What’s really been going on with me…

Current Mood:Angry emoticon Angry & Confused emoticon Confused & Sad emoticon Sad

So, it has been pretty obvious that there has been some stuff going on with me for the last several months, especially if you follow me on Facebook.  It hasn’t been my story to tell so I had to deal on the down low, which hasn’t been easy.  It has also probably overburdened those I could tell.  But it is not a secret and I am okay to talk about what is going on.

This is the deal.  My father has recently been diagnosed with Stage IV aggressive melanoma.  This started mid-August with some differing diagnoses.  That led hin to a specialist in Syracuse, who really didn’t think it was cancerous, despite the ridiculously fast growth.  But it turned out to be melanoma and he was referred to a cancer center for more in-depth testing and treatment.  It is there that some puzzling anomalies were discovered through a PET scan and lab work.  So there was another transfer to a leading oncologist in Buffalo who is now overseeing his treatment.  It was there that it was determined that he is Stage IV.  It was also there that, during the course of further testing, another possible issue was discovered.  Now we are awaiting more tests, more results, more answers.  The results of the current tests will determine the course of action for treatment, although he will eventually be on a fairly new drug that has seen some positive results with this kind of aggressive cancer.  After that round is over, there will be a determination as to where to go next.

So this is what has been going on with me and my cryptic statuses and posts.  I have been up and down, all over the map, with this.  Some days I deal pretty well, most days I don’t.  I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual and I am trying to have faith and be positive.  But I am scared and it is hard to be strong when you are that scared.

Trying to get my sh&t together…

Current Mood:Confused emoticon Confused

There is so much going on right now that I have no idea which direction is up from moment to moment.  You would think I would be used to that, but this time it is different.  This time things are happening from all different directions, situations becoming more twisted and more complicated every day.  There is a straight up emotional roller coaster going on in my head and my heart and there doesn’t seem to be an off button.

The biggest part of it all, even though it does directly affect me, is not my story to tell.  It’s a two-part story, the two parts not technically related.  But they bring up different issues and emotions and feelings and they are constantly colliding and making a massive mess of things.   Most of the time, I feel like I am getting conflicting versions or half truths, maybe straight up lies  It seems like there are missing pieces or pieces that don’t make sense to me.  There are things that seem to be going on underneath the surface, things that I should know, but don’t.  Or things that I am getting dragged into that either don’t exist or that I shouldn’t have any part of.

I don’t know what to believe.  I don’t know who to believe.  I don’t know who to trust.  And I sure as hell don’t know how to feel.

It is so hard sometimes, the not knowing how to feel.  To feel so many conflicting emotions about the same thing, the same person.  To have doubts about people you want to be able to trust.  To know that things aren’t as they seemed.  It is one thing to know that there are things going on.  It;s another to have the rug swept out from under you.

I have big issues with trust already and this is not doing anything to make that any better.  I feel myself closing in again, gathering the few I do trust in and shutting the others out.  I don’t know that that is healthy, but I feel like it is necessary.  I don’t know what else to do.  I would love to be able to confront the people I need to, but that just isn’t a possibility given some of the things going on.

This is a part of my own story, but still not mine to tell.  And that is hard because there are times when I just need to scream talk about it and I really can’t.  It’s bottled up and too often my brother and my hubs are the only ones around to hear it.  It’s not fair to either one of them for different reasons.

I feel like I am walking on edge these days, with this and with everything else.


A little bit of insight…

I had a homework assignment this week for my Craft and Practice in Creative Writing class.  It was an “observation and reflection” free-writing exercise for which we were to take 20-30 minutes in some familiar setting.  For the first 10-15 minutes, we had to simply observe on our surroundings, considering the external aspects of our environment.  For the last 10-15 minutes, we were supposed to turn that introspectively and make observations about what we were thinking, feeling, etc.  Once the observation time was over, we were supposed to free-write about what we learned from this exercise…  what we found interesting or challenging or surprising.

The process was rather eye-opening for me.  When I was done, I read what I had written and I realized some things.  Some of those things were about my writing, while others were rather personally enlightening.

First, that there was a clear imbalance in quantity of what I wrote about the external as opposed to the internal.  Yet, even though it was the longer portion, there was a great deal of writable content that I completely ignored.  I wonder if that is because the particular environment (my Lady Lair) is so familiar to me that much of it just fades into the background.  There are all kinds of things that I could have written about that I, for whatever reason, didn’t.  I realized that there is a significant relationship between that idea and my writing.  I think that sometimes I get so involved with and so comfortable with my characters, their stories, and their worlds that I sometimes forget to actually write some aspects of character development and world-building.  Those things are clear in my head, making what I write thoroughly understandable.  But then I go back a few days later and read and I realize that there are gaps in knowledge and information, gaps that would be glaringly obvious to someone reading my work with no access to my thinking.

The second realization was on a more personal level, dealing with the internal observations portion of my reflective writing.  For the most part, it was rather impersonal.  There was very little depth to it and that is a rather true reflection of who I am, especially after all of the hurt, drama, and trauma of the last couple of years.  It isn’t that I am shallow or vapid.  Instead, I think it is a sign of a defense mechanism.  There has been so much pain with very little healing time before something else has happened.  I spend much more time taking care of those around me than I ever do me and it occured to me that maybe a bit of that is nothing more than a deep-seated need/desire to escape my reality.  More than that, it is a matter of avoidance.  Avoiding thinking about the bad stuff means avoiding thinking about the pain and the stress.  But that doesn’t really work, does it?

I think the lesson to be learned is that I need to stop avoiding it and change things.  I have to own it, acknowledge it, work it out to the best of my ability, and then let it go.  All of which is much easier said than done.

I think the challenge is to dig deep and I think this type of “observation and reflection” exercise can help with that.  I feel like, in order to emotionally engage readers, I need to do that for myself first.  That can only improve the depth of my writing, in my opinion.

Living, Learning, and Feeding the Soul

Current Mood:Sad emoticon Sad & Sickly emoticon Sickly & What the… emoticon What the…

Living and Learning

I am a big believer in trying to find a silver lining or lesson in everything that happens in life.  That’s my way of trying to make something good of situations and experiences that are often anything but good.  Sometimes those lessons are positive; sometimes they aren’t.  But there is always something to be gained from every human experience.

The lessons from last year weren’t positive ones.  The biggest lesson I learned was about the human capacity for cruelty.  That shook my foundations in a lot of ways, making it even harder for me to trust much of anyone.  It also made healing a lot harder than it needed to be.  But it also made me reevaluate some of the relationships in my life and realize that there were those in my life that brought nothing but drama and negativity to my life.  I learned to let go and it was a good thing, even if not an easy thing.

And then I got sick again.  I have had a pretty rough flare-up of my mold allergies.  Most of the time, the suffering actually comes from secondary issues brought on by the invasive nature of the allergy.  This time it came in the form of a body-wide infection.  It’s caused massive pain in my neck and head, difficulty eating, issues with my skin and hair, nonstop nausea, and a raging case of insomnia.  It has not been fun, but I have soldiered through it as much as humanly possible.  There was another lesson to be learned with this, too.  The fact is, when it hit, I was not in the best place in my world.  I spent most of my time after losing Mia either trying to push my pain down and away and, when that didn’t work, having one mini meltdown after another.  Not a healthy way to live, physically or emotionally.  So I wasn’t exactly at peak condition when it brought me down.  It was a wake up call that I needed to get my sh&t together, emotionally AND physically.  So I started working out again and it has been AWESOME!  You can read about that journey here.  I’m still not doing so great health-wise, but working out has helped me lose some weight and I feel like I am taking some of my power back.

Recently, the lessons learned haven’t been so positive.  There are situations and experiences that come along in life for which staying positive is an active and conscious choice, a near impossibility, and often a matter of sheer willpower.  There are things going on within my extended family, things that are not my story to tell.  But they are things that deeply worry me, scare me, and make me feel utterly powerless to help in any tangible way.  It is frequently a struggle to keep it together, to remain positive for those who need it when, inside, I am falling apart.  It is so easy to be overwhelmed with the stress.

Better days have to come.

Food for the Soul

This summer has been about healing.  Working out and putting priority on my health has been a big part of it.  I have been losing weight and, more importantly, starting to feel better about myself.  I work out at least 6 days a week and I love it.  I have also spent a huge amount of my time just  chillin’.  Reading, reading, and more reading.  Movies and chillin’ with the man children.  Fun in the sun at the post pool with the kids.

And art journaling.  My new-found obsession.  I have never considered myself to be artistic.  Give me PSP and I am golden.  And I am hella good at stick figures.  There ends my artistic abilities.  I can sew, crochet, and bead, but if it involves anything like drawing?  The amazing artistic elephant has mad skills compared to me.  And then I discovered Aaron from Imperfect Impulses on YouTube.  He has a playlist series called ABC’s of Art Journaling and I was hooked.  He’s hilarious and weird and I love him.  Since then I have fallen in love with art journaling and it has been an awesome way to feed my soul.  I have a huge YouTube list of art journalers that have been crazy inspiring.

This morning has been productive.  The pics suck, but you get the idea.  They are all clickable for larger views.


A messy, happy hand! Who says finger painting is for kids?


A bunch of ICADs , just the backgrounds. A bunch of cheap acrylics, fingerpainted, and blotted and blended with paper towels.


A drying background in my journal. It is a blend of purples and blues, blended and distressed. The lines are from my sponge brush, pressed along its tip in randpm places in the still wet paint.


More ICADs, off-colored by the pink sheers in my Lady Lair over the desk. These are all Crayola watercolor pencils, blended with lots of water, and a Fiskars roller stamp.

Divine Secrets of the Blah Blah Bloggerhood: 22-28 June



(logo linked to this week’s prompts/challenges)

Prompt:  Places I’ve Been

Have you been somewhere interesting? Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Is there a local place you love to go? Are you a world traveler? A local traveler? A homebody that only dreams of places to go? (You can always make this about places you’d like to visit!)

One of the best things about having been in the Army myself and now married to it is that it has given me the opportunity to go a lot of places that I might never otherwise have gone to.  I have been to Europe and Southeast Asia and seen things that I certainly would never see in my hometown of Potsdam, NY.

Stonehenge is probably one of my most powerful experiences.  It was truly magical to see that ancient, magical place for myself.  It was a powerful experience.  I visited Glastonbury Abbey, too, another amazing experience.  The history there is so amazing and I want to go back some day.

In the US itself, I have lived all over the place.  I was born in raised in northern NY.  When I was 17, I “lived” for 2 months at Fort Dix, NJ.  I say “lived” because I was there for basic training, a whole new kind of living.  I spent the next two semesters in Albany, NY for college and then spent the next summer at Fort Jackson, SC for another 2 months before going back to Albany for one last semester.  Then I went active duty and the fun really began.  I spent the next year at the Presidio of Monterey in California, learning Polish at the Defense Language Institute.  From there, I moved to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, TX for 6 months of AIT.  Then it was off to Fort Meade, MD to spend the next 2.5 years working at the NSA.  After that I moved back to DLI to learn Vietnamese for a year before my favorite PCS… Schofield Barracks, HI.  Hawaii was and is my soul home.  I have never felt more connected, more at home than I did in this place.  It is where my soul will always live.

But then my grandfather became ill and I had to end my Army time and go back to NY.  I stayed there for the next 2.5 years until I went back in the Army and headed back to Fort Jackson, SC for nine months.  Then I ended up at Fort Lee, VA, where I met my lovely husband.  After a few years, it was back to NY for almost 8 years while the hubs was stationed at Fort Drum.  Now we are here in the deserts of southern Arizona at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

And there ends the places I have been to date!!