Your Shadow Is Everywhere.

lush forest growing on mountains slopes at sundown

“Sun went down in honey and the moon came up in wine. You know stars were spinnin’ dizzy. Lord, the band kept us too busy we forgot about the time.”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

Every year I right a blog post on, about, or revolving around February 21st. I write about how much I miss my late older brother and how I so desperately want him to be here and enjoying life. But, the sad reality is he’s not here. He is very much dead. I say that so bluntly because I have his ashes on an altar of mine at my home. He truly is never coming back, even if I secretly will always hope he will be. That I will will soon wake up from this dream and all will go back to normal. I soon than realize, this is normal…..and he really is gone.

“There’s mosquitoes on the river. Fish are rising up like birds. It’s been hot for seven weeks now. Too hot to even speak now. Did you hear what I just heard?”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

It’s been six years since he left this world and transitioned to a different plane. But, thankfully he does come around and visit. I just wish I could hug him again. In this reality. But, I know I can not and I don’t think I can get over that nugget of knowledge anytime soon.

I still live in the house I grew up in, times and money are rough to come by….and a big move is coming soon, and everything reminds me of him. I want to figure out how to keep the house and land because its very sentimental and I like to keep everything that was apart of my brother’s 26 years of living close to my heart.

Yes, he was only 26 years old when he died. I always say he wanted to remain a Rockstar forever or just start singing, “I want to be forever young.” But, in reality being a struggling drug addict is deadly business and truly shows that addiction can effect everyone. Drugs don’t care what your economic status is, what your career choice is, or how wonderful of a family you come from. Once they take over the person you once knew vanishes and the drugs take over.

“Well the cool breeze came on Tuesday. And the corn’s a bumper crop. And the fields are full of dancin’. Full of singin’ and romancin’. The music never stopped.”

The Grateful Dead, “The Music Never Stops”

The day he died, was something out of a movie. I was driving home, saw cops at my home, turned around, and called my mom. My mom said, ” You need to come home,” and I just knew. I knew he was gone and I new that this new life was about to unfold. There was not time to cry, it was just time for action. I had to grow up and deal with the fact my brother was gone. I had to figure out how to navigate two (three) grieving parents, his friends that just lost someone that would have given them the shirt off their back, and walking through my own grief. Which, the last one I am still working on doing, it’s a process after all.

Six years later and the grief is still there, the sadness is still there, and the thought of what could be is still there. Time doesn’t heal anything. It transforms to what is considered the new normal of feelings. I still am reminded everyday that he is gone, well in the physical sense…..around 9pm every night certain rooms in the home smell life Ralph Lauren Red and cigarettes. So, I don’t know if he is truly gone. But, one will never know.

What I do know is I am the luckiest human alive to have him as my older brother in life and I honor the time we had together in his death. My goal is to keep his memory alive and live life to the fullest, just as he did. And…. I will forever be Johan’s Little Sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sometimes the lights all shining on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me. What a long strange trip it’s been.

The Grateful Dead, “Truckin”

Until we meet again bro, keep on keeping on. May your memory stay alive and may you be truly at peace. I will see you through the looking glass in the land of dreams, where time stands still and reality is a figment of our imagination. So, it’s never goodbye truly. It is, I will see you again soon.

COVID-19 The End Of The World As We Know It.

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

― Chuck Palahniuk

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/68729-fight-club

As of March 16th, 2020 the world as we know it has gone into isolation. People are practicing social distancing, local businesses are forced to close for the foreseeable future, people are finding out ways to work from home, and you can’t get any fucking toilet paper anywhere. It seems that the world has gone dormant with the possibility of returning to, “business as usual,” anytime soon slim to none. It’s like humanity right now is the experiment for the apocalyptic dystopia of the 31st century that will drain our sanity and bank accounts until we start trading for goods via stones and rocks.

But….Hey maybe it’s not all bad? Maybe this time where thousands of people are out of work (including myself) and trying to figure out how to pay bills, survive being at home for 2-3 weeks, and cancelling vacations (which some of us…aka me….really need) could be a time to reconnect with our inner-selves, nature, and the universe. Or maybe we can all just sit in a corner and watch the world crumble, where we need to where hazmat suits when we go out, and we have to wash our hands every five seconds & never touch our faces again. Maybe I can sit down with my nieces and nephews and tell them how the world before the Corona Virus was different and we didn’t have to wear protective gear to go outside and you could actually enjoy the sun on our faces, roll down small grassy hills, and make s’mores around the campfire.

“Only in the shattering can the rebuilding occur.”

― Barbara Marciniak, Family of Light: Pleiadian Tales and Lessons in Living

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/rebuild

I am hoping that during this time people can get back to the simplicity of the life. I feel that people have grown so far away from the idea of minimalism and just now focus on the materialistic things of this world….like to much toilet paper…..really everyone you don’t need 100 rolls of toilet paper…..just saying.

During this pause in the universe, maybe it’s a sign? Maybe it’s a sign to take a moment and calm down and do some soul work. Reconnect with a part of you that has gone to the wayside. Learn how to be your authentic self and cultivate a relationship with one’s self (mind & body connection-relationship-thing). Or, maybe you just learn how to prioritize yourself over anyone else. Sometimes it’s OK to think about yourself more than the person next to you…..we are in a technical pandemic after all.

Corona Virus itself brings on the sense of the world ending, crippling anxiety, and just the fear of death, dying, & despair. Let me give you a list of things to help ease the feeling of death, dying, and despair.

  • All else fails just keep breathing. This will ensure you stay alive for the foreseeable future.
  • Be prepared to not go out for a bit. Knowing you are prepared can help easy the anxiety of running out of essential items like toilet paper.
  • Move your body! Start your own home yoga practice. There are tons of yoga videos on YouTube that you can watch and get your yoga on…..and I will be putting up a few for as well as a donation based video yoga series.
  • Interact with your friends & loved ones in anyway that is apart of social distancing. Face-time, Google Hangouts, Skype, Discord. You name it, find it, and use it. Human connection is very important in this time of isolation and quarantine.
  • Relax and don’t stress out! Stress will kill your immune system quickly and right now we all need help keeping our immune systems high functioning.
  • Last, but not least laugh & smile it will do your mind and body all the good.

Stay safe & Covid-19 free during this time of quarantine. We’ll talk soon!

-Leah

I. AM. PLUS. SIZE

Plus-sized women shouldn’t think of themselves as a size. They should think of themselves as women with rich goals in life. Size doesn’t mean, really, anything. You can carry your size with pride and dress in a way that you like. ”    

Donatella Versace

The secret is out….I am a plus size woman. You see me when I walk into rooms. You hear me when walk. You know that I can not find any clothes in stores that are cute and comfortable. You may pay attention to what I do, how I do it, and why I do anything and everything.

Do I hate being plus size? No, I don’t. Do I enjoy the extra weight on my body? No, I don’t. Am I healthy? Yes, yes I am. Do I have a thyroid? No, I do not. Do I struggle with inflammation due to fibromyalgia? Yes, I do. Do I also have a form of narcolepsy? You fucking know it. And do all of these medical conditions cause weight gain? Oh baby, yes they all do.

You maybe a little intimidated by me, but really I am just someone that would give you a *consensual and platonic* hug. I mean no harm, but I will take no shit. Don’t call me out for my size. Don’t tell me I can’t do something, because I will prove you wrong. Even if that involves having tears in my eyes and sweat coming off my forehead you will be proven wrong.

It’s frustrating that I can’t go into a store and buy cloths like a normal sized human would (I know there are some plus size stores, I am aware). It’s hard to have to think before you do something. Like, will my weight affect this activity or will I break something…A normal human would not have to think about any of that. But, again I was made to be larger than smaller so…..I just roll with what life is throwing at me.

Dating is and has been interesting…..I would have never guessed that so many thin men would like a thick, plus size, and fluffy woman. I don’t know if it is my confidence or my good looks. Is it how I present myself or is it that I am taboo? Behind close doors I am the sexiest thing that ever walked the planet, but out in public I am the ugliest thing to ever walk the planet. I will never know, but then again who really knows what actually dating is anymore?

When it comes to my health…..people think that I am a slob that eats cheeseburgers and deep fried snickers everyday of my life. This is false. I eat healthy. Salads, high protein, coffee (lots of coffee), water…..you know the basic healthy living situations and staples. I work out as much as I can. This is limited due to the chronic pain I am in most days. But, swimming and yoga have been my go too for the past year. Have I seen the weight go down? No. But, do I feel better? Oh fuck yes I do. My goal is to keep at tweaking my health plan until it works for me.

At the end of the day I am a person, a breathing, living, HUMAN BEING. I have feelings, thoughts, and dreams. I aspire for life to be better than it is. I want to be the best version of me possible. I want to find love. I want to have success. I want to be happy.

I want to do this and have people not worry that I. AM. PLUS. SIZE.

Happy Birthday Brother Bear!

Everytime June comes around I am reminded of the kind and wonderful human my brother was and how he impacted my life and many others.  My brother Johan was born on June 4th, 1988, three years before I was born, and was the apple of my parent’s eyes.  He was an active little dude always running around or doing something and this didn’t much change at all really when he was alive.  Well, the little dude thing definitely changed, he turned out to be 6’1 210-220, but he was always doing something or attempting to go somewhere.  Then in August of 1991 I decided it was time to break up the party and arrive.  According to my parents he was so happy to be an older brother, always playing with me, and making sure I was ok.  One of my favorite memories from when we were growing up was him reading to me or catching lighting bugs in the backyard on summer nights.  When our dad surprised him with a Super Nintendo (which I still have to this day, Mario Kart is my jam!) he would always ask if I could play it with him, even though I was terrible at video games.  I think he would purposely loose just so I could win every now and then.  We still were very close throughout middle school and high school.  When I was a freshman in high school he was a senior and anytime I would see him in the hallway, he would run up and hug me while singing/screaming my name.  At the time I remember how embarrassing I thought it was, but now I would give anything to have those moments back.  We drifted apart while I was finishing up high school and going into college due to my brother’s drug addiction and substance abuse.  It was a difficult time for myself and my family, but just like a lot of families did, we survived to see another day over and over and over again.  Johan was sober for almost a year and during that year our friendship was back to how it always was; he was my best friend.  We would stay up late talking sometimes till 1/2/3/4 o’clock in the morning just shooting the shit.  He would ask about something trivial and I would snap back a remark and before I finished my remark we would be onto a different topic laughing like two insane clowns that just got done murdering an innocent victim (my brother and I’s laugh sounds like the laugh of a killer clown).   Then one day, at the end of February he was gone and life as I knew it would be forever changed.

June 4th, 2018 my brother would have been 30 years old (he died at 26) and I will officially be older then him when I turn 27 in August, which is a strange feeling.

June 5th or 6th of 2013 marks the last day I ever saw Johan alive and if I did the math correctly that’s 5 years.  I haven’t seen him in five years and that is another strange feeling that I will eventually get use to.

His death is something I will never get over, there will always be a part of me that thinks he will eventually just come home and life will be how it was (even though I know it is not true and he is truly never coming home).

Happy Birthday Brother Bear, you are officially old…..I love you and miss you more now than I ever have.  Until I see you again (many, many, many, many decades from now), “keep on keeping on.”

-Leah

A Supermoon, the month of February, & Fibromyalgia walk into a bar…….

If you are looking for an uplifting I am sorry this is not one of them.  As we reached the end of January my emotions go all places that are associated with sadness and anything that could make me happy doesn’t….I just tend to go through the motions and hope for the best.  So, if you have made it this far and want to continue…sit back relax and figure out how the fuck I make it through everyday without killing everything.

On the last day of Jan 2018 the universe decided to have a supermoon/redmoon/bluemoon/lunarEclipse which sent me into the biggest, most intense, most painful flare up of my fibromyalgia I had ever experienced. I didn’t know my body could revolt this much causing myself and my stressed out mother to contemplate going to the ER. For those who know me personally understand that my pain tolerance is high, higher than most due to the chronic pain I have experienced in and through the passed 3-4 years. But, I have always been able to work through it. This was different. It was a constant burning, aching sensation in my back, chest, and shoulders. My hands were numb and it hurt to move. My mother tried to console me to try and not raise my blood pressure more, but nothing would help. It got to the point it hurt to inhale and exhale. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but finally after 5 hours of this, I fell asleep and woke up 75% of the way better…..and as I finish this post I’m right back on track to being 150% better. But, it was scary. I have never and don’t want to be in that position again. I am 26 years old and should be able to take on the world and the reality is I can’t and I have to come to terms with this.

One of the biggest reasons that I despise the month of February is the passing of my older brother. Three years ago on the 21st of February my older brother Johan unexpectedly passed away. For those who don’t know my older brother struggled with depression, anxiety, and addiction for close to 10 years. He was and will forever be my best friend, the nicest man I know, and the best older brother I could have ever asked for. He was gentle, kind, caring, and just a teddy bear. I was beyond lucky to have him for 23 years of my life and I miss him every moment of every day. The pain of loosing someone doesn’t leave, it doesn’t get easier, time allows us to adapt to the grief and learn what the new normal is. He is fantastic in life and in death. And for everyone that asks if I miss him, here is my response: of fucking course I miss him, I’m a human with feelings (damn this is nice to say).

So, now you know during February when you see me just know I’m trying my best. I’m trying my best to keep it together and moving forward and maintaining some sense of sanity (even though mine is not around anymore). I am trying my best. I am trying to survive each day. And I am just trying to be a normal human (this is forever impossible). Just know I’m putting whatever I have into each day to deal with my life.

I am forever grateful for my jobs, for my life, and for who I am as a person. I wouldn’t change anything even though some days seem impossible. Thank you for reading, know that you are a special human, and we are all just trying to make it this existence.

Until next time, stay bendy.

Leah