The Bibbulmun: an afterword

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. I wrote this four weeks after I finished.

It feels like something is happening. A really deep, seismic shift. The deep cores of worthlessness, hopelessness, self disgust and despair are being aired, opened, examined. In a new light – the light of feminism (I was conditioned to hate myself by society!).

There’s a part of me unfurling – it feels inevitable and un-doable. And as though it’s going to change a bunch of stuff. There’s a crack, and I can finally let the light in. I don’t need to hide anymore. I can actually be me. Embody myself. All of myself. With love and acceptance. And without blame or judgement. If feels like I might finally be able to love myself. For reals.

I’m kind of shy and excited to meet this fresh new self who’s emerging, like a soft pink new born. Like when you’re a kid and you see your favourite cousin who you haven’t seen for ages, for a few moments you feel shy and don’t make eye contact. Then one of says ‘you want to go play?’ and then you hold hands and go off together, inseparable until your parents force you into two separate cars at the end of the night. It’s like that, meeting this new, soft and shiny self. Only this time we get to hold hands and run off together, and not leave in two cars. This time we stay and play together.

Right now though, I’m still at the shy part. I’m anticipating it’s going to be fun but I’m not yet brave enough to offer my hand. It also feels good not rushing it. I can sense the unfurling, but there’s no shortcut or speeding it up. It’s going to bloom in it’s own time. Somehow I feel certain that it’s happening though. Even though there’s not that much evidence yet, something feels different.

When I finished the Bibb, I was disappointed that with all the time I spent mulling over the problems in my life, I hadn’t solved any of them. I didn’t think I had any answers, no conclusions about whatthefuckdoidowithmylife. And yet, since coming home, everything is shifted and nothing is what it was before.

Each day, each km, each step – they were like gentle waves on a beach, each washing away another fine layer of silt, to eventually reveal what beauty lay beneath the whole time – beauty that was previously concealed. Me.

The Bibbulmun: day thirty three – Northcliffe -> Gardener

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

There are rumours about roofs at Gardener and Dog pool – supposed to be on ‘by Friday’ – tomorrow. Was raining heavily this morning and more predicted so roof would be great…will see! Plan to check out, use visitor centre wifi and eat again then leave.

….

Went to visitor centre to use wifi and ran into Lyn from the March Girls – she’d just booked a room at the Motel! Don’t do it! I said, $160 a night and such a rip off! What? She says, I only paid $90!

W. T. F.

I used the visitor centre phone to ring the Motel Woman, and queried why I’d paid $70 more than the next person. She gave me about four different bullshit excuses like ‘we thought you were going to stay two nights so we were only going to charge you an extra $20 for the second night’ and ‘we talked to some friends last night after we checked you in who suggested doing a discount price for walkers’ and then settled on ‘how about I refund you the difference’. Then began a long stretch of waiting for her to come into town to meet me, her not being where we agreed to meet, going to make another phone call, going to where she was, etc. Made me quite late getting started but worth it for 70 bucks yo. Guess she realised I might bag them out in the hut books if she didn’t, and walkers are pretty decent trade through the towns!

The Bibbulmun: day twenty five – Gregory Brook -> Donnelly River Village

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Left earlyish to try avoid rain. Not a bad day’s walk but I got a tiny bit sick of not being along. Waiting for someone else, etc. We had a bit of a tension-y walk but did discuss it. I was just so shitty and resentful but then felt so bad about being resentful that I ended up just coming across as withdrawn and grumpy. I was like, I want to want to spend more time together but I also just don’t…

Got into DRV, Lynn (March Girl with Mum’s car) didn’t want to stay in bunkhouse (Fred and Bed had whinged to her that it was super gross) so we drove to Manjimup (1/2 hour) and stayed in a motel! It was nice – hot shower, heater, movie on TV (Zoolander 2). Surf and turf with chips for dinner. The tension left when we left the bush. Funnily, I was also really put off with me being dependent on her (buying me dinner etc). This independence streak can be a bit extreme.

The Bibbulmun: day four – Beraking -> Mt Dale -> Brookton

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Best sleep yet. Went to sleep quite fast around 8pm, woke up a bit but not too bad. Crazy wind which woke me up in the night – wind and rain. Learned lesson four – if you aim for bottom bunk to avoid condensation drips, be warned that in high wind rain may get blown in to bottom…

Lesson five – if you try to mitigate this by covering yourself with tarp/tent, then water from body heat leaves sleeping bag, hits ‘waterproof’ tarp and condenses, settling onto sleeping bag and making you wetter that if you’d just had the rain. Damn. Trying to dry it with my body temp while I debate whether to wait and see if weather gets better or not.

….

At Mt Dale hut for ‘lunch’ at 10:15. Rain was on and off, not too bad. Only put raincoat on a few times and managed to figure a way of doing it without taking off pack. Either rain or patches of clear sky and sun – not hot so great walking weather. Reasonably strong cramps signal period arrived. Not awesome but ok. Was always going to happen at some point over the two months. Also even though I had a poo stop around 20 min after I started out this morning, just had another (in long drop). Not solid at all…hopefully not a trend? Maybe tummy still adjusting. Achilles sore this morning (didn’t stop me running last 100m to hut to avoid rain/putting on raincoat) so am going to try ‘scraping’ it with my spoon. Apparently it’s a thing that people do. Lots of stuff in this hut – spare food (out on table!! should be shut up in the box) loo paper, batteries, towel, salt, metal bowl, dish sponge – cut off a corner of this to take as I needed one! Thanks Universe. No Tony and Ash from last night’s hut although they were right behind me – they are either ‘geographically embarrassed’ or skipped lunch stop??

….

Turns out they skipped the stop – Tony wasn’t sure he could keep going if he stopped. Although it was, terrain wise, an easy walk from Mt Dale to here (Brookton) it was mentally hard. I was bored and my feet started hurting around 14km. What does that mean for tomorrows 27km?? Got here at 1:30pm, mostly spent the arvo reading ‘How far can you go’ by John Maclean. Inspo story of paraplegic Olympian walking again – how can I complain about 27km after that?? Sitting in hut with my sleeping clothes on, wrapped in my baggie*, eating hot cup of freeze dried veggies, TVP and rice vermicelli – wind and rain buffeting the hut – thinking, this is pretty freaking great. I really want for nothing else in this moment.

Meeting Nick tomorrow am. Restock (heavy pack). Might jettison 2nd jumper (mid layer) and keep just my down jacket. Tony here and in bed before 5pm, didn’t even eat his canned dinner of chickpeas and tuna. Eddie rocked in after a triple from Waaleigh. Period pain and Achilles pain – ready for a restorative sleep. Also, more ‘urgent’ poos this arvo – now afraid to fart. It’s a bit like having a touch of Bali belly. Tried to walk up hill here to get reception to call North Bannister to check if they have gas cans, but no dice. Hopefully all good with Nick, because no way of knowing otherwise…Now it’s time for Harry** and sleep.

*sleeping bag

**Harry Potter audio book

Go without (just for a bit)

One of the great things about doing something like a long distance hike is the in-your-face realization of how much stuff we have in our day to day lives that we take for granted, and how little we actually need to be satisfied. While I was walking, I sometimes made lists about all the things that I didn’t have but that I didn’t really notice I had in my other life, in the city.

I came to the conclusion that it is really good for humans to spend some time experiencing deprivation of some sort, partly to appreciate the abundance of things we have here in the western world, but also just to remind ourselves that we’re actually quite tough and can get on quite well with much less than we’re used to. You can do hard things.

Spend a week without taking a shower, to appreciate hot running water.

Spend a week walking every. single. place. you go, to appreciate cars and bikes and public transport.

Spend a week carrying all the clothes you wear, to appreciate cupboards and draws and houses to store things in.

Spend a week drying yourself with a scrap of thin cotton the size of three hankies, to appreciate having a towel.

Spend a week carrying an extra 12kg around, to appreciate walking carrying just a phone and keys.

Spend a week with not-quite-enough blankets on to appreciate being warm at night.

Spend a week not talking to anyone during the day so you can appreciate company.

Spend a week without sitting on the couch so you can appreciate the ease and comfort of a soft place to sit.

Spend a week eating only dehydrated food to appreciate fresh fruit and veg and meat.

Spend a week sleeping on the floor to appreciate a mattress.

Spend a week sleeping inside a sleeping bag to appreciate being able to stretch out while you sleep.

Spend a week with doors and windows open constantly to appreciate being in a wind-free house.

Spend a week without coffee to appreciate your daily brew.

My challenge to you is to spend some time without at least one of the things on the list (it doesn’t have to be a whole week). It’s unlikely to be particularly pleasant. It is likely to be uncomfortable. But you know what? You can do it. And you might find it’s empowering to discover that you can actually survive without some things you’re used to. Plus, you get the bonus of getting to really appreciate whatever it is you go without when you get back to it, instead of just taking it for granted.

Why my solo thru hike wasn’t really solo

It was usually the second question I got when I told someone that I was about to start hiking the Bibbulmun Track – who are you going with?* Myself, I always answered. A lot of the time, people expressed surprise to hear this. Some people responded with comments along the lines of: I could never do that; you’re so brave; aren’t you scared?

And before I left home and got started with the actual walking, sometimes I was scared – imagining what it might be like to hike solo for week after week (after week!). While I was walking though, I was very rarely scared. I ended up spending only one full night by myself in a shelter, every other night there was at least one other person there too. (And that one fully solo night, I didn’t freak out!). I walked by myself for the vast majority of the days, but I also did some days walking with either the people who were on the same walking schedule as me, or with my mum who joined me for a few nights. I quite liked the experience of walking with another person or people, mostly because the conversation made the time go faster. But I really liked the experience of walking by myself. The freedom to be happy, grumpy, bored, ecstatic, silly, crying, laughing, singing – with no one around to see or care, was great. The space to let myself think all the thoughts, even the deep, shameful, scary ones that I usually avoid, was helpful. The deep knowing that I am capable and strong, by myself, was really empowering.

But I finished my walk with the very clear opinion that a solo thru hike is not really a solo hike – at least as far as my experience was concerned.

Yep, I carried all my own things the whole way – clothes, sleeping gear, food and food prep, survival bits and bobs, first aid, comfort – all on my back.

Yep, I was by myself most of the day, for most days of the trip.

Yep, I planned everything myself, to my own timeline preferences.

Yep, I chopped and changed my plans to suit myself.

And. I stayed with my little bro when I first arrived in Perth, and took over his kitchen table for a few days while I sorted out all my food resupply boxes. I left on a Sunday, and didn’t think about the post office not being open for me to post all those resupply boxes – so my little bro did it for me on the Monday. My bro and my Dad came to drop me off at the start of the track. My bro drove down to meet me not once, but twice in the first ten days (first time with a food resupply, second time responding to an sos call from me, bearing a new pair of shoes). A hiking buddy I met on the trail resupplied me with some gas (which his parents brought down from Perth) when one of the towns was out of stock. The same hiking buddy organized me a sweet deal on a new sleeping mat from his work when mine was way too cold, which the same parents brought down on another trip to see him. A friend hosted me in my first track town – her son let me borrow his clothes while I washed mine, she fed me with delicious fresh vegetable-based food (no fresh veggies on the track!) and drove me to the next town to buy probiotics for my sad tummy. My Mum bought me a couple of nights accommodation when we met in one of the track towns, as well as coffee and cake and dinner. More hiking buddies provided company and compassionate ears to listen when I’d had a really bad day. My Dad drove up and dropped me more gas when ANOTHER town had run out of stock. Random people I met on the beach gave me an apple. Other hikers offered me their spare food (I may or may not have received a bit of a reputation for being forever-hungry). My boyfriend answered my phone calls and sent reassuring text messages when things felt overwhelming, as well as covering work for me. Friends and people I’ve never even met provided encouragement and well-wishes throughout the whole trip, via text or on my instagram. My parents picked me up at the end. There was much more too

It became very clear to me that my solo hike was anything but. I was completely surrounded by love and support. It struck me that this was a perfect example of how to do not just hiking, but LIFE as an interdependent being. Not codependent, not completely solitary and independent, but being both self-sufficient as well as leaning on others at times and letting them help you. Being your own, whole person, who is not looking for others to complete them or fix them, but who also recognises the importance of community and connection and asking for help. What do you think?
*(the first question was: how long is the walk?)

What is mindful movement (and how to do it)

What IS mindful movement? It’s yoga, right?

As a health professional who runs mindful movement classes from time to time, this is a question I get quite a lot.

And for sure, many yoga classes could fall into the category of mindful movement, if you’re practicing mindfully – but yoga classes may also have a different focus, depending on the class, the teacher, and your own frame of mind.

Mindful movement – the way I practice it – refers to moving your body while placing your attention and focus on really noticing and feeling what your body does throughout those movements. This is different to just noticing a pain point, such as feeling that your hamstring is being stretched during a forward bend (and then often being encouraged to push it a bit further to see how far it can go.)

In mindful movement we are practicing being aware of our whole body. So during that forward bend, seeing if we can move in concert with our breath – noticing both our breathing pace and the forward movement of our torso. Once in the position, noticing if the weight is towards our toes or our heels. How does the position of our torso change slightly as we breathe in and out. Standing back up, lifting our arms above our head and noticing – what muscles contract to do this movement? Can we lift our arms without also lifting our shoulders towards our ears? Does one arm feel lighter or heavier than the other? Often in a yoga class, we are instructed to move quickly enough that we don’t get time to ponder all these distinctions.

And as with other mindful practices, we aren’t bringing awareness to the body so we can fix it. This might be your focus in a yoga or tai chi class – to be aware of where your body is in space to be able to correct it and bring it into the right position to achieve a certain posture. In my version of mindful movement though, it’s about simply noticing. It’s actually really hard to notice where your body is and then not move it, if when you notice it you realise it’s actually uncomfortable. How much of the time are we in slight discomfort and don’t realise because our attention is elsewhere?

A little exercise I often do in a mindful movement class, and that you can easily try out at home, is just getting people to sit down on the floor, and then get back up again without thinking too much about it. Then we repeat the actions, only this time doing it slowly and really noticing the way your body instinctually moves with this one simple direction. Do you roll over towards your side, use one or two arms to push up, which foot do your preferentially place on the floor first? Theres so much movement we do throughout the day with out being aware of it. Sitting, standing, walking, bending, lifting.

Please don’t think I’m dismissing yoga as a non-mindful practice – by placing your awareness on your breath and your body as a whole, you can definitely get a mindful experience of a class. I personally really enjoy using yoga as a mindfulness practice. But it might be interesting to take note of when the class is triggering you to compare the shapes your body is making to other people’s, or when you get so distracted trying to keep up with the teachers instructions that you realise you are moving without awareness.

Mindful movement can be done in a class-type situation, as in yoga or other mindful movement practices like tai chi or martial arts – but it doesn’t have to be. Mindful movement can just be part of your usual daily activities – done with a touch more awareness. Next time you sit down or get up; brush your teeth; dry yourself with a towel after a shower – try and bring awareness to the movements and see if you experience them differently.

 

My new biggest fear

Oh dudes. Its been a tough week.

Last time I wrote, about declaring my intention to hike the Bib, I listed my biggest fear as starting the journey and then having to cut it short due to repetitive use injury (pretty common on long hikes). Ive now replaced that fear with a greater fear: to not even start due to injury.

Almost every day this past week Ive woken up with some different sort of body pain. Ironically, I wrote a draft blog post about the movement practices Ive been doing of late, and how great it feels that Im moving so much. And then this week, starting the day after I drafted it, Ive been in struggle town with the whole movement thing. Ive had achilles tendon pain (thats been going on for a while actually), back pain (also going on for a while), random sharp pains in my heel and, for the first time in my life, sciatic pain.

Its pretty hard for me to deal with emotionally, for two reasons:

  1. Obviously, Im planning a fuck-off long hike. This is likely to be hampered if Im not in good physical shape.
  2. Movement is my number one ultimate super tool in my box of how I manage my mood. So when my movement routines are hampered, I really notice how it affects me, mood-wise.

Its a really tricky scenario that a lot of people face,

whether they use movement as their mental health management tool or not – how to keep active when your body hurts. Ive had a bunch of hurts in the past – bone bumps shaved off, torn ligaments, surgery on multiple joints, blah blah. However, I still really struggle with the idea of listening to my body. On the one hand, Im afraid that because I know Im a sensitive person, perhaps Im too sensitive to discomfort, and therefore likely to make a big deal out of nothing. The fact that in the past many of my sensations of discomfort have been due to legitimate causes that were improved via medical intervention doesnt seem to give me any more trust in my own body signals. Because on the other hand, I like moving so much, and its such an important part of my life, I dont want to hear when something isnt working. I just want to ignore it and hope it goes away. I tell myself that its probably nothing and Ill be fine. Then I stress about it. Because of the first point I made. And ironically, the worrying about what could be wrong likely makes it worse. A stressful mind and body does not make for a good healing environment.

If I was a client and I was seeing myself, as an exercise physiologist, I would probably make some suggestion like, perhaps consider a different type of movement that doesnt make your back hurt? Try doing some swimming so whatever is going on with your foot gets a break? But my client self says, fuck that, I dont want to try swimming! I want to do what I enjoy doing! And stubbornly keeps doing it. Largely because Im clinging to it as a mental health flotation device at the moment.

Its kind of odd, isnt it

That my whole message is based on minds and bodies and intuitively listening to your own internal environment to figure out whats right for you, and yet I struggle with that myself? (We could also argue that the very fact that I struggle with the same issues gives me greater insight) Its another situation where I dont really have an adequate answer. Rather, Im just exploring my own discomfort with discomfort and offering it to you, the blog-reading public, for no real reason other than the fact that I think its important that we dont create these online identities where we can come across as perfect beings who dont struggle with exactly the same issues that you do. Im also just a person, trying to do the best I can with what Ive got.

 

The declaration

It’s four weeks until my flight leaves.

I’m freaking out a little. I’ve actually avoided writing about this until now, mostly out of fear. Although I’ve alluded to it in previous posts, I’ve just kind of popped it in there really casually, and so far no one has questioned it. But the time for casual allusions has passed. So I now declare: in about four weeks’ time, I will begin my attempt to solo through-hike the Bibbulmun Track, which stretches about 1000 km from Perth to Albany, in the south-west of Western Australia. I want to write a separate post about my reasons for doing the walk, which vary depending on when you ask me, but it is definitely related to mental wellbeing, movement, nature, challenge

So, why so scary to declare it?

Mostly because I’m afraid that I will fail in my attempt. For various reasons, such as:
– My body will break down and I will get an overuse injury and will be in too much pain to keep going (this is my number one fear).
– My body will be going well until I have some sort of injury/accident (roll my ankle, break my leg etc) and I will be too injured (from a one off occasion though, not from overuse).
Actually they are the main two reasons I think I would be most likely to ‘fail’. Other minor reasons have crossed my mind but they are so unlikely that they hardly bear mentioning (but I will anyway), namely:
– I get raped/murdered by a freaky bush dude, (although as I type this two thoughts go through my mind: a) would that be MY failure to complete the walk? I dont think so, and b) if I were raped and murdered, somehow I don’t think I’d be caring about the shame of failure)
– There’s some massive natural disaster like a big bushfire or something that makes it unsafe to continue
– I just get sick of it and give up. (Should this one be in the top list, as more likely to actually happen’?)

Anyway, that’s my list/s of why I think I might fail.

But why is failure such a big deal?

Why is my fear of failure such that I don’t even want to publicly display/announce my intention to do the walk in the first place? I find it uncomfortable and also interesting to observe my internal environment when I imagine writing another post being like, so, I lasted X number of days, and now I’m back home, I didn’t finish. The biggie that comes up is really shame, I suppose. In case you’re wondering about the difference between shame and embarrassment, Brene Brown differentiates shame, guilt, humiliation and embarrassment as follows: Shame, I am bad; guilt, I did something badThe only difference between shame and humiliation is I don’t feel like I deserve my humiliation. The hallmark of embarrassment is I know I’m not alone. It’s fleeting

So, to expand on that – it’s about my self-talk.

If I viewed it as: if I fail on my mission to complete the walk in one go, I have failed as a person, and/or, I’m not good enough as a person ? then that’s shame. If I viewed it as, dammit, I did that thing that so many other people have done and I underestimated the training needed, so now I haven’t finished, oh well, it won’t be a big deal by the time next week rolls around; that’s more like embarrassment. The difference between my worth as a person resting on my ability to achieve this goal I’ve set for myself, and my worth as a person being completely intact regardless of whether I finish or not, is quite big. And putting it in writing like this makes me think, wtf? Of course my worth as a person doesn’t rest on this fact. And yet, there is an underlying (high achieving, high standards) part of myself that is very much tied to achieving goals and this being related to self-worth. I don’t know where exactly I learned this life lesson but obviously it’s happened at some point. I also don’t actually know how to go about changing this belief, but I figure that awareness is the first point. So far, even given my awareness of this part of myself, all that’s happened is I just continue to put myself in situations where I might fail (or do something that I could construe as failure, which in my high-standards life actually means not doing everything perfectly the first time) and every time I do fail – feeling really, really really uncomfortable, instead of hiding in a corner and never doing anything risky. I don’t know if it’s possible to get to a point where I could actually feel truly ok about failing – and I don’t mean telling other people I feel fine while I’m cringing on the inside, or telling myself some long-winded justification story where I try to convince myself that I should feel fine about it when really I feel shame. I mean actually just think to myself, oh, thats not so bad. Every one fucks up sometimes. You’re alright.

It’s on the list of things I’m working towards!

Anyway, all that to say – I’m planning this big walk, and yeah. There’s a lot about it that scares me. I haven’t even gone into the fact that I’ll be alone in the remote Aussie bush with no phone reception and no tv to watchNext time!

xx

Let’s get real

I’m tired of reading about people who have beaten their demons.

We get a story written about us in a newspaper or on a website?when the story is along the lines of: “how I beat depression”, followed by a saga of how shitty we used to feel, until we discovered xyz, and now look at us, we’re great! And Happy! And here’s five tips you can take away if you want to be like us.

“I used to be fat and unhappy, until I lost weight and now people want to hear my story because I finally fit the image of what society says I should look like!”

“I used to be sad and cry all the time until I started exercising and now it’s worth talking about me because I’m a well adjusted professional functioning as society says I should!”

“I used to work in a corporate soul sucking job until I started my own business and now it’s worth writing a story about me because I’m really attractive and happy and rich! I’m successful, just how society says I should be!”

The message we get from this? My story is only valid when I’ve dropped my baggage and imperfections, and achieved success.

I want to see more stories about the people in the trenches. The people who are living with being obese, and how that is for them. The people who are living with difficult emotions, and what its like trying to go through life with that. The people who are still stuck in the jobs they don’t really like, and how that affects them in their day to day.

But that wouldn’t be inspiring, would it. That wouldn’t be click bait-y enough to get published – “I used to be overweight and I still am.” “I was depressed, until for a while?I thought I wasn’t, then I realised I still was.” “I was working in a corporate, soul sucking job, until I quit and got a different, soul sucking job.”

But you know what that would be? Real. People are already commenting?on how social media presents an unrealistic image that we all compare ourselves to, by only sharing our happy photos and brag worthy status updates. But it’s not just social media. It’s all media. You are story-worthy once you’ve gotten over your shitty past, achieved something great, and shed your imperfections along the way.

I saw a story recently about a person who used to have depression, until?she ‘beat’ depression, and now she sits on various boards of influence and has started a not-for-profit to help others who are like she used to be. Which is awesome, we need more of that. But when I’m feeling down, it’s also just another way that triggers me to think that I’ve failed. That I wont be good enough until I can fix myself from being the way I am, and become something great; some Louise 2.0, which is all the great, funny, compassionate, likeable parts of me, without the tired, irritable, depressed, achey parts of me. The Louise who starts meaningful businesses with purpose, who makes a difference to peoples’ lives, who tells her story of how I ‘used to be’ and how different that is from how I am now.

But what if it’s not so different? What if I’m still dealing with a bunch of the same stuff??

A person called me the other day, wanting to work with me. She told me she resonated with what I’d written about my story, about using movement as a tool to improve my mood, about the struggle with apathy and hateful self-talk. She told me that I seem “perfect”. That I seem to have figured it out and she wants to be like me. I literally burst into laughter. And I told her that I still deal with those things, I still find myself thinking from time to time, that I’m a piece of shit. She was surprised. I told her, the thing that has changed is that I don’t necessarily believe it straight away now. I question it. (Sometimes – sometimes I fall straight back down the rabbit hole). I’m not saying that this is all there is to hope for, that one day I might be able to get to a point where I don’t ever have the thought that I’m a piece of shit anymore, but for now, I’m still right down in the shit with everyone else.

And I feel sad to think that people might read my story and think that I’ve passed through the storm, that I’ve made it to the tropical island and I live in peace and happiness. Because the reality is that I am still on the boat, and ride out storms with frustrating regularity. I’m tired of reading about other people hanging out on that island, drinking cocktails seemingly without a care in the world, because I can’t relate. I want to read more about the other people who are on a solo mission around the world, weathering storms, icebergs, ripped sails and giant whales. The other people who are feeling?the grit and the rawness of life. Who also, incidentally, get to see some pretty amazing rainbows out there on the ocean.

PS – where did that sailing/ocean metaphor pop up from? I don’t know.