Am I too Late?

I have been a wanderer, a traveler, an explorer, an escapist most of my life. Nothing of mine collected dust. I always seemed to have a Plan B, an escape route. If it got too complicated or messy or boring I’d take off one way or the other.

Though it probably sounds harsh, if I’m honest, I was still feeling this through both of my marriages. I wasn’t ready to settle down, to lay roots into the earth. Wandering was always in competition with this idea of what I should be doing at my age. So, I’d find myself with the trappings of a settled down lifestyle while inside I was fighting it, distancing myself and fantasizing my way out of it. Talk about the definition of one foot in and one foot out.

Looking back it is easy to see why I was so miserable for so much of my life. I was by no means living in harmony with my soul’s urge. I felt one way and tried to fit in another. Terribly painful way to exist. There are years of my life that I don’t even remember because of this dissonance. 

I didn’t form meaningful relationships with people because I didn’t see myself sticking around anyway. If I’m honest I didn’t really take my marriages as seriously as I could have either. To be frank, I didn’t have the first clue of what a marriage really was anyway.

So much of my life was spent like an out of body experience where some other force felt like it guided me along. I gave up control of that “traditional life stuff” in exchange for holding on to my fantasies of the life I wished for. Somehow I never thought I was allowed to have the life I actually wanted so I settled in a different way. I clung to my fantasies to make the reality I thought I was obligated to live, bearable.

After my second husband left, I spent several years watching my life tear apart at the seams.  After 33 years of living this double life, I couldn’t hold it together anymore. It was one if the most painful and lonely times of my life. I had to get a grip, make a new plan Stan, drop off the key Lee, and set myself free. How the hell do I do that?

I spent a year living overseas in Ecuador. I traveled just about the whole continent, I learned a new language, I got a job, I rescued working girls off the streets and offered them an education, I danced salsa almost every night, I learned that Latin lovers are not all good despite the reputation, I climbed volcanos, zip lined through the jungle, ate guinea pig, fell in love, lost love, lost weight, gained friends, and came home eventually to an empty house in the USA faced with the reality I could no longer escape. It was time to start over.

There was still so much distance between me and the stuff of my life. My house, my car, my things…all just stuff…meaningless. I had no real friends, no one I could count on. I was so used to keeping that distance and I could do most everything on my own anyway, so why bother?

I stayed this way for awhile. Had lots of disposable lovers.  For awhile sex was the only place I felt anything at all. When guys started to get personal or clingy, I’d drop them.  They never slept over. I didn’t want to wake up and see them. I struggled to keep the roof of a house I wasn’t sure I wanted over my head. I was committed to nothing.

Fast forward to now (5 yrs. later) and I find myself wanting to lay roots. Wanting to commit. Wanting love. Loving my house. Wanting a life partner. Understanding what that means. Wanting close friendships. Feeling so deeply that sometimes it scares me. Terrified that I’m waaaaay out of my depths most of the time with my understanding of this lifestyle. Freaked out that I can’t hack it. Afraid I’ll screw it up.  Thinking how behind I am. How much remedial training I need. How lonely I can feel now that I care to have people close to me. Resisting the urge to flee when I’m scared. I keep at it. I stick around. I want to find out if I could stay at a job long enough to collect a pension. I want to know I’ll be ok 6 months from now. I want stability and safety for a change.  I want to trust myself that I can do all this. I wonder if at nearly 40 I’ve arrived too late to the party.

I still want to explore this wonderful world around me and learn from it. I just want to have a place that I am happy to call home now too.

This is one of the most frightening adventures I’ve ever embarked upon. I am in pursuit of my own brand of happiness. The stakes are so high because the outcome matters so much. It’s finally personal.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Plant-based Sex Drive?

One of the most fascinating changes I’ve experienced since switching to a mostly plant-based diet is that my sex-drive has really revved up!

This was very unexpected, but such a delight. I find that even the preparation of food is so sensual. Everything smells more profound and the feeling of the different textures brings so much pleasure. Cutting, slicing, breaking apart, peeling, stripping, washing; it has all become a kind of dance – a series of steps that I take towards manifesting a delicuous end result. .

By the time I am ready to put all of these ingredients into my mouth I am already feeling amazing. Food prep has become a kind of foreplay. I actually look forward to getting my meals ready. It is no longer a thing I rush through to get it done.

No. Now I have a relationship with each ingredient and begin to understand how it adds to my life. It is purposeful. Intentional. It fills me up. Supports my life. And I feel better than ever because I pay attention.

I have never had this experience with food. To actually feel as though I’m forming a relationship.  To feel more sensual because of the food I eat. It is amazing.

Has anyone else ever experienced something like this with food? Please share 🙂

All the Things Money Can’t Buy

I was chatting with some friends last night over dinner and catching them up on my life. As these conversations often do, we found ourselves talking about relationships.

What do You Want?
A friend turned to me and said, if you could summarize what you want from a relationship in one sentence what would you say? This was an interesting challenge. After a few minutes I said, “I want to be with a man for all the things that money can’t buy”.

Apparently, this was a profound statement because everyone stopped eating, stared off for a moment and returned with – “Wow. Yeah. Me too. Well said.”

Can’t Buy Me Love
While this is not to say I want to be with someone without 2 nickels to rub together,  I also can’t be bought. There is NO replacement for:

  Intimacy
  Empathy
  Consideration
  Bonding
  Respect
  Tenderness
  Authenticity
  Hugs at the right moment
  Compassion
  Good conversation
  Really listening
  Making quality time
  Being held
  Divulging deep dark secrets without fear
  Safety
  Consistency
  Acceptance of who and what you are
  Great character
  Kindness to strangers
  Humility
  Great sense of humor used at the right time

Too many times I experience individuals so desperately trying to keep a relationship that they give stuff, their bodies, favors in hopes that they will be loved in return. These are gestures of fear and desperation. You cannot make love from this space.  If there was one word thst could summarize all the others above it would be to connect to someone. This makes loves because you are actually thinking of and feeling for the other person.

Enough about Me, Tell Me about You
I like to think of love like being open and ever curious. If you don’t feel this or have anxiety or fear then you are not in a good space to find, to make or to maintain love.  When you stop thinking about me, me, me and how I get my needs met, you can open up to another person and get to know them. Funny thing is that with most people they want to reciprocate. So, you have a better chance of getting what you want by showing another person the same curiosity you would like first.

It really struck me to finally have a simple set of words to frame what I’m looking for in a relationship. It goes a step further though I think. As we say in science,  like attracts like. If I am the qualities on that list, I will attract that kind of person into my life. Those we are with are a reflection of how we see ourselves afterall. In other words be the person you’re looking for.

 

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Exploring Plant-based Diet

I’ve always been an animal lover. I was the kid who brought home every injured or stray animal I found in the woods behind my house. I’d try my best to fix their broken wing so they could fly, dress their wounds, nurse them if they were abandoned by their mothers. I wanted to be a veterinarian for a long time until I learned I’d have to put animals to sleep.

I wouldn’t consider my family to be raging meat eaters. In many ways we had the Mediterranean diet with my mother’s family being from Lebanon. We did like meat and had it with dinner almost every night. My family also hunted and fished so we shared the successes with each other to help feed each family.

However, I do really like grilling and if you asked me what my favorite food is, I’d tell you a bacon cheeseburger with the works. So, imagine my surprise when I found myself so impacted by a film that I started eating an almost 100% plant based diet and I’m feeling better than ever.

If you’ve not had the opportunity I’d recommend you watch the movie “Forks over Knives”.  In this movie researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes.

What struck me was witnessing how the animals were not just poorly treated or kept in way too close quarters, they were flat out tourtured. All just so I could have meat on my plate. Something broke in me and I couldn’t do it anymore. I was focused on finding alternatives. Nowhere more than in the USA are we lucky to have the options we do. 

Many people think that having a plant-based diet is more expensive than animal-based, but I put this to the test and found for $50 I could pick up enough food for over 1 week (see pic below).

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I found that making 48 oz of green smoothies each day allowed me to get a huge portion of veggies and fruits in that I’d never have the time to eat. For example, one smoothie might include, – kale, swiss chard, carrots, bananas, mango, orange, and aloe pulp. Typically, I like to make them in the evening so that often I drink 32 oz for dinner and then put a 16 oz one in the fridge for breakfast. This works better for me because then I’m not rushing around in the morning trying to peel and chop.

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Green Smoothie will change your lifestyle for the better!!

It is way easier than I thought to eat plant based. I thought I’d be starving. I’m not. One of the other things I do is minimize processed food because let’s face it, potato chips can be considered plant-based technically. I use fresh ingredients whenever possible so I control what I add to my body and make sure I’m not substituting one bad thing for another.

For meals I eat balanced ingredients. For example, yesterday I made a salad with avocado (healthy fat), black beans (protein), cucumbers (veggies), and tossed it with a little olive oil, pinch of salt and vinegar. It was very filling. Sometimes the hardest part of change is convincing yourself that a different way wil work. You think you’ll be hungry but you’re surprised to find that when meals are plant-based and balanced you can feel satisfied without that heavy disgusting feeling.

I’ve noticed some great effects as a result of not participating in animal torture / eating mostly plant-based. I’ve lost weight, my eyes and teeth are whiter and brighter and my nails are longer and stronger. My wrinkles have softened around my eyes and mouth, I have more energy, I am calmer, colors and sounds are more vibrant, I am more compassionate because I’m living in accordance with my values and feel more connected to animals like I used to, I’ve cut my sleeping meds in half, I get outside everyday for workout of some kind.

Get this! My ob/gyn doctor told me that he cannot feel any tumors in my uterus anymore (they’ve disappeared!!!) and it is as if I never had a surgery years ago to remove a 5lb fibroid because everything feels perfectly normal! This is just mind blowing to me. I’ve had problems here for as long as I can remember. It was so bad that I needed surgery to remove that gigantic tumor. Now I start eating plant-based and the new ones have disappeared and everything feels normal – as if you’d have never thought there was ever a problem!?!

I am really becoming a believer in this way of eating for more reasons than one. I have to say I’m not being too hard on myself though and trying to do everything all at once. I still eat eggs and cheese occasionally. I eat Morningstar Grillers as a substitute for my cheeseburger. I’ve left go of the bacon, but I still add a piece of cheese and load it up with bbq sauce, and horseradish mayonnaise.  This, surprisingly,  does the trick for the beefy cheeseburger craving.  I also imagine I will still eat fish / seafood for quite awhile until I could get to a place where I could give that up.

I think the key is adding more plants to your meals and substituting where possible. If it is too drastic and there is not enough support, it will be hard to stick with it. I wanted to add that for those of us who want to do something good for ourselves,  environment, animals, but need to make a big change in habits and increase knowledge before doing so. One step at a time. Think of where you can add the good stuff and subtract out the not so good.

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Most importantly,  be good to yourself. Treat yourself with love.  Eat what makes you feel strong and creative and balanced and helathy. This is a whole new way to see food as love. You’ll probably be surprised to find that as you do right for yourself, you’re helping others as a by-product of your choices.

Now that feels good 🙂

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Losing a Pet Child

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Cinnamon, My 16 yr. Old baby girl

I feel like I’m dying inside. Cinnamon took a turn for the worst in the past few days. When I took her to the vet today they said I should seriously consider putting her down. They said that in addition to hyperthyroidism which I’m treating her for thst she has a grade 4 heart murmur, severely anemic, is badly arthritic, has signs of dementia and a problem with her tail that she can no longer lift it. She’s been howling non stop for the past two days and nights.

I’m not ready to face this. She’s my baby. I’ve had her for 16 years. Since I graduated from college and moved to the DC Metro she’s been my companion through everything. I told the vet to give me a bag of Ringers solution to hydrate her and some pain  meds to ease things.

I had to let my other baby go last year when he was in so much pain and I’m not ready to let my best girl ever go. I’m so distraught.

I feel like I’m experiencing too much loss all at once. I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like my heart is being ripped out and stomped on.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Everybody Needs Somebody

Tradgedy and time on your hands has a way of re-teaching you who you are. It also shows you where you could use a helping hand.

I tend to be a person who hangs out with herself a lot. What do I mean by this? First of all I really do like hanging out with myself. Also, I grew up learning a couple of things that stuck with me.
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I learned that it’s best not to count on other people – so learn how to do things yourself. I’ve also learned to be a very good secret keeper for those who treated me badly but knew how to look good in front of others. These teachings have damaged my thinking and impacted all of image

my relationships. I’m starting to realize that now.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is fantastic that I can do so many things without needing to pay someone – case and point refinishing my bathtub. It cost me about $30.  I love that I am multi-talented!

The problem comes in when I don’t ever depend on anyone for anything, not even emotional things. I don’t have that group of gals I chat with. Heck, I don’t even have 1 best girl friend. I do have a great neighbor who I consider my best friend. We call ourselves the odd couple because he is 68 and I am 38 and we have a marvelous friendship. Of course he has a life with his wife and goes on vacation and such. So, when he’s not there I have no one. The thing is that other people are there, but I don’t form deeper relationships mostly because in good times and bad, I don’t want to bother them.

Eventually, if I’m going through something very trying and it’s beyond my ability to handle it alone, I can become very depressed and isolated. So, this is the ugly flip side of extreme independence.

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The order of events in my life lately seem to be of no coincidence. I am clearly being shown my areas in need of improvement and compassionately I’m also being presented with solutions. I need a better support group so that I feel loved no matter what and so I don’t have to rely so heavily on my romantic relationships to be the single source.

After 7 years of not seeing my dad’s side of the family, I was invited to spend the 4th of July with them in NC just when I needed it most. Then, they invited me to spend the week with them at their beach house.

I also reached out to my cousin in Nova Scotia who, despite never having heard her voice until now, has been a source of inspiration to me through various electronic and written mediums. She also wrapped me in her love and patience with the offer to let me “get it all out in a safe place” and to visit sometime.
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That’s the ticket isn’t it? One has to feel safe to open up. Part of being a secret keeper for abusive people is that you never know real safety. You tend to silence yourself and suffer quietly. It is not natural to trust , but very special and treasured dearly when it happens with someone. You’ll never meet someone more loyal.

Part of the challenge that I faced in my last relationship is that everyone in my life encouraged me to leave him. I did, several times. They all thought he was a piece of shit, psychopath, narcissist….you get the idea. So, when I’d leave and eventually find my way back, I felt more and more ashamed to talk to people. This can be very isolating and damaging. I was image
embarrassed.  I knew in my head what a manipulative bastard he was, how badly he was treating me. My heart kept going hoping against hope something would change. By the end of it all, aside from my neighbor, I stopped talking about him entirely to anyone. So I had nowhere to go with all the pain except this blog and my music. So thank you for keeping me going!

It’s past the point of needing to write a new chapter. I’m ready to crack open the spine of a brand new book and begin fresh with this post as my preface.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Life is Short

When you’re sick it makes you feel lucky for all the times when you are healthy.

Sunrises and sunsets? Some things are just beautiful no matter what and a constant reminder that you only get so many. So you gotta fucking enjoy them.

Some pizza and a bottle of wine with the right person. That can make the shittiest day better.

Coffee dates take up a pretty good chunk your time but they’re worth it.

You can choose to work yourself to death, but you can also throw all that work away for the right person. That may be chemical but it’s also magic.

Love comes around a couple of times if you’re lucky.

No matter what life always seems short.

from the movie Spring

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Roasted Red Peppers: Do it Yourself!

Love roasted red peppers? Think they’re too good to be easy to make at home? Think again.

How to make your own Roasted Red Peppers. 3 Easy Steps!!

1. Cut peppers in half, scoop out seeds, place face down on aluminum foil lined cookie tray. Roast for 25 min. 450 degrees until charred and wrinkly

2. Put peppers into glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool. This moisure trapping / cooling will help you alot in the next step (science! )

3. Remove skins and place “naked peppers” in your favorite meal OR to save for about 1 week, place in your favorite jar or storage container with their own juices and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Refrigerate.

That’s it. Fuggetaboutit 🙂

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Step 1
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Step 1b
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Step 2
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Step 3

Try it and tell me what you think!

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Soul Food

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Ok. First things first! I’m bragging on this slapped together recipe. It’s sooooo good. My Jamaican neighbor keeps me supplied with “Jamaican Kale” throughout the summer and I constantly try to find new things to do with it.

So, what’s in it?:
Bunch of Jamaican Kale
A few roasted red peppers
Can of Atrichoke Hearts
1/4 c. Feta cheese
Sauteed in olive oil with crushed garlic, pepper & salt
Put on top of a whole wheat pita and enjoy!

I was in a funk still today. This getting over my ex thing is harder than I thought it would be. I mean could I jump into another relationship?  Sure. I could distract myself with casual flings. I could pretend that I never felt anything for him. I could drink heavily to dull the hurt. There are a lot of not so great things I could do that would only make things worse.

Or….

I could take care of my soul. I could eat well and enjoy the scents of cooking a meal with fresh ingredients. I could play music and compose again, I could reconnect with people I’ve lost contact with. I could exercise and pamper myself. And frankly, I can take care of myself intimately until someone who really lights my soul on fire takes over other duties as assigned 🙂

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Me "playing" my dad's guitar

I know everyone is different when it comes to coping with things. I personally take awhile to get over the end of serious relationships. I am a very sensitive person in that I am very emapthetic so I really feel things. I’m not the type that can turn that off. Its just part of my make up. I always want things to end well. Often, I struggle to understand why people wouldn’t do everything they can to bring about peaceful endings.

I am a mess of a person like we all are in some way, I guess. I’ve got quirks and dysfunctions and sometimes I wonder how to make it through this world a prisioner inside my own head.

I think most of us are just trying to move through life and sqeeze as much pleasure out if it as we can. We hope to know our greatest pleasure in our own lifetime. We assume it will reveal itself as another person who looks deeply into our soul and says, “I accept you” and sticks around forever loving you for being that person.

In the meanwhile, I think the greatest thing we can do for our single selves is love the hell out of ourselves; getting to know and accepting every nook and cranny until we’re completely irresistible.

I’m starting to think it’s not about being perfect or figuring out what’s wrong with you. The road to fulfilling life cannot possibly be among the pages of self-help books aimed to fix you. I have done this my whole life and I’ve really just managed to feel worse about myself. I mean what if the only thing wrong with me is that I don’t accept myself fully? What if instead of focusing on what needs to be fixed, I focused on accepting the person who is there and loving her to pieces? What if I fell in love with her “as is”? I wonder what would happen if we all did that?

If you’re like me and haven’t found a partner that loves (aka fully accepts) the person you are and finds you irresistible enough to want to spend forever by your side, let’s make a pact.

We will give ourselves the love we want from someone else. We will treat ourselves right. We will do for ourselves what we want from them. We will go alone to places we want to go together with them.

This way when he/she comes along we will recognize them as the right fit because s/he treats us that good.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Send in the Clowns

I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless
and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.
—Robin Williams

I have been thinking about this irony quite a bit lately.  Most people think I’m a very happy, successful person who is well-adjusted and lives a good life. Some are shocked that I’ve had major challenges in my life.

I always try to make people feel a bit better about their mood or circumstances because I’d never want them to feel the terrible way I do inside most of the time.

What I find is that I’m left with no one to listen to me they way I listen to others. There are a number of people in my life who only contact me when they need something; advice or an ear, etc. Then, they are gone once they’ve gotten what they’ve needed. It is hard for me to make real friends despite my outgoing personality because they tend to be one sided. As anyone would, I tire of that quickly.

I find that I spend a lot of time alone. I am able to do so many things that most of the time I do not need to ask for help. Recently, I realized what a lonely life I really lead. The irony is that I’d really like to be involved with people who care about me. I’d like to have an inner circle that I could count on. It is strange how much I can make other people feel good, but I am alone; in my solitude with my nagging thoughts and there is often no one to comfort me.

For the 4th of July weekend, I visited a part of my family that I was estranged from for a long time. As I talked to my father’s only remaining sibling, looked through albums and watched my cousin interact with the family, I began to see patterns that have lasted generations. I haven’t even taken it all in yet, but I noticed the anger and the violence and the destruction. There may be one person on my dad’s side that is still married to their first spouse. Even those who are married are not in healthy relationships. I saw the way my family cuts people down and makes them feel small. I saw the vindictiveness and the way that the anger has turned inward on each person who lets their anger loose on someone else. I watched how they just struggle to find reasons to keep staying alive. I thought to myself how familiar it all is.

Everybody in my family has a broken piece in the unit; a missing father or husband, an angry man, a passive agressive spouse, co-dependents. I don’t think we even realize that we’re actually grieving that loss. It all comes out in wierd ways that we try to use to manage how close or how far away we keep you from knowing that pain. It’s like no one told us we could share the burden. 

I simultaneously draw people close and push them away with my humor depending whether I think they could handle the grief. I’m lonely because I learned that I cannot rely on people to stick around even if they promise forever or unconditional love. I cannot let them share my grief because to open it up with someone who will not stay by my side through thick and thin is to do nothing different than I’ve always done. Because I always get the same result, I don’t know how it feels to share with someone who actually keeps their words and doesn’t leave. I would very much like to know that feeling.

Here’s the thing, you can’t believe something else is possible if you’ve never experienced it. My experience is a lot of pain. I would like to be loved by someone who would let me stop being a comedian. In the meanwhile, I make people laugh because I don’t want them to come close to feeling the pain I do.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉