21 Days in ICU – the final days

December 2nd, 2017

I started this blog, and this journey to my “new and improved, more Bad Ass” life in August. Since then, my life has taken so many unexpected and life changing twists and turns. I have followed each curve in the road with unending faith that just around the next bend will be the clearing I’ve been searching for – the sign that all of the pain and suffering on this arduous journey was leading me to this peak on a mountain where the sky opens up and the beauty of my existence becomes clear. The fact of the matter is, each turn around a bend has led me to another bend….and another. Where is my mountain peak? Where is the clarity I have been so patiently praying for?

On October 12th, 2017, my mother passed away. Her death was the culmination of a beautiful, although traumatic, 21 days in the ICU. The afternoon before she died I decided, after much consultation, that my mom would not want to be kept alive by so many artificial means. The weeks of infection impacted her brain function. She hadn’t been coherent for weeks and despite the efforts to contain the infection, she never recovered. I decided to have the breathing tube removed and to allow her body to do what it needed to find peace.

I knew that once the breathing tube was removed she would likely pass within minutes. Weeks in bed without any food and the intense medical interventions that had been keeping her alive left her lungs, heart and body very weak. Her room was filled with loved ones and we played Janis Joplin as the nurse removed the tube. Mom let out a big cough, looked around the room and closed her eyes.

She continued to breathe on her own through the afternoon, evening and then through the night. I stayed with her all night. Regina stayed with me. We slept awkwardly on the hospital recliners as nurses checked my mom’s vitals every hour. The tv was set to the “classic rock” station and throughout the night, in a haze of drowsy dreamy wakefulness, I would hear music from my childhood: Van Morrison; The Mamas and the Papas; Janis Joplin; The Beatles.

By early morning mom’s breathing had become very shallow. She took small breaths and often lingered between them. I had almost become numb to the idea that at some point – there wouldn’t be another breath. Around 8:20am I told Regina that I wanted to go get some coffee. I left the room to use the bathroom. As I returned to grab my purse and set out for the comfort of coffee I walked into the room. The nurse was with mom. Mom gasped. I was at the foot of her bed as I stared at her, waiting to hear her next breath. The nurse listened for a heart beat.

“Her heart is still beating,” she said.

I held mom’s hand. Regina stood behind me at the bedside. The nurse, across from us, checking for a heartbeat again. Still not another breath.

“It’s faint, but her heart is still beating,” she said.

I waited. I watched. I listened. Finally, the nurse said

“her heart has stopped.”

In disbelief I stared. I stared at my mom – who was now this body that barely resembled the mother I knew just a few weeks before.

“It happened,” I said as I turned and looked at Regina, who had tears streaming down her face.

“She died,” I said aloud – an effort to make the surreal more real.

Here I am, 7 weeks and 2 days later, just now barely able to write about the day she died. Each day I wake and succumb to whatever stage of grief I am in- embracing the process, avoiding the process and doing my best to go through the process. Each day I wake and in a zombie-like state, I go to work, take care of my kids, manage my mom’s estate, grieve, sleep and start again. 7 weeks and 2 days later I have accomplished a lot and yet, still have her funeral looming. 7 weeks and 2 days later I still haven’t written her obituary.

And it’s ok.

I am ok with what I haven’t done and where I am at. I show myself love, kindness and acceptance for where I am today and in every moment.

I still have faith. I know the importance of each mile on this journey and I know that the clearing is coming.

21 days in ICU: a journey on sacred ground – I saw my mom

The surgeon explained that if the 2nd surgery went well we should see a quick change in mom’s alertness. Within 24 hours he would expect to see her responding to commands, shaking her head yes/no, squeezing hands, moving toes, etcetera. He also explained that if this didn’t work, he didn’t know what else they could do.

The 2nd surgery lasted about 2 hours. By this time, I had returned to work and to my home with my children. I was an hour away, trying to find the balance in being there for my mom during this most awful time and still provide some sort of normalcy for my children. Lynda and Gloria were in the old familiar surgery waiting room with the seating pods and the colorful mural of surrealism reporting on mom’s status: “patient is doing fine.” I spoke to the surgeon afterward. He explained that once again, all had gone well. He removed her gall bladder and washed out her abdomen.

Now we wait.

Being an hour away was a challenge but the Doctors and ICU nurses were great at keeping in touch with me. I spoke to them several times a day for updates. I hadn’t planned to go see my mom for another day or so but the day after her 2nd surgery I left work early on a whim – the desire to see my mom too great to deny.

My life was falling apart. My job was ending with no other option in site. Things with my boyfriend had become worse. Instead of us becoming closer through this situation, we became further and further apart. I was working so hard to be a good mom to my own children who very much needed me and of course, my mom was so sick. All I wanted was my mom. I needed to hug her, to cry to her and to feel her love and support.

The updates from the nurses that had been inspiring. My mom was awake and much more alert. She was responding to commands consistently and tracking with her eyes. As I drove I dreamed of walking into my mom’s ICU room. I would walk in, she would turn her head and she would recognize me. Each day, as this nightmare wore on, the hope that kept me going was imaging the day when I would walk into her room and she would know who I was again – and I would have my mom back.

I walked into the ICU unit. I walked passed my mom’s room to gather the gown and gloves required for entering. I walked into my mom’s room. Slowly, I watched for her eyes to turn to me. I greeted her, as I always did

“Hi mama.”

She turned. She looked at me. Her eyes locked on mine and I could tell she knew who I was. I started sobbing. I cried to her telling her how much I had missed her and how much I loved her. I cried and her gaze remained fixed on me. At times, her face shifted and she almost cried but didn’t. I could tell that although she wasn’t able to emote or fully respond, she was there. My mom was behind those piercing blue eyes and it was the most beautiful site I had ever seen.

“It is so good to see your eyes, Mama.” I kept telling her.

I told her everything that had happened. I told her they removed her colon and she had an ileostomy. I told her how sick she had been. She stared at me – never leaving my gaze. I could tell she was hearing me and processing the information. Her face winced at times and she seemed overwhelmed.

I turned on CNN for her just as the nurses came in to “turn her.” The nurses would turn my mom every hour to avoid bed sores. For the last two weeks my mom was mostly asleep or extremely out of it when they did this. On this night, she was more present – still far away – but much more present. As they awkwardly turned my mom I could see her discomfort. I could see her pain. They laid her back with freshly placed pillows and my mom’s face was bright red and tears streamed down her cheeks.

“Look at her,” I said. “She’s in pain.”

I proceeded to tell them how important it was to treat my mom with more dignity and to use the lift in the room instead of manhandling her. They were responsive and apologetic.

I looked back at my mom. Her eyes fixed on the ceiling. Tears still streaming and CNN still on in the background.

A while later, when mom was sleeping, the surgeon came in unexpectedly. It was his night off but he wanted to check on my mom. We stood at her bedside and traded comments on the improvement she had made that day. We started to talk about recovery and what that might look like. For the first time, I realized just how sick my mom had been and what 2 weeks without nutrition, 2 weeks being bed ridden and 2 major surgeries does to a person. We were looking at months of rehabilitation. Mom would need to learn to walk again, talk again, eat and just about everything else. I stood there stunned, taking it in, mentally preparing for the second leg of this marathon. I glanced over at my mom and was surprised to see her eyes open. She was awake….and she was crying.

That night I saw my mom’s pain and suffering. She told me with her eyes that she was suffering. Just as I had cried to her and told her about all my pain and suffering, she cried to me. She held that gaze with me and told me.

21 days in ICU: a journey on sacred ground – Emergency Surgery

Emergency surgery: this was the “worst case scenario” the surgeon had warned me about 2 days earlier. The surgery mom was about to undergo was very dangerous and has a 50% mortality rate – and yet, I felt relief. We now had an answer and we could now take action and one way or another – this would nightmare would end.

The surgery waiting room is set up with clusters of bench seats that create ‘L’ shapes. Each ‘L’ is surrounded by little walls that provide privacy so families and loved ones can be insulated in little seating pods. There is also an open area with tables and chairs. 2 of the waiting room walls are covered in a colorful mural of surrealism. A tv monitor provides status updates for each patient in surgery such as “Procedure has started. Patient is doing fine,” or “Patient has been moved to recovery.”

G, Lynda, Gloria and I were all there together, as we had been, every singe day since my mom went into ICU, and several other close friends lovingly joined us bringing supplies like phone chargers, blankets, food and cards. For four hours we enjoyed each other’s company. We played rummy, did puzzles, ate comfort food such as meat loaf sandwiches and laughed. We were optimistic and spoke of my mom’s determination, perseverance and strength as the tv monitor continued to post “Patient is doing fine.”

When the surgeon appeared I jumped up to greet him. He explained to me that my mom had done well despite the “insult” she had received. He thoughtfully informed me that he had removed her entire colon and she now has an ileostomy. He went on to describe how my mom’s abdominal cavity had been covered in excrement and that he diligently cleaned every crevasse, nook and cranny using 24 liters of water. He posited that the perforations in her colon had likely been there for days. He gave me time to process the information. He waited in silence as I slowly conjured questions. The next 48 hours were most critical.

We celebrated the success of the surgery and our little support group disbanded – each of us, on our own, processing all the information the surgeon relayed about the surgery and the days ahead.

Over the next 2 days my mom’s body did amazing things. Her heart, lungs and kidneys were making a recovery. All the numbers were improving and things seemed to trending in the right direction. G, Lynda, Gloria and I knew this would be a huge lifestyle change for my mom but we new she would be up for it. If anyone could wake up without their colon and with an ileostomy and roll with it, mom could. We made jokes at her bedside as we imagined her healing and coming home.

“Mom isn’t going to deal with any shit ever again!”

We laughed so hard at that one.

The only piece that was still very concerning was her mentation, her awareness/alertness. Even though they had completely stopped giving her pain medications and it had been days since she last received any type of sedative, she was very drowsy and unable to be roused. This was the piece of the puzzle that we needed for her next phase of recovery. In order to get her off the ventilator we needed her to be conscious and alert. Mom was still fighting an infection and the surgeon wondered if perhaps her gall bladder had become infected and should be removed to help control the source of infection. He explained to me that he could “go in” again and remove her gall bladder and at the same time, wash her abdomen out again to ensure it is as clean as possible. He apologized before using the analogy of washing spaghetti.

“Imagine,” he said, “trying to completely clean all the marinara sauce off of each noodle in a bowl of spaghetti.”

I chuckled.

He apologized again.

I consented to a second surgery.

21 days in ICU: a journey on sacred ground – Day 5 in ICU

The first night mom was in ICU she was in a “state of delirium.” She could answer questions like “do you know where you are?” and “What is your name?” But She didn’t understand why she was in ICU, didn’t understand they had used the paddles on her chest 3 times in attempt to regulate her heart beat, didn’t understand why I wouldn’t help her get out of there and didn’t understand why she had to have all that shit on her- all the IVs, the blood pressure cuff, the tube in her nose. She hated that shit on her and was constantly trying to pull it all out.

She was still in so much pain from the constipation and was being treated with very small doses of morphine which made her very drowsy (and also contributed to the constipation). When she wasn’t sleeping she was either yelling or crying out in pain,

“Oh help me!” “Please, please help me!”

Or she was plotting her escape. A CNA was by her bedside 24hours a day because she would try to pull out her IVs and get out of bed. Mind you, her left ankle was still recovering and she was to be “non weight baring.” She was crafty and even described as “spry” by the nurses and CNAs. She’d developed a plan where she’d request a bedpan which the nurses were very excited to accommodate because we all knew if she could just poop she’d feel so much better. Except that mom didn’t really need poop. Her plot was to request a bed pan and then when the CNA and nurse would assist her to get on the bedpan she would wrap her hands around their arms and try to use them as leverage to lift herself up and then angle herself toward the bedside. An attempt to somehow, using only her arm strength, propel herself over the rail of the bed and then…..run? It’s hard to say what mom’s master plan was but it was clear that she was determined to get the fuck out of there.

At times the pain was so intense she’d cry out things like

“let me die quick….oh god…..oh god…..this isn’t me……let me go…..”

Even though my mom was so frustrated and unclear on what was happening she remained her sweet self. Every nurse or hospital staff that came into contact with my mom commented on what a sweet person she was. I remember one of the times she asked me to help get her out of there. I said,

“Mom, if I thought that was best, I’d be the first one to help you bust out of here.”

She replied with an abrupt

“Oh fuck you,” then quickly recanted with

“No, you’re sweet.”

I’m not sure she knew who I was at that time, but she knew who she was.

There were times when mom was “awake” but more peaceful. She’d hold her left hand up with her palm facing her and using her right hand, she’d poke at her palm with her pointer finger, as though she was feeling the texture of her palm, taking in the firmness and intricacy of each line. I thought maybe she was in a morphine haze and was perhaps “tripping” out on how her own hand felt. Or maybe the lines on her hand were moving? I said quietly to her,

“That’s a trip huh mom?”

She smirked and quietly responded,

“Yeah.”

Then a few moments later she said,

“You know what, I think my phone is dead,”

and she carefully tucked her “phone” in her bed beside her.

She’d pull her “phone” out now and again – poking at it with her right pointer finger. It seemed to bring her peace and comfort. I reflected on the comfort her palm/phone provided her. What was she typing? Who was she texting?

Mom became more and more sick over the next two days. Within 48 hours she was sleeping most of the time. No more strength to yell or cry or try to escape. Other complications had arisen- her heart rate and blood pressure were irregular. She was retaining so much fluid she was almost unrecognizable, an infection had been confirmed and she was now on a ventilator to support her breathing.

My mom laid there, eyes closed, unable to rouse, with her belly more distended every day and her skin stretched so tight from fluid that it was tearing in small sections all over her body. Like little paper cuts everywhere – and so, she “seeped.”

Meanwhile, she was still so constipated. They tried everything to relieve her. They pushed laxatives and mineral oil directly into her belly, they gave IV medications and so many enemas. Nothing worked. They did scans of her belly that showed nothing but blockage. They did scans of her head too because the delirium was extreme and they were concerned that perhaps she had experienced a stroke. Scans showed nothing.

Finally, after 5 days in ICU they did a second scan of her abdomen, this time using a dye that would create contrasted imaging. The contrast illuminated new information and now it was clear: mom had two perforations in her colon.

Emergency Surgery.

21 days in ICU: a journey on sacred ground – Welcome to ICU

November 4th, 2017

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was on the verge of being un-stuck – on the verge of everything falling into place after making my commitment to shake it all up and bring out my inner Badass. The change in my life that I committed to was imminent – I was impatient and anticipatory. I saw so clearly how the “big snooze” was trying to sabotage and I wasn’t going to let it stop me.

Just to refresh your memory, at that time, I had given notice to my job without having any idea where I was going. My boyfriend of 2.5 years had moved out of our home and my mom had fainted which led to a severe break in her ankle requiring surgery. Each of these events a signal to me that this was going to be a tough journey and also affirming I needed to make this trip. I kept moving forward taking steps toward my new life – and I could feel things starting to fall into place. My mom had been through a lot but was returning home after time in the hospital and then a rehabilitation facility. I had a job interview for my dream job and my boyfriend and I were working things out. Gosh, what a rough road it had been – those 3-4 weeks of discomfort. Those 3 or 4 weeks where I fretted about my job, mom and boyfriend. Yet, I made it through. Like the too-tight lid of a pickle jar that you’ve struggled to open, using all your strength while it remained stubbornly stuck, that suddenly slips loose liberating the lid with ease. It was all coming together. It was happening.

Except that it wasn’t.

After the ankle surgery my mom was prescribed pain pills that had a side effect of constipation. On September 17th, exactly 3 weeks after she initially broke her ankle, she called 911 and went back to the ER. She was experiencing severe pain in her abdomen. She sent me a text “back in hospital.” I spoke to her that night. Her voice, shaking with pain gave a timber unfamiliar to me. I spoke to her the next day and to her nurse. I asked them each if I should come down (I live an hour away) and be with her. They both said that wasn’t necessary and that she was in good care. I spoke to her later that evening – her voice still riddled with a pain I’d never heard in her before. We stayed on the phone without much to say to each other, as we sometimes did. Those calls where you just “hang out” with the other person, even if it’s just by phone. I told her that my puppy had been experiencing constipation too. She said it was sweet that my pup was having “sympathy pains” for her. She said that if the vet had any good remedies for Cleo (my puppy) to pass them along to her because she wasn’t “too proud.” I laughed at that and noted my mom’s ongoing sense of humor and optimism through the whole ordeal – fainting, breaking her ankle, surgery, rehab and now, unbearable constipation. Constipation so severe and painful that her voice shook and required extra effort to make audible sound.

On September 20th, I got a call from the hospital. The nurse on the phone spoke clearly and with a sense of urgency. “Your mom went into a-fib and was transferred to ICU; we need to put in a central line now. Do you give us permission to put in a central line?” Without fully understanding what any of that meant, I consented and asked if I should make the hour trip South to be with my mom. The quick response,

“Your mom is very sick. You should be here.”

As I drove I processed the fact that I was called to give permission on behalf of my mom. Was she unable to communicate for herself? Was she unconscious? What is a-fib? What is a central line? Unsure of what was to come, I made arrangements for my boyfriend to stay with my kids so I could be with my mom. I called my grandparents. I called my dad and stepmom. I called my best friend, Regina, or ‘G,’ and I called two of my mom’s best friends, Gloria and Lynda.

I didn’t shower or change clothes for the next three days. The consent for the central line just the first of many medical decisions I would make on my mom’s behalf over the next 21 days.

Last night I dreamed I was looking at the stars.

October 3rd, 2017

Last night I dreamed I was looking at the stars….but I had forgotten about this dream until this morning when, at 5:30am, I was in the backyard taking my puppy out to potty. I often use these potty breaks as a chance to connect with nature, the universe and my angels. I look to the sky, watch the trees shift in the breeze, feel the air on my face and focus on my breath – in…..and out……in……and out……it’s in these moments that I practice gratitude and sometimes ask for guidance.

This morning, like many others, after my puppy disappeared into the shadows of our yard I looked to the dark sky…….and I gasped. In a flash, I remembered my dream, or rather, a vision in my dream and a corresponding feeling. It was the stars. I remembered having seen all the stars of the universe in my dream and I remembered that you were there – not you in your physical form, but it was you – and I felt safe and comforted. I felt all the love of the universe because it was your love for me. You came to me in my dream to comfort me – just like you have done all my life.

Today, I return to work, while my mom remains in critical condition in the ICU, as she has been, for almost 14 days. Her condition has changed though. Her body, fierce in how it’s tolerated, sepsis, emergency surgery, additional surgery, 20 extra liters of fluid,  heart, kidney and lung complications. Her body, making slow and incremental progress in healing day after day although she is still very, very sick. Her mind…..asleep…..barely able to be roused. Her mind, not ready to wake. She has no sedation and no pain medication and yet, she sleeps.

I miss her.

How do I go back to work? How can I concentrate on anything other than the fact that I don’t know if I will ever be able to talk to my mom again?? Or hug her?? How do I carry on in my daily life as though I am not in this torturous state of limbo?

Yesterday was my first day back home – an hour away from mom’s bedside. I took the day off with the intention of using that time to catch up on chores and prep for the coming week. Instead, I found myself in bed until noon and then wandering around in a zombie-like state of being.

Summoning everything I had, I invoked Bad Ass rule #234-A, “Act as if.”  “Act as if” is essentially “fake it till you make it.” One must behave in ways that will lead to their success – even when it’s hard, or in this case, seemingly impossible. If I want to live the life of my dreams I can’t become immobilized with fear, anxiety and sadness. At least, not today. I must “act as if…..act as if I am strong enough to take care of my kids and go back to work while my mom remains critically ill an hour away from me.”

My to-do list became just one-task: grocery shop. I literally spent 2 hours at the grocery store trying to do my normal weekly shopping (which should take no more than an hour at most!). I slowly pushed my cart…..passing produce, walking aisle by aisle, fighting back tears as I note everything mom would have in her refrigerator or pantry. Finally, it happened. I could no longer fight the tears. There I was, in a full-on ugly cry in the “natural” section of the grocery store, staring at mom’s favorite kombucha.

At the end of the day, I came home with groceries, did the dishes and cooked dinner for my kids. That’s all. And that’s enough.

6 weeks before ICU….

6 weeks ago…..August 20th, 2017

I was on a plane flying back from Puerto Vallarta so inspired to change my life and find my inner Bad Ass that I impulsively grabbed my iPad and started writing – not even knowing what I was going to write. I felt inspired, optimistic and ready.

A few things were so clear:

  • I needed to find a new job.
  • I wanted to start a blog about this journey.
  • I wanted to write.
  • I wanted to take pictures.
  • Music is connected somehow.

A few things were less clear:

  • How things should proceed with my boyfriend, who lives with me and yet, we had barely been talking for weeks.
  • What direction I wanted to go with my career (a career I’ve built since 2002).
  • How to start a blog.
    • The purpose of my blog.
  • What do I want to take pictures of? What do I want to do with them?
  • How music is connected? Is it just inspiration? Is there something more?

Aaaaand that’s about all I knew. It was a start! So I rolled with it.

Within a week of being back from Mexico I told my boss that I planned on leaving (no timeline given), paid for 12 months of a blog hosting service (with no clue how to use it), wrote 3 blog posts worth of content plus my introduction and started looking for jobs.

4 weeks ago…..September 3rd, 2017

I was in the thick of this change – this process of manifesting my Bad Assery and feeling stuck. See my blog post titled simply “The Stuck,” in case you’ve forgotten. I mean how does one continue on in their daily life once they’ve realized how much they hate it????? My guide said “Faith” and “Gratitude” were key.

I focused on faith – there was so much so unclear to me and so much I was risking (namely telling my boss I was leaving before having anywhere to go!). I focused on gratitude, asking myself “what good can come from this?” like a good little Bad Ass in training should.

Faith and gratitude really became critical because while I was so intensely self-absorbed and focused on my own spiritual journey, my daily life was sort of falling apart. My boyfriend of 2 years moved out, my boss decided to hire for my replacement before I had another job and my mom had fainted in front of me, severely dislocating and breaking her ankle in the process – which required surgery.

My mantras:

“What good can come of this?”

“I am thankful for….”

Q – What good can come of my boss hiring my replacement before I leave?

A – It makes my decision to leave real. It forces me to find another job.

I am thankful for the opportunity to practice

patience and integrity. 

Q – What good can come of my boyfriend moving out?

A – It relieves the tension in the house. It forces us to face our communication issues and make some decisions on whether or not we want to continue in this relationship.

I am thankful for my lovely little duplex, our

neighborhood and community.

Q – What good can come of my mom breaking her ankle?

A – It gives me an opportunity to appreciate having my mom!!!! It was scary to watch her faint and get so injured but ultimately THANK THE UNIVERSE she was ok!!!

I am thankful for the extra time with mom while she

recovers post-op and post rehab at my house. 

In other news, I had applied for what was clearly my dream job – a job that would be a perfect pinnacle to all that I had built in my career so far. I also applied for another job that I was really excited about. This was it. I focused on manifesting this job and a timeline for leaving my current job. I just knew, in my heart, that was my job and everything would be okay.

I am thankful to have a mom in the same field who can advise me on cover letters and responses to supplemental questions. 

I could feel the dust settling even though my eyes were still stinging with dirt and my vision slightly obscured.

When the shit hits the fan, you’re on the right path.

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. That’s because the universe saw me giving a heave-ho to my old life, my old narratives and my old ways. It was all,

“Sweet child….you’re so cute. And, no.”

But I persisted. I didn’t stop with the first universal punch to the gut, nor the second or the 3rd. In fact, I expected it. My guide to being a Bad Ass foretold this with a warning. I was clear that if I made a decision to change my life, and if I really meant it, and if I started to take action steps toward this, there would likely be an immediate setback. This setback would be a test of the universe and my own subconscious. A test to see how serious I am about making these changes. A test of my commitment. A test of my determination. I was also clear that my job was to  remain steadfast, focused and undeterred. I would need to manage the setbacks as they come and continue on my new path with diligence and perseverance. The universe and/or my subconscious took note and was like,

“Wow, you are still moving forward with all this change…try THIS!”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, here I sit….in the ICU, watching my mom breathe through a ventilator and fight for her life……and here is where I have sat for the last 9 days.

My nose raw with hospital stench.
My fingers unable to feel the keys on this keyboard because my hands are gloved and my body is gowned.
Mom is in isolation and critically ill.

She’s unresponsive.

She’s in pain.

And I miss her…I miss her so much my heart aches and tears flow down my cheeks like water out of a faucet. I have never, in my life, experienced such pain and deep, deep sadness.

Everything in my life is on pause. I haven’t worked in 9 days. I haven’t been home in 9 days. I stay with my mom in the hospital and then I go home to her house to sleep. My children are an hour away with my boyfriend watching them. The world, my life, as I knew it, has melted away right before my eyes. It reminds me of holding a glass in your hand and without even feeling the glass slip from your grasp you realize it’s on the floor, shattered. It happened so quickly and without time to respond that it’s almost hard to believe it happened at all – except that the evidence is all over the floor – in tiny, sharp shards that, if not careful, could cut.

Okay universe. You have my attention.

Angels of the universe,

and angels of mine,

I surrender, 

and let you be my guide.

 

The flowers in mom’s room grow day by day.   And I am so grateful.

Did you hear that universe? I am serious about this transformation!

9/17/17

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet (snark-snark) but I am kind of depending on Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life,” to get me through this journey of transformation. I’ve taken a Julie and Julia style approach to this journey and this book. I am taking everything in “You are a Badass….” literally. I do exactly what this book tells me to.

  • Connect to “Source Energy” (meditate) – check.
  • Reflect on your inner narratives – check.
  • Rewrite these narratives with new truths – check.
  • Believe that your life can change and that you are worthy of all the awesomeness you desire – check.
  • Make a statement to the universe that you intend to change – check.
  • Take action – check.
  • Have faith – check.
  • Live in gratitude – check.
  • Forgive – check.
  • Let go of ego and live your higher-self – check.
  • Don’t let fear control your life – check.

Okay, okay, so I can’t honestly say “check” on each of these implying that it is done, complete, finished, ain’t no thing. In fact, all of this is quite challenging. So challenging that I am kind of embarrassed and a little ashamed. I actually started reading this book about a month ago and I haven’t finished it yet.

(In case you were wondering, this blog is in real time. As in, work in progress, under construction, don’t mind the mess that is my everyday reality).

It’s not that this book is hard to understand or a million pages long. It’s just that it’s so profound. I read somewhere between 5-20 pages at a time and then I literally just turn it face down in my lap because I can’t absorb anymore at that moment. Each page is filled with something so profoundly relevant to where I am in life that it’s like pop rocks and soda in my brain – overwhelming and kind of exciting. I need time to process the messages and then to apply them to my life. I’ve read some of it over and over because the struggle to apply these concepts is real. I am realizing more and more and more how cozy it is for me to live with anger and resentment towards others and cover myself in a blanket of self-pity. I have believed for so long that life is hard and I will always be short on money, unable to communicate in healthy ways, use food as comfort, deal with insomnia and anxiety and work a stressful job that actually internalizing and believing anything different is a huge risk. It’s a risk to my comfort, my normal.

Yet, I am committed.

Something deep inside is reassuring me that if I do the work, I can change my life. I do believe this. So, while it may be challenging, uncomfortable, risky or downright discombobulating, I’m doing everything I am told so I can be my true Bad Ass self.

First things first, I’ve got to find a new job. My current job has many amazing components but over all, it’s not a good fit. I’ve been more stressed out than ever before and I have less time for myself and my family than ever before. But, of course, being the primary income earner for 2 growing kids, I can’t fuck around with my income. So, perhaps I wasn’t strategic enough when just over 2 weeks ago, in my Puerto Vallarta haze of optimism and clarity, I decided to be transparent with my boss about my intentions to find another job. Yes, that’s right folks, I told my boss that I intend to leave…..before I actually have another job……or any real leads on another job…..or any idea of what I am actually going to DO!

Did you hear that universe??? I am serious about this transformation. I am being bold. I am pushing past fear. I am taking a leap and having faith that a net will appear. How is that for Bad Ass? According to my guide it’s pretty Bad Ass…and according to my guide, this is when the shit will hit the fan.

That’s exactly what happened.

The Stuck

August 23rd, 2017

Do you ever just feel fuckin’ stuck? I mean fucking. Stuck. Stuck like you’re in quick sand and you have to keep moving forward but you can’t move at all and you can’t identify a way out and you can’t see a path to a way out and you’re losing grip of the rope that your strangling just to keep your head above the suffocating sludge, stuck. Like the tragic scene in The NeverEnding Story where Atreyu’s horse, Artax, trots into this black pond of turbidity and slows to a stop, waist deep in this murky mud. Atreyu, at first confused about Artax’s pause, gently encourages him

“Come on…what’s wrong?”

As Atreyu moves toward Artax he realizes his horse is sinking. Right before his eyes this beautiful white beauty goes from waist deep to chest deep to neck deep….and Atreyu, never giving up on Artax’s strength and determination, yells

“It’s the sadness Artax!”

Then pleads,

“Artax, please, you’re letting the sadness of the swamps get to you. You have to try. You have to care…”

But it’s in vein. Artax had succumb to the sadness and was resigned to sinking in the stuck.

That’s how I’ve been feeling recently. And if I’m really real about it, I’ve probably been feeling fucking stuck for much of my adult life. I am definitely that girl that pretty much did what I aughta’. I went to college, got a stable job at the university, got married, bought a house, had a baby and went about life as a 23 year old.
Yup. I was 23 by the time I had done all of these things. Perhaps this has contributed to my feeling stuck?? Of course now, as a (late) 30 something woman I can look back and realize I was just a baby doing all of these very grown and responsible things. I did more adulating in my 20’s than many do in their 30s.

If I’m using what I know about how to be a good Bad Ass in training, this is where am to reflect on my life and try to think if there has been a time in my life where I didn’t feel stuck. A time where I felt like I was living truly “on purpose,” as Jen Sincero says.

Being “on purpose” is to be living your truth – living in inspiration – living with joy and fulfillment and knowing that you’re on the path you’re meant to be on. The idea being that if you can identify a time in your life where you’ve felt on purpose you can glean some tools for this journey based on journeys past.

What if I’ve never had a time in my life where I did feel “on purpose?” What if I’ve been slave to the status quo and negated my inner guide – my gut – in perpetuity?

I have to try. I have to care. Thus, I shall reflect.