We always start in the same place.
We can't start there. Only here. Where we are. The place we occupy in space and time when we make the very important decision to start.
And I am here.
I've been here a while.
Some days the start is difficult—nearly impossible.
And some days the start is calm and sweet, filled with peace and possibility.
This was originally going to be my "year-end" end blog post. It was going to discuss all the things that I learned in 2017 and wrap it up with a pretty bow of a summary and move on.
But as January unraveled in an unexpected and fantastic way, I realized that "year-end" wasn't where my head was. I'm in "year now."
Though I'm not disregarding 2017. On the contrary. Last year was vital to me and my brain. It consisted of many ups and downs—some harder than others. A lot of trial and error. Achievement and failure. Drama and peace. A mixture of the good and bad.
And at the heart of it, I learned, I learned, I learned.
I became comfortable with learning again.
I spent too much energy and time trying to hide myself. Out of guilt and shame and other wrong reasons. Knowing that caring what others think is a waste is very different from living that way.
I think I'll always care to a certain extent. It's human nature, isn't it? So when I say that I don't care anymore, I'm not saying that I'm going to be an asshole and hope everyone deals. That's selfish. And stupid.
What I am saying is, I'm embracing all my weirdness and goofy fangirl tendencies. I will alwasy like people too much and too fast. Sometimes that breaks my heart. I stand up for myself now. I will always laugh too loud in the movie theater and at the dinner table. I'm happy. I won't apologize for it. I also won't hide it.
2017 was a year where I had to relearn the basics of writing a book. It broke my heart and made me cry, and I woke up better for it. Refreshed. Determined. Hopeful.
I embraced friends I had been holding at arms length for the soul purpose of protecting them from me. But you know what? They saw through my shit and loved me anyway. All I had left to do was accept it. It was liberating and surreal. Like freefalling through a rainbow. I hug them now. All. The. Time.
Let's talk about the tumor for one second. Ready? Here we go.
The tumor, it's function and placement, prevent my body from producing really important hormones. Specifically, the happy ones. Oxytocin, Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins (technically some of these are neurotransmitters, but I'm not going to get into that right now).
I have to acknowledge love on a conscious level. I have to purpose to love and receive love. It doesn't happen naturally for me like the vast majority of the population. Well, it kind of does. It's hard to explain. For example, when you hug someone, your body naturally release oxytocin which build love and trust. From a hug! It's that simple. I have to count. I have to hug someone and count to 5. I've found this to be the magic number to stimulate my body into doing what it's supposed to do. It's sluggish, out of practice. It's spent years avoiding having to do this and I'm not letting it get away with this bullshit anymore.
My medicine is a dopamine agonist. Meaning it forces my body to produce dopamine. Without this medicine, even counting to 5 in a hug wouldn't make a difference. I take my medicine 2x a week. The dopamine prevents the tumor from growing. In fact, it might be killing it. Which, how cool is that? Dopamine is the weapon I'm using to fight back.
And the more actions I take to help stimulate my serotonin (exercise), oxytocin (hugging and physical touch), and endorphins (exercise again), the better I feel. It's not easy. It's a daily task of making sure I have the right vitamins, foods, movement, sleep, hugs, ect.
Also, I can't indulge shitty thoughts. Negativity and stress set me back in a bad way. It causes headaches, migraines, muscle and joint pain, forgetfulness, sleeplessness, confusion, depression. So I have learned to let go of things faster. To stand up for myself. To make my health a priority.
I can read again. I can do math in my head. I'm writing and it's FUN again.
Here's what you can expect from in the coming year:
1. More stories (Soaring Bird and Double Blind Study<--what?!)
2. More blogs
3. More trying 4. More failing
5. More learning
6. More laughter
7. More hugs
8. More me
So here we are.
We are here.
It's always today. It's always this moment.
Here I am.
Thanks for being here with me.