Written Sunday, September 25, 2016


It is nearing the end of September and I am sitting on the new deck my family built this summer. The clouds cling to the western edges of the sky, and the blue is strong and warm. My phone says it is 12°C but I beg to differ as I sip from my cold drink and wonder if shorts might be needed later. The Mutt has parked herself under my seat as I write, recently defeated once again by a fly she’s tried to chase down. It gives me endless amusement when she gets in those manic panics while trying to catch winged bugs. Her rapid back and forth jumping as they zig zag through the air, inches from he”r nose. One time we watched as a bug landed on her paw and she sat there frozen, staring intently as the insect cleaned itself. They both continued like this for a solid few minutes before the fly launched itself into the air and right into The Mutts nose. She lost her ever loving mind after that, and chased the fly until her leash snagged and gave an almighty tug. But now she lies under my foot and watches intently as I nibble at the Donair from down the street between written sentences. My sister sits across from me, muttering to herself as she tries to write a five-page analysis of a short story that barely covers a single page. My mother works inside, flitting around the kitchen as she cuts, pares, preps, and cooks the harvest produce we purchased yesterday. She’s on her third batch of soup in the last twenty-four hours. My father is off, teaching kids the majestic sport of curling, and my brother alternates between the painted world on his TV screen and the truck I recently drove into meltdown. CHECK GUAGES does not mean your gauges are broken and you need to fix them, it means your vehicle is in overheat and you are an idiot when you continue to drive it.

I am writing this out because of the deep seated feeling that overflows my chest and mind and spirit. The feeling of utter content in this moment. The feeling of your face starting to ache from the smile that has not released for the last few hours. The feeling that this moment is exactly what it needs to be at this time. It’s not perfect, I am not where I want to be in my future, I am not where I thought I would be in my past. But the content stems from the fact that I am at ease with where I am right now, and all the elements that have come to paint the scene I now sit in. And I need to capture this. Not because I feel it needs to be encapsulated and preserved, but because this moment marks my realization of a great triumph.

Depression is a lying bitch. And it has been a long time in my life that it hasn’t snuck into every moment and lied to me that I’m not worth the beauty and calm and happiness in a scene. And I’ve had many a scene. The time a number of us Summer Dorm kids wandered over to the park. We swam and sunned ourselves on the floating dock, chatting and joking, and the whole time my mind chanted “You don’t belong here, they all hate you.” The countless times people invited me out, and I would cling to a drink and ritually check my phone in an attempt to calm my nerves. Those family vacations where it would curl up in my gut and chew my insides while singing “They all wish you were dead.” I could have moments where I was thinking “this is it, I’m actually happy and maybe everything is better” only to turn around and run into those damned eyes that would hiss “you don’t even deserve this, you waste.”

As some tell you, the first lie Depression will ever whisper into your ear is that you don’t even have depression. That these twisted and poisoned thoughts are completely valid and founded on fact. Just look around, you’ll see the truth in every little corner of your life. Hell, near my lowest point, depression promptly informed me that the party my friend sheld when I had to leave Nanaimo was all a sham, and at any moment they were going to yank the façade away and I would see how much they all actually despised me. They had spent a whole damn week planning this out, there were presents, and someone showed up with brownies and ice cream and I was still spending the whole time basically shoving my fingers in my ears and screaming “lalala” at depression. Not literally though, just to clear up that mental image.

So many moments in my life, where that damned beast gnawed at the corners of the picture and tainted the colours wrong and twisted the image. And it’s such a sly fucking monster, that when you come forward and state these things, people seem shocked and upset. How could you think they would hate you? How could you think so low of yourself? How could you let depression suck you this far under the waves? And that is like goddamn candy for depression. It takes that shit and gorges on it and then sits its bloated ass on your chest. And as you fight for air and try to scream that your dying, it looks down at you and goes “exactly, look at how much you ruin everything. You self centered whore.”

So you see, it’s been a long hard fight to get near the surface. To start treading water in a way that lets me breathe, and see around, and plot a course.  Long hard fight to get to a point where I can look around and notice where I’m at, how I feel, and understand that there’s no gnawed edges.

And like an injury that has finally healed, I worry at it. Test around, push and burrow and search for Depression. I’m almost sure that it’s lurking just out of sight, ready to pounce and devour the scene. That’s what I’m used to. I’m used to not being able to access a full range of emotion without the pain of depression. Like any injury, or illness, you have to regain what you lost. Athletes start from scratch and work a once broken limb back into shape. People who have been sick for ages slowly build endurance back up. I work on seeing life without a shadow hanging over it.

Clouds are moving in, but the heat isn’t letting up as the sun slowly falls. My mom sends me to get more supplies for the meals, and I pick up slurpies for the family while out. The Mutt receives a few treats for how well she’s been, my sister slips on her ‘teacher glasses’ as the work continues, and eventually my mom comes out to enjoy the weather. And still, no depression in sight.


Can’t Run a Business if You Hate Yourself


The night that I did my first Scentsy party (an online Facebook one while I ran around the house playing Bunko), when all was said and done, I closed the door to my room and whispered “proud of you kiddo.”
I then promptly burst into tears.
My story and battle with self hate isn’t anything new on this blog. It’s the antagonist that drives near all my battles, even though it wears my face and I largely feel like I am battling myself. But recently a new light shone on this whole battle.
See, when I joined Scentsy I met this whole other group of people. That’s expected, especially in a team the size mine is. And, as many people hint at when talking to you about joining Scentsy, they’re more than excited to chat and support and laugh with you. I was expecting to give it, and happily commented here and there words of encouragement. But, like I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t really expecting it. Every like, every comment from my two Directors (the amazing Tanya and Pat), every congrats from my team left me with that odd jump and tumble in my stomach. The one where I want to be excited and happy flap but that antagonist roars to life and I end up clamping down on thumbs.
Halfway through my second month, an opportunity came up for a learning program with members of my team. The Dash to Directors program. Requiments were that you had been with Scentsy for X amount of months, had at least one sponsored team member, and over a certain level of sale points. And it was for people who wanted to make this whole thing more than just a simple after hour source of pocket change. It was for those people who wanted to drive their business forward, grow as a leader, push themselves farther than they had thought they could go with this.
I wanted it. I wanted it so bad that the moment I read the offer, it twisted round in my head and my gut and I paced my room with this driving energy that had no where to go.
Because I had none of the qualifications. I had only been working Scentsy for around forty-five days. But the nagging wouldn’t stop, so I logged onto Facebook and messaged Pat.
Told him how much I wanted this.
Explained that I knew I had none of the requirements.
Asked if there was any way I could be a part of the program anyway.
And he said yes. He said I had potential, that he and Tanya saw me achieving great things, said he wouldn’t have accepted me if he didn’t think I could cut it.
When someone compliments me, I usually turtle. Shake it off, twist it away, basically avoid you. When someone compliments me after giving me a sort of promotion…I can’t do that. Especially after pouring my heart out asking for said promotion.
“I really want this opportunity, I want to make this work.”
“Sure! We actually think you can totally make this work. You’re a great member for this team.”
“Haha, no I am actually human trash.”
Yeah, that’s not going to get you anywhere. And I came to this realization as soon as Pat and I finished talking that day. I couldn’t be shit to myself and expect to make this work. People weren’t going to buy from someone, weren’t going to join their team, weren’t going to be comfortable with someone who considered themself to be scum. So that day, I had new incentive to work on Project Not Feel Like I Am Worthless.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the magic pill that fixes all my mental ailments. Scentsy is great, but they’re not miracle workers. It’s one tool in a box I’m slowly scrounging together, a piece in a puzzle that’s going to be a long time in the making. But it became such a shift for my mindset. I can’t speak for other business individuals, maybe Zuckerberg believes himself to be a waste of space, but I knew that I had no chance of moving forward with my personal opinion of myself. And I want to move forward with this. The chance to use this as an opening for sensory control is something that makes me excited. Figuring out different ways I can use Scentsy to create a better sensory environment is a drive.
So something needs to change. And now I spend every day working on Scentsy, and every day working on me. The little nod after my party, standing up for myself at the garage sale (that’s a whole other post, just wait), the videos and posts and every small step I take to spreading the word. They all give me the chance to work on myself.
The steps towards a better self acceptance are getting bigger. It used to be that simply not starting every day off with the thought of “you are worthless” was a massive achievement. To simply awknowledge that my personal thoughts were an issue and I deserved better. Now I’m working towards creating that better self image. And these actions are momentus.

I’ll see you on the flip side.

Fiction Friday: When the Levee Breaks

Fiction Friday: When the Levee Breaks

Tomorrow he will find her in the bathroom; blood dripping from her arms, her teeth biting her left hand hard enough to break bone. She will be pressed into the corner, screaming and crying and raging at demons he can’t fight. Demons that make her very skin an enemy to her mind.

“Please… let me help. Let me see.” He will crouch down low and slowly reach out, praying, to whatever gods that listen, he does not make it worse. She will flinch and pull back when he brushes her skin, cracking her head on the wall. He will grab her hand and pull it out of her mouth, horrified at the mangled mess it will be.

“Sorry, I’m sorry, so sorry, I’m sorry, sorry” will stumble from her lips, panic covering her face. It will take everything he has to not break down then and there, to clutch her close and cry, ask her over and over again why she would do this to someone so beautiful, someone he loves so much. Instead, he will reach under the sink, where the first aid kit is kept, and pull out gauze to wrap her in. The tears in her skin, inflicted by nails she’s bitten down to the quick, will need stitches. So he will concentrate on simply stemming the bleeding. Then he will wrap his arms around her, and hold her tight, whispering “It’s okay, it’s all okay, everything’s okay” until he wonders if his nose will grow from the lies.

He will carry her out of the apartment and into the hall, where neighbors peek out their doors to glare, down the stairs and out the door, where he will hail a taxi and slide her into the backseat.

“Hospital, please. Just go.”

“Dude, she’s tweaking? ‘Cause I gotta call it in if she—”

“Drive! Just fucking drive!” He will snap. Too busy trying to wipe tears from her face, he will not notice the cabbie flinch at his words. He will hold her the whole ride there, singing songs and rubbing small circles in the middle of her back, trying to calm the shaking in her limbs.

When they get to the hospital, she will stiffen, and he will hurry to repeat the chant that it is okay, that everything will be okay. The cabbie will step out and grab a nurse, describing the young girl with a vacant look and bandaged arms that are bleeding all over the back seat. The nurse will open the door, and he’ll slide out with her in his arms, pinning down hands that try to scratch at mangled skin. Her eyes will widen, and he will sing, trying to make her feel safe as they enter the loud halls and bright lights.

They will question her, and he will answer because he knows that talking is not an option for her. Not right now, not while she’s in this state.

“Are you on any drugs at the moment?” A nurse asks her.

“She’s on Divalproex, Valtrex, Strattera” He starts, listing off the morning ritual. The nurse will look at him, confused.

“I’m sorry… I don’t know those… what are their street names?”

And that’s when he will realize they believe she is high, and he will bite back anger. When he mentions a diagnosis, the nurse will stare back blankly. He will try and explain how it was probably the jackhammer down the street, or the smell of burnt toast from the apartment next door, or the feeling of her socks that drove her to this extreme. They will continue tostare at him, judging the young man with military movements and scars on his skin. They will ask him to leave, so they can question her in private, and he will pace the hall outside her room.

They will ask her if he did this, and she will shake her head furiously, muttering variations of “sorry” under her breath. The doctor will come in to inspect her hand, and will ask how she was able to do that to herself.

“I wasn’t there” will be her answer, and it will bring forth more questions than she can handle, and she will shut down. She will not make a sound or move until he’s there again, rubbing circles on her back and singing softly. Then she will curl small into his chest, fighting back tears and counting heartbeats.

You’re alive one, I’m alive two, we’re alive three.

And she will swear it will never happen again, and that she’ll be better next time, and that she’s so sorry.

And he will promise to never leave, that he understands, that he’s right here.


But tonight, he sings loud and crazy, and she spins until she staggers around dizzy. She flaps her hands and jumps up and down on the balls of her feet, and he calls her “little bird” and pretends to beg her not to fly away from him. And the neighbors bang on walls, telling them to keep quiet. Tonight, they watch movies, and throw popcorn at each other, and laugh at stupid jokes they tell one another. They fall asleep on the couch, wrapped in blankets and each other’s arms. And they don’t know about the storm they will face in the morning.

A/N: A challenge on changing tense in the story and still having it make sense. It’s a short story also based in the world of a much larger fiction I am co writing with Eli Lavin


So a Gifted Kid walks into a Garage Sale

So a Gifted Kid walks into a Garage Sale

I bought a violin over the weekend. $15 at a garage sale. The sound post is rattling around the body, the D string won’t tighten, the A string is just gone, and I’ve never played a violin in my life. And at this moment, this instrument is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.

I have experience playing instruments. 6+ years on a flute, beginner level guitar, random smatterings on drums and harmonicas and pianos, and an angry feud with a theremin. I love music. I was lucky to have an incredible band teacher in my Junior High years that fed and fanned that love until it was this inferno in my chest I still haven’t squashed out. There were two small problems that arose though, and it’s the usual story of a Gifted student.

First off, I was some how able to make a sound on the flute within the first few minutes of picking up. The sound was more akin to a dying cat than a musical note, but my band teacher was impressed. And by the end of the class, I was the only flute player that could still get a noise out of the instrument. So the perfectionist streak that was quickly growing informed me that we would not be trying any more instrument because obviously this was our best chance to not mess things up. The second problem was that our class, the majority of us, had a nice chunk of music theory under their belt. And Mrs. Fossey, the teacher, was a woman who liked to teach fast and push hard. She’s an excellent teacher, and demanded exactly how much she knew she could push you for. But I had this underlying issue where, if I haTd a question and was struggling, I was just going to shut the hell up and pretend everything was peachy keen.

I emerged out of Junior High with five different solos under my belt, a love of the flute (to the point where I considered paying up the $150 for “lost instrument” and just not turning my flute in at the end of the year), and a hodge podged knowledge of musical theory. If you had given me a skills test on theory right then and there, you would have cried.

The issue with this, along with many Gifted individuals, is that we’re amazing at adapting. I know A and C and D, but I don’t know B. And you can go so long without people realizing that you don’t know B. The issue is that when we finally do reach a point where we can’t cover it up any more, shit falls apart. Hard. And we get so damn scared of when that will happen that we actively try and avoid it.

Gifted individuals grow up with their smarts being hailed as their greatest thing. And usually the messages we end up getting are “Of course you’re good at this, it should be easy for someone as smart as you” or “Why are you not getting this? You’re so lazy. This should be a cake walk!” My mom was great at keeping that sort of language from reaching me at home. My constant struggles in math made me feel like I was a fake when it came to my diagnosis, but she stressed over and over again that I was Gifted but that didn’t mean I was going to find everything easy. There were things I was going to have to work for.

This didn’t quite leak in when I first started playing the guitar.

I say I have “beginner” level because my learning of the guitar has not been linear. I’ve picked it up, put it down, had spurts where I’m 100% dedicated, and dry spells when I look at the damn thing and go “there is all the proof you need that you’re a failure.” And it’s because I picked the thing up and wasn’t instantly good at it. My brain is horrible at listening to Ben Howard or City and Color and going “we can totally play that,” which is hilarious because it took me an hour last night to master Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

So where does my new friend fit with all of this?

When I saw the violin, I asked why it was being sold, expecting to hear that the bridge was spoiled, or the neck was warped. Instead I got the speech of trying it for six lessons, not being perfect, and giving up.

Yes, I see the irony here. Yes, I understand the universe is laughing at me right now. But I looked down at the violin, and said sternly That will not be you. If I was going to buy the damn violin, I was going to have a mindset from day one that I was not going to get this right away, that I was probably going to do a lot of sucking at it before I was even remotely good at it. And if I was going to have the perfectionist mindset that had shot me in the foot all this time, then forget it and leave the damn violin in the grass.

So now I’m waiting for the Luthier in my neighborhood to open so I can go over and get that sound peg placed. I’m scouring YouTube videos and online lessons and every scrap of information I can find. And that flame in my chest is gorging itself right now. Because when you put aside all the fear, and the perfectionism, and the emotional intensity, the main thing of someone who is Gifted is that incessant need to learn. To explore, and experiment, and discover. And that’s the goal right now, to put all the baggage aside and just enjoy my time with this little stringed instrument. And maybe get that passion to leak into everything else. Let that fire feed on a few more things.

I’ll see you on the flip side.





Fiction Friday: Then Never Again

Fiction Friday: Then Never Again

“We’ll get the torcher and burn that Raspberry cane. Damn thing’s a fire hazard anyway. We’ll send it to Valhalla and let them deal with it.”

“Yes Grandma,” I whisper, trying to keep under control. I had my time at the funeral.

She looks this time, gives me a long hard stare.

“Then let’s get to it.”

Grandma Ann isn’t mine by blood. She’s been our neighbor since before I was born though. But until grade one, she was Ms. Headrith. I remember hiding in the raspberry cane while she talked with my Mother.

“My Granddaughter, Alice, is going to be in that class as well. Hopefully Dani here can teach her some sense,” She seemed pleased with this friendship. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t going to be friends with Alice because someone said so. I went into class ready to hate her.

The opposite happened.

She sat beside me at lunch and introduced herself.

“Grandma says we get to be friends. And since you’re my first friend, you’re my best friend. Do you want some of my cinnamon roll?”

We never left each other after that.

“Damn gas cap’s rusted on. Grab me that monkey wrench.”

The fact that I am not the least bit worried that she’s smoking over a jerrycan full of gas shows my emotional state right now.

There’s a thumb-sized glob of grease stuck in the wrench, so I drag the head up my leg to wipe it off. The grease smears over my jeans, ruining them. I hand the wrench over, then play with the stain. My fingers skim over the muck.

Alice never thought, she just did. She would stand on the top of the playground, scream, “I’m the Queen of the world”, then fall and crack her head on the slide. Alice would steal candy from the corner store, then walk downtown with sandwiches stuffed in her pockets for the homeless she saw, just because “she could”. One time Jim Sanders said Alice didn’t have the balls to kiss a girl.

“Yes I do!” she defied, then turned and kissed me. She grabbed my face and smacked one on me.

Her lips were soft, and her hands were chapped and dry. Those two different textures that close to each other left me stunned, and I stood there shocked and wide eyed. She was gentle, stroking my hair behind my ear while her lips moved over mine. When it ended, she pulled back, gave me a smile, then a quick peck on my cheek. Alice went to Math tutoring, and I went home to scour books, movies, and music for what happened when a girl kissed another girl.

I couldn’t find anything.

“We better hurry. That Lawrence boy’s mother is coming over. Wants to apologize for some God known reason.” Grandma Ann marches ahead of me, flamethrower in hand. I lumber behind with the full Jerrycan. When she mentions Lawrence though, I drop the can and start shaking.

I don’t want him dead, because that’s not fair to Alice. But I sure as hell don’t want him here.

“Take a drag.” The cigarette appears in my vision. I’m shocked. Grandma Ann once threatened us with tar and feathering if she ever caught us smoking.

“Dani, take a drag.”

So I do, I take a deep drag. And the tobacco sears my lungs, the smoke burns my eyes, and I stop shaking.

“Just this once. And then it never happens again.” She take the cigarette back. I nod, and pick up the can. We start walking.

When I told my parents I loved Alice, Mom told me it was a phase I’d grow out of. My father pretended not to hear me. When we told Grandma Ann, she looked long at the cross hanging over her fireplace. Then she looked long at us.

“Alright.” She finally said, and that was it.

Grandma Ann and her farm became our safe haven when the threats and abuse got bad. Then Alice left to see her father for a semester, and things got really bad.

When my Parents left for a weekend, it seemed logical to end everything. There had been threats to kill us both, but if I killed myself… they wouldn’t kill her.

Grandma Ann had promised to check up on me while the parents were gone. She found me in the tub with my wrists open.

When I came to in the guestroom of her house, she stared at me long and hard.

“Just this once. Then it never happens again.”

The Raspberry cane doesn’t burn. It smolders and smokes. Grandma Ann cusses some more, then attacks an opening with the flamethrower, trying to burn the bush from the inside out. She succeeds in making the whole bigger, but that’s it. Now I can peer inside, and it hurts.

I’m on my knees, pounding my fists into the ground.

“Denise, honey. Denise… Dani you need to stop!”

I’m howling. It starts off as simply screams, but then words form.

“She wasn’t supposed to be in the car! She was supposed to wait for me!”

“And he wasn’t supposed to swerve left. He was supposed to stomp the gas and hit the deer dead on.” Grandma Ann holds my bloodied hands.

I can’t breathe. The smoke and tobacco and grief pile into my throat and I choke on it.

So I scream.

I wail.

I weep.

And when I can breathe, I look at Grandma Ann.

“Just this once, then it never happens again. Right?” I force through tears, and snot, and pain.

She drops the cigarette, then holds me tight. I smell gasoline and cinnamon buns in her coat.

“Some things need to repeat.”


A/N: It was requested some time ago that I write a romance. The genre is not my forte, I don’t find myself reading or seeking it out. So an unhappy ending should come as no surprise. As always, please comment or critique, share, and I’ll see you on the flip side

This Little Company that I do Love So

This Little Company that I do Love So

My list of sensory issues is near a mile long. And changing. Monday my socks will feel fine, Wednesday they will feel like sandpaper on my feet. The meal I’ve eaten for years and years will suddenly turn to ash in my mouth and I will fight to keep from gagging everything up. Within the span of minutes the lights above will turn to daggers. A limb that has been fine for days will decide it can no longer be felt, and I will tap and hit and swing it endlessly, desperate to find it again.

By my sense of smell… that is safe.

I’m not saying I don’t have sensory issues around my olfactory system, because I do. There are smells that make me gag, smells that I will covet, and all the oddity pieces that are common in SPD. But the nose is constant, near unchanging. Things progress slowly, the scents that I’ve loved and loathed are the same ones from years ago. And it’s strange to put my trust in such an odd organ, but I do. Tomorrow my skin will go “denim is the devil, you can’t wear that anymore” but my nose will go “We still don’t like the smell of formaldehyde so I’d keep clear of that stuff.”

Because of this, it made sense that olfactory sensory input would be the first one I would start to input when I began trying to set up my own version of sensory therapy. If I know that I like the smell, have always liked the smell, and will always like the smell, then it’s a safe bet that I will find a sense of calm from it. If the rest of my senses are rebelling, I can light a candle, wrap myself in my father’s coat, or bury my face into my stuffed bear.

Years ago my Mom came across a small company that was selling “wickless candles” and decided to buy a few of them for the family. My sister and I both got one, colours matching our rooms. At first I was pretty skeptical. Half the fun of having a candle was being able to play with the flame, so what was the point of having this Scentsy burner in my room if there was no actual burning or things? But then I found Tingelo and Silver Bells, and I fell in love. It was my go to scent. It last me through much of my High School and work years, and it was the smell that made my dorm room my place when I moved back to Nanaimo.

Scentsy is a company that started off from humble beginnings and then exploded into one of the top 100 businesses on the market. And yet its goal remains the same. Create scented products that bring comfort and happiness to our customers. People talk about the scents they’ve found that are a striking resemblance to their grandmothers kitchen, the ones that calm their kids after busy days, the ones that excite them every morning to start the day. Scentsy is a company that bases itself on the power of the nose. So it makes sense that I would join.

In my mind, whether you’re Neurodivergent or not, everyone has sensory needs. Mine are just extranomically bigger than Average Joe sitting beside me. That doesn’t mean that Joe won’t find comfort in deep pressure, fidget toys, and pleasing sensory experiences. So when people look at me and go “That looks amazing, what you do to help yourself out” I have to bite back from yelling “you can benefit too!” So that thought became one of the reasons I joined Scentsy. This was a company that had helped me so many times before in my life, and it gave me the chance to help others with their sensory needs. Helping parents find the perfect product for their kids, letting neighbors pick through my samples and become excited when they find their scent, explaining the benefits of a sensory diet for everyone while a University Student excitedly picks out a warmer for the new place they will call home. I find joy in this. I find strength. The most acceptance and awareness I help others find in their own sensory needs, the more acceptance I will build in this world for me and the kids I work with and love so much. The Scubbys of my life.

And on top of it, I have found that joining Scentsy and working on creating my own business has helped me in the point I made about failure. If I don’t make my sale, there’s no one really to blame but myself. If I can’t make this work, it’s not like I can point and go “it’s your fault that I can’t make this work.” And when you’re running your own business, its not like anyone can try and shelter you when shit hits the fan.

It’s so incredibly freeing.

I am bound and determined to make this work out, and it’s fascinating the change in mindset with regards to this and other aspects of my life. If I mess up or fail somewhere else, I panic, berate myself, get angry, throw the towel in and scream. But I have yet to do that with Scentsy. An there has been a lot of bumps in this road. But I still have that excitement, I still have the determination, I still get that thrill of excitement when I get one step closer to my goals.

The only other place I feel like that is when I’m writing. I can’t fail when I’m writing. Because every piece of it is a learning opportunity, and every misstep has me picking myself up, brushing myself off, and trying again. So it excites me to have another aspect of my life that feels the same way. Makes me feel like I have all the power to make it work, makes me feel like there is something to learn and love at every turn.

And this new chapter all started with a wickless little blue burner, and two scents that I still have a little bit left of. Little bits of calm. Little bits of strength.

I’ll see you on the flip side.

In my mother’s garden

In my mother’s garden

When I talk about Sensory Processing Disorder, I’m quick to blame my senses. And that’s false. The sensory system is fine, there is nothing wrong with the countless nerves that string through my body. It’s when all the signals get the the brain that things get messed around.
I have given personae to aspects of my mental state. Anxiety and Depression look very much like the critters created by Toby Allen. PTSD is a beast that rumbles through my brain and breaks down all walls and barriers I have set up. And SPD is four year old me.


Itching for movement and comfort and sensitive to the world. She’s seeking and exploring and nervous and avoiding and sometimes she jumps towards the forefront and snaps my hand away from fabric that snags at our skin. Or makes us take in every detail of budding leaves. Or covers our ears as the SodaStream screams with carbonation. Or has us jump and flap and spin in excitement.
Language is hard for her. She’ll come running through screaming “not eat the mushrooms!” And I’ll end up gagging at the sight of the stupid gilled vegetable. She’ll demand “again” over and over, so I’ll end up listening to Under Pressure near a hundred times in one sitting because she adores that one section in the middle. But then my ears will be too sensitive and we’ll spend the rest of the day in pain.
The world is hard for her.
It’s hard for us.
So when she’s able to request properly, I’ll do back flips in am attempt to fulfill her wish. Anything to help build stronger neural pathways for her to travel.

Sunday was garden day. Winter has been near non existent, the last week was gorgeous, and the tulips are coming in full force. So it was planned that I would help my Mom weed and clean the front gardens, give it all a head start as rest of the plants realize that it’s safe to come up. As I pulled shorts on, my little sensory self crept forward and I braced for the feedback that something was not to our liking. Instead she whispered softly.
“Can we go barefoot today?”
I’ve never ripped socks off faster in my life.
And when it comes to sensory, my feet are the worst! I wear specific socks until the heels finally rub through, I tighten my shoes so the bones start to creak, I make sure that there will be no surprise with regards to my feet.
So yeah, working in the garden without socks was a big thing.
We had watered the front lawn a few nights ago. So it wasn’t muddy, but the soil was still cool and soft. If I rocked back onto my heels, they sunk into the dirt, compressing the earth beneath me. We had cut up the old, dead grass, and the clippings covered the lawn in a soft blanket. One that gently entwined through my toes as I worked the edges. I was able to use feet to brush off the stepping stones off, taking in the pebbly feeling underneath dirt and plant ends and wood chips.
And every once in a while a laugh would bubble up from the simple joy of feeling safe in my body. The sensory was fine, I wasn’t in any extra sensory pain, I felt good. Little sensory me and I were enjoying the signals our body was sending us.
Later on, she spoke up again.
“I think we need to put shoes on.”
I quickly slipped into the house, asking for a cloth to wash my feet and my socks. Then laced my shoes so tight the bones started to groan. And headed back to to finish our work.
A neural path strengthened, a sensory win.

I’ll see you on the flip side