Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Ship Out On the Sea

This is the second day I have seen a vessel out at sea. How I want to
be on it. I love water almost as much as I love the mountains.

Last day at work is done. Everything is packed. Last minute
cleaning, experience another sunrise, pick up paycheck, then
drive...back to my beloved mountains. I hope some are still standing
when I return. Blessed are those who stayed behind to fight for them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Importance of Proper Gear

When forging ahead on opportunites, people many times motivate
themselves with the saying, "at least I will have died trying." After
this trip/journey/whatever it is, I feel like I've botched the saying
to, "at least I will have died trying not quite hard enough," and that
is seriously disappointing. I am once again sitting here on the beach
at sunset, alone, watching the surf and the hottie surfer boys. (I'm
not really sure if they're hot but hopefully by now that you know I
speak as much about surfing metaphorically as literally.) As the
waves crash I realize that I have failed myself and like I'm just back
at square-one. (Sorry to sound so down but I believe in truths.)

The surfers and waves are off in the distance but the obstacles to get
where they are much larger than my ability to get there. Ability
isn't the right word. Neither is drive. I'm not sure what the right
word is because I am physically able and quite passionate about it,
it's just that like with many other things in my life, I am ill-
equipped to get there. The resources I need to get there are never
enough (financial, technical, emotional) and other immediate real
necessities (survival) end up taking prescidence. Just like with
music. Pretty soon, I'll be so far away from the waves that I will
end up forgetting what the surf looks like. So I'm taking in this
moment. Since I don't have a nice enough camera to be able to capture
the moment, hopefully my brain will.

Goddamn. Sunset here is gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Habit forming

Forming new habits and starting new lifestyle patterns is never easy.  For me, this kind of transition is easiest when moving.  

If you settle into a new place without beginning the new lifestyle habits immediately, I daresay statistics would show that you are half as likely to pick them up within the next year.  At least that's how I have it mapped out in my brain based on my observations…and I’ve had many observations considering I've lost count on the number of moves I've made on the last decade.  

On this journey, I didn't do a very good job of mapping these wishful new habits out before I came.  This is one place where I truly feel like I have failed.  I did say I would write everyday but that was an unrealistic goal, and that's definitely one of the keys to success -- setting realistic expectations.  I know with me that saying I'm going to do anything everyday other than wake up and go to sleep is unrealistic.  Sometimes, I'm learning, even going to sleep is too much to expect.

So as I move on, going back home, I can't help but think that living with others instead of the comfort of my own home that it may be difficult to ease into some the new habits with which I really want to stick.  Regardless, I have to make it happen.  Yoga has always been one of my keys to happiness and good health.  So has playing music.  While going with the flow is important and not planning my life away is important, happiness and health are more in this case, I'll do whatever it takes.

Here comes the sunset in all it’s golden lush.  The wind is arriving along with it.  I'm sitting on the beach for one of my last sunsets before departure.  Crabs no bigger than quarter are dancing across the sand all around me.  

While this place is next to god, I will not be sorry to say goodbye. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Visit From an Old Friend

It's 12:30am and I have to be up in 2 1/2 hours.  This demon called panic that I thought I was leaving behind is haunting me again.  I can't remember the last time I had a full night's rest.  The moment just before I shut my eyes, it starts all over again, but sleep isn't something I can avoid.  Apparently nor is it something I seem to be able to have easily or unaided these days.  Yep, this adventure has definitely go awry.  My body takes it out on me when I am loyal to something other than it.  Only one week.  I am strong enough to do anything for just one week...right?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The ads on this page IN NO WAY necessarily reflect my personal beliefs.  I do not believe that a vote for Manchin is a vote for Obama, and I do not believe in the rhetoric of the Republican party.  

Just so we're clear...

The Ocean View

Today, I am sick.  Sitting in front of me is my Wonder Woman medicine chest full of zinc tabs, Umcka, vitamin C tabs, some Vick's chest rub, some Advil Cold & Sinus and some cough drops. Beside that is my knitting that I haven't touched in well over a week, a hot cup of echinacea green tea, and a roll of toilet paper that isn't quite as soft as tissues but will suffice.  Even though when I was packing all this medicine I didn't really think I would need to use it, I now know why I did and am glad I chose not to toss it.  There are a few things that I really wish I had with me, but mostly, I did a good job packing.  I have everything I need (and possibly a little bit more).  I've purchased nothing really besides food since I was here so for the most part, I have nothing extra to carry back.  I did have to pick up some extra long tent stakes in efforts to salvage my outdoor kitchen that was at the mercy of my mosquito net during the storm.  Luckily these little things are not space hogs.  (And luckily, they worked when I needed them to most.)

I'm looking forward to my trip home but really pondering what the reality of what being home will mean.  So many people have offered me a place to stay and I'm thinking that I may end up taking people up on their offers.  I never offer such things unless I mean it so I can only hope that this is the case in return.  I'm learning to accept help when offered instead of being so stubbornly independent.  This lesson is one of the only things that allowed to me to make this journey.  If I didn't have help from my friends in weeding out my apartment for the yard sale, I never would have gotten out of my apartment when I did, saving me another month's rent, and affording me the ability to travel.  If my friends didn't show up to the yard sale to buy my stuff, I wouldn't have had enough money to get me over until the next paycheck.  If I didn't accept their generous donations of items or money, I never would have been fully equipped to make the journey.  If I didn't have my grandmother's garage, I wouldn't have been able to keep some things that are irreplacable.  If I didn't have solid friends who I can call at anytime of the night when I'm sad or scared or lonely or having a panic attack, I'm not sure how I would have made it as far as I have.  When I once again started being stubbornly independent is when things turned awry, and I am unbelievably thankful for this wisdom.

And while indeed I am sick with some kind of respiratory infection, I realize that I am also homesick (but perhaps this is transparent).  Every contact to or from home reinforces this.  The funny thing is that it has taken moving hundreds of miles away to be closer to my loved ones than I was when I lived in the next town.  And while I've lived in some of the most exciting places in the US (however brief), the only thing that has ever made a place worth living has been the friends and family with whom I surround myself; not a job, a beach, nor the city life.  This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy living in some of these other places, because I did.  It just now dawned on me the significance of what it is exactly I walked away from when I left Charleston.  I just hate that it took such extreme measures to allow me realize this. Apparently when it was staring me in the face, I was too blind to see it and too numb to feel it.

So when I go home, will I still call my family every day (that is, if I'm not rolled up on their couch)?  Will I perhaps visit them at least once a week for more than an hour at a time?  Will I see my friends as much as I did when they were rallying to help me prepare for my adventure?  Prior to this move, I never allowed the time needed for any of these relationships.  I was always too busy keeping myself busy.  Maybe this time, I will be able to get my priorities in order?  That's wishful thinking, but lifestyle changes have to start somewhere.

This post almost sounds like I'm talking myself into staying there when I get home.  I still intend to move on once I get there as my adventure doesn't yet seem quite complete.  Where I will go, I'm not entirely sure.  I have a couple of prospects.  One WV bound and the other, the west coast.  I'm looking forward to seeing what pans out.  I'm not really planning much because you know what 'they' say about best laid plans.  However, if there's one thing that I do plan on, it's that nothing ever ends up how you plan it, so I will do my best to enjoy the process.  (That's a huge step from the self-crowned queen planner.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Putting the broom handle down

There is a sheen on the ocean today, almost like a slick. There is a long stream of foam that can't help but make me think of the BP oil spill and wonder what the beaches of Louisiana look like compared to
this and why people are so goddamned complacent to no longer even be talking about it.

I was gently reminded by a dear friend last night that I need to write another blog entry. It has been a week since my last entry. (Why do I suddenly feel like I am at confession?) Originally I planned on writing each day, but to be honest, I just haven't been quite up to  it. I managed to do the thing I came here to learn not to do, and that is devote myself to something other than myself; to devote myself to a job.  To clarify, a minimum wage, back-breaking job.

I have come to the grips with the fact that I am a workaholic, or at least I have admitted it.  Increasingly, I am not okay with it. I work harder at a job than I ever work for myself.  At the end of the day, I have nothing left to give because I have already given my all to my job. I know this is a problem, but I do not know how to put the broom handle down.  Sometimes, literally.  I do not find pleasure on scrubbing bathroom floors, but I do it.  Because it needs done. Why can't I do this in my own apartment?  It needs scrubbed as well. Oh yea, I spent the whole morning doing it somewhere else and now I'm tired. Exhausted.

So what do I do?

I tell you what's easiest to do because it's what I always managed to do: entrench myself in leadership positions merely because I have a workaholic's work ethic which at times may be mistaken as my giving a proverbial shit (and sometimes I do) or makes me seem like a do-gooder.  That's what's easiest to do. I am still haunted with this plague that has overtaken me with every phone call I receive from Washington, DC that has come to make me avoid phone calls with the area code 202; every media call asking my reaction to the chemical industry's lastest wrong-doing; every email alerting me to the auto-bill pay for an organization I took on as my own and for which I paid bills out of an nearly empty pocketbook or on credit hoping I would get compensated somehow when someone decided to care as much as I did to keep the "organization" running.

Was that a run-on sentence? Welcome to my short-wired brain. I blame it on toxic chemicals; a lifetime full of bioaccumulation.

I have only ever taken jobs that I care about. I could say I have been fortunate in that regard but it's not like I've really profitted in any other way than karma points because my bank account sure
doesn't have any rainy day funds available, much less any funds for tomorrow. When I found a job down here, I was hoping I would find one where I wouldn't give a hoot and could try working for a
living instead of living to work.  Unfortunately I somehow manage to at least theoretically dig the cute little iconoclastic bakery where I work and I have much respect for (most of) the people for whom or with whom I work, so again, I bust my ass during ungodly hours and make only slightly over minimum wage.  What is this getting me besides broke and exhausted?  I haven't spent any time learning to surf as I have hoped my entire life moving to a beach would make me do.  I haven't spent any time writing music much less even playing music because I'm either too exhausted or too pre-occupied with another downfall pasttime: TV.  

The whole purpose of this blog was to tell the tale of my great adventure, and it was intended to be great.  Interesting encounters, epiphanies, revolutions of the mind, body and spirit, or perhaps even political revolutions and revolutionaries would be among the stories told. Instead, I bore myself by my writing which must mean that this blog must be boring to anyone who may care to read.  (Yes, I understand that I am my own worst critic.)  That makes me know that my adventure has gone array, as it revered the same purpose as my blog. And I can trace it back to fear. Fear of not knowing how I was going to eat next month when instarted running out of money, fear of the storm, fear of solitude, fear of self-reflection. I let these fears and a series of obstacles, some big and some minor ones, overcome me. So I fell into what was comfortable. Comfortable is boring. It's worse than that, in fact. It's uninspiring. I came on this trip to be inspired. I came on this trip to be inspired, mostly, by...myself.

I quit writing around the time I quit being inspired.  I should have quit even before that, but I felt this obligation, this promise I had made to myself and others about writing.  I could write about more of the people I've met because they are interesting people and I have been inspired in their abilities to overcome tragedy, but somehow their tragic stories full of resiliency seem off-limits. So I am left speechless. Or blogless in this case. I could give you a great rundown on the state of Carlo's bakery and what kind of cakes the Cake Boss is making in Hoboken, NJ this week. Unfortunately, that's about it. I haven't even seen a cute surfer boy to literal drool over.

So, that's it. I've decided to come home at the end of the month. If there's one thing that inspires me, it's West Virginia in the Fall. Don't get me wrong, I miss my family and my friends, but right now, above all else, I really miss the leaves. They inspire me. Next to work and obsessing over my flaws, it consumes my thoughts. Don't worry, this doesn't mean my journey is coming to an fact, it's just beginning. Or starting over.  Or continuing.  It's taking a different direction.  I do not plan on staying home for long, but then again, I threw planning out the window when I made the decision to venture out of my comfort zone, so who knows what the future holds.

So give me my ten hail Mary's and let me be on my merry way. Once you confess and repent, you're through, right? Isn't that how it works?

Anybody know how to hail Mary?  

Crap. There's another roadblock.

Hey wait, is that a hottie surfer boy I see?  :-)

(Rhetorical PS to self:  Why do all the surfers have to be white boys?)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yoda was right

Something about gaining solid walls that makes me feel like I've lost something.  Perhaps it's the television that has sucked the life out of my words and mind.  Suddenly my mind is a whirl again with a certain unrest that I was trying to leave behind.  Everyone keeps asking me what is next and I'm not sure what to say.  So many opportunities keep presenting themselves that I'm thinking I better renew my passport so as not to rule any one of them out.  

Today, I came home after a long day at work and fell asleep in front of the tv for about an hour.  Napping makes me anxious.  So does sitting.  I have a difficult time relaxing because I feel that there are so many other things I could be doing to get me to the next step, whether it be towards happiness, money, love, creativity, independence.  I was reminded yesterday that you are where you are supposed to be.  I can't imagine I am supposed to be sitting in front of a tv.  So finally, for the first real time since I've been on the road, I picked up my guitar.  I played the same songs I have played for many many years and I wanted to croak!  Dear god, all this journey and I play the same sad tunes?  This is not the picture I envisioned in my head.  This trip was supposed to clear this songwriter's block that I have had for far too long.  I think it's just time to accept that I am not a songwriter.  I've tried to do that before and then I popped out a tune I was fairly pleased with.  Go figure.  Yoda was right.  "There is no try, only do."

So these walls...I think I miss sleeping on the ground.  I miss my kitchen and living room being exposed to the world and the elements.  I miss having to go get fetch my water.  I miss all the things that reminded me how much we take for granted within walls.  That's why I wanted to camp.  To be grounded.  To feel a part of instead of apart.

After playing my guitar, I forced myself out out of my cavern and onto the beach to enjoy what was left of the the chilly sunny day.  I walked for a while.  I took some pictures with my film camera but the light wasn't quite right and I was not inspired.  Lacking the ability to zoom sucks at the beach.  No pictures of the dolphin pod or the sea kayakers or the surfers in their wetsuits as they watched the dolphins swim by at sunset; only pictures of the clouds and the choppy line of the horizon.  Since when is the horizon choppy?

A hearty meal of beans, bulgar, steamed broccoli and carrots garnished with tomatoes and nutritional yeast topped off the evening.  Now, my cup of tea and a little knitting.  At least when I knit, I can see progress.

It's time I knit something for myself. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

I would love to hear from those who seem inspired by my adventure.  What would you do next? 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Heaven to Hell in a Handbasket wrapped with a Pretty Red Bow

Okay, so maybe my week hasn't been quite so dramatic as the subject line, but nearly.  

I haven't felt much like writing over the last week.  Maybe I should rephrase that.  I did feel like writing but my body has been on near shutdown starting the moment I get off work.  I think it's a combination of readjusting my schedule, the serious lack of sleep and the duress from last week's weather.  This time last week, I was sleeping in my car.  Now, I get up at 3:15am, go to work by 4am and am off by noon.  By that time, I am so unbelievably exhausted that I can barely keep my head up.  I make a cup of tea, I lay down on my couch in my new apartment and watch my flatscreen HD TV until I am prompted to move (I have a love/hate relationship with television, similar to that of a junkie with their junk who wants to quit).  I forgot how difficult it is to stand on hard floors for 8 hours at a time.  I figure if the women I work with can manage to do it without complaining, I can manage, but at the end of the day, I am nearly cripple.

Work has managed to take over my time and reason for being here.  In the back of my mind, I knew it would.  I can't take a job and not give it my all; it's just not within me no matter how much I wish it was.  I found myself on my hands and knees yesterday scrubbing baseboards and I am only making just above minimum wage.  I don't even scrub the baseboards at my own house, apartment, tent, car.  The weather and this work has turned this sanctuary into just another place that is only a nice place to visit.  A man said to me the other day that a rainy day at the beach is better than a sunny day at home.  Apparently he wasn't here last week when the wrath of God came tearing the walls nearly down all around, and apparently he hasn't met the locals to learn what life on the island is really like.

You are where you are supposed to be.  That sounds like a little piece of mind I would say to someone else struggling with their place in the time but instead someone reminded me of it just today.  I believe I was drawn to this cafe for work probably because I needed solid walls around me.  It has also a good reminder of what exactly my path is and what it is not, and that is listening to myself and not letting fear respond putting me in a situation where I don't want to be is the way.  The women I work with are teaching me a lot about life.  Anyone who thinks they're above working a minimum wage job, especially in the food service industry should try it out before judging.  It is neither easy nor rewarding, but I will elaborate on this more at a later date.  And how I want to tell their stories, individually (but I am just so tired)...

This place thrives on tourism, and when the season is over, so is the work, so most people on this island have to thrive on the pay they get for 8 months out of the year.  The women I work with go on unemployment for the rest of the year unless they want to move away from their homes to find jobs elsewhere.  If I owned this business, I would turn it into a co-op and make it a year-round business where the people who work here (mostly locals) share in the profits.  They could package and distribute their goods through the winter months in order to keep people employed.  If only it were about the people instead of the profit, but we are living in America, afterall.

My zest for writing has been replace by exhaustion so this brief summary for the week is all I have in me at the moment.  At 7pm, in 1/2 hour, I will need to go to bed in order to get in 8 hours of sleep before I go to work.  If only I could make that happen...

This morning, I slept in until 6:45am and I felt like I was living the high life.