Tag Archives: transformation

Letting Go Challenge: Week Twenty Five

Week 25THE JUNK:

  • 11 Magazines
  • 5 Styrofoam cups
  • Word Count Map — haven’t updated it in almost a year
  • Hospital arm band
  • 4 Post it Pads
  • Stack of out of date coupons
  • Red nose
  • Ecig box
  • A lock–I don’t even know where it came from.
  • A magnet too weak to hold a note card

Twenty-seven things, and this week was just my scrambling to get the things together. I REFUSED to miss another week.

I also cleaned out my refrigerator, which I didn’t count, and got rid of even more medicine bottles. Also not counted.

The cups, another holdover from my mother (did you know styrofoam cups can be washed through the dishwasher once or twice?). The post-its, accidental thievery from work–they will be returned on my next day back. Why on earth would I keep a hospital arm band? I mean, really? It’s not like it’s a nostalgic time I want to re-experience.

I am coming face-to-face with my waste, and it’s a bit shocking, to be honest. I am really starting to understand why I feel as if I never have any money–it’s being spent on half-eaten food, shoved to the back of the refrigerator, a magazine subscription that was a “free” trial, and I was too lazy or forgetful to cancel it.

I don’t think I even read any of the magazines.

It’s being spent on notebook after notebook, scattered around (and now being piled in the office until I go through them). Half-written, half-focused, notes from a class merged with to-do lists merged with letters I started writing but never finished. Clothes that “almost” fit that I never wore once I could fit in them. So on and so forth.

I look around, and instead of seeing stuff that makes my house “mine,” I see more stuff to dust, more stuff to move around, more stuff I don’t want to take care of yet don’t want to lose. My drum, for example. I can’t even think of parting with it, and yet I never play it. It’s a pain in the ass to dust.

But still I cling.

This is a process, I know. But I want a tidy and organized house. I want to have less shit to deal with. I want less waste and more efficiency.

I want I want I want.

I guess I’m getting there.

What I’ve discovered is that stuff isn’t just stuff. If it were, it’d be easy to get rid of. For me, it’s about memories, about identity, about security and control. It’s about letting go of the need to remember moments when life seemed brighter, or more honestly–to  in the past. The stuff is representative of my need to identify myself by the things I own and the things I remember. I’ve never considered myself materialistic, and, yet, I have drums and books and tie-dyed this and that which have become part of how I present: I’ve read these books. I play this drum. I am a hippie, see, I have tie-dye!

It’s about a certain amount of security I’ve attached to having certain things.

After Katrina, it was so easy. Most things had been swept away. There wasn’t indecision or suffering with choices; those had been taken care of for me, literally swept away down the river. There was a bit of mourning and moving on. “It’s just stuff,” I said, proud that I had let go, even as I unwittingly began the process of collecting more stuff.

Stuff isn’t just stuff. Maybe it’s never just stuff.  But clearing out is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s been–and continues to be–transformative. And I am ever, ever so grateful that my dear friend started before me, inspiring me to begin my own journey.

















Straight Outta NSFW

I do not want this blog to be about RA.  Not constantly, and not as its focus. I want it to be about writing and good stuff and chipotle and unrepentant cats. I currently have 86 drafts: half-finished (or barely started) posts about everything from current events (not so current since they’ve been stashed) to writing to celebratory stories of pure awesomesauce.

It’s a big, big world out there, and something is always happening.

If my writing delves into RA, which it is apparent that it will, I want it to be about the inner transformation that is possible because of it. What happens through RA it is far more important to me than what happens from it.

And so, I have started a list of ways that my life has changed for the better since my diagnosis. I am writing them to post over a few “Fabulous Fridays.” (The first of which is here.) I was officially diagnosed about 5 months ago. It is still new. Things are still unknown, still changing. I suppose they’ll always be changing, RA or not. Just when I thought I was becoming accustomed to this new life and comfortable in what I could expect, things change again, and I realize that I have no idea what to expect from life any more.

I’m living in the vast ocean of the unknown.

“46 & 2” was the song of the week. The one I needed to hear over and over and over. It’s the song of change, of transformation, of excising “what could’ve been.”

I’ve been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could’ve been.
I’ve been wallowing in my own confused
And insecure delusions
For a piece to cross me over
Or a word to guide me in.
I wanna feel the changes coming down.
I wanna know what I’ve been hiding in

I spent many years digging through and picking scabs, believing that I must get to the root of “it,” the “whatever,” the root of the issue, the root of the problem, in order to burn it all away.

I’ve always been a “Why girl.” Why’s the sky blue? Why does my cat hate me? Why are people hypocrites? Why did this happen to me? To them? To us?

Something has happened, though, and I have either moved through this stage or I have found it’s no longer necessary. Not for everything, at any rate.  I no longer require a “why” in order to choose my “what’s next.”

It’s the difference between spending endless energy on pondering “Why is the sky blue?” and being more solutions-focused. “Okay, so the sky is blue. Is this something that needs to change? If so, what do I do about it? What can I do about it?”

When it comes to issues like dropping things, much like changing the color of the sky, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it, other than focus on getting replacing my dinner plates with plastic.

I’m still clearing out what could’ve been. Perhaps that’s part of my de-cluttering challenge. There are some things that “could’ve been,” but will not be. I’ve accepted that. There are other things that may yet still be, but cannot be right now.  Swimming with dolphins, for example. Or road trips.  I’ve accepted that as well.

As for my list, I’m going to go ahead and skip to the end. The last item on my list (saving the best for last and all that jazz) is, quite simply, I’m straight outta fucks to give.

What this means for me is that, if someone gives me the shifty eye because I’m on crutches or use my handicap parking tag, so be it. I’ll smile and keep on stepping. It means that if someone attempts to draw me into their drama, I’ll swing my London lilac-coiffed, steroid-inflated moon-head toward them and say, quite calmly, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

It also means that if I’m gonna have to use a cane, I’m going to have a rocking-as-fuck cane.

Rocking-as-fuck Sun-and-moon-and-stars. I’ll just call her Khaleesi. 

What this means is that I’m not as accommodating as I used to be–I simply can’t be. It’s not that I have given up the notion of service or of kindness. My day job title is secretary; my self-styled job description is “Serving People Who Serve People,” and I’m fiercely proud to do so.

But I am learning my limits, and I’m learning a whole new kind of exchange rate. My energy is my currency, and I’m learning not to spend it haphazardly. Everything has an energy price-tag attached; everything has a price.

And, as I write this, I have a treble-flare: my feet, my jaw, my neck.

But I’ve gotten exactly what I wanted:

I wanna feel the change consume me,
Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I’ve endured within

This is what change feels like. This is what the outside turning in feels like. This is the metamorphosis.

Change has never been painless for me. In order for change to occur, for movement to occur, something must be lost or killed or moved away from, and something else must be found or birthed or moved toward.

Change always involves loss.

This is a cleansing, a wiping away of all that is not necessary. It is liberating, and it is consuming.

Despite the steroids, I’m not angry. I know that I tend to use the word “fuck” quite a bit when I’m angry, but this more…something. Pure. Unadulterated. Fuckery. It is a bit frustrating at times, but it seems that my fury has burned away, destroying with it the false self, the petty little bullshit and concerns and distractions that left me listless and directionless and stole away my energy.

I am not angry. I am joyful. In a halle-fucking-lujah sort of way.

I AM fabulous-as-fuck.

I could be better–I could always be better, but right here, right now, I’m fabulous-as-fuck.



  • Cat on Fence: My own cat who never had any fucks to give.
  • Cane: Nova Medical Products. Image from Amazon.
  • Lyric excerpts in italics from “46 & 2” from Tool’s album Ænima, copyright 1996. Lyrics found at  azlyrics.

Fabulous Friday — Not Here

BOOKSometimes a phrase or verse absolutely captivates me; it’s just that fabulous.  It gets me thinking, the wheels turning, and I must, must, must share.
This week, it’s Rumi.  From the Soul of Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks. For some reason, I can’t seem to format the title with the rest of the poem.
I’ve had worse days.
Not Here


There’s courage involved if you want

to become truth.  There is a broken- 

open place in a lover.  Where are

those qualities of bravery and sharp 

compassion in this group?  What’s the

use of old and frozen thought?  I want 

a howling hurt.  This is not a treasury

where gold is stored; this is for copper. 

We alchemists look for talent that

can heat up and change.  Lukewarm 

won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,

well-enough getting by?  

Not here.

This is the essence of writing, for me.  And, as I’ve recently discovered, the essence of life.

Continue reading Fabulous Friday — Not Here