Posted in Dreams, Inspiration, Life, My story

Introducing “youniqua”

It is time to no longer keep you guessing and provide a little more info on what I’ve been up to.

Coming back from Germany last December, I was in a very bad place and shape health wise. There were many uncertainties and I have felt like fighting the fight of my life ever since. The stresses encountered while working on a relationship with Mom, her nearly passing away, and having to place her in a nursing home against her will, but it being her only chance of survival, had taken it’s toll on me. Not to mention being away from my own surroundings and means of independent tools, such as my car, my own four walls and my support systems and loved ones. For ten months my life was packed into one suitcase I was allowed to bring with me.

It was a tough road and on Christmas Eve, traveling back to the states, there was a time at the airport I didn’t know if I’d make it back. The RA had returned with a vengeance for weeks already, and it was much worse than my first bout I had years ago. Back then in 2006 I as forced to make some lifestyle changes and was lucky enough for the RA to eventually go into remission. I never forgot that time, and how much pain I was in. This time was much worse and like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve always believed that stress was a huge culprit and I vowed to keep it away from me to the best of my ability. It worked for better or worse, but anything was better than that initial onset of encountering this mean, unforgiving, crippling disease.

Fast forward to the time at the airport, when all of a sudden I could hardly walk to my next connecting flight, or even get up and out of the airplane I had been in since the long flight from Frankfurt. I was unable to hold on to the seat in front of me to pull myself up and into the hallway, and it was pretty scary. I don’t need to give you a full history over the past eight month, but this time has truly shown me how strong we can be when fighting and being strong is all we have left. You’d be amazed at the reserves you’ll find and how you can conquer things unimaginable before. Things that never even came to mind before so awful in nature.

I spent much of my time with the arts and the creative process, unable to work and struggling through daily basics we normally take for granted. Getting dressed or combing my hair was a major chore. I felt so lost and vulnerable and the daily pain was robbing my positivity and the way to believe and see hope in my future. Unable to open bottles or doors at times, the pains were rooted throughout my entire body.

I’ve always enjoyed the arts, from being an avid amateur photographer trying to capture all the beauty that catches my eyes, which often lies in the simplest of things, to producing handmade goods. Doors opened and I came across various things that peaked my interest. I look back and I’ve taught myself so many new techniques over that timeframe. I truly learned a lot. I’ve completed and certified in three energy healing courses; got my Reiki Master degree and focused on numerous crafts. From acrylic paintings, to fluid art pours, to felted goods, handmade soaps, handcrafted journals, alcohol inks, wire wrap jewelry, and a few other items. I’ve shared my progress here and there with you cheering me on, which lead me to pursue higher dreams. You see I believe that everything happens for a reason and this time is all about me. To work on what fuels my passion, to shoot for the stars and hopefully turn my passion into something that can sustain me financially as well.

“Youniqua” was born, a zen place for unique art. Much thought was placed into the name and into a mission statement that represents me and what youniqua is all about. I think in today’s world you have to be unique, to differentiate yourself and offer more than just a product or convenience. There are so many choices out there, but what makes you truly unique? Why would people choose your goods over the next persons? I have a few ideas I hope to bring to the table to embrace the “youniqua” concept. One of those concepts is printed right onto my business card, called Meraki.

Meraki…,

To do something with soul, creativity, or love. To put something of yourself in your work.

All of my creations are unique, one of a kind and bare that message, meaning they were made with love, soul, and hold a piece of myself. I hope for so much more than just being able to sell these goods, and each transaction is a personal connection, a way to support each other and to bring a piece of that energy to you.

Here is to making my dreams come true and going for it. Please stay tuned for a follow up post introducing one of my staple items soon. 😉

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Posted in Mom, My story

This and that

It’s been awhile that I have talked about Mom and our journey on here. So many of you have been with me from the beginning, supporting me, and I feel that I have left you hanging a bit, while I was trying to find my way again, getting over some hurdles.

It’s been a tough three month being back in the states, mainly due to struggling with my health and the worst winter in ten years. Go figure, but things are finally looking up. My days are still a mixed bag, but I think overall there is progress and the RA might be easing off. Maybe it’s because the weather is finally turning, maybe it’s because I am full of adrenaline and excitement to chase my dreams. Maybe it is because things are finally moving on and I have accepted a few things for what they are. It doesn’t really matter as long as things continue to improve.

Fact is that Mom struggles to realize how bad things have been for me. Her fears take over at times and she simply can’t understand. There is a re-evaluation scheduled later this week to determine the level of care she requires, which in turn will determine what kind of financial support she receives. She is all upset about it, can’t understand what they want from her, and wants is to go home. I am solely responsible to make this happen for her and she doesn’t want to hear that I have not been well. What a scary time it must be for her and my heart goes out to her even throughout her stubborn phases. She hasn’t talked to me since Friday of last week and I don’t know if something is wrong with the iPad or if she simply is blowing me off. It wouldn’t be the first time and all I can do is wait.

The evaluation should be a good thing for her, although there are pros and cons. The good thing is that she is doing much better compared to last year where she was on her deathbed, but it could also mean less monetary support. She doesn’t care and there is no reasoning with her. I know that everything will find it’s way, all I can do is to strive for my best, to be strong for her, and to keep the faith.

I got to clear out the house a bit today. Well moving things from one place to another is more like it, while making a pile for a garage sale. It felt good, I felt a little lighter, less burdened afterwards, and it was more than I could do in recent weeks passed. It’s a start and I hope the hurt in my wrist is just temporary and will go away. The swelling in my left hand has improved to the point that I can almost make a fist again, and that’s good news. Mars retrograde is still in full swing, and while it can be a time of struggle for many, I think it has been a phase or clarity for me. I’d like to think that I’m back on track. Oh, and I finally heard back from the job today and learned that the Spanish speaking candidate was selected for the position. It’s all good and how things are suppose to be.

I am keeping the faith…

Posted in Dreams, Inspiration, My story

“Maybe”

There have been a lot of “maybe’s” lately. Things and thoughts that occupy my mind, begging me to consider different angels, and out of the box thinking approach. What’s really next, where do I go from here?

Maybe soon my health will be under control, and warmer weather with less storm patterns will bring improvements, and less pain. Maybe I can actually get some stuff done then.

Maybe I won’t feel so tired and fatigued. Maybe I could read more blogs and respond to comments in a more timely fashion. I definitely owe it to you. Maybe I could do more for all of you. Maybe…

I don’t work, and yet getting healthy and well has been hard work. Draining, especially when a good night sleep is scarce and interrupted by pain that never stops. It surely is trying sometimes, and the tears fall trying to understand the lesson or what is going on. Maybe better times are around the corner.

Maybe I need to step away from blogging on a regular / daily basis for awhile. It feels strange to consider such thought and yet today was the first time it popped into my head. I think it was actually a message I got the other day that prompted me to consider where I currently spend my time, energy, and strength on. All I know is that I can’t do it all and there is simply not enough time in the day for me.

Maybe my hands could get better, typing less, looking after my fingers. Maybe…But then maybe movement is exactly what they need. Who knows what will actually make the inflammation go away.

I have been job hunting, but nothing has really grabbed me, or has been meant to be. Yet I have tons of creative ideas with old and new found projects that I want to explore, and to which I feel drawn to. Things I am excited about, things that beckon me to imagine and manifest the life I seek. Things that call on me to be realized, dreams to materialize, if only I find the courage to dare.

Maybe, this ordinary job search is not how the path is suppose to unfold. Will I manage and muster the strength to reach for the stars, to create something extraordinary, to have faith during the unknown, to stay the course, or will I do the same as always and find myself lost in the shuffle. You see, if we do the same as always, we also get the same results as always, and somehow these results are no longer enough for me.

It’s not about the six figure income, the money, the titles or the prestige, to be the best in your field, the success or being the head honcho. I had it all and it’s not what I want anymore. What it boils down to is to be fulfilled, to have something meaningful, something that brings joy, no matter how little or small it might be. I don’t want the same….I want something else, something I perhaps never had before. I gladly give up my possessions to become richer as I fully embrace the less is more concept. I want to work for myself, I want to create and give back, to help people and bring something special to the table, something unique, something that allows my passion and talents take flight, to offer a service, to finally listen to the call.

In the meantime I am exploring my options, and I am working on some projects to support these dreams. The goal is to die young and as late as possible, with a life, independent, collecting moments and memories in a tiny home on wheels. Let’s see how far this can go. A determined mind is a powerful one, and I have always believed in the strength that we can do anything if we put our mind to it.

A dear friend and sister of mine always says that there are no ordinary moments. I believe she is right and everything happens for a reason. Maybe the path has always been predetermined, maybe we just need to learn to let go and go with the flow. What if everything in life has lead up to this point? Maybe, just maybe everything is exactly how it is meant to be.

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.

Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

What a wild ride….maybe….just maybe….

Posted in Mom, My story

2/28/18

One year ago, actually on the 27th, I made the journey to travel to the homeland, to be with family. I arrived on the 28th and Mom was near death. This picture was taken a few days after I arrived, and I was told that she looked better than what she did. Hard to believe and I remember fearing that I wouldn’t make it in time, that she’d be gone by the time I get there. Times were very scary, unfamiliar and uncertain. I had many clues of what to expect, although none could have actually prepared me for what was to come. I had no answers and felt like flying blind. It took faith in huge amounts and trusting, believing, that everything would work itself out. I braced myself for the unknown, asking my soul to be strong, and my heart to remain filled with love and patience. Strong for whatever would come my way, and patience to break through Mom’s stubbornness, while meeting her with a heart full of love. I never had the best relationship with Mom, although I always fought for her love as long as I remember. She believed that I had left her behind as I moved to the states. That I didn’t care about her, and that it didn’t matter what happened to her. This couldn’t have been further from the truth, but it placed a wedge in her heart and I never knew until years later, that she had placed a fair amount of responsibility for her life onto me. She had taken care of me while I was a child, it was to be my turn to repay the favor.

What I learned, was that there were many barriers to be broken, should she decide to allow me within her walls of protection. Walls that she had built around her heart to shield it from ever getting hurt again. Walls that the circumstances of life, and her experiences made her put up. It was a fortress, with walls so thick I never managed to get close, and she never opened up to me. I wasn’t worthy or deserving in her eyes, I had brought her pain without even knowing. Sometimes I felt that she hated me for what she thought I did to her, and I couldn’t dismiss the disgust towards me in her icy remarks that lacked any emotion. From time to time I broke down when all my reserves were exhausted, sharing my shattered heart in pain and despair. Dealing with what I experienced will remain one of the toughest things I had to do in my life. I know things were not perfect, and from the outside it might have been viewed as my own fault for coming back over and over. It might have been discussed with all the emotions removed, a mere story. But I know that nobody can tell me that I didn’t do my best.

I remember discussing some of these worries with my cousin before I actually left for Germany, and she tried to calm me by saying “Just get here for now and the rest will find it’s way”. And it did, not always as expected, and not always favorable, but it did. On unfamiliar ground I was forced having to admit Mom to a nursing home the very next day. She was well enough to be released from the hospital, but not well enough to go home without care. No other choice, right? What was I going to do in one day, unfamiliar with how things worked, due to not having lived in Germany for the past 30 years. Jet lagged and overwhelmed. I felt like a caged animal, frustrated, vulnerable and alone. I guess everybody else had the chance to see what was going on for so long, it was normal and the only way, while it was all new to me, with zero adjustment time granted. I’m not saying to justify things or because of “poor me”, but it was something I couldn’t wrap my head around immediately. It was normality for others while there was a sense of being desensitized and removed. Furthermore it was “my Mom” we were dealing with, and nobody else’s. I think things always hit a little closer to home when they directly involve you, and none of this is meant as an insult or an accusation. Things always look different from the outside, no matter how close you are, and the love of a daughter always applies to her mother, even when things don’t make sense. And if you, as a mother or loved one experience a love anything less than mine, then it would be reason enough to be jealous of the way I cared and still care for Mom. You can’t tell me that if you were sick and couldn’t help yourself, that you wouldn’t secretly want someone to root for you. To be there, to make you feel loved, not alone, and not pushed off like some inconvenience. I think that is exactly how I felt, Mom would view my decisions. She didn’t understand that the nursing home was for her protection. To her, I didn’t want her to be around, I didn’t want to take care of her, and in her mind….once again I turned my back and left her behind. How was I to swallow that pill?

I struggled for the entirety of my ten month stay and things are far from over. I feel my struggles and views have alienated friends and family, and few could understand, let alone support my beliefs and dedication to Mom. My road with Mom was hard and rocky and I’m sure many would have walked away, but I didn’t. I came back over and over to endure more punishment. Things that seemed so unfair and hurtful at times, that I can’t blame anyone for not understanding. But I did have my own guilt of leaving Mom behind after learning about her feelings, and I actually believed that there was some truth to the way she saw things. I felt sad for her horrible life and her losing my Dad so young. I lost him too, but now still missing him, I felt sad for Moms life on top of everything. I was the only one she had left, and the only one who could help her and save her life. It was much, much bigger than me, and I swallowed my hurt and broken feelings. Mom survived and today she carries love within her heart because of it. She has opened her heart to me and the attacks on me have almost completely vanished.

There is no doubt that all of this created uncomfortable moments and a sense of loneliness which was not unusual considering the circumstances of being away from my own four walls, shacked up in my childhood room, away from my own life. This might sound superficial, but there was much more to it and none of my actions were for selfish reasons. The weather was bad for the RA and I was being eaten alive by spiders and mosquitoes. Literally…I have some permanent scars from their bites and being allergic to them. I stayed for ten month while my expenses in the states continued with no income and this is only the financial side of it, not considering the many personal sacrifices I made for this journey. Nothing was ever selfish about it and I still get rallied up about a blog comment, suggesting that I was shoving Mom off to a nursing home for my own comfort and convenience. That one hurt a lot. It was a time of seeing things for face value, to realize that time had outgrown relationships and friendships with little in common left. Life had simply taken us into different directions and it was now becoming obvious once spending more time, other than the quick two week visit. There was so much to deal with, from so many angles, so much to come to terms with, and sometimes I found myself stuck in the middle of things. It was then that I wished I could lay my intuitive empath qualities to rest, instead of being able to read energies and hear unspoken words. It only overwhelmed and I didn’t have room to take on additional battles.

Two month after my return to the states, the journey continues and so much seems to be unresolved. Mom is taken care of in a place she doesn’t want to be, but she is alive and we won’t have to worry about finding her fallen down or in any other dangerous situation like in the past. Some peace of mind right, but how do you deal with knowing how unhappy the person is there and that you have committed her. That she can’t out because of you. In the meantime she is allergic to the detergent from the laundry service and is itching herself insane. Every other call she wonders and worries about her house that she worked so hard for, her memory of Dad, which now is standing empty, which is less than perfect, and which seems so far out of reach for her. She hasn’t seen it in over a year and wonders when I will take her home, when I will come back. She is expecting me to give up my life and move back home to care for her.

Two months have passed and any progress to clear clutter and simplify my life has been difficult due to being sick. At this rate, it will take me a long time. I do the best I can and it’s all I can do. I couldn’t help anyone if I would want to right now, and for the first time in my life, I have to put myself first and remember that we are no good to anyone if we are not well ourselves. I had to tell Mom and she is in denial. At the moment it is too scary for her to look at it for what it is, as my condition shapes her reality and she is dependent on me. Once more I need trust and believe that everything will find it’s way. It sure feels strange to look back to last year as this journey was just beginning. It’s almost making my body cringe, knowing now all that was waiting for me to be battled. I think it’s scarier in memory than it actually was, because while you are amidst the battle you have no time to reminisce and be vulnerable.

Please look after yourself.

Posted in Life, My story

Round and round

Life is a carousel, spinning faster and sometimes slower. Mine has been spinning pretty fast lately, and I’m trying to hold on. The pain is still here, worts it’s been for a long time, although now easing a bit, I think, I hope. Not only on a physical level, but mentally I feel overwhelmed. I’m tired of hurting, I’m tired of being strong, I’m tired of fighting.

I have FaceTimed with Mom every day, even if it’s for a few minutes only, as I try to get my bearings back. She smiles at me and I know it is because she carries all the hope she can muster in her heart that I will return and save her in the end. Because I am the only one who can, the only one who considers doing it, and the only one who will.

At times the stresses of months passed melt off and leave me a mess, as if I don’t have to be in battle mode any longer. But I do, and it’s merely the battle that has changed. The fight remains the same, wether I fight for my health, my life, my freedom, or the right to just BE. Someone always cries, no matter where I am. Someone is always left behind and my heart is heavy. Sometimes I’m tired of fighting and today I nearly lost it in the grocery store as I was welling up and felt so lost and overwhelmed. I thought I had a nervous breakdown and I will tend to myself as I get stronger health wise and figure out the next step.

I know it all sounds so sad, but my victory will never be broken. I might lie and bleed for awhile, but my spirit is meant to soar. I am telling it how it is, because even the most inspirational people, have their moments. I’m having mine. I wouldn’t appear to be real if everything was always smiles and roses.

It is not but I am an optimist and it is most of the battle.

Picture: The same carousel still visits my village each year. I rode it as a child with my parents standing on the side lines, while watching me. This year I was the one looking in from the outside, but all there was was darkness and emptiness. Time stood still with memories long past.

Posted in Life, My story

Full circle moment

Today felt like a full circle moment. My last day before leaving for Germany was spent here at Muir Beach, California. Today my first day back was spent here also, as if I said goodbye ten month ago and hello again today.

I didn’t play the ukulele like I originally thought I would again as I am still recovering. One thing was apparent today and that was the decline in my health compared to ten month ago. I am still in quite a bit of discomfort and pain, and I don’t rest well because of it. The stresses of months passed have left their scars and I hope to smooth them over a bit in the weeks ahead to improve my quality of life.

Today was bittersweet. Moments filled with love and joy, and moments filled with flashbacks, worries and matters unresolved.

Reminder to myself: One step at a time. Break it down, not everything has to happen at once. Allow yourself to breathe and most of all, give yourself some love and a break. You deserve it, and you gave nothing but your absolute best. Remember that some things are out of your control and that they will always find their way, just how they are meant to be.

Posted in Mom, My story

Oh Tannenbaum

It must have been years since Mom had a Christmas tree. A few weeks ago, I spotted one at the grocery store and bought the small little tree for us to celebrate together. This morning I realized that there have only been a few occasions we actually turned on its beautiful lights, and enjoyed it’s glow. It also filled me with an urgency to change this as there isn’t much time left.

I think the next few days will be perfect as it is gloomy and gray outside. Apparently there is no more sunshine until well into next week, and I took a good look at the last rays yesterday. Rain is in the forecast and I definitely feel it in my bones.

I’m trying to make Christmas extra special for her and I wrapped a few presents to go under her tree. She is excited like a child, asking what is in it, if she can shake it etc. I see that childlike wonder in her eyes, and although I can’t really afford Christmas presents this year, I am grateful for the few things I could get for her that encourages that childlike play.

Posted in Life, My story

The Journey continues

It’s not always easy to have a positive outlook, and sometimes life is simply tough. Still the way we view things is one of our best attributes. It makes or breaks us. It teaches or defines, and it definitely makes life a whole lot easier if we can accept our fate gracefully, believe me.

I have learned so much this year in Germany. Some things new and some expanded on a deeper level to what I already knew. There is a calm most days in me now, although I’m fearful of leaving. Mom has changed since I told her that I’m going, and I can see her struggle plain as day. I know she is afraid and most days the sadness marks deep lines all over her face. Yet she can’t articulate any of it. It breaks my heart to see her like this, and I want to wrap her up in a tight hug and ensure her that all will be ok. I’m not sure that she can believe it once I’m gone, and once she is on her own. She is such a fighter, such a strong women, and yet she is so vulnerable and lost. She is unaware and inexperienced about most anything in life. It comes from a life within her own four walls. A life with little to no entertainment besides the TV. I truly think that she enjoyed all the things we did together which ultimately broadened her horizon. It has given her purpose to live, excited to face each day and see what could be discovered new. That purpose, ME, is leaving in a month.

A new chapter begins as I leave and yet nothing is over or settled. It’s merely another phase that begins, and besides the worries about her, other troubles of a different kind are already waiting. Further fights beckon to be embarked on. Nothing is over although it is. It will be a while until I can lay my weapons down, but each battle should restore more peace within.

Just like Mom has discovered new things every day, so am I as I continue on this journey. My life has been in motion for awhile, but it is now or never that I have to reach for the stars. If I want my dreams to be reality and dreaming is no longer enough, then the time to act is now. It is strangely motivating, and deeply exciting, for I have lived most of my life around others, always putting myself last. The time has come and it feels right to think about myself after everything that has expired. The ball is rolling. Some things will stay, others have already been busy in getting lost, while new ones will be found.

The Journey continues….

Posted in Life, My story

Routine – The Silent Killer

I think I’ve written about routine before and what it feels like to be stuck in a rut. Back then I was still going to work, and it hardly compares to the here and now which are both uniquely different, and yet alike. This time varies in the sense that I don’t feel as if I’m stuck in a rut. I could easily choose for things to be different, and yet it feels as if that power, of making that choice has been taken away from me. Of course I could take it back, and I know where to find it. It rests within the deep ness and the crevices of my consciousness, hiding in the darkness, lingering. But what’s the price to pay, and what would it cost to retrieve it? What weight would rest on my mind by digging it out, would I be able to carry the load, or would I crumble from the common sense that too much is just too much.

And just when we think it couldn’t get any better, we have a new guest and “What if” sneaks in, seeing the door ajar, wearing a grin from ear to ear. Misery loves company and this is about to get good. A little more of me dies each day, unless I break the chains and break away.

This may sound dark but it’s self awareness and temporary. I have a daily routine, and while I’m alive, it leaves little time for living at the moment. Everything passes and at least I do have these days.