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Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

dog walk on Kings Island

dog walk on Kings Island

I started writing a very different blog post about a week ago but couldn’t get it to say what I wanted it to say, lost interest in it, and began writing this. I’m not sure this is any better but since it’s going straight from head to page, there will be less analysis involved.

And maybe that’s best.

GLBTQ Youth Summit

The Youth Summit I volunteered at on March 10th looked like it was a great experience for the youth, which is what matters. Less significant is that I was hoping to hear kids talk about what they are going through in their schools and communities. I was hoping to use that climate reading to know where, perhaps, would be the best place to focus my energies with volunteer work and activism. I didn’t come away with a clear answer but was just happy to be around so much youthful energy.

As a room monitor, I was told to be enthusiastically welcoming. I tried. Introvert enthusiastically-welcoming is probably not as bubbly and obvious as they were looking for.

I was in a session called “Activism Through Art” that was led by two high schoolers who were confident, fun, and amazing. They presented examples of activist artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zanele Muholi, Kara Walker, Keith Haring, Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and drew attendees into small group discussions about topics like how they saw art and activism working together and what types of symbolism they saw in the art they’d been shown. The session ended with attendees using the art supplies the young women brought to create their own art.

So I still don’t know exactly what schools today are like for GLBTQ youth, but from the number of kids attending, who ended the day by talking to their legislators about their concerns, I take it that legalizing gay marriage and new school policies against bullying have not solved everything.

One Day of Spring Teaser Weather

On a lighter note, last weekend (March 12-13, definitely not the more recent March 19-20) the weather was gorgeous, with a high on the 12th in the 70s. I spent almost that entire day outside. First riding Luke…

horseback riding horseback riding

Then going on a bike ride with a friend (unfortunately no photos, but do have photos of a Friday night bike ride)…

bicycle ride in Anoka bicycle ride in Anoka bicycle ride in Anoka

The weather worship extravaganza ended with a dog walk…

dog walk on Kings Island dog walk on Kings Island Writing

I’m struggling to get back to some SOLID writing after sending my 260 page manuscript off to my son for his input. The book includes some things he wrote and things I’ve written about events we went through together so I need his viewpoint before I go any further.

So I’m trying to get started on a new project. I have an idea for a shorter piece – a simple ebook – but it appears getting started on a new project is not simple, no matter how short and light-hearted I imagine the finished product being.

I also have another book’s worth of writing that didn’t make the cut for the first book. That actually might be easier for me to start working on than the ebook, as the idea is a bit more concrete.

I did have a solid writing routine going. I had daily time set aside, and I didn’t allow myself to think about other options for filling that time. I need to get back to that.

That means pushing past how wiped out I feel (perhaps caused by the usual “it’s been winter for five months and I’m tired of being cold” feeling).

I need to push past that.

And put my Java face on…

dog walk on Kings Island

dog walk by river

Brainerd, MN

I am writing this after just coming home from having a one hour, full body, hot stone massage. This wholly relaxed feeling is so foreign that some warped part of me  wants to do battle with the Peaceable Kingdom to return to my high strung, whacko, anxious feeling world. Obviously, I need to continue with my meditation practice.

Next Thursday, I will be at the 2016 Youth Summit. It’s an event that brings LGBTQ youth and allies together for leadership development, networking, and the chance to speak directly with legislators. The theme this year is Courage. Volunteering as a Room Monitor and Presenter Supporter at the event means taking time off from work. Deciding to do that required some back and forth thinking as I’m swamped at work and concerned that I’ve been and will be taking a lot of time off already for classes and travel.

The voice in my head that argues with such worries reminded me that so many times in my life I’ve put my job first, afraid of what might happen if I didn’t, since I rely on my job for health care and income – a pretty common dilemma. And yet, over and over I regret having chosen work over other things. I kick myself continually for the important things I’ve missed out on – like spending more time with my son.

So lately, when these choices come up, I ask myself how important the thing taking me away from work is to me. Is it very important to me as far as supporting my values? Does it mean helping or caring for people who are important to me? Do I see it as possibly changing the world for the better – improving the quality of life for someone?

I always feel silly or arrogant asking that last question. How important could any of my actions be in the bigger scheme of things? But then, isn’t that part of the problem we have in the world? We don’t realize our own power to make change. Or to do harm.

At this latter point of my life, more so than at any other point, I want to make good choices that are going to result in good things. I wish I would have made better choices sooner, but I’ll settle for doing so now.

This determination of what is REALLY important and what daily actions feed and fuel and grow that ‘thing’ is not as easy as one would think it would be. But living the life you want to live is a practice (like my meditation) that continues as long as you are living. There is no ‘arrival’ or completion except death. And I’m not sure that will be the end either.

dog walk by river

horse

 

dog walk

I was the child who climbed up into the cradle of tree branches with a book, a pen and my journal and observed the world from a safe distance. Maybe it’s time to come down and tell people what I saw. ~ Maery Rose

Within the up-down weather confines of February, there is nothing to stand in the way of the twin emotions of anxiety and depression, who run around the room like children who have had too much candy.

And my birth mother died.

I wish I could just say that my mother died but that would be confusing as my other mother has been dead since 2007. It strikes me as funny how I could refer to these two women as “A Mom” for adoptive mom and “B Mom” for birth mom, and so I shall.

I only met B Mom in 1998. With her living so far away, I only spent maybe forty hours total with her. Having to continuously deal with my own anxiety, I didn’t deal very well with being around a similarly agitated person. She made me so nervous and uncomfortable and fearful that we rarely spoke.

So perhaps one would suppose that her death would barely be a blip on my radar for numerous reasons. And yet it has sent me into a tailspin during a month of tailspins that are making it difficult for me to function properly. So forgive me if I say something odd or disturbing or if I seem to be withdrawing from people who have done nothing to make me feel the way that I’m feeling. I sometimes fear I will shatter if you touch me. Perhaps I am just afraid of crying.

Certainly, I will put on my best face, my best funny act, my best macho strut, but there will be breaks in what I can maintain.

horse

 

I was listening to Peter Rollins on the RobCast this morning. He’s written a number of books, including his most recent “The Divine Magician” and “The Idolatry of God.” There were many interesting points in the interview but my ears perked up when he began to talk about why people come to his live events rather than just read his books or listen to a podcast or YouTube video.

“Primary reason people are there is because they feel really alone and they want to be in the room with other people who are on the same journey.” ~ Peter Rollins

With losing my B Mom, I wonder who I can talk to or relate to about what it feels like to lose the mother who gave you up?

My A Dad died when I was 28. My A Brother died when I was 37. My A Mom died when I was 50. And that was the end of the A list.

My B Dad died when I was 51. And now my B Mom has died.

What got me through the loss of the A List is that I had something to do to prepare for the memorial service and I had people to grieve with. With the B List, that hasn’t been the case.

dog

So all the struggle and processing goes on inside at the same time that I’m finishing up a book that includes some of the story of being an adoptee and finding my birth family. But very little of the details of that are actually in the story. The way that the story is about being adopted is what it did to me. How I grew up believing being giving up was about me — about being a worthless, unlovable child. And nothing in my life contradicted that belief. Or maybe there was something, but I couldn’t see it.

Peter Rollins also talked about how we can grow up believing something and then later, as our experiences and our maturing adult minds gather refuting information, we change our beliefs. Yet, when under duress, we don’t fall back on our new beliefs but instead, what floods back with a vengeance are those old minds patterns and habits that we thought we had replaced. I think that is the problem with me right now.

horse

And so I go off into the world, reaching out a hand here and a hand there. Taking a walk. Riding a horse. Making an appointment for a massage. Making hot chocolate with marshmallows. Buying essential oils and teas that promise relaxation.

Thank goodness for Steve who is busy in the kitchen making some kind of something (he’s been into cooking lately and I certainly will not complain). For Luke who is the epitome of calm and quiet and passes that on to me. For Java, another animal friend who does the same. For Latte who does her bow-and-run dance for me and makes me laugh. For a friend handing out free samples of her Naan at Lunds, who has no idea that five minutes with her made me feel better. For a dear cousin who seemed to know I was thinking about her and gave me a call when I needed to hear her familiar voice. And another friend who listened patiently to me on the phone today and has invited me to visit her next week. And a couple other friends who have checked in to see how I’m doing.

horse

Oh, and there was the guy I passed walking his little beagle puppy — that puppy was was scampering through puddles and he made both his owner and I laugh. And one of the guys working at the barn, who told me what a great horse Luke is, “Never any trouble from him,” and who stood and petted Lukes face for awhile before returning to his chores.

Perhaps no one is on my exact same journey or knows exactly how I feel or even that I’m hurting at this time, but a smile, a kind word, setting a minute aside to chat — they do so much to touch a life and to heal.

So thanks to all the people I passed and spoke to in the past week. And for those people I haven’t had contact with, I’ll thank you also because I’m positive you have done something similar for someone else, perhaps without even knowing it.

horse

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