writing

Handlebars are mean (but I love them anyway)

Bruises are a fact of life for me. I bruise pretty easy. And some of the bruises you can even see.

I’ve been up since 3 am. Seems to be that’s when I get the urge to write, when I remember that hey, I have a blog. When I’m up at 3 am and I really have nothing to do but sit at my computer and type. I’m not really sure what woke me up today. But once I was up, my leg made it pretty clear that it was unhappy. And I wasn’t getting back to sleep tonight.

This is the bruise I got Saturday. My boyfriend and I finally got out trials riding after almost three months of not riding at all. I wish I had some exciting story to tell of the amazing crash, but I don’t. I was turning around a tree in a new section and somehow between all the dead sticks and leaves on the ground and my body position, something didn’t go right and the bike fell out from underneath me. It wasn’t a bad fall at all. Until the handlebar smacked my leg.

I knew it was bad. I’ve been hurt enough during this sport to know when something is just a minor whack, and when its going to hurt the next day (or later that night). But I kept riding. Because I was outdoors in the sunshine with my friends. I was doing the sport that I loved. I was doing it with the man that I loved, sharing it with him, so proud of him seeing him conquer turns and steep ups over slippery roots and things that would have scared him last year. Seeing the improvement in myself after taking up Tai Chi. Seeing the lines and things that I wouldn’t even have tried last year, and yet Saturday I felt like I had the confidence to take on any obstacle in the world.

A lot of people give motorcycle riders crap. They say they are polluting the world. They take away our trails and riding areas. They look down at us. But the truth is, we are all after the same thing.

To enjoy this world around us. Trials is unlike anything I’ve ever done in this world. It has given me confidence. Family. Self-reliance. It has pulled me out of my introverted, hermit shell. It gave me hope, when my anxiety and depression had stripped every ounce of it away from me. And it taught me that bruises are not something to be scared of. It helped me deal with my bruises from emotional abuse. It helped me deal with my scars, while giving me cool new ones to brag about to people because they can’t believe at 30 I started riding motorcycles.

Without trials, I wouldn’t have traveled all over the United States. Wouldn’t have had the courage to pick up my life when it was darkest. Wouldn’t have met the love of my life. Maybe wouldn’t be here today to write this post.

Yes, my leg is killing me today. The nerves finally woke back up. But I wouldn’t give up these bruises for anything in the world. Because these bruises are my badge of pride. Because I’m having the time of my life getting them.

I needed Saturday. My boyfriend and I have been going through remodel hell. Not only that, but I’m going back to school, carrying a 4.0 GPA, dealing with debt issues, and trying to start a new trials club something I’ve never done before. Not to mention just the stress of a long, cold winter. I needed a day out in the sunshine with my other riding friends.

I guess this came up because its getting so hard to find places to enjoy this sport I love. To spend that time outside with great people.

I know a lot of people will disagree, that there’s other things I could do other than trials that would bring me joy. And I would maybe agree with you. Until I get on that bike. Then there is nothing else.

Before you hate something and ban it, think of the people who might get something out of it. Something that they desperately need. Something that brings life and hope into their life. Talk to the person. Learn about their love. It might not be your cup of tea. It would be a pretty boring world if we all loved the same thing. But maybe we could understand each other enough to respect each other’s choices and loves and get along together instead of constantly fighting.

Find something that brings you joy, even if other people say its weird or odd. Even if it brings you bruises. Pottery. Skydiving. Mountain biking. Riding a motorcycle. Whatever it may be. Don’t give up on life just because the world tells you its wrong or you can’t do it.

Yes, my leg is killing me today. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This bruise is telling me I’m out living my life, not letting it pass me by like I did before. Because that’s the scariest thing in the world to me. Getting to the end of my days and regretting the things I didn’t do, because I was too scared to try for fear of getting hurt. I want to live a life of hope and no regrets. I hope you do too.

 

Early morning musing

It’s 3 in the morning. I woke up at 1:30 again (thank you period cramps) and couldn’t fall back asleep. I know, I said the dreaded ‘p’ word. But you know what? It’s a fact of life for women. It sucks. And I’m tired of having to pretend its not happening. Mine especially as it currently feels like someone is trying to rip my spine out through my belly button and the only relief I can get is having an ice pack on my back for most of the day. I still managed to get in a 3.5 mile hike yesterday which was awesome. Found a new trail in Golden that is almost worth going out in Denver traffic for.

So here I am, philosophizing like I do so many times at this time of morning. The world is dark and still. No one is yapping in my ear or telling me of what normal thing I should be outraged by now. I’m not getting run over by stupid people that can’t put down their phone in their car, or suddenly realized they need to dart across five lanes of traffic because they’re going to miss their lane or just think that they deserve my space on the road more than I do. It’s peaceful and serene. I can actually think without being bombarded by noise.

I wonder what would happen if the world would turn itself off for a week. No news. No media. No paid for ‘experts’ screaming at us that we need to be outraged by this or that. No advertisements telling us how horrible we look or act or have going wrong in our lives but hey we have this thing that will make it all better if you just give us your credit card. No video games. No traffic jams. No phones. Just people being people without all the noise in our lives.

There’s a line in Jurassic Park I love. I’m paraphrasing but it’s something like “Everybody got so wrapped up in the fact that they could, nobody stopped to think if they should.”

Technology is great (when it wants to work). But now that we’ve all become saturated in it, we need to try just spending a little time saturating ourselves with peace and quiet. Paying attention to the world, and the people around us. Taking extra time and dealing with our mistakes correctly (like just going to the next exit in traffic) instead of dealing with it instantly and creating all sorts of havoc (yes this example comes because someone almost killed my boyfriend in traffic today because they had to dart across five lanes at the last second before an exit). Wake up people.

We’re all guilty of this. Of not paying attention. Of getting consumed by the noise.

Maybe its time we all unplugged just a little.

 

 

 

Awake at 1 am

It’s 1:30 am. My boyfriend is so deep asleep next to me I’m not even sure he’s breathing anymore. He is, thankfully. I’m awake. I knew I fell asleep too easily. I stare into the darkness, into the direction I think the ceiling is, willing myself back to sleep. I try all my tricks including counting to 10 in Japanese. Odd I know. But sometimes it works to get my brain to shut off.

Not tonight. Apparently all I needed was four hours of sleep because my brain is off and running. Hurting like hell, because why not wake up with a headache when you can’t fall back asleep.

I try for what seems like an hour to lull myself back to sleep. But my head just keeps pounding worse. I finally give up, rummaging around in the dark for my sweats. I head down to the couch, grabbing a glass of water on the way. I hate drinking water at night because my taste buds seem to turn off and it tastes disgusting. But I do it anyway because I figure my headaches from dehydration. Oh, the joy of living in Colorado, the land of little humidity.

First I play some Plants vs Zombies. Normally I don’t do video games, but sometimes doing something completely mindless can make me sleepy again. Not tonight, unfortunately.

I try reading, one of my favorite past times, because if nothing else I can enjoy my time up.

3 am and I finally give into the obvious. I’m not falling asleep again tonight. I sigh, because my brain and body have been doing this too much lately. I know I’ll finally crash around 6, 6:30 for an hour or two, then wake up completely messed up for the rest of the day. Headaches. Aching joints. It’s almost like having the flu except its just my body’s messed up response to a messed up sleep schedule.

I grab a can of Pepsi just because I don’t want to use the microwave to heat up my chai in case I wake up my boyfriend. I know once he wakes up he’ll be up for good too, and at least one of use should be getting some rest tonight. Hopefully I can ward off the 6 am crash with enough caffeine and just stay up all day.

I decide to do stuff (quietly) to get ready for my day. I do my exercises down in the basement. I check my camera gear to make sure it’s charged and I have everything I need (sleep or no I am still going for my hike!) Then I decide to use the time to write this post.

It seems like this has been my sleep schedule my entire life. Either I sleep for only a few hours and wake up, my brain going “Hey we slept! Get up! Get up! That’s enough”, or I sleep for ten hours and basically have to be blasted out of bed or I would sleep more. Sometimes I really do wonder if I’m not somehow half cat like my boyfriend contends. Either I’m sleeping all the time or I’m up in the middle of the night with the ‘zoomies’ wanting to get stuff done. That and I love napping in sunbeams (insert laughter here).

There’s also the nights where my brain refuses to let me sleep in the first place. Where my anxiety latches on to some mundane thing that has happened or will happen or may happen or isn’t even a possibility but hey lets worry and fret over it anyway.

I don’t like taking sleeping pills. I used to take antidepressants prescribed by my doctor, but those gave me really horrible dreams and I’d wake up in panic attacks. I take CBD oil, which helps keep me stay asleep sometimes but not always. I do melatonin and other vitamins that are supposed to help. And they do, sometimes.

But sometimes is not all the time. And I end up with nights like this.

Yet I have to admit that it is kind of nice. Being up in the middle of the night. The world is completely silent, except for the humidifier. If it wasn’t so cold I’d go for a walk. I used to do that all the time, walking at night. Even in the biggest city, there’s a silence to the nighttime. A stillness that speaks to the writer, the artist in my soul. Maybe I’ll go photograph the sunrise this morning.

They say that the early morning hours are the creative hours, and I can see why. No distractions. No phones. No TV blaring in the background. No traffic or trains blowing their horns or planes rumbling overhead. No garbage truck banging and squeaking as it passes. No noisy neighbors with their little yappy dogs that never shut up. No one bugging me or begging me to do a survey or buy this thing or that thing or anything. Just peace and quiet. Stillness.

I hate these nights when I can’t sleep because I know I’ll eventually hit my wall and it will turn into a bad day. But I can enjoy this time in the peace and stillness that it gives me.

 

 

Snow days and Catching Up

So I haven’t blogged for a really long time. I was kind of getting tired of social media, to tell you the truth. Everybody yelling and having an opinion. Everybody arguing over ‘what way is the right way’. Why am I blogging? What about my life is so interesting that anyone would care? Its not like this is actually going to ever be a business. I started putting a lot of pressure on myself, and the more pressure I put on myself to ‘be something to someone’ or ‘make something out of it’, the less I actually wanted to write. But then I remembered the reason for starting this blog. It’s a journal of my life. My adventures. My stories. My thoughts. And if someone else gets something from it, cool.

That’s it. That’s all.

A lot has happened. I started school in August at the age of 36 to finally finish my bachelor’s degree. I’m loving being back in school, as I’ve always loved learning. Yet it’s really driven home how much I have actually grown up, being around the ‘younger kids’. Yes, I really did catch myself saying that. Kids. I honestly have to say I stopped and shuddered when I said that. But its the truth. On one hand, its great to see their optimism and ‘we can change’ the world attitudes. But listening to some of their opinions, I honestly am going ‘yeah, yeah, let’s see what you think in 10 years after working a job and watching all your hard earned money go in taxes that always seem to be going up and nothing seems to be getting better’. Ok, I’m a little cynical about government and taxes. Who isn’t?

I am loving school. I’m going to Metro State in Denver, which is a beautiful campus. Next semester, I’m even trying a tai chi class. Something I’ve always wanted to try.

This past weekend it snowed, and being cooped up in the house allowed me to get caught up and catch my breath. Got some photos edited that have been sitting on my desktop for months. Got my schoolwork caught up. Got some work done for the new Trials club I’m helping to co-found (which has been super-exciting to be a part of). The boyfriend and I cleaned the house from top to bottom (trying to ferret out whatever virus keeps making us sick). And I finally got to a place, sitting in front of the fireplace, where I wanted to blog again.

Because that was why I had originally started my blog, all those ages and incarnations ago. Just to write. Just to put down my story. An online journal that I could decorate with photos and videos. Sharing my story because it was fun.

I was just telling my boyfriend how happy it was that it snowed. While I enjoy the milder weather of Colorado (can’t complain when you can ride your motorcycle year round), I miss the winters of Iowa growing up. Getting snowed in for days at a time. This weekend, curled up by the fire, I had nothing to distract me from writing and reading and enjoying myself. I was forced to stop, to slow down, to relax. Too many weeks of school and chores and projects blend into weekends riding and running around (and more projects). Weeks turn into months turn into a year until I finally collapse from exhaustion because I’ve been too busy to listen to my body tell me I need to slow down.

Sometimes I think I need to have a snow day even when its sunny outside. To forget this modern idea of ‘you must be busy all of the time’. To shut the world out and say ‘no, I’m taking some time for me and I’m not going to be ashamed about that’. To not have an excuse to not be doing something.

Monday Meditation: The Power of Disconnecting

Soft music plays on my computer. Incense burns beside me, white sage and lavendar, to calm and cleanse. The crystals are arrayed in a grid before me. Tiger’s eye for focus. Selenite to cleanse. Citrine for happiness. Carnelian for energy. Amethyst for clear thinking. Snowflake obsidian for protection. Dragon’s blood for creativity. I close my eyes, taking a deep breath in. Letting my mind drift, falling into the music. Clearing it of all the clutter that bogs the modern mind. All the negativity and drama. All the fear and uncertainty. It’s like a shower for your mind. Coming out clean and refreshed.

I posted a little while ago about my discovery of crystals and meditation. I admit, I used to laugh at it. I was taught to fear it. That is was evil. That it was going to send me to hell. But growing up has taught me a few things. That the only truly evil thing in this world is to live with a closed mind. To not be open to new things. Because sometimes the thing you need the most is the thing you never thought you would do.

Like a lot of other people in this world I’m caught up in electronics. I’m on Facebook way too much. I’ve been haunting Instagram lately, trying to get my photography out there. And even though I try, you can’t help but be caught up in the latest ‘oh my god can you believe this’ drama that the media cooks up. The fake news, the people that believe it, the storm that never seems to go away.

Sometimes its nice to remind myself that I need to disconnect. To get away.

Yesterday I went trials riding with my boyfriend and some other friends. The place is off the grid. No phones. No messages. No media. Just a whole day in the sunshine. In the mountains. Talking. Laughing. With nothing but the bird song and the thrum of the motorcycle engine. Working to perfect that wheelie. Speaking of which, finally got my nose wheelie! Working to get up that rock without hitting that skid plate. Working every muscle in my body until I’m exhausted. Happy. Cleansed.

Tomorrow I’m going to go horse back riding. No phones. No messages. No media. Just me and the horse, talking to each other. Working together. Feeling the power of this 800 lb animal beneath me. The energy of it. I always end up exhausted and dirty, but feeling amazing.

Tomorrow night I’m doing yoga. Started doing it two times a week with the boyfriend. 45 minutes of no messages. No media. No phones. Just stretching and listening to the calming music. Feeling the energy flowing through my body. Feeling the muscles stretch. Discovering the muscles that haven’t stretched in a while!

And meditating in the mornings. As I was meditating this morning, I felt driven to write this little piece. Because I’m realizing how connected I am to my phone. I was on it first thing this morning, before I even got out of bed. And why? What was so important? Nothing, really.

It’s easy to get caught up in drama. In news. In negativity. I don’t realize how much of that stuff I carry within me, long after I’ve shut off the phone. How much it affects me.

Not to say I won’t ever get on Facebook again. Obviously I will. I’ll message people, talk to them on the phone. I’ll watch a TV show tonight. Because there’s nothing wrong with technology. With the modern world. With entertainment. I mean, this blog is my journal. I want to grow my photography, and that takes social media. I’m going to school to be a technical writer, and most of that’s online nowadays.

It’s when we get too caught up in the negativity. In binge watching (oh yes, I’ve lost many days to watching TV). In obsessively scrolling for the latest ‘news’ from our friends. In the fake news and drama that it becomes hurtful. Harmful. Wasteful.

But I wanted to write this piece as a reminder to myself. And to whomever else might need it this morning. We need to take time to cleanse ourselves. To disconnect from the world. To wash off all the negativity and drama that life sometimes feeds us. To stop that ‘blah’ feeling, the one that seems to drag us down but we don’t know what it is.

So find the things that cleanse you. Maybe its exercise. Maybe its curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. Maybe its crystals. Or meditation. Or playing a game of pool with your friends. Whatever it is. Just disconnect from the phone and go do it.

Find the energy that feeds you. That cleanses you. Disconnect and find your own peace.

 

Writing Wednesday: Fantasy

Just got done with my early morning jog. Third week in a row of jogging three times a week, going out right when I get up. I’m only up to jogging about 3/4 of a mile right now, but it’s going pretty well. It’s amazing to me how my brain drifts when I get into the rhythm of my run now. It’s kind of like brainstorming, the writer in me looking around at the world, letting stories drift into my brain. So I thought I would share another experimentation with writing poetry this Wednesday.

 

Fantasy

Mind’s eye

Dream’s eye

Seeing beyond the fog of reality

Unicorns running through the fields

Dragons in the sky

Colors that live in another realm

Stories that have never been told

Where magic lives in everything

And music fills the world

Shapes and colors and meanings

Beyond the literal mind

Where the painting tells a story

And the story tells a dream

Where worlds are never ending

The word impossible is never spoken

And every day is a journey to find that which tries to hide

Behind the veil of reality

A child sees through quite easily

That which fogs the older mind

But all can see within the dream

If they tear down the walls that block their sight

An ephemeral world where all can exist

All one must do is believe

Mind’s eye

Dream eye

A fantasy born true

Creating My Little ‘Me Space’ in the Office

There are two things I love doing in this world. Walking into a bookstore, inhaling the smell of all the new books, pulling in the creative energy of all the unexplored stories. And my new favorite, walking through a crystal store and connecting with stones.

I know, you might be thinking I’m crazy. I grew up believing that people who liked crystals and incense and things were crazy, weird, etc. But ever since I was a little girl I’ve always felt drawn to rocks. To the earth. It’s one of the reasons I love my move to Colorado. I love the energy of the mountains. Their strength. Their timelessness. Their power. There’s nothing more cleansing and rejuvenating for me than a long walk on a quiet mountain trail (if you can find a quiet mountain trail anymore around here).

A year or so ago I started getting introduced to the idea of crystals. That certain stones have properties that can affect us, our emotional and physical well-being, and the environment around us. I’m just a baby in this, but I love learning more about it. The more I learn, the more I come to understand that there is so much about our world that we do not know. That if we open ourselves up to new things, we might be amazed at what we find.

Today I found a new crystal store. The trip in itself was fun, because I discovered this old, seemingly abandoned amusement park right down the road from me! I didn’t really have time to explore it, but it looked pretty awesome.

The purpose for the visit was not only just to get out of the house, but also to find some things to decorate my side of the office desk. To create a positive energy space that I would want to sit at. That would be conducive to creating. To writing. To doing my art. To doing my photography. A space that would be me.

The store had everything, and I just spent some time walking through it. Not looking for any particular thing, just wandering around. Waiting for a stone to ‘talk’ to me. Not physically talk, obviously. The only way I can describe it is like a very soft humming in my bones, in my body. The moment that stone connects with me. Sometimes I find stones that are just pretty and beautiful. Other times I connect with stones because of something going on in my life. Today I connected with a little piece of mookaite. Didn’t know what it did, just knew that it needed to come home with me. Come to find out mookaite aids in helping stomach issues, and that’s what I’ve been dealing with the last couple of days.

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Mookaite (a form of jasper). Inspiration. Problem solving. Shielding. Helps with stomach issues.

I got four other stones along with the mookaite, one a pretty geode I just got because it was beautiful. Along with an incense burner, with some white sage and lavender sticks, because I love things that cleanse and balance. And I just love the smell of lavender!

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Now some may scoff and say “Do you really think these rocks will cure anything?”

I shrug my shoulders and say “I don’t know. But I know how they make me feel. How the thought of having them around makes me feel. And if nothing else they are beautiful.”

So now these sit on my desk, along with some other crystals and my snow leopard statue. I have loved snow leopards since I was a little girl, always having to go see them at the zoo. Recently I was reading about spirit animals, and I think that if they are true, than a snow leopard is mine. Connection to the Earth. Balance. Connection to the inner wisdom inside of you (I’ve often been told I’m very self-aware, even if I haven’t always listened to my own wisdom). Inability to tackle problems face to face. Preferring not to jump into a fight or unknown situation until I know that I’m not going to be attacked from behind by some problem (that one is me to a tee). Silent (I can talk to people I connect with, but love communicating through writing so much more). Solitary (I like people but as an introvert I gain my power from time spent alone). I am slow to anger but when it is roused it is fierce. Yet if I do not find an outlet for that anger it is often internalized, causing all sorts of problems.

So I have a little snow leopard statue that watches over me, alongside my stones and my incense. And while it may just be a ‘peace of mind’ thing, or just that my little corner of the office now feels like ‘me’, I do feel a shift in the room. In my creativity. It feels welcoming. I can feel the words, the pictures, the energy flowing through me. I feel calm. I feel at peace.

The point of this was not really to say “Oh my God! You have to get into crystals and spirit animals and…” Although, yes. I really enjoy my crystals and I do believe they have a healing presence in my life. Along with other natural, holistic herbs and oils I’ve been using.

The point was just rejoicing because I’m happy in my new space. And to maybe encourage anyone who reads this to create their own ‘me space’. To open their mind up to new possibilities. But mostly, if you are a creative person and you’re feeling ‘blocked’, make a ‘me space’. Fill it with the things that are you. That make you happy. That give you energy. The things that resonate with you.

Don’t be worried about what other people might say. I know there’s a lot of people that would call me weird and crazy, but I just embrace it and say “Cool! I’m weird and crazy! I’d hate to be normal.”

So be cool. Be crazy. Make your own ‘me space’. And enjoy!