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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with October 15 being a focused day of remembrance.  My story is well know, so I’m not going to go into detail here, but I have lost 7 pregnancies in various stages with various conditions.  I’ve talked it out, and I’ve actively been working on the internal work it takes to truly heal, not just cover up the pain until next year.  It’s true, there is some loss you never completely heal from, but every year I get closer and closer to not being completely derailed by my PTSD and depression.

This year it came on early, and the initial onset was more severe than i can remember it being in years.  Flashbacks.  Night terrors.  Blackouts.  But something changed this year.  My partners didn’t look the other way and wait it out.  They circled around me, and when I emerged from myself they were still here with open arms and warm smiles.  Most of the month has been peaceful.

On the 15th I managed to get through the day that, while physically busy, was spent in quiet contemplation and somber remembrance.   Today was spent in the presence of community.  My Ohana checked in on me, and friends who have similar stories to mine shared space with me.  You see, I realized one of the hardest parts of this for me every year is not being able to share my memories or grief with the fathers of my babies.  I’m not sure any of them give the loss a second thought, if they even remember.  So the feeling of isolation multiplies exponentially as I feel alone with my loss.  This is what I shared to my Facebook the night before:

For a long time I was told I was not allowed to mourn my loss because my babies never breathed. For years I was told my blighted ovums were not real. For years I have accepted it when mother’s day goes by. But every October I remember those anniversaries. Every October my body throws me a cyst, an infection, or a new blighted ovum, as if even my cells remember what it felt like to feel the world end…not just once, but over and over.

But I AM a mother. To all of them. It’s a hurt that doesn’t go away, and it’s a pain women don’t talk about because we feel like failures, because we are being told our loss is invalid, because I was blamed by doctors for each and every one of them…as if I killed my babies. Because when you lose a baby as an unmarried 20-something, people say some ignorant hurtful shit. Because I waited for a rainbow baby that never came. Because every time I hear someone is pregnant I wonder how they can be so excited so soon, rather than terrified. Because each belly or ultrasound post on FB is a stab to my heart. Because I am constantly asked if I have kids, if I want kids…and because I’m constantly being mistaken for being pregnant (it happened just yesterday). We need to talk about this because we grieve silently, feeling alone, feeling broken. Every day more women experience this loss and don’t know how to cope in a world that tells them what they mourn never existed. I’m here to remind those women in my life that those little lives do exist. That their feelings are real. That their pain is not selfish or weak. That they matter, and they are not alone.

This is real shit

Today marks the anniversary of one of my losses.  I talk a lot about William, because he changed the course of my life, but I don’t often share the stories of the others.  I do, however, mourn an honour them as their mother just as strongly.  Today I didn’t hurt for me and what I will never have.  Instead I ached for the lives they never got to lead.  The people they never got to become.  The adventures, heartbreaks, joys, failures, and achievements they never got to experience.  It’s a part of the grief process I’ve never processed before, and it dug up a lot of hurt and anger and sadness I didn’t know was still down inside me.  So…another fantastic (is that the F word we’re going with?  oh…ok) opportunity for growth and forgiveness.

You see, this is an experience I have to go through every year as I, in one way or another, relive my Octobers, starting with my rape on the 1st.  Going through the stages of grief, albeit somewhat of a Reader’s Digest version, but also the stages of forgiveness.  I learned long ago that in order to let go of my anger for my rapist I had to forgive him and give myself peace.  Holding hate didn’t hurt him, but it was killing me.  Reliving the event and feeling the hurt I feel for William digs up a lot of that emotion, and in my heart I have to not only let go of my grief anew, but also forgive anew.  Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but every year it takes less convincing.

This is how I heal.  This is how I remember.  I’ve still got a lifetime of work to do, but I know I have a strong foundation and an amazing family by my side.

Go now…and forgive.

Aloha and Mahalo

 

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Twenty years ago I learned a veritable tome of lessons, some of which I’m just learning now, and it seems unbelievable to me that I can look back at anything in my life knowing it happened twenty years ago.  My mom taught me a lot about life while she was alive, and I’ve mentioned that before.  She taught me compassion, strength, and determination.  She taught me to seek adventure and levity in everything, to make people laugh whenever you can, and to live and love with all your heart no matter how scary the world feels.  She taught me to trust my instinct and eschew advice that doesn’t feel right.  She taught me to be myself.

What my mother’s death taught me was open honesty.  You never know when the last time you say “I love you” or “good morning” or “good night” will be the last.  It’s made me vulnerable at times, and I’ve had to learn to accept when it’s not reciprocated, but hey, another lesson, right?

But you see, it also taught me some less than positive lessons.  At twelve years old I was already well aware that I was different.  I didn’t have many friends, my anxiety and depression were already in full swing, and I’d already thought about suicide more times than I can remember now.  I needed help, and I was constantly told I was wrong, broken, or worse…that I was fine.  I was fat, I was slow, and I was constantly missing the mark.  At twelve I had already had at least one nervous breakdown, I was scared of losing everyone I loved, and I had been proven correct.  At twelve I discovered my intuition and empathy in the worst way, and I hated it, so at twelve I learned to hide.  I learned to expect the worst.  I learned to expect to be alone.  I learned that change is terrifying.  I learned to build walls, and forgot all those lessons about love and life and laughter.

When I started the Power of One it was immediately pointed out to me that when I’m uncomfortable or anxious I smile.  It’s a skill I developed at a very young age, but I imagine I perfected it at my mother’s funeral.  Since then it became a crutch I used to get me through parts of my life I felt I could not navigate, and it began to cloud the genuine me.  I’ve been lucky enough to have people in my life who could see through the fog and find that genuine me, but for most of my life I haven’t been able to see her myself.  I’ve merely been relying on the testaments of others who tell me they see her, like a fairy tale buried deep inside me.  As the lessons from my mother started to actually take root and as my intuition and empathy refused to be ignored, life got harder, and the more I stayed inside my walls the more the fires outside tried to cook me out. I tried to let myself be vulnerable…to the wrong people at the wrong times.  I tried to be happy…all the time, and ended up holding in the pain and sadness until I couldn’t, resulting in some pretty spectacular meltdowns.   I tried to be strong and independent…and all I did was feel more like a failure.

In the year since I seriously started putting effort into my transformation, I’ve worked on being open without being overbearing, happy without using it to cover up when I’m not, and to know when I can be strong alone and when I need to reach out for help. Not all has gone according to plan, but if my mom’s death taught me none of this other bullshit, it taught me that life doesn’t care about your plans, and unpredictability brings as much serendipity as it does tragedy, and the only control I really have is how I choose to react to it, process it, and move on with my life.    Losing my mother was not the first tragedy I’d faced in my life, but it was the first one I felt like I was facing alone.  The truth is, every situation we face in life we face alone, even if we have the strongest support system on earth, because we’re the only ones who can do the internal work it takes for real survival…and real living.

 

Love you, Mom.  Thanks for still teaching me.  after all these years.

 

Go now, keep learning..keep living….

Aloha.

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Mother’s Day snuck its way in subtly this year, and a bit earlier than usual. For a myriad of reasons it’s historically been a very hit or miss day for me emotionally. It’s unavoidable, but I try not to let it destroy ym ability to function, the result being anywhere from hermitting under the covers all day while my husband flips through funny movies to breaking down in the middle of a wedding reception. But that was before Good Girl, which dealt with both my guilt and grief over my mo’s death almost 20 years ago and the constantly evolving acceptance and mourning of pregnancy loss and knowing it’s unlikely I’ll be a mom. This year, as I’ve stated many ties since December, is different.
My posts about healing have taught me not to expect the same responses to even long recurring events in my life. Enter, Mother’s Day. I didn’t really know how it would hit me, so I had no idea how to begin to process emotions as they ebbed. I felt it coming, but it wasn’t the normal overbearing weight I’m used to, so I waited patiently for my body to tell me what it needed.
Last night I found myself in Spokane, WA, where I laughed and got a little tipsy with new friends. We talked about different issues in our lives, and I was able to begin to sort out different currents of emotion running through me. This wasnt a river of sadness, it was a mixture of different feelings ranging from sadness to gratefulness. I felt ok about things. A little lonely and down, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

This morning I woke up early feeling isolated from myself, and reaching out I found that most of my support system was busy, unavailable, or having their own issues. I really was alone. It hurt, and for a moment I let myself slide into darkness, but I forced myself up and went outside.

If you’ve never been to Spokane, go. It’s beautiful. I found myself walking by a series of waterfalls through a park, and I began to sing and old river chant to myself. As I stood on a bridge overlooking the falls it hit e all at once. The flood. Right there in a public park I bawled like a baby behind my sunglasses. Then it was over, and I realized that this year the grief is not the focus of my being. It’s there in the background, and every once in a while it strikes, takes my breath away, and recedes because it wants to be acknowledged. Not overpowered, not surrendered to, but acknowledged. It wants symbiosis.

A river, my river. It has its ebbs and flows, but it’s very controlled in its rage, and that’s what makes it powerful. This grief doesn’t have to make me weak. It doesn’t have to make me stop. It just has to happen. That doesn’t mean it won’t flood sometimes, but for the most part being a part of my river allows it to run on my terms.

So back to the healing. What’s been bothering me without my knowing it is this feeling that to heal is to abandon. My mom. My babies. My future. My past. Here in the present, it felt like moving forward was leaving them all behind.This river reminds me that it isn’t true. Nothing is ever abandoned, it just becomes a part of the flow.

I had my moment, then I put my phone on airplane mode to avoid any incoming negativity and took control of my day. I found a comic book store for Free Comic Book Day, Auntie’s Books and Uncle’s Games, and a pop up punk rock concert in a parking lot. I avoided the Trump rally despite having to deal with two men hitting on me holding support signs. I walked through parks and trails. I took a million and one pictures of waterfalls. I rode a gondola over the big falls by myself and didn’t have a panic attack as it dangled me precariously over the water. Why? Because was able to recognize the beauty and power in that river matching my own.

I can’t say Mother’s Day this year won’t be sad. I can’t say the tears and keening isn’t over. I don’t think it ever is. What’s also there is the rock solid support of my healing and the growth I continue to navigate, and that’s what makes it different. I’ve jumped in my river, made my peace with it, and am beginning to understand its power and beauty.

Aloha.

Go now, find your river.

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A partner recently told me “you need to be confident to be with me”.  My first reaction was to wonder why he was with me in the first place.  My next was a dissection of exactly what “confidence” means.   As little girls we are conditioned to believe that confidence is expressed in catty competitions with other little girls.  As confident women we are called conceited, bitchy, and shrewish.    As a woman who has had to suck it up and be all of these things at one point in my life, I hate the word “confident”.  I haven’t survived the worst parts of my life because I was confident.  I don’t keep pushing forward, growing, learning because I’m confident.  Strong, sometimes.  Stubborn, undoubtedly.  But confident?  Where does it come into any of this?

I first had to ask myself this:  What is confidence, and where does it become hubris?  Am I confident for wearing a two-piece bathing suit with an extra forty pounds on me?  Was I confident when I quit a stable job to chase a career in hopes it was the best move for my family?  Was I confident when I stepped out on a stage and shared some of the most vulnerable moments in my life?  Or was it stupid?  When we talk about risk and the unknown, what’s the difference?

The answer was simply: The difference is knowing it might fail, accepting that, and not givingup so easily.

You see, confidence does not mean I’m not also scared shitless, that I don’t sometimes feel like I’m a mess just faking it well enough to get through the day, that I don’t have moments where I am an intricately and inexorably flawed human.  Confidence is not the absence of weakness or doubt, but the willingness to meet it head on and give it a decent fight.  It means knowing that sometimes I’m not going to be good enough, and that’s okay.  It’s knowing I’m going to fail and trusting myself to heal from it and learn something from the experience.  It’s continuing to give all of myself in good faith that I’m contributing something to the world, to my family, to just one person.  It’s getting up and telling my story over and over again no matter how rote it may feel because it might help someone find their own strength.

So, back to the matter at hand.  Am I confident?  I honestly have no idea.

I don’t strive for confidence.  That’s a superficial battle.  What I strive for is courage, compassion, and a little adventure on this journey.  The rest will come.

 

Aloha.

Go now, cultivate.

 

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This past weekend was a hard lesson for me in healing.   I let anxiety win, and it was……quite the spectacle.  What happened behind the scenes was even worse.  I convinced myself I was a fraud.  I convinced myself I was worthless.  I convinced myself there never had been hope for me.  I looked back at the work I’ve done over the past two years and felt like I’d been lying to myself.  Then I removed myself from the situation and remembered what it felt like standing on that stage by myself without anyone there to help me.  The power I felt in telling a part of my story.  The shift I felt inside me when I stopped fearing the unforeseeable and took hold of what’s mine.  My life.  That was not a lie.  That could not have been false.

I’ve written a lot about healing and the way my life has changed since my experience with Good Girl.  What I have not written about is the backsliding.  What I haven’t written about is the doubt and the fear that the healing was some delusional fantasy that anything has changed.  What I haven’t written about are the mistakes we make, because after decades of making the same ones over and over again, these are new, terrifying mistakes.  It’s so easy to wonder if the change was worth it, because the demons we’re accustomed too are much easier to quell than new ones that might try to manifest in our lives.  The answer is yes, it’s worth it.  All of it, and the mistakes don’t unravel a single bit of it.

We’re told healing is hard.  We’re told it’s a process.  We’re told it’s painful.  We’re never told how much maintenance it requires and how much of an adjustment it is to our daily lives.  We have this idea that healing makes everything better, filling our lives with sunshine and rainbows and cute little kittens.  What we don’t realize is that healing is NOT a panacea.  It doesn’t make anything go away, it just gives us the resources to deal with it and to navigate new challenges that arise in a healthy manner.  It doesn’t change learned behaviours.  It doesn’t erase anxiety, depression, PTSD, or physical illness.  It merely gives us better moves with which to fight and an understanding of how to fix what we break.  Healing is not curing.  Healing is taking something we once let run our lives into the ground and use it instead to fuel us to keep thriving.

The reality is that while healing is an internal process it requires external maintenance in ways we never experience when the stakes are low.  My lesson wasn’t just painful for me; I hurt someone I love.  It’s up to me to face that, do what I can to repair it, and do the internal work to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  In the past it either wouldn’t have been healthy enough to matter or I would have just logged it with the other good things I let myself ruin.  In the past few months it’s become more apparent where the healing could not help me because the problems I have are biological, so I’ve had to bite the bullet and admit there are things I can’t fix without medical help…then actually seek it.  These things are no longer buried under me.  They’re out in the open, they’re manageable, and they’re in the way of the life I want to live. Lastly, I have recognized things in my life that I was once passionate about but no longer serve that quick fix need in my life.  There’s been a twinge of nostalgic panic as I begin to let those things go to focus on what’s really important in my life, but I’m decluttering and setting new goals.

You see, healing is a battle cry that screams “you no longer have power over me”.  You won’t win the battle just because you’ve healed, but it will give you a fighting chance.

 

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The first baby I lost, I was very young.

The second, I wasn’t ready.

By the third, I was frantic.  I was ready.  I was prepared.  I was ecstatic that he or she and my newborn godson would grow up together.  I am constantly told Baby #3 doesn’t count.  I had a blighted ovum, and to this day I still get funny looks when I mention it, because there’s technically no baby in the sac.  Technically.  In reality, that baby existed to me, and the loss was just as hard.  Just as real as any fertilized egg.

That was 10 years and 2 more known miscarriages ago, and it seemed like another life.  I still had time.  I still had options.  I still had hope.  I still believed in my rainbow baby, the child that comes after the storm of loss.

My godson turned 10 today, just days before the anniversary of the D&C that would remove the blighted ovum.  He’s such an amazing little man, and I am proud to have him in my life.  To think of myself with a 13 year old, a 12 year old, a 10 year old, a 9 year old, or an 8 year old is unreal to me as I begin to accept that the choices I’ve made to keep my family afloat mean I’m not even home enough to take care of a child, and my household support system is not equipped or willing to do so.  My rainbow baby is fading.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with the 15th being a day of remembrance, but there is not a day I am not aware, not a day I don’t remember those babies and the one I’ve given up.  My rainbow baby is in the eyes of every new baby that graces our family, every tiny hand I hold, every small laugh that catches my attention in public.

This month, as I honour all of the babies I’ve lost, I dream of the little men or women who would be in my life now, and they are with me.

Aloha

Go now, hug your children


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It’s not a secret I run from my emotions.  I enjoy intimacy, but I am terrified of expressing love.  I write poetry about the sadness of survival, but I filter those emotions within myself through the pen. Hell, put me behind the veil of the internet, and I will tell you anything you want to know.  Get me face to face and I’m a mess.  I make jokes, I tell stories, I use whatever tools i can to build walls around myself, to hide from genuine emotions in person.  I’m well aware of my avoidance tactics.

So, in July I start putting some tangible work into this one person show, now titled Good Girl, and I find all these walls have held me back from the one thing I need to access to make it a success.  I cannot perform something that reaches inside my audience if I don’t let them see inside me.  Queue montage music as I begin to dismantle walls, and in doing so i find more walls.  In doing so I find more versions of myself.  In doing so I find some ugly artifacts, but I also find power.  In doing so I find what I’ve been missing this entire time.

This journey has not just been about the show at the end.  It’s been about self discovery, some healing, and the power to change lives….but I can’t manage to change anyone else’s life if I continue to avoid the broken parts of my own.

I’ve talked about Aloha before.  THIS is Aloha.  This is the universal love, beauty, and peace that links us all.   This is what will get me to December and points beyond.

Here’s to the journey, friends.  Here’s to Aloha.

Many Blessings.

Go now.  Be emotional.

Last week I had a rather unique opportunity.  Being on call from work, and hoping to go home after my trip, I had packed a new corset and cute little skirt in anticipation of seeing Hubby but with few other plans of the pieces doing anything but weigh down my bag.  Imagine my surprise, however, when Scheduling sends me to none other than the Big Easy itself the Saturday before Mardi Gras.

My original plan was rather conservative.  We’d land at 2200, and I’d go to bed early in order to catch a parade or two the following morning before I had to report for the day’s flights.  Easy enough, right?  Well, Serendipity thought otherwise.

Enter a second flight crew, who had already been in Party Mode from the night before and looking for more, and a rather restless First Officer who took it upon himself to be our overseer for the night.  Not wanting to be the party pooper of the group, and feeling a bit of a reluctance to miss the experience, I acquiesced, and plans were born.

My first indication of how the night would progress should have come when no one questioned why I’d have a steel boned corset emblazoned with skulls and crossbones with me at work, but it was too late to back out, so I rolled with it.

The adventure started before we even got out of the van.  A few of my compatriots had already started drinking, and there was a brief altercation with the driver over his need to stop for gas and inability to drop us off within three blocks of Bourbon Street, which I was apparently the only one who remembered being told earlier in the day. As we poured from his van, the driver less than politely bid us good night and good luck getting a cab back to the hotel that night.

Shaking off the curse, we went about our night, stopping first at a bar with an excellent cover band playing an amazing variety of music and mixed drinks the size of my face, but not before my corset won me the official title of Crew Boob Flasher and a constantly growing collection of plastic beads.  Once at the bar we promptly forgot about anything but dancing, drinking, and anything regarding personal space as we moved like a drunken, sexed up amoeba through a crowd that had already been drunk for hours.  Quite sadistically, the bar also put the women’s bathroom upstairs, while men didn’t even have to leave the dance floor to find their own door, I’m assuming because they would never use it if it took them too much effort to get to it.  Be that as it may, I was reluctant to scale bead coated stairs in the dark just to maneuver my tights out from under my corset, so I pushed the idea of it from my mind, and we were off once more, slightly more lubricated to deal with the spectacle before us.

I have always wanted to see New Orleans.  I still do, but I have to admit the wave of people that carried us involuntarily from one nonconsentual location to the next, stopping us only for the sporadic picture or request for the questionable fair trade of plastic trinkets for tits,  was definitely an experience.We sang and danced in the middle of the street as our ever vigilant FO kept an eye on his flock, less out of altruism and more out of sheer amusement I assume, until at last we found a quiet block and a very quiet corner bar with real fire and softer music.

As it turns out, we were in a gay bar.  Not your flashy more wild type of Tinder trap, but the quite more sophisticated kind where people actually go to talk to one another. Being the only one with any ties to the queer community, I was chosen as our ambassador and sent ahead of the group to the bar where I became a bit of local drunk gaggle legend as I fended off a very drunk old gentleman who asked to see, then tried to touch, the girls, who had given up on being stuffed back into their confines much more than they had to be.

The quiet peace of the bar was contagious, and though we walked a few more blocks we all knew we were starting to wear out.  This is where the real adventure began, as the curse of the taxi driver from what seemed like days prior began to manifest, and even the hotel stopped answering their phones.

Seeing the panic beginning to spread across the faces of my new friends, I calmly suggested we find food and make a game plan.  Having been stranded in strange cities at less self-sufficient times in my life, I was confident we’d think of something better than sleeping in a gutter covered in beads and ejected body fluids of all kinds.  I wasn’t giving up quite yet, we just needed to sit and regroup.  We hadn’t lost anyone yet, and I refused to start.

We ate and took turns on hold with numerous taxi companies before realizing we were just going to have to suck it up and go on a hunt on foot.  Making our way back to the road we’d been dumped on earlier in the night, we quickly realized  that it hadn’t been an empty threat the wretched man had thrown at us; it had been a fact.  It would take hours to get a ride home.

Having the same realization to the situation I was, and presumably not wanting to deal with five hysterical drunk women, the FO shouted to me to keep everyone in one place and bolted across the street and disappeared for the moment before hailing to us to follow to where he stood by the open door of a silver Toyota Celica with a friendly face behind the wheel who introduced himself as Samin, or Sam for short, who our FO had flagged down and bribed to drive us home.

With the tall man riding shotgun, the four other girls climbed in the back, leaving me as the one who would take up too much space on the seat to lie across the laps of the other girls, careful to keep my head down and my wiggling to a minimum.  After being led astray by his GPS, Sam happily delivered us more or less in tact to the front door of our hotel, where he politely bid us all goodnight and went back on his way.

This job has given me so many opportunities, but I tend to take the quiet adventures over the raucous ones these days.  Nights like y introduction to Mardi Gras remind me of nights Hubby and I used to have all the time, and in the end I only wished he were there with me.  Once more, life has reminded me I’m not stagnant yet.  I just have to let the good times roll as they come to me…and keep an extra $50 in my pocket to bribe myself a ride back to a comfortable bed, as my days of voluntarily sleeping in parking lots and sidewalks has definitely passed.

Not dead yet, friends.  In fact….I’m feeling quite alive.

A year and a day ago I threw away my comfort zone and left the security of a position I knew I could keep for a five-week challenge to see if I was fit to be a flight attendant.  I was both exhilarated and terrified, and believe me when I tell you most of the messages I received in the week preceding my departure from my department on the ground were not encouraging.  A lot of people  doubted I would make it, and I almost didn’t go, but it had been something I’d been pushing toward for over 6 years.  I needed to know.

For over a month I navigated the cutthroat environment with my head down and my eyes forward, stepping out and finding non-industry people near our hotel when I needed to breathe.  I studied, I started working out, and I learned through immersion to be completely alone.  Sure, I had a few friends, but they were taking their own journeys respectively.

On graduation day, it was still just me.  Sure, Hubby was waiting for me when i got home with a big hug and a celebratory dinner, but at the moment I was given my first set of wings the only person there with me was the one responsible for getting me through it.  Me.  Quite egregiously, I had assumed that day that the hardest part of my journey was over, but it was just the first step.

For the last year I have learned a lot about life and about myself.  I have learned to be independent and how to speak up for my needs.  There is not a single relationship in my life that has not been touched and reshaped by the experience, but the ones that have survived the transformation have been fortified by a newfound purpose and confidence that I have thing to offer and a right to not settle somewhere I’m unhappy.  I have learned to adapt and be transient.  I have learned to be fluid but firm.  I have learned to be present even when I am flying across the country.

A year ago I was reminded that my life is not stagnant or restricted.  It is not over, and while I have lost certain opportunities I have gained others.  I still have life and love to give., and it’s worth more than I ever could have imagined.

Aloha.

Go now, be invaluable!

2014. The year that changed everything.  It all sounds very serious, doesn’t it.  Well, it is.  I know, I know, every year is about change, but 2014 brought transformative change.

With Brighid came the catalyst for the biggest career change I have ever made, and the biggest risk.  The training alone was a challenge, but I rose to it, and on Ostara I earned my wings and held a star I’d been reaching for for 6 years.

WIth the change in jobs came a huge change for our household.  I was based 3,000 miles away on the opposite coast, and the adjustment in all my relationships was a blow that some of them wouldn’t survive.  Routines were uprooted, and we had to find complex solutions to even more complex problems.  I suddenly felt very alone, and Hubby felt abandoned.  As he strove for stability and reached for his other partners, I felt more and more isolated from my family, which strained an already stressful period as I adjusted to a new job that is very much a lifestyle.

By summer there were storms raging.  Hubby and A split, I had completely pulled out of our D/s dynamic, and there were talks of separation. Things were seriously strained, compounded by the re-emergence of The Vanishing Act.  My emotions were shot, and I withdrew.  When my birthday rolled through in August I was sure I was bound to be moving on alone.  Hubby seemed unwilling to see anything from my perspective and immersed in a new relationship, The Vanishing Act had done what he does best, and I felt suffocated by the weight of everything falling apart at once.

For the first time in a long time I felt helpless, hopeless, and ready to go.  There’s a soul-shaking moment that passes when you no longer feel a desperate need to end your life, but have accepted it as the next step.  It’s not a rash decision you can recover from just as quickly, it’s a concession that the darkness has won, and this is just what happens when you lose.  I was gone.  My spirit was dead for a long time, and I had no one to blame for it but myself.

Enter Autumn and a big push from the universe to be in charge of my life.  I embarked on a last-ditch effort to save myself, and I began living my own life.  Hubby pushed against it, but what resulted was both of us giving the ultimate ultimatum.  Love me for who I am, or let me go live my life.

The season also brought a whole crew of new people to my life.  Friends, love interests, and everyone in between.  2014 has brought me more new connections and strengthened connections with people I already had than I could have asked for.  These wonderful souls are the reason I’m here in as close to one piece as I am.  They are my tribe, my Ohana, and I would be incomplete without them.

As I pulled out of the fall with hope and optimism, 2014 gave me one last reminder that there is still a lot of work to do. A few lives connected to mine were suddenly torn apart.  We had medical scares and heartbreaking developments.  In addition, several of my partners also had some deep rivers to cross.  Once again I felt out of my depth and drowning, but the tools I had acquired and the people who had gathered around me throughout the year had given me the strength and will to keep moving forward.

Things are still rocky.  Things are still changing.  2014 was a year of questions without answer and answers spawning new questions.  I still feel terribly ill-equipped to handle the war that fights, not in violent flashes like they do in the movies, but quietly under the surface of the mundane as war is apt to do.  I don’t have all the information.  I don’t have all the tools.  I don’t have all the magic words.  What I do have is Ohana.  What I do have is people who love me and believe in me, who have y back no matter what happens.    What I have, as i mentioned at Yule, is hope.

This year I have learned to adapt.  I have learned to be away but still present.  I have learned to be alone but not lost.  I have learned to love and not question.  At midnight tonight I won’t be with any of my loves.  I won’t have a single person to kiss, but I shall be kissing each and every one of them in my heart.

2015…a year started with hope in my heart.

Aloha.

Go now, kiss somebody at midnight, even if it’s just in your heart.

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