“I haven’t had a decent sandwich in 13 years.”

RA by Hey Fran Hey

I got my special gift from The Friendzone Podcast.  (!!!) It’s fabulous (despite my crappy photo.)  The shipping box, the presentation, the product;  all well designed and created by Hey Fran Hey and Resonance Apothecary, specifically for us, (listeners.)  It’s beautiful all the way through.  M is upset I didn’t have the partnership acumen to purchase one for him as well.  (Ouch.)  Therefore, I’m sharing mine with him.  (Lesson learned, application in progress, ego pouting.) 🤪🙃  I feel a bit like I’m in school again.  The universe is showing me all sorts of things I either didn’t notice, declined to process, or wasn’t prepared to accept in the past.

I’m glad I have this new healing tool to help train my brain to adapt to these revelations.  The effectiveness of aromatherapy in this process is impressive.  I smell the oil (Embodiment) whenever I start to wander; both physically and mentally.  I sit on the rug (Criss-cross-apple-sauce) and sniff.  (Putting both feet on the floor doesn’t help me ground myself.)  Then I fill my lungs as full as I can, hold for a moment, and release slowly.  That’s it.  That’s all it takes to get back in my body, now.  🙃  My kit, even halved, will last a long time.  I think some readers didn’t order in time, so I’ll need to wait a while before reordering, (after they recover from fulfilling the first offering.)

Amelia B. my cat
Amelia B: S’up, yo?

The universe is treating me like an adult survivor who has sat with, processed, accepted, and adapted to the joys, traumas, and everything in between on my journey so far.  I’d very much like to fall to the floor and weep because I feel like I need more time to adjust.  But life insists; ready or not, here I come.  I’ve noticed the distinction between sad and depressed as a result.  I’m sad because I can’t make the universe journey at my particular pace.  It’s merely a feeling; not a condition bent on owning me before ending me prematurely.  (Mosquito bite compared to cancer.)  It took longer to type this paragraph than to move on emotionally.  Yay.

I didn’t know what to expect regarding my healing path.  Before I had my map, I felt like I was flailing about aimlessly.  I didn’t even know how to recognize healing.  My intuition served me well as I was already doing many helpful things without realizing it.  The vocabulary and comprehension of what I’m seeking were what I most needed.  It’s certainly a process.  I’m delighted that much of the most challenging work takes place in my sleep.  I don’t awaken from nightmares anymore, which is fabulous.  But I do feel like I spend the nights in an emotionally intense therapy session.  I’m healing my spirit.  (All this time, I assumed it was my mind.  🤪)

My mind is amazing.  It’s not at all broken.  I just had to embrace a lot of hippy shit before I recognized the mind-spirit connection.  If my spirit is curled up in the fetal position in the corner, my mind loses its effectiveness and reliability, (autopilot.)  My eureka moment lasted a while, as I traced the useless pattern back to elementary school when I had an epic meltdown in class.  I learned the difference between memorization and comprehension that day.  Before that, I functioned by rote and memorized everything I heard or read while comprehending little.  My mind and spirit were not working together.  I’m autistic, and the physical environment was far too hostile for me to be all the way there.  (I figuratively sent a tape recorder to class from jump.)

funkopops
My Funko Pop collection (so far)

Then one day, it didn’t work.  Parroting didn’t cut it any longer.  My teacher wanted me to explain with my own words and prove I comprehended.  I just kept repeating my script while getting more and more agitated.  I was like a skipping vinyl record.  When the tears began, I ran home.  It was a horrible, awful day.  Fortunately, one of my brothers taught me math from fractions to trigonometry.  He made it fun, and I love math ever since.  My mom was a voracious reader.  She went through at least two novels a week.  It rubbed off on my siblings and me.  I spent much of my free time as a kid reading the books my mom gave me.  Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Judy Blume, and Erma Bombeck were my favorite living authors until my brother introduced me to science fiction.  😆

In Elementary school, the only classes I could process were art and music.  I also learned about racism, self-defense, and the magic of not responding.  Junior High school was when I figured out how to cope with being in a classroom.  My science teacher, Mrs. Zeeb, was the first teacher I had that treated me like a student.  (She wasn’t overtly-even-to-an-autist offended I was allowed to attend school as the token black kid.)  She saw me as a human child and taught me about science.  It changed everything.  I looked forward to school for the first time in my life.  It was no longer mandatory trauma.  It was a place where I could find out fascinating information about the world.  It was a place where not all the adults were tormentors.  Mrs. Zeeb showed me not all white adults automatically hate me for existing.  I’ll never forget her.

loot
New Stuff! 👍🏾

I believe I scored well on testing because my mom had me keep a journal so we could communicate effectively since before I began school.  My brothers bought me puzzle books and loved having me recite mathematical equations for their friends, and do their homework.  (It probably would have amused teenaged me, too.)  Most of what I knew about the world came from novels and lyrics before I joined the Army.  While I had nicknames like Yoda and Professor Einstein in training, the fact I couldn’t pull off a conversation with people led to my being evaluated and diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  At my first permanent duty station, they called me, E.T., because I was obviously not from this planet.  (I love E.T., so I was like, bet. 😂)

I’ve been filling in knowledge holes ever since.  The assumptions I made based on limited information were probably right once in a while, but it seems like they were wrong a great deal of the time.  (For example, I assumed birth control pills were necessary to get pregnant.)  Conversations with people are required.  😂  I played basketball with my neighbor the other day, and we talked.  I’m having second thoughts about being her friend.  I like her.  Her blatant, willful ignorance, also hurts me.  She gleefully announced she’s lazy and gets all her news from a single, questionable source while denying climate change.  (In my head, I was defining what friendship entails.)

I’ve decided we’re neighbors who greet one another.  I’m unwilling to invite her into my life as a friend.  I don’t want to spend time with someone who hurts me because they’re too lazy to grow and become their best self.  I don’t want to waste my precious energy, trying to coax her into being a reasonable citizen of Earth and adult.  It’s her choice to ride her privilege rather than live her best life.  Many choose this path, unfortunately.  Not it.  I’m low-level grieving what could have been.  However, I won’t allow anyone to hurt me.  I’m off to band practice.  💜✌🏾

 

“Jerry, you’re getting your father too excited.”

50th birthday cake

Welp.  You know what? I’m 50 years old!!!  Can you believe it?  I made it!  I win!  I survived everything the universe has thrown at me for half a freakin’ century!  Every time I remember, I feel a surge of overwhelming joy. 🙃 (Also, chicken butt.) I stayed in my apartment and lay low on my birthday because I can’t believe I’m still alive!  I nearly convinced myself there would be a life-ending freak accident that day, merely to send me on to whatever comes next while laughing my ass off.  The universe likes to play like that, don’t you know. 🤭

I can still breakdance, but I won’t because it’s so not worth the painful (and embarrassingly long) recovery period.  I’m satisfied just knowing if I end up in a life or death situation where breakdancing is my only path to survival, game on.  💪🏾 Dr. Keia reduced me to a quivering puddle of goo on the floor from laughing at her Pet Peeve this week on the Gettin’ Grown podcast.  (It didn’t help that I could hear Jade ugly laughing with me in the background, probably also from the floor.)  For some reason, in my head, Dr. Keia morphed into Marsai Martin while delivering her sound (and hilarious) advice on just how hot lukewarm my summer should be at my age.  (Yep.  It’s fun in my head.)  😂

Marsai Martin
Photo by Martina Tolot

My attempt to eat my way through my junk food stash before starting a new diet had less than ideal results.  Before I finished, I overindulged, and now I don’t like junk food anymore until I forget this happened.  I realize I panicked and did the opposite.  Whoops.  (Flashback to my brother punching me in the shoulder, then asking, “What did you learn?”)  Sigh.  So my do-over will consist of slowly lowering my carb and sugar intake over a month to the goal amount.

Once I master that, I’ll move on to step two.  (I forgot about baby-stepping.  Doy.)  😉  It’s not a diet; it’s a tweak.  Introducing crunches into my daily routine has gone smoothly.  I cheat on all exercise-related activity by turning on Beyoncé’s Homecoming while I do it.  It makes exercise as appealing as eating cake while getting a massage by someone whose touch reminds you of why having a body is magnificent.  (Also, I laughed so hard when Le Twins used their interview to tell Taylor they wouldn’t dance for her.) 🤣

jon-tyson-1581881-unsplash

I watched the first episode of Euphoria, thanks to Dustin from The Friend Zone podcast.  I believe it’s the most intimate portrayal of Generation Z I’ve seen so far.  I can tell from just that episode it’s mandatory viewing with my full attention.  It’s not my world anymore.  I recognize my role is to support the millennials who are spreading their wings and training their skills.  It’s their turn in the natural order of things.  Today’s young people are traumatized by the state of the world before they even get a chance to find their place in it.  As an adult, I must act.  Therefore, retired now means time privilege to address these big-picture issues.

My life so far has made me willful, resilient, joyful, forgiving, and loving.  I’m my own best friend.  I trust my ability to cope with whatever comes my way.  (I was there all those times life was kicking my ass, and I took notes.  Then eventually, I applied them when I realized it was also necessary.)  🤪  I’m impressed by the younger generations.  It’s evident to me they represent a better version of humanity.  It’s hard for me to elaborate, but I’m honored to support them in whatever ways I can.   They generally make me proud.  I’m off to read.  ✌🏾💜

“I saw someone on the street eating M&M’s with a spoon.”

The Fleetwood Mac concert was last night.  I still have a massive grin on my face.  I’m floating on a cloud of joy, today.  Since I attended alone, I took a Lyft ride there and back.  Aside from struggling to locate my Lyft driver among so many others after the show, it proved ideal.  Instead of waiting in lines, the crowd smoothly flowed through security to our seats.  It was like being gently guided.

twitterish meme
joke credit: VisualVox

I was seated among lovely people who reminded me why I love Sioux Falls so much.  A woman seated with her partner in front of me turned around and gave me a high-five when the band took the stage.  I was between a group of young women and two men around my age.  We spontaneously swayed arm-in-arm to the music several times while singing along.  😮😍😆🙃

It startled me at first, but I played it off and joined in.  Then I internally celebrated my happy amazement over bonding with local strangers without the slightest bit of panic.  I had floor seats, so we stood from the moment the music began until the band took a bow at the end.  I wore cargo pants with a leg pocket for my phone, which was perfect.  I didn’t lose anything while mesmerized by the performance.  Yay.

happy doof

After a few songs, I realized I was standing there on tiptoes with my hands clutched in fists just below my chin, shoulders hunched, eyes open as wide as they go, and presumably a super goofy expression around my grin.  (Part of me is secretly hoping the band couldn’t see us well from beneath the lighting.)  I couldn’t help it.  (Even though I’ve seen photos of people doing this, and thought they looked like doofs.)  Heh.

I had a fantastic time.  I did see one other black person, but I think he worked there.  😂  (I didn’t look around at the audience once the band started playing.)  Mick Fleetwood’s drumming blew my mind.  His kit is gold with penguins on the kick drum.  After stunning us with his skills, he got up and casually tossed his sticks while exiting the stage.  (So cool.)  He did all the faces, too.  I love him.  😆

The magical vibe that only Fleetwood Mac can create remains wrapped around me like a hug.  Watching Stevie Nicks in her element with my own eyes was a bucket list moment.  She rocked.  I love her.  (I’m making that face again.)  Christine McVie came out from behind the keyboards to sing beside Stevie Nicks, too.  (I may have involuntarily squeed.)  I loved seeing Sharon Celani and Lori Nicks singing backup, as well.  The band sounded fabulous.  The percussion and bass were felt as well as heard, (which is how it should be.)

The new lineup is tight and smooth together.  I think they’re even better now.  (Yep.  I said it.)  The tribute to Tom Petty was brilliant.  I’m off to continue being a happy doof while I practice drumming.  ✌🏾💜

p.s. Here’s the photo I took (just before I forgot my phone could do that.)

Fleetwood Mac concert Sioux Falls

“They’re low flow, you know.”

beautiful couple

It recently occurred to me I can watch TV, now.  (And I don’t just mean repeatedly watching Seinfeld, The Boondocks, and other animated series with 15ish-minute episodes.)  Netflix is fantastically rocking my world.  Part of me wants to travel to their headquarters, stand in front of the content selection team, and dance my happy song on the violin before them until I burst into tears of gratitude.  🥰😍😮🤔🤭🤫

Oofda.  I might understand why oversharing is a thing, now, too.  🙃  What I mean is I don’t care about the recent price increase for Netflix.  Worth it.  Period.  I finished experiencing Black Mirror (until they create more.)  I’ll undoubtedly rewatch it.  Sense8 is easily my favorite show of all time.  It reaches me on a level beyond even novels.  It’s astonishing when you consider books are my most natural means of connecting with the world outside my head.

Person dressed as a bunny watching the waves

I think watching in 4k is a significant factor, as well.  It seems we’ve finally progressed to where filming and lighting are accurate enough to captivate.  Skin looks like skin, now.  People of color finally look as radiant as they do in real life.  Light-toned people no longer appear sickly in natural lighting.  I didn’t even know the flaw was distracting until it went away.  It’s eliminated a subconscious uncanny valley.  Yay.

The imperfections in human appearances are significant in adding interest, dimension, and believability.  Humans don’t look perfect;  it’s what makes us beautiful.  Julia Roberts seems to get it.  She remains gorgeous because she’s not fighting nature, she’s embracing it.  (I know she’s not the only one, but she’s who caught my attention in this respect.)  Aging doesn’t diminish beauty.  It merely transforms it.  For a long time, Hollywood has attempted to hide this transformation from us.  But with 4k, it’s futile.  Heh.

I’m thrilled because I’m looking forward to films with actors whose careers flourish at the point where they master their skills, not end.  Where irrelevant formulas no longer drive the industry.  Where entertainment no longer centers on momentary titillation laced with gratuitous violence.  Not a viable vision to emulate, that.  There’s far too much junk food in our collective entertainment diet.  We deserve more, and Netflix is banking on it.

vivid color

Hollywood still thinks reality shows are the solution, but they don’t seem to grok the point.  Reality shows are a band-aid.  We’re not rejecting fantasy and imaginings.  We’re rejecting formulary lies.  Monetary gain as the single goal is anathema to creativity.  It’s a Banksy shredder, yo.  I’m pleased there is a corporation with the cerebral fortitude to play Go while the rest are still playing Chess.  I feel like I’m watching the butterfly-wing-flap that stirs a tsunami in the future of entertainment.  (See why I couldn’t help but overshare?)  😆😂✌🏾💜

 

“They said I put too much chlorine in the pool.”

bloom

Time has been flying by of late.  The results of rebuilding myself with small changes are continuing to reveal astonishing outcomes.  This butterfly effect is fascinating, and I’m surprisingly fearless in its midst.  Letting go of my need to feel in control whenever possible is likely involved.  I didn’t anticipate this skill as part of growing, but I’m delighted by it.  (Bonus!) 🙃

I believe it involves a level of trust in myself to be able to cope with whatever comes my way.  Experience and reflection are far more valuable than I ever imagined.  I spent time lamenting the challenges, unfairness, trauma, and despair I’ve endured without recognizing the gifts that grew from the devastated ground.  I failed to focus on how painful periods of fire-and-fallow eventually lead to regeneration.

This newfound understanding is a powerful anti-stress tool.  My transformation from extremely high-strung to calm and tranquil is incredible.  It feels as if I stumbled on it accidentally, then noticed in hindsight.  My world moves more slowly now.  I’m no longer stuck on a permanent three-second delay.  I’m not continually racing to catch up to the present, but instead, exist here.  It’s wonderful here.  I can look around and breathe.

solitude

Initially, I credited this phenomenon as part of aging.  But after more consideration, I’ve concluded it’s about growth.  I recall being upset when I realized growth and aging don’t necessarily correlate.  Based on my observations, they’re not even related.  I’m perpetually attracted to those whose energy reflect tranquillity.  (It’s likely because I’m highly sensitive to that of others.)

I know my proclivity for solitude is born of rejecting the exhaustion that results from proximity to chaotic energy.  I used to view it as a weakness, but now I believe it’s nutrition for my soul.  I’m confident it’s afforded me the ability to grow.  I notice this feature in the lives of those who capture my interest and attention, as well.  It also clarifies the diversity of individuals to which I’m attracted.  I even appreciate the thought required to connect the dots.  🙃

For the first time in my life, I’m thankful I was interracially adopted, and raised in racial isolation.  I can finally see the ways it’s had a positive effect on who I’ve become, rather than merely regret the overwhelming sorrow and pain it also entailed.  While I’m still amazed I survived to adulthood, I acknowledge the fire-and-fallow created many opportunities to regenerate and grow into who I’ve become.  Today, I love the beautiful garden that evolved as a consequence.