“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.
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
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
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.”
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!
Good evening, good afternoon, good morning to you wherever you are!
I have a question for you this fine day.
What would you do if you had nothing in your way? What would you do if you found out that the mountains you have been climbing were just bumps in the road? What would you do if you didn’t fear judgment? What would you do if you wereunstoppable?
Unstoppable is a big word.
I don’t know about you, but I associate this big word with freedom, and I associate feeling free with running, singing, or dancing. You know the feeling where are all of your cares and worries fade into the background and it’s just you and the music? Yeah. That one.
There was one night when I was in Maryland where I grew very sad. I just took off running. I ran and ran, leaving the town behind. When I looked behind me, I saw the Maryland State House, which normally loomed above me, reduced to a tiny point on the horizon, three miles away. I had covered three miles. I felt free. It was almost a symbol of leaving my problems behind.
You might be asking, “why do you like to run? Running’s hard.”
The answer is that I like the satisfaction of having traveled a long (or somewhat long) distance and being able to see where I have gone and how far I’ve come. The truth also is that I can’t flat out run for more than probably fifty feet without stopping.
I could surely get discouraged that I can’t run more than 50 feet without the need to lose consciousness. Here’s what I do instead.
I set a goal. Something like “run to this next street corner”, and if I can successfully run to the next street corner from my current position, I pat myself on the back, walk a bit, then set another goal and achieve it.
I don’t tell myself I’m gonna run 4 miles nonstop. I’m not there yet. Instead, I do what I can. That makes me feel unstoppable. I’m not a wrecking ball or a bullet – I’m a slow, steady, consistent unstoppable. Things like this are just as powerful as bullets and wrecking balls. There’s power in consistency.
Another image I can give you is hiking. I’ve gone on since nice hikes. In Texas, my family and I hiked a short, scrubby mountain just for the hell of it. We were seriously like, “oooh, trailhead” and then found ourselves up a mountain before we knew it.
I was thirteen and terrified of heights. (I still am terrified of heights.) This climb was incredibly scary for me, and I wanted to turn back several times. But I didn’t stop. We were richly rewarded for it. The view was incredible. We could see the entire valley laid out before us. We could even see our campsite! This was one of the best views of my life.
In 2013, I fell into depression. It seemed like nothing helped. I wanted to give up many times. I kept going. Throughout that time, everything felt gray. I kept going. There were times when it felt like there was nothing to live for. It hurt. I kept going.
Eventually things got better, and I saw a purpose in what I had gone through. I am able to help others who are going through the same thing. I went (and am still going, to some extent) through it again when my dad died. That’s a tool to help that I wish I hadn’t gained, but there’s a reason behind it somehow. I don’t entirely know why I lost him, but good things have come along with the bad. That’s why I keep going.
No matter how far I go, I often lose track of the good things in my life because my inner bully/critic convinces me that there’s nothing but darkness. Sound familiar at all?
The only thing I can do here is what I can. The to do lists I make are good at helping me stay productive when I don’t want to do anything. They help me keep moving, to keep climbing. There are few things more satisfying to me than being able to cross things off my to do list. Anything to do to keep moving.
There are these incredible moments when I have a good day, or I get a bunch of stuff done, I learn a new skill, or I get a really interesting spiritual impression.
These are the views that are worth climbing for.
These are the rewards that are worth the run.
I don’t know exactly what’s going through your head and in your life. Nobody is the exact same. But if you’re anything like me, I want to encourage you to keep climbing, though. The view is incredible at the top.
I’m currently hanging out in a store while my husband geeks out.
I don’t have much to do here but think, and the thought I posed to Instagram is that it is okay to not be okay.
I knew I’ve expressed this thought before here, but it’s important to reiterate often.
I go through a series of bad days at times that often stem from me being cruel to myself. I beat the daylights out of myself for not being perfectly calm all of the time, for not being perfectly here all the time, for not being…perfect. I feel like a horrible wife, friend, and person at times just because I fall short and have bad times. I’m coming to learn that self acceptance is important. I worry that I keep making a massive fool of music on social media. I worry that all my efforts are for nothing. But mistakes will be made. It’s important to know and accept that.
This realization is especially important in my relationships and in running my Golden Apple projects. My husband mentioned today that I’m spreading myself too thin over all of my promotion efforts and that I don’t NEED six million Instagram accounts to promote all of my projects individually. It’s a waste of time. So I have started to unite all of the projects under one big Golden Apple banner with this blog as a hub. This should make me less stressed.
The key mission of the Golden Apple Projects is to help people in as many ways as I possibly can. With all of the promotion I’m throwing out into the world, it’s not going very far and I’m not helping people. I actually feel like I reach the most people through my tutoring, and I want to take that approach – getting to know people individually – and use it with my other projects. I don’t want to just have people who interact with me on a business level, I want to have relationships with them. That would be really cool.
I really want to buy a pair of my own Martin boots that I’ve designed and wear them around town. That would be awesome, especially if I find a place I can make friends. Maybe keep a spare pair in the back of my car.
We had been on a call and I told her that I was hungry, so she almost commanded me to go eat. I listened. She would later tell me that as soon as we hung up, her supervisor called and she went on an adventure, for lack of a better word, and seemed to have had a very good time. I didn’t understand why that was wise, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I listened to her. I didn’t intend for there to be any kind of wisdom there, but I suppose by listening, I allowed for it.
I’m a firm believer that there is a plan for everything. A lot of times I have no idea what path my actions will take me down, but I do know that there are certain points – meeting a friend, moving someplace – where a grand plan is more apparent. Others, like being told to end a phone call because I’m hungry and sad, are less obvious, but equally as powerful.
I’ve been seeking to make a change for good recently, and what I seek has also been seeking me. That’s evident now. My Nana calls these moments where everything lines up “synchronicities”, and I’m getting better at noticing them. There are simple actions I take sometimes that cause powerful things to happen.
One snowy night, I was at a birthday party in Rexburg, Idaho, and I was not having a good time. I left early, driving through the snow as carefully as I could. That care didn’t stop me from almost colliding with two other students as I parked. I suck at parking. Everyone was okay, and I recognized one of them, a friend of mine I had made a few weeks back but hadn’t seen in a little while. The other was someone I had never met before. The three of us got to talking, and by the time I left Rexburg, I had gained two true friends who had saved my life a few times. They taught me how to trust again after my last awful relationship, and I am so thankful for them.
One of my strong beliefs is that we’re given the things and people we need in the time we need them. My husband arrived exactly when he needed to, for I needed him when I didn’t yet know it.
He’s taught me so much about how to love and how to be a better human. Marriage is a fun thing, but also very difficult at times. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not super great at working as a team, but I’m learning. It’s like sticking two rocks in a tumbling machine. The rocks lose their jagged edges if all goes well and both become shiny and smooth. That’s our goal.
And all because of a synchronicity.
I’m thankful for God’s (or your own Higher Power’s) wisdom. It’s infinite. They know how to guide our lives and know us better than we know ourselves, and know what’s best for us. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the synchronicities that have led me here.
Sometimes I find it hard to write when I’m away from my writing spot, and I sure am feeling the resistance today.
I’m sitting in my car in Anchorage and the sun hasn’t risen yet. It’s around 7:30 and will likely be around 8:30 by the time I finish this post. I’ve got at least two shots of espresso in me and still all I want to do is sleep. I would sleep soundly.
I think I am afraid to write outside of my usual spot in the basement because I now have bad associations with writing in the car. The last time I wrote in the car was when I wrote the the post about “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie in the parking lot at my old work. Here I am in a parking lot once again, it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m waiting for a friend to call, and I feel hollow.
I’m not yet hollow enough to cry, but I’m getting there. I think parking lots before sunrise are some of the loneliest places I can imagine.
The sky is turning dark blue, the world keeps turning somehow. I want to stop being so scared and be stronger, but my heart is still breaking from yesterday even though I don’t quite remember why my heart was breaking in the first place. I keep telling myself that I should be stronger than I am and beating the shit out of myself when I fall short of my own unrealistic expectations.
I want to leave Anchorage and go back home to the valley where I live, but that’s a long drive and I am not in a headspace where that’s safe. I don’t know how to calm down. I feel a great desire to be stronger than I am, as I have said before.
I beat myself up almost daily for quitting my old job. I feel I should have been able to handle it and I shame myself for not being able to.
I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish simple tasks that take 10-15 minutes for a healthy person to finish. I want to do things, it just hurts in my brain to even make myself move.
I beat myself up for being sad.
I beat myself up for still having waves of debilitating grief over my dad.
I beat myself up for oversleeping or sleeping too little.
I beat myself up for little things that I would give my best friend care and compassion for.
If she or my husband were hurting like this, I would do everything in my power to hear them out and encourage them to take it easy one day at a time. I would encourage them to talk it out with me and tell them to do only what they can and then help when I am needed or wanted. I would make sure that I hear them and make sure they didn’t think they were alone. I would be by their side.
It’s important to me that they are open with what’s going on because sometimes I can’t read them. My best friend is physically far away and sometimes my husband manifests pain differently than I do. So in the same way I want them to tell me what’s going on and keep me informed, perhaps I should listen to what my brain and body need. I need to rest, I know that for certain. I need to be easier on myself. Most of the people around me don’t expect of me what I expect of myself.
I was speaking with a friend of mine who understands what I’m going through. She gave me words of encouragement and said essentially that I’m okay to be where I’m at. I lost my dad three years ago, which is relatively recent. She understands the feeling of it being difficult to accomplish things that are simple to most. She understands me, and that is so important. She makes me feel heard.
So maybe I am strong even though I struggle. I would most certainly think a friend would be were they in the same situation. So why not me?.
If I’m honest, I’m dealing with what I think are the beginnings of burnout. I haven’t been spending hours of each day posting on B and B. I haven’t spent tons of time promoting it, either. Most of the time I’ve been spending has been at work or with my husband. I wonder if it’s because I have more things going on than normal and I am stressed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit the blog – it just means I’m going to have to manage my time better.
Devoting an hour out of my day normally for this is easy. But with my husband around, I want to spend more time with him because I go to work in the afternoons. So it’s getting more difficult to me to budget time for everything. As a result, my desire to write has taken a nosedive.
Am I going to quit?? No. I have goals to achieve, people to meet, lives to touch. My words need to be here, I’m sure of it. B and B is a piece of my heart. Perhaps the posts on the weekends will be shorter and I’ll write more on my “longer” days.
I’m still trying to figure out how to be consistent and not quit when things get hard or when I “don’t have time”. If it’s important to me, I will make time. And B and B is incredibly important to me.
I think my marriage has been teaching me a lot about that. I am consistently becoming a better person because of my husband (and a bit more foul mouthed) because he both inspires me and pushes me. Sometimes I have moments where the gushy feeling subsides and I wonder where it went, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped loving him. At that point, it becomes less of a thing that is felt and more of a choice to be made. And I choose him. He chooses me. He teaches me to be consistent. One of my favorite things he says to me is “If you’re gonna do something, do it right”. I think about that at work a lot and while doing chores. It reminds me to not cut corners. But it can also be applied to marriage – and blogging, for that matter. I hope I can use it in everything, because I’m a person who slacks on everything except for the things that immediately interest me and are easy. And once those things stop interesting me or they get hard, I quit them. Or if I feel like I’m falling into a manic phase, I kill my interest in them.
I’m learning that that’s not okay. I will always be devoted to my marriage, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult at times. I’m learning to be part of a teaminstead of just looking out for myself. I love him, but he teaches me how to love better. He shows me love even when I don’t deserve it. I want to be more like him, and I beat myself up for not being on his level. He stops me from doing so.
Beautiful things are difficult to obtain. I can’t take credit for this phrase, some Greek person made it up. But the meaning stands. Good things are worth fighting for, and at times must be fought for. And I will continue to fight for my beautiful things.