Tag Archives: Writing

A Long Love of Reading

IMG_5037I started reading and speaking at about the same time. Letters and words read to me by adults became a magical fixation. Entranced by their power, at the age of one and a half, I was determined to harness the pictures for the words that adults used.

The books had pictures and were made of cardboard. The best audio books came with cassette tapes and had a voice or beep that told you when to turn the page, allowing me to more easily follow along. Goodnight Moon was one of my favorites. I’d listen to the words, following along in my book.

Listen to a book, follow along, rewind, repeat. Over and over, memorizing the words. Each word a little picture. I was reading but not phonetically. Deciphering the code, little by little. I started with easy words like dog, cat, and god (sometimes mixing up dog & god).

To entertain myself in the car I would read and call out the letters and words on street signs. On one road trip just before my second birthday, as my mother reviewed directions on a large paper map, I suddenly became VERY excited and thrust my tiny finger enthusiastically onto the map. “Ping-Pong! Ping Pong!” I exclaimed, pointing to the small town of Ding-Dong, Texas.

Earlier in the day, I’d been watching Beanie & Cecil. In the episode, they had sailed to the island of “Ping-Pong” and shown the location on a map. I was very excited when I thought I’d found it.

Reading came easy for me and had a head start on the other kids when I started Pre-K. Unfortunately, by the time I got to first grade, I hit my first roadblock. Reading aloud, something I still avoid as much as possible.

We sat in a circle, textbooks open. “As we go around the room, everyone will read a IMG_1704paragraph. We will go around the circle until we finish the story.” My memory of that day is still remarkably clear. I will always be able to replay those events in my head.

I remember the teacher’s anger when I didn’t read my paragraph. I remember reading the words in my mind, screaming the words in my head, then begging the words to come out of my mouth. Nothing. I knew the words but couldn’t say them. I remember being sent out of class for refusing to participate in the activity and I remember being ashamed.

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In middle school reading was a solitary activity, allowing me to dig myself deep into the elaborate universes of Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, & Stephen King. In the eighth grade I devoured Interview With a Vampire, Dracula, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

Throughout high school, I worked on writing. Listening to my favorite authors, making note of the writing styles and story patterns. Creating edgy teen vampire fiction, printed from an old Windows 95 computer. I placed the stories into brad folders before passing them along to my classmates.

 

As I’ve grown and changed, my love of reading has evolved. As a girl, I’d escape into fiction. In my late twenties, I started to find more value and joy in the accumulation of facts. There are still vivid pictures in my mind when I read, but now I’m visualizing real concepts, like human digestion and brain function.

 

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It’s fun to reflect back on my history of reading. To think that it all started on the laps of adults who cared enough to read to me, even before I could speak. How could my life have been different had I not received this type of encouragement? What would have happened if the people around me had cared less?

 

Many of my earliest memories involve books. I will always be grateful for those who nurtured my love of reading.

Today is my one year blogging anniversary!

I got this website on on this date one year ago today, although I would not post my first blog until November 24th, when I finally knew what I wanted to say.

Thanks to everyone who’s come on the journey with me. Looking forward to sharing some VERY big news about the next exciting project. Here’s to another year of fun & sharing!

My Friend Coffee

I love coffee, we’ve grown old together. Our relationship is a long one. I started drinking coffee at the age of twelve but my first taste was much earlier.

At my great grandmother’s house, I toddled around with a plastic cup of milk. From the kitchen, I heard a happy voice, “Coffee’s ready! Come and get it!” I moved with the adults into the kitchen, tiny yellow cup in hand, waiting to get my coffee.

When it was my turn the adults hesitated, but after my firm insistence, a few drops of coffee were poured into my milk cup. “She’s not going to like it” a voice from above me boomed. “I didn’t put enough in there for her to taste anything” another whispered.

The first voice was right. My face puckered as the milk hit my taste buds. Repulsed by the bitterness, I passed my tainted cup up into the crowd of adults and walked away.

In the mid-nineties, coffee came back into my life in the form of the Starbucks blended Frappuccino. To a twelve-year-old, this sweet concoction was basically a coffee milk shake. You could get them with extra toppings and all the sugar hid the bitterness of the coffee.

Once again, coffee was my good friend when I entered the workforce. Sixty plus hour weeks with spit shifts and long days were saved by caffeine. I poured coffee into me like fuel when I didn’t have time to eat. Eventually, I was up to drinking an entire pot of coffee on my own in an 8 hour work day. I loved coffee, however, these habits were completely unhealthy.

Coffee had been a gateway for sugar consumption when I was younger. Now that I’m on the keto diet, sugar is out of the picture, I take my coffee with heavy cream, MCT coconut oil, and a bit of stevia. I like my home made coffee better what I can order at a shop.

Over the years I’ve found a happy balance, mostly because I can no longer handle as much caffeine as I used to. I even cut coffee off completely for a few months when I started the keto diet.

Paying close attention to my body has helped me to learn what’s best for me. Most mornings I have one “real cup of coffee” – a small mug with caffeinated coffee. If I want coffee after 11 am, I go for “the fake stuff” – decaffeinated.

Coffee is still my friend we just realized we were spending a little too much time together.

 

 

Neurodivergent Rebel on Religion, Writing, & Feelings – Oh MY!

I love writing, always have. Unfortunately I don’t write as often as I should. I’ve found that writing can be a magical, therapeutic process. I work out a lot of things with a keyboard.

 

 

If you want to read my blog about Wicca, yoga, meditation, & Buddhism click here.

Coming Home – The Road to Writing

Written words are enchanting magic spells, casting thoughts out into the wider world. As I relax into a quiet space behind my keyboard something miraculous happens.

Many people complain about how much they hate writing papers, but my experience with writing (typing) has been very different.

I remember the first time I felt the fear, sitting in the reading circle of my first grade classroom. Each student in the circle would have to read a passage out loud. Terrified, and on the spot, when the teacher called on me I froze like a mouse trying to hide in a dark corner, nose pointing down towards my book.

My mother was furious. I started reading at a young age but my teacher was insisting that I could not even perform the basics in her class. To make matters worse, I was “interrupting the learning environment for the other students, running around the classroom and making disruptive and distracting noises.” The teacher was not happy and my mother was in complete disbelief.

“That KID CAN READ!” I remember hearing her say. “She’s been reading since she was two years old!”

Yes, I could read. In fact, I had read the entire page in my head already several times. The literature was pretty simple, I understood and enjoyed the story but when asked to speak in front of the group something happened. A fear I’d never felt before grabbed me by the gut. The eyes in the room like laser beams blocking the connectivity between my mouth and brain. I was completely stuck, unable to speak. As the teacher became more and more aggravated my anxiety grew, causing me to retreat further into myself.

The same fear lingered for years, even into high school. Teachers, who seemed to take pleasure in calling on anyone who didn’t seem to be paying attention or gave off a confused aura. I was the perfect target. Vengeance on the students who didn’t study or understand the material. Most days I wanted to be invisible.

The school wasn’t the best time for me, but there were a few good teachers along the way. High school was a bit better. I was spending large chunks of time typing up vampire fiction, inspired by books that I had read in middle school, most of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (this was before the Twilight era).

The books were trash, and I never published or finished them. They featured teen vampires, inspired by myself and my friends, getting into fights and mischief. The stories had plenty of sex and violence, giving me credit with my peers as a real “artist”.

Truthfully they were tasteless.

Telling those stories was like therapy. Back then almost everything I set my eyes upon was fiction, so I used fiction to work through many questions and scenes from my own life.

There was a period in my life when I wasn’t writing. The entire time I felt as if something were missing. Chatter in my head, telling me to search without sharing what I should be searching for.

My deepest and most accurate form of communication had been cut off, and I hadn’t even realized it.

Finally, something inspired me to write, I started writing and I kept writing. It was easy and enjoyable, just like coming home to a plush sofa and a Netflix movie.

The more I write the more I understand about life, the world, myself, about relationships, and the people I care about. It is like a key opening up greater understandings.

Spilling my thoughts onto a screen through a rubber coated keyboard is a very soothing practice. Creating a blog post doesn’t feel like work, in reality, it is more of a meditation.

Gazing upon the softly glowing screen I sit perched in a nest of pillows, wrapped in a soft red blanket. Relaxed, bathing in the softly glowing lights of our living room, I am calm and still.

Why I Took a Half Day for a Dental Appointment

 

I worked vigorously through the morning, racing against the clock. In preparation for my upcoming dental appointment, I’d taken a half day and needed to condense my most important tasks into a smaller window than usual.

In the future I plan to schedule my appointments at the very end of the day, a lesson learned from this past appointment, but this obligation was already set in stone.

My teeth have always been a problem. Cavities have always grown easily in my mouth. “Bad teeth run in the family, kid.” My grandmother and mother would say. My resistance to brushing as a child undoubtedly complicated the issue.

It doesn’t feel right, brushes, picks, and gloves invading and overwhelming my senses. Still, despite times of great discomfort, I take care of my teeth. If I don’t they will surely fall out.

I pull into the dental office’s shared parking lot sixteen minutes before my scheduled appointment, eyes bouncing from side to side, seeking a shaded spot. At the back of the building, I find a quiet space to gather myself. Here I will sit until exactly five minutes before my scheduled time.

Alone in the car, I close my eyes and focus on the feelings in my feet while counting my breaths. It is my car ritual, arrive early, meditate and do breathing exercise. After a few moments, I am feeling charged and ready.

I glance upward at the digital clock on the car radio on the dash to my right, eleven forty-nine. Still too early to go inside. Time to kill.

There is a nagging in my brain, are reminder that I haven’t done anything for my website this week, “I should shoot a video! I bet I can edit it and create the title art before I have to be inside.”

Despite almost no desire to compete with others, I’m always challenging myself.  I grab my iPhone from the dusty, grey, cupholder and prepare the camera. With one more deep breath, my finger slides over the record button on the glass screen. “Here goes.”

 

 

My goal is always to get the video in three takes, although it can be five to ten when the dogs are around.

Today, in the quiet car, I quickly shot two short videos. Most often I feel as if the videos get better on the second or third take, however, today was more of a “get it right on your first try” kind of day, perhaps because I was feeling the rush.

So how did I feel after the dentist? I have a small headache but relaxing at home with soothing music and writing this story (being creative) has kept it from growing into a monster. Also sitting in a dark room helps me greatly.

Life Before Mindfulness – The Best Things Come From Hard Work

Reflecting back upon my life before mindfulness, I am always amazed at how far I’ve come despite life’s constant reminders that my practice is always in need of some work.

Having the mind of a student is a virtue. It allows you to be open to new information. I pray I never allow myself to lose my sense of wonder and curiosity about the world. Worst of all would be to become someone who thinks they know everything.

The truth is constantly changing because our world and our understanding of it is always evolving. (Yes, I am also a lover of science.)

When we think we know everything we become blind to new truths as they appear before us. Too many people close off their minds. This is a huge part of what is wrong in the world.

All the most rewarding things in life require patience and hard work.

Like many people I can be very focused when working on a project that I enjoy. When an idea is in my head I won’t stop even when things seem to move at a snail’s pace. Persistence, baby steps, some things take years. The best things are worth every minute.

It’s always easier to work on or study something that interests you. Mindfulness, yoga, and then Buddhism had me hooked like nothing else. As I studied I tried to incorporate more and more of the techniques listed out in the Buddhist texts into my days.

I’m not sure what sparked the decision to start adding these mental practices to my life. At the time I had no idea if any of it would even work. It was a leap of faith. Inside I knew I needed something. I loved Buddhism. Maybe this was it?

As I mentioned earlier some things can be so gradual that you don’t notice them until you catch a glimpse of your life in the rearview mirror – only looking back over the entire distance you can see how far you’ve come.

There are a lot of lists in Buddhism and I really love lists. Checklists, keep me organized. Skills I want to learn, things I need to do, what to buy at the store. They are everywhere in my life and keep me on top pf my game.

I approached my new goals like a “better human checklist”.

Memorizing new routines and habits takes time. Having reminders in front of you can be a great tool when trying to keep things on your mind.

The hardest thing to conquer (and I am always working on this) was my mouth. I’m generally a pretty straightforward person who prefers direct communication. I also have a strange sense of humor. As a teenager, these traits were always getting me into trouble.

When in doubt listening quietly always seems to be a great option. Listening opens a doorway for knowledge and gives me something to do when I’m not sure what to say.

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“Mind whirling like a washing machine, carelessly flinging thoughts and words around endlessly like dirty socks. It was all such a mess before mindfulness.”

I’m shocked as I flip back through the pages of my book. Five years ago, ten years ago, back, and back. Mind whirling like a washing machine, carelessly flinging thoughts and words around endlessly like dirty socks. It was all such a mess before mindfulness.

Seeing that improvement fuels my desire to learn more. I’ve  discovered a beautiful place while on my journey and never want to go back to a life without mindfulness.