Sunday, January 24, 2016

Missing Stuff

It's interesting I've begun missing as my time in transition moves beyond the two year mark. While using 'stuff' as a catch-all is a bit lazy and potentially misleading, that's the word that most sums up this current space.

Three years ago I had a stable, predictable 9-6, my own furniture and space, an engagement, and no idea what I was doing with my life beyond building my post-college reality. I'm not sure if content would be a good word to describe that time since my inner life was in tumult, but it was structured, safe, and met my needs.

Several months later, I would end my engagement, the result of months of difficult work and coming to terms with reality. Sadly, I must own that in some ways my life revolved around this relationship; ending it was gut-wrenching and brought me to a place of questioning the fabric of who I was. 

Two years ago, I was finishing up the wine harvest in Walla Walla and bracing myself for a move to Seattle. I had sold most of my furniture before leaving Florida and was living somewhere between long-term travel and short-term moves, constantly trying to put down new roots only to pull them within weeks or months.

One year ago, I was returning to Orlando from a move to North Carolina that went awry of every plan I'd drawn up in my head. I wanted nothing to do with Florida, nothing to do with massage therapy, and no clue what kind of job I'd get. I just needed money and some direction to move towards after roadblocks brought everything back into question.

Now I'm learning first-hand how challenging it is to pursue a nontraditional (for me) route that's more entrepreneurial. To move towards something that pushes all 187 of my insecurity buttons, thus making me pretty cantankerous. To keep trying and make choices that will impact my future knowing that everything will probably end up different anyways. It usually works out that way.

Maybe this is another step in moving towards, rather than away. Or maybe I miss things because that's what people do.

Either way, here's to all of us who miss things and move forward anyways.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Newly Minted "Adult"

I'm feeling like a newly minted adult these days, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it just yet. Let me recap 2015 for you all so far since it's been about as interesting as other years.

In 2008, becoming a massage therapist blipped up on my radar rather unexpectedly when my massage therapist told me I should consider becoming one. I smushed the idea in the what-are-you-talking-about-but-thanks-not-really corner of my mind and kept on my merry way, never fully dismissing it, but fighting it still.

Gradually, massage became the thing I would do "someday," the nebulous land of potential and future possibility. After trying several other ideas out that I thought would be the right fit, I chose massage and then tried to make it happen. Twice. Third times the charm, and I graduated from school in August and am now licensed.

Am I glad I did it? Usually, especially when I am massaging and remember how much I love it. Hey, I can be forgetful and frustrated and a little slow. It has, however, been different than I expected, and it's more difficult getting started than I anticipated. Choosing a career theme is one of the reasons I'm feeling a bit more like an "adult" these days, at least in society's view. I have business cards, a professional license, and a loan.

The loan(s) are the other factor in this transitional period. In March of this year, I took out my first loan to pay for school and it was SO UNCOMFORTABLE. As an unwitting disciple of the Jerry Kranz School of Finances, I am a bit loan avoidant and anxious about money (but manage it well, may I add). My amazing car, Bessie, Traverser of the Country, will retire this year, and I'll soon be adding Loan #2 to the portfolio.

More so than just owing money, I am now responsible financially for things outside of myself, and I haven't experienced that before. These new constraints require me to think differently about my future than I did in the past. While I could rant about how debt keeps us enslaved, etc., etc., I'd rather make peace with reality. Money is a tool we use in our day and age to live our lives. Now I just have to make choices differently.

One of these choices is to forgo the push to try and immediately make massage my primary income. I love bodywork, and I hope to someday make it my primary career, but for now, it isn't looking realistic. Is it disappointing that this isn't working out how I expected? Definitely, but my license isn't going anywhere that I know of.

Really, I think this year so far has been one of consciously moving towards goals and desires, which is involving plenty of delays and setbacks, but also surprises. Liminal spaces are wonderful times of growth and rooting uncomfortable, and this is just another pitstop.

Bessie on a mountain during her days of glory.

Massage school summed up in one picture. Individuals in this will remain unnamed.

Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park is one of the loveliest places I've seen.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Word for 2015: Joy

noun: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying;
a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; 
something or someone greatly valued or appreciated

verb: to feel joy; be glad; rejoice

I've enjoyed celebrating New Year's ever since I was a child. Maybe it's feeling connected in celebration with people across the globe in a way that transcends country, time zone, religion, and personality. Perhaps my dislike of fireworks (for most of my life) and large transitions subversively transmuted itself. I enjoy having definitive, objective markers to orient myself around, and a change in calendar year is an obvious and widely accepted choice.

Regardless of the reasoning, the change from one calendar year to another has been something I honor. Over the past few years, I've made the shift away from resolutions since I break them by January 2 and don't care to give myself "rules." This year, I decided to follow a practice proposed by others and choose a word for 2015 that will inform and guide me as I traverse the next twelve months of hills, valleys, and plateaus.

I had a couple mentors who mentioned that they hope my next year would be filled with joy, and the practice of choosing a word fell into my lap inbox a week later. Beginner's luck probably, but one learns to receive gifts for what they are and run with them while they're present.

So, joy. How do I express it as a very human... human? Realistically, what does joy look like as a frustrated, American twenty-something? How is it lived out in a world that is horrifying and unjust, yet astonishing and beautiful? What is joy when I'm angry, confused, hurt, and disappointed?

I don't know what this practice will look like, and I don't like what people usually say it "should" look like. Thankfully, the whole point of practice is to return; there's no perfection to be found here. But maybe joy, instead.

In the words of one of the participants, Tuba Christmas is "transcendental." It's across the US and globe, so do yourself a favor and find a concert next December.

This photo doesn't show the full majesty; I just appreciated the white socks and sneakers combo of the gentleman in aqua.

Oh, Asheville. My move did not go at all as expected, so I find myself back in Florida. How funny to practice being present and finding joy in the place I've been trying to escape since 2005. Not.

I loved seeing my Aunt Patricia in Boone, NC during my time in the mountains. We tried to get a selfie with Grandfather Mountain. The self portion of the selfie didn't exactly work, but we did get the mountain.

Sunset over Grandfather Mountain.

Tova and I seeing The Nutcracker presented by the Orlando Ballet. The performance and venue exceeded expectations, however the audience whooping was not appreciated.

The winter in Florida has been warm, and flowers are blooming. As much as I dislike the darkness and cold of winter, I miss seasons and the natural rhythm they bring.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Is Where the Heart Is

After a long hiatus, it's about time I publish something I've written. On that note, how do I properly capitalize this title anyways?

One of the more interesting things I've tested over the past year is the idea of home. What it is, where it can be found, its importance to me. The past year has flipped my idea of home on its head and challenged my understanding of what this word and the oft-quipped saying really mean.

A brief history of my relationship with the word brings me first to Maryland, then Virginia, where I spent my childhood. The trees and rolling hills, beautiful autumns and humid summers, fireflies alighting at night, times spent outside with friends. Home was a familiar place, geographically known, with parameters measured in comfort and ease. I even had "Second Home," Miami, where I visited extended family and had been born.

I moved to Florida and began high school in a foreign place where people wore jeans in the absolutely sticky humidity. I had viewed Miami as a sort of home, so Florida wasn't alien, but having to actually root in Florida proved more jarring than expected. It's as if to build up the shaky internal bindings around my self, I looked to external stability, in particular familiarity with the land and geography, for strength. The loss of my stability, among other things in a chaotic adolescence, was painful, and I spent years "hating" Florida without really understanding exactly why. I still don't, but the process moves gradually.

Home for me was external stability to orient towards in a chaotic inner landscape. Home was land containing beauty that filled my soul and let me rest a bit outside of my million-mile-an-hour mind. Home, at some level, was safety and comfort in a world that felt scary.

How does one define 'home' when wings are spread, a search begins, and the internal is more stable than the external? Maybe home begins internally, where heart meets soul in deep places. We are not the beginning and end, but maybe Home flows outward, and we can start there.

As I'm preparing for my fifth address this calendar year, it gives me peace to center in the deep places. For the girl who found (and still finds) transition jarring, who takes comfort in familiar geography and traversing streets known to her feet, I still find it a bit wild that I've spent so much time moving, stepping into the things I both dreamed of and feared.

I look forward to the day when home becomes more external again as the constant 'hellos' and 'goodbyes' are tiring. Until then, however, my home is where my heart is; I carry it with me.

My friend and I pondering the concept of 'home.'
He's pretty settled; I'm a bit envious.

Beaches and expressive skies.

 A sunset in Florida's hill country. The sunsets here can be pretty stunning.

Beer flows aplenty in so-called Beer City, USA.

My next move is anticipated to be Asheville, NC for massage therapy school.
I know I love living near mountains, now to experiment with living in the mountains.