Thursday, June 26, 2014

Considering School

'95 or so?
'08 - Age 18 - Senior year of high school
Photo Note: For this post, get to bring back some photographs from the archives and first years of this blog.

I've lately been exploring thoughts of going back to school (have I written about this lately?).

When I graduated from high school, I had no plans, and did what every normal post-highschool-graduate does and mid-summer decided to be an au pair in Switzerland for two Belgian kids. It worked well and helped me get a fuller sense of healing to the open sores that were left after my first year in Switzerland in '07/08. And, goodness, what's the point of knowing just German and Swiss-German when you could learn French as well?

2010 - Community College, age 20

Then I did the school thing for two years - community college.
Loved it.
Every single day. It was a ridiculous love affair that I was told would end after my first week of school, but kept itself going up until I got all the credits needed.

I adore learning - especially if it's logic, statistics, or economics - love economics - or math. See a trend? Pattern? These were the subjects I could ace without a struggle - just a lot of engaging time.

I like learning.

2006 - Age 15
But, after two years, I needed a break and, even more so, I needed a clearer path. I'd wait until I knew what I wanted to go to school for. I wasn't going to throw in $40,000 into a giant mystery - I've seen too many friends do that and get tied, in the end, to something they don't want. At the end of a long education, you're left with a debt to pay off.

Hate debt.
Hate it.
Don't want to be in it.

So I've had a couple year break - I finished my education in 2012. It's been a little over two years which I think is a good amount of time. In that time I've crossed country borders over 44 times and traveled to 18 countries. I've called Alaska home and lived a life where my daily purpose was to snuggle babies.

I'm trying to figure out what I feel most passionate about.

I've got two orientations - my brain orientation and my heart orientation.

My brain loves numbers and patterns. There's a reason why, when a lot of my class was getting C's in economics, I had an A - when they were scraping by on the test, I got 100%. I can get that stuff. There we go. We all have our different strengths and these are mine. I also have a knack for teaching these subjects to others and teaching in general. In multiple classes (Spanish, math, logic, and statistics), I've had students ask if I could go to the front of the class and explain something because they didn't get it and they knew I could deliver the knowledge to them in bite sized pieces.

Then there's my heart orientation.

2012 - Age 21 - "working"
I love taking care of humans. I love serving the homeless, snuggling abandoned babies, caring for the elderly, encouraging and play with kids, and being a companion and care provider to folks living with developmental disabilities. If I lived my life just doing these things (which is all I've done, thus far), it'd be a pretty grand life, I think.

Why? I can be fully passionate, put everything into these things, put all of my energy into them, and all of it is wrapped up in love. All of them are fueled by a love. When I do these things, I feel a sense or purpose. As self centered as I may seem (and feel at times), I know this life isn't about me, and I want to continually try to run towards others and serving them. This is where life happens. This is where I feel a sense of meaning.

There are a lot of careers for caring for folks.

What's the hang-up?

The idea of going to school for something like nursing makes me want to pull my hair out (and not just because of trichotillomania). I've looked at the course-load and there isn't a single course that interests me. Anatomy? Really?

And then I consider going and just getting a degree in maths. Well, not "just." Or maybe something that involves coding - coding seems to be up the same alley of logic, mathematics, statistics, and economics - patterns, maybe? Right? With a whole lot of problem solving and creativity added in.. maybe? Well, when I think about going to school for any of the topics I just mentioned, I get excited. I get this feeling of, "Hey! I can do this!"

So what's the plan? It changes each day, but here's what I've got for now...

Currently, I'm considering getting my CNA (become a certified nursing assistant) so I can start working/volunteering with hospice around the islands. It's a simple process. This is a current goal of mine. It was would be such, such an honour to do hospice - to care for people in the last days of their lives. I know it wouldn't be easy, I don't even know if I'd be good at it, but I want to see if this is a way I could serve the world.

However, in the meantime I want to see what I can do with the help of the internet. There are a bounty of online resources that will teach me all I want to know. If I can get the gumption to learn without any deadlines or someone pushing me, then I'll know I really am ready to go to school. For an ADHDer to sit down for a few hours a week and plug away at schoolwork for kicks will say a lot. Now, we'll just see if I can do it.

And, in the overarching meantime of all of this, I'll be saving up.
I do believe that a four-year degree can open certain doors in the future - and I have a feeling they'll be doors I want to keep open.

We'll see.

2009 - studying French in Switzerland as an au pair

The Wind in the Willows

"Do you wan to hear a story about a badger?" I asked Lil' S one afternoon. He was my latest charge - a three year old wonder with a knack for dancing and an ear for stories.

"What's a badger?" he asked.
I described the animal to him and he asked me if it was a real animal, I told him it was, and he decided that he wanted to hear the story.

And that's how we started to read the Wind in the Willows.

We would read it on walks, at home on the couch, at the beach with Baby R sprawled out in my lap, outside in the grass, and at the table as the boys worked away on eating their lunches. He can sit and listen to me read to him for over an hour at a time.

I never wanted to push the book on Lil' S, but he never failed to ask for it.

At every twist of the plot, I'd ask him for a prediction and he always wove the badger into his story.

"And who do you think showed up?"
"The badger?"

Last Friday, Lil' S turned four years old, which is a very, very big deal.

Birthday gifts have never been one of my strengths. I generally desire to celebrate someone's birthday with some sort of token of affection, but if I can't honestly think of something I think will be a good fit, I'd rather not give anything at all.

If I think of the right gift, though, I won't hesitate to obtain it for the human - money isn't an issue.

I went to the local island book store and asked if they had the Wind in the Willows. I wanted a hard-copy book with illustrations, idyllically unabridged. They had one copy. They asked who I was buying it for and I told them about Lil' S's birthday.

The woman in line next to me commented, "I wish you were my babysitter."
The woman running the bookstore gave me a 20% discount - the "babysitter discount" she told me. It was a huge gift to me because that lowered the cost enough that I could pay it with cash. I prefer to not use my debit card. I had had a number in mind and that discount brought it right within it.

She wrapped it up in brown paper and later I biked over to his house to give it to him.

The entire South End was there to celebrate four years of Lil' S and I added the brown package to the stack of gifts he had accumulated. There was every sort of toy and craft, I wondered how he'd feel about a book.

The next day, I went to Baby R and Lil' S's home to nanny for the afternoon.

"Last night, Lil' S fell asleep with his copper crown on his head and the Wind in the Willows in his lap."
I grinned.

Looks like this book found itself in the hands of the right owner.

Update: Today I got to nanny Lil' S and Baby R. We went for a long walk and I decided to ask Lil' S what he thought of the book.

"Well, I spent the last two nights reading it," he told me. "I've read it through twice! And you know how I read it last night?"
"How?" I asked.
"On my belly!" he told me with a giggle.
"Do you want me to show you how I read it?" he further inquried.
"Sure," said I.

And there on the side of the road (no cars, we were fine), he laid down on his stomach for a good 35 seconds. Then a car passed with his aunt and cousin in it and had a laugh with me.

When we got home, we read it that book -- we even read on our bellies for some of the time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dancing Without a Scene

This isn't how I dance... but if someone wanted to dance this way, that'd be ok.
I currently live on an island - there's not really a dance community here to connect with.
I like dancing.
My ankle is starting to be strong enough to be able to dance again (something I celebrate daily).

Therefore, I get to solo jam all the time by myself (unless I have a lead-capable guest).

It's not the same, but it still gets me pretty giddy in a different sort of way.

Dancing is alone is something I've blogged about before. It's been a huge part of my life for a while (going on 18 years) and how I get out a lot of my wiggles and shakes. It's normally a morning (or afternoon or night) affair and it helps me thrive.

Lately, I've been getting a kick out of fusion and seeing where I can take it. With fusion I can call on any number of dance styles and use them together in a song. The fusion scene in Seattle is pretty blues-heavy (and also has a lot of clueless novice dancers who don't have any sort of dance-background base to fusion-with, which is why I tend to avoid that scene) and that's what I've been having fun with.

What happens if I fuse the dancing I did in the late 90s with that of the past few years?

When I first started dancing, it was with square dancing in '97. I square danced competitively for over a decade. Whereas some folk start social dancing in their 20s, my folks started me when I was seven and I'm grateful for that.

Later on, I learned any other dance someone in a barn would do. I was line dancing, two-stepping, waltzing and clogging.

So I've been taking this foundational dances I learned and fusing them with alt-blues or simple-jive or lindy or whatever comes to mind.

Crikey, it's fun and sort of hilarious.

Clogging with a loose, grounded blues form makes me grin.

There are tap instructors on Lopez and I'm thinking of contacting them about lessons. That would be great.

Goodness, this makes me happy.
This morning, I'm dancing to some cello music... I just found a mash-up of one of my favourite songs (Gabriel's Oboe from the Mission - usually I listen tot he Yo-Yo Ma version) with one of my favourite hymns (How Great Thou Art). I listen to both frequently alone, but now I have mix of the two done on the cello and it's making so much in me feel so many things.

Here's the mash-up. Please, please listen to it if you like pretty music:

Here's the version of Gabriel's Oboe I like:

Remember that time in '06 when the Texan internet-man who read my blog and saw my YouTube videos bought me two tickets to see Yo-Yo Ma in concert in Seattle because he knew I really, really wanted to go? Thanks Chuck! Hope you are well.

And finally we have How Great Thou Art performed by Chris Rice:

I've listened to this song over 978 times. This number is a combination of calculations and iTunes "Times Played" records. I listened to this album every single night for a few years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Patrick Encore

Back in 2010 I met a guy in the woods in Olympia, his name was and still is Patrick. We ran through the forest, I lost the keys that went to no where, and then went back to his barn and that was that.

This film was made back in July 2010 during my first time to Olympia to visit Joelle. Patrick jumps in around :59.

Now, for the past four years, he continues to waltz in and out of my life, and I in his, at convenient intervals that consistently keep me grateful to know this human.

As I write this, I'm listening to the music that was made in the barn that year with the likes of PB & J and in the company of folks like Moses, Raya, and Joelle. Listening to it, right now, is like being handed a thick slice of bread with a mondo-slice of butter slathered all over it. You can listen too right here. The song that makes me feel most nostalgic is Everything is Aeroplane! and I think I might be singing in the chorus of You're Going to Break My Heart.

Listening to it makes me sort of feel as I felt in those moments - and it's a sensation I don't mind attempting to replicate for a few seconds.

The last time I saw Patrick was back in October 2012 during a short trip to the lower 48 that I made during my time in Alaska. It was then that I got that tattoo that still is on my foot (funny how they just stay there.. and stay there...).

So now, I've known this fellow for four years - a solid four years.

After two years absence, I'm generally quite curious in how my friends are doing. I simple hopes of growth and love for them - desiring the proper stretching and a sense of purpose.

Just in case you were wondering, world, Patrick is, from what I gather, doing great. He's still of the finest character and a reliable, solid human - as loving as ever. I can genuinely say that he's one of the most selfless guys I know.

We met up at 7 AM.
7 AM?
But... but.. why?

 Because.. because... it's a good time to eat breakfast. Patrick had to work that morning and I had a ferry to catch, so it worked out. The bonus is that we're both early-birds - not a frequent occurrence, in my observances.

He took me out to a rad café in Bellingham after a short walk when we learned that it wouldn't open until 7:30 AM.

There was a lot to catch up on - he's currently got a swell, loving partner which is something worth celebrating. I don't want to go on too much of his life because that seems a bit personal. I'm hoping they'll come visit me soon on Lopez.

Ahoy! This is why I'm trying to be in Washington a bit. These folks matter to me, a lot. Folks like Patrick, Megan, Joelle, Phoenix, Orange, Caper, Strangely, Carole, Carole, Carole, and my family. I feel so blessed to be in a place where I can spend time with them and, hopefully with some, slip into a rhythm of getting closer and beyond just catching up each time I see 'em. It's pretty convenient.

"Kind of Weird"

It was a moment of weakness when I hid under the covers and stumbled over my words in an earnest desire for an answer.

"When I was a kid, the world was confusing and frustrating. It wasn't till I was in junior high that someone was like, 'Hey! You're wired a bit different, have a different chemical balance, and have things like ADHD, SPD, trichotillomania...' and then the whole world got a lot clearer. I finally had a different lens to help me understand my experiences. Now I'm older and I keep wondering if there's something else wrong with me."

"Nothing is wrong with you," the human replied, paused, and then added on, "Well, you are kind of weird and hard to follow at times."

For some reason, hearing this came as a surprise to me. For some reason, I'd lately come to think of myself as pretty normal. I'm not really used to identifying myself as weird as I can understand the logic behind most of my actions ('cept some of my impulses). Later they asked if I believed them when they told me that nothing was wrong with me but all I had heard was the second part of their reply.

I was wandering about and thinking about this over the past few days.

"Am I that... that... am I that weird?"

Then I remembered this blog post I did a few years ago: On ADHD and Being Weird

It's truly one of my favourite posts I've written because it explores one of the raw edges of ADHD - the one that can socially ostracize some of us if we're not in the right loving crew. It's not just to that little girl I was writing to, it's a reminder to me.

It felt odd to get encouragement from a younger me, but I was grateful for it. Reading that post put me at ease. It was a reminder that I'd worked through this before and didn't have to worry about it. I wish I wasn't so forgetful but, goodness, I am and grateful for lessons written down to be relearned.

I don't know how to be anything or anyone but who I am. The human told me not to change and I wanted to laugh, as if I could change even if I wanted to. Sure, I can grow and mature and become a better human, I can develop my character and become a more loving and less-selfish person and all these things are aims of mine - but I can't change the core of me, the part that makes me who I am and makes me laugh and enjoy life.  In social situations, it can be a bit peculiar at times, this I know, but on my ownsome, it's something I get a kick out of - and every once in a long while, I find a similar soul and that feels like finding a $200 bill (if those exist) on a walk in Arkansas in the fog.

Ticket Bought :: Onwards to Alaska!

Haines, Alaska last October, 2013
Just bought a one-way ticket to Haines, Alaska and I am so, so stoked. Super stoked. Probably more stoked than I am about a lot of things like rubber stamps, Scotch tape, and pouring Jell-o into my bellybutton.

I'm not going back to work and I'm not going back to stay, but I am going back for however long it takes for me to reconnect with that community and spend time with some of the people I love. That's why I'm going back - because I miss the people and want to be with them.

It will be my third fall in a row to spend in Alaska (2012, 2013, 2014... yep, three years).

I made myself commit to being on Lopez Island for a full year (my bribe is a huge roadtrip at the end of the year), but, within that commitment I allowed myself a trip to Haines, Alaska for a bit. This year is about community and I can't let go of that community completely.

There are two exciting parts of this trip.

One is that I'll be in Haines in time for fish camp!

The second is that my parents will be taking the ferry up with me (68 hours) and spending a few nights in Haines. For the first time, I'll get to show my parents one of the places I've called home since I left theirs. I'll get to introduce them to the people who took me in and have been there for me when I needed family-like-love but was too far away to get a hug from Mom or Dad.

We depart Washington on September 5 and arrive on September 8, 11 days before my 24th birthday.

Just 73 days till departure from the Bellingham Ferry Terminal and 76 days till I'll be arriving in Haines.

Strangely :: Visitor #7

"The police came by at Two, and stayed to join the party. Mack took their squad car to go get more wine. A woman called the police to complain about the noise and couldn't get anybody."

This week I got visited by Strangely - a sir I met a few days after Christmas at a friend's birthday jubilation last year.

This human who managed to peak my curiosity also managed to conjure up a few days to come to Lopez in the midst of their near-consistently-busy life.

He also quickly learned how to be a forever-welcome guest - he read to me.

1 jar of goat milk per day
What I didn't know about Strangely when he arrived (ok, so I didn't really know anything at all other than that he plays the accordion and wears a onesie) is that he [seems to] always have a book within reach and is always ready to start reading it at any moment. It was terribly convenient. During his time here, a few times I got called away to check on things (or to pretend I was on a spaceship) and he would just pull out his book and read. At first I thought, "Am I that dull?" and then I got the notion that maybe this is just what he does. He doesn't wait to be entertained, quite self-contained.

In the line, waiting for the ferry to Anacortes, he started reading to me from John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. One of my favourite things is getting read to. That's why I'm friends with folks like Hannah and love L'Abri in the winter/fall where we spend many hours just reading to each other by the fire. Andrew used to read to me Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when we first got to Haines.

Over the course of his time on Lopez, he would read and every once and a while, he'd read out a chapter to me -- 'cept at the end of the book, he read it all out loud on the porch while sitting in the rocking chair. I was pretty blissed out.

Being around someone who read a lot wore off on me. A few months ago, Tucker sent me a copy of East of Eden, also by Steinbeck. I read a bit of it and accidentally left my copy in Portland. After Strangely's departure, I went to the library, got that book, started in the very beginning (it's a pretty good place to start, don't you think?) and soon passed where I had last left off.

I was also pleased at punch with the jam sessions we had at the parks and beaches around the area. The cello and accordion got dragged along to every beach, hike, and park we went to and I had the pleasure of discovering he's more musically inclined than I was aware of.

Grateful to have started to get to know this human.

Megan :: Visitor #6

Photos are by Megan unless she's in them.. then she didn't take them.
Megan came! She came!

Megan has been a sort of rock in my life for the past couple years. Some of my longest conversations happen with her about the deepest topics - the sort of topics that makes me feel vulnerable and small so I can only have them with people I trust.

Normally, we meet on her turf at her home in Seattle (because my turf is rarely convenient to get to or nonexistant), so it was a special occasion for me to be able to host her on Lopez Island.

I had to wait a bit to write this out because things didn't go 100% smooth - which is 100% ok. This is something I like about friendships, things don't always go how you think they will. But in this, we get to grow and learn, even more so, how rad the other person is as there's the give and take and the moments where you're like, "Oh man... I totally get it, now."

I wanted to wait because with time comes a bigger perspective.

There isn't too much to write about, here, because we ended up working through it all and I don't think it's something I should put on a blog. I will note, though, that communication happens so much more magically when folks are well rested and fed. Novel, eh?

Miss Manners certainly would've had a lot to critique when it comes to my developing hospitality-skills. This isn't me being overly harsh on myself, it's me being honest. Hospitality comes naturally to some but, for a lot of us, it's something that has to be worked on and developed.

So grateful that she came out.
So grateful she took the time to drive out to catch the ferry and spend time in the little corner of the world I now call home.
So grateful for an afternoon in the sun and warm breezes and majestic views.
So grateful for someone honest and rad.

Thanks for coming, Megan.


Daily Life Feels Like Camping

Here's a snippet from Facebook-life.
I normally don't like to be on Facebook while I'm on the island, but this week I had a few connections to work out and Facebook made that simple and possible.
Something that means a bounty to me is that I have a cluster of friends of all ages that are supportive in what I do - my life which doesn't currently resemble the 10-year plan they had me create for myself when in high school (Columbia University with an economics degree).
A lot of the folks who commented were adults around my parent's age - folks who have watched me grow up. I think they see the bigger picture a bit better than I do, so when they send me encouragement, it kind of like if someone who had finished the race was running along side me and saying, "You got this. You're doing ok." I know they're still running the bigger race, but they all have certainly finished the one that spans the 20s, 30s, and early 40s.
This morning I woke up to nanny (7 hour day) to discover that the family had to make an emergency trip off island (I think everything is ok). First, I hope they're alright. Second, that comes to about half of what I was going to make this week... which is sort of disappointing. Ok, it's quite disappointing. But, eh, I guess I can work, personally, on other things. I did some clogging and dancing after breakfast and topped it off with some basic stretching. Now, I'll let my fingers type away and sort through the backlog of thoughts that accumulated on yesterday's rides.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bike to Sleep and Asthma Laughs

Pre-photo Note: These shots, from this evening, weren't edited at all - just shot through my sunglasses so you guys could see what I see. I wear shades more often than I'd like to because I get headaches from the sun easily after 30 minutes of direct exposure. Luckily, I found sunglasses that make things look super-cool. My friend, Chris, tried them on and said that it was like Instagram filter for reality (or something like that?) complete with scratches, fingerprints, and smudges.

Last night I slept horribly. I was in a luxurious bed, not Tobbit, in the upper attic-y space of a rad home in Bellingham, but sleep just wasn't happening. It took forever to fall asleep, I woke up for a few hours in the middle of it, and sleeping in wasn't option as I had breakfast plans with Patrick at 7 AM.

Tonight, I decided I didn't want to repeat last night's tossings so I did what I do when I want to sleep, I rode my bike.

My best night of sleep, last year, was after Brandon let me bike him around Boston, he was comfortable on the trailer and I got to try and tire myself out. I couldn't even make it through an entire Adventure Time episode before falling asleep.

When I've been moving all day, I sleep great, I feel great, voila! I guess I could make a connection there to the "H" of ADHD (hyperhyperhyperhyper) but I think this goes for all folks. We sleep well when we use our bodies. Pretty simple, eh? I didn't even have to write that sentence. I do want to write, though, that I don't think enough of us take advantage of this and go quickly to pills to induce sleep. I know some people have legit issues with falling asleep, but I think a lot of folks aren't giving their bodies the proper tools and rituals it needs to feel tired and go to sleep.

This morning I did get to walk 4ish miles, but beyond that, I was a bit stagnant (and sleepy) so an evening ride was appropriate. An hour would be the minimum - and enough to get me hooked and riding around longer (which always happens).

Long underwear, egg dress, flannel - set, go.

I think I'm falling in love with this island. Seeing it never, never gets old. Going into town is still considered a treat. The fields aren't yet familiar, still sights that I get excited about. I counted the cars as I biked around the rural roads - 85% of them were trucks. There were also a few tractors.

I reached the 30 minute mark and turned around, but this time, ended up weaving myself into a different corner of the island and down by an old dock. I let myself breath and appreciate where I was... which I guess I did the entire bike ride - maybe I should delete this sentence?

Back home, I ate the fresh green stuff.

I'm rawther consistently trying to work on my lungs or whatever it is. I have a stupid thing called "exercise induced asthma." I guess exercising more won't change my body's reaction to exercise, but I like to think I can change it. See, when I physically exert myself, my lungs create extra mucus-ish stuff and I start hacking and I have a really hard time catching my breath. It's nothing awful - I just can't push my limits like I might want to. I've learned how to ride without hacking - I've learned how much my lungs can take.

The other thing that triggers my asthma is laughing - good belly laughs. If you make me laugh hard enough, I'll end up coughing for the next 10-30 minutes. It's not a common experience, but I'm always amused when it happens.

Well, it's getting late and, as it turns out, the biking thing worked... I feel zonked already.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lessons Learned :: Summer Solstice 2014

Photos by Megan W from our morning pajama quest to get green stuff for the day.

Lately, there have been a few moments where I stop and think, "Hey, I think I like how I handled that," and feel like maybe, just maybe I'm starting to grow up.

I've always been growing up, that's certain, but also most certainly, some lessons have taken a lot longer to learn. There are certain cares that I no longer care about, things that used to easily sway me that no longer take a toll.

Growth is something I want to seek out, I desire to develop, change, and carve out certain parts of my life while working on others.

I thought I would note these along with a list of things I am actively working on.

1. Accepting myself, faults, failures, and all.

I've lately become more comfortable with the idea that I screw up, a lot. I make mistakes left and right. I've become more accepting of this not in the sense that I want to keep messing up, but not letting myself get hung up on a past error.

I want to surround myself with folks that will speak into my mistakes in a loving way, especially when I don't see them yet.

2. Not feeling like I have to go everywhere, do everything, and turn every moment into a story.

I used to (sometimes still do) feel this heightened urgency to constantly go and do everything. Every weekend had to be an adventure and if there was an event, I needed to be there.

Not so, anymore.

In fact, as write this, there is an event going on that I had been looking forward to for weeks. I was looking forward to it so much that I went and paid the $5 admission... and then promptly left within five minutes to go home, do some writing, reading, and go to bed.

Why am I not there?
 Because I know, in the long run, it's better for me to go home.

I've been running on full for the past week. I went straight from a work day to driving home to driving to Leavenworth and back to all Sunday with family on Father's day to driving to pick up a guest who I was with just about 24 hours a day for the next few days. After I dropped them off at the ferry, I got a quick break at the library before going to one jam session with a lovely gal and went straight from that to another jam session in a barn with a lot of fellows and a lady-human. right after that, I went home, slept, woke up this morning four minutes before work started, raced to work, worked for a few hours and then caught the ferry just as they were starting to untie it, hung out with Sarah and Nate all afternoon on Orcas, caught the next ferry to Lopez which arrive about 15 minutes before the event started.


And after all that, I feel tired. I feel exhausted (and grateful that all I have to do is support myself).

To top it off, I forgot my cello, and it would be a 40-minute drive to retrieve it and come back into town.

So here I am, and fine with that.

When I go to Seattle, I don't tell folks and I don't make too many plans. My time there is limited and I try to keep it low key.

One of the reasons why I'm on Lopez is because there aren't too many things to do, and that jives pretty well with how I operate. I like my alone time - I like time to create, think, stretch, make music, wander, and write. In Seattle, there's something going on every night and I used to feel like I had to do it all.

3. I'm learning to do what's not always comfortable, but what I know is right.

I try to seek this out daily. This week I threw up three times out of fear of doing what I knew I ought to, but I followed through and it turned out well. It wasn't at all what I wanted to do, but it was the right thing.

4. Knowing that not everyone has to be my cup of tea and know that I won't always be theirs.

I've known this for a long time, but lately I've been more accepting of it.

A recent example is that a few weeks ago, I met this human - they gave off the sort of high-school-bro-dude vibe. I'm not sure how to explain it. It sounds weird, but it's the sort of person that might've intimidated me a while ago because they're accustomed to intimidating that and I used to be quick to feel small. They're the sort of person that slips in deliberate phrases to make you feel lousy, and I used to give into that.

This time, I didn't waste any energy on it. I let it slide... and promptly walked out of the room, without being harsh or cold. I just knew I didn't need to be around them. I didn't need to win over their approval and didn't really feel a need to get to know them. A few weeks later I saw them, I was content playing my cello with a group of musicians. They waved me over to ask my opinion/advice. I treated them politely, engaged in conversation, and kept things comfortable. Bam. Nice and simple.

5. Be selective with whom I share my emotions, stories, and hurt with.

I used to not really know about emotional boundaries - hadn't even heard of the term. I'd quickly share a story of pain with anyone. Not anymore. No, sir.

The other month, I met a human and they were drilling in on me, asking about a certain topic.

"I don't think I need to talk to you about that," I told them.
 They respected this, but asked why.

"I don't really know you, and this is something I've already worked on, a lot, with folks I know and who I know love me. If I saw that you were in a position where you'd worked through this before and I thought you'd have wise insight into it, then I'd probably want your input, but as I see you in no different a place than me, I don't see how sharing this with you will be beneficial at all."

Now, I am open to comments and different perspectives, but I knew that telling this person my story wasn't for the sake of making anything better.

6. Silence doesn't always have to be filled.

I like people who are ok with silence.

7. Deliberately choose who I spend time with.

I spend a lot of time alone and love it.

Lately, I've been trying to find a balance of being in the community and hiding out in Tobbit. I can't meet the community when camped out. To initially find out who I want in my life, or discover who is keen on having me in their lives, takes a trial period of a few weeks, I think, a few hours. From there, choose deliberately who I want to be with and really invest in them.

8. Trust should take time to build.

There's nothing awful about taking time learning to trust someone. It's not an insult to them. Learn to trust as they prove trustworthy. If they don't prove trustworthy, no need to kick 'em out of life, just stay extra aware around them and keep emotions and intentions in check.

What I've been working on this past year...

1. Not getting hung up on certain emotions.

2. Seeking out opportunities to assist others but do it in a sustainable manner.

3. Listen. Listen. Listen.

4. Learning when it's best to openly communicate about things and when it's good to just let it be.

5. Learning to let things slide and sort themselves out with time.

6. Being a good hostess.

7. Emotional boundaries.

8. Early to bed and early to rise.

9. Clean morning. Clean night.

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