “How do you feel about breathing exercises?” I started to cry.

I don’t know what it is about breathing as meditation, or even the suggestion of breathing as a practice, but it’s the quickest trigger to my anxiety. The truth is, I’ve known that breathing is the key for me. Maybe it is for everyone, I don’t know. I’m particularly resistant. That’s probably why it keeps coming up.

My guides have whispered, “Breathe” for as long as I can remember. It always makes me lose my breath. I get that inability to reach the deep, satisfying breath that leads to a panic attack. It takes over. I have to stop everything to get that breath or I’ll flip out. I’ve been yawning over and over writing this.

Naturally, I haven’t listened to Source. Rather, I’ve put Source off, as I do: “Later.”

When someone else’s intuition picked up on the call to face my fear, I cried. I guess it was the right place to confront it. Harder to lock down when you’re being oiled and spoiled. I was as relaxed as I get. She gave me some resources. I didn’t start yesterday, but I did practice guitar again for the first time in months, ha! I’m really good at distracting myself.

So! Off I go, to breathe and stretch and reset for two whole weeks of nuthin’ to do. Best Christmas ever!

Here’s to 2021, and healing breaths for everyone!

****

I have my annual Vision Board displayed all year on on my dresser. I don’t really see it anymore, so I giggled anew at the beautifully snarky scrap I found about midlife crises. I’ve been in a profound midlife transition for years, but I can safely say that this year it reached a couple crisis points. I threw a classic depressive tantrum a couple weeks ago and quit EMDR therapy. “What’s the point? I’m out,” haha!

No worries. I’ll be back.

Oy vey, 2020! Welcome to the rear view!

****

(P.S. Seriously, best time to be born! Am I the luckiest? We were the young and relevent during Y2K. Who gets to be this pretty celebrating both the end of the world and Prince’s epic anthem? Lucky!

Tonight, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999! ♪

I love this pic because I hated this pic. Also, because I was gorgeous and now I’m old. And well-aware that in 20 years I’ll mulit-post pics I hate today, because I was gorgeous.

Alright, alright! I’m going. Breeeeeathe.)

11.20.20

So… Hindsight 2020 is all but behind us, good people! Who can believe it?

I won’t lie. It’s hard not to feel let down by it. You know how I love Story, and I can’t believe my good fortune, an accident. Fate. To be born in 1973 places me firmly in midlife just as I like to be: the young one at the party, ha! (Next year, I can’t get away with calling myself “newly” middle-aged any longer.)

I landed in 2020 having barely developed hindsight in time for it. I have something to play with during this once-in-a-lifetime chapter heading of a year, and it was shut down! Robbed though I was of neat execution of my vision for this blogyear, 2020 was exactly what I needed to jump start my life, offline. I lost my job and gained a career, my first!

I’ve dealt with childhood trauma by opting out. Short of finding my calling, a childish fantasy that most people outgrow – (a few find their callings!) – I was unwilling to invest in any job beyond its capacity to pay my most basic bills. If I couldn’t find satisfaction or numbness in ambition, I WOULD NOT DO ANY JOB THAT CAME HOME WITH ME. I worked with integrity but wouldn’t care off the clock, by god.That’s how I survived youth.

And now it’s behind me.

I love my job. I love learning how to do this. I love the challenge it is to my creativity, both to reach my students and to get over myself while they act like children on the cusp of adolescence are supposed to, and like individuals with learning differences and special needs have to. And to do no harm while expecting their best.

This isn’t marking time, and I love it. This matters. I care! And I love it.

So, 2020 was a bummer for the yearlong blog-a-bration to bookend my first half but, gimmicks notwithstanding, it was a gift.

It’s been a year since China announced the first case of Covid. I’ve been very fortunate not to lose any loved ones to this virus. I do feel the heaviness of global fear and loss, but have been spared personal grief. Truly, I feel spared. That would be devastating, indeed, when the horrifying scale of it in the U.S. could have been minimized.

I’m so happy Biden won. I’m not deluded. I’m aware that America’s partisan shit show isn’t going anywhere, but firing the Malignant Narcissist-in-Chief and supplanting him with someone with morals is a big deal. Some might say the most important deal. I would.

Trump lost. It’s nearly over. A vaccine is close. My sibling has Covid and I’m worried, but I’m like everyone else. Lucky to be alive and grateful for it. I can’t sufficiently communicate how unexpected that is. Young Christie would never have believed this irrelevant Ma’am.

I love my life. It’s getting there. We’ll get there, too. Hang on a little longer. In a mask. On Zoom. Six to twelve feet apart when necessary. Happy Thanksgiving.

(P.S. Seriously, the best time to be born! We were The Young and Beautiful for Y2K. We actually partied like it was 1999! And look at us! I mean, who gets to be that beautiful to celebrate both the end of the world and Prince’s epic anthem?! Haha!

God, I’m old.

Alright, alright! I’m going. Breeeeeeathe.)

10.20.20

We’ve entered the last quarter of 2020! In two weeks, another poisonous campaign season will end and, though we will wait longer than we want to for the result, it’s done. We can rest.

I will continue to hope for Biden and Harris, obviously, but more on that later. I’m never shy of opinion, and it’s bound to express politically soon enough [again]. I’ve voted already. Now I just look forward to the end of this cycle. I’m beginning to feel it.

… Perhaps because my attention is focused elsewhere. Y’all, you’re looking at a woman embarking on a new career! I’M A SPECIAL NEEDS TUTOR!

I started assistant teaching 5th and 6th graders last week. It was terrifying! Still scares me every day, but already I see promise in myself and my students. In just two days, I made a connection with my most inaccessible child. He was the final hold out. I was concerned he would never let me try to reach him. When I passed that hurdle, I felt a certainty that I’d made the right decision. This is a job I can do well.

Got That Outta My System

Yesterday’s tantrum was just what I needed to adjust course.

I’m a little embarassed. That’s privilege! (It stands, though. It’s human and true, if fleeting.)

When I say Salt Lake endured six hours of 95 mph winds, plus gusts, I mean people were damaged. Property, yes, that’s brutal, but after Covid, a toxic campaign (following four years of devastating, life-threatening “leadership”), our massive earthquake, and race riots (particularly virulent in our ideologically confused small-town city), people are wounded. We’re pretty well beyond what we can handle.

What we want to handle, I suppose. We’re handling.

And I bitch about dating? Honestly, I’m giving myself a pass. I’m in fucking menopause, six or more years earlier that I ever dreamed. I feel betrayed! I thought I’d be older than average. I started late and looked years younger than my peers. (On a trip, my younger friend was mistaken for my mother!)

Menopause began at 46! I hate it! I want my plumpy, rosy hormones back. Kissed by one more cycle, I’d be the happiest, hippiest Earthing girl, sitting my body naked on mountain grounds, to flow into the mother! One last prayer to the goddess and youth, before I embrace this path to The Crone. I dipped my toe in; I’m not ready to step!

I want my body back! I love lists and keeping time and knowing what to expect. Everything is chaos now, my body most of all, and I never get carded anymore.

That said, I do know how blessed I am. Sometimes I’m flattened by gratitude.

I’m so grateful that life has been easy for me in the ways that I needed it to be, in order to heal myself. In a world that didn’t privilege white people, I wouldn’t have the luxury of putting survival down to turn into healing.

I’m so grateful that I’m available to learning. I’m glad to know what I hadn’t known before. It connects me to my greater community, and our human family as one. I feel blessed by the stories that weave us together as Americans, as people on a planet fraught with a history of mistakes and course corrections.

I don’t understand why so many people from my insular region are threatened by that and, again, I’m so grateful for the freedom and understanding it grants me.

I’m grateful, too, while I’m unemployed, to provide service for others, even when it’s misunderstood. Working in Bear Lake went sideways a couple weeks ago when the property owner, a long-time burner friend of ours, arrived a day after Rich and I had made our second trip (with friends), and started raging at me!

Where’s this?! Where’s that?!

I answered truthfully. I didn’t know. I was alone and working. Rich and the gang had gone to fix their new sailboat. I was left to answer for everyone who’s been there during renovation.

“You’d have to ask Molly. I haven’t changed a thing, except the repairs I’m learning.”

“And what are YOU doing here?! What’s in it for you?”

Holy shit. I’ve never been so poorly treated in my life. I’d die for shame. How rude!

I’d be insulted if I weren’t so shocked. Instead, I felt instant gratitude for self-awareness and a modicum of social grace. I’d be humiliated. I’d hide from anyone I treated like that!

Need your screens replaced? Repair them!

My reaction was measured, truthful, and wholly unperturbed. I’m amazed, still, at my healing in those hot moments. And trust me when I tell you, she came in HOT. Other than abuse, I’ve never been so badly treated. I’m gobsmacked, still.

I’m so grateful for EMDR. I’ve rewired my limbic system, and I see the results of it. For years now! One of these days it won’t shock me anymore, but 40+ years is a long time to live in full fight-or-flight. I’ll surprise myself a bit longer, I imagine.

You can intellectualize methods, but behavior therapy is bunk for brain damage, and that’s what sustained childhood trauma creates. My neuro-pathways formed in abuse. My brain was the shape of survival. Neuro-plasticity is amazing, liberating, and humbling!

I’m free. I’m unattached. I’m out of debt. I’m unbound! I’m ready to launch, and hungry for it. So many people suffer while I look forward to adventure and flight.

I’m grateful for determination to keep trying, searching for that “light switch,” and I’m so glad to finally have found it. I’m blessed. I’m proud of myself!

I’ve grown up, at last, and I feel different. I am different, and completely unchanged.

There’s September 2020, bad days notwithstanding. Thanks for letting me unload. I feel better. Hope you’re well, too. Much love.

The image quality is poor because it’s backlit, but I had to include this 125 year old Osage Orange tree that came down. Look at the height of those roots!

Salt Lake looked like a war zone. My favorite park, Liberty, has the most beautiful avenue of ancient trees, and hundreds of others throughout. So many came down.

45 semis were overturned; 1 person killed. 180,000 without power for two, three, even five days, in some cases. This storm was was devastating.

Avenues Cemetery, where many of my pioneer ancestors were buried, was decimated. The grounds were sprawling and diverse, both the landscape and the interred, with Catholic and Jewish cemeteries on the grounds, and even one resident “taken by the beast.” (She died in 1888. I think her husband didn’t like her very much.) It was a powerful, thrilling place that’s rather barren now. There’s just something about sacred ground that makes the loss heavier. It’s been a hard year.

Wind here, flood there, vitriol seemingly everywhere. I’m reminded of the Buddhist principle of Tonglen, holding space with pain rather than rising above it. It’s a beautiful reminder not to be so quick to get away from the more vulnerable states of human experience. Tonglen says, “I breathe in your pain. I breathe out peace.”

Do all we can to improve our situation and our world. Beyond that, breathe. Breathe in the suffering of others when you can. Grant them your comfort. Know when you ache, others are breathing for you and with you. I believe in intention, prayer, and energy.