Saturday, August 1, 2015

375 Days

I've been absent a while now. There are lots of excuses: a summer bout of flu, some sort of stomach bug I seem to have caught from one of my new kitties, the needs and care of the new kitties and the young "old" dog, friends and family's serious illness, needs, care......The list goes on. I said that I was ashamed to tell the health and exercise advisor that my insurance company assigned to me (after my blood pressure nearly blew the top off of my head with a reading of 228 over 180...which also made the ER nurse gasp and look as if she were going to faint before attending to the cut hand that brought me to the ER on Christmas day.) how badly I was doing. He is a very nice man named, Lee. He is an exercise physiologist and also incredible kind and understanding of all of my slips and trips on this journey....or should I just say numerous false starts? But honestly, there was a time I would have soldiered on despite all the pitfalls that kept blocking my path. Why do I now just give up? It's a long story and one I'm finally ready to admit to and tell.

I will celebrate my 60th year on earth come November 6. To some, I seem to have accomplished a lot but to me, those achievements, the live I lived so fully, seem things of history. I keep hoping history will repeat itself but I've finally realized that it won't unless I make it happen.

I could start at the very beginning telling the story of my life and how my childhood shaped me but I won't because that isn't really essential to the story. Not even how I started as an artist is important here even though that is often where I start to tell the story of ME. No, this story, the story of falling deeper and deeper into the dark cavern of depression, this story started twenty-five years ago. That was the year I lost my mother and the spiral downward began. I had never experienced such grief, the sorrow, the aching to my very core. I continued with my life. I seemed to thrive with my art, with unexpected opportunities presenting themselves. People thought I was the life of the party, when there was a party. But most of the time, I locked my self away in my dark house and strived to keep going and pushing forward even though all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and hide under the blankets.

As for the opportunities, I've often wished that I was ready for them but it seemed like circumstances swept me along. I did what I had to do but there was no joy in it anymore, not even in my success. I wonder what I would have accomplished if I had been fully involved instead of just putting out a fraction of the effort and creativity I was capable of. I felt like I was being swept along by a flooding stream and, despite the surface reflection of success, I felt totally out of control.

I kept trying, I kept pushing myself as my art seemed like a jet shooting me into the sky but eventually, the lack of fuel caused that rocket of success to flame out and I plummeted back down into an even deeper depression than before. That was fifteen years ago.

I gradually stopped creating. What efforts I did make were nothing new, just repeats of old designs. I kept trying to motivate myself to start living my life again. I'd start projects that never were finished. My husband, who had always been my main help and my driving force,  was distracted by his dying father and by a friend that wanted him to become his partner in a business venture. Quite suddenly, I felt as if I was totally on my own. We'd torn out a good deal of our house, walls, carpet, paneling, flooring. Our house was no longer a home. Our possessions, art, furnishings were all covered up or packed away and that's how it's been for the last ten years. I felt overwhelmed whenever I'd look at the mess and all that need to be done. For ten years I've struggled with that and I've felt as if I was just getting buried deeper and deeper.

The weight is another thing that went along with the depression and the mess that our house is in and that together, all shaped the last ten years of my life. I use to be active. I use to walk and ride my bike daily, work out with weights and work out on an eliptical, hiked and biked on weekends. I was active and energetic. Over the last ten years, I've become inactive, constantly tired and sluggish. I've finally retreated to the bed that I wanted to hide in twenty-five years ago.

So, this downward spiral I've described seems to be unrepairable, I know but lately, I've been feeling that old spark. I've only been chipping away but I am finally getting things cleaned out around the house. I hope to have my studio pulled back together in the next few weeks so I can get back to work. I've been planning and sketching so many wonderful new ideas to try. As for the exercise, I'm working on that, too. After a bout of kitty bourn tummy bug, I'm feeling much better today and ready to get on with my life again. Like I said at the beginning, it's not going to happen unless I make it happen! So, I figured up a reasonable amount of time for me to lose the 75 pounds I want to lose and I came up with 375. So, my goal is to make some change every day of those 375. It doesn't have to be physical. It might be work done on the house or farm, art work completed, time spent with my animals or husband or a good friend but the point is, I WILL START LIVING MY LIFE AGAIN. Twenty-five years is too much of my life spent not living to my potential. I'm not going to say wasted because there were many good things that happened during that time and despite feeling stagnant, I was learning, I was growing. I got my horses and I met my friend and mentor, Huston Jenkins. I traveled and met new friends and I lost good friends. I developed into a decent photographer. But I also wasted a lot of time. It's almost as if I stole the time from myself and just poured it out on the ground to be washed away by life's torrents.

No, more! It's cliche to say it is the first day of the rest of my life but it is the first day of the next 375 and I plan on making the best I can of each and every one!

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