I hate flying, all that turbulence and being strapped into a ride or die situation with no control over anything. Despite the screaming, shaking, seat kicking, neck spasming, ultimate discomfort of hurtling through space with nothing but jet fuel and some underpaid pilot attempting to defy the laws of gravity; I have this innate yearning to get wherever it is we’re going. Landing with our feet on solid ground where adventure awaits just beyond the revolving doors of baggage claim is kind of amazing if you think about it.

Climbing out of poverty while dragging complex trauma-luggage behind me, I have the complete collection-and yes, those are genuine nightmares in the stitching, took roughly twenty years of stubborn, ruthless, thick-headed travel to get the stains out. The end of the rainbow was more work in the form of student loans, a career, piles of laundry, dishes, toenail clippings, research, humiliating mistakes, cavernous hunger and close to a decade of home sickness. Low iron will either kill you, break the bank or a little of both. Ego death sucks but the wings are worth it. The gift was having three hours, ten weeks a year to cocoon. On the outside I looked like some gray and dying carcass but inside all kinds of stuff was happening. I cried a lot. It was sort of like flying except you can’t order drinks, movies or eight dollar snack boxes filled with Brie and dark chocolate but if your nurse hits a valve and you happen to pass out, the apple sauce and orange juice are on the house.

There’s often no time and frankly no money for dealing with feelings which is why it usually takes some brink of death experience to shake our senses awake. Don’t unpack your checked bags in the middle of the airport. Wait till you get wherever you’re going, which for me has been a series of decent rentals, sort of like fancy hotel suites. Oh look! A fridge and fluffy pillows! Everything is temporary anyway. Despite the fact that we never truly own anything in this life, we tend to try with all our might to hold on to illusions of permanence; photo albums, kids, traditions, routines, ideologies, processed food and other soothing lies. Death grips. Apparently I’m eventually buying a farm. Moooooooo.

The best some of us can do is quietly tend to our broken parts from the privacy of rooms we’ve managed to book, dress our wounds in designer or not so designer labels before going back out with the latest armor we’ve learned to wear to dodge the sharp edges of other broken people. I only leave the house for essentials like work, scented candles and seven or eight bags of Boom Chicka Pop. That stuff is amazing. So are people, trees, birds, date night, puppies and sunsets. It’s easy to forget we’re a pale blue dot, orbiting a ball of fire in a galaxy of stardust none of us can truly fathom or explain. Take my hand for a minute?

Honestly though, I’m less of a hermit since last year’s major surgery; nine months of EMDR. What’s that? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Sounds like witchcraft. Actually, it’s an evidenced based intervention that transforms lives. Now, instead of waking up screaming at shadows of the past two or three times a week, I wake up mumbling in frustration every couple of months over cheaply costumed ghosts. Oh boo hoo. Just die already! I’m tryin to sleep here, huh?! I can look at my face now, even sit near the window as the sun bores holes in my eyes, revealing every imperfection in the glaring light of awakening as the plane banks hard to the left or right; fickle extremes bob in tin pickle can’t or cans. Our destination is one and the same. For now, let’s check this place out.


Escape Bag by Forestbound

This was originally prompted by Timbo complaining about having to buy new luggage for a work trip. There’s this one bag I still really want to buy made by an artist in New England; those Escape bags. Such a great metaphor. Not to mention I love her aesthetic; form, function and the transcendence of beautiful places.

18 thoughts on “The Trip of a Lifetime

  1. I gobbled this up like your Boom Chicka Pow which I have to find and try — maybe. Might be dangerous. Turns out I’ve got that gene that 15 percent of us have that means I’m addicted to dopamine. So basically that means anything that givers my body even the tiniest bit of pleasure and triggers that dope has the potential to become my new monkey.

    Nightmares stitched into seams – such a great metaphor. Glad your ghosts are B Rated Horror variety now. Those are fun at.

    I’m reaching out to hold your hand. You write so beautifully. I feel it all, resonating like I song I love to sing to. Oh, but that makes sense. We both Species: Human. Sub-species: Kintsugi.


    Liked by 2 people

    • As humans (or kintsugi-which I’ll have to look up) aren’t we all wired for comfort? Survival tells us to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Then enlightenment comes along, all high and mighty and says: safety does not equal to comfort so stop eating that soggy sandwich (part of last night’s dream) and come on this senseless adventure.
      I’m glad my ghosts have out mellowed too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry, E. Kintsugi is “…poetically translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi, or Kintsukuroi, is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Rather than rejoin ceramic pieces with a camouflaged adhesive, the Kintsugi technique employs a special tree sap lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Once completed, beautiful seams of gold glint in the conspicuous cracks of ceramic wares, giving a one-of-a-kind appearance to each “repaired” piece.” From https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/

        “Safety does not equal comfort.”
        ^ New life motto.

        This weekend, the 14th, was the 23rd anniversary of my son Samuel’s birth/death. Between Friday and Sunday I had no sleep. Not on purpose, just overtired not being able to. I realized something in that spaced-out space. After 20 years with my husband, 27 with my youngest son, both kind, loving, gentle souls, I have confused the hell out of them by constantly making sure they are okay, they’re not upset, they’re happy with me. I realized that every day of my life I have had to make sure these people are safe. It’s like, when they go to sleep, they might change and become someone else. I don’t have to do that with them, or with most people. E I’ll be 60 next year. I don’t want my sisters and daughters and granddaughters to have to wait this long to learn this. I don’t have to twist myself into something I don’t even recognize just to make everyone happy and my world safe. It’s never going to be safe. But there are places I can relax.

        So the next step. Safety doesn’t equal comfort. And the next after that. The soul of wit (brevity). Forgive another long comment. Thank you for opening my mind and heart.

        ♥. Niki

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! I’m familiar with Kintsugi just not as familiar with the name. I love the concept; seeing ourselves as vessels of restored light (as opposed to cracked pots 🙂 Back in the day I did my one and only ever art show, Vessels of Light and it was actually based on this idea. Our cracks are where the light gets in and shines through.
        I know you’ve been working through some heavy grief, hugs for tired heart. It makes perfect sense that all these years you’d be asking the people you love most “are you okay? How bout now? Still good?” It’s a normal response to a tragic loss. The beautiful part is your ability to notice you’re doing it, notice that it might be having an effect on your loved ones and that you don’t want the next generations to have live with the same fears or behaviors. I can’t emphasize enough how much strength, wisdom and compassion that takes and you have it in abundance. ❤️ It’s also good to hear you have places where you can relax. And you’re right, there are no guarantees in life; that’s one of the hardest messages I ever had to give to myself and my clients. We live through all this crap, finally work up the courage or have the resources to do our healing work but life can still happen to us. Ugh. So unfair.
        And yet, I continue to find gifts in the challenges, or as my friend says ‘flowers in the fertilizer’.
        Don’t we love that expression: Safety does not equal comfort. ! It’s not mine but I too have adopted it. I learned it from a wonderful human who works for an organization that trains people in trauma-informed care. Brilliant. Just hearing it made a lightbulb go off in my head; we can be safe but doing something that feels really uncomfortable, like public speaking, not checking on someone, saying no! Blew my mind. 🙂
        Here’s to all the witty steps that help us make the trip of lifetime (haha, will I ever not be a giant human cheeseball?) 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh E! Oh man. Yes! Thank you! Wow. I’ve gone monosyllabic – oh whew I fixed it. This …is awesome. Man. Superkalafragilistic ly so…uplifting and empowering that you see me that way. Geez. Thank you. Flowers in the fertilizer. I love that too. I’m saving this forever. It will go on my wall of “You really aren’t a complete idiot” or – I need a better name. Cheesebsalls and goofballs rule!!!!!!!!! ♥.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, this had me comparing notes! 🙂 Five years ago I went through screaming myself awake several nights a week after arriving in a permanent nest post a lifetime of rented “motel” type places (love that analogy and that’s how I thought of my rentals too); the luggage was wide open for complete unpacking for the first time – no longer living out of the metaphorical suitcase with some things still hidden at the bottom or stashed away in zippered pockets.

    Well, that was fun, as you know – welcome to the ghost train. I reluctantly trialled SSRIs, which slowed the whole process down to manageable speed while making me feel like I was in a deckchair sipping coconut cocktails through a straw with the palm trees swaying overhead. Chill pill indeed. It took about three years that way of slowly trudging through the baggage, and masses and masses of writing about it – writing the flashbacks down, analysing what had happened, reading up on other people’s experiences, writing some more. And now no more ghost train – and no more SSRIs either.

    I heard about EMDR – sounds like an excellent option! Maybe that would be a nice alternative to big pharma?

    Stories are so powerful – other people’s, and our own if we can be brave enough to articulate them. Your blog helped me articulate my own stuff. I’m imagining one person writing who sets off other people writing like ripples in a pond. Now imagine that multiplied by dozens. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sophie. First, yes and thank you. Your feedback continues to help me find and use my voice. I’m so proud of us. Can I join you for one of those chill pill coconut cocktails? Ha.
      I do think EMDR can be a permanent alternative to big pharma and yet, medication can be an equally helpful gift. Until I had the time, energy, money and stability to even try EMDR I’ve appreciated meds for giving my nervous system a much needed break. For some of us meds will be a lifelong part of our healing and that needs to be ok though I’m psyched to hear you’ve found peace without them. Hooray for sanctuary and neuroplasticity.
      Stories are indeed powerful. Like the one you told about the rippling of awakening. That will be my meditation, my favorite medicine, as I fall asleep tonight.
      Big hugs and much love. ❤️


  3. ♥️♥️♥️ 9 months of EMDR…oh my friend! Rest up. I shut down after my first activated experience and that was a 5 day training course. My experience was Highly intense…very intrusive in my opinion. No, I haven’t paused enough to “heal” in my Why of it. Hopefully, we’ll talk soon.

    Great write! You deserve every good thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it was intense but I’d geared up for it and was ready. I literally stomped like a bull and told my therapist to bring it! The first time I tried EMDR was maybe three years before that; the room spun and i thought I was gonna throw up. I was scared. We heal in our own time. I’m glad to hear you’re trained in this intervention. It gives people their lives back. You’re a gift. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s