the journey.

I am taking part in a program that greatly enriched myself last year, serving as a mentor for black and Latino youth. We chose images that represented where we were at the beginning of our journey, and one for where we are headed. I found this simple exercise to be very powerful and it evoked strong emotions in me, as the mentoring experience has overall, learning more about myself than I could have imagined.

I chose the image of the girl with the suitcase for where I was at the beginning of my journey. Curious, innocent, a deep thirst for travel and adventure, and ready to get on the road and see the world at a very young age. This describes me well-- when I was age 10 I went to England alone to visit family and felt ready to move out on my own after that, empowered and with a strong taste for independence.

The outstretched hands are where I’m going, even though I fight it sometimes with my own self- deprecation (fear of success thread)-- I am a reluctant role model, teacher, healer, even though something tells me that I’m already well down that path and there’s no turning back.

In my secret heart of hearts I want this. I want to be the life force that a few very special people were to me, who have inspired me and saved me beyond belief. I want to “give back” in this way.

At present, I walk the tracks between these two-- the girl with her suitcase, and the wise, soulful woman. I embrace this journey.

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resiliency.

I work at a neat non-profit where we dream up ways to help others be better leaders all day. Mostly it’s just a job just like any other, but sometimes it taps into what is at the core for all of us-- how to be a better version of ourselves. How to get to know ourselves. And better yet, how to be our most authentic, best selves.

This is the part where my ears perk up as I work to embrace my true nature, from a time in my youth when I was truly just Me, before disease, popularity, fitting in, conformity, non-acceptance, jealousy, depression, loneliness, bills, jobs. I was pure curiosity and sheer joy, inquisitive, investigative, fun-loving, entrepreneurial, and had a true zest for life and all it’s details. I Lived In The Moment.

At work we were talking about a health & wellness component to one of our programs, and someone suggested that it be worked as Resiliency instead. I loved the ring of that word. It was only Tuesday, but the week had already felt 3 years long, with work weighing me down, boyfriend, friends, health issues, all seeming to reach pivotal stress points simultaneously, and I was feeling left with very little left gas in the tank. I’ve cried enough to fill a river this week thus far. I’ve given 110%, and was in a position to realize (again) that in the end, it is every man and woman for themselves.

When a friend of mine told me this years ago when I was literally on my death bed from this disease and feeling full of despair, as cold and isolating as that thought sounds, it actually gave me some power and hope. She is a very wise woman, my friend Lauren, who has been through many battles herself at her young age. It gives me a strange feeling of comfort to mull this over. Mostly because it is in such stark contrast to my usual sociologist’s desire for an interconnected, interwoven, loving, full-of-people and support based life.

It takes me back to why resiliency has struck a chord, probably mostly because though I need others to make life bearable sometimes, I ultimately only
need myself to survive at the base level. I’m not saying thrive, no. But survive. And that is an empowering thought, knowing I can make choices and do what is best for me, regardless of how it effects anyone else, make my decisions based on what’s in my heart, and climb any mountain I choose and breathe in the air from the top. I don’t need anyone else to tell me that I am a beautiful, wise, funny, sensitive (in a good way), happy, thoughtful, kind, loving, incredible person.

I’m more comfortable looking to the external world than giving these things to myself, but I’m learning. I don’t need someone to tell me that I deserve the best, everything life has to offer and more-- after all, it is the pep talk I would give to someone else- it is just old habits and patterns that have my mind defaulting to reject this.

If I keep the mantra in mind of “what would I say to my best friend?” when talking to myself, it is overwhelmingly insightful and powerful. I’m working on closing the gap. And supporting myself and my hopes, dreams, goals, visions and aspirations, all the while remaining strong and resilient.

re·sil·ience noun \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\
Definition of RESILIENCE
1:
the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Lauren and I before my surgery, Dec. 2002
Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 8.39.27 PM 1665
43512853666 piccsy.com

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the bookcase.

Four words: the bookcase didn’t fit! After 12 hours of IKEA-ing and building, must formulate plan B tomorrow. Happy UPDATE: We had to get a 2nd smaller bookcase, as this one, pictured below, would not fit down the hallway (it was intended for my office). So another trip to IKEA later, and more building (thank you infinity John, who’s idea it was to get the bookcase(s) in the first place...) we finally have success. And now plenty of extra room!

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This behemoth stands in the living room - mirrored doors, so fancy!

This is the new smaller bookcase for my office- in love with the smooth sliding drawers and doors for the cubbies!
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the transformation.

Ok, so I’ve told you a tiny bit about me and now I will share what I am up to. While this rainbow world is born out of wanting to document my struggles and triumphs over a twenty-plus year battle with Crohn’s disease, most of my time and thoughts are spent thinking about and doing other things, and I find it all sort of inexorably bound up together, such that I don’t know how I could have a single focus.

Rather, I see it more as a kind of lens which informs the rest of life I am involved in, and thus will share those other aspects here too-- and as the Brits say, you can like it or lump it, or as MJB
sayz, you can hate it or love it... what what!

The latest is trying to get my home organized. Oh boy.

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tumblr_lzsu9nazVJ1qbmte0o1_r1_500 Laugh

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1st episode.

Good evening/morning. I don’t know where to begin, except to begin, again... even though I’m starting now, it’s again because lots has come before but for various reasons has not made it to publish land. I bought a website with my name on it years ago, then thought better of sharing my gory life story on it for the whole world to see, so then bought this domain to spill the beans on instead. The about page will have more insight into the choice for this site... while the primary goal for this friendly cyber world of mine (never ever in a million years thought I would ever say I would have a cyber world!) is to share my voice with you.

For some reason I equate futuristic tech stuff with coldness, and since I am far from cold always distanced myself from this kind of thing. I know my world, cyber or otherwise will be a break from the norm in this respect. Anyhoo, back to the primary reason for starting this -- surviving and thriving with a chronic illness.

One way I procrastinate from progressing on this project is to allow myself to be overcome with feeling cliché about this endeavor, i.e. everyone writes their sob stories and we are over-saturated with this kind of stuff, etc. etc. but by doing this, I effectively deny MY voice. And that, I am finally beginning to realize, has been a shame. Because I have a lot to share. Regardless of who is touched by it, and even if I’m the only one who reads it, on here or in print or some other form-- it will still be of great cathartic benefit to me.

So for that reason alone, I must press on. Even if it takes me a century. Which is something that I like to beat myself up about; not cool! Moving in the right direction feels a hell of a lot better than sitting still these days, and so I shall ride on the back of friend-propelled momentum, and see where this takes me!

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This is a warm fuzzy! You pull a string out of it and give to someone else, along with a hug Happy I believe in the power of hugs! The saying goes- we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12 for growth!
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