Off the Mic

Hello, friends!

I have a confession to make.

I am not a very good listener. I like to talk more than I like to listen and wait for my turn to talk rather than processing what the other person has to say and offer.

This prevents me from gaining a lot of  wisdom that I could have captured more easily had I listened. This goes for all things. Spiritual things have to hit me like a freight train in order for me to even notice them, making a still, small voice out of the question for me. I miss out on a lot of good insights in group discussions because I’m waiting to prove my point. I don’t pay attention to nature or my surroundings because my head is in the clouds constantly. I’m not grounded in “reality”, I have no patience for it, and as such I miss the magic of the everyday.

My dad didn’t miss the magic of the everyday, he reveled in it. One of my favorite things he said was that after he prayed, he had to stop talking, take his thumb off the mic and listen. A lot of the time, there would be an answer there somewhere in his thoughts or in his surroundings. This reminds me of something that happened in 2017.

I was at an Al-Anon (the organization for families of alcoholics) meeting place waiting for the meeting to begin. I was an hour early and I started missing my dad and crying and praying. As I was praying, I saw a cat appear out of some bushes, climb up on the bench where I was sitting, and sleep next to me.


This is the cat, and to this day I don’t know his or her name. Regardless of this, this cat was the blessing I needed in that moment. I took my thumb off the mic and I listened. The universe spoke.

I’m not here to say that I should be completely silent all the time, but when the time comes, I should not check out and instead be present. A lot of the time, my own mental noise drowns out a message quicker than the noise around me. I need to work on quieting my mind and being here. It’s not easy being here, and sometimes it’s easier to just check out, especially if it’s a hard conversation. But I think the hard conversations are the ones that need presence the most. This ties into my forgetfulness, I think. If I were more present, I’d remember more.

I’m not a failure for forgetting things, I must keep telling myself. I’m where I am now, and I must keep going. I haven’t come this far just to stop. Someday I will look back on the journey I have taken and think to myself, “that’s a long path, but it was so worth it. I have learned so much. I have been though hard times, but I have risen above what was expected of me, both by myself and by others. I am unapologetically myself. Nobody can take that from me.”

I thank the universe and God for bringing me to where I am. I am here in this moment, in this meditative time. I am a channel for goodness and hope. I am a child of God and the universe, and I am worthy of a seat at the table. Time to take my thumb off the mic and listen.

Love,

Meg

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Love Notes

Hi, friends!

My seat at the table was nearly denied, seeing as I nearly kicked one of the chairs at our dining room table down the basement stairs.

That would have sucked, seeing as my husband is sleeping upstairs and would have likely woken up and come running. Not fun..

I’m also listening to the music I listened to most on Spotify, which is an interesting walk down memory lane.

“Feel” by Sleeping With Sirens is on, and I remember listening to that a lot at Maryland college. What a throwback!

Some throwbacks aren’t pleasant, though. I deal with flashbacks sometimes. Some days and even weeks or months are filled with them, even haunting me in my sleep and I get angry and sad and end up breaking down sometimes. If I listen to certain songs, those are guaranteed nightmares right there.

I have a tendency to minimize my experiences because they aren’t as bad/traumatic as those of others, and I have a message for you if you do that, friends.

Stop it.

Your experiences are valid. It’s like somebody breaking their arm and you losing your dad. Pain is pain, and experiences are experiences. Though the worst pain you may have experienced is not as “significant” as someone else’s doesn’t mean you didn’t experience it. It’s real. You are here. The seat at the table is still yours.

My flashbacks are profound to me, and sometimes they are debilitating. The most profound reliving of my trauma is through nightmares. I go hours without sleeping because I fear what sleep will bring.

Then there are times I go months without a single flashback. I feel great, like I can take on the world and am okay. Those are the times when I feel most worthy to sit at the table.

When the flashbacks return, however, I fear that I am less than because I am sad yet again. Have I regressed permanently?

The answer to that is no. An ebb and flow of good times is normal. There will be hard times again, and that is as normal as life and death.

My mom unearthed an email my dad wrote to me shortly before he died.

Part of it reads:

Meg,
Just got through reading your letter.  Sorry for the delay.  I wanted to address one point before debating about Greek myths.
I understand your fear of my departure, and it scares me to an extent myself.  One of the things that I can’t recall telling you is the order that all of the things that have occurred to me have seemed to be an order that has been used to teach me.
My parent’s divorce.
Your illness that put you in the hospital
The death of my brother
My first brain tumor
Your difficulties
My bad habits
My second brain tumor
Missing you at college
These are all life changing things.  Some include death.  But what I haven’t listed there, and what many people fail to include in life changing things are stuff like (I’ll use myself):
Graduations
Learning
Laughing
Friends
Marriage
Recovery
Surviving that first tumor
Sending you to college, etc.
So many of the good things outweigh the bad things, and certainly the list would be much longer if I spent more than three minutes coming up with what I did.  The bad stuff sticks out because things like that suck.  They hurt, they heal, they leave scars.  We live in fear that they will occur again, and sometimes they do, but our experience with the first time stops them quickly.

I like what he said in the final paragraph –

So many of the good things outweigh the bad things, and certainly the list would be much longer if I spent more than three minutes coming up with what I did.  The bad stuff sticks out because things like that suck.  They hurt, they heal, they leave scars.  We live in fear that they will occur again, and sometimes they do, but our experience with the first time stops them quickly.
My dad was the wisest man I have ever known and he had a lot of life experiences packed into him in the span of just under 50 years. He makes a lot of points in just a few paragraphs, and the takeaway I get from it as a whole is that we can’t live in fear of bad things when they’re a natural rhythm of life and oftentimes we have seen them before.

I also like how he said that all of the things in his life have been placed in an order to teach him something. This, to me, further serves as evidence that there’s a plan for everything.

As I have mentioned previously, we’re loved infinitely, in all times and places. This is the great constant and it has held true for my entire life, even when I didn’t see it at times.  Somewhere in this infinite love, there was a purpose in my dad dying. This aspect has finally been puzzling me after three years of security with the fact that it happened. I understand why he left (he was no longer functioning, the brain tumor was killing him), but I have been looking for a kind of silver lining, a higher purpose as to why he was taken at that time. Why that at that time?

The one explanation I have for it is that he had work to do as an angel elsewhere, like bringing my soulmate, my husband, back into my life. We both believe he was the architect of that.

I’m thankful for my husband and that he loves me even though I did eat an entire pack of his pepper jack cheese slices in my haste to eat.

The universe seems to back up this theory, with little love notes scattered here and there. I feel him close sometimes – more often than before I left Texas, and I actually think he had a hand in my love’s hunch that I was overmedicated and misdiagnosed. It would make sense if the logic holds that he brought my love back to me. My love is wise like him and he listens. He is more than a note, he’s a novel or a care package. He’s in tune even if he may not realize it.

Friends, if you’re struggling, look for love notes from the universe. They are here and they give my life meaning. I love you all.

Meg

If this helped, buy me a coffee here and help fuel the blog!


My dad was the wisest man I have ever known and he had a lot of life experiences packed into him in the span of just under 50 years. He makes a lot of points in just a few paragraphs, and the takeaway I get from it as a whole is that we can’t live in fear of bad things when they’re a natural rhythm of life and oftentimes we have seen them before.

I also like how he said that all of the things in his life have been placed in an order to teach him something. This, to me, further serves as evidence that there’s a plan for everything.

As I have mentioned previously, we’re loved infinitely, in all times and places. This is the great constant and it has held true for my entire life, even when I didn’t see it at times.  Somewhere in this infinite love, there was a purpose in my dad dying. This aspect has finally been puzzling me after three years of security with the fact that it happened. I understand why he left (he was no longer functioning, the brain tumor was killing him), but I have been looking for a kind of silver lining, a higher purpose as to why he was taken at that time. Why that at that time?

The one explanation I have for it is that he had work to do as an angel elsewhere, like bringing my soulmate, my husband, back into my life. We both believe he was the architect of that.

I’m thankful for my husband and that he loves me even though I did eat an entire pack of his pepper jack cheese slices in my haste to eat.

The universe seems to back up this theory, with little love notes scattered here and there. I feel him close sometimes – more often than before I left Texas, and I actually think he had a hand in my love’s hunch that I was overmedicated and misdiagnosed. It would make sense if the logic holds that he brought my love back to me. My love is wise like him and he listens. He is more than a note, he’s a novel or a care package. He’s in tune even if he may not realize it.

Friends, if you’re struggling, look for love notes from the universe. They are here and they give my life meaning. I love you all.

Meg

If this helped, buy me a coffee here and help fuel the blog!

Live in Color

I might start just writing in verse every Thursday. Verse Thursday.

I.

Starting new is the strangest

thing –

double spaced becomes something

different to me

“we won’t have to be scared”

is that really a quote, or

something closer to something

everyone screams in their lifetime?

everything revolved around college

for a time –

how’s it going?

people would ask and i would frown

wishing they would be quiet and

leave me be for once


but now things are different

i wish i had read more about

attrition rates before even going

all of my friends are graduating

and while i don’t feel left behind,

it’s something like that.

II.

here comes the rain –

it’s something we expect but aren’t

hoping for

I trust the sky a bit too much

I don’t trust the ground

I’m too afraid of it falling out from

underneath me

why am i living in the same color

green as Alaska in spring?

why is everything blooming?


if there’s spring in a place that most

would deem unfit to have one

why can’t there be spring in me?

am i forbidden from blooming?

must i understand the happiness

within me?

I wish I could help the people who

need to bloom.

my husband is in his jail of an office

doing far too much tech support work

than any human should.

he’s a bud who has been in the dark

for too long

and he needs to come into the light.



III.

I am neon pink

coming from black and white

I don’t deserve to be shot in grays

I need to live aloud,

live in color

To Be Seen

I have a confession to make.

I don’t know how to write for myself. I write to be recognized, to be seen. I don’t know how to put my thoughts together in a way that’s coherent that sounds like me. I’m so used to writing to share. I fear that if I were to write for myself, all that would come out would be a scream. It’s very rare that I can unlock myself in my writing. I feel pressure both internal and external to write something good, to write something poetic, something that will change lives. It’s all gotta be good, meaningful, or it means nothing.

At least that’s how it feels, and feelings aren’t always facts. I do know that every time I write for myself – or try to – it comes out horribly sad and ends up hurting more than helping. Does that mean that something inside needs to be fixed? Does that mean that there’s some fear or sadness not addressed? I look back at my journals and I find that the later ones are full of fear and sadness and anger, and they make a bad situation worse because I’m dwelling on the past and being afraid of the future. It’s just bad. I go months feeling okay and wanting to write about happy things to something erupting inside of me and having to fight off armies of flashbacks and wanting to dive headlong into the dark again.

Last night was one of those nights. I tend to get very sad at around 3 PM every day, and things just built up inside me to the point where I started to shake and cry. Why was I crying? It felt like an aerosol can of sour memories burst inside of me. With that came shame, both for what happened and for not being over it when I should have let it go long ago.

I have heard that people are supposed to write clear and deep about what hurts, so I think I’m going to take that advice.

Something about the scene that popped into my head feels dirty and wrong. It was a memory of my ex and me. He was driven primarily by sex, I’ll be entirely honest, and I was a young, desperate Mormon girl. We had talked about threesomes for some time and I have a memory of when he came to Texas and we hung out by that car I used to drive and I remember there was a red haired girl we both thought was cute and we talked about “sharing” people like that. In the moment, it was okay. But in hindsight, it feels as sick as the sun felt that summer. I have a lot of shame surrounding that memory. This was one of the reasons I started to reconsider Mormonism – I had finally started to come to terms that I could be attracted to all people, not just men like the Mormon church encouraged, and once that mental bomb went off, there was no way to clean up the scattered contents. It was this ex of mine that helped me in a sick way to have this realization. When I tried to go back to church, the shame ate at me and I couldn’t reconcile the beliefs I had once loved and the shame I had with the things I now knew about myself. So I decided to ditch the shame and leave, unrepentant.

I hated myself for the longest time for letting that happen to me. The church had lessons on virtue (read: sexual purity until marriage) and I wanted to dodge every single one of those lessons from even before I officially joined. My mind didn’t fit the mold from the beginning, and there was so much shame I carried. I remember mentally eating myself alive even from the time I was small for being attracted to other genders. I remember mentally eating myself alive for having thoughts of sexual attraction at all. After all, they were wrong, right?

I am now realizing that I have spent a ton of time suppressing parts of who I am. I’m getting better at verbalizing what is going on inside of my brain and what I want and need. I am growing and learning and living and loving.

My gender and appearance falls under this category. I have spent so much time hiding and suppressing it. Last November was a turning point in that I found I could no longer ignore my identity. It was a pull unlike any other. I have pretended to be someone I’m not several times, and none of them ended up well and I always ended up in the same place. I was told over and over again that to identify with anything outside female wasn’t me. To those who said these things, who am I, then? Who am I now that you are not here to tell me who I am? The short answer is that you don’t get to tell me who I am. That’s my job. I am smart. I am kind. I am gifted. I am an empath. I am loved. I am a leader. I am a handsome human. I am a light. I am an example. I am a mentor. I am a student. I am a teacher. I am spiritual. I am imperfect. I fall down sometimes. But I am alive, thank God. I sing praise to life for the first time. It’s scary as hell.

Happiness is on my side. And it’s past 3 PM and I haven’t cried. Nobody gets to define me. I am not a reduction to how people see me.

I am alive, I am alive, I am alive, and I breathe like a newborn, screaming. It hurts to see light, but that is temporary. I no longer believe the lies that sadness told me.

Sadness is the liar, not the constant.

I will continue to speak on these topics until I can speak no more.

I will continue to tell myself that I am okay, and I will mean it. There should be no shame in this. The can may have exploded, but there is no need to clean it up. I may not recognize myself in the mirror yet, but I am here and I am seen. I am heard. So are you.

Love,

Meg

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Happy

“i’m afraid
i don’t want to be out of control
what if happiness scares me?
she follows me like a shadow
found in drumbeats and embraces and the feeling of
pushing forward
the song i’m listening to flutters
i have fluttered before
i will flutter again
i don’t like it because my happiness comes
out loud
shout it to the heavens
i’m happy and i don’t know why”

For some reason, people have always said I’m resilient, as if that’s something I want. All it meant to me was that I didn’t kill myself when my dad died, when XYZ happened, etc., that plodding on should be applauded. It didn’t mean that I was going anywhere. It didn’t mean I was proud of myself or living for anything.

When I met my husband, all of that began to change. I was living, at the very least, to be able to spend time with him and make sure he was happy. Even when I wanted to blot myself off the face of the Earth, he was there.

When I moved to Alaska, things changed even more. As mentioned previously, two psychiatric professionals took down the notion that I needed to be on hundreds of milligrams of meds a day, allowing me to cut back on my unnecessarily doses. He was the one who set all of this in motion. He was the first one actively involved in my care to challenge the idea that I could be crazy.

With all of these changes, I feel more energetic, hopeful, and happy. The happiness baffles me. It now rents out the space where sadness used to be, and it is almost persistent in its pursuit of me. It’s wild, loud, and feels dangerous. I still don’t trust it, and still confuse it with going crazy. It involves a lot of shouting for joy.

It can be compared to the end of a hero’s journey story where the hero arrives at the same place they started, but changed. It’s like, this is new, what do I do now?

I’ve been throwing myself wholeheartedly into my tutoring, which is awesome. Lots of new music has been made, and this long overdue thing is in the works…

People have been wanting to read my poems in a book for a bit, so I will make it happen.

If you’re happy and you know it, what do you do?

Your Empire

Hey, all! I’m double dipping today. I’d like to talk about a poem that is very special to me. It’s called “Your Empire”. I wrote it two years ago. It opens like so:

you are more than a princess, darling girl -you are a queen – an empress

and you are loved more than you know

there will be times when you’ll be 

punched in the gut

kicked in the ribs

tossed aside

but your true wisdom comes in

knowing whether to form a fist or

extend your hand…

First lines of “Your Empire”, written 3/6/17

I love this poem because it’s what I wish I could have believed about myself at that time and what I don’t want anyone to forget, no matter their gender or age.

I owe the empire theme to my obsession with the Byzantine Empire, which is still an obsession of mine, hence my blog title. My favorite historical character of all time is the Byzantine Empress Theodora. Someone once said I was like her, and that was probably the biggest compliment I have ever received. This poem is me telling anyone who needs it that they are noble and deserving of that title. That includes myself. It continues:

…because some battles that need to be fought

are ignored

and some battles that are fought

need to be ignored

and a true empress – like you – knows which is which

and what to do. 

“where is my empire?”

you may ask.

I will place my hand over my heart

and say, “darling, every time you are knocked

over and you stand up again, think of that as a conquest.”

“Your Empire”

At this time in my life, I was in Idaho college and I needed some encouragement. The environment was becoming toxic to me and I wanted to feel okay again. This was one of the ways I helped myself. I also sent this and other poems to friends who seemed to be in need of them. This one is by far my favorite of the bunch.

I definitely need to listen to myself in the lines about conquest. I don’t take my own advice well enough. It’s true, I am conquering. I am ruling. I am becoming more and more involved in my own life. That’s important. A ruler wouldn’t let things just…happen to them, would they? No, they wouldn’t.

Planning is hard for me, though. It’s hard for me to get up and say, “I’m gonna do XYZ today”, even when I am happy. I tend to let the day just pass without making plans. It’s important to remember that part of owning my life and empire is to plan for the future.

With my tutoring, I don’t schedule very far in advance since I’m a hired gun that gets requests usually only a few hours before the student wants to meet. I’m surprised nobody has wanted to meet in the middle of the night yet! As a result, my days are fairly open. I have my to do lists, but I need to make an actual schedule.

Part of me thinks, “Oh, but it’s a struggle to get out of bed early!” Then there’s another part that’s like, “Fortify yourself, dammit. You won’t get anywhere with that attitude. Do you want to build your empire, or not?”

Okay, okay. I’m gonna fortify myself. Let’s continue with the poem.

every good thing you do, every struggle that you

overcome, every person you make smile –

oh, my dear, those are conquests. and in the end,

the biggest conquest you can make

is learning to love yourself

and others even though they –

and their empires – are imperfect.

I am learning that hard things are essential for growth and that I can’t quit if I want to make it in life, in anything. I can’t quit on myself, either. Like the last lines of the poem say, “the biggest conquest you can make is learning to love yourself and others even though they – and their empires – are imperfect.” Self sabotage gets me nowhere. Learning to love myself is important. It’s an important step towards progress. It will require much self-fortification. It takes strength to love oneself, I am finding. Also, I feel so much happier after being off social media all day. 10/10 so far, will continue.

Update: I have actually composed music today! Yes!

Would you like for me to write YOU a song, poem, or even an album? Got a special occasion coming up? I’m on WhatsApp, so if you shoot me a message there, we can start a conversation!

Love,

Meg

Proud

Hey, adventurers!

I’m back again, and today we’re gonna talk about being proud.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not usually proud of who I am. There are a few instances where I am, but they don’t come terribly often. My sense of worth generally comes from what the people closest to me think of me. I know that’s not good.

I believe, consciously or not, that only those whom I have hurt truly know me, and that anyone else only knows me on the surface. I suppose by that logic I truly know myself, because I self-sabotage often enough to qualify for it being classified as hurting myself. We all know that that’s not true. Not yet, at least.

I can remember the second to last time I was proud of myself. It was on the shooting range last Sunday. I don’t remember if I wrote about it or not, but I began shooting in the same spot over and over. As I may have written, that’s a big step in the direction of becoming a good shot. I was proud of myself for that.

The most recent time was this morning. I abandoned all social media except for the blog and told my friends to text me rather than message me on social media. I’ve known social media has been hurting me for awhile. I also know I spend far too much time on it. After I announced my decision to my friends, I received a slew of messages asking if I was okay. I explained to everyone that I simply need a break. I do need a break. And I’m proud of myself for making this decision. It will help me spend more time in the “real world”, as real as my world can be. It might also inspire me to dive back into the fictional world of my stories and to compose more music. I’ve needed that for awhile.

I think it’s the little things that stack up in one way or another that determine my confidence level. What have I done, no matter how small, that helped someone today? What have I done that has helped me grow? What have I done that will push me towards being the best self I can be in this moment?

I am glad for this social media break because it will give me time to grow. I am often tugged around by my Facebook feed, half of which is very liberal, with the other half being very conservative. It’s scary and often makes me wonder how long it will be before humanity implodes. This is not a good train of thought to take.

I was inspired to take this break by this piece from Longreads. It backs up the opinions of my husband and family, saying things that they have been saying for years. Although social media has been very inspiring and enlightening, especially when it comes to my identity. I didn’t know what nonbinary gender identities were until a Facebook friend invited me to a nonbinary group and I found that a lot of what people were going through I related to, also. That would have taken a long time to discover were it not for Facebook! I’m thankful for that.

I’m also reminded of a hashtag I used to document an important time of my life – #TheGrandAdventure2015. I made it to try and feel better about a string of hard days and months. It worked. I think it can be applied to now in this period of self-discovery. I’m still on an adventure, and I’m proud of it.

I’m proud of my identity.

I’m proud of my ability to overcome the challenges I’ve been faced with.

I’m proud that I’m here today on this fabulous Agender Adventure.

Thank you for reading, as always!

Until next post,

-Meg

PS. If you feel so inclined to look/buy, I made Agender Adventurer stickers. See below!

Agender Adventurer Sticker

A die cut sticker with the colors of the Agender pride flag with two triangles that reads "Agender Adventurer."

$5.00