One day at a time

So my therapist forgot our appointment but I can’t really get mad because she works with me on payments and has been the greatest therapist I’ve had. So I guess I’ll come here and make a post to get out what’s been in my head

Circling back to homework from her: I figured out where my stress first shows up and it’s in my hands or feet. Typically my hands. I have a stimming thing where I rub my fingers together. I do it sometimes to the point, I’ve frictioned off layers and layers of skin. I noticed I do that or start moving my hands around, picking up stuff or moving things around, once I start feeling anxiety (before it even registers in my brain that anxiety has escalated). So being mindful of that should be helpful.

Then I’ve been working through some attachment trauma. Trying to figure out what it is that’s been triggered as of late. And I just can’t seem to put my finger on it tbh. It eludes me…. yet I can sometimes feel it at the tip of my brain’s tongue but then it runs away while cackling and yelling at me “COME AND GET MEEE! Muahahahaha”. Taunting me in a way but I’m just not chasing it. When it’s safe for it to come to me, it’ll come. I trust my mind to offer it to me when it’s sure that it’s the right time for me to process it.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to go daily (but it’s been like every other day), to go dip in the ocean and journal (in my actual journal where I use pen and paper 😂) . That’s been nice. San Juan Island is beautiful with its birds of prey and foxes.

Spoke to an old boss just yesterday. Was pretty cool. We had a misunderstanding towards the end but we’ve talked about it since. He tried to get me to go back and work for him at his haunted historic hotel recently. I’d found this current gig already by then. Anyway, it was just interesting and cool to reconnect with him. I had been really upset by what had happened when I quit that job but now it’s no biggie and we are both chill about it. I know that’s a normal thing to others but, for me, to talk to someone who my brain had deemed “unsafe” to now being able to just be adults and discuss and move on was quite heartwarming. I haven’t had that with many people (mostly because I don’t feel acknowledged or am gaslit when I try to discuss it to but still).

Seems like everyone is gearing up for adventures. My friend who I met on the West Highland Way and continued on with on the Great Glen Way, is now walking South West Coast Path in the UK. He’s a wild one. Been to & drummed in every continent (he’s a drummer amongst other things) while on the cheapest budget I’ve ever seen (and without being a begpacker). He just puts a sign on his pack and people offer him meals and boarding. I strive for that level of faith in humanity!

While others are headed to Europe, Japan amongst other foreign lands. Just imagining their travels when they tell me about it gets my wanderlust juices flowing. I love seeing people doing these incredible trips. Just reinforces my love for travelers and nomads.

And makes me start thinking of creating my next journey. I’ve been doing a workbook by The Holistic Psychologist called “How To Meet Yourself” and it’s been having me do these visualizations about my future self and my mind was blown. I have never fully visualized what my future self looked like. Simply because I’ve been struggling with suicidal ideation since 8 years old in Scientology and never even planned or expected myself to have lasted this long. I was convinced I’d die at 28. I had no evidence of it but I really felt I would be dead by then. And I kept rescheduling my suicide date year after year after that. Now I’m 37. Isn’t that crazy? And sad…. But not going to dwell on it in that way because visualizing my future self has mostly been so exciting. And calming. It’s like there’s more purpose to it all if I’m now striving for this higher/elder self. Even writing this now, I get a bit teary because it’s really hitting me at how wild that is. Most people are planning their lives or have parents trying to plan their lives for them from birth. I’ve been in such survival mode, I didn’t even realize how intensely I’ve been there and for how long.

That’s some fatty food for thought. Gonna leave it at that for now because I need to let that marinate in my brain a bit longer.

Continue reading

Living Authentically

I can get a bit obsessive over certain things when I can’t understand it. I dissect and analyze it all to try to make it make sense.

I was called “jealous” by so-called old friend which really threw me for a loop and was another one of those times where I thought “Wow, I really don’t like the version of me in your head and that doesn’t resonate with me at all!”.

Jealousy is an ugly emotion. I’ve never experienced it though and I’ve never understood it. I had an ex who was extremely jealous. He’d imagine crazy scenarios where I’m cheating and yell and hit as if I had done it. Do I sometimes look longingly at people out with their parents and wish I could have parents who cared about me? Sure but I don’t begrudge people for having decent parents.

It’s up there with another thing I still don’t get: how people can hate someone just because of their license plate state. As if some imaginary boundaries drawn by men somehow dictate the behaviors of the people living inside them. California gets a lot of shit and I constantly hear and see people using that as if it’s a slur (go back to California! Don’t California my Arizona etc). Meanwhile most Californians are transplants.

Back to jealousy though…. I have never wished to possess what others have because I can get it myself. If I wanted a career in an office, spouse and/or kids, I could have. But I don’t want those things right now.

It reminds me of this conversation I had with someone. We jokingly said we should switch our lives for a day and she made a face (she can’t poop in the wilderness much less live out of a van 😂) and my butthole cringed at the thought of doing her government job which is my idea of hell. It was kind of cool to realize we both had really curated our lives intentionally to the ways we wanted, especially after having such a highly controlled childhood.

When I complain about my struggles, it’s not about living on the road. I love the roadscapes, landscapes and nightscapes I get to see daily. I love the fellow nomads and adventurers I get to meet along the way, each one with their own unique stories.

And I LIVE for my longer distance hikes and adventures. I’m thinking Peru for my next trip to get Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mountain out of the way and then explore the Amazon btw. Maybe go for an ayahuasca ceremony if I can find a non-commercialized female native healer. Mama Aya is calling me back. I can feel it.

I also so love how helpful people are on the road everywhere. I’ve given spare gear to people in need and I’ve been on the receiving end of kindness as well. Nomads are my people. And a lot of people who I grew up with don’t get that. I’m sure they see me as a bum or whatever. And that’s fine. People are entitled to their versions of me even when I feel they couldn’t be further from the truth.

I use this blog for my thoughts and people seem shocked or think I’m like this super low vibe person because I share my shadow self with the world. But there is so much light and feeling and love inside me. It’s just that I keep those precious moments & things mostly to myself because to share things with people seems to cheapen it with words.

I could tell you I took a few minutes to watch a caterpillar eat a strawberry flower the other day. Sounds simple. But I swear that caterpillar knew I was there. I could feel it sense my presence as it moved it’s head at me and shifted around. I tried to imagine being the caterpillar, imagining how I appeared and felt to it. I hoped it sensed I wasn’t a threat and just wanted to admire it. Could it feel my curiosity and admiration? ….Now I just sound crazy hahaha. And that’s why I don’t like to share that stuff. I’m like Gollum from LOTR… except MY Precious is the good stuff. The sweetness and softness I want to protect from the world.

What I need to work on: my hyper independence – I need to allow people to help and contribute. I need to work on my mindfulness when it comes to being present. I have this horrible trauma response whereby I constantly have this feeling of wanting things to be over, even good things. It sucks the joy right out of things for me.

I’m a work in progress. And that’s ok.

Therapist Homework

Since I’ve found that the great therapists tend to sustain themselves off the tears of their patients, I’m not shocked when mine gives me homework. 😆😜

My current assignment is to write my journey here. But also to find where in my body the panic/anxiety STARTS. Not to be confused with where it lands (which I feel in my heart & upper chest by the time it’s a full blown panic attack). Supposedly this is the best way to cut it off at its knees before it gets unbearable.

I’m having a bit of a hard time with it. When I think about recent anxiety attacks, it just feels like I am in my head whilst in conflict with someone and haven’t really felt anything until it gets bad- that I’ve noticed anyway – so I’m a bit skeptical. But my therapist swears by it and it’s helped her so I’m going into this with an open mind and heart. She has pissed me off before but she’s usually always right in these matters. Haha

Once I’ve found the physical hints of anxiety, I can proceed to then do my breathing exercises (here are some in case anybody would like to know: Breathing Exercises ) and grounding techniques (like finding things I can touch/taste/see/smell/etc and some tapping).

Sometimes, with healing, it’s hard to see the progress because the journey isn’t linear. Sometimes it feels worse before it gets better or you think you’re “healed” and then have an emotional relapse, etc. But my therapist pointed out something interesting to me: that my feelings seemed to be more physical these days than mental. While it can obviously FEEL real shitty when negative events occur, I actually take that as a win. I take it as a win because I was dissociated and checked out of my body for so long – for decades, really. Even the things supposedly pleasurable like sex was numbing and I’d have to hurt myself to even feel anything. I was so checked out that if I’m now IN my body (which microdosing psilocybin helped me connect with), OF COURSE I’m going to now have to process the physical somatic of past shit. Maybe I’ve healed more than I’ve realized. It’s important to take the successes and acknowledge them.

I’ve had some people say to me that I live in the past. Yeah, well. That’s not false some of the time. But my body reacts in the present due to past traumatic circumstances so it’s not just “in the past” for me. These are present circumstances. If I feel like I can’t breathe unless I gtfo, that’s for sure a present problem.

Side note: If anybody is curious about how trauma is stored in your body, I highly recommend this book: The Body Keeps the Score

I watched some documentary on Netflix with Jonah Hill & his therapist, Phil Stutz and I thought it was really cool . Firstly, because it helps to end the stigma of mental health. Secondly, Stutz drops some nuggets of wisdom and therapeutic tips. Lastly, because it’s a well known MALE actor and I think it’s cool that emotional vulnerability can be tackled for the males among us along with all the rest of us.

Too many men are taught to repress their emotions. I can’t even imagine not being allowed to cry. I’d probably be in jail or dead tbh if I was a dude. Crying, for me, is my emotional outlet – if I’m happy, angry or sad, tears leak out of my eyeballs. No fail. If I was shamed for doing it like little boys are (think of how often we’d hear the words: “Man Up!”), I would be so destructive. Repressing everything is so unhealthy.

So maybe me writing it all here with what I discover along this healing journey will help someone else. It seems like a safe enough space to discuss this… when I do it in person, I seem to trigger people. Many people aren’t going to heal in their lifetime and feel no need to and that’s OK. But I kind of have to do this because the other option is ending my life. Some of us just don’t have a choice in the matter.

Almost hoping for a panic attack now so I can ACE this homework . Hahaha

Will keep updating as I go. Chat again soon ✌🏼

Impact over Intent

I was watching some video clip from a social worker discussing impact over intent and how they stress that when it comes to real accountability.

It really got me thinking about how so many abuser apologists and even abusers claim “They/I didn’t MEAN to do that!” and I was reading some FB article about how recently a homeless black man, Jordan Neely, was placed in a chokehold by a former Marine and died.

SO many people in the comments praised this former Marine and said he was a hero for restraining this mentally ill man who was raging about how hungry he was. How he was a menace to society because he had a criminal record.

Was the former marine intending to just restrain Jordan in order to prevent people being hurt? Maybe. Maybe he had the best of intentions. Even if he did, his instincts took him over the edge during the act and he ended up killing the guy.

So do we praise his intention or the actual impact? Just because someone wasn’t intending on hurting you but did anyway, should you just ignore the impact? Society seems to think so….

I recently told someone they need to allow others the consequences of their actions and they didn’t take it well. Kept going on about how the person was a good person blah blah.

Asking for accountability in a world that shames truth, especially when it comes to societal “wrongdoings”, is hard. I experience that within myself and definitely see it out in the world. Someone does one bad thing and – BAM – labeled “BAD”. No, that’s now how I see it at all. Nobody is “BAD” or all “GOOD”. We are composed of both light and dark. We can do “bad” things or go through a “bad” period and get right back up and repair the damage or make it up some other ways. I’m definitely nowhere near perfect. Nobody is.

Scientology punished us for our intents, even when there was NO harmful impact on anyone (think being punished for masturbating and pleasuring oneself or giving your spouse, since they don’t believe in premarital relations in the Sea Org, a blowjob). You started policing your own thoughts. Pre-judging them for “rightness” and “wrongness”.

It’s so sad. Only impact matters. If you thought a bad thing, that’s ok. Hopefully the environment is safe enough around you to talk about it. From there, you could get REAL help. But if punished for just having thoughts, it creates a weird shame vacuum that is a breeding ground for anxiety and weird judging behaviors.

What do you think?

Loss

I haven’t been writing because I felt like nothing I say matters.

*Trigger warning: contains talk about suicide and mental health*

I wanted to blog but a blog supporter David, who became a real life friend when he visited me in Kanab UT, killed himself some months ago. That hit me hard. You guys don’t even know how beautiful this guy was. He was more supportive of me than any person I ever grew up with and was always liking my shit and commenting even when he went back to the East Coast. I felt like such a shitty friend. I knew he’d had surgery and was dealing with physical issues on top of his mental ones but I was so self absorbed, I didn’t follow back up with him.

Analytically, I know what people do isn’t on me. But I also know I could’ve been better of a friend. I just wish living in survival mode for years on end wasn’t so consuming. I feel like I’m just doggie paddling and paddling and I’m getting tired, man. So tired. And it feels impossible to lend a hand to someone else drowning when you can barely stay afloat.

So, yeah, I haven’t been the greatest friend because of that. Trust me, I’m very well aware of that.

Aaron, Mani, Colton, Dominic, my dad, David, Raoul, Jenny and others have all passed. One thing in common with them is that they shared a lot of the same pain as me. They just all had the courage I don’t have to end things.

And with being shunned, all I experienced was more loss. Loss of my story (which was reduced to a reductive byline), my identity and family and “friends”.

And the losses seem to keep coming…

I came to the US to a Scientology “school” when I was 7 as an immigrant, not speaking a lick of English, and was essentially tortured by the other kids (think the show “Bad Girls Club” and the bullying they would make some girls they didn’t like endure – everything from not letting them sleep by blasting music and keeping lights on to straight up group shoving and punching sessions or throwing my mattress and belongings in the dumpster). To survive, I befriended these people so that they’d stop picking on me.

Since then, there’s always been bullshit with them. From gaslighting my experiences to gossiping about me to the others, etc. For so long, I tried (and succeeded) in keeping them in my life. But I’m realizing now that it’s all been simmering. And it’s all blowing up now and I’m in a spot mentally where I just want to block all of them in anticipation of them doing it to me at some point because it keeps happening and seems inevitable.

I’m no longer the sad little girl afraid of standing up to herself and now that I’m setting boundaries, I’m losing even more people. (One such boundary was that I’m not going to read sub-text and/or defend myself to a third person. If someone has an upset, they can come to me directly). I personally thought that was a more than reasonable request but I was “consciously uncoupled” with by someone I had thought was a good friend that I was just sort of distanced from atm.

At the end of the day, people will do what they want. The reason doesn’t truly matter and it’s their lives. It just feels really transactional to discount someone just because someone else talked shit and they’re not doing anything for you at the moment.

It’s impossible to be seen as who I really am because I’ve kept up such a people pleasing facade with these people, desperate for them to keep liking me.

I’m done masking. I’m done playing this game to be honest. I simply don’t have the mental capacity to do it if I’m being totally honest.

One thing I know is that us children of the PAC Canyon Oaks Ranch (aka PAC Ranch) in Scientology all have a trauma bond.I ask myself questions like: If it had been truly my choice, would any of these people actually even be my choice of friend? Do I even want friends that talk shit behind my back? That abandon you/talk shit when your parent dies or when you’re not doing so well? That dismiss your trauma?

I’m feeling more and more that I have been done since being raped (by a Scientologist and also a Rancher btw). I haven’t wanted to live and something died that day but I keep living for some fuckin reason even though it feels there’s not even one safe person in this world. It’s all fraught with peril and social cues I’m not understanding because they don’t make sense to me. By having continued to live, I’ve made things worse and lost even more people. I should’ve done what I knew needed to be done then.

I had some emergency therapy sessions and my therapist is amazing but it’s not fair to her to have her as my one & only safe space.

I’m tired. I can’t deal with any more losses. Being human is horrible. You’re forced to be some social creature but the only comfort I find is in solace. Because I understand where I’m coming from. The people I talk to don’t see me … they see whatever they’ve concocted me as, as dictated by their personal filters, past and preconceived notions.

When I’m playing a game and it sucks, I find another game. But I always just stop playing the shitty game first. So that’s what I need to do.

I’m supposed to sit with these waves of grief. That’s my homework from the therapist. But even a small wave can kill ya when you’re already struggling to stay afloat at all.

Just using this as a journal for now while I navigate my next steps. If you stumbled on this post and made it this far, thank you for taking the time. It’s heavy shit but I’m feeling mighty heavy atm.

This pic about sums it up 💔 How can a heart heal if it’s continually breaking?

Forgiveness vs Acceptance

Hi guys! It’s been a LONG time since I blogged.

I’m in Arizona currently since getting back from Finland (handling dad’s business as he passed away). Been doing some day hikes but mostly helping near the Arizona Trail around mile 200 at High Jinks Ranch for now. Decided I’m going to be using my blog to spout off my inner turmoils and thoughts. Might mix in my interspersed adventures in between but this is what I need for myself and for my PTSD/Major Depressive recovery.

March 25, 2018

I have so much to write. My mind is everywhere. Hard to know where to start or what’s relevant. Even just having written that, I wonder “Relevant to what?”. I tend to always think of others or have some subconscious ideal or measuring stick. So I’m just going to attempt to vomit out my conceptual ideas, some of which haven’t even fully formed and are simply vague feelings at this moment, and edit later.

Last night, I did my first audio Ho’oponopono session (Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness… Similar forgiveness practices are performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand) and I realized I’m 100% resistant to forgiving.

I imagined my mother’s face in the section of audio where you have to ask them “Do you support me today in my experience and connection with God and Others?”. If they answer “yes”, you give them a hug and let them go. If not, they have to stand at this 3’x3’ podium you imagine for yourself in an auditorium. Then you say “I love you. I forgive you. Please forgive me” and imagine the forgiveness flowing from you to them

And I just started sobbing. Tears were just streaming. I could feel my inner child feeling horrible for making my mom sad and wanting forgiveness but my older, more protective, layer shut that down. After all, I didn’t shun my mom. She shunned me. That was HER decision, not mine. And imagining my father’s face (he recently passed away from alcoholism) was just as hard.

Maybe I’m just being defensive. I know I’m not a victim. That’s not my identity. However things DID happen TO me. To try to say, as a child, I’m responsible for my parents’ decision is absurd.

I find that so many people find “forgiveness” to be synonymous to “Acceptance” but it’s not. Forgiveness is act of pardoning an offender . Acceptance in psychology is used to describe a person’s assent to the reality of a situation. Yet there are so many help books and memes being thrown around – even this Hawaiian practice – of insisting we forgive and won’t be able to move forward without doing so. Not only the ones who’ve done us wrong but ourselves. I only, as of right now, agree with the latter part of that sentence. Other books claim forgiveness is just letting go of resentment. To me, that’s acceptance – NOT forgiveness.

To go into more detail of that and my disagreement with that concept: Having been repeatedly molested by 2 different people by the age of 9 (one by 13-14 yr old babysitter’s daughter and another a teacher at the Scientology “school” I was placed in after moving to the US), I refuse to say that I forgive them. I don’t. And I don’t know how granting them pardon will help me. Accepting the reality that it happened and that it’s now 20+ years later and I have a life to look forward to is something I can get behind. CHILD ABUSE ISN’T FORGIVEABLE. It just isn’t. It usually carries a life sentence for those wronged by people who knew better, psychologically speaking.
Also, am I supposed to just forgive my rapist? A man who takes absolutely NO accountability for what happened….? I called him a year after the incident went down and he had no recollection of it (Surprise, surprise) and brushed it off. I get it he was super drunk but does that erase the truth of what happened? NO! I have the flashbacks and vivid memories of exactly what happened to prove it. And I refuse to just let him off the hook. Who knows who else he’s done this to or will do it to.

Now, I may change my mind about all this the more I meditate on this and practice it in my mind. And, contrary to some people’s thoughts on human behavior, people CAN change. We can change our minds about things as we learn more and evolve.

But those are my thoughts for the day. Recovery is work. Finding that I have deep resistance on this subject matter is enlightening in its own right. Maybe (just maybe) there IS something to all this? Or maybe there isn’t and it’s just something people want to believe to make themselves feel better.

My inner skeptic and naive self are at odds on this, as you could probably guess just from this long-winded rant.

I’ve gotten some self-help books on all this so I can do more research. Will update more as I let it all percolate in my brain.

Toodles for now. Would love to hear stories from others about this – your experiences and thoughts, especially when it comes to acceptance vs/and/or forgiveness.

Wintery Life Lessons from Lapland

Whilst driving through Lapland, the thick snow heavily weighing the trees down calmed my raging thoughts and I realized why:

*and of course with all the inspiring analogies between the weather and emotions out there in cyber space, it’s not hard to come to this sort of comparison. Lol

Mental illness/depression/grief – It’s like winter, when the colorful beauty and sunshine fades and air is cold and even bitingly wet and – unless you have enough layers – you’re going to be miserable and, in the worst conditions, can even get frostbite. But it’s necessary for the natural cycle to power down so you can come back again and again. And if you don’t allow it and deny it or even scream at it, you won’t get anywhere. And if you try so hard to make it warm everywhere, you won’t rejuvenate and will actually cause more damage in the environment in the long term.

And there is a beauty and stillness to winter which only the dark seems to embrace. Even the sun only comes up briefly, seemingly unable to take much of it before running away again.

And you have to have people around you who put on layers with you and commiserate. To have anything less is the equivalent of having people who strip you down or refuse to lend you a scarf or jacket despite having them laying around, unused. And people who don’t have enough warm clothing to share should be open and honest about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of but to make someone constantly ask for and then have them explain themselves as to why they need a jacket when you can’t even offer one is a waste of precious energy needed to keep oneself warm.

With that in mind, I’m no longer going to chase people who can’t be there for me. I have no trouble making friends so that isn’t an issue. I’m honestly not sure why I’ve spent so long clinging to people just because of past history. People evolve and just like people can unfriend me and have a right to for any reason (even if I sometimes disagree with them doing so), I have the same rights. I’m henceforth letting go of things that no longer serve me and it feels freeing as fuck!

So, thank you Wintery Finland. I learned such an amazing harshly real lesson from you.

And thank you to the ones who’ve been there for me during probably the worst 6 months emotionally. You know who you are. Yeah, you. I love you. I know I haven’t been the easiest person to be around and it makes me even more appreciate of the ones that have stuck around and haven’t made me feel badly about it or made me defend myself in an effort to get me to apologize for it. Because I’m done apologizing for how I feel and why. My grief is my own and I won’t bend it to suit anybody’s expectations of what it should look like or how I should act. This isn’t a normal time for me so leave those normal expectations of me at home if we’re gonna kick it. Friends that are only friends when it’s convenient for them are not the type of friends I need or want anymore. Fair weather friends are too easy to find. Just as people have the right to pick and choose you, you can do the same. For some reason, I didn’t feel allowed to do that until now. This epiphany might sound stupid and/or obvious to some but, for me, this is huge.

And for those I’m letting go, you’re not a bad person. Neither am I. But this is where I leave you. I truly wish you well.

Paris Day 4

Not much to tell. Paris has been lovely but also overwhelming. Ready to start my pilgrimage. Actually thinking about doing a silent one (not speaking entire time) just to try it since I know it’s sort of a meditative experience and will help me to quiet down and really take in everything and listen to people but, realistically, doubt that’s going to happen. Anyone who knows me knows I talk – sometimes too much for other people’s comfort. 😂

I definitely need to come back when I’m not so emotionally raw so I can revel in the energy here. If Paris was a blind date, they’d be a hot guy that probably thinks I am an emotional wreck and not cool enough to even hang out with. Hahaha. I’ll be back for a second, better, impression. 

I head out mañana (working on my Spanish skills since headed into Spain 😄) on the train. Excited to get to the point of this trip which is walking and walking and to heal.

I’ve been having flashback nightmares. Anyone that’s dealt with PTSD knows what I’m talking about and it’s not pleasant. Memories from past abuse come up and even new, sometimes even worse than what I remembered, ones rear their ugly head. So haven’t slept well until today, when I took quite a long nap.

Super grateful for my uncle and his family for taking me in. Not having grown up around family since age 8ish, there’s always a period of awkwardness (for me) but they’ve been so lovely and welcoming that it’s truly been heart melting and I love them for it.

Tourist spots here are cool but seeing people making duck faces, putting up peace signs and taking selfies in front of them just isn’t the type of space I’m in and kind of irritating to me at the moment but if they’re having fun, go for it. I’m just not going to join in. Maybe next time.

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!