Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,

Hearts on Fire

“Hearts on Fire” by Sharon Cummings

You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
 
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
 
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
 
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
 
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
 

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
 
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
 
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
 
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
 
-From “And Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.-
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Breathing

I don’t think it’s possible to describe the darkness, and the loneliness that comes with it. It creeps in very unexpectedly sometimes. And sometimes I can see it coming a mile away.

Regardless, it never fails to show up.

I am completely disoriented in the darkness. Everything hurts. The pain is self-inflicted sometimes. And sometimes it slips in through the cracks in my very carefully crafted shield.

Regardless, it is always present in the darkness.

It makes me sick. It makes me mad. And in the darkness, in the moments when I am most honestly myself, the insignificance of it all suffocates me.

Maybe that’s the best way to describe the darkness: Suffocating.

Regardless, I just want to start breathing again.

What do you do with your blog when your life falls apart?

I spent a lot of time this year asking myself that question. Do I go back and edit? Take it down completely?

I don’t know if there’s a right answer. So I decided to just start writing again and have faith that the rest will take care of itself. I didn’t really intend for that to happen on New Year’s Day, but here we are and today seemed as good a day as any to start again. Please forgive the banality.

My life has been turned on its head since I first began blogging. Not to say that’s all bad. In a lot of ways I am starting to feel more myself than I have in years.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had to ask much harder questions of myself this year than the one this post posits. Questions about what really inspires me, what lights me up. What I can’t live without … And what I can live without.

Who I can be, and what I can do, and why.

And the scariest part of all the questions aren’t the answers, but the fact that for the first time I’ve had to supply the answers for myself. I’ve had to trust myself to know best.

I think I’m doing all right so far.

My most important accomplishment in 2014 was surviving it. I don’t know what will come in 2015, but I’m hoping for healing. For peace. And for answers.

For me and you, dear reader.

One Hell of a Year

The greatest lesson I learned in 2013: Be careful what you wish for. I wished to learn to overcome.

I had to laugh in looking back at my obligatory new year’s post from 2013. It was all about learning to overcome challenges, to rise to whatever occasion life had in store, etc. And looking back I understand why I was in that frame of mind: 2012 was rough. But it was nothing compared to what 2013 had in store.

Don’t misunderstand me: Nothing from 2013 in any way negates the lessons learned from 2012. I still have the greatest friends and family ever. I’m still auntie to the cutest kid on the planet. But seeing God’s plan unfold now … I know why I had to go through all of that. I know 2012 had to be tough, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been prepared for all the crap to come in 2013. I wouldn’t have been able to overcome what was coming next. I guess that’s how life works, but even at 30 (I mean … 29 again), it’s sometimes a hard pill to swallow.

I didn’t write a new year’s post this year. I wasn’t sure I had anything positive to say at all, and there’s enough negativity to be found on the Interwebs without my contribution. And I’m still not at the point where I’m going to share too many details … Please forgive me for that, but if you are a regular blog follower you will soon understand why I can’t.

But there were highlights in 2013. There were moments of joy, and peace, and awesome. And for those, I’m thankful.

Yellowstone National Park | January 2013

Yellowstone National Park | January 2013

Golden, Colorado | April 2013

Golden, Colorado | April 2013

Mooseheart, Illinois | May 2013

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota | June 2013

Grand Tetons, Wyoming | July 2013

Fox Island, Washington | September 2013

Flye Point, Brooklin, Maine | September 2013

Whitefish Lake, Montana | October 2013

North Platte River, Casper, Wyoming | November 2013

I don’t know what adventures 2014 has planned for me. I do know it’s already looking like one hell of a year. Stay tuned.

Fighting a War Within

After a 6-month blog break, I’m not really sure the best way to start again.

Tell a bad joke? Recap of the last awful 6 months? Post a random but adorable picture of my dog?

I landed on, “just start.” So here goes. Let’s see where it takes us.

The last 6 months have been hard. Really hard. Like, not sure if or when I’ll come out of this, hard. And the one person I’d like to talk to about it all isn’t here anymore.

I am adrift. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I am struggling in my personal life, with my professional aspirations and current direction (or lack thereof), and in pretty much every outward way.

Now the war begins within too … Again.

If you, dear reader, have followed this blog closely for a while, you may remember that I have something called Graves’ Disease. It’s an autoimmune disorder with which I was diagnosed in 2007. I won’t go into detail with the battle so far, except to say that the only conclusion I’ve come to about autoimmune disorders in general through it all is this: Autoimmune disorders are bastards. Lying, cheating, sneaky, miserable, depressing, maddening bastards.

That never go away.

Just when I think I’m making progress with one symptom, another one sneaks up to replace it. Another doctor. Another round of tests. Another diagnosis and the pills that come with it.

This is life for someone with any range of autoimmune disorders. And if you have one, you probably will get more. And then the cycle repeats again.

And I am soooo over it already.

Today I had a specialist very enthusiastically tell me that my eyes look great – no problems – and therefore the vision problems I’m having PROBABLY aren’t related to the Graves. Which is good news, kind of, except that it doesn’t fix anything. It eliminates one possibility, but doesn’t give me answers. More doctors. More tests. And probably more pills to follow.

So now I have to choose how to wage war. On myself. On this disease. On everything it is doing to me physically. On every lie it’s telling me about myself and the world around me.

And I just don’t know where to start.