I was birthed on October 12, 1976 with a full head of thick black ‘stand – on – end’ hair, irritated by the bright lights and the cold air external to my mother’s womb. I broke free, ready to take on the world with fully formed lungs; preparing for my debut. With a loud cry and probably a swing, meant to crack the doc in the chops for helping with the extraction; I entered this life full of passion and purpose.
When I was 5, my mother ran a day home. The fact that most of the kids were older than me posed no problem. I would position them all in a row and declare, “I am in charge.” No questions asked, they would allow me to militarily check their outer gear before they were able to play in my back yard. In my poorest accurate made up recollection I remember one 8 year old boy who couldn’t tie his shoes to save his life. He simply stood there and let me ‘bunny ear’ his shoes, with the most dynamic precision. To this day, I feel, his partner has purchased Velcro shoes to save time.
I look back with a fondness of how direct and focused I was without inhibition. I didn’t question if I was too emotional or acting too big or exerting too much influence. I just WAS. That age of complete acceptance is a cool time of life. I would wear one blue sock and one white sock because those colors were somewhere in my dress. It made sense to me and people accepted it because I didn’t ‘know’ better. But I did know. Matching socks were for conformists and suckers…
Most children feel and express. This is how they communicate what’s going on in their little minds long before speech becomes readily available. Tantrums, screaming, tugging of clothes, saying one word over and over; louder and louder, silence and turning away, irritation by a variety of tactics, crying, laughing, and cuddles are all methods children use to get adults to become aware of deep emotional needs. True, sometimes it’s out of line… but many times, kids are resorting to the most reactionary method for maximum effectiveness. We grown-ups are so used to controlling our behaviors that we hush, try to push down or silence these moments. As I have analyzed my own cries to be heard, I know that many children are dying to be listened to, to have their feelings heard and to have a sense that someone finally gets them. If this does not happen; the external acts can become more dramatic.
Emotions are not the problem. Emotions are the rich energy tapestry which allows each one of us, including children, to acknowledge that an exorcism of that emotion is needed before it roots itself deeply into our minds and tissues. Sure, timing isn’t always to our liking when a child starts to lose it in public or has a freak out in front of people; but the lessons for us adults are undeniably clear.
We need to allow emotions to release. Not just mentally, but physically as well.
As a grown ass woman, I am aware that I cannot throw a temper tantrum to prove a point, to get my way or to self-express. But I am telling you, that if society allowed it... I would. There is no doubt that external stimulus triggers my mind to remember a hidden feeling and then my body reminds me to deal/release/move forward from: pain, fear, excitement, happiness and extreme love. All emotions need a way out – not the just negative ones. Think about when something really awesome happens how badly you want to do a ‘happy dance.’ Some of us who really don’t completely buy into cultural norms and expectations will get up and move with excitement. This movement releases the planting of that emotion into our physical body, so that we can continue on without extreme fatigue, excessive adrenal pumping or a nervous twitch. You know exactly what I’m talking about; that nervous twitch which starts twitching at the most inappropriate times: talking to a waiter, face to face banking, and having a serious conversation with a friend. Wink wink wink wink – oh good lord what the fuck????!!! And even when I press that little fucker down… it keeps letting me know that I am holding onto some type of shitty shit deep down inside.
Take a cue from your kids, the neighbor brat, or that screaming baby on a plane; next time you hear that annoying cry for attention think, “Now, that’s the way to do it!” However, instead of standing up mid lunch at your favorite restaurant, pushing the table over and screaming at the top of your lungs; have enough conscious thought to know it’s time to do something physical… privately. Go for a run, hit a heavy bag, dance till sweat is dripping down your back, punch a pillow, knit a mean scarf or have sex. There are a list of positive ways to encourage yourself to unwind mentally and physically. The body stores our emotional doo doo, so help your system out by acting childlike; instead of pushing ‘it’ away until you are ‘ready.’ You and I both know that day may never come.
In the spirit of community and self-acceptance… if you see me dancing down the street with a glazed smiley look, wearing my heart on my sleeve and mismatched socks… put down your judgement and come dance with me.
Today, a long tube like camera is sliding from my mouth to my stomach.
Apparently ‘people’ want to check out what’s happening in my gut.
I wonder what they’ll find…
Over the past few months I've had dull, sharp and burning pain. Ugh... sorry... I am being dishonest... I have actually had this pain for a very long time. I minimize my health issues at times simply because reality isn't so fun. I remember having stomach issues when I was much younger. That ouchy belly feeling would be so strong at times, I would have to roll up into a little ball to gain some relief. They assumed it was a tummy ulcer, which in my mind is what the docs are assuming now.
The won't find an ulcer.
Either way, the specialist wants a looksy. I'm not opposed to having a camera shoved into my insides, so we can figure it all out. It will be the best photo that represents my inner self. Maybe I'll ask for a copy and have it framed. The caption could say, "here is my alimentary canal" or "guess who had tofu for lunch?" or perhaps the ever popular, "true love starts in the gut..." That would be awesome. Awesome for me; maybe not the viewers. But I will show everyone.
What I would not show everyone, is a pic of my youthful partying. I am beyond grateful that when I was at my peak of rebelling (maybe I still am but act on it differently); camera phones were NOT being used to post my worst decisions for the world to see. Back then, we just had to do it the old fashioned way; call your friends the day after and say "Oh shit... did I REALLY do THAT???!!!" And then relive the guilt and shame via your best friends. However, when done outside of an environment that you wish would never be recorded, that click of a camera or phone, can grab the most amazing, hilarious, sad, ridiculous and historical moments.
As this camera slides down my throat, I wonder if it will be aware of how little I have spoken my truth over the longevity of my life. Oh I have chattered on and on… but the truth about who I am has been pretty quiet for many fears and years. I have a resistance to people getting to know the real me. Many feel they have grasped the immense personality I am; but in fact they have only scratched the surface. I have tried on several faces to induce a more comfortable environment. It’s been fucking exhausting. The area of the throat, longs for balance: speak and quiet.
The camera will slowly wind its way through my heart. Maybe it will find a scarred path where the many broken pieces have been tenderly brought together through self-development and internal self-care. The photos taken would see how deeply I fall in love but how distracted I can be, if bored. I have loved and lost and told many to ‘get lost.’ I have zero apologies for the mini and maxi relationships I have had on this journey because each one has brought me closer to realizing my heart desires. I hope this camera gently filters all the tears and emotional moments to create a collage of my most beautiful intimacies.
And finally the destination: MY GUT.
The camera slides to location… Stop. Turn. Stop. Turn. Click… Click… Click…
The amount of photos taken makes me smile and cringe. I am aware of my powerful gut instincts and yet I have stories clinging to my insides for fear of what would happen if I release. There is no easy answer to why I have chosen to hang on so tightly to my past, but that is something I am currently working on. The avoidance of listening to my ‘belly’ has caused great anxiety and struggle.
From the time I was little, my body has been sensitive. I have always internalized and taken on more 'grown up' feelings than any other child I played with. I knew at an early age the deep connection I had to humanity and it hurt deep within my core to observe and witness hate, apathy and dismissal of any living thing. Fast forward to today; that is why my gut hurts. There is no ulcer; it is a collection of deep seeded emotions that I am working on setting free.
We all have an abstract photo album full of what our lives have produced mentally, emotionally and physically. Sometimes it causes us great discomfort and even pain. What is the source of experiencing less fear and more peacefulness? The key is tapping into our internal abundant source for self love, happiness and worthiness. This answer is not easy but it's do-able. We need to stay present. Stop carrying around the past; we can analyze it, dissect it and process it... but we cannot change it. And decide to let the future unfold as it should without losing our shit if it doesn't go exactly the way we planned. Being sensitive is a wonderful gift - but internalizing to the point of physical pain is a problem.
Be in THIS beautiful moment. Breathe. Meditate. Trust.
No matter how often I travel to Indonesia (6 times) I am always blown away by the beautiful water, the people, local cuisine and the hospitality. However, this time, as I sat my ass on a beach, I noticed something else. There was an object that attracted my eye and gave me pause; it made me think. It was seemingly so ridiculously inconsequential, but I just knew I was meant to observe it.
My best friend and I staked our claim to a couple of bean bag chairs and set up camp. We undressed down to our swim suits, lathered up with sunscreen and then dropped heavy onto the 1970’s inspired cushions; creating full body outlines. As the sun beat down on us, I was extremely grateful to have a large overhead umbrella creating bearable shade to chill under, while we 'people watched' and drank Bintang, the local beer.
This umbrella was massive; think big and then think bigger.
Because it was directly over our heads, at times, I would look up with squinty eyes at the guts of the umbrella. I observed how strong and sturdy this thing must be in order to endure tropical winds, rain and the intense heat. That “something” that drew my attention was the wood that was used to create the hinges. I thought it was odd how each hinge holding the umbrella open, 8 in total, was “pinned” with completely different items; a nail, a screw, a small stick, a dowel cut perfectly to fit and so on. I don’t remember all of the materials used, but one particular “branch” of this system was remarkably repaired. It looked as though the piece of wood had snapped and another stronger more durable wood was placed along side and then duct taped together. Now that was ingenuity!
Duct tape has clearly made its mark around the world.
For some reason, emotion swept over me. It appeared as if the poor thing had lived a long life and now was being fixed up merely to survive. Back home we would have thrown it away; no good! Doesn’t work! Too much energy to repair! Need newer and better!!! Ugh, and yet this umbrella worked just fine and in fact was doing a phenomenal job of making my sunless sunning experience a complete treat! My mind was racing… wait a minute, the umbrella wasn’t broken at all; it was simply altered at a time when it needed to shift into a stronger more powerful item. In order for it to keep doing the job it was intended for; the umbrella had to take the support and make appropriate changes so it could thrive.
You may not know…
I have used duct tape to hold my heart steady. I have a variety of “pins” throughout my body reminding me of glory days and the moments of mental anguish that brought me crashing to my knees. I have felt the sun beating down on my soul and the windy rain that beat the shit out of me as I held my hands over my face and cried till there were no more tears left to flow. Throughout all of this, I held my ground. I stayed in position ready to continue my life’s work. My feet were and are deeply rooted in the mucky sand that not even my illness, my separation, my fears, my mental grief, my lack of self-love could knock me down and keep me there.
Like a fixed up umbrella, I too, have created a new life.
We are not damaged. We are simply modified from the life we thought we’d have, to the life that is playing out even more spectacularly before us. You and I will always have situations that leave us deeply wounded requiring heavy duty tape to support. But what a mind blowing trip; to be able to constantly renew, revitalize and re-route our lives. Open your umbrella to its maximum intensity and notice how fucking connected, introspective and strong you have become.
Now… seriously… is that someone who’s broken?
In order for us to take off on time, which we don’t plan on doing anyways, please store your bigger bags in the overhead compartment and the smaller ones in the impossibly tiny area under your seat. We are pleased to offer limited leg space and edema.
Please make your way from the narrow isle, to your seats. For those of you who have not checked any luggage and who are unconsciously bashing your backpacks, laptop cases and purses in the already seated passenger’s faces, please hurry the fuck up and sit down. However, I’m sure you will have forgotten something in your stowed bags and will stand back up to inevitably ass bump someone’s head. For those of you who require assistance please let us know. We will be sure to talk behind your back about your neediness and roll our eyes if you seem competent but aren’t really trying to lift your bag over your head; so annoying. We also promise to shove all your bags so tightly together that we anticipate them shifting and dropping on your head when you open the bins… this makes us secretly smile. We are tired and have little to no patience.
We cross our fingers there’s no crash, as the pilot is struggling with withdrawal.
There are inflatables stashed beneath your seat that may or may not inflate.
The oxygen is a lie.
If you don’t already know how to use a seat belt, please get off the plane.
So please sit back, relax and enjoy the turbulent flying death trap you are strapped to.
Oh and please turn all hand held devices to airplane mode.
The mode of the air; a quick swipe of the finger that somehow allows electronic devices to be safe and “sleepy” as we careen high into the sky at an elevation that doesn’t make sense to me. However, it’s not mine to understand. I’ve been told I’m good at many things, but back row co-pilot does not need to be added to the list. So I’ll just trust the plane gods to get me from point A to B… or plane fairies. I would really like it if there were little fairies that lifted it high into the air. That would make me happy.
With all the madness that can occur on flight, I have somehow made peace with it. There are no medium threat issues that would cause me not to fly. Sometimes if the plane needs more fuel and we’re grounded, I think, “Come on! Let’s see how far this bad boy can go!” I actually enjoy flying. I have concluded that when surrounded by that many people; we have choices: to talk or to be a mute. It’s quite empowering. What I find interesting though, is when I do choose to speak; the “right” person is sitting next to me with an interesting story. However, when I’ve had enough and there’s a lull… the ear plugs and face mask come out to create a strong hint that this gal needs to hibernate. When desperate for quiet time, I will plug my senses even on a short haul flight, under an hour, just to send a bad ass message (or dorky), that I require silence.
I love airplane mode. I think it’s safer for everyone, if my electrical energy isn’t bouncing freely around a metal jar. Before I step onto a plane, my life is generally in a mild form of chaos. Everything from organizing my house to the little shit I forget to pick up before I go; makes for a week of running around and exhaustion. But I know that stillness is on its way. I know that when I step on that plane; whether it’s for an hour or fifteen… I am free. I am in rest mode. I choose to disconnect by swiping my mind to a vibration of self-care, self-love and connection. I put ear plugs in so I can hear the beat of my heart. I wear a mask so that my eyes rejuvenate and can remain moist even in that recycled mist they call air.
How often do you switch to the safety of airplane mode? Looking around I would say that most of us are in technology mode, ‘chicken with cut off head’ mode and ‘more is better’ mode. I’m not immune to this stuff. My life can be and has been a plethora of ‘cray cray’ that has left me depleted, empty and hungry. The idea that we cannot, for whatever reason, slow down, chill out or take a much deserved time out makes me shake my head at myself and then society.
What is brilliant is that switching modes is actually simple. It can be a solo cup of tea, a walk in nature or heading to bed early. Either way it will happen. Without airplane mode we will inevitably crash. We will then be given no choice but to back up from everything, including those things we love, and nurture the minor headache we’ve caused or at worst a chronic stress illness.
So check your busyness, stow your past baggage, and swipe. Take flight, close your eyes and enjoy the scenery. Be a tourist in your mind. Take a look around and observe your thoughts; see where the majority of stress is coming from and decide to make a change. After the flight ends, land safely and feel grounded.
Please take all your belongings as any items you leave will be sold. Whether you enjoyed your flight or not, is not our concern. Thank you for choosing this airline, even though we know we slashed prices, and you bought for the savings.
Good bye and safe journeys in this city or wherever your future destination may be.