Monday, December 26, 2011

Vulnerability


I know I've written about this before at some point but I'm finding that I have to keep coming back to it until I finally 'get' it.

A friend of mine posted this TED talk on Facebook today and it really made me stop and think about the way I've been feeling lately and how it relates to vulnerability.

Being vulnerable is incredibly difficult for me. I've known this for some time now and have been doing some of my own inner work around it. As she talks a bit about in the video, I have taught myself how to be numb. I've told myself that becoming numb keeps me safe. It's a self defense mechanism. It's one that I've become quite proficient in.

The problem with this is that we can't selectively numb the feelings we don't want to feel. We have to do it in an all or nothing style. We have to numb all of our feelings in order to get 'rid' of the bad ones. This leaves me feeling, well, not much to be honest. I worry that I've done it so much in my life that I've lost all ability to feel.

But then a moment creeps up on me where I know that I'm truly feeling. Not just a general sense of happiness but more of an incredibly intense feeling of happiness, joy and/or love. One that completely envelopes you and makes it feel as if your heart is going to swell up so big that there is no way it'll fit inside your chest if it doesn't stop.

In those moments when I let go and actually feel love, joy, happiness and connection with someone I notice that I don't allow myself to stay in that space. I feel myself recognize it and instantly start to figure out how to stop it by thinking about something else. Something to stop the tears because when I feel that intensely I can't help but cry.

It happened just the other night while I was holding my girl and playing with her hair. I felt that intensity of love rise up through me, fill every cell of my body then completely envelope her. Then I felt the tears start to well up and I panicked. I thought of something else and pulled back the tears. I stopped feeling out of fear. I was afraid of it.

“God forbid” I actually allow someone to see me cry! Even if they are “happy” tears. Seeing someone else cry, I have nothing but compassion for them and just want to hug them. I even tell them that crying is good therapy!

But, showing that compassion to myself has never been an option for me in my eyes. Crying in front of someone will show weakness and showing weakness is shameful. Why? Where did that come from and why do I feel like I need to let it persist? What is it really doing for me? Keeping me “safe”? Safe from what? Living?

I don't want to stop those intense feelings. I want the pins and needles tingling to come and the numbness to go away. I want to live in the moment and feel each and every feeling that life has for me. Most importantly, I want to be seen, to love with my whole heart, practice gratitude, stop catastrophizing, and believe that I am enough.

Looks like I've got a lot more work to do around this.

Thank goodness I have a couple of new journals to use.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Season's Greetings


Wishing everyone lots of love, joy and laughter during the holidays!

Peace & blessings!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Wall Calendar of Portland is Listed!

I've finally just listed the wall calendar I talked about in my last post!  You can check it out here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/88592834/11x14-portland-oregon-2012-wall-calendar?ref=pr_shop

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trying New Things

This is my first post from the Blogger mobile app on my iPhone 4! That's the first new thing and it's pretty cool to know I can pretty much blog from anywhere.

The second is I've put a calendar together using my photographs taken around Portland! It turned out really nice and the quality is very good! I haven't decided whether to offer them on my etsy site yet or not but am open to comments and suggestions! What do you think?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December!

Photo by me.  Salmon River in Oregon.
December has become one of my favorite months!  Last night towards the end of my shift I looked at my phone and noticed that it was December 1st and this big smile came across my face. 

It used to be that I would start to feel a bit down around this time of year and there have been years where I let it get the best of me.  Huge transitional years tend to bring the winter/holiday blues.  But, not this year!  This year I am happy to see December and all that it brings!

Perhaps I like December because of all of the twinkly lights the holidays bring, or the winter storms that make for cozy nights, or the snow covered mountains that surround this beautiful city.  I'm not one who celebrates Christmas but I do celebrate the Winter Solstice.  Giving gifts and celebrating the change of seasons feels wonderful.

Included in this month is my birthday, which used to be a bit tension filled because it lands so close to the holidays but after almost 42 years, I'm over it.  Now it's another reason to be happy about the month!  I can pretend on my birthday that the twinkly lights are for me!  Plus, this year I turn 42 which we all know is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the Universe and everything!  (I love that book!)

Then there's the promise of a new year just around the bend.  A chance to start over, to wipe the proverbial slate clean and make the best of a new year.  It's like a blank page.  So many possibilities!

Whatever it is that makes me happy about this month, I'm just glad it's here. 

Cheers to December!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grateful For You

Today I am grateful for you.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my words and for being a part of my life.  You are truly a gift and a blessing. 

Namaste.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Change Of Focus

Today I am grateful for the change of focus this project has given me. Although last night was rough, having focused on what I'm grateful for over this past month has helped me see the good in my life and in seeing that good, the bad days are not as bad as they once were.

I think I'll continue with seeing things in a much more positive light. It sure makes everything around me shine quite beautifully.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Little Me & The Big Me

There are days when the little me has to battle it out with the big me. It's quite literally a yelling match in my brain when this happens. The little me does nothing but belittle and find some sort of proof that I'm not worthy enough. It constantly tells me how much better I can be and that no one could really love me unless I do this or that or act a certain way or not act a certain way. That I should hide my authentic self because that self is basically a lazy pile of crap.

To fight back my big self comes back with all of the great things I have done and how kind and caring and compassionate of a person I am and that the world needs more people like me in it. She tells the little me that it's wrong and has no clue of how it really is and that I do deserve to be loved and have all that I want in life.

Days like this exhaust me. As much as I try to ignore what's happening, I just can't seem to completely. Finally I give in and focus on the battle in an attempt to come to a truce of some sort. I think today I've finally made peace between the two. At least, I hope so.

As weird as it may sound, I am grateful for days like today. They force me to find love within myself for myself which, in turn, makes me a better person.

Self love is a very good thing.

The Luckiest

Sunday was spent mostly on the couch with a belly that was very unhappy.  My girl was the sweetest caregiver. 

How lucky am I? 

The luckiest. 

Some days I just don't know how I got so lucky or so deserving but I am incredibly grateful.  Bowing down on my knees kind of grateful. 

Holiday Decorations & Perfect Days

This past Saturday my girl and I took some time to put up her tree and holiday decorations.  It's our first Winter Holiday together and she has such a great house to decorate so I wanted to make it look and feel festive. 

After cooking breakfast we carried up all of her decorations from her basement then turned the Pandora Holiday song station on and sang and laughed and decorated to our hearts content. 

We even created our own little Winter town.  It's official name? The Town of Welly!  Heheheheeee....we couldn't resist.  I even got to add my John Deere truck to the town!

After decorating and spending some cuddle time on the couch, we headed over to spend the evening with some friends who cooked us this delicious meal of baked lamb (local and humanely raised), fried kale (I've been on such a kale kick lately!) and baked golden squash.  All of the recipes came from Mario Batali's cookbooks.  It was amazing and I can't wait to try the recipes myself! 

For desert, he made almond baklava! I was so stuffed from dinner but I just could not resist.  I ate two pieces.

After dinner we played a board game called Ticket To Ride, which was actually pretty fun and quick.  My girl beat the pants off of everyone!  I'm pretty sure I brought up the caboose but it was fun none-the-less. 

After saying our good nights, we headed back to my girls place and had some more cuddle time on the couch.  Mr. Bacchus needed some cuddle time, too, so he found a spot right between us. 

All in all, Saturday was one of those perfect kind of days. The kind of day where there are so many blessings and reasons to be grateful that I just can't count them all.  I seem to have a lot of those days lately.  Thank the Goddess!  I am blessed and so very grateful for each and every one of them.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grateful To Still Be Here

This morning I visited a member of my community who has been in and out of the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital. As I was sitting in the waiting room, which was next to the emergency waiting room, I overheard a couple of conversations that people around me were having on their cell phones. They were calls to family members or friends about the person who they were there at the hospital with. I tried to let them have their privacy but I couldn't help but over hear a few things here and there. Both seemed to have family members in the hospital for nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts. My heart ached for these people. The holidays are such a difficult time for some of us.

I know the darkness that they're in. I know it very well and was, at one point in my life, very intimate with it. I had let it consume me and it was sucking me down into it's depths deeper and deeper with each passing day. Sometimes, with each passing minute.

The year was 2008 and the holidays were in full swing. I was working both a full time job as an accountant during the day and a part time job as a team lead with FedEx Air/Ground Freight Services in the middle of the night. During that year I had experienced a lot of major life changes. The end of a relationship, my son's high school graduation, his starting college and moving to the dorms, plus another move for me. I thought I had handled everything quite well. As it turned out, I was just too busy trying to keep all of my plates spinning to actually deal with any of it at all.

My review from my day job that December was not a good one. My boss gave me an ultimatum. Quit the night job or she'd have to let me go. I felt like I had been backed into a corner. At the time, the decision was difficult to make in my heart but in my head I knew what I had to do. The day job paid more then the night job so I reluctantly gave my notice at FedEx. It was heartbreaking for me to leave FedEx as I had made so many plans to work my way up the ladder there. I loved the work and I was good at it.

A week or so into working just the day job I found all of this time on my hands suddenly. That's when all of the emotions from the past year came flooding in. It was like they laid in wait for me to be free to deal with them. To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement.

At night I would come home after work, walk my dog then fix something to eat and drink as many beers as I could in an attempt to numb the pain while watching mindless television. Thoughts swirled around in my head about everything that had happened that year. The darkness began to convince me that the world would be a better place without me in it and that all of the pain would just disappear if I ceased to exist. I remember hours spent curled up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor begging God or whomever to just take me. My face tear streaked and my eyes puffy. I thought of ways to make it look like an accident while out riding my motorcycle. I was about as deep in the pit of despair as one can get.

Texts or phone calls from friends would go unanswered, which is very much unlike me. Some began to worry. One of my very close friends told me later that she was planning an intervention if she couldn't convince me to see a therapist. She made me promise to go talk to someone. The darkness kept telling me that it wouldn't make any difference. Somehow I made myself go through the motions and found someone to talk to. By the time I made it in to her office I was ready to fight my way out of the hole I was in. I just couldn't bare it any longer.

It's been a long road back up through that black hole but I'm so glad to be here. To think of the pain I could have caused my friends and loved ones and all of the things I would have missed in this experience of life. I couldn't even imagine missing out on it or causing that kind of pain.

I saw my son graduate from college this year. I get to watch him create a life of his own. I am deeply in love with an amazingly wonderful woman. I am surrounded by so much beauty and love. To say that I am blessed would be an understatement.

I am grateful for those who helped pull me out of that darkness. Grateful for their help, their love, their understanding and for their presence in my life. Had it not been for them, I may not be here writing this for you.

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”  - Susan Polis Shutz

A Day of Feasting & Being Grateful

Yesterday I chose not to blog, to stay off the computer and enjoy time with the people I love.  All I wanted was to be completely in the moments and that was exactly where I was. 

Ok.  I did get a wee bit obsessed with my phone at one point during the evening but then I remembered I could take really great photos with it!  The photo on this post is of my girl's dog, Moreno, telling me how much he liked the turkey.  It was quite tasty.

There were so many things to be grateful for yesterday that I think I'll just list them this time.

* Waking up next to her.
* The smells of delicious food cooking.
*Cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
* Time spent cuddling on the couch with my girl before and after dinner.
* Time spent with my son.
* All of the wonderful people in my life.  I have the most amazing friends and family and feel so blessed to be a part of their life.
* My health.
* My sanity.
* The roof over my head.
* My car.
* My job.

These are really just a few of the many things I was (and still am) grateful for yesterday.  This is how I chose to recognize this day and every other day of the year. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letting Go






Today I am simply grateful for the ability to recognize the lessons in life, learning and knowing what works and doesn't work for me and letting go.  Just like it says in the Serenity Prayer.

Goddess, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Communication

Yesterday I had what I'm calling an electronics flip-flop day.  I have been wanting to replace my old, slow, small memory and non-working battery laptop with something faster that had a working battery.  The old, slow, small memory and non-working battery laptop was an old MacBook that I purchased back in 2006 and I loved it dearly.  It was my first Mac product and after getting used to navigating it I fell in love with it.  I swore I'd never go back to a PC.

Unfortunately, sometimes you just don't have the kind of money you need to shell out for a new MacBook, or whatever it is they're calling them now.  I had to eat my words and go back to a PC in order to get a laptop that is fast, has more memory and a battery that still works.  My son was very kind and gave me his laptop that I purchased for him when he started college.  He was gifted a powerful desktop machine and has quite the set-up going with it so he said he wouldn't be needing the laptop anymore.  After a dear friend of ours replaced the hard drive (it burned up due to an accidental "left it on then set it on a pillow" incident at the dorms) it is up and running and speedy as ever.  In exchange for her work on my new laptop, I gave her my old MacBook and everyone is happy!

But wait!  There's more!

For the past 2 years and up until yesterday afternoon, I have been using one of the first Droid phones that came out on the Verizon network.  It's certainly served it's purpose but it started to get a bit slow and it was just time to replace it.  After mulling it over for about a month or two I finally decided to get an iPhone 4 when my renewal came up on the 17th of this month.  I have to say, I am LOVING it.  It's fast, the calls are as clear as if I'm talking on a land line and did I mention it's fast?  Plus, the camera is awesome!  I am very happy with this decision.

I'm glad I can still sort of keep the balance between PC and Apple in my life, as well.  I don't know why but I'm happy about it.

What does all of this have to do with communication?  Well, everything these days.  I, of course, prefer the old school way of communicating whether it be in person or through written letters, but having the option of text, phone and internet is a blessing.

I am grateful for all of the ways I have available to me to communicate with my loved ones.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stories That Suck You In

Whether they are books, television series or movies, stories that pull you so far in that you completely loose yourself are absolute works of art in my opinion. 

At the moment I am pulled into a book titled The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and a television series titled True Blood.  When I'm reading the book or watching the series I completely lose track of time and my emotions attach themselves to the characters so much so that my heart races during the exciting parts. 

These sort of things are inspiring to me.  I aspire to be a master story teller like these authors have become.  Today I am grateful for these stories and for the inspiration to better myself and my writing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Science Is Fun!

My son and I in a goofy mirror at OMSI today.
This afternoon my son and I visited OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) to check out the Body Worlds & The Brain exhibit.  It's the second time it's come through town and I missed it the first time so this was a new and educational experience for both of us. 

I was really quite fascinated with the exhibit and in all of all the parts that make up our biological bodies.  My son, on the other hand, was fascinated yet creeped out at the morbidity of it all.

I guess it is really quite morbid when you think about it.  After all, the exhibit does use real human bodies that have been through a process called plastination.  But, these people made the choice to donate their bodies to this project before they passed in hopes that people would gain some valuable knowledge.  I think I'd rather my body went on doing some sort of good in the world rather than being wasted ashes or rotting in the ground.  After, of course, all of my usable organs were distributed to others who needed them. 

The exhibit is quite popular here and there was a huge crowd this afternoon.  Despite the large crowd, I found myself not only enjoying the exhibit but also time with my son.  I am amazed and incredibly grateful that at 21 years of age he actually wants to hang out with me.  He truly is a blessing.

National Adoption Day

Yesterday was National Adoption Day.  A day to raise awareness about the adoption of children from foster care and to celebrate all families who adopt.

I was adopted 5 days after I was born.  It was a closed adoption and I have since met my birthmother and learned a great deal more about those first 5 days of my life.  When the realization of it hit me I wrote this piece.






5 Days

One afternoon in December of 1969 my biological mother gave birth to me. She was young, un-wed and it was 1969. Because of these facts and a few others, it had already been decided that I was to be given up for adoption. So when I was born, my mother was only able to hold me just long enough to count all of my fingers and toes. I was then swept away to the nursery to be cleaned up, poked and prodded then left swaddled in one of those plastic bassinets on wheels.

This would be my ‘home’ for my first 5 days in this world, only to be picked up or touched when I needed to be fed or changed.  I was the only baby in the nursery for those 5 days.  My Mother spent all of her time at the nursery window trying to keep me company.

I came out of the warmth, love and safety of my Mother’s womb only to spend the first 5 days of my life alone in a sterile, cold, and unloving nursery. No hugs, no cuddles, no connection.

After doing a bit of reading on this subject, I am willing to bet that those 5 days alone in that nursery did more emotional and psychological damage to my then tiny brain than any of the other abuses I experienced in my life.

I feel like I’ve spent the last 40 years doing everything I could to get people to love me, to touch me, to hold me, to stay with me. Yet, I struggle to actually form an attachment because there is this knowing in me that tells me they’re not going to stay. I’m not good enough.

Later in my life, my adoptive Mother told me that I never cried as a baby. The doctor told her once that she needed to let me cry so my tear ducts would form properly. She told him that I was a quiet baby that never cried. There didn’t seem to be any explanation for it.

I had become the perfect, pleasing child. The one who wanted to make everyone happy. The one who wanted to make everything ok. Because, if I did, they would stay. Right? They would love me. Right?

Forty years later things are becoming much more clear to me. This was the beginning of my journey through this life. The first 5 days.

(c) Wendi Kali July 29, 2010

After making this realization I began to focus on learning to love myself more in hopes of breaking the unhealthy hold that the fear of attachment brought to my life.  It made me much more aware of my thinking around it which has helped me to work through those feelings and heal them.

As difficult as this was to learn about myself, I am grateful for the knowledge and the opportunity to grow.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Power of Love

Evenings spent with a movie glowing from the television and a fire dancing in the fireplace are some of my favorite moments.  Snuggled on the couch with her head resting in my lap while my fingers, almost mindlessly, run through her hair, occasionally caressing her cheek. 

My eyes break from the movie to look down at her.  Instantly I feel my heart swell with love.  Its energy fills my heart then moves through every cell of my body and flows out through my hands and into her.  

I can physically feel it move through me so I close my eyes and concentrate on this flow of love for a moment or two then wonder if she consciously feels it.  I know her heart does on some level.  How could it not?  The energy is so strong.

The power of love is awe-inspiring.  Words are much too simple to capture its magnificent power yet I constantly try to find them in an attempt to express what I feel when this power flows through me. 

As frustrating as this may sometimes seem, I am grateful for the challenge.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some Weeks Just Feel Longer Than Others

Here in my world of four day work weeks there's an acronym for today.

S.H.I.T.  So. Happy. It's. Thursday.

This is what I am grateful for today. Today is the end of my work week. This week kicked my ass.  I look forward to relaxing at some point this weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rainy Fall Mornings


Today I am grateful for rainy Fall mornings spent on the couch knitting while my girlfriend's Yorkie sleeps in my lap.  Watching and listening to the rain fall in between the tiny little snores of the Yorkie while I work the knitting needles to create another hat I can't help but be grateful for everything that creates these moments.  The cute little dog, the yarn, the needles, the colorful leaves outside, the falling rain and my girl's cozy, warm home.   

The Fall is my favorite time of year.

Life. Is. Good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Other Blogs

This morning I spent some time reading through other blogs that I subscribe to in my Google Reader and came across a couple that articulated the things that I've been thinking about off and on lately.

On her blog "can I help you sir?", G talked about doctor visits and how she tries to avoid them because of the reactions she experiences while there.  I can relate to every thing she talks about in this post.  Those reasons are why I've been taking my time finding a doctor through my newly gained health insurance.  Honestly, it's more like dragging my feet.  Doctor visits have always been a horrible experience for me.

Then, over on Patriarchy Party Crasher bee listy ranted a bit about feminists who are transphobic.  Yes, the gap between the Butch community and the trans community is still there and, as I talked about in my post, Thoughts On Our Butch & Transgender Community, we need to stop tearing each other apart and focus that energy on coming together to move forward.

Today I am grateful for the blogging community, the dialog it creates and for simply knowing there are others out there who think and experience things the way I do.  Sometimes it really helps to not feel so alone. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Credit Union

A few years ago I moved my banking from a big bank to a local credit union.  I have been extremely happy with the credit union.  Their service is, so far, unmatched and they are on top of things.  To say I love them would be an understatement.

As an example of them being on top of things, there has been a few times while I've been with them that my card number has somehow leaked to someone else other then me and they have attempted to use it.  I haven't quite figured out exactly how this happens given all of the safety that online ordering and bill paying seems to have these days, but it's somehow still happening.  Lucky for me the fraud department catches these crazy charge attempts the moment it happens and blocks my card immediately.  Each time, I've called to verify the charges were not mine and they've canceled the card.  Then all I've had to do is go to my local branch and they make me a new card with a new number right then and there.  No waiting for them to send me a new one in the mail, thank goodness.

Knowing that they've got my back when something like this happens is wonderfully gratifying because it happened once again this weekend and I've just returned from the bank with my new card and absolutely no loss of money from my account. 

So, today I am grateful for my credit union and all of the great service they provide!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lazy Days

Today was spent in my pj's on the couch getting sucked into a new to me series.  I am grateful for lazy days like this spent entirely with my girl.

In our pj's.

Life is good.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

So Much

Today has been a very good day.   I woke up next to my girl, which always makes me smile, then had a great breakfast with excellent company and good conversation followed by a trip to the eye doctor for an exam and new specs! 

I am grateful for every moment of this day. 

Every.

Single.

Moment.

Short & Sweet

Yesterday I got caught up in snuggling on the couch with my sweet girl and on days like that I like to shut the computer down and be in the moments completely.  So, yesterday I was thankful for the ability to do just that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Making A Difference

I am proud to say that I am a regular on the call list at the Red Cross.  My blood type, O+, is pretty popular, from what they tell me so i get a call every couple of months.  I've been donating for about 22 years now, off and on.

For the past few years there have been times when I've tried to donate and my iron level has been too low so they've sent me away with the list of foods to eat that are rich in iron.  I understand why they can't take my blood at that point but I'm always disappointed when I leave.  Sure, I missed out on the stick of the needle and the slight pain in my arm the few hours afterwords, but I didn't get to contribute.  I didn't get to make a difference and help save a life.

Today I am grateful for my iron level being high enough to donate!  Thanks to lots of lentils, legumes and kale I was able to just barely make it over the threshold required to donate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Simple Pleasures


Real Goodness


This morning I was awoken by the wonderful smells of coffee and food wafting through my girlfriend's house.  As I lay there snuggled under the warm comforter, I debated whether to try to go back to sleep or get up and help her make breakfast.  Shortly after dozing off for another few minutes awoke to see her standing by the bed with a plate full of food, two cups of freshly brewed coffee and the book I have been reading (Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol).  She made a wonderful breakfast and we enjoyed every delicious bite and sip in bed this morning while snuggled under the comforter surrounding by her fur kids.

This afternoon, before I had to leave for work, we spent a few hours snuggling on the couch chatting then watching an episode of Being Human (the BBC version) while eating quesadillas. 

Simple moments.  Sweet moments.  For these moments, I am grateful. 

For this time that I have been blessed with basking in her light and enjoying her presence in my life, I am grateful. 

Truly grateful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Prayers To The Coffee Gods

Coffee Chat

Ever since working a full time job and a part time job back in 2008 and 2009 where my days were about 18 hours long and my sleep lasted only about 4 hours per night, I've had problems getting a good night's rest.  Working that scedule for as long as I did really seemed to mess with my rest cycle.  Even though it was several years ago at this point, I still struggle with it.

Needless to say, last night was one of those nights that I just didn't sleep very well.  Off and on and not totally asleep but just sort of laying there with my eyes closed wishing I'd just fall asleep already. 

It's mornings like this morning that make me ever so grateful for a fresh cup of coffee.  Fresh beans freshly ground and freshly brewed.  Several years back I started calling it "The Blood of The Gods".  I'm not so sure it keeps me buzzing as much as it used to anymore but it is definitely a comfort food for me at this point in my life. 

There's just nothing like a lazy morning with a fresh cup of coffee.  So good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Friends & Family

In the past 6 years I've surrounded myself with some of the most wonderful people I've ever known.  As much as I kicked and screamed during the move to Portland, this city has blessed me with lots of love, happiness and some important life lessons.

Today I am grateful for not only my given family but for my chosen family, as well.  Every one of them, even those who have hurt me, are blessings to my life because they have all taught me something about life and about myself. For that, I am eternally grateful.

So much love to you all!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One of My Favorite Poems

Anne Sexton
While reading through some of my journals, I came across one of my favorite poems.  I felt a pull to share it here with you.

Words by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous ones we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be good as fingers.
They can be trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, it's passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

Self Growth



I had fully intended on spending the day writing.  What the day turned out to be was a slow stroll through my past by way of my journals.  
 
I've kept a journal for as long as I can remember.  Unfortunately, I didn't hang on to the journals I wrote in before 1994.  I went through a period of time where the fear of someone finding them was stronger then the desire to hold on to those memories so I destroyed them.  Looking back now, I wish I hadn't.  

Reading through the journals that I have so far, there is a definite sense of self growth.  It's clear that I've been searching for my passion and my purpose for most of my adult life now.  I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse about not quite finding them yet, but it is what it is and I will continue on my search.  

One of the entries that stood out for me today was one that was made on May 14, 2005.  I was at a retreat for women through the church I was attending off and on.  More of a metaphysical/spiritual type church as opposed to the religious type.  I'm sure the retreat title had "Goddess" in there somewhere.  We spent a lot of time in guided meditations and drum circles.  The photo in this post is of me reading a couple of my poems during our "Goddess Theater" the last night of the retreat. 

The entry was from an intense morning and afternoon session where I faced some fears about this life.  The entire day I spent wanting to run away from the intensity but I forced myself to stay.  Instead of summarizing it I'll give you a portion of it to read. 
"My urge to run was so strong. But, I thought that it would be better for me to check out part way and stay in the space then to leave it completely.  It was a good decision.  I mostly stayed in meditation and mentally sang to myself.  Comforting and loving myself. 
After the exercise I came out of meditation and wasn't fully present.  I still wanted to run.  Instead I just got spacey. 
The next mediation that Maggie lead us through broke me down completely.  We were envisioning ourselves next to a river that represented life.  Then she had us jump in and float down the river trusting in it's path.  I found myself clawing at the bank trying so hard to get out because I was terrified of it.  No trust.  No faith.  Nothing.  Just complete fear and deep felt terror.  I cried through the entire exercise.  Then, when we came out of it we shared our experience within our small groups.  I held it together while everyone else shared.  When it was my turn I immediately started crying.  After I finally got my words out Celeste asked if she could hug me.  I fell into her arms and sobbed.  She just kept holding me and telling me how beautiful and perfect I am.  It was exactly what I needed.  Afterwards, I still wanted to crawl up into a ball and hide behind the alter but I didn't.  I made the commitment to myself to have more trust in life and where it's taking me."
Reading through that entry brought back that feeling of terror that I felt while in that mediation.   It also made me realize how far I've come since then.  I can honestly say that envisioning myself in that river now brings me peace.  I can float along in it in complete trust and even splash around playfully. 

It hasn't been an easy path but I'm so glad I've walked it and have these journals to remind myself of just how far I've come.  For all of my emotional work and those that have helped me to get here, I am eternally grateful.  

Before I left the retreat I made a commitment to myself to continuously discover my authentic self and to love and accept myself exactly as I am.  It's nice to see that I followed through with that commitment and am still on this path.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Feeling Handsome

Growing up, all I ever wanted was long hair that I could "feather" on the sides.  I was a child of the '80s so I went through the mullet phase as a high school softball player.  (First base, catcher and left field - booya!)  Yeah.  That was me.

When I finally cut it short before I came out I was concerned about it looking too masculine.  Shortly after I came out I went shorter but didn't quite have the guts to get it buzzed. 

When I finally got my first buzz cut I admit that I was a little hesitant about it but at the same time I felt incredibly free.  I not only felt free, I felt empowered and handsome.  Yes, handsome.  Ever since then, feeling handsome feels good.  No.  Even better.  It makes me feel incredible! 

So, needless to say, getting a haircut always picks me up and today I got a haircut so today I am grateful.  Grateful for haircuts and I'm even grateful for my gray hair.  I earned every one of them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Kale Chips, Lentil Soup, Wine & Dancing In The Kitchen Kind of Day

This relaxing Friday was spent mostly on the couch with my wonderful girl watching movies.  This afternoon we decided to make lentil soup.  While she chopped the onions and diced the garlic I sliced the celery, carrots and kale.  Of course, we broke out the wine and created our own version of My Drunk Kitchen.

After realizing there was much more kale then we needed for the soup I decided to try my hand at making kale chips.  If you haven't tried kale chips, you must.  They are incredibly easy and amazingly yummy.  Just slice up some kale, spread the pieces out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil then salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are crunchy.  East with some bread and a strong flavored cheese like fresh blue cheese or a nice Havarti dill.

The highlights of this day are many but the one that stands out the most is dancing around the kitchen with my girl and all three dogs while the soup simmered.   The sounds of jazzy music in the background and the delicious smell of lentil soup and laughter filling the air.  Those moments couldn't be more perfect.  For them, I am blessed and grateful. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Words & Writing

I've decided to avoid numbering my post titles in an attempt to be a bit more creative with this project.  After all, this post is about words and writing. 

As much as I struggle to find them at times, words are as important to me as air.  Writing is another form of breathing.  Sometimes the breath is smooth and steady and other times it's hard and labored, much like life.  For me, writing is a way to discover myself and articulate the emotions I'm feeling.  It isn't always easy for me to do, articulate my feelings and emotions, but I do my best to try.  Not only with myself but with those I love. 

Sometimes the feelings are so strong that it's almost as if I'm being pushed to express them, to put them into words and to tell that person what I feel.  Perhaps it's the Universe's way of communicating to them, through me.  Maybe it's just that we don't say things to each other often enough.  Good things.  Nice things. 

"I think you're awesome."
"You are beautiful inside and out."
"I was thinking of you today and just wanted you to know."
"You can do anything you set your mind to."
"I'm proud of you."
"I'm proud to be your friend."

Good things.  Nice things.  Things that make us not feel so alone or unnoticed. 

Words are powerful and I am so grateful for them.  They give me the ability to express my feelings and communicate with my friends and loved ones.  They have the power to melt my heart, get it racing and make me think. 

Writing brings me more joy and more sorrow than you could ever imagine.  For instance, this blog post is not exactly what I had in mind but it'll do.  It's somewhere in between the joy and sorrow spectrum.  But other things that I've written, the short stories Her and First Ride, those bring me great joy because they flowed from my heart and onto the page almost effortlessly.  It's those times when I'm most in touch with me that the writing flows in copious amounts and the joy from it follows.

So, today I am grateful for words and writing and all of the emotions and life that they both create and express. 

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.  ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thirty Days of Gratefulness - Day 2

I think all of us, at one time or another, have been in therapy.  It seems to be the human thing to do anymore.  Understanding ourselves better helps us to grow and heal from past traumas in order to have healthier and happier lives. 

I am no exception to this rule.  I've spent many years in therapy trying to get past the hurt and the anger and every other emotion associated with sexual abuse.  It's been a long, hard road but I'm still here and I'm stronger because I've traveled this path.  I am also much more understanding of not only myself but of others who are on this path of growth and healing. 

Today I am grateful for this road I have traveled and the understanding that it has brought to me. 

Today I sit in this peace and hold vigil for those who are traveling on this path with me. 

You are brave, strong and inspiring. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Gratefulness - Day 1

From time to time I get into a funk and struggle with seeing the good in my daily life and one way I've found that helps me to get out of this line of thinking is to find one thing in my day that I'm grateful for.  So, for the month of November I am going to post daily and tell you about the things I'm grateful for in my life. 

Today I am grateful for my job.  The one that currently pays the bills and pays for mine and my son's medical, dental and vision insurance.  It's not my dream job by any means but the people here are good people and the owners actually care about their employees.  You just don't come across that very often these days, unfortunately. 

I get to work a swing shift which means I can still have lazy mornings even when I have to go to work and I get to work four ten hour shifts which gives me three day weekends every weekend.  Although I haven't fully taken advantage of the time off I have for more writing and photography, the opportunity is there.  For this, I am grateful. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain Blessings To All!

 
May the ancestors deliver blessings on you and yours...
May the new year bear great fruits for you...
May your granted wishes be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate...
May the slide into darkness bring you light...
May the memories of what has been keep you strong for what is to be...
May this Samhain cleanse your heart, your soul, and your mind!
--- traditional Samhain blessing

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just When I Start To Wonder

I've been struggling with whether or not to continue with this blog in it's more authentic and honest sense or to write more about the subjects that seem to get more hits.  The words I write for this blog come from my heart and I started it in hopes of helping others feel not so alone in this world.  Others who are like me: butch, Buddhist, caring, compassionate, spiritual, etc.  The subjects that seem to get the most hits are the posts about being butch.  The fact of the matter is, this blog is all about being butch.  It's all about being me and if that resonates with someone and helps them to get through this crazy world then I'm doing a pretty good job.

I sometimes lose site of that fact.  The fact that what I post here does sometimes help someone out there and just when I start to really lose site of it I get an email from someone who says something like this:

"I was in a really hard place when I discovered your wonderful blog... and I very much enjoyed your writings that reflected familiar and new parts of my heart back to me.~  I had just awakened to my love of tomboys (yes, please), and reading about a butch perspective from your unique, open, spiritual heart was/is so refreshing to me, since a lot of the butch blogs out there don't match my being at all.~ 

So I'm glad for the chance to acknowledge such a sweet resonance in this big ol' world... and to offer back to you open-hearted acceptance... as you journey on and on and on in self discovery and self expression...~  Beautiful...~*  Honoring you is somehow honoring me... and I think we would all do well with more of that for ourselves.*"


After reading this I realized that I'm on the right path and so I honor you, the reader, as a way of honoring myself.  I will stay true to me and this blog and continue on this path of writing for as long as I can.  Thank you for reading.

Namaste.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Knitting Love


It took three tries but I finally knitted a decent looking kitty ear hat for my girl!  The first one was too big, the second was too small and this one is just right!  I gave the smaller one to my God Daughter so now she and my girl have matching hats! 


Knitting has become my favorite down time activity as of late.  The pattern came out of a fabulous book called Stitch & Bitch.  Excellent book if you want to learn, too!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trying To Find The Answers


I have been fairly quiet lately.  The state of the world weighs on me deeply and I find myself searching for answers that elude me.  I have a ‘fix it’ personality and my inner co-dependent just wants to make everyone feel better. 

What is it about the human race that keeps us from loving, respecting and having compassion for one another?  When, exactly, did greed supersede these basic human needs? 

These questions and many like them brought me to the name of my blog, A Stranger In This Place, because I really don’t understand this world a great deal of the time.  Religion and politics puzzle me the most. 

The US government was created as a government ‘for the people and by the people’ but has since turned into a government ‘for the corporations and by the corporations’ while the people stood idly by until it was too late.  Now the people seem to have absolutely no control over anything in this country.  We went about our business trying to find the elusive ‘American Dream’ while our government, and the people, became the puppets for the corporations and big businesses.  We allowed them to attach strings to us and use us for their profits by signing into sub-prime mortgages, signing up for high interest credit cards to live beyond our means, going into debt for an education that no longer serves us, signing 2 year contracts for cell phones so we could get the free phone, agreeing to contracts that took us further and further into debt so that we could have more things and we decided not to vote.  I am guilty of all of these things myself.  It was me who signed the papers.  It was me who said yes to all of those things for one reason or another or to just feel better about myself because I had nothing while those around me had or appeared to have everything.  I bought into the idea that in order to be successful I had to have more, do more and be more.  Really?  Is that what this life is all about? 

I have a Bachelors of Science degree in business from Portland State University.  I’ve worked in business since I was 13 and since I’m now 41 years old that means I have 28 years of experience.  During those years before obtaining my degree, I hadn’t ever made more than $35,000 a year.  I was going to college thinking my degree would increase my chances of making more so that I could properly support my son and myself.  Because I had to work full-time while raising my son and going to college, it took me much longer to reach graduation but upon reaching graduation I landed a job as an accountant for a local restaurant business.  You’d think my salary would have increased significantly but it didn’t.  I was making $40,000 a year as an accountant with a Bachelors degree and $55,000 of student loan debt.  (Remember I went to school longer than the usual 4 years so my debt is larger.  Yes, I realize that was my decision and I accept responsibility for it.  Still, it doesn’t make it any easier.)

The only time I made what I consider a decent amount of money in order for my son and myself to live comfortably and feel like the ‘American Dream’ was just around the corner was when I worked both a full-time job as an accountant and a part-time job at FedEx.  I worked 6 days a week and my days were 17 to 18 hours long.  I slept approximately 4 to 5 hours a night.  I worked myself into the deepest depression I have ever experienced in my life but I made close to $58,000 that year.  That experience has left me wondering if that is the only way I’ll ever make a decent salary.  Is that what the ‘American Dream’ is about because if it is, I don’t want any part of it. 

But, you know what I’ve discovered since?  Life isn’t about the amount of money you make.  I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Life is about relationships and loving and experiencing and learning.  It’s about living.  Really.  Living.  The sooner you realize this in your life the better off you’ll be because your decisions for your life will be based on this idea of living.  You’ll decide not to go into debt or live beyond your means and you’ll find ways to make it work.  You’ll get an education through scholarships and part-time work and maybe attending a community college for the first couple of years.  You won’t sign up for those credit cards and you’ll keep your expenses below your income.  Heck, you may even find a way to create a savings for yourself in the process!  Bottom line, you won’t make choices that will keep you from living this life.  That’s what the ‘American Dream’ should look like.

Now, religion puzzles me in lots of ways.  Perhaps I’m too much of a skeptic or a scientist but it seems to me that religion, the bible and other ‘holy’ books in particular, was created and written by man.  Perhaps it was created as a way to control the masses.  What better way to get the masses to obey then to strike the fear of some unknown and unseen deity into the hearts of the people?  What better way to find someone to put the blame on (Satan) when people do “bad” things?  Also, what better way to not hold themselves accountable for their actions or decisions claiming that it must be what God or Allah wants?

So much violence and hate spews forth from religion, as well.  It’s complete hypocrisy to teach about a deity that loves and forgives all then go on to preach hate against people based on holy “laws” that are really created by man when you truly look at the core of it. 

When will we, as a human race, preach love and compassion and actually follow through with it?  Completely?

The answers I’m looking for during this scary and unstable time in our life are evading me but I do know this: love and compassion towards ourselves and each other have more to do with them then we have yet to realize. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Say Please

Towards the end of last year I made my first submission for publication to an anthology being edited by the amazingly talented Sinclair Sexsmith.  (If you'd like to read an exert from the story, here's my post from December.)  The story was accepted and my dream of someday being published had finally come true.  Well, actually it will come true when I have my copy of the book in my hand and read my name on the page, but none-the-less, it's happening! 

This morning Sinclair announced the table of contents and presented the cover art over on her blog.  Look!  My name and my story are there!  Plus, I just found out that this is Sinclair's first anthology!  What an honor to be chosen and what an amazing group of writers to be in an anthology with!  I am pretty proud of this accomplishment. 

By the way, if you'd like to pre-order the book you can click on over to Amazon and do so!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creative Process



I needed to read this today.  Thought maybe someone out there might need it, as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Writing Every Day

Photo by Kelly Durdel
I've been pretty busy with being scattered these past couple of months.  I've felt my creativity slowing slipping away so I started having talks with it.  Gently trying to coax it back little by little.  Then one day I heard it say to me, "How am I going to come back if you never take the time to sit down with me?"

It's true.  I haven't.  Haven't done much in the way of writing at all.  Back in the day, I would sit down every morning and do a daily ten minute free writing just to get things flowing.  For ten minutes straight I would write without stopping.  I'd write about anything that came to mind.  Much like I'm doing here.  Just keep it flowing to see where it takes me.  Often times I'd discover a blog post or a poem.  Something would inevitably appear after a while.  Sometimes daily, often times once a week.  But, I kept at it. 

You have to keep at it if you want anything good to come of it.  There's got to be some sort of daily practice in your art.  You have to give your creativity time and attention so that it gives you time and attention. 

I've been awfully worried about things I don't have much control over lately.  Giving my attention to them does nothing to help the situation and it draws attention away from the things I love.  I'd like to stop giving those things so much of my attention and start directing that attention to things that bring me joy.  Things that feed my creative side. 
  • Writing without pressure.  Pure writing that comes without the internal editor or the perceived external editors. 
  • Taking photographs of beautiful things.  Things that make me happy.
  • Reading books that feed my creativity and my vocabulary.  
  • Finding joy in everyday moments.
  • Loving without fear.
These are the things I wish to focus on starting today. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dreams


She walks this plane of existence in an empty shell.  It’s the shell that gets up every day to live this life.  It’s the shell she decided to hide away in long ago.  Inside this shell she dreams.

She dreams of becoming an artist. 
She dreams of becoming a celebrated artist. 
She dreams of becoming a celebrated and successful artist. 
She dreams of becoming a celebrated, successful and loved artist. 

Where is she?  Why did she hide away?  Why did she listen when they said she wasn’t a good writer, a good singer, a good photographer, or an artist?  Why did she listen when they told her she wasn’t worthy of success?  Why did she listen when they told her to grow up and be a responsible adult?  Why did she listen when they told her she could never be herself?  Why did she listen when they told her she wasn’t good enough? 

Who told her she wasn’t good enough? 

She dreams of becoming an artist. 
She dreams of becoming a celebrated artist. 
She dreams of becoming a celebrated and successful artist. 
She dreams of becoming a celebrated, successful and loved artist. 

She is an artist. 

Her soul struggles to be seen and longs to break free from the shell that inhabits this plane of existence. 

She is an artist.
She is a celebrated artist in the depths of her soul.
She is a celebrated and successful artist in the creativity of her own heart.
She is a celebrated, successful and loved artist in the far away thoughts of her mind.

She is an artist.

She needs no permission nor acceptance from others to simply be what she has always been.

She is an artist.

W.K. © 2011


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fun With Stats & Lingerie

I just discovered through my blog stats that the phrase "do butches like their femmes to wear lingerie" was used in a Google search and that search somehow lead to my blog.

Let me just answer that question right here and now.  THIS butch sure does!

Anyone else want to answer it, as well?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little Note To Myself


Write. I need to write.  I want to write.  I have no idea what to write about. 

No.  That’s not true, Wendi. You’ve had a story or two kicking around in your brain for quite a while now.  You’re just letting life get in the way.  No.  That’s not true either.  You are afraid.  You have a fear of writing that you are doing nothing to get over.  Your first story gets published and you throw in the towel.  How can you top that, right?! 

What is it that you want to do with your writing?  Help the world?  Bring some sort of escape to those who need it?  Want it?  Tell your story?  You’ve had so many story ideas kicking around in your brain ever since you can remember.  You made stories up in your mind when you were a kid to make reality a little more bearable.  Take some time to remember those stories and just start writing.  Every. Day.  You know you want to.  You feel it aching to burst from you.  Just let it.  Allow it to happen.  Give it space and time to happen.  

You need to write in the same way you need to breathe.  Just do it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

On To The Next Chapter


My son graduated from The Art Institute of Portland this past Friday the 16th.  I really could not be more proud of him.  Three years and one quarter after graduating from high school he has his Bachelor’s degree in a field he enjoys.  That was my goal with him.  To help him find the field of work he enjoys because if you don’t enjoy the work you do in life, life will be incredibly difficult.  I know this for a fact.  I’ve experienced far too much misery in my past work as an accountant and bookkeeper to know it as anything but the truth. 

Before my son graduated from high school he originally thought about going into mechanical engineering at Portland State University.  Then he took a pre-calculus class during his senior year and, while struggling through it, decided the engineering route may not be for him.  At that point I asked him what he liked to do and to think about finding a career that would include it.  He did some thinking about it and came back to me with the idea of going to the Art Institute for Game Art & Design. 

I still remember taking him to the Art Institute to talk to an admissions counselor.  I sat in the office with them and let him do all of the asking and talking.  While I sat there I watched him completely light up while talking about designing and animating and all of the programs that he already had experience with.  I knew in that moment that I had to figure out how to get him into that school. 

As I’ve learned in life already, loving the work you do is important.  We spend 40 hours a week, or more, making a living. Two hundred sixty days out of our year are affected by our work because a portion of those days are spent at work (if you work 5 days a week).  That only leaves 105 days out of the year for doing the things you love.  If you are unhappy those other 260 days out of the year, chances are you will be unhappy during those remaining 105 days, as well.  So, it’s important to find the work you love.  It’s, in my opinion, one of the only ways to be successful in life.

My life hasn’t been all that easy.  I spent some time in the military shortly after high school, married very young, had my son at a very young age and did my best to support both of us when I finally left his father, as I received no financial help from his father while raising our son.  I ended up working in fields I wasn’t at all interested in because I simply needed to work.  I eventually found my way to college but took classes in something that came fairly easily to me knowing I would be able to make a fare amount of money to support my son and I.  It wasn’t a field I was interested in at all.  I was in it for the convenience of it.  I did what I had to do to make sure my son had a roof over his head, clothes on his body and food in his belly.  I held on to my pride during that time and only asked for assistance from the state for food a few months out of those 18 years. 

Had I made different choices in my life things could have been different.  But, I made those choices for a reason and I sit here today about to drown in debt from not only my own college education but also my son’s and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I have been blessed with the lessons this life has taught me and with an amazing son who has taught me so much about life, creativity and the beauty of the human soul.  For these lessons I am eternally grateful.   

I am still searching for the work I love as I choose to put it off while I raised my son and made sure he was able to find his way in life.  Now I have the opportunity to watch him enter into this new chapter in his life.  A time that is filled with so many opportunities.  I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will be successful and happy in the field he has chosen.  Which, by the way, changed from Game Art & Design to Media Arts & Animation while he was going to school because he felt that he had more opportunities with the latter.  He is very smart, that one. 

I can’t wait to see what comes next for him. 


My son's animation reel!

Demo Reel - 2011 from Michael Jude Graham on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Synchronicity

Last night I attended a Full Moon Gathering with some wonderful women out by the Columbia River.  It's become a monthly event with this group and it was my second time celebrating the full moon with them.  The theme last night was the Goddess. 

After spending some time sitting around chatting with a few of them while my sweetie and I knitted, we spent some time down on the bank of the river enjoying the moon and each other.  It was a wonderfully peaceful and beautiful evening. 

When we walked back up to the fire pit where all of the other women were gathered, one of them had a hand full of Goddess cards that she was letting everyone choose from as a party gift type of thing.  It was dark at this point so I choose to randomly pick a card from the deck.  She feathered them out for me to choose from so I closed my eyes, put both hands over the deck and choose one.

The card that I choose is pictured above.  The Goddess Kali.  If you're not sure of the significance of this, read this post about my name

On the back of the card are these words: "Unleash your passion, embrace it, and revel in the power of your flesh.  Do not fear your own fierceness - affirm it and soar!  We are warriors, and through history this attribute has often scared people.  Fierce women have been given harsh names.  Shed any shame in your fierceness.  Create your call of the wild - a howl or a scream - and choose a time to free your fire." 

This blew my mind.

This is what I call the Universal Synchronistic Postal System.  It delivers all kinds of messages and reminders if you're open to it and willing to listen.