Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Posts tagged “happy

A Life Begun and Truly Lived.

As many of you know, my journey has been a growing adventure. Tonight was amazing. Fantastic enough to have me blogging at 2 am in the morning. Since coming out, Zain and I have parted our lives, live in separate apartments, and though we stay in touch, we are much distant. Life has undergone a huge upheaval and I’ve been learning to live alone once more.

Which brings me to my topic for tonight. Alone. This is so much different from the loneliness I have been feeling in life, swamping me for the last few months, and threatening to drown me.

Tonight I went out on the town alone and I had a wonderful evening.

I didn’t know what the night held in store for me, only that I was drawn to attend the First Friday (of the month) Art Walk held here in Fort Collins. I would go with or without someone, but as it turned out I met a new friend at a coffee shop and we went together for the first hour. She and I ended our hour at an art gallery that was hosting free beer (yay!!!) by my favorite brewery, New Belgium.

Even though I’d walked the entire gallery, when she left I opted to stick around and collect my second free beer. I headed outside to where there was an amazing mural painted on the wall of cats in a different galaxy (somehow I felt drawn to the cats, perhaps some kinship??) and I started to enjoy my time as Cat, alone. After taking the required selfie and noticing a woman nearby watching with happiness in her eyes at my freedom, I wandered further down the wall to see more of the mural.

It was here I met my first complete stranger for the night. I have no idea her name, but she was standing alone and I chose to join her for small talk. We ended up joining a pair of men she also didn’t know and stood around talking about nothing. Looking over my shoulder, I saw someone taking my picture and this was when my night would begin!

Baili (as I came to find out her name later) was taking a picture of the mural and I just happened to be in it. Deciding to be photogenic I tossed her camera a smile and then grabbed some other random stranger to be in the picture with me. Afterwards, I introduced myself and in small talk found out we are both in the same field of study – Natural Resources!

I shall digress a moment… I changed my major from engineering to Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism last November after feeling all the calculus wasn’t for me. I did end last semester with a “B” in calculus and thus was eligible to enter engineering school, however chose not to.

Anyways! Baili introduced to me to her two other friends and the night was on! Somehow I am dazzling at times, and managed to be entertaining. Though we split up after a lot of conversation so they could enjoy the art gallery, Baili saw me later and invited me to join them.

After much time enjoying the art, I asked if they were interested in continuing the night, still early at 9 pm, and with a little persuasion all of them agreed. We ended up at a bar new to me, Lucky Joe’s, where one eats peanuts and tosses the husks on the floor. We all got drinks and talked for possibly another hour – at this point I stopped keeping track.

As they all left for the night, phone numbers exchanged and new friends made, I opted to stick around as there was a live performance by this solo guy at the back of the bar. Spying a seemingly empty table next to the stage, I grabbed my beer (New Belgium of course!!) and trusted in my instincts to move from my middle of the bar table – a much sought after spot and try for the other table instead. When I arrived, it turned out to belong to a group of people who were unsure of letting me join even though they were standing to the side of it several feet away. I explained I only wanted to sit and enjoy the music, but would try to go back to my old table instead.

Over the music I barely heard one of them say “stay” as he walked away and so I settled down in a chair. Next thing I know, they all left and I had a prime table to myself.

There was an older couple who started dancing at one point, well into their 70’s at least. They were amazing and adorable. Time easily passed as I enjoyed my beer. About this time, must have been 10, Zain texted to say he was done with his last night of work (ever) at a bad job. I invited him to join me as I was having a fabulous time. Little did I know my night would get even better!

He took a long time in coming to the bar and had to wait in line to get in. Meanwhile, I decided during a break in the music to introduce myself to the table next to me – a group of people who simply looked fun to know. I walked up and said “I’m alone, can I join you?” and strangely that was all it took! Several of them turned out to be good people to know for the night and we had a great time.

After Zain joined me, the night took a different shape. No longer was I alone, but had a good friend with me too.

Tonight included much dancing and laughs, so many I can’t possibly count them. It felt incredibly good to be alive and tonight is what I strove so hard to endure for. I lived 9.5 years of hardship in the tent to find my way out and live.

Tonight I lived.

I stopped caring what others thought. I simply enjoyed myself and found others enjoyed my happiness too. I was told they wished they had my confidence (I wish I did too!!) and that they had a good time meeting me. I simply did what my heart told me it wanted to do, danced when it wanted to dance, laughed when it found life funny, and when it became sad because I no longer had a partner to share my life with I told it to let that feeling go and enjoy the night.

It was beautiful being so in synch with my life and my heart. Being human. Being me.

At the end, I made many new friends who though I doubt much will come of it, I can ask if they will be bar hopping and join them confidently.

As Zain gave me a ride home on his motorcycle it was at first bittersweet. For years I dreamed of what life would look like when well, much of it lost when we went separate ways, and including someone who drove a motorcycle (this was my first ride with him); yet, I also had such a wonderful night of living that wasn’t possible before. The ride was wonderful and gave me time to enjoy the surprising ending to my night.

Never would I have thought tonight would be this way. I simply went where my heart said to go and trusted I would keep myself safe. It was definitely one of the best nights of my life.

Thank you to Zain and everyone else who made this night the amazing adventure it became. This world is a wonderful place if you step outside your boundaries and let go.

Just let go.

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A Journey of Growth and Numbers

Math is done! Hurrah!

I kicked it’s ass! I didn’t just get an A, I got a 97.5% for the entire course kind of A. I don’t usually brag a lot about my grades, but the work and dedication I put into getting this grade has made me very proud of doing so well. Wow, what a way to begin going back to school. This has been an amazing summer for many reasons. Odd as it sounds, I’m going to let my last writing assignment for this class sum up my experiences of the last two months.

The only thing not mentioned in that essay is the amazing person Zain has been this summer and how instrumental he has been to my success. This didn’t seem like the sort of thing to put in my class essay, but it must be said. I would never have done this well, possibly not made it as far as the first exam even, were it not for Zain. His support of my efforts and unending belief that I was more capable than I could believe for myself, have helped me to achieve this marvelous feat. Thank you, Zain!

Last, though a little confusing, the only other women in my class this summer oddly enough are both named Jess. Each is pretty damn awesome and I’ve been a very lucky person to have a chance to get to know them inside and outside of the classroom. After our final test, we went out on the town and I had a night that left me feeling incredibly alive once more. I didn’t feel like someone who’d lost the last 13 years to illness, but instead I felt like someone who’d found the ability to live and play once more. We ate tasty Mexican food, drove around town picking up various things we needed from each of our homes, and ended the night with them playing guitars and me on a drum out in a park as the sun and moon both set while the stars came into being. We saw dozens of shooting stars and shared so much of our lives, it was a brilliant time.

On with the show! Hopefully I’ll have pictures I can put up here soon now that I’ve the time to work out some bugs that came up recently with my photo hosting.

Pre-Calculus: A journey of growth and numbers. (last essay for my class)

I’ve been looking forwards to this question and am happy it has been asked. What is the most significant thing that I learned in this course? I have been finding out who “Cat” is at this stage of my life and developing in marvelous ways.

When I began this class, I was a 37 year old returning student fresh out of a life of very long term disability. I’d disappeared over the last 13 years as my life was dramatically changed and terribly hard to gain back. I knew I was a strong woman or I’d not have been sitting in that classroom jumping into pre-calculus after having just finished a self taught course in intermediate algebra two weeks earlier, but it was a strength born of need. I had to be ready for calculus this fall semester at CSU in order to enter the mechanical engineering program next spring and I trusted in myself enough to reach well beyond my boundaries with this class and give it a try.

It was a whirlwind the first few weeks; frightening and many times I doubted myself and my abilities. Thankfully, though I may have lost many things during my long hiatus from life, I also gained many skills in return – such as the ability to persevere even when I feel completely overwhelmed at the task before me. The first unit test was a terribly nervous affair in which I was now faced with proving the knowledge I wasn’t really sure I was actually learning. It was also a completely new experience as the last time I was taking class tests I was a healthy woman in my early 20’s taking my tests with the rest of the class and being fueled by classroom competition. Instead I now had to learn how to overcome a great deal of anxiety and other symptoms caused by my disability and which threatened to leave my mind completely blank or make horrendously simple errors.

I honestly did not expect to achieve an A on my first test. I left feeling that I really hoped to see a B, but not even sure I had managed that much. However an A was a great surprise, almost like an echo from my past who always easily found such grades in math because it all came very naturally. This time I’ve had to work hard at my grades, but they feel much more like I’ve earned them rather than showing up and being handed a good grade.

I’ve grown considerably more confident in my abilities and my testing shows this. I am absolutely amazed at having once again earned a yet higher grade than my last test – I had thought I’d peaked with my 98% on unit 3. To sit here now and think of how I doubted my abilities at the beginning of the class, even considered the possibility of not passing the class – I just shake my head with a bemused smile on my face at the amazing ability of the mind to heal.

I feel ready for CSU this fall. I am now excited by the prospects before me and feel tremendously more confident that I will be able to walk this new path of an engineering student. Thank you.

I also must thank the two Jess’s and the time I’ve spent with them. I certainly would not have met them in other settings and they have also played a part in my personal growth this summer. Combined, they are less than a year older than I am – yet they’ve helped me to shake off some of the more stoic traits I had to learn while dealing with the depths of my disability and find again the young woman I once was.

In the younger (blue haired) Jess, I found a vibrant spirit filled with much of the innocence of her age and a wonder at just starting to explore the adult world around her. Her zest and ways of looking at things are marvelous. In the somewhat older Jess, I’ve been completely surprised at finding a kindred spirit and the friend I’ve needed for many years. Our friendship has been transforming my life back into a place of beauty instead of the stark realities I’d been living in for so many years of hardship.

In every way possible, I have grown into more of the person I truly am instead of who I had been forced to become by circumstance. This class has been a wonderful experience for me. I am incredibly grateful for the spark of fate that came to me while napping just four days prior to the first day of instruction and left with me the thought that I must look up pre-calculus at FRCC and ignore the cost of non-resident tuition because some things are more important than money.