dog walk on Kings Island

dog walk on Kings Island

I started writing a very different blog post about a week ago but couldn’t get it to say what I wanted it to say, lost interest in it, and began writing this. I’m not sure this is any better but since it’s going straight from head to page, there will be less analysis involved.

And maybe that’s best.

GLBTQ Youth Summit

The Youth Summit I volunteered at on March 10th looked like it was a great experience for the youth, which is what matters. Less significant is that I was hoping to hear kids talk about what they are going through in their schools and communities. I was hoping to use that climate reading to know where, perhaps, would be the best place to focus my energies with volunteer work and activism. I didn’t come away with a clear answer but was just happy to be around so much youthful energy.

As a room monitor, I was told to be enthusiastically welcoming. I tried. Introvert enthusiastically-welcoming is probably not as bubbly and obvious as they were looking for.

I was in a session called “Activism Through Art” that was led by two high schoolers who were confident, fun, and amazing. They presented examples of activist artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zanele Muholi, Kara Walker, Keith Haring, Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and drew attendees into small group discussions about topics like how they saw art and activism working together and what types of symbolism they saw in the art they’d been shown. The session ended with attendees using the art supplies the young women brought to create their own art.

So I still don’t know exactly what schools today are like for GLBTQ youth, but from the number of kids attending, who ended the day by talking to their legislators about their concerns, I take it that legalizing gay marriage and new school policies against bullying have not solved everything.

One Day of Spring Teaser Weather

On a lighter note, last weekend (March 12-13, definitely not the more recent March 19-20) the weather was gorgeous, with a high on the 12th in the 70s. I spent almost that entire day outside. First riding Luke…

horseback riding horseback riding

Then going on a bike ride with a friend (unfortunately no photos, but do have photos of a Friday night bike ride)…

bicycle ride in Anoka bicycle ride in Anoka bicycle ride in Anoka

The weather worship extravaganza ended with a dog walk…

dog walk on Kings Island dog walk on Kings Island Writing

I’m struggling to get back to some SOLID writing after sending my 260 page manuscript off to my son for his input. The book includes some things he wrote and things I’ve written about events we went through together so I need his viewpoint before I go any further.

So I’m trying to get started on a new project. I have an idea for a shorter piece – a simple ebook – but it appears getting started on a new project is not simple, no matter how short and light-hearted I imagine the finished product being.

I also have another book’s worth of writing that didn’t make the cut for the first book. That actually might be easier for me to start working on than the ebook, as the idea is a bit more concrete.

I did have a solid writing routine going. I had daily time set aside, and I didn’t allow myself to think about other options for filling that time. I need to get back to that.

That means pushing past how wiped out I feel (perhaps caused by the usual “it’s been winter for five months and I’m tired of being cold” feeling).

I need to push past that.

And put my Java face on…

dog walk on Kings Island

horse

 

dog walk

I was the child who climbed up into the cradle of tree branches with a book, a pen and my journal and observed the world from a safe distance. Maybe it’s time to come down and tell people what I saw. ~ Maery Rose

Within the up-down weather confines of February, there is nothing to stand in the way of the twin emotions of anxiety and depression, who run around the room like children who have had too much candy.

And my birth mother died.

I wish I could just say that my mother died but that would be confusing as my other mother has been dead since 2007. It strikes me as funny how I could refer to these two women as “A Mom” for adoptive mom and “B Mom” for birth mom, and so I shall.

I only met B Mom in 1998. With her living so far away, I only spent maybe forty hours total with her. Having to continuously deal with my own anxiety, I didn’t deal very well with being around a similarly agitated person. She made me so nervous and uncomfortable and fearful that we rarely spoke.

So perhaps one would suppose that her death would barely be a blip on my radar for numerous reasons. And yet it has sent me into a tailspin during a month of tailspins that are making it difficult for me to function properly. So forgive me if I say something odd or disturbing or if I seem to be withdrawing from people who have done nothing to make me feel the way that I’m feeling. I sometimes fear I will shatter if you touch me. Perhaps I am just afraid of crying.

Certainly, I will put on my best face, my best funny act, my best macho strut, but there will be breaks in what I can maintain.

horse

 

I was listening to Peter Rollins on the RobCast this morning. He’s written a number of books, including his most recent “The Divine Magician” and “The Idolatry of God.” There were many interesting points in the interview but my ears perked up when he began to talk about why people come to his live events rather than just read his books or listen to a podcast or YouTube video.

“Primary reason people are there is because they feel really alone and they want to be in the room with other people who are on the same journey.” ~ Peter Rollins

With losing my B Mom, I wonder who I can talk to or relate to about what it feels like to lose the mother who gave you up?

My A Dad died when I was 28. My A Brother died when I was 37. My A Mom died when I was 50. And that was the end of the A list.

My B Dad died when I was 51. And now my B Mom has died.

What got me through the loss of the A List is that I had something to do to prepare for the memorial service and I had people to grieve with. With the B List, that hasn’t been the case.

dog

So all the struggle and processing goes on inside at the same time that I’m finishing up a book that includes some of the story of being an adoptee and finding my birth family. But very little of the details of that are actually in the story. The way that the story is about being adopted is what it did to me. How I grew up believing being giving up was about me — about being a worthless, unlovable child. And nothing in my life contradicted that belief. Or maybe there was something, but I couldn’t see it.

Peter Rollins also talked about how we can grow up believing something and then later, as our experiences and our maturing adult minds gather refuting information, we change our beliefs. Yet, when under duress, we don’t fall back on our new beliefs but instead, what floods back with a vengeance are those old minds patterns and habits that we thought we had replaced. I think that is the problem with me right now.

horse

And so I go off into the world, reaching out a hand here and a hand there. Taking a walk. Riding a horse. Making an appointment for a massage. Making hot chocolate with marshmallows. Buying essential oils and teas that promise relaxation.

Thank goodness for Steve who is busy in the kitchen making some kind of something (he’s been into cooking lately and I certainly will not complain). For Luke who is the epitome of calm and quiet and passes that on to me. For Java, another animal friend who does the same. For Latte who does her bow-and-run dance for me and makes me laugh. For a friend handing out free samples of her Naan at Lunds, who has no idea that five minutes with her made me feel better. For a dear cousin who seemed to know I was thinking about her and gave me a call when I needed to hear her familiar voice. And another friend who listened patiently to me on the phone today and has invited me to visit her next week. And a couple other friends who have checked in to see how I’m doing.

horse

Oh, and there was the guy I passed walking his little beagle puppy — that puppy was was scampering through puddles and he made both his owner and I laugh. And one of the guys working at the barn, who told me what a great horse Luke is, “Never any trouble from him,” and who stood and petted Lukes face for awhile before returning to his chores.

Perhaps no one is on my exact same journey or knows exactly how I feel or even that I’m hurting at this time, but a smile, a kind word, setting a minute aside to chat — they do so much to touch a life and to heal.

So thanks to all the people I passed and spoke to in the past week. And for those people I haven’t had contact with, I’ll thank you also because I’m positive you have done something similar for someone else, perhaps without even knowing it.

horse

horse and dog
horse in snowstorm

Luke in 2004

I’ve been working on a chapter in my book about a time when I’d been thrown off a horse (not Luke) and broke my collarbone and wrist. I already had the story written and was just going to clean it up and add a couple things, but as I read what I had written, I realized that the story had been about more than I thought when I originally wrote it.

My horse accident happened at a time in my life when I was extremely happy. I had never had so much in my life that was so good. And I had never had so much to lose. I was terrified.

I couldn’t help but hear my childhood voices asking me, “Who do you think you are?”

horse and dog

I’d been raised to not trust anything good that happened because surely I’d screw it up or someone would take it away from me. The worst sin in my childhood home was to take pride in something you did or to believe you actually deserved anything but hard work and suffering.

After the accident, I couldn’t ride the horse that threw me. I dreaded getting on him and he knew it. I tried for a year to get back to where we had been but it was no use, so I sold him.

It took another year to get my confidence back by riding Luke. Not that Luke was perfect. He was four and would rear whenever something freaked him out. But while I couldn’t deal with a horse that intentially tried to dump people, I seemed to have a gift in calming down fear in animals. If only I was as gifted at calming my own worries.

horseback riding

Luke and me in 2003. My painter pants were ever so flattering.

Being around horses was when I felt most myself. And when I felt most myself, I felt okay. It was only when I questioned who I was and what I was doing that I turned into a basket case.

When I rode, the loneliness and the busyness and confusion in my brain all went away. They disappeared in the movement, the speeding up and slowing down, the turns, and the patterns Luke and I traced across the ground.

All my attention was focused on our surroundings, the feel of the ground under hooves, and on each muscle, both Luke’s and mine, doing the job it was supposed to be doing at that instant.

Riding was a series of concentrated, perfectly present moments.

horse and dog

I wanted to figure out how to hold onto those minutes of being so completely present and bring them into the rest of my life. To not feel bad about what I’d done in the past, or angry about what had been done to me, or worried about what I might accomplish or not accomplish in the future, but to just experience and be fully present here and now. I wanted to remember that even the so called bad times, would become memories that I would look back on later. And, from the distance of time, I would see the treasure there and wish that I had realized it then. So, I wanted, I still want, to know the good right now. Even if it doesn’t feel good right now.

I heard a podcast about the difference between good and perfect by Rob Bell. What I got out of it was that perfect is stagnant. There’s no room for growth. While good is something becoming. Good is okay with the times that we make a wrong turn, or a mistake, or the wrong choice because good knows that there’s still room for us to learn and grow. There’s still time to find more that’s good or a different good or even a bad that becomes a good.

Contrary to the saying, it’s not ALL good. But it has the possibility to get there…

horse and dog

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