The Sensitive Storm

Beneath the surface, a storm brews.

Month: February, 2013

Food. The Battle Begins. Part I

Part I: The Food

I’m a foodie. I love food. Always have.

Here are some of the things I used to love to eat:

Fettucini Alfredo

Macaroni & Cheese (Kraft style)

SpaghettiO’s

Cake (cheesecake, anything chocolate)

Chocolate milk

Cereal (Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios)

My mom says I’ve always had a healthy appetite. Sounds like something mom’s say about their sons. Either way, it’s true. I’m always hungry and as long as I’m not stressed out I generally have a good appetite. Part of that is my personal biochemistry. I have a high metabolism. I’m a “protein type” when it comes to eating for my metabolism. I have a Type A blood type which is a somewhat picky blood type to have. Type A blood is supposed to work well with a plant-based diet.

All my life I’ve been a “sometimes” vegetarian. It was always half ass and in the past it usually just meant I stopped eating meat but still ate crap. By crap I mean alfredo pasta from the Olive Garden, frozen dinners, canned soups and other stuff that is high in sodium and other GMO crap. My point is, just cutting out the meat still wasn’t that healthy for me.

The following italicized text is an exert from something I wrote in my journal on April 30, 2012:

Lately my intuitive guidance has been telling me it’s time for a change. A change in diet. I’ve had diarrhea for about 3 weeks now, on and off.  Every bowel I have has been loose. I’ve had Gastritis 3 times in the past and I think it’s from stress. 

I recently realized cheese is dairy. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I discovered my intolerance to lactose over 2 years ago.  I started drinking Lactaid milk but even that hurt my tummy.  Probably because it’s still dairy. I just never put two and two together until now.  I used to think I could eat a little bit of cheese or dairy but I’m thinking that’s what has been my problem all along.  So, I have decided to try and be mindful of not eating ANY dairy.  No milk, no cheese, heck…I don’t even want anything cold and from the fridge anymore because it feels dairy-ish. My purpose in this is my physical health. 

Speaking of physical health, my family doesn’t eat healthy.  My dad worked at the fire department and I remember most of those nights my mom, sister and I would go to Taco Bell or Burger King to get dinner. As I got older I found myself not liking fast food as much but graduating to larger chain restaurants like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn, and Chili’s. Of course that’s horrible for the budget and I always ended up having stomach pains and usually have diarrhea the next day after eating one of those meals.  Food has been a struggle. My mother, sister, grandmother and myself are all overweight. I’m not sure why I’m not as heavy as they are but luckily, I’m not. The only differences I can site are they’ve all had children and live a mostly sedentary lifestyle. (Here’s an older photo of my sister and I (and my crazy colored hair)

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I used to have almost a primal urge to fill my days with eating meat.  I’m not saying I still don’t-it’s not as strong-but I still feel like I’m not full until I’ve had it.  Not sure what that’s about but the past 3 weeks have taught me I don’t have to have that strong crash from not eating nor do I have to have the intense urges or hunger pains. I just realized that maybe the urges I have for that “meat”  or what I view as necessary “protein” is actually a craving for something else in the meat.  Or perhaps the craving is completely emotional.  I’m not sure but I’m going to attempt to discover it.

And from my journal on May 1st:

Today I watched the documentary “Forks Not Knives”.  Food, Inc. is the film that initially opened up my eyes to the food industry.  Made me really think about things I was putting into my body. I stopped eating Little Debbie snacks and cakes and stuff about 2 years ago.  Man, I used to be able to eat those things ALL the time. As I became more mindful my cravings for certain things decreased all together. When my dad died in April of 2011 my diet changed completely.  I just ate whatever was around. I started smoking again. I feel gross when I smoke. Light-headed and nauseous…so, I’m going to stop. I’m also going to see if I can get my diet and health on track by not eating meat. I’ve recently read about the Blood-Type Diet and I like the idea of eating whole foods, veggies and fruits instead of white, processed foods with fake sugar.

So, on May 1st of 2012 I stopped smoking and started eating a plant based diet. I’m going to write a few more posts related to this subject because I want to document some of the changes that have happened to me due to this lifestyle choice. It’s been fascinating. I’d like to be able to start a conversation about this stuff as food relates to mood and mood relates to well, everything. I’d like to hear your stories and experiences relating to diet.

Dreams

I miss my dog. I miss my dad.

This morning I woke up to a dream I was having of my father. I was a passenger in the camper he was driving. I was staring out of the front window, watching him drive and watching the road. It was in the evening. We had both decided, without really saying anything, that we just wanted to get a little bit farther before we stopped for the evening. My mind was trying to come up with details like where would we stay, what if we just stopped for a little while at a rest area to sleep and keep going, etc. but my being present wouldn’t allow it. I just kept pulling myself back to the inside of that camper. Watching my dad drive. He never looked back at me.

I expect people that haven’t been through the loss of a parent can’t really understand how it feels to have dreams like this. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to truly understand the depth of them had I not suffered this great loss.

When a dream like this occurs when someone this close to you dies, it stirs things. It doesn’t matter how zen you’ve become about it. Doesn’t matter how comfortable you are about the loss now or how you can finally talk about that person without getting tears in your eyes. It’s especially rough in the mornings because that’s one of the time’s I feel the most vulnerable and open.

I’m just saying it stirs things up. My family was a “camper family” as someone recently put it. We travelled all the time in our camper. After my father died and we were all going through old photos the photo that affected me the most was one my father took of our campsite when we were in Virginia. Everything looked so perfect and it was such a beautiful site. I knew he was proud of it. The only person in the photo was the one taking it, my dad. (I’ll scan it sometime once I can find it again in all of my scattered things)

My parents bought our first camper when I was around 12. Throughout the year we’d go on weekend trips to nearby state parks and during the summers we travelled to place like Niagara Falls (Canada side), Maine, Prince Edward Island (before they built the bridge and we had to drive our camper onto a ferry to get there), Arizona, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and everywhere in between.

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(pic taken on the ferry)

I’d always be the one to help my dad set up the campsite. Come to think of it, where was my sister during those times? Huh. Anyhow, we’d work out the leveling of the camper. My mom and I have a very delicate inner equilibrium so it was always easy for us to tell if the camper was off. Once we’d finally figure that out I’d climb to the top of the camper and open the storage hatch to pull out what we needed. I’d help my dad put down the awning. We’d set up the chairs by the fire and pull the bicycles off the ladder behind the camper. After that we’d decide what we were going to do the rest of the day.

My father and I were the ones that went on most of the nature hikes. My mother and sister would usually stay near the camper. He’d always grab his 35mm and I’d grab my pink Kodak. Sometimes we’d ride our bikes and sometimes we’d walk. I remember always looking for bighorn sheep because that’s what he wanted to take pictures of more than anything. He finally did, p.s.

I’m rambling now.

My point in mentioning the camping stuff is well, my dream. In my dream my dad and I were riding off into the darkness together. A comfortable darkness. What’s it mean? Where was he taking me? Was he taking me somewhere? If so, where? Where were we headed? What was he trying to say?

I have to tell you that the idea of me driving away in a camper isn’t a new idea to me. I’ve actually thought about it a lot lately since I feel a bit like a vagabond lately. I’ve spoken about it to my roommate who calls me hippy and asks me why I am always want to run away. At a birthday party the other night we talked about it with a group of people. Someone decided it sounded like a gypsy thing to do and then we all came up with “gypsy” jobs and names for each other. Apparently the name Carmen already sounds like a good psychic name because that was mine. So we had a psychic, a male dancer that always carried a single stem rose in his mouth, a flamenco dancer, someone that makes beer (in a separate camper) and a mime. Because, in our 20th century minds, that’s what gypsies do.

All I’m saying is I wouldn’t mind driving off into the darkness with my dad sometime. I mean, I’d have to leave some things behind but I’d see them all again eventually. I hope Chewy can come.

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So Now What?

After a bunch of headaches I’m back in Jacksonville. I won’t list all of the headaches because I’m really trying to keep my karma in check. The biggest headache (and saddest) is having to drive my precious little doggy to my mom’s house so she can watch her for a while until I get on my feet. It’s been a week today and it S U C K S. I’ve had her with me for 3 years and now she’s gone. *sadface*

Le sigh

My number one goal is to get my dog back ASAP and since that can only be accomplished by getting a job…getting a job has been temporarily bumped up to the #1 position. I had an interview this week. It’s not my dream job but if it gets me on my own two feet I’m all in. Once I get a job I’ll probably find a roommate. I really like living by myself but eventually that gets old and lonely. Besides, the older I get the more I want to live in a commune and well, there are lots of people there. I should probably get used to one person.

Did I mention that my current abode is 4 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean? When I step outside I can hear the ocean. It’s so beautiful and reassuring. It reminds me that life goes on no matter what and everything is always okay in the end. Plans and ideas have fallen through since I decided to go on this new adventure but somehow it all still seems okay. I’m not very stressed because people around me are supportive. Plus, I’m back driving on bridges, hanging out at old bookstores downtown and watching sunsets over oceans.

IMG_1287This was from our last walk on the beach…for now.

Intense

Today I’ve been thinking about my place in life and what I’m most grateful for.

I am grateful for resiliency. I think some part of resiliency is innate and the other part is captured through the tarot card The Fool.

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He’s just walking along with his little dog at his heels. He seems content and peaceful. Happy. Meanwhile he is looking up and we can see he’s about ready to fall off the edge of a cliff. His little doggie is trying to warn him but he’s too caught up in his journey that he just keeps walking.

Years ago I had a friend named Karl that would always say “the Universe provides”

I thought it odd he seemed so content trekking across the country with just a carload of stuff. He slept at Flying J’s scattered about on lost highways. He claimed to be happy but I didn’t think he was. He seemed lost. A few years later he managed to make it to Ohio. He sent me a video of the apartment he shared with someone he met online. He bought a scooter and said he loved the changing seasons. A while later he decided to travel it to Alaska to work at a lodge for the “summer”. After many many hours in the car and a lot of driving he eventually made it to the lodge. He was excited to get started but after one week everyone learned the water was contaminated and the lodge had to be closed down.

I don’t know where he is now but I know one thing. He was right. The Universe does provide. We generally can’t see what’s in front of us. Not really. We plan and save and pack things away always playing pretend. Pretending that we know what’s next. Praying. Hoping. NEEDING to know what’s next.

But…

what really IS next?

Do you really know and can you control it? Is The Fool really a fool? He looks to me like he’s enjoying his path, walking along with the sun on his shoulder. His beloved pet is with him. He’s holding a white rose, symbolizing purity and innocence. Perhaps in his case, nativity.

But…

what can we really predict? We have the rug pulled out from under us all the time. In one flash of a moment, everything is lost. A death. A divorce. A job loss. We can’t pick and choose our misery.

I see The Fool as being a card of staying present. I see it as a reminder of impermanence.

It’s about being aware of the fact that there may be a cliff just around the corner but to keep whistling with your head held up high feeling the sun on your shoulder.

The people that take chances are the happy ones. They’ve accepted that sometimes “bad” things just happen but they keep on walking. They don’t mourn the past or wish things were different. They don’t play the victim.

These are the Karl’s of the world. They have less anxiety, less stress. They are less self medicating. Less self-deprecating. Overall less suffering. They decide to drive to Alaska because they want the experience. They live in the moment.

I’m finding myself at a crossroads and instead of becoming a victim, I’m determined to take the path of The Fool.

“… If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. When a flower dies, you don’t suffer much, because you understand that flowers are impermanent. But you cannot accept the impermanence of your beloved one, and you suffer deeply when she passes away. If you look deeply into impermanence, you will do your best to make her happy right now. Aware of impermanence, you become positive, loving, and wise. Impermanence is good news. Without impermanence, nothing is possible. With impermanence, every door is open for change. Instead of complaining, we should say, ‘Long live impermanence!’. Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.” ~ Impermanence Sutra

Energy

Today I made my list Energy Drainers and Energy Gainers. Yes, you’re on it.

Energy Gainers

Blogging

Music

Watching Archer

NYC

Making food

Ideas

Nature

Chewbacca (my dog)

Travel

Watching old scary movies

Growing things

Trees

Positive relationships

Teaching people things

Vegetarianism

Old friends

Intimacy

Thinking about New Orleans

Energy Drainers

Negative thinking

Drugs (this includes alcohol)

^^ people on them

People that constantly have a problem 

Piles of things

Clutter

Decisions that need to be made

Waiting

Negative people

Eating food that is bad for me

Facebook

Crowds

Writing cover letters

Procrastinating (which I am doing by writing this blog…see above for context clue as to what I should be doing)

 

 

 

 

 

Chewbacca

I committed to posting a blog 5 days in a row. I think today is day 4 and I’ve been staring at this screen for about 30 minutes trying to figure out what to write about. I’m not in the mood for serious or heavy so I’ve concluded this post is going to be about my #1 soulmate in this lifetime, my dog Chewbacca.

Chewy will be 3 years old in April. I got her in 2010. She was 8 weeks old. She’s a Morkie which is a Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mix.

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That’s Chewface the first day I got her. You can already see expression on her face. Emotion. She was like a little furball with tons of hair that just kept growing and growing…which is why I called her Chewbacca. Although sometimes I think she looks like an Ewok.

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So freaking adorable. Her color has changed as she’s gotten older. The only part of her that’s really dark brown now is the end of her tail. Here’s Chewper’s at about one. I love her face.

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She’s always been a little bit freaked out. When she was little I couldn’t put her in a cage because I’d come back home and she’d be frantic. She’d get so anxious that she would be dripping with sweat and she’d throw up. Here’s a collage of cute.

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Chewy likes to play big spoon little spoon. We take turns.

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She’s really cuddly. She doesn’t mind kisses. I didn’t save the hair from her first haircut but here’s a pic of her worst haircut ever. She looked like a circus dog. To the groomers defense I DID say do something interesting…

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284930_10150725574240297_4754807_n^^ haha

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Chewy just so happened to have a date to be fixed the same month my dad died. When I got back home to Jax I called the lady that was going to help me get a discount on the spay (I was a volunteer and took pics at the animal shelter and she knew people) and basically had a breakdown saying I can’t let her go under during surgery because what if she doesn’t wake up? It was pathetic and sad. So, she didn’t have the surgery until she was two. And here’s how that went down…

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She was sooooo sad and I will never ever go back to the vet that did her surgery. There were complications and it FINALLY ended 4 months after her surgery. This is an older pic when Chewy was a pumpkin for Halloween.

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She wanted a feather in her hair. What was I supposed to say, no?

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Chewypers is a free spirit. She does what she wants. The next few are more recent. Chewpie loves going for walks and hikes. She’s tough. The next two pics are before and after our 4 mile hike.

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She seriously slept so long I thought something was wrong with her. This is a very recent pic.

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And this is when I spammed Instagram with photos of the Chew.

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That was before I dropped my phone and I could still take screenshots.  Grrrrr And last but not least…wherever I am, Chew is. Poor thing. Must be anxiety provoking. Anyhow, she followed me to the bathroom and when I shut the door I bent down and took this photo with my iPhone. Words cannot describe how much I love this dog.

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BOOM! Finished this post with 2 minutes left.

P.S – I don’t know what all of those gaps are between words and photos. Doesn’t look like that on my screen. Bugs me.

P.P.S – Chew also has a FB page and a YouTube channel. What? She insisted.

My Heart

“New lovers are nervous and tender but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire.” ~ Count Almasy

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Part I: The light stuff

Michael Ondaatje breaks my heart. With a simple pen stroke he captures, in writing, emotion that expresses my soul. (and I just checked him out on Amazon, he has the same birthday as my dad). He’s an author and if you haven’t seen the movie The English Patient well you simply must. He wrote it and that’s where the above quote is from.

The book is different than the movie (duh) but the movie is phenomenal and one of my top ten favorite movies of all times. It’s heart wrenching. I mean it. It’s probably the most poignant thing I’ve ever witnessed on screen. It came out in 1996 and won Best Picture. Actually, it won nine academy awards. Maybe everyone else was watching Jerry Maguire.

A clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq3349LaGQc I can’t even listen to the music. Last time I watched the movie was 2004. I have seen it twice and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch it again. I’m weird like that about things that truly move me. My favorite sci-fi author is Orson Scott Card. He wrote Ender’s Game which turned into a serious of five books. I won’t read the rest of them. I’ve heard it’s actually the same story told through the eyes of the other characters. I’m not reading them. Like, ever. I don’t want them to skew my view of Ender who, at this point, holds the title of leading role of best book character ever.

Part II: The deep stuff

I’ve been thinking more about what that therapist asked me. The thing about my heart and where it is and I’ve come to a conclusion. I think it’s just mostly been broken. I’ve been grieving for a very long time over much loss. I’ve made decisions based upon that. I’ve made rote decisions that I thought I was supposed to make just because I could see no other way.

So, I’ve finally made a decision. I’ve made it for myself. Not because of fear. Not because I can hear my mom telling me I’m making a bad decision. Not because of what I think someone else wants me to do. Not because my friends think I should. Not because I am scared I will fail.

This decision is all mine. I own it. Maybe that’s why it feels right.

And all it took to finally realize I should listen to my heart more often was the worst loss I’ve ever felt. The death of my father and role model, the death of a relationship that I thought could never end, the loss of a job, the complete loss of my footing and the loss of friendships.

I don’t think you’d be able to truly understand all I am saying here if you haven’t experienced this kind of loss. It’s earth shattering. You become frozen. You understand what it means to only see what’s right in front of you because everyone and everything outside of that is too overwhelming to consider. I had blinders on for a long time. It took over a year for the haze to clear up, for the fog to lift and when I finally started seeing again everything looked different. The scenery had changed, but nothing had changed at all. The characters had changed but there were no new people.

I guess I’m happy I can finally say to myself “welcome back”.

Now, where were we?

My Shadow

…It’s not freezing today. That means I’m in a better mood.

I’ve been drinking hot green tea while staring out the window. As usual I have lots of thoughts in my head.

So, I’ve decided to write.

Been thinking about my “dark side” a lot lately. Sometime last year I read a book on our dark sides and how we should embrace them. A song comes to mind. It’s called “Truth” by Alexander Ebert.  The video:

{http://youtu.be/s9yibUR5KNI}

I know I posted this on a previous blog but it’s relevant to both so leave me alone. Here are a few lyrics that really stick out for me “the truth is that I never shook my shadow, every day it’s trying to trick me into battle calling out ‘faker’ trying to get my rattled…”

Makes me want to ask myself a question.

Have I ever shook my shadow?

{insert an old record scratch sound here because that’s what just happened in my head. I’m still listening to music by Edward Sharp and it’s pretty perky. I can’t find my shadow. Could be the green tea but I’m willing to bet it’s this damn perky music. So, I’m going to change the music to something a little more appropriate. Fever Ray. She usually works. Now, where were we…}  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VedQP_j4JoU

Our dark sides destroy. Steal our spirits. Takes our lives out of our hands. It destroys relationships. Makes us feel vulnerable and leaves us handicapped. But, why? Why do we have two lives in our minds? Why should we have to? Is it a battle of social norm or is it a battle with our own soul? Christians might call it satan or the devil. Maybe our “dark sides” are connected to out past lives.

Maybe it does want to destroy us. Maybe it wants to teach us something. I know I judge my shadow. I judge other peoples too. Here’s an example:  Lets say my dark side wants to have a lot of sex. You might judge that. You might (or someone else might) call me a slut or a whore. You might wonder if I have have some DSM diagnosis and if something happened to me as a child that’s making me act out. You may even try to “help” me. Give me a lecture about why I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, etc. But the interesting part is…

While you are judging me, I’d be judging myself. I’d be asking myself questions…why am I doing this? Are people judging me? Should I change my behavior? Is God displeased with me? What do my family and friends think of me? Should I stop? AM I a slut? What’s wrong with me.

The inner dialogue goes on and on and it isn’t just about sex. It can be about eating. It can be about being angry. Doing drugs. Drinking. Smoking. Being rude. Not forgiving people. Being selfish. Cheating. Any of the 7 Deadly Sins. You get the point.

Actually, I don’t think I have much more to learn about my shadow. I think I know what it wants and desires. I’m starting to accept those things about myself. Now, admitting them to others…that’s a different story.

Is there a Darkside 12-Step group? Boy, I bet that could be dangerous.

…but fun.