Hiking…

I love hiking but since getting injured on the PCT in 2015 and only getting 648 miles in, I’ve lost a lot of my lust for the actual hiking part.

I’ve been going to therapy too and it’s like my entire life has been unraveling before my eyes. Everything I thought I knew and was sure of has shifted and new perspectives and feelings have taken over. It’s an extremely painful yet enlightening time for me.

Many of my self-sabotaging ways came from toxic shame. Defined roughly as: ” When shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives. Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that come and go, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful. … Unlike ordinary shame, “internalized shame” hangs around and alters our self-image” (https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-toxic-shame/). Realizing a lot of fucked up shit has happened to me (and not because of me) when I was young, has helped me to stop drinking so much (I no longer crave it as I did) and has helped to appease the suicidal urges.

I’ve always prided myself in being so independent but I’m realizing that being this obsessively solo/independent chick is actually just as bad as being a needy woman. There is no balance and I’m finding myself so lonely. I’m trying to open up to others and let myself be helped by others.

While I used to LOVE hiking solo, I’ve been mostly wanting to hike with others but with all the recent medical issues (surgery, forced temporary early menopause, etc), my fitness level is so bad that I feel like I’ve been slowing people down – especially on uphill – and holding them back from enjoying themselves. Will just have to find super slow people to hike with for now. I’ve been forcing myself at least once a week to hike SOME PLACE, doesn’t matter what. I just haven’t been doing it 4-5 nights (almost 30 miles) weekly like I was for my PCT prep years back.

My foot is still also swelling after 5-6 miles on day hikes. Will have to figure that out and go on a crazy fitness regime starting New Year so I can be ready for Camino de Santiago which I’m thinking I’ll start late April next year. Research for it has already begun. Super stoked! With my tax return, will just book a non-refundable flight and, that way, I’m forced to go. Hahaha. No excuses!

Trail Work

I POSTED THIS ON MY FORTHEWANDERERS SITE FIRST. So kind of a duplicate. If you’ve read that, no need to read this. Just feel this is more suitable for this blog than that one.

 

I think it’s the second week of van life, anyway. hahaha. Time is just freakin’ flyin’ !

Offered to help out with trail maintenance both Saturday and Sunday on the PCT. That was hard work but definitely rewarding. Think I might do it more, simply for the workout – you hike in and then work out your arms, back and legs the rest of the day. A Facebook friend of mine – who’s planning on going Northbound (NoBo) on the trail in about a month – said she wanted to come when I posted about it.

She came later Saturday, we all then went to Casa de Luna – trail angels’ home (a trail angel is someone who assists hikers coming through on the trail – whether it be with car rides, food, a place to sleep, etc). We all ate and drank some beers/ciders and then slept there.

Next day, needed to leave early so was going to go with my FB friend back since she needed to go too. Her Subaru – which had already been having some issues – ended up breaking down on the crazy rugged dirt trail leading to the trail. Thankfully, one of the other workers had a tow line and was able to haul her car back to the main road with his truck. I went with her and her friend to make sure they could get somewhere with cell service, to get tow truck, etc. Ended up driving them to Azusa later.

Although absolutely not having been expecting or looking for this, I really ended up liking one of the guys I met that day. Not my usual type whatsoever but super sweet. But, of course, he’ll be doing the PCT soon so not date-able anyway. Oh wellz.

That seems random but this is actually a HUGE thing for me. About 2 years back, I had – well, let’s just call it a “violent sexual encounter”. I bled for days after. When it happened, I was in so much denial about it since someone I knew – or thought I knew – was responsible. Seems cliche but that very much happened. My friend in Australia, who I told first, was angrier than I was. It wasn’t until I was mid savasana during a yoga class, months later, that the memories came flooding in full force. It was almost as if I was experiencing it all over again. I could almost smell the room, see my blanket, feel everything. I had to leave class and sobbed in my car for a full 1/2 hour.

It was just before I had my IUD inserted so not sure if my significant weight gain (talking 50lbs or more) was due to that or the experience. What I DO know is that, after that, I had absolutely NO desire to be sexually active ever again. My weight gain  – while depressing me at times – was a blanket of security to ensure nobody would see me desirable. It felt GOOD to not be the one club promoters ran after in the street, begging for me to go in their douchey clubs. I didn’t feel threatened walking alone in sketchy areas anymore. While lonely, I was also comforted by the invisibility I now seemed to have.

I attempted a couple times with one or two people since then to get over it but my body just wasn’t feeling it. Sooooo, long story short, to feel something in the southern region or to WANT any physical closeness with anyone in and of itself is a big step for me. I think I’m finally healing.

I can’t believe I wrote that but I think I needed to. Tears are just streaming down my face right now but it feels good to say this to kind of a faceless audience. Thanks for listening. ❤️

 



Me actually working for a second 😉 👆🏻

Getting towed out


Everyone working except me. I’m documenting 😉

I hate hats (hi horrible hat hair!), long sleeves, long pants  but ’twas worth it for the trail that gave me so much.

Howdy, my lovely readers!

I can’t believe I left that last depressing blog post about depression as my last post without an update!

SO much has been happening, guys. SOOOOO much. I don’t even know where to begin – I was stuck in NC for a while, with no car and no wifi (so couldn’t even do my remote accounting work). I thought I was getting a loan but that fell through. My friend who I was staying with somehow found a flight deal from Atlanta to LA for $100. Seemed unreal, turned out totally legit. Flew back to LA, stayed with old roommate for almost a month until he got a job in Germany and had to move family into the house. I also found a full time job on top of part time one.

I found a place through Craigslist. A seemingly quirky lady with a pirate themed pool in the back. That sealed the deal for me. Who DOESN’T like a pirate themed pool area!?! haha.

I gave her money early upon her request so I can get the room. Moved in, didn’t get the paperwork signed because her printer was either wonky one day or out of ink the next and she refused to send it to me at work. Long story short, she totally screwed me over. Ended up being a raging alcoholic with bipolar tendencies. She took my deposit and made the place a living hell to live in. So much so that within 2 weeks, I was already working out getting a van to live out of. At first, I thought it was just me. I mean, it’s not possible to meet TWO living psychos in a 6 month period. At that point, you should look within, I would think were someone else telling me these crazy stories I’ve experienced. But, TRUUUUST ME, it was her. Cops were called on her by some other prospective tenants for same shit. Another tenant while I was there left for the same reason.

It really brought up some bullying shit I experienced at the boarding school I used to be at. I had totally forgotten the details but the anxiety triggered them since it was so similar. I was placed in the “popular” dorm when I moved to the school. Of course, being a book nerd, they didn’t want me there and requested their more popular friends. The teachers refused to place me elsewhere so they took it out on me. Think “Bad Girls Club” but with older 12-13 yr olds picking on a 10 year old. They’d put my shit outside, yell and tease me constantly and even once got someone with a ton of lice in their head to roll around on my bed so I wouldn’t sleep there. I’d always sleep with one eye open with a pounding heart, worried they’d cut my hair or move my shit while I slept. That was the time I pissed in my bed too. Never did it before or after that period. Oh, good ol’ days! Weird how memories are so buried until a similar feeling, scent or views bring them out again.

Aaaaanywayyyyyssss… I digress. The good that came from all that recent apartment nonsense was that I DID find a Toyota Sienna minivan, custom fit with a mattress, stove and a faucet. All self sufficient – no hook ups needed. It took walking through hell and high water and being flogged for my bad credit but I finally figured out how to get it and actually got it. YAYYYYY!!!

That means, NO more living paycheck to paycheck. I can pay people back AND save for the Camino de Santiago next year amongst other adventures. SO stoked.

I like to compartmentalize so will be recording my version of van life on a different blog on WordPress: http://www.forthewanderers.com . Please feel free to visit me there.

I’d like to keep this blog specifically for my hiking endeavors.

Depression

Someone very close to me today said that I’d never showed any signs therefore I can’t be as depressed as I claim to be.

That was a shocker for me. I’m at the point I’m ready to let go.

Which makes me wonder: what if I DID tell someone I needed help? Do I have to disclose that I’ll kill myself ? Doesn’t that seem extreme? 

I mean, what if someone told you that. You’d take it seriously, if it were a loved one. If it was someone that’s claimed it many times before, you’d say it was the boy/girl who cried wolf.

Yet every time I’ve asked for help, I’ve gotten 9 rejections out of the 10 requests. 

I’m never going to tell anyone I’ll “kill myself”. Never. When I ask for help, I’m already straining my personal integrity. Id prefer not to do it if I can help myself already. Why should I make it extreme to get your attention?

So pick up that phone, answer those texts and be just a good fuckin person to the people you care – even a little bit – about. Don’t take them for granted. The squeaky wheel may get the grease but there might be a bigger problem at hand and it may be such a silent one you’ll never know until it’s too late. 

It’s around this time, I feel more depressed than usual.

I have no family here. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. My friends are all with their families, proud to show their love. I’m happy for them. I really am but also realize I’m really all alone.

It’s hard. But I also realized today, while taking a small hike around a waterfall that I couldn’t get a great shot of from the non iced areas, that I’m not trying hard enough.

I take it so personally and feel so abandoned  when someone doesn’t respond to my call, my texts or whatnot but when it comes down to a simple situation like getting a great shot with my iPhone, I don’t always get in the water – no matter how freezing it is.

Maybe I have to let go of the people that don’t make any effort to know me or keep a friendship with me and stop taking it so personally. And, just maybe, I have to start trying harder. In retrospect, I should’ve taken my shoes and socks off, rolled up my pants – or taken them off entirely – and gotten the perfect shot of the waterfall I saw today to get that one perfect shot. No matter how fuckin’ cold that water was – and, trust me, there were icicles right near it so it was COOOOLD!

What’s weird is that I was in Finland and have been ice-hole dipping. That’s where they drill a hole in the ice of a lake and people go swimming/dipping in it. So, I KNOW what cold feels like. Getting in the ice holes was exhilarating. I did it several times. Why didn’t I just do it this one time today?

I think I’ve been cruising. It’s easy to do but I expect so much more of myself. Why am I beating myself up when I’m not even trying hard enough to warrant the emotional abuse I reap upon myself?

On a similar note, the holidays ARE where people struggling with depression feel the most alone and isolated. So, reach out to the ones you love. Pick up that phone when someone calls, call your loved ones, etc. That’s what the holidays are for!!! ❤

Oh, and no question about it at this point, Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving?

A note 

They say your greatest messages will come from your greatest hurt. Who said that? I have no clue. It was probably made up for a meme and I liked it but, nevertheless, that’s why I barf out my hard times.

It’s not because I’m a crybaby. I don’t need your sympathy. But even if one person learns from what I did and it excuses them from my pain, I’m down.

Life is an adventure. You make mistakes. You fuck up. People hurt you.. Sometimes you hurt others. Hopefully, less of the latter.  Whatever. It happens to all of us.

But we’re ALIVE! If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with the elderly, it’s that there’s no room for regret and procrastination. I hate – like hate hate- the acronym YOLO but do what you want responsibly and don’t hold back.

You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You can do it!

Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia in a week!

WOW!!! What a week!

Where to start? I pulled up my big girl panties up and realized I had to be the bigger person in this awkward job situation so I told the wife/owner lady that I could sense that she hadn’t taken a liking to me and, since she was the owner, I didn’t want to make her feel obligated to keep me and that it obviously wasn’t a good fit but that I could stay for a bit longer if she needed and didn’t want to put her out since she had guests. She insisted she didn’t hate me all the while telling me how “cocky” I was and how she could tell, from the moment she picked me up from the airport (after making me stay there overnight since they couldn’t be bothered to pick me up when I arrived the night before), that I wasn’t going to last.

I tried to keep my cool but when she insisted that she wasn’t even going to pay me since I didn’t have the Social Security Card on me, I told her, again, that if I could only show her the I-9 form. She then blew up and started yelling at me, telling me how disrespectful I am and how I should be apologizing to her and the cook.

I’d been in the middle of cleaning one of the guest rooms and she just yelled “Get in the truck! You’re leaving NOW!”. I asked her if I could have an hour or two to figure out the logistics. She said no and told me she was just going to drop me off in some small town with not even a train that could get me to a friend’s house in Virginia.

She followed me to the room in the barn I was staying at. When I told her that I didn’t need to be watched while packing, she said “I’m going to make sure you don’t go in the other rooms and steal their stuff”. WHAT?!? I just shrugged. I was so over this petty and completely unnecessary drama. She rushed me out, saying I had 20 minutes or I could walk to town – which is FAR away and I’d have no cell service until I got out of the mountains.

I got all my stuff packed, while using breathing techniques so I wouldn’t start bawling. I’ve never been treated like this. Ever. Even at the boarding school that I went to school at (where the principal had been a drill sergeant and yelled at us constantly, made us do push-ups for talking back, march for hours and do obstacle courses, etc).

We then went to switch over to the van from her truck. She came back with some cash in her hand and, after having flashed it at me, said “I’ll give you some cash instead so we can have this over with but, first, you need to sign this piece of paper stating that you received the cash and quit of your own accord”. I agreed. It’s what I would’ve done too, were I giving cash to someone. So I signed the piece of paper and instead of giving me the money, she pocketed the cash saying she wasn’t going to give it to me. So, I grabbed the piece of paper I signed that was sitting on the dashboard in between us and pointed out that then the paper was not true. She launched herself over the middle console and pinned me against the passenger seat, scratching at my hands and arms, trying to get the piece of paper in my hand. I told her to get off me and couldn’t believe she was doing it. She said she’d tell everyone that I slapped her.

Feeling numb with shock, I turned on my recorder and got her to admit she was full of shit about me touching her and got some of her threatening me some more. She finally agreed to give me the money. I just took the money and put it in my pocket when she says “You didn’t even count it! You’re a fuckin idiot!” and laughs. I told her it’s because I tend to trust people.

She knew, by that time, I was recording her, so she shut up for the rest of the van ride. It was probably THE most awkward 1 1/2 hrs EVERRRRRR. Seriously weird.

She then just dropped me off at the Greyhound station in Asheville, NC. By that time, I’d been able to have cell service and an Instagram friend in North Carolina told me she would drive down and pick me up.

I still can’t believe that all happened and that someone I’d NEVER met would be such an angel. She seriously saved me and immediately took me on a hike which cheered me up tremendously. I stayed with her, her beautiful daughter and their wolf – yes, a 100% wolf  who ate my flip flops and trail runners 😝- for a few days and we went exploring. It was like we’d known each other for forever.

My friend in Virginia, another beautiful woman, told me I could stay with her so I got a ticket out of Toccoa, Georgia to Charlottesville, VA and my IG friend drove the few hours to get me there. It was a tiny, unmanned Amtrak station. I’ve taken the train plenty of times and have never had issues with my luggage but when I went to board the train, the train conductor lady told me I couldn’t come on. She seemed to hate me on site – don’t know if it’s my faux-hawk/short hair or what – and refused any solution I proposed. I tried to appeal to her compassion and explained I knew nobody there and had been driven hours and hours by someone in NC to get me there. She didn’t give a shit and told me the only solution was if I left one of my pieces of luggage there. I told her that’s not a solution at all since it was an unmanned station and it’s my entire life’s belongings. She then told the train engineer/driver person to go and off they went.

The nearest bus station was 75 miles away. No Uber or Lyft in the area either and couldn’t find a proper taxi but finally found something on google. A man by the name of Greg told me that he normally doesn’t work at that hour – it was around 11pm by then – but he didn’t want me stranded so would come pick me up. No buses or trains were leaving until late the next day so decided to get a hotel.

All I wanted was a glass of wine after all this craziness and, come to find out, you can’t buy any alcohol after 11pm in the town. WHATTTTT???? I think I was the most upset by this. lol. I JUST WANT A GLASS OF FUCKIN WINE!!!! ONE GLASS!!!! or a bottle… 🙂

After some sleep, I just decided to just get my ass in gear and stop obsessing about the recent events. Greg, the sweetheart taxi guy, drove me to Anderson, South Carolina. I just hung out around there all day and then took the bus to Virginia.

I haven’t been on a Greyhound since I was 18. Many interesting characters and stories I heard while going there but that’s neither here or there.

Soooooooooo, long story short, I’m now in Lexington, Virginia. Looking for more jobs and trying to decide what to do.

Alls I got to say is: that was one CRAZY ASS WEEK!!!

Now, here are some pics:

 Some old outside movie theatre in North Carolina! Crazy. The old projector is there hidden somewhere

Just proof of scratches. I’ve had worse injuries but took the pics to cover my own butt. 🖕🏻


Teaching friend’s kid to selfie. Because it’s an important skill 😜

 Being a paparazzo to my friend’s kid.


Behind the scenes Instagram shots. Catching mom getting shots of daughter. Why do I have such a weird fascination with taking pictures of people taking pictures? Lol. It was awesome hanging out with my IG friend since we both understood that every moment could turn into photo-worthy shots if angled and positioned correctly. Basically, every day was a photo shoot. Hahaha


Got to step foot on to the Appalachian Trail!!!!!! Yay! 🖕🏻


Excited about the fall colors!


Tallulah Gorge, GA


Toccoa, GA 🖕🏻


Virginia 🖕🏻


Creepy houses in Lexington, VA


Doing what I love: hiking! And with some unruly ass hair. Don’t judge 😂


Random raper van in the middle of nowhere. Creeeeeepy and I love it!

More pics on my Instagram. ❤️