Gumboot Adventure and a Lyme Update

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” 
~ Edward Abbey

*Note: I recommend reading all the way to the end of this post. Past the pictures even. Oh yes, I do.

People are always asking how I am and I almost always say ‘fine, thanks’.

Truth is, I have advanced late-stage Lyme disease, and as with any chronic degenerative illness I have a catalogue of woes so to actually tell you how I am might take hours. Boring. I’m over it long ago. So ‘fine’ or ‘okay’ mostly does the job. I manage. Many days are great, and I am working, living and making the most of what I can. Happy, happy. I don’t dwell on my health or lack thereof.


I’ll level with you, though. The last few days have been rough.

I’m miserable right now.

I picked up a cough while visiting Ben’s mum in the nursing home. After four weeks it has steadily become worse and I can’t shake it. Because of that, my UTI flared up. I’ve been peeing five times a night and my bladder is agonisingly sore. I have been feeling myself slowing getting more run down no matter how good my self-care and health care has been.

So I started on new Chinese herbs two days ago for my latest infections. Great news – they’re working! Less great news? They are also killing Lyme Bugs so I am herxing like crazy as the Lyme dies and releases toxins into my already overloaded body. My eyes are red and streaming and only one is working, only one side of my face is mobile and responsive, my skin is on fire, I’m photophobic, I have stabby pains and night sweats and swollen glands and bone aches and head aches and nerve spasms and tender teeth and numb fingers and toes and neurological incontinence (I wee my pants for no reason!) and generally more misery than I remembered was possible. Yay? But fighting bugs, so yay!!!!! Now we’re working on getting the dosage correct so that I can manage the chest and UTI infections without going mad from herxing. Please don’t worry. I’m in good hands. (And yes, I have cried, screamed and whimpered often this past few days because I’d forgotten how truly awful herxing can be.)

I’m smiling here, honest! It’s just that only one side of my mouth lifts up right now…

In the midst of all of this misery I needed to go open a gate at the farm for Ben. I got out of bed, left my pyjama top on, threw on some shorts and my gumboots and slogged down to the Tractor Shed paddock.

Oh. It was so beautiful there in the misty cold afternoon. The ground was soft and green and lush. The trees shone with a vibrant light, and the birds sang. It felt good to be out of bed and outdoors.

When my short adventure was over I hastened back to a hot shower, fresh pyjamas and more rest.

It was worth it to have that little gumboot adventure.

I’m wishing you little adventures too. No matter how shitty life gets, a little tiny adventure, a small moment fully lived, a simple pleasure fully and mindfully experienced – that’s what makes it all more manageable. I rate my coping skills as high. And that’s one of the reasons why!

Biggest love and hugs from this tired and battered Lyme Warrior. I’ll be back at my best soon, I’m sure. Meanwhile, I’m happy to be herxy. (Well, mostly! xx)

PSS – Thanks if you scrolled down this far. Just a reminder that I am massively sleep deprived and in pain right now. So if you:

  1. suggest that positive thinking might be beneficial or a cure-all,
  2. offer to hook me up with your miracle-inducing network marketing product, or
  3. remind me that I somehow manifested all of this as a learning experience,
  4. or that this is karmic

then I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Need more help with this because you’re itching to do one of the above? Read this first.


Image by SeveIV at

Image ‘Train Tracks’ by SeveIV at

“You should have seen this coming,’ they said. I did see it coming. I saw it coming the way you see a train coming when you’re tied to the tracks.”
~ Margaret Andrews


I’ve been awake since I don’t know when.

No, that’s not true.


I lay awake in the dark for a long while, willing myself to turn over and go back to sleep. But I was wide awake.


I thought about the doctor I will see today. I’ve seen him several times over the past twenty or so years. I thought about him sleeping, and hoped that he was sleeping well and deeply, untroubled by anything.

I wondered if he realised how many of his patients lay awake at night, apprehensive and counting the hours until their appointment. Then I hoped he never thought about it at all. How difficult it would be to labour under such thoughts.

My mind wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t steer it off topic for more than a few minutes. Slowly, dawn approached. My appointment is still hours away. No more sleep for me.

I got up early. I meditated. I sat down to write this blog.

Still, my thoughts are a jumble of worries.


Pointless, really.

I will see my doctor. I will get my test results. We will chart a path. I will walk the path.

The part of me that is the wise and coping part tells me I am okay, and that I’ll be okay.

The worried part of me snaps back, “Shut up!”

Which makes me laugh. Eventually.

I am okay, and I will be okay.

Worry never solved anything, nor made time pass more easily.

I’ll have a cup of tea instead. I’ll tidy something. I’ll wait for Ben and Cafe Dog to wake up so that we can have a lovely distracting outing.

And even so, I’ll keep on quietly worrying.



Rain, Words and Silence


“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”
~ Robert Frost


It was raining in the city. Raining and I couldn’t sleep, my head so full of thoughts and my body so tight with pain.

Now I’m home, home at my farm, it’s sometime before dawn even thinks of pushing her first rays over the horizon, and the dark bowl of sky above me is raining cold bright drops fresh as tears. I’m still not sleeping, but I’m peaceful. The pain hums in my belly and my veins but I can drift away on my thoughts to someplace else, and I’m such a seasoned traveller on this night-train now that it’s no imposition. In its own way it’s liberating. I choose to see it like that, anyway.

The beauty of this sacred morning space is achingly, breathtakingly silence-making. No words can capture the majesty, nor fill the space inside me.

Can a poem be composed entirely of stillness?


Inside our little farmhouse Ben and the dogs are sleeping. My mala beads are laced through my fingers still, prayers lingering upon them. The fire crackles and hisses in the quiet as the tiny twigs and branches I have placed on the ashy embers smoke and dance their way to life.


All night in my not-sleeping space I’ve been thinking about my memoir. I have carried it with me all of this year, and it’s been more an agony than a labour of love.

In the long quiet rain-filled hours that went before this one I finally understood where it has all gone wrong. There are too many words and not enough space. I made it all too busy so I could hide in the pages like some dark shadow-bird. So that you wouldn’t see me. So that you wouldn’t judge me.

It’s in the quiet moments and the emptiness that all the magic happened. In those places I am stripped bare but I was ashamed for you to see me naked. In these past few hours I came to understand it all differently. If you can truly see me, it’s only because you recognise that same place in you. Why was I so afraid to take you there with me?


I’m okay, and I’ll be okay.

And so, my friend, will you.

Sending all my love your way, bejewelled with tiny raindrops bright as tears and the scent of woodsmoke and damp good earth.

Nicole xoxo


“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

2013-08-19 05.53.50

Requiem For These Passing Moments

“Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”
~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love


Sometimes, life is so exquisitely painful that I can scarcely breathe.

Is it odd then, that I find those moments compellingly beautiful too?

I’m not talking about the human me. Not the me who is down there on the floor sobbing in great ugly gulps, or stumbling endlessly through the paddocks with eyes streaming and a great big hole inside me. Or the me sitting silent, numb from shock and horror.

Not, not that me.

There is another me. An eternal me. A me filled with wisdom and kindness and so much love that if all of that soul energy were to dwell within me I would burst open and be nothing but sparks and flame.

That eternal me sat with me last night and held my hand. As I sat at my kitchen table and wrote, earphones delivering me a steady stream of musical novocaine, tears blurring the screen, the keys, the outside world, I was able to slip into that wise observer me and see how alive I was in my pain. How aware I was of the fragility of life. How humbled and overcome all at once. How connected I was with all other souls in this journey of joy and suffering.

Oh lovelies, this is such a wild and mysterious and crazy ride, this thing we call life.

We are, all of us, okay. Even when we’re not.

Holding you in my prayers and meditations,

Nicole <3 xx


And then the Storm…

Image from  Japan's Bureau of Meteorology

Image from Japan’s Bureau of Meteorology

“Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.”
~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz


Sunday was Drug Number Four Day in my current Lyme medication regime. Today is, too. Ever the optimist, I had told myself that this week would be better.


It’s worse.

The Universe is throwing all kind of weather at me, and then some. It’s an every-flavour storm.

There’s a grim kind of humour in that, though, don’t you think?

I’m so side-swiped by pain that I’ve stopped crying and started laughing.

There’s no point cowering in a corner. I’ll meet this thing head on. Today’s glorious experiment? I shall turn pain into some kind of good. I feel so fiercely alive, so bright with the charge of this corrosive force, that I might as well channel it into something.

I’ll keep you posted as to how I go.


Breathing Through The Pain #LymeWarrior

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

A Breath of Freedom by Iladya Portakaloglu

“Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a watersnake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains or the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves dispersed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation


Pain and I enjoyed a pretty intense relationship when I began my treatment for late stage Lyme disease at the beginning of 2013. My regime, which will last a minimum of three years, involves intense rotational use of various combinations of antibiotics, as well as diet, herbs and a myriad of other support tools. It’s a long road I’m walking, in order to regain wellness.

Recently, things have settled down a little. I’ve had more energy. I’ve been sleeping better. Pain has become an occasional thing rather than a stealer of breath and life-force. I’ve finally begun to feel good on my current meds combo.

That is, of course, until I brought in Drug Number Four.

I’ve slowly built up the intensity of three other kinds of antibiotic, anti-malarial and anti-bacterial that are the drugs on my current rotation. This combination was brutal to begin with, but I’ve reached the stage where I am now handling them well. Part of my treatment plan is to then bring in this fourth drug. It’s one I took earlier this year. It gave me fabulous longer term results, but it created a firestorm within my body while I was on it.

I’d been dreading bringing it back in. But of course I kept up this optimistic patter with myself, “You’ll be right, Nic. It will be heaps easier this time. It’ll be nothing like the last round.” I delayed taking the drugs too, because I wanted to be my best self for my recent retreat. So I took my first tablets on Sunday, seemingly without incident. I worked Monday, took all my drugs and didn’t skip a beat.

Then it hit me. About six pm on Monday night.

Oh God, I’d forgotten how intense the pain could be. That I would feel like I was dying all over again. That it would take all I had to bring my ragged breath back to some semblance of calm. Over, and over, and over again. All day. All night. Without cessation.

Quote from BullyVille

Quote from BullyVille

The good news? I’ll only need to take these drugs two days out of seven. It will get easier. It always does. Eventually. So, I’m breathing, and counting hours and minutes and moments.

I know, from previous experience, that the pain won’t kill me. That knowledge is my secret strength. I can endure this. One day, the pain will end, and I will be stronger, closer to healed, and I’ll have learned more about myself and the world.

It’s Friday today. I managed a few hours sleep last night. Today I’m a little better. Stronger. More determined. Sunday I’ll go Round Two with these drugs. Hopefully next week will be better than this week has been.

But it doesn’t matter. I’ll breathe my way through it. I’m in the killing zone. The bacteria that have made my life a misery are dying, so they can kick and scream all they want on their way out – just as long as they go.

I have things to do. Places to be. Trails to walk. Books to write. A husband who has his whole life on hold while I heal. So I’ll keep staring these squirmy little suckers in the eye until they back down.

Just watch me!

Image from

Image from


Soundtrack to Pain

Image by LietingaDiena

Image by LietingaDiena

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”~ Bob Marley

Music saved my life earlier this week. Music and drugs.

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am suffering from end-stage Lyme disease. I’ve recently embarked on a protocol of high dose antibiotics, antibacterials, herbs and other healing tools. It’s been tough, but already I have begun to see progress, so I’ve stuck with it. I’m in here for the long haul – a minimum of two years…

I woke just over a week ago, thinking I’d been bitten by a mosquito. The back of my hand itched and burned.  I hauled myself out of bed, sprayed my room with bug spray, and went in search of some lotion for the bite. By the time I found the lotion I had two more bites – one further up the same arm, and one on the other wrist.  Finally I got back into bed, but the burning continued and I kept getting bitten. That was the end of sleep for me, and it was only a little after midnight.

By morning I was in agony. It felt like someone pouring acid on various parts of my skin including the tear duct of my already painful eye, my inner right nostril, and my gum. Nothing was biting me. I was having a severe reaction to Bactrim – one of my antibiotics. I stopped the drug straight away, and expected things would get better. A rash broke out.

Things got worse.

I phoned my doctor, who lives hours from my farm, and they warned me not to take steroids, and to treat with antihistamines. I consulted a local doctor.  They told me that if the pain got too much I was to go to hospital.  At the time, that advice seemed a little extreme.

I tried my best to tough it out. At home I played loud music, and I yelled along to the lyrics.  It helped a little, but I was in agony. I meditated. I took the antihistamines. Along with epsom salts baths. I drank gallons of water with Vitamin C powder, clay and baking soda. Nothing much worked.  The pain intensified.  My ears felt like they would explode in my head.  My eyes became bloodshot and dry, and every blink felt like rubbing sand paper on my eyeballs.

Inside, I raged. My pain was maddening.

Image form

Image from

Music pounded through my house.  Suddenly I understood the benefits of heavy metal. It made sense to me why angry people listen to music with savage base lines and thumping beats. Soothing music irritated the crap out of me. I needed loud, brutal and relentless – something to match my pain levels.

After two sleepless nights we went to the ER.  They wanted to give me steroids.  I couldn’t have steroids. It’s contra-indicated with Lyme, and with my Lyme-induced cardiomyopathy. So we pushed saline, antihistamines and pain killers. It helped marginally.  They offered sedation as a last resort.

I went home and waited for the effects of the Bactrim reaction to wear off.  I never knew you could endure so much pain and still be alive.  All I wanted to do was scream, and I actually did try that but it didn’t help, and to make things worse, my neighbours came over to check I wasn’t being murdered. *peak embarrassment*

I tried distraction therapy – washing dishes, cleaning things – but all that happened was that I became more and more tired, and more and more distressed.  Music was the only thing that helped a little.  I emailed my beautiful Sisters – the writing group who have come to mean so much to me. I let it all hang out; the pain, the frustration, the helplessness. I swore.  A lot. They all advised me to go the sedation route if it helped.

Finally, when I was reduced to a whimpering mess, I decided on sedation.

The drugs knocked me to the edge of oblivion but the pain was still there. And then a kind nurse lent me her ipod.  I can’t tell you what I listened to. Most of the artists were unknown to me.  But I found something extraordinary.  I could ride that music like a wave, and surf over the top of my pain.  The music got right inside me, and it saved my life.

When I finally came home, the burning was down to a dull roar and a maddening itch.  A week later it’s almost gone.  My eyes are still scratchy, and I feel like I have a bad case of sunburn, but that’s manageable.

I’m grateful for modern medicine, kind doctors, caring nurses with awesome music selections and a stoic and endlessly good-tempered and strong husband who has nursed me through one of my worst weeks yet.

I’ve had two reasonably good days (hey, what am I saying – yesterday I got Freshly Pressed!), and fingers crossed today I’ll make it three in a row.

Here’s to the healing power of music.  Music and drugs.  Wow – I never in a million years thought I’d say that and mean it with my whole heart.

My Left Eyeball…

Image from flickr

Image from flickr

“What does not kill me, makes me stronger.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

I had intended a different post for this morning, but I have an eyeball problem. I’ve been on my Lyme drugs, well the first of them anyway, for a month now, and they are doing strange things to me.

All night, apart from the ‘normal’ sensations of insects crawling on my skin, deep stabbing pains in strange places, and nausea, I have had a feeling not unlike someone stabbing my left eyeball with a toasting fork, and then slowly roasting it over a fire.

My left ear is also on fire, and intermittently stabby.  What joy.

I have devised a three point management plan depending on whether this escalates into totally untolerable. Plan A: Right now I’m sitting with a damp warm cloth tied over the offending eyeball, hiding it from the light and trying to reduce my pain. I shall soon lie in a darkened room and hope it goes away. Plan B: If it stays this painful ring Doctor when their rooms open. Plan C: If I can’t stand it, or it gets any worse get a friend to drive me to the hospital.

These Lyme bacteria invade everywhere. Organs, tissues, cells. They colonise and have parties, they multiply and and they invite their friends. Some of these critters have set up home in my eye, and now they’re unhappy because my drugs have found them.

It’s making me quite grumpy.  Quite grumpy indeed. And stubborn.  As I swill this morning’s drugs I have quite the attitude.

“Die, you miserable pathogens, die!” I want to shout.  I am not shouting though.  My eye is sensitive to noise, I think.

Now I shall lie down and dream of being a fearsome female pirate, sailing a Lyme Green Sea, and killing all the things…

Image by

Image by

Crying in car parks

“Let your tears come.  Let them water your soul.”  ~ Eileen Mayhew

Over the last twenty-five years I’ve done my share of crying in car parks.  Not just any car parks.  I do have my standards. The car parks I shed tears in have always had a theme.  I’ve cried in hospital car parks, pathology car parks, specialist medical centre car parks, diagnostic imaging car parks and in the stark impersonality of inner city parking garages close to where my doctors’ rooms might be.

I’m always careful to make it all the way back to my car, and be safely alone inside, doors closed and windows up, before I start to cry.  Sometimes I’ve barely made it, but I am proud to say I’ve never yet lost it in a doctor’s office.

Why all the tears?

I’ve had twenty five years of illness, countless different diagnoses, all of them bad, or worse – indifferent. And almost always, I’ve been told there was little that could be done.

It actually got to the point where I stopped trying to get to the bottom of whatever the problem was, because it always seemed there was something new going wrong. Embarrassing to explain to others.  Melodramatic.  I even began to question whether it was all in my head.

It didn’t help that many people, doctors included, didn’t take me seriously. I became intensely wary of discussing my health, and eventually I ignored most of my problems, or found ways to manage, minimise, hide or work around them.  In fact, I had to be nearly crippled from the pain of a heart attack before I even took serious notice the last time something major went wrong. Any normal person would have done something hours before.  But me, I was waiting for it to pass, evaluating it against previous pains and issues, hating to draw attention to myself or to inconvenience anyone. Wondering if it really was as bad as it felt. It wasn’t.  It was worse. And months later I had another one that only showed up in blood tests afterwards. Still I talked it down, shrugged it away, notched it up on the board with all the other health dramas and then went back to living.

There have been hospitals since then.  And doctors. And lots of other helpful healers of all descriptions. Just as there have been for over two decades. But that’s a story best left for another day.

I have become a master of gratitude and making much of the little things that give life texture and meaning.  As my life has shrunk smaller and smaller, I have let the detail become richer so I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  I have found clever ways to cope, to make the best of things, and to not dwell on all that has slowly eroded from my life. I’ve also clawed my way back from the abyss countless times. For that I am proud. No matter what has happened, I have not yet been defeated. I’ve always found a way to stagger back to my feet and keep going.

I tell myself things are great. And I can’t complain about my life.  There is so much good here, such a rich canvas of blessings. But always, at the back of my mind, is this terrifying understanding that there is something seriously wrong, and that over time things are getting slowly worse, rather than slowly better.

Today I sat in yet another city car park and I cried. This time I cried for a whole new reason. These were tears of relief.  Tears of exhausted, soul-weary gratitude.  Today I got a diagnosis.

Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt validated. And I felt the smallest flicker of hope.

So tonight I shall pack my bags and my husband will drive me home to our farm. Tomorrow I will sit in the sunshine and sip tea while I contemplate my future. I do intend to have one, and tonight it actually looks possible.

When I’m ready I’ll share it all with you, but for now, just let me draw breathe.

Thanks for listening.  Nicole ♥ xx

Loving my dinged up life-battered Self – Part 2

Image from

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. 

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ 

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’ 

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 
~ Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Are you just a bit mean to yourself sometimes?

I’m not talking about the sort of mean where you treat yourself in obviously bad ways.  I’m talking about that sneaky kind of mean you might not even realise was mean to begin with – the sort of mean where you are just waiting to be different to how you are right now so that you can love yourself a bit more.

Until a few days ago that was me.

It’s a big realisation, to find that part of you is holding their breath, waiting to return to how you were at some time in the past.  It’s also kind of funny, because, well… you know! You can’t ever go back.  The past no longer exists.  All we ever have is the present.

So how have I been doing this?  I’ve been expecting my current circumstances to be temporary.

Let me explain this a little better – maybe some of you will even relate.

Here’s me, in early 2005:

Things were going well for me, back then. I had a corporate communications business, but I was also in the thick of things spiritually – doing readings, running workshops, and working from my own offices.

I look at that picture of me, and I still feel her, that younger Nicole, sitting inside me. But I have changed so much since then.

By late 2005 a bacterial infection that almost killed me in 2000 came back.  It had been in my brain the first time round.  This time it was not just my brain but my heart. I wound up all my businesses, I cancelled all my events, I packed my life in boxes, and I went home with a miserable prognosis. I almost croaked it.

But I didn’t die. I began to stubbornly climb my way back to health.  It took a long time. I learned a lot. I was forced to grow.  More health problems came and went. It wasn’t easy. Drugs bloated me. Life battered me.  Each day I would look in the mirror and barely recognise myself. I used everything I could get my hands on – meditation, diet, herbs, energy medicine, conventional medicine.  You name it – I tried it!

Every so often I’d look at this earlier picture of me and think, I’ll get back there soon.  I’ll get back to normal. I held that picture in my head and worked towards it.

Then in November 2009 I had a heart attack, brought about by a virus.  My heart was vulnerable, after all it had already been through. I was totally floored.  But I didn’t die, although I came close. More drugs.  Limited exercise.  I just couldn’t get back to where I was with any sort of speed.

November 2010 I got a paralysis tick in my ear.  It triggered cardiomyopathy. Yeah, yeah – another near-croaking event. I spent months in bed, or with such limited mobility that I might as well have been in bed. I puffed up with fluid. I had a moonman face and a Michelin man body from all the steroids and the weight I gained.

But I stubbornly held that damned 2005 picture of me in my head.

Gotta get back there.  Gotta get back to being me.

Image of the Michelin man from

I’m sorry, but that’s just mean.

Not me comparing myself to a creature made from fat white tyres. What’s mean is me expecting myself to be who I was pre all-this-other-stuff! And the idea that somehow I was less me for looking different to how I did before? Pffffh. That’s just stupid.

So, that picture of me has to come down. It’s not who I am, although I hold her in my heart. I’ve been split open since then, on so many levels. Not just from illness – I’m also changed by the psychic work I do, by the spiritual commitment I make to walk this path. It’s changed me. I’m wiser. I’m softer. I’m much more real.

Finally, I really truly love myself just as I am. I look at my face in the mirror and know that this is me. I can’t ever be that 2005 girl again. I actually don’t want to be. It’s good to stand where I am, and look through these wiser eyes. I had to earn this wisdom, but I’d pay that price again and again to be where I am right now.

It makes me a little sad too.  That’s the truth, but it’s not about physical appearance. I was so much more carefree then, so much greener and ignorant of just how big life can be, and how small I am at the face of it all. Banging up against the hard and rough edges of life has taken off a little bit of shiny and replaced it with grit.

This is just a skin suit – this body I’m in, and it’s getting pretty dinged up and battered by Life. But isn’t that kind of the point? I’m a Soul, in a human body that will change and grow and fade and fail. Why be so hung up about the vehicle when I’m here for the journey?

I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.
~ Demi Lovato

So, this is me, as I am right now. More joyful. More scarred. Stretched bigger.

More real.

I don’t need you to love me.  I need ME to love me.  And I need YOU to love YOU.  I’ll take real any day.  Real has a beauty to it that takes my breath away.