Avo

This old car was not the ordinary definition of pretty. In fact, she was pretty ugly. Some might even say repulsive, an eye sore. If I had an ounce more pride than desperation I would have never been seen in it. It was a 1982 station wagon, pea green mind you, with wood paneling running down both sides. Bring to mind the car from National Lampoons Vacation, remember that one? Yes, you got it, that’s the one. She was the ugliest car you could imagine, but she was part of our life that we will never forget.

My Dad bought her for us, “She’s dependable”, “a good sturdy car”. He had gotten it down the road from a neighbor for a good rate. He came pulling into the driveway with it and inside I was squirming and pleading that this was not want he wanted me to drive my 3 kids around in. He got out, handed me the keys and she was mine. All mine. This green giant was mine. My Dad excitedly pointed out the special feature that the back window went down, so when you piled all the kids into the back they could see out and make inappropriate faces and hand gestures to the cars behind them. The interior was brown, so the car almost looked like an Avocado, which is exactly what she affectionately became known as.

(but for the stories sake, let’s call her Avo).

Let me tell you a little bit more about Avo and the capabilities she had. She could carry two adults, 3 children, 1 dog, 2 cats, approximately 25 sand toys, 55 random French fries, countless Barbie shoes, missing socks, important school papers that never got turned in, $56.00 in loose change and 10 bags of groceries. Avo was a power horse. Until she wasn’t anymore.

In July of the following year, Avo had been making a lot of trips to the courthouse and wildly stressful and sad places as my husband and I decided to get divorced. During that time, she was my sanctuary. I would take her down to the lake and she was the only one in the world who knew exactly how I felt. She would hold me while I cried and tried to figure out what to do. She kept my secret smoking habit under wraps. Every month for 6 months, Avo and I would drive to that huge white building in the middle of the city and we would look for an open spot with no other cars near so Avo could have her space. We would lumber passed the sports cars and the elite ones finding our spot a few blocks away.

Nearing the end of the marriage, when the divorce was soon to be final, I noticed Avo starting to get old. Her locks weren’t opening when needed, she was getting a lot of rust around the edges and one day, she just decided not to go into reverse anymore. It was almost as if she just decided “nope, I’m not doing it anymore.” But, truthfully, she had done so much for us, the soccer games, the fireworks, the sleepovers, the long trips, I couldn’t blame her. I understood. I could have gotten rid of her at that time and replaced her with something new. But, I didn’t. The kids and I learned how to park very strategically for the last 6 months of Avos life. We would look for hills to park on so when we needed to reverse we could just “Roll” back. If that was not an opportunity, we made sure we could just pull forward. And worst-case scenario, we would all put one foot out and push her backward like a scene on the Flintstones. It was almost a game we played every day. You see, Avo was not just an old ugly car, Avo taught us about love, family, commitment and togetherness. We learned about life and love with Avo.

Avo lasted another 6 months with us. During that time, I started back in college. Night after night Avo would start up and we would trudge through the snow and sleet back and forth to school. She truly was my trusty steed. One especially snowy night, I had a late class. I was creeping home very gingerly as Avo’s tires had been smooth as butter for about 5 years. About half way through my trip home, I came upon a snow plow in the oncoming lane. Before I knew what happened Avo and I drifted into the other lane and we hit head on with that snow plow. That was it. It was over. Avo was finished. Her front end was crumpled into a heap, the bumper is probably still in that ditch. The tow truck came and before they hitched her up, while I waited for my ride, I said goodbye. I thanked her for all she had done for me and for all that she taught us. I told her how much I would miss her and then I watched as she lumbered down the road one last time hooked up to the back of the tow. I stood there until she was out of sight and slowly walked to the car there to pick me up. As I wearily climbed into my seat, I heard the familiar tune of “Long May You Run.” Come across the radio waves.

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What are you doing with your life ?!

I was asked for my liberal studies class to show what I would bring to a prospective employer as far as awards I have won or my achievements – I wrote this instead since I didn’t have any awards to show for –

If I were to go to a new employer today, it seems I would have to bring my experience.  My experience that I would speak of would be how I started school in 2006, but at the same time I was hired for my current career.  For the next 11 years, I raised my children, worked at an extremely demanding career and never gave up my personal dream of finishing my degree.  The road has not been straight and without detours to say the least.  I quit, both school and job at times.  I tried many other avenues looking for what I believed would bring me peace.  I returned to work part time because I believed school and work to be too demanding for me not yet sure of how capable I really was.  I took multiple breaks from my career because it was emotionally taxing.  All of these experiences taught me truly that there is no “place to get to” there is “no place to arrive.”  The peace that I was seeking outside of me had always been with me, but I was searching in the wrong places.  This life, every day, truly is just a journey.  I may die today. I may have to drop out for unforeseen circumstances.   Would that mean that all of my years of trying to get this degree have been wasted?  Many might say yes.  Many would shake their head at what a life and money gone down the drain.  Many wonder why, at 44 years old, I continue to learn?  “You have a good career, why do you continue to do this?  Especially if you don’t intend on changing careers.  “

I do not stand with these beliefs.   Not one second of my life has been wasted.  Each day has been an adventure.  Each day I have encountered new people and new lessons.  When I started to look at each day this way and stayed present for what was that day instead of what I could be someday, my life changed.  When I looked the person in the eye who I was engaging with instead of wishing I was talking to someone else across the room, when I am fully engaged in what is happening right now, the sounds, the sights and the smells, I have the best life I’ve ever known.  This is where all of my experiences have brought me and this is what I started out searching for.

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Bondage or Freedom

I was asked yesterday why I greet everyone I see. Why do I say hello and smile at them. The person I was with was taught to specifically NOT make eye contact and certainly do not engage. Wasn’t I afraid of being harmed ? … I’ve been thinking a lot about this since yesterday. I’ve been questioning if I am naive in times such as these when every day there’s torture and abuse to astounding degrees. I’ve been questioning if I’m being gullible and perhaps setting myself up as a target….My answer ? I’m not.  

 Furthermore, if I am ~ I guess it’s a risk I’m willing to take.  

This is the way I see it… I literally can’t afford to walk around afraid and suspect of the world. That kind of thinking eats me alive like a cancer. It robs me of joy and dries out my soul. I’m so much more peaceful believing every single person in this world has the exact same amount of love inside of them but sometimes it gets covered up by things … like fear, anger , abandonment, abuse …. that fear causes us to react in order to survive. I’m going to say this .. even Charles Manson and Jeff Dahmer – love, they were born with love. 
now this does mean I put myself in stupid situations- not for a second – I have a very acute sixth sense and I listen to it . I have intuition and gut feelings that direct me. Above all, I know that love responds to love … 

Fear breeds fear. Love breeds love. It’s the greatest fact of all time. 

Test out my theory.  

And what if I’m wrong .. what if this were my last post ever and tonight I was let’s say mugged, beaten and left to die in a park , would I take this post back and change my mind ? I pray not.  

I pray that I would ask for the willingness to forgive and understanding for those who hurt me. Compassion and understanding for their struggle that put them in that place. Im not saying it would be remotely easy, and I don’t even know I would achieve it , but I would die trying because to me , hate truly is too great a burden to bear.
A story by the Dalai Lama – “A monk who had been held captive and brutally tortured for years in an effort to force him to renounce his faith, was asked on his release if he had been afraid. He thought for a while, then smiled and said ~ Yes, I was afraid. Very afraid. I was afraid towards the end that I would lose compassion for those who tortured me”.

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Self hate & Chiropractors

I went to the chiropractor today to diagnosis and treat a backache Ive had for 6 months. The diagnosis ? Low self esteem.

For as long as I can remember Ive been told to “pick my head up” to “show my face to the world” and for as long as I remember, Ive turned my face downward and curled my shoulders in. This is my signature posture…. shoulders slumped, and head down, where I belong.. do not take up too much space. It is not uncommon for me to historically run into people at work because I was looking at the ground while walking. What I learned today is that, believing the lie that I wasn’t worthy has caused my spine to grow in strange ways and arthritis to form. I have never more than now believed that what we tell ourselves causes our disease. I have literally caused my body to do this by what I have been telling myself for 40 years.

Heres the good news. For the past year, I have been learning to hold my head up (literally and figuratively ) so the repair has already been occurring. The doctor today showed me how when I curl in the way I have all my life, I cant even breathe right, my nerves don’t work right, my blood doesn’t flow correctly and my nerves cant function the way they are supposed to…. all because of what I am telling myself in my mind. I need to open my chest, my chakras, I need to hold my head back and back straight for my body to function to its full capacity. I am so sad that I have done this to myself and been so mean to myself for all of these years, but I am so grateful to have discovered it and excited to treat my body well. I am excited to do yoga and to put my phone down and be present to what is going on around me. I am looking forward to treating the outside as well as I have been the inside the past year. The next frontier is on the horizon.

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Self hate and Chiropractors.

I went to the chiropractor today to diagnosis and treat a backache Ive had for 6 months. The diagnosis ? Low self esteem.

For as long as I can remember Ive been told to “pick my head up” to “show my face to the world” and for as long as I remember, Ive turned my face downward and curled my shoulders in. This is my signature posture…. shoulders slumped, and head down, where I belong.. do not take up too much space. It is not uncommon for me to historically run into people at work because I was looking at the ground while walking. What I learned today is that, believing the lie that I wasn’t worthy has caused my spine to grow in strange ways and arthritis to form. I have never more than now believed that what we tell ourselves causes our disease. I have literally caused my body to do this by what I have been telling myself for 40 years.

Heres the good news. For the past year, I have been learning to hold my head up (literally and figuratively ) so the repair has already been occurring. The doctor today showed me how when I curl in the way I have all my life, I cant even breathe right, my nerves don’t work right, my blood doesn’t flow correctly and my nerves cant function the way they are supposed to…. all because of what I am telling myself in my mind. I need to open my chest, my chakras, I need to hold my head back and back straight for my body to function to its full capacity. I am so sad that I have done this to myself and been so mean to myself for all of these years, but I am so grateful to have discovered it and excited to treat my body well. I am excited to do yoga and to put my phone down and be present to what is going on around me. I am looking forward to treating the outside as well as I have been the inside the past year. The next frontier is on the horizon.

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The Long Road to Freedom.

The earliest memory I have of having issues with food is having my mom and Grandma drive me to a Weight Watchers meeting at the age of 12 years old. I had no idea why I was there, or what I was doing, but all I knew is when you got on the scale in the front of the room and if you lost weight that week, everyone applauded. Applause felt nice. It was warm. I sat in rows among women 30 and 40 years my senior who had been battling themselves for years, you could see it through their eyes all the way down to their souls. Through those same tired eyes, they kept encouraging me and telling me I was good as if my success meant one day they might be ok too. Little did I know; this was my initiation to join them and think of little else for the next 3 decades.

From ages 12-22 I had a small reprieve from food because alcohol took precedence. Who cares about food when you have the elixir from heaven (tongue in cheek) . After I got sober, at age 21, I turned full bore to food. Food was my best friend, my confidante, it was always there, it never let me down. When those childhood memories started creeping up….. it was there. When I felt ashamed and afraid – food. The good thing about food , it was completely socially acceptable, more so than alcohol. When you are in a food coma, its less obvious than being fall down drunk. You could even attend self help meetings with a sugar high, completely ok ! No one suspected a thing. I could continue presenting to the world that everything was just fine and soothe the inner demons at the same time. Ive heard it been said that the only thing that happens to someone who overeats is “they become fat”. HA. That one makes me laugh and cry from the deepest parts of my being. Because the deepest parts of my being is where the pain is at. It may seem like “fat” is my problem and I “should just put down the fork” but the truth is, food is my only solution… Underneath that fat is a world of pain and confusion.

As the years crept on, the weight did too. Now here is where being a food addict and a human being get tricky. I need food to feel ok in my skin, but Im also self-obsessed and need to “look like Im ok” I had previously tried to experiment with vomiting, but I have never been good at that. I have aspired to be the best bulimic out there, but Im not a real classy puker ~ enter laxatives. These pretty little BFFs were now the key to allowing me to medicate what ails me and stay thin, never mind I sometimes got heart palpitations. I would tell myself Im not really that bad because I would never ever take diet pills. Diet pills terrified me as these turned on my mom and took her down years prior. I totally had this under control. Food and laxatives, laxatives and food. My best friends forever. Us against the world….. for a little while. Over the years I had tried every diet you known to man as well. Drinking only shakes, drinking only juice so much that I would canker sores in my mouth from the acid, eating only vegetables eating only protein, allowing myself to only eat at certain times, never eating in resteraunts, eating only organic foods, counting calories, counting carbs, intuitively eating, the list goes on and on. As I had mentioned earlier, I was in recovery from alcohol and the more I recovered through the years , the more I started to see , little by little, what I was doing to myself and what I was doing exactly was dying inside each bite I took, every macronutrient I counted and each time I stepped on a scale to measure my worth. Each step was a step closer to death… perhaps not a physical death, but a death of my soul for sure.

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Be still.

Sitting on my hands tonight. Sitting. Not sure where I fit. The people around me are young and laughing and flirting with one another. They can eat pizza and drink beer tonight after class and tomorrow they can make it to their 8:00 AM class. I am alone among them. I feel old , and large and tired. I want to go home where i am comfortable. I am mom. I am wife. Where I am safe. Be still. I question the decisions I made today at work. I question the decisions I make with myself. I wonder if i am accepting myself or letting myself go. I smile at the cashier when I buy my tea. I relate to her. I understand her. We are one. Now I am in class.
I come to class. I am the first one here because i enjoy the quiet. I enjoy the time to just be. I question if I will pass this class. Deduction and Hypothesis. Be still.
A youngish man, meh perhaps 24 , comes in and joins me. He asks me what I think of the class. He tells me he is struggling. He wonders if anyone else is and he fears he will fail. We share. We are are two. I am thankful. I am still.

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