Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Littlest Feather Ever


















On a Farmers' Market Gerbera Daisy Bouquet

GL, 9/28/2013. Prevail.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Aspens

Journal entry, September 21, 2013, the Autumnal Equinox

Five miles.

As I start my pre-run walk around half of Manito Park’s Mirror Pond, this time to the right, I listen to the ducks conversing, their feathers turning neutral beige from the glossy forest green of Summer. My legs feel stiff, the stiffness typical after a great race. My quads and hamstrings are sore, their tightness beyond what I should have felt after my jog yesterday where I runningly climbed the hill on 29th from Cherry Street to Freya, ¾ of a mile, straight up.

I think the reason I am sore is that I spent 2 ½ hours straight dancing with the Goddesses last night. We didn’t talk much, but we did boogy the night away under the Full Moon with all of our groovy moves as Goddess Tara DJ’ed reggae.

~

We gather monthly, carving time in our schedules. My fab nurse Shari asked me recently how it is that 15ish women, busy with children, work, and school, are able to meet on such a regular basis. It’s that we love and cherish this time together. We have deep moments of light (making mud mustaches in rain) and light moments of depth (sharing stark stories in a light step).

~

I think of one of my favorite trees, the aspen, with its green to gold leaves that glitter in wind, reminiscent of a vintage crystal chandelier in a thrift store and prevalent in cattailed Mabel’s Creek, where I frequently run.

Aspens actually are not individual trees. In fact, each “tree” can live for years and years, but its one root system…what connects them all…is long-lived, an ancient woodland. Because their roots are grounded so deeply, aspens can survive fires and send new Pheonix-like shoots (love you, Mindi the Magnificent) growing upwards and afterwards.

~

This is how we are, we Goddesses, holding each other as fiery aches unfurl, whether the fire is a brain bleed, cancer, leg surgery on a runner, assault, divorce, or just simply a bad day…or a good or even a great day, too. It’s the roots that can’t be seen or understood that knit us together as women in a colony, a cat’s cradle.

~

So how can we not make sure this time is carved in stone as it heals us. We eat all kinds of wonderful vegetably things, drink water and wine, dance, cry and laugh, get a little raunchy, and circle. The Gathering is like Communion that propels us through the month with some serious momentum…until barely two weeks later which finds us emailing and planning for our next gathering and deciding what we will celebrate and honor.

We may not know all of the specific details about each of our lives, but we are getting there as scraps of memory hurtle across our minds and words bump against experiences in life which we weave into sentences and stories shared with each other. And as we continue to look into each other’s eyes, bowing at waist and not the head, we say to each other, “I see YOU. And you see ME”.

~

What makes me wickedly wicked happy


~our monthly Goddess Gatherings

~Julia and her No Worries Farm. There is no other place that is so perfect, so safe. When there, time suspends...

~all the kiddos who keep it all real!

~the gifts of art that each of us bring

~Julia …writing and sewing (girl, you make a sewing machine cosmopolitan chic!)

~Krysta …henna tattoos and music

~Sheridan…EVERYTHING! Er, I mean, painting, writing, henna, collage, etc., etc, etc.

~Tara…your dancing…you winner of dance competitions with your worm move! Oh, yeah! And your guidance

~Maggie…your painting leaves me breathless

~Same to you, Priscilla!

~Mindi the Magnificent…your writing blows me away, especially your piece "PTSD, not Just the Military"

~AnneMarie…your glitter girl jewelry

~Kelly…your gardening and cheese

~Heidi…the art of how you model body image to Maeve

~Carol…your collages and jewelry making (I can’t wait to see your acorn pendants!)

~Jeannie…your ever evolving crown

~Shelly…your enduring grace and encouragement

~Angela…your wild red hair side that has us all in love with you

~Sagi…your prevailing through leg surgery and your philosophic discussions. You are BRILLIANT (said in a sing-song voice)

~Garden…well, your Garden and concoctions!

~and who else am I missing! Please add their names and their magic!

~



~

So how can we not meet? Saturday is our next gathering. We will be honoring the birthdays of Sagi, Krysta, and Sheridan. And brain bleed anniversaries. When Mindi shaved her head anniversary for St. Baldricks two years ago. Sheridan and her own anniversary and how she is serving others. And more.

I love these women. They are my Goddesses.

GL, 9/21/lucky-13. Prevail.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Suicide

Journal entry, September 14, 2013.

One hour.


This past week has been National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week. And an acquaintance (and friend of a Goddess) and a dear friend of another Goddess took their lives. Too much of this happening lately and really, at any time.

I do not think they are cowards. I cringe each time I hear or read someone saying this as I have some serious empathy. How awful things must have felt for them that they would commit the ultimate act, for they are leaving confusion, grief, guilt, and “why did they leave me/us…was I not worth their life?” to their loved ones.

At sixteen, after a traumatic event, I did not want to live. I had suicidal ideation. All I wanted was to go to sleep and never awaken again. That next year was horrid and I felt no support whatsoever. (I now know that family did the best with what they had at the time.) Yet having said that, by the time I was seventeen, it was either die or do something because I couldn’t stand.

Then I met Lou Fant. And started interpreting. And my interpreting practice started off with a bang, but still…my twenties were despair driven.

And then came my thirties, all about the exploration of who I am with my Sherpa therapist. And my forties? I have loved my forties. I have found I stand taller, making no apologies for who I am. Even with my brain bleed, it has irrevocably changed how I see things. I am not yet totally grateful for the experience but I’m getting there. And still lovin’ my brain earrings.

Please do not misunderstand. I vividly remember the terror, that unwanted companion of my brain bleed…and how I realized that I DID NOT WANT TO DIE. I do not want to die. Suddenly, I remembered how I desperately wanted to exit this planet earlier in my life. And now definitively I do not want to die. The lesson I learned from those hard and cold teachers and classrooms of the hospital, ambulances, CT and MRI machines, and the neurosurgeons’ office.

And I am so glad I am here.

As I reflected on all of this with my Sherpa yesterday, I said something, which he pointed out to me as something incredibly remarkable about me that I overlooked. Something that has taken decades for me to say.

“I really love me today. And though I wonder what might be had I had counseling years ago, the truth is that my me-ness, I truly me love today, and that includes the past that is still within me.”

~




















~

What makes me wickedly wicked happy

~I begin my run through Manito Park’s Duck Pond once again. I deeply feel each step of my stride, as I connect with Earth and collect beautifully shaped acorns…the seed for the mighty Oak Tree and for Goddess Carol and her art and jewelry.

~my run today is PERFECT.

~the jig Ingrid had me dancing with her yellow blossoms of zucchini, pumpkins, and winter squash. I practically gasped when I spotted them as I loped, in my pink running skirt, to their table.

Are you selling these?” I felt like I was begging.

She said yes. To which I exclaimed, “On my runs through my neighborhoods, how tempted I have been to surreptitiously grab a few blooms…cuz, well, zucchinis and gourds are so prolific that I am sure that their garden tenders would not notice! You have saved me!” (I love filling the flowers with either goat or cream cheese and some herbs and then sauté them. Yummolicious!)

And get this, Eden Urban Farms is tended by Goddess Sagi’s Aunt! How cool is that!

~remembering Lou Fant. My very first mentor in life and interpreting.

~brains and skulls. I am on a mission on behalf of skulls as I believe they are misunderstood. For me, they do not represent death but protection of my brain. I carry a small bag of colorful skull beads in my purse, my bag of fairy magic as mini-Goddess Aria says, from which I spontaneously invite friends to select one.

Next Goddess Gathering, skulls for everyone!

~Goddess Mindi-the-Magnificent’s laugh. OMGoddess…it is a total smiley laugh on feet!

~

So suicide.

It’s a difficult subject to talk about, but let us talk about it. In mental health (I’m a mental health interpreter), the more we talk about it, the better we all are.

The organization To Write Love on Her Arms has a campaign going this month…”I cannot be replaced because…”

Mine?

“I am their only mother.”

“Only I can sparkle and send brain glittery light to everyone, from the Goddesses to the checkers in markets in the Goddess Lynne flair (my MHIT cohorts call me Miss Sparkle Sprinkles).”

“The intense empathy and love I have as an intuit for all I come in contact with. I work with a lot of people in trouble, and yet I still see potential in each individual. I see that each person is worthy of love, honor, trust, dignity, and respect.”

Please share with me yours.

~

I am so f*#%ing grateful I am here. Cuz at 16 and 17, I came so close to prematurely exiting.

And to my beloved Goddesses as you process your own losses, as Goddess Julia said, “In this moment, I feel very quiet. My head isn't bowed...my eyes aren't closed but I'm staring out into space filled with wonder...filled with this sense that we must live truer....we must devote ourselves to our fullest becoming for the sake and well-being of others...”

…and I send nothing but understanding, tenderness, gentleness, and holding all in love and light.

~

When Death Comes
Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

~

GL, 9/14/2013. Prevail.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Market zucchini, pumpkin, and winter squash blossoms



















From Ingrid, at Urban Eden Farms.

I can't wait to cook with them!

GL, 9/14/2013. Prevail.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Anniversary.

8/31/20-lucky-13, journal entry

Five-ish miles.

I begin my Saturday morning ritual by starting with a walk around the left half the perimeter of the ducks’ Mirror Pond at Manito before shifting into a slow jog. The slow jog winds through the cement path that ends at the bricks of 21st and Manito Boulevard, where I kick it as I head up and turn south where I were turn down and head north, its center with dark crow feathers I harvest for my yearly vases.

Then, as I run through Oak Grove (collecting delicious acorns for Goddess Carol and her pendants), running up and down the oak tree lined curve, I realize that THIS DAY, the Saturday before Labor Day, at this very time that I’m running…11-ish in the morning…on this day and at this time…this is the anniversary of when my brain began to bleed.

After jogging, I walk the the right half of the duck pond’s perimeter, collecting blue/purple and light brown feathers and pocket them in my five-K pack midst the acorns…and cry. I cry that deep sob that burns from throat to chest, that physically shakes my whole body.

My diagnosis won’t happen until the 23rd, but I still remember the exact moment my brain bled. And bled. And the pain. That exact moment.

I was just out of the shower after my ritual run through Manito Park and had hit the Farmers’ Market, when I suddenly felt like I was gonna pass out. Not just the queasiness and faint that I feel while having labs done, but like I thought I was gonna die. I couldn’t keep my head up. I lay on the floor, thinking this was just an anxiety attack but more intense. Pain started in the right side of my brain and spread out in concentric circles. I lay there for an hour til I could stand, and yet when I stood, still wobbly, I congratulated myself that I beat this attack without Xanax. Except that pain continued to throb at that same spot, especially when I shook my head.

So I continued to run and gave the opening address at WSRID, while noting my cluster headache in my speech. The headaches would ease slightly with Tylonol-3, but they never let up. Little did I know…my brain was bleeding. My brain was bleeding.

~

What makes me wickedly wicked happy

~My favorite brain bleed response from my Goddess friend Rouly…”Fuck that! You need brain earrings!” And she was right, and I still wear them daily.

~Henna tattoos. (Thank you, Sheridan Goddess.)

~Mama Goddess Gatherings.

~Julia Goddess’ Sunflower Forest

~Montgomery, Alabama in April

~Indianapolis, Indiana in August

~its museums

~Angel, the homeless man who has mental illness but wasn’t suffering and welcomed me to Indianapolis and our great conversation about nature. (Mental illness isn’t curable but people with it can certainly survive and thrive. Angel has a place to stay and is completely lovely!)

~that I forgot my black shirt. So I love my sundress excessive fabrics, but I thought that black skirt and shirt would be more appropriate for an RID presentation…except the black shirt that I thought I brought, was actually the skirt of my swimsuit. Luckily, a department store was nearby and the lovely sales lady Yolanda let me wear out my choice. (Hey, it made for a great opening story for the presentation!) Our “Mental Health Interpreting: FAQs” collaborative presentation was well received.

~the 1960’s costume theme…I was paraded on stage as part of the top ten in a competition. I didn’t win but I did get 6th place.

~ (Updated) Goddess Jamie, my Brian Sista, after her own brain surgery and stroke, goes home on the 23 of this month. The anniversary of my own diagnosis…and her birthday. (I love her.)

~















I have a brain bleed, my first EEG. I am terrified. (in the hospital on 9/24/2012)
































I am brain bleed free.

~

So the 23rd will be the actual anniversary date of my diagnosis.

Things have changed for me. Energy suckers are no longer part of my world. Priorities shift when faced with death. I feel things intensely and my love and gratitude for my Mama Goddesses fill my entire being.

I am well.

I’m still running, but I still have symptoms.

Certain lights, in particular, florescent lights and the light that shines through horizontal slats of blinds that are closed still get me. Makes me sweat and feel like I’m gonna pass out again. I still have Xanax at the ready for those moments and when I can’t seem to climb out of the anxiety ridden PTSD horridable dreams.

Headaches are still not “just headaches”…yet…

But I’m running. I am running, and I could care less about time and placing.

And I honor Goddess Jamie in a special “I See You” ritual…only she knows about the particulars…this is a private moment between the two of us. Brain Sistas.

And I thank my Goddess Gathering of support. I love you.

Happy Anniversary to me!

Prevail~Prevailing Brain Bleed Goddess

~

GL, 8/31/2013. Prevail.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My light up SKULL pens


video

Cuz I am totally obsessed with skulls and brains...

GL, 9/6/2013. Prevail.