“Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old…”

I revisited Brideshead Revisited last night and was struck, more deeply than usual, by Waugh’s opening line:

“Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old…”

Why did this opening line stand out?  I’ve been trying to find the right quote, the right words to help me reflect on my current dip into anxiety after the vulnerability hangover took over a while back.  It’s not letting up.

My body has rebelled, or more accurately, my chakras are screaming!  Or even more accurately, or what comforts me to focus on, is that my sacral and throat chakras are in dire need of attention apparently!

My lower back was thrown out last Friday and refuses to ease.  Ah, it’s the old dance injury, familiar worries about money, embracing transitions, change, re-experiencing triggers.  And my old wound is acting up (an old left parotid gland/facial nerve tumor issue)- so scratching my left ear feels like I’m scratching my cheek.  Running my tongue along my upper teeth on the left side, pausing at the missing tooth, is interpreted as my lower jaw.  It’s all familiar.  It’s nothing new.  Benign.  But important.  Just old friends encouraging me to pay attention.

So why does the Waugh quote feel like the right words?  

“Here, at the age of 39, I began to be old…”

What does it have to do with aches and pains and anxiety?

The quote brought me right back to my 39th birthday, when I began to be old.  It was the turning point.  I experienced an intense, earth-shattering betrayal.  The wound was deep, great, painful.  It was different from other losses and experiences.  It attacked the very core where my innocent inner self was housed.

When a strong trigger strikes now, it opens that wound in the heart.

It’s a falling back into darkness.  It’s the place I am forced to go, to huddle and shake and decide how to utilize this in my personal journey.

On my 39th birthday, truth came out and I was exposed.  

Vulnerable, raw.  I began to be old.   Of course, so much more has happened before and since, but that experience stands out as the turning point into adulthood.

It fascinates me that as I look back on my journals and see where my anxiety/depression is at its height (or my energy at its lowest if you will)- it is after I have been exposed.  Or am exposing myself to the world.

Risking.  Risking failure.  Thus the vulnerability hangover.

Recall posts:

ANX·I·E·TY /ANGˈZĪ-ITĒ/ August 20, 2011

DIH-PRESH-UHN November 13, 2011

We all struggle.  And I send out love to all who are struggling right now.  

Check out articles shared on FB:

Thank you, Patti, for this one:

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Thank you, Margot, for this one:

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And so…

There, at the age of 39, I began to be old.

And I have journeyed through.  I accept my struggles, accept that life is a rollercoaster of triggers and emotions.  But I am HERE.  Strong, vulnerable, able, fragile, triggered, achy, anxious, a woman trying her best, a very very human being.

What do I do with all this info, lessons, tools, self-care, evaluations, experiences, wisdom etc.?

Well, here, at the age of 53, I decide I am wise.  And ready.

Yes, today is a new day.  I’ll wrap up the old wounds.  Lengthen my spine, listen to the birds, and revel in the theme of of this month [thepowerpath.com].

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Frida Kahlo and Bird
Frida and the Robin [a personal art therapy tool is to pick up a china marker and simply draw out the anxiety]
 Recall: Pay Attention to the Birds: American Robin

The robin brings a fresh new perspective to situations that are otherwise foggy and unclear. Try calling on robin energy for clarity when your judgement is clouded or when you need light shed on an issue.

The red robin reminds us it’s time to shake the sleepiness out of our head (both figuratively and literally), get alert, get moving, and start enjoying life! Spring has sprung, tides have turned, and no matter how crummy or grey our world has been it is time for new beginnings! Enjoy the bright road ahead because it’s only going to get brighter! [source]

Transition, retreat, reevaluate

Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul. – Marcus Aurelius

My life has taken an interesting turn, and I find myself having to declare bankruptcy and start totally fresh.  This means giving up my tiny condo, packing up and finding new live work space, and basically reevaluating many things in my life.  It is an interesting time for me as my parents have passed away (I have done a lot of processing and grieving around my definition as “daughter”) and I have left my frontline youth work that was wearing me down and leaving me depressed.  I realize I have been carrying around- not only an insurmountable sack of debt that just kept getting heavier by the day- but that I have also been carrying a lot of emotional baggage.  I am left with “nothing” yet left with everything beautiful and whole.  I refuse to see this as a failure on my part.  As an artist, I need to be fully open and vulnerable.  And I know I was born with a gift for art for a purpose.  This transition will take time. It will be incredibly healing. I am ready.  

We are all born with gifts.  We all ride the rollercoaster of life.  What are your gifts?  Passions?  Where are you right now on this crazy ride?

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I am 100% committed to my graphic novel and several exciting art and workshop projects!  Can’t wait to share those with you!  The team I am working with is extraordinary- including family, sister-friend, interns, youth…

But I am taking a bit of a retreat to focus my attention on both the move and on these projects.  I am refocusing and deciding which projects are the most important and which ones I can place on the shelf.

And I am still connected with youth work in a new and exciting way.  Stay tuned!

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Attachments to the familiar- 10 years later, taking pictures off the fridge

I like the familiar.  I like a cozy visual environment.  I like clutter.  Now I am readying my place to sell and to move and it’s time to detach.  For 10.5 years I have had certain images taped to the fridge and added a few over time.  I am attached to these images.  They comfort me.  They are wrinkled from the years of steam of cooking.  They are torn and over-taped, stained, loved.  They aren’t expensive or even just photos, but they are my familiar.  Now they are in a plastic folder.

FRIDGE 1
A bookmark from Banyen Books (from 1990)
FRIDGE 3
Rio, now passed away. Aaron White’s incredible, terrifying, funny-as-hell, cockatoo on the Sunshine Coast
FRIDGE 6
The first time we met our cat, Violet (now age 10.5).
FRIDGE 15
Old cards signifying the start of my sock monkey obsession.
FRIDGE 14
Old quotes that carried significance in 2003.
FRIDGE 11
One of my favorite spots on the planet. Stortorget, Stockholm. My aunt and uncle live in the apartment building to the left, first floor.
FRIDGE 9
A card from Claudia, 2003. She struggled with debilitating MS in the last 6 years of her life and passed away in 2007. She was a very special person. And this card is a treasure.

FRIDGE 13 FRIDGE 12

FRIDGE 8
A sketch on a paperbag by Jasper Lastoria.
FRIDGE 7
Riley and Violet. Riley passed away on Jan 1, 2014.
FRIDGE 2
An old sketch by my son, Julian Bowers.

FRIDGE 10 FRIDGE 5