Setting The Stage
Every good story has a beginning, a middle (or an arc), and an ending.. nice little arcs of these fairy tales and parables I have heard from my youth.. a closure. a resurrection. a triumph in the face of evil. something to hold onto, something that makes sense in our linear minds.
Maybe that’s why it has a been hard for me to put this never-ending journey I have been on into a nice little written fairy tale for myself (and anyone else) to digest. The truth is, life is not scripted and the storytelling rules I learned in AP English just don’t seem to hold up to the triumphs and heartache that come along with life.
Not sure exactly where to start, because I have been actively living out this crazy story.. and I find that in re-telling this tale I cannot write a half-truth. The bravery comes in embodying the story fully, living to tell it, telling it honestly and throwing away all of the rules.. because who says a story has to be beautiful only if it’s wrapped in a beautiful little box with a happy ending? This is a story of finding beauty OUTSIDE of the lines, of complete surrender, of survival and of creativity in the face of continued pain that feels like death.
I have chosen to start this particular story of my journey to California with the breakdown of my body that started sometime in September. These breakdowns seem to have their way of catalyzing my trajectory in a continued higher vibrational frequency, into more understanding, into more of my heart and my intuition.this is always found when I have to be entirely by myself - in and out of surviving the unbearable pain my body puts me through... which comes at no surprise why this journey cannot and has not made logical sense to most who are witnessing me walk through the fire..why I have not tried to ( or felt the need to) explain my decisions as I have made them, and why I have tried to only operated from the place of knowing within my heart (because if I operate outside of that I literally feel it in my body and I start to operate in the world from a place of fear and need instead of love and wholeness within myself) while combining all the creativity and research and logic I found as I navigate this coffin my body puts my spirit inside.
As the cycle as always been in the past, I pushed myself to the limits of my physical capabilities from March-September of 2018. After leaving a relationship, building a new home, nursing my grandmother through death and burying her, and my photography business completely dissolving after my fiasco in the psych ward/detoxing from anti-psychotics… I gave everything my body had to building up my life again. Without any photography work, I came back to Savannah from my grandmothers funeral and started working 4 different gigs to make ends meet- all physically taxing.
I am proud of myself for how much my body was able to handle AND how hard I worked to ground myself emotionally and spiritually during this season of my life. This is another story, but all this to say I pushed myself very hard to make ends meet while also trying (and succeeding) in living and rebuilding my life again in Savannah- independently. I felt safe again in my skin and in my home for the first time in YEARS, and it helped me release so much trauma and emotions I was suppressing inside of my spirit. Last Spring, Summer and Fall were some of the most freeing and beautiful seasons of life I have had in a very long time. I found myself and my soul again, and the water and moon helped me heal.
After a beautiful summer, my sister and I simultaneously both had a week off of work at the last minute in September. We were both itching to travel, itching to get into the mountains and into nature so we jumped in our cars and met each other in the Smokey Mountains.
I wanted to test and see if I could comfortably camp out of my element, while Taryn camped out of her tent most nights. We traveled around the backroads of the Blue Ridge Mountains, hiked, spent time by the campfire and had more precious conversations than I can count. I pushed my body hard during this trip to keep up with Taryn on the trails, it was difficult for me to sleep out of the element and the extensive driving and difficulty of camping really did a toll on my body. The emotional weight of the physical pain caught up to me several times on this trip, which was a hard thing for me to be vulnerable about with my sister.
Taryn went back to Nashville, and I had another few days off work so I thought I’d hang out in the mountains a little longer- without much of a plan, trying my hand at trusting my intuition on this journey. I found a hostel called Standing Bear right off the AT, and made that my destination.
On the road to Standing Bear, my brain stem got pinched and it sent me into my third dystonic (we think this is what it’s called) episode. My body was weak, I was tired and hungry and had been driving on a bumpy road for hours, which triggered the jarring in my brain that sent my body into a state of pain and panic. My neurological symptoms spiked, walking became extremely difficult and it was a wake-up call that I needed to get to a neurologist who specialized in neurological manifestations of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome ASAP : Dr. Henderson in Chevy Chase Maryland. I was given a reprieve for a week at the Hostel, long enough to get my strength back up to drive towards Maryland as I also tried to set up the doctor appointments that I needed. I guess, looking back I was a little too hopeful that it would all work out and I’d get the support I needed immediately and had no idea what kind of fight I’d be facing over the next year.