2019

I love symbolism, and what could be more refreshing than New Years to hit reset and start again on the things you didn’t do last year? (I’ve been swearing I’d be “fluent” on the didgeridoo for, what, 10 years?)

I place a lot of importance on New Year’s review. This has a been a hell of a year for it.

It started in 2017, when Jax and I broke up. Finally, I knew something about my future: I was never having children. It was sobering and surprising, and so freeing!

A year later, I ran into my favorite old flame – best lover/real emotional affection/worst match – and persuaded him to see me again. We’ve been together now for months.

I’ve never had a carefree relationship. It isn’t superficial. It just doesn’t have to mean everything. I don’t have to understand it. In other words, I don’t have a picture in my head of how this will look in the future, and it’s fantastic! I’ve never had that.

I love him. I’m loving him so much better than I did before. We’re happy.

He’s a ski photographer. Christmas and New Years are his bread and butter, so we parted company two weeks ago and haven’t spoken. We texted once. I invited him to a New Year’s celebration – he is the person I want to kiss right now – but he declined. He had to work New Year’s Day. I expected as much, and went alone.

It’s perfectly equal with Galen, what we want from each other, how we feel about each other, what we offer each other. I can’t say enough how different this is from anything I’ve felt or experienced in my life.

So that’s the biggest thing from 2018, this free, authentic feeling of being with someone purely, not because I have a goal or fear in mind – or in the back of my mind. It feels so good to love someone! I don’t think I appreciated how desperate and selfish my love has been in the past. I was aware, but… yeah, you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s wonderful to love him so wholly.

****

I quit smoking two months ago. I bought a Vape for the holidays, so I wouldn’t go around bumming drunk drags at parties, or walk to a convenience store and buy a pack. (You know that hangover. “Ah shit! Now I have to finish these cigarettes!” Maybe you could throw them out, but I hate waste, throwing away my money, and regret – for the day down the road I wish I hadn’t thrown those cigarettes away.)

The Vape did it! I’m smoke-free and more confident than ever before that I’ll stay that way. Just bring it to any party and you’re set. That melon-flavored metal cylinder accompanies me only when drinking, and I’m perfectly satisfied. Problem solved.

I’ve lapsed on my cooking. Of course, that’s my #1 plan for 2019. Get back into trying new recipes and healthy meals (i.e. lose weight). Galen’s good for that (vegetarian/solar home cook) but, like I said, I got the holidays off from him.

It’s the worst binge, maybe ever. For two weeks straight, every day, everything I can eat, all day, and no real food or fiber. I’ve actually thrown up, actually morphed from Binge Eating Disorder to Bulimia, except I didn’t mean to puke. I just made myself so sick, up it came. So gross. Wow, my life.

I imagine if I hadn’t held onto to Skinny-Is-My-Superpower for so long, I might have figured out some form of food discipline before now? I can’t say. I only know I didn’t. And it’s only gotten worse. Binge Eating Disorder doesn’t sit still, so now I have to make it better. That’s it. Skinny is officially no longer a freebie for me, but I’m more concerned, like any midlifer, with the rest of my life, with comfort, energy, and longevity.

And, let’s be honest, good diet is the last piece of living peacefully with Fibromyalgia. DO IT. If you’re not doing everything in your power to manage your pain, shut up. When you’ve exhausted every option with total integrity and effort, bitch all you want.

Til then, binge less. As a treat. Enjoy it. Accept it. Move on. In 2019, I will binge no more than once a month. Ooh! I just got punch-in-the-gut panic. I can do it.

****

I can’t believe we’re only a year away from 2020. For a decade, I’ve been excited for Hindsight 2020. What a time for review! I feel so lucky to be newbie-middle-aged at this epic symbolic time. I’m young enough to get back into shape and stay that way. (Figure out in therapy this year how to really face Binge Eating Disorder…)

I’m young enough to regain and retain my youthful beauty, and old enough to know that that’s not what matters in my life, but something I enjoy. Thank god I get to!

I have a 5-yr plan for the first time in my life. Penny will be my family for the next 2-5 years. Then I’ll be 50. Fit, brave, happy, free, and ready to TRAVEL.

I’m finishing the process of getting out of debt. (In 2018, my student loan fell to ZERO!!!) I’m not planning to travel much in the next few years. Instead, I’ll save, dream, and plan. I think I’ll drive cross-country with a friend first, then live in South America for at least a year, to teach and travel.

I’ll definitely be in Brazil for Carnival sometime in the next 5 or 6 years. I started doing Samba a couple of months ago. I’m not bad. I’m not good yet, but I will be!

Oh! Be careful what you wish for! I always wanted to join Samba Fogo, Salt Lake’s world-class Afro-Brazilian drum and dance company. (Our founder is 2018’s International Samba Competition winner. This is for real.) In 2018, I did!

I’m in Ala, which means “We.” It’s the community branch of Samba Fogo, and Alas exist all over Brazil, so it’s part of the cultural tradition. We’re performing at the Samba Queen contest this month, and at the annual show in April, which I’ve been attending for years. It’s in that audience that I first began to dream of being on their stage. And now I am.

****

2018 was tough. I came down hard with some boundaries that I’m not second-guessing anymore. I made cuts. I didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to write about it as it was happening. I just did it.

My circle has grown much smaller, and my family’s pretty much out. I never thought I’d fail there, but I have to love myself enough to make unapologetic choices for my safety, even when my mom lectures me in a Christmas card about the need to forgive.

I have. I forgive and forgive, but I continue to be disrespected and disregarded. I give myself permission to leave, whether that’s demonized or not. I don’t need them to understand or stop gossiping about what a bad, withholding person that makes me.

Am I adulting?! Not around them. In their company, I’m everything they say I am.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about etymology, specifically the phrase, “You make me sick.” Most of us are guilty of projecting on someone in that way. I’ve been asking myself lately, “Why do we say that?” “What a strange way to blame someone.”

Why? Because the feeling is one of illness!

It was always there. My family makes me sick. No one respects my boundaries, so I get pissed and pissy, and the cycle roars on. I have a role, but it’s a family act. I’m the screaming, suicidal girl. They scapegoat me for all our problems, because I make the most noise.

When I was young I said all the time, “You think when I leave, everything will be great. It won’t. Just you wait.”

It didn’t. I didn’t start it. I was born into malfunction, but it’s my fault now. All of it.

I’m a symptom, but for them I’m to blame.

So I can’t be around them. It’s sad, but it’s the right thing to do. I act like a child. I hate myself. I hate them. I don’t sleep for weeks. I binge. I trigger mom (who’s already triggered anticipating family togetherness, so she jumps on my buttons).

The rest of them are openly bigoted, dutifully silent, or subtly cutting. (I hate it when people skirt responsibility for “jokes” that hurt. “I was kidding.” Bullshit. You’re cruel.) They don’t care that hate-mongering hurts me. I’m just being difficult.

We’re sick. A family is only as healthy as its sickest member, and I actually get sick with them. 2019 is about respecting all of my health and honoring it, even when my family calls me a horrible person, even when I want to hit three fast food joints in a row.

I ache for the loss of a treasured, long-time friendship, and the bruising of another, but I’ve changed. Things have changed. Twenty and thirty years ago, I’d tolerate nearly anything not to jeopardize relationships that replaced family, but I won’t now.

Without intending any shift in dynamics, that’s what’s taken place. It ended one relationship, inasmuch as I’ve made peace with allowing that friendship to belong to its time and place, love her always, and move on without her.

Another friendship is dinged, badly, and the aftermath remains to be seen, though I can say she’ll always be in my future and vice versa. There’s assurance in that, but sorrow knowing that I might be disappointed forever by what I get back: nothing in the present. Never a text, never a phone call, rarely an answer to same, not even acknowledgment.

It’s so rude. I don’t deserve scraps. Not even social decorum for your best friend?

I give more. It’s reasonable to ask for more. I may not get it. History wouldn’t say so.

It’s sad.

Holding on to what no longer serves us is immature, and I’m not. I’m 45 years old. I’m kind of a bitch and I’m a good person. I’m whole and complex, and I don’t want to spend my time with assholes who piss me off.

I want to have fun. I’m smart, deep, compassionate, impatient, intense, and FUN.

Happy New Year.

halfway bitches
women over 40

Sinte

I started drumming a of couple years ago to fill the void that leaving African dance left. The community is so joyful and supportive that I forced my body to “fight through it” far longer than Fibromyalgia wanted me to.

When I left African, I felt like a failure. I was lazy, something was wrong with me – something else, something real, something wanting in my nature, not my body. My body was always strong. I’m young. If I “can’t” do it, it’s because I’m not eating right. I’m still partying. I’m just not talented enough.

Yes, that’s all true. I’d be better at African if I’d stop all those things, but I could still rally. African dance wore me so bare, I was my authentic self. I didn’t want to let it go.

So I drum now, to keep my tie with the community. There’s just something about it that keeps me coming back for more, even when I’m not very good at it. It’s happy, and it feels good to brave failure. I can’t think of anything else I’ve found where I don’t demand perfection from myself. I’m excited by success and improvement, but I don’t need it.

It’s nice to enjoy something something authentically.

I started belly dancing. I think that’s the recipe. Drum for African dance. Move my body elsewhere, somewhere gentler, more lyrical, equally challenging. Belly dance is the perfect fit, and there’s so much room for me to level up!

I give myself permission to have autoimmune disease.

Today, we played Sinte in class. We don’t do that often, and I’m not that good. Drumming is hard! I go for the simplest background rhythm and hold on for dear life.

But Quinn pushed me. “You know this!”

“Okay!” I agreed. It was deep down somewhere, back when I was taking lessons.

I know this!

I remembered the dance. I could feel it in my body, and I did remember once – long ago – learning the rhythm in Quinn’s class.

By damn, I figured it out! It was a huge high, and I barely held on. I did well enough that when I fell off the beat, he harassed and teased me. (If I sucked utterly, he’d correct me and continue to lead.) I laughed a lot today.

It was a great break from the pain of Cricket’s emergency 2 days ago.

Cricket is at the end of her life. Of course I know that. She’s 14 years old in September, OBESE, and sick with random everything all her life, that sweet alien. A respectable, healthy feline life is 12-15 years. She’s given everything she has.

I have a vision. Perhaps it’s selfish. I just want to keep my little kitty until the first cold snap. I want to build a fire in our forever home, their last home, and cuddle with them by the fire. I want to love my girls by the hearth of our home.

After that, whenever she’s ready to go, I’m ready, too. I want Lap of Love to put her gently to sleep on her own pillow, while I thank her for spending her unexpectedly long life with me. Please don’t die under my bed tonight, in pain and frightened, blind from ketoacidosis. Let me hold you in my arms by the fire.

“Thank you for being my baby. Thank you for being my teacher. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you making me a mother. Thank you for teaching me love.”

I feel guilty. I can see that she’s tired. She used to be so grabby, I had to be careful not to get scratched when I took my hand away from a long spell of affection and sweet talk. Now, all the the strength she has to give is the flick of her tail. And she gives it.

She gave me her everything.

Hold on, sweet love. I’m not asking for long. I know you’re ready to go.

Please give me a cold snap of weather. I want to snuggle by the fire.

My Cricket is dying. cricket in the er

cricket in the er 2

best shot of her perfect cricky ear ❤

Role of a Lifetime

I feel really lucky. It’s so satisfying a thing to get what you wanted. How much lovelier and rich my life and memories are to cherish Adelaide and my Guys & Dolls, rather than regret the dream never realized.

The dream not realized isn’t the end of the world, but I feel so lucky to have this one.

I’m happy with my performance. “Perfect is the enemy of good,” my mother repeated often to her dissatisfied daughter, and I’m able at last (this time) to manage my wish for more than I delivered. I’m proud of my Adelaide, really proud.

I made good choices for her, far deeper than just the fun stuff, which I played to damn-near-perfection. I’m not ashamed to be the best thing to hit the community stage every now and then. Our show was good.

I was good. A well-known producer in our area was pretty taken with me. It was quite a compliment. I don’t know how secure my retirement is, but I know my foot hurts.

The second joint to require a cortisone injection bothers me still, daily, and I confess I anticipated with some anxiety the possibility that I wasn’t really able to dance a show like this. To be honest, I’m surprised it didn’t hit before closing weekend. I do not know how I got through that. It’s amazing how you don’t feel pain onstage.

I guess that’s why we do it. I certainly did this time.

I think the angels carried me through it, a la “Footsteps.” Angels and painkillers.

Well, I can’t walk today, but I don’t care! I’m so pleased and grateful, and sad that it’s over. I cried yesterday! I didn’t expect it to hit so fast.

What a gift. I’m so grateful. I’m so BLESSED!

Check out my wardrobe! I can’t even!
DSC_7319bushel

lament

mink

minky goodness

sue me

Recognize the Queen of Hearts?

fearsome foursome

I got to wear my RED patent leather stilettos for the last time, so I take full responsibility for not being able to walk this week. Wish you could see the red in the leather belt and other accessories. Such a charming touch to keep Adelaide true to her flaming red core. I love that my hair inspired a wardrobe! (and that the power shift after our wedding is represented in me being taller than my darling Nathan)

guys and dolls promo

Guys & Dolls saved my life. I’m just SO GRATEFUL I was blessed to be a part of this cast, this crew, this Guys & Dolls. It goes deeper than finally playing my dream role. Our show healed me in ways no one will ever really know, maybe not even me. That was, honestly, one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Solstice Sunday

It sucks to be depressed on the most beautiful day of the year. We’re smack dab in the middle of the longest days, with a small cold front from the north. It’s only supposed to be 85 degrees today, in late June! I don’t want to go to the drum circle. I don’t want to go to Earth Jam. I don’t want to get out of bed.

Yesterday, I ruined the first drum I couldn’t recover. It sucks, too, because it was my first PERFECT piece, and then…

I’ve never made a mistake that I couldn’t modify or mask or turn into a surprise success. I told Jax, “There’s something I hate about every drum I’ve made, but she’s perfect! I love her so much. She’s perfect!”

I couldn’t leave well enough alone. One thing too far.

I gave her weeks of detached consideration. There were several small attempts at a fix that didn’t work, so I put her away quickly and thoughtfully, certain the answer would come. Finally, I found the solution, which I applied yesterday, to her destruction. There was no taking it back, no coming back, no way forward.

Many years ago, an artist friend told me the secret. “You just have to accept that you will hate 29 out of 30 things you do.” And I had, I thought, but I just can’t let go of how much I loved her. To lose her is killing me.

After the week of tolerating this awful user who just won’t leave, I crumbled. (SO much more to the story of the unwelcome couch-surfer.) I fell deep, deep, deep in the hole. At first I tried to watch the self-talk, but that only made me more abusive. Just be honest about the useless, talentless idiot you are. Stop killing yourself with that insufferable silver lining, and those unbearable lessons in the loss. Shut UP!

There’s nothing to my future but the last of my desperately clinging looks and a body that doesn’t belong to me. I fucking HURT! I have nothing and will die with less.

I’m so sick with this goddamn depression. At the worst time. It’s far worse to shut the door and draw the blinds when the weather is so lovely. I can’t get out of bed.

wind in her hair

If only I’d photographed her after finishing her body and limbs, and outlining her curves and edges. Something to remember her by before ruining everything.

About-Face

I went back to Salt Lake Homeopathy today for my follow-up appointment. I had faith in this once, and excitement for what it might do. It’s easy to lose faith on pain days, so I decided to stick with it for awhile longer. I haven’t yet reached the dollar amount I committed to the experiment and, really, I can’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work. I was willing to risk that, and I’m going to.

Don’t make decisions when you’re discouraged.
Don’t make promises when you’re happy.
Don’t makes speeches when you’re angry.

Something like that.

The homeopath asked me, first thing, “Are you feeling a little rough?”

“Oh! Does it get worse before it gets better?”

That was a relief. It was also heartening that, once again, he knew how I was feeling. Maybe this is real and still has the capacity to help me? To heal me?

I told him I didn’t see any worm corpses. He was nonplussed. “Well, you could. I didn’t think you would, but I didn’t want you freaking out if you did.”

Take that as you will.

The most compelling evidence, for me, if you can call it that outside of science, is the muscle testing. He can tell me what he picks up from my muscular responses to his inquiries. I can believe him or not. He can lie to me and I’ll be none the wiser. That’s why this is a leap of faith. However, when I hold a bottle of herbs, minerals, or medication and cannot keep my fingers together – or conversely, can’t have them pried apart  – how can I believe it’s anything other than he says? “You don’t need this.” “You do need this.” I’m not making up how strong or weak my grip is! It’s quite incredible.

(I brought all of my supplements and prescriptions to see what the homeopath thought of them. He muscle-tested me holding each. I need none of the supplements – they’re all made from crap – but I need my antidepressant. He couldn’t pry my fingers apart holding the bottle, and asked what the pills were for. When I answered, he was surprised.

“You need it.”

“Well, yeah,” I teased. “That’s why it’s prescribed to me.”

“Well, a lot of people are prescribed antidepressants unnecessarily. I never tell anyone not to take their medication. That’s not my business, but most Depression can be healed in other ways. You need it.”

“Yep.” 10 tiny miligrams of Citalopram, and thank god! Better living through Chemistry.)

So I bought more herbs and tinctures. Now that the parasites are vanquished, we can get to the real problems – like deficiencies, and scars from old injuries and traumas (car accident, 2006; bike accident, 2009; surgery, complications and surgery, 2008).

“I don’t have kids to put in braces, college, or therapy. I do what I want!” And I want a body that can travel again, and dance, and not sleep and ache for days/weeks at a time.

I Don’t Like To Be Cold.

I’ve been so good this Autumn at not borrowing Winter’s trouble.

I have such a hard time enjoying Fall for its brilliant colors and merciful temps. All I feel underneath it all is, “Oh god oh god, here it comes. I’m going to be miserable for 5 months, minimum!”

This year was very different. I’ve actually enjoyed myself this season! Until last week. We expanded our office and the heating in this old building isn’t equipped to warm an entire warehouse. It was set up for our formerly confined set-up, but we tore the walls down. And I AM FUCKING FREEZING.

My new home? Freezing. North-facing freezing. My beautiful sun-room? Single-pane windows from ceiling to mid-wall, EVERY WALL, except for the south-facing, which has no window at all. (I thought the west-facing windows would suffice for light and heat, but the blessed sun doesn’t peak through foliage to the south until just before it sets. No warmth for me.) And it was clearly an addition; There’s no heating to the room at all! Unless I want cat litter in my bedroom, I have to keep that ice-box open to freeze me ’til Spring thaw. Otherwise, my room will be almost completely dark with its one paltry, narrow, North-facing window. And small. And drafty, cold, ever so cold.

It feels like December already. I’m wearing my warmest clothes, layers, gloves, and BLANKETS! At work, as well as home! What am I going to do in January?

My body hurts. I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I’m going to miserable until March.

Thank god I didn’t move to Idaho.