I made a new friend recently from an interesting place – archery club! I’ve taken an interest in shooting a bow after driving past the archery range one day and feeling such a strong tactile sensation in my hands that they needed a bow RIGHT NOW, I knew it was time to start. Leah’s becoming a surprisingly good friend in a very short period of time. It’s one of those comfortable friendships right from the start that tend to pop up unexpectedly.
Late last week I was mentioning to her that my birthday was coming up and how this year I wasn’t so thrilled to be having one. My birthdays have often been hard and Zain always tried to do a bit extra on my day to help make up for so many lousy ones. However this year, he really hasn’t been in my life as much since we’ve been working to build our lives separately and we still hadn’t even talked about my birthday being less than a week away. I’d already started feeling depressed about it and the disappointment it was looking to bring.
Then Leah offered to make it a good birthday and its sounding like it shall be exactly that! What a surprise. I’d known her a week and here she is offering me dinner and planning a bowling trip for us and some friends. She also suggested that perhaps this birthday could be a day of rebirth as well. Rather fitting given life’s circumstances right now.
So for my 100th post (yay!) I’m here not only writing about my birthday as I usually do, but also to continue on with my healing story as part of the rebirth I’ve been trying hard to live up to right now.
One can’t always know where healing of old traumas will take you. In this case, I’ve finally healed past some very old wounds and doors shut tightly inside myself to discover that I’m gay. No doubt that takes some of the mystery out of why if Zain and I had such a good relationship we are now moving apart – this isn’t really something we can find a way to mend. It was actually the mending and healing that brought us here.
This has been a hard time in my life. It’s filled with a large volume of grief for the loss of Zain and the life we had together. Things were comfortable, safe, and loving. At times, it’s a mystery as to why anything had to change…but then I remind myself that for the first time in my life I’ve stopped asking the question “Who am I?” because I now have the answer I was always lacking.
It’s strange to go through life feeling as though you are missing something, but you can’t really put a finger on it. Everything seems fine, looks right from the outside, but inside it feels a little off. I finally know why I felt that way and I’m sad at the loss it has brought, but happy at the things I am gaining too.
I’m gaining myself. I’ve never been me, always hiding those parts of me I was afraid others would judge, but I’m working hard to just be me – Cat. I think the name change has helped and was one of those important keys in the process of opening many locked doors inside myself behind which I was hiding in fear.
I fear those doors no longer and have been busting them down with a vengeance! ROAR!
Life is weird. That’s all I can say most days. I didn’t see this one coming, though in hindsight many things are rather obvious. Isn’t that always the way?
Birthday as a day of Rebirth!
I wasn’t sure I wanted to post about this, it’s terribly personal and of a nature that some may find offensive to their beliefs. Sundog Tales has always been about my healing journey and this is a very large milestone on that road. While I’ve been out for the last couple months with almost everyone I know, the internet is a very big place and so its a little scary putting this out here.
I’m tired of hiding me. I’m tired of being someone I’m not because the world I grew up in said I had to fit exactly inside their misshapen and pain-filled box. Time to burn that box, it’s never going to hold me again.
I’m curious where my journey will now go and am having a pretty fun time exploring this new aspect of myself. I’ve been getting active in the queer community around Fort Collins and on campus, while also just enjoying discovering all the things I kept hidden even from myself. As with most other things in my life since finding a way out of the darkness of the tent, I’m grabbing life and living it with a gusto that I once lacked but always envied in others. That gusto is mine now and I intend to keep it!
This post is a birthday gift to myself, words that will always remind me of who I am – a woman of integrity, courage, and strength.
Happy (re)Birthday to me!
I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to post here. Life has been an interesting place to live in the last couple of months and there are two really huge things going on which I have not mentioned here. It can be hard to balance private life with what I want to share on a blog. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my healing journey over the years and it’s always been a source of strength for me to share it openly here.
The next few posts are going to be the most difficult ones to share. They are probably some of the most important ones to share as well.
I’m coming to find out that the healing process can take many different roads and sometimes you have no way of guessing which way it will take you. It can be a place of both sadness and great joy all at the same time – which is a hard place to live in.
For many months, in hindsight maybe even a lot longer than that, Zain and I have been growing apart. It’s taken a big leap over this summer when we both hit huge milestones in our individual healing journeys. We’ve now grown far enough apart that it’s time to move on as friends, but nothing more.
When I started writing this blog five years ago I really wouldn’t have thought I’d be where I am today. Going to college at CSU and rocking a calculus test I took this afternoon. Feeling more healthy than I ever have in my life, both physically and mentally. Having an amazing dog who just gets more awesome every day. Grieving for the loss of my relationship with Zain. Exploring new realms of adventure that have opened up to me and which I will most likely speak of in my next post. If you’d told me five years ago that this would be life today, I’d have sworn you were off in a fantasy world.
It’s all so … big. When this blog started, my life was simple. Survival for another winter and keep hope alive until the day when I found a way to heal. I can hardly believe I’ve healed.
Yes, I am almost fully healed at this point. I feel like it must all be a dream still. Especially as life keeps taking weird turns that seemed so far away from possible reality as to be fiction.
Yet here I am working on my degree in mechanical engineering while having to relearn how to be 100% independent from Zain because we need to move into separate homes sometime soon. It’s all part of the healing process and so I’m happy, but I’m also sad. My world is opening up before me, though it also means closing the door on the some of the dreams I had been working so long to make happen.
Living life with an open heart and drive to improve, never settling for less than you are capable of doing, it’s simply amazing where that can take you. Where will I be in another five years? I truly wonder.
Have you ever been to a nude beach? I went to my first one today!
Little Beach is part of the Makena State Park and known for being clothing optional, as well as it’s Sunday night drum parties. It’s a very nice little cove at the end of a quarter mile hike. The snorkeling wasn’t spectacular, however we saw some fish we’ve never seen before – including a small school of fish probably each the size of a large dog. As well, several sea turtles made the whole trip very worthwhile.
Yet, we didn’t go to Little Beach for the snorkeling – we went for the whales. Humpback whales migrate here each winter from December through April. According to my research, Little Beach would be just about the best place from shore to watch them passing by. Shortly after we arrived we were greeted with an amazing site. Two adult humpback whales only a few hundred feet off the shore, swimming along and doing their own thing. Though we didn’t see much more than their back spines each time they came to the surface, it was a fantastic site that brought tears to my eyes.
I mean, how fantastic is it to have seen something like that so close in the wild?
I wasn’t on a boat with dozens of other tourists or some other modern means to be out on the water with them. No, I was just standing on the shore of a beach I’d hiked out to and seeing them as I am, a human on land, and as they are, majestic beauty in the ocean. Absolutely one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen whales, not even here on Maui – just something about them being so close I felt like I could nearly touch them… wonderful.
Have you ever wondered what whale songs are like in the wild?
Sometimes when you snorkel here during the winter you can hear them signing to each other underwater. This is the second time I’ve been lucky to hear them. Today they were loud enough to be easily heard, even over the white noise of the choppy waves we were snorkeling in. It was very magical, especially the times when we’d find a turtle to swim with. Whales whistling and calling to one another, following a sea turtle as it wandered the reef, scores of brightly colored fish swimming below us – I’ll always remember this.
I found myself at one point being struck by how diametrically different my life is now compared to March in Washington while living in a tent. Almost every year the last snow of the season would be sometime in the next two weeks. We’d be completely and totally exhausted from surviving another freezing and snowy winter only to look forward to a ridiculous amount of rain for the next two months, praying this summer would be warm and sunny. Often times it would be a wet summer too with nary a good, hot day to burn off winter’s chill before turning into Autumn and starting the cycle all over.
Instead, here I was snorkeling nude in the ocean, warm sunshine on my backside, while swimming with whales and turtles!
If life can change so dramatically for me in such a short period of time, just think of what else I can do. I am getting healthy again, there is no doubt about that, and sometimes like today I can really feel just how possible it is to change my situation for the better. It has taken an enormous amount of hard work and tenacity, but just look at where I am now!
I used to feel like I could inspire others to follow their dreams, grow as individuals, and reach places they thought were too distant – but sadly, I couldn’t do that for myself. Now I look at how life has changed me…I can be my own inspiration and reach my own dreams.
If I were to be able to speak to the illness that has stolen so many years of my life, I would have to quote one of my favorite movies – “Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the (life) that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great — You have no power over me.”
What is Healing? I have pondered this question many times.
Recently, I have begun to see signs of deep physical healing at long last, but why? What has changed?
I now sleep 12-15 hours a day. That’s a 10-12 hour night and one or two naps during the day. Until last November, I could sleep no more than 9 hours a night and never napped. How can this be good?
As well, I have seen signs my digestive system is healing. The same amount of digestive enzymes I took two months ago is now too strong. I have reduced them by 25%. This means for the first time in 10 years my body is producing more stomach acid instead of less. Until you’ve suffered from long term digestive problems it is hard to understand how large of an impact quality digestion (or lack of it) can have on your entire health. This is actually an impressive improvement for me.
But what does digestion have to do with me sleeping over half the day away?
There are a lot of mumbo jumbo scientific words I could toss around right now to describe what essentially comes down to a simple concept. Inside each one of us is an ‘on/off’ switch. It toggles between the flight/fight response and being restful/calm. This is part of the autonomic nervous system.
In CFS and MCS, evidence shows that some of the cause behind these conditions is likely the flight/fight response being stuck turned on. This means the body is always ready for a lion to try and eat you so it only worries about keeping you alive another day, not what will happen after that. To do this, it supercharges some systems – like making you run faster, but this has a price. It has to take away from other systems – like digestion and immune functions, because they won’t matter if the lion eats you.
In other words – sleeping more and digesting better means my ‘on/off’ switch isn’t stuck on flight/fight anymore. It means my body is finally able to put energy toward healing instead of running away.
But why has this happened now? What is so different today compared to the last 10 years?
I think this question has a few answers. There is the obvious one – I’m taking herbs and vitamin supplements that have been slowly tailored to my specific needs and it took 10 years to figure those needs out. We are also spending a considerably larger sum of money on those supplements now compared to when we were trying to build our house and pinching pennies from every place we could.
But that answer is boring. The intriguing answer is much harder to define because it isn’t a pill that is popped or anything which can be seen with the eye. Nor is it the excellent diet we’ve been eating since going paleo. Though paleo is making good progress in lowering systemic body inflammation, providing materials for building muscles, strengthening joints and ligaments, and it just plain tastes better!
No, I think the main answer lies in the emotional and spiritual healing I have been discovering for almost a year and a half. I have been practicing EFT, reiki, qigong, meditation, and learning to listen with my heart as well as my head for guidance. Gradually, these techniques have been re-balancing my turbulent body, mind, and spiritual energies.
I’ve been releasing trapped emotional energy by letting go of old fears; learning to fully let go of painful past events and forgive those who caused them, including myself; and in general finding an inner calmness I have rarely known before now. It is a lot like time travel, change the right thing in the past and the ripples have an impact on the future. Although I can not go back in time and change what happened, I can change how my body reacts to those memories. Over time this is positively changing how I react to similar events when they occur.
Stagnant body energy is balanced through meditation and movements which directs my body’s yin and yang energy into healing pathways. This energy flows through each of us and everything around us – plants, trees, earth, sky…
Basically, I’m learning to harness the power of the Force!
I suspect this is the key to my flight/fight response beginning to turn off at last, thus allowing physical healing. No matter how many pills I took to support and heal my body, it could do little good if my body’s own healing systems had been turned off by a wonky ‘on/off’ switch.
As I find an ever deepening sense of peace in life, my body is waking from its shadowy slumber into the new day of better health.
What is healing? I still am not fully sure, but I do know there is no simple answer. The human body and mind are a mysterious place, no less grand than the mysteries of the Universe itself.
Some have a path we are meant to follow. I think great sickness and tragedy has led me to mine and though it sounds odd, I am grateful.