Tuesday, October 8, 2013


My son is taking gymnastics through our local community education, and we have made the choice to walk to and from class every week. It's about a mile from home, so it's an easy walk through the city. Every time we start out, we notice how much trash is on the lawns of the houses we pass (there are no sidewalks on most of our route).

Today while Khai was in class, I noticed that one of the tables provided for parents to wait at was covered in plastic bags, snack wrappers and drink bottles. Since this was the last unoccupied table, I supposed that someone would be right back, so I sat on the floor.

By the end of class it was clear that these snacks were abandoned, and that no one was going to come and pick them up. So. Khai and took the bottles to the recycle bin (not more than 20 feet from the tables), and set everything but the plastic bag in the trash.

I have never seen a person so enthusiastic to pick up garbage. Every time he saw a peice, he shouted "I spy trash!" and ran to pick it up. It gave us a lot of chances to talk. Why is the trash here? Where should it go? What can we leave, and what do we need to pick up (for the record, we can leave dead mice, corn cobs and dandelion stems)? It was an opportunity for me as a parent to not only teach him about having respect for the earth and those around us, but also looking at what we use, and why we might choose something different.

So much trash!
When we got home I was really surprised how much trash (and recyclables) we had collected on our not-even-one-mile walk. It made me reflect on all the times that I watched my grandmother throw trash out of the car door when I was a child, and how sometimes I don't go after the scraps of paper, or the renegade bottle if they fall out of my car when I get out. Someone has to clean that trash up, and if not someone, then something. Some poor bird or squirrel is going to eat that wrapper or bottle cap, and probably die. And why did I need that soda anyway? Where was my reusable water bottle?

It was an opportunity for me to reassess where I am on my green journey. I've recently replaced my reusable utensil set (my fork broke after several years), and I have re-upped my commitment to using my reusable water bottle/thermos when I need water, coffee, tea, or whatever.

Hopefully when my children are older, they will decide to make these commitments too.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


My family and I went on an adventure yesterday to get new shoes for Baba, Khai, and Rowan. Mama didn't get to buy any new shoes because the children were too squirrely, but that's another story. I put one stipulation on my children - you may not get anything with a character. Then I set my children free in the kid's aisles to choose their shoes. I gave Khai instructions that his size was 11, so he should look for a box with the 11 on it. He came back to me with these:

I stopped myself before I said anything leading. He tried them on, jumped, ran, and generally exuded childhood glory. 
"Do you really like them?"
"Yes mama, these are my favorite. I want to buy them."
Alright. So, I don't have a problem with him having pink shoes. I think they're lovely. My mother comes over and sees what he has picked out.
"Oh. I don't think so-and-so will like that."
"It's what he picked," I responded. "I didn't lead him. This is what he wants." We have more conversation, and, after my mother tries to talk him out of it by showing him every other shoe in the store, we do indeed buy them. He is so excited to wear them!
And I'm a little worried for him, deep down. He's always been the little boy who wants to wear a dress, or his sister's frilly hat. This isn't even the first pair of pink shoes he's worn (though it is his first pair brand new from a shoe store). I treasure the fact that he feels comfortable choosing what he likes, and that he hasn't been pressed upon to 'be a boy' yet. I worry about these shoes, just a little, though. What will he do if someone tells him these are girl shoes? Why does it matter? I often buy Rowan's shoes from the boy's department without fear.
I just want him to feel like he can be whoever he wants to be. And why do we even have 'boy' shoes and 'girl' shoes? They're just shoes. Rowan is so strong, I know she'll be okay. Khai is so sweet and sensitive, and I know what it's like to be that way and get hurt. I know what it's like to be mistaken for the opposite gender, and to be teased for it. I just don't want that for my kids. I don't want that for anybody.
So, wear those fantastic shoes proudly, little bear. They look great on you, and I love you just the way you are.

Photo Time: POTD #11

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Photo Time: POTD #6

A cropped selfie that accentuates my least favorite feature - my chin. Even though I don't like it, it deserves some love.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Photo Time: POTD #4

Walking around, I happened to poke my head into the dumpster at Half Price Books. It makes me a little sad as a writer to see all these words getting tossed away. :(

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Photo Time: POTD #3

Supposed to be an Ordinary Moment. I like a lot that her lip is super crisp. I need to work on bringing my aperture out to at least 4.0 so that I don't end up with these half soft-focus shots.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Photo Time: Picture of the Day #1 of 365

Found a photo challenge that appeals to me. Today's prompt is 'One Flower'. Voila:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Beginning of Something Fiction-y. Pt. I

She opened her eyes slowly, sensing the bright sunshine as it streamed in through the opening of her shelter. She had grown accustomed to waking up in this way, feeling the light hit her face, warm her body, stir her into rising.
She sat up and lolled her head to the side easily, stretching her long, well-tanned arms up above her head and arching her back deeply. She would drink up this feeling, keep it with her and revel in it when the darkness came. As it inevitably did.
The darkness lasted for months at a time, forcing her into a sort of twilight, an automatic existence of sleeping and eating, of long stretches in front of the fire. There were even longer stretches when she heard the wolves howling, and other, larger creatures prowling about the woods behind her little thicket. Then she sat inside in the darkness, resting her chin on her knees and counting her own breaths.
Today was a warm day, though. It was a day full of sunshine, and thus of busyness. She had food to gather, as well as wood. She would go down to the stream and wash. She would mend her favorite dress today. It would be a good day.
She found her tasks easy and joyful today, and she hummed softly to herself as she carried bundles of kindling over the threshold of her small dwelling. She sat down on the dirt floor and brushed her hands off, her lips pressing up into a smile as she stretched her legs out in front of her. Her sewing basket sat nearby, and she pulled it closer to start her mending, then pushed it away again.
"You'll have to wait," she called to the streams of purple cloth that hung from the rafters. She was already running before she was out of her own circular yard. The fabric of her plain brown skirt flapped against her ankles as she ran, and she laughed aloud just to hear herself. It wouldn't be long before she reached the stream, and she shivered in anticipation of the cool water she would find there.
She stripped down quickly and efficiently as soon as got there, folding her clothes into tidy squares and nestling them up into the limbs of a tree. She took a great deal of pleasure in dipping her toes into the water, pressing her feet down into the soft mud of the bank. She felt intensely peaceful. She waded farther into the water and then knelt, letting the ends of her long chestnut hair brush the surface of the water. She cupped the water in her two hands and, in one swift motion, splashed the water into the hollow of her neck, letting the water stream down in rivulets over her breasts and stomach. She let her head fall back, lowering more of her hair into the water.
The world around her shattered like a pane of glass, cracks first, then big jagged chunks that fell, leaving vacuous blackness in their stead. The shook her head frantically from side to side, willing it to stop, and felt the skin of her arms prickle in fear. Slowly the blackness relented, leaving a single image in her vision - a man.
He was tall with dark eyes and darker hair that curled around the nape of his neck, just brushing the collar of his dark green shirt. He was handsome, she thought to herself, watching as his visage became clearer. He looked rough but clean, and he wore clothes that told her he was more than just a common man. Though her visions were frightening, what she saw usually wasn't. With his image came the man's name, and she tucked it away in her mind. With that the image began to dissipate, and her vision cleared, leaving her in the now-frigid water of the stream.
Blinking twice she stood up and rushed out of the water, gathering her clothes. She forced her clothes on and felt them cling to her wet body. She had to get home quickly, now. The sky was almost dark.

Moving Forward (With Confidence and Purpose)

I have learned a lot in the interim between this post and the last. I've become more hardcore about my photography, I am opening myself back up to the world, and I'm starting to feel myself more complete, more whole. It seems appropriate that this should happen at M - the 13th letter of the alphabet. Half way between the beginning and the end. Even the letter itself - with its vertical symmetry of peaks and valleys - speaks of half way points.
In my photography I am learning more everyday, but staying vigilant in walking the line between interest and obsession. I know more about myself, more about my tendency to throw myself into things, and I'm being very aware. My eyes are open to my own patterns, to the way I interact in my environment, and to the personality types that I tend to attract with my behavior.
In the rest of my life, I have rejoined facebook after more than a year. At times it has still caused me anxiety, but it's also nice to be able to communicate with people I care about, and those who care for me. It will also be a requirement if I wish to start doing photography professionally.
I'm going by Cadence in most social circles now. I still slip up and use my other name (and respond to it) but I know that it will just take time, as it did when learning to use my married name. It makes me smile every time I see my name written on a cup at starbucks, or even when I sign my name on receipts. Some time next week I'm going to make time to go down to the county registrar and turn in the paperwork. It's complete now, and just waiting for a notary to make it official.
I'm starting to get back to taking the kids to playgroup, as well. The sheer number of people I had to be social with had turned me off for a long time, but now I feel like I can handle it better. I still come home from playgroup tired and over-peopled, but at least I don't feel so overwhelmed when I am actually there.
In some of my social circles I have felt like a bug under the microscope. People have been keeping a close eye on me, watching to see if I will have a mental break down or snap out of it and get back to normal. The changes have been more subtle than that, though. They are almost imperceptible to the naked eye. I still laugh, I still cry (maybe I let myself cry a little more than I once did). I can feel the slow changes more than I can see them. But the shades of grey are slowly appearing, like watching an old polaroid develop.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Looking Forward

I'm about half way through this alphabet challenge, though I admit that I'm slow about it. It makes me think about what will come after this set of posts. Start over? Write whatever I want? It's hard to think about it when I don't have a structure to write within.
Or maybe I won't write? Maybe I'll just post photos? I have no idea.
I've had some success with getting some of the creative projects 'on to paper' so to speak, since the last post. I have a collection of photos, a skeleton outline of my commune project, and a more fully outlined mystery novel, with a paranormal idea for a novel as well. My romance novel is stuck at around 5k, and I'm not sure what to do with it, really.
My business cards arrived today. They have my new name and contact information. I can't help but feel a rush of excitement that I am moving forward into the world as Cadence, trying on the the name as I get through the legal documentation. I've even joined Facebook again (on a very limited basis) to see how that feels.
I will say, there is an unexpected amount of joy in seeing my name come up at the top of the page, and seeing it there when I reply to an email. Opening the box with my business cards was even more thrilling. It's real! I'm real!
I feel like a butterfly. The past six months I have been in a chrysalis - healing, changing, reforming. Now I am getting my first peaks at the outside world from this new perspective.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Keeping Up

The title of this post, in keeping with the A-Z blogging challenge (though I have obviously given it my own time frame), is Keeping Up. I've been thinking about the K post for a long while, considering all the good 'K' words in my life. I feel like this title sits well, though, with the mood right now, though.
Keeping up is, for me, a sort of double entenrde relating to my life. I have fallen into the pattern of always feeling behind. I have not meal planned enough in advance, I have not planned the weeks homeschool activities, I haven't picked out clothes and now we must all wander the house nude until the dryer is done...
The other meaning, the more difficult and subtle meaning has to do with my emotional well being. Am I keeping up? Or am I allowing myself to sink slowly, like a sponge gradually taking in water until it is too heavy to float at the surface? I spend a lot of time wringing myself out, popping back to the surface, and beginning again.
These past few months have been so challenging for me. I feel like I am pregnant with dozens of creative endeavors, but, like Leto, I am unable to bring these projects to birth. I have not yet found that bit of earth that is not earth, that in between space, that zen. Worse yet, I am a wanderer who cannot wander. I cannot leave my children, cannot run off and go where the wind takes me. My feet itch to travel, my heart yearns for the anonymity and excitement of new places.
So. Am I keeping up? Or am I being dragged, unwilling, behind?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just Be Silent

Funny that I should write on the virtues of silence after such a (relatively) long radio silence here. Just being silent, though, has it's place and it's time.
I have spent a lot of time with my kids lately. A lot of time watching them play, and even more time listening to them play while I do other housework. At first I was just present with them, and I was constantly adding my own commentary to their play - either information I thought was helpful, or critiques (positive and negative) of their play. The more I have watched them, trusted them to their own childhood work, the more I saw how purposefully they did each thing.
With this realization came a modicum of silence. I stopped reminding them of the rules. Then that silence grew as I kept watching. I stopped telling them to do or not do what I perceived to be safe, or acceptable, or age appropriate. I was just a pair of eyes, a keeper of the sacred space around childhood, just as the midwife holds the sacred space around childbirth. It was a realization that spilled over into the rest of my interactions.
Just being silent with others is difficult. Even more so when you feel like you haven't talked to another adult in weeks. But comfortable silence in the company of another can be very gratifying. Even just the awareness of how much I interject into the conversation is powerful. My silence can be the red tent - a ritual space for sharing deepest thoughts - or a bathroom, with lots of space for figurative dumping. Silence is golden - it's fashionable at any occasion, and very, very precious.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Intention has been the missing piece for me - the piece that connects mind to body, that touches my soul into purpose. How funny it is that much of what we all do in a day involves so little intention. I find myself, even now, doing things not because I have the intention to do them, but for a myriad of other reasons. Perhaps I am knitting to avoid doing the dishes, rather than for the joy of the project, and the intention of finishing it. Maybe I am writing because it means I can close the door and make my partner watch our kids for ten minutes. I'm side stepping the intentionality of my actions, instead settling for the void, the negative intention. I should write to write, not with the intention of being in a quiet space for ten minutes! If I need that ten minutes of space, I can take them, no guilt, no need to guilt myself about those 'wasted' ten minutes.

I struggle with this balance. Finding intention in everyday life can be hard - harder still when my phone and tablet are ever-present, waiting to distract me with an intention-numbing game or a ebook that I'm only reading because it was $.99. I struggle with intention in the technologic world I exist in. Perhaps intention and will are related, and I am still willfully dipping my toe in every puddle and pond, seeking exciting new sensation. My concentration too is limited. How can it not be when I must switch from dishes to making a snack, back to dishes, check on a boo-boo.

The intention of reading the book (this one cost $7.99 thank you!) is lost when I must do it in 1.6 minute stints between chores or summons. And yet, perhaps the persistence of that action fertilizes the intention, allows it to flourish in the rocky crags of child rearing. Perhaps intention just evolves, mutates into something smaller, more hardy - a bonsai tree  - that can be moved about, set down, picked up. Probably even occasionally dropped.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I would not have been able to write this post six months ago - for a lot of reasons. The first reason is that I stopped writing for a few days. In the past, I have stopped writing in a blog, journal or sketch book after a few days, and then feel as if I cannot go back to it because the continuity is broken.
It's one of the changes, the tempering of my self imposed extremism. It's part of the healing process that began when I made the choice to value my own health and well being over the perceptions of others and what I 'aught' to be doing.
Some of that healing has been physical. I sleep again, I eat again. The anxiety that gripped me at literally every moment of the day has abated. The painful heartburn that never ebbed has gradually lessened, and has finally disappeared. I can feel my energy returning, the creativity, the zest that makes life worth living.
Much of the healing has been psychological and emotional. I feel like I have come into a place I've never been in my life. I can look into the mirror and see myself. And I like what I see. Like looking into a rippling pond, the true self that has been just below the surface, waiting, is starting to take shape. The pieces of true self that I've carried around for so long finally have a space to begin to fit together. And I'm welcoming the experience.
Life is opening up for me, fresh and bright. I may still need to explore my options, but at least I can enjoy them, take pleasure in the journey. I may spend my life as a wonderer, proverbially and physically, but if I do, it will be because this is my true nature, not because I am running away from that which I do not wish to see, wish to face.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guilt and Shame

I ate a sugar cube painted with watercolor in preschool. I still remember the hot shame that washed over me when the teacher saw me and chastised me. In elementary school I got my name on the board because I was looking at a map, trying to find Mackinaw Island (while sharpening my pencil) when the teacher called chair time. I actually cried, but told everyone I just had really bad allergies. These kinds of things stay with me forever. They run through my mind over and over again, for no reason.
Up until recently I would feel that wave of heat and humiliation pressing up and through me. I still occasionally run these episodes through my mind, but the rush of hormones that accompanies it has ebbed. I feel a sense of guilt and shame just thinking about why - for the first time in my adult life, I've chosen to medicate. I feel the guilt that I couldn't just buck up and make these feeling stop, that it took a crashing catastrophe to make me see the need was there. I feel shame that I 'need' to be on meds.
And yet. I feel good. I choose to be on medication. It's an adult choice, and the right one. I needed the help, and I took the steps to get it. As small as it seems, that's a big step for me. This has been the first time in my life that those waves of panic and guilt don't constantly press over me, threatening to sink me to the bottom. Beyond that I can see these patterns, identify that these feelings are irrational, rather than living in them. I can banish them with the emotional healing that has begun.
I have worth. I'm worth a twenty dollar outfit, or a new pair of earrings. I'm deserving of things that have form, not just function. I need not relegate myself to tatty jeans, the same three shirts, and over sized hoodies. I need not feel guilty about the beautiful (and functional!) leather boots that I bought on clearance, even if I spent a lot of money on them. I don't need to feel shame because I want to use make up (But hippies don't do that...). I can own my worth, and begin to hone and focus this new identity - this me.

Monday, April 15, 2013


When I begin a task, I begin it all or nothing. Perhaps this is part of my moderation issue, but I begin these things with singular focus. Some might even call this compulsion or fixation. This has been a blessing and a curse for me. I suppose it depends a lot on the project, and the effect it has on the rest of my life.
There have been many times when I throw myself into a knitting project and I cannot stop, even if it's two in the morning and I'm literally falling asleep at the needles. Times when I don't get up out of the chair to check on my crying child because I'm not at the end of the row, or because I'm just three rows from the end. In cases like this, my focus is actually detrimental to my self and my family, although I do get the knitting project done quickly.
On the other hand, I can also bring my complete focus to playing with my children. In those moments I have eyes for nothing but my children's' joy. I don't see the mess they make, or the dreads in the back of their hair. I don't see the ballpoint pen all over my daughter's legs, or the fact that my son is eating his boogers. I'm completely, single-mindedly focused on the experience of being engaged with them. It's magical.
It's sort of like having a super power, this focus. I just have to use it for good, rather than evil.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


In the past I have considered myself an extrovert. I get charged up around other people, and I enjoy being with them. That's practically the definition of an extrovert, right? It's ben interesting though, to acknowledge the changes I've seen in myself. Perhaps it's because I'm older now, or maybe because I have kids, so my energy is limited. Deeper down, though, I suspect it has to do with the 'masks' I wear when I'm around others, and my need to please.
It took a long time to come to the realization that I don't really enjoy being a frenetic crazy person, despite that being my default mode around those I don't know. That persona just allows me to interact with others on a superficial level so that I don't have to feel anxiety about meeting someone new, or being around a lot of others.
The problem with this persona Band-Aid is that it sets me up for people to assume that I'm always crazy and bubbly-hyper, which I'm often not. I have mellowed out into a relatively quiet, introspective woman. It often means I feel obligated to slip into that high energy place, even when I don't have the energy to spend.
More and more often I find myself coming away from these interactions drained, tired, and sometimes even physically ill. It takes everything out of me to be around so many others, and in particular those I don't know. I hadn't really given it a lot of thought - as I'm sure most people don't when they decide to have children - but I did seek out quiet, alone time with regularity, and I need it.
Children are people, and they require the same interaction, if not a great deal more interaction, than a normal person. Not only that, but they require a lot of physical interaction, a lot of being touched. By the end of the day, how can a person not be exhausted by that?
I'm an introvert, by choice or by design. Coming to terms with that identity and embracing it is a step in the right direction. Scheduling time that I am alone with myself, with nothing to do is a battery recharger, and as I move forward on this journey, I strive to make it a regular part of my self care routine.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Daily Rythm

I have always thought of myself as a free spirit, as someone who thrives in change and flexibility. I've been surprised these last few years (since having children) that, while I am certainly capable of thriving in constant change (and sometimes I crave it), I actually do enjoy having a rhythm to my life. There is comfort in the consistency of daily rhythm and routine. I have noticed, too, that my kids do better when they can dance through the day to the beat of our daily routine.
I never considered myself a creature of habit, but I am. I find myself falling into negative routines when I don't lay out positive ones for myself. It's part of what happened to me during these last few months of school. I had fallen into a routine of getting up, drinking my coffee and eating nothing, or eating perhaps a doughnut, cookie, or brownie. Then I would go the rest of the day marginally attending to my kids, serving them turkey and veggies in front of the TV while I attempted to do homework - and didn't eat anything myself! Then I would spend my evenings drinking more coffee (or sodas) to keep me awake while I did readings or organized the work I had been doing all day. Often I went to sleep at one or two a.m., and even then I tossed around in bed with insomnia for hours.
Now I'm spending time to think about what I want the daily and weekly rhythms of our lives to be. Do I want outside time to be a part of their daily life (yes!), do I want to bake daily? Weekly? As much as my children delight in knowing what comes next in the day, I thrive in the knowledge that our day has an outline. Not a stiff, rigid one, but a general flow that reminds us that today is painting day, or that after lunch is quiet time.
Beyond that, too, instilling an overarching sense of the natural rhythm of nature - now is the time when we will start planting seed, watching spring start to emerge. It's a time for cleaning out, tidying, freshening up the physical as well as the emotional and energetic.
I want there to be a peace in our house - my mother calls it shalom bayit - that fills us all with a sense of wellbeing. I want that peace to be laid into the foundation of our lives so that when they enter their teens and question everything, as I know they will, deep down we will have this sense of rhythm and peace to guide them, a place to return to when they feel unbalanced or confused. Don't we all need that, sometimes?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Creativity and Creative Constipation

When I'm really stressed, or when I have a lot of things to do, I begin to cut the creation out of my life little by little. It begins with letting my knitting slide, or I start knitting something monotonous, something that requires nothing but rote knitting with no purls and no shaping. During this last period of stress, I had been writing a blog, but even that small bit of writing became too much for me. Finally I can feel all of the products of my creative endeavors swirling through my mind, taunting me with their cathartic properties.
Once I finally get over the stressful situation, all the creative things I could have been doing up until that moment come flooding back to me, and I feel compelled to let it out. Writing, sewing, knitting, creating homeschooling curriculum, painting, and baking all pour out of me, sometimes at the expense of my patience. I suppose you could call it creative diarrhea.
Often I have found myself so focused on a project, particularly when the project is for my children, or if the children are somehow involved in the project, that I cannot be bothered to attend to my basic needs (eating, toilet) or the needs of my children. I've learned that I need to have realistic expectations around these creative endeavors. I cannot expect my children to be as excited about these projects as I am, neither can I expect them to follow explicit instructions and create a perfect craft that looks just like the example that I found a picture of online.
I have to give up that control and let them have their own creative moments, for them and for myself. I will only drive myself crazy trying to compare my children's creations to the perfectly centered intensely mother-supervised example photos. Beyond that, the things I make with my children are special precisely because they aren't perfect - they are a perfect representation of my kids' interpretation. In my own projects, I derive a great deal of pleasure from altering patterns to suit my needs - why should I limit my children?
Part of this parenting journey has ben learning to let go of my own preconceptions and expectations. I have to live in the moment with these small people, to see what inspires them - the foundations of unschooling.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bare Feet

As a child, I always had to wear shoes and socks. Some of this had to do with the fact that I had extremely flat, narrow feet. When I finally grew out of the orthotics and special order shoes I was a teenager. The summer of my 15th year I was allowed a measure of independence with my friends, and so I discovered, pretty much for the first time in my life, the joy of walking barefoot through grass and dirt. It felt like waking up.
I spent that summer tromping around my best friend's yard with dirt blackened feet. I took time, but slowly I developed a resistance to the cool ground and the sharp points of grass and pine needles, hard callouses around my heels and the balls of my feet - I had never had callouses before!
My mother never really understood my fascination with being barefoot outside. We talked about it for the first time in a long while recently, and I tried to explain to her how grounding and tactile it was for me. The sensation of having the earth under my feet, the pulse of the planet flowing up through my toes - it's therapeutic.
Much of my life I have struggled with the sensation that I am not really in my body, or that I am watching things happen to me from a perch on my right shoulder. Part of this journey is creating strategies to keep me grounded inside my own body, and in my own life. It means that when I meditate I purposefully don't pop out of my third eye, or that I put thought into staying in my body even when the emotional or physical sensation is uncomfortable.
So now every day I make an effort to really inhabit my body. I feel the soft skin of my daughter as she curls in my lap, the thick hair on my son's head as it tickles my nose. I feel my husband's five o'clock shadow when he kisses me, and yes, my bare feet on the cool earth.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adoption Thoughts; Authentic Living

When I was much younger, I came up with a theory. I hypothesized that we all had one key word that summed up the life lesson we had signed up to learn in the current life. I decided, at 20, that my key word was family. I even have a tattoo that symbolizes this key word.
Each of the past few years I've gone through personal crises between my birthday and the anniversary of my adoption. It's taken this most recent life changing event for me to realize the pattern that has emerged in that time frame. I know a little about the details surrounding my being given up for adoption at just over a year old. I know that there were abuse allegations, and I know that the people who knew my birth mother have told my parents that I spent a great deal of time alone in a playpen.
That knowledge has rooted into the soil of my mind, growing there until the blossom of realization appeared recently. That time was earth shattering to me as a child. I was barely a toddler, and I was abandoned my a scared, confused parent. Then I was expected to integrate into a family of strangers less than three months later. Sometimes I just want to scoop up that small big-eyed baby and hug her, let her know that it's going to be okay, that it turns out all right.
How can a person recover from that, really? As good as my life has been because I was placed for adoption with my beautiful, loving family, I have struggled with being able to accept that they love me - really, unconditionally love me. It's as if that tiny blonde child is tugging at my skirt, reminding me - you've been abandoned before, it can happen again. So I've lived my life with the heart of an abandoned child, always fearful that something I said or did would cause everyone, even my most cherished friends and loved ones, to turn away from me.
Everything I've done up until this point has been an exploration of that love. If I move to Florida, will they still love me? If I don't get a degree? If I get this piercing, or that tattoo? Rather than living authentically, being who I am, I have lived with an eye to what others would think of every word, every thought, every action. Today I will live authentically. From this moment onward. If someone doesn't love me because of the color of my hair, or the way I live, they didn't really love me to begin with. I accept the unconditional love that is offered to me with gratitude, and I hope that my tiny sweet toddler self can feel that she is loved unconditionally too, and always has been.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Black and white have always been friends of mine. Even now I struggle with finding happiness in the shades of in between that are moderation and self preservation. I revel in broad, sweeping finalities - I will not cut my hair AT ALL until 6.21.13; I will never go to the dentist again, I will live in a yurt with no power, no running water, and a herd of sheep. These statements are finite limitations that set boundaries around myself, shielding me from my own power. Using softer statements require me to make decisions constantly, even if they are small, seemingly insignificant.
Each of these shaded statements, sketched in with the flat of the pencil instead of pressed in with the fine point, reinforced my personal power, creates options, opens up spaces. I'll cut my hair if I decide I'm unhappy with it; I'll find a dentist that I really connect with, even if it's a mainstream dentist who wants to slather me in fluoride; I'll live in some sort of eco-housing, probably with power and running water, but with a simplicity that I don't currently find in my living arrangements.
Those statements are frightening, in a way. They require so much thought, so much evolution of ideology. Most days I would rather do a complete paradigm shift (I will never drink soda again), then breaking apart the crystalline structure that I've built, parsing it out, examining each structure and support (Soda isn't good for me, but sometimes caffeine has therapeutic value, and it tastes good, as long as I drink it in moderation). That's part of positive change, though. I've spent my life embracing radical, all encompassing change (buzzing my head and dying my hair blue, getting three piercings on my 18th birthday, running away from home at 16). 
It's time now to make one more radical change - shattering my previous patterns and embracing temperance and moderation in my life. Each day is a new day to change one tiny thing, improve myself and my world. I'm ready to take what I need and leave the rest, rather than taking it all, or taking nothing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Who is Cadence?

Cadence is self aware and confident. She is not beautiful, but she is lovely. She takes each breath, each moment for it's own and cherishes it. She finds joy in others, also in herself. She holds her tongue when she has nothing kind or meaningful to say, and speaks up when her voice needs to be heard. She roots for the underdog, she smiles at strangers and means it.
Cadence is a work in progress - improving, learning, growing each day into a higher self. She conforms only to her own personal sense of passion and compassion, of style and order.
Cadence is not so far away. Sometime soon she will slip into being, growing in the fertile soil of my body and mind, pulling out all the strength, leaving the weakness,  until she blossoms into existence, cracking me open like a terra cotta pot. Then she will shed all those bad habits, all the anxiety, the body consciousness, the doubt, leaving them to be reabsorbed into the earth, rendered harmless.
Someday soon, Cadence will be me.