What I am about to share here is very personal and very real. I've had several people say that I am an unapologetic person, in ways where I am totally fine with being who I am. They are absolutely spot on. However, there are moments when I have such deep doubts of my being and feel very low about myself, ashamed even.
I've been struggling with depression. For reals. Nobody really talks about it and that's a shame. Now my depression is compounded with a dangerous addition: alcohol.
Alcoholism is a serious issue within my family. We develop addiction, be it alcohol (most of us) or other form of reliance on something unhealthy. My brother committed suicide and alcohol was a big role in his ending his life. My sisters struggle as well, one is sober for 6 years now and another one is slowly disappearing from us and we are completely helpless in saving her.
I've had some moments in my life where alcohol had control over me (especially in college). After college, I pretty much had it in a nonissue category until now.
Yes, until now.
I've been struggling with a lot of issues the past few years, especially with feeling trapped and too domesticated, my creativity being stifled and hating the decisions and choices I've made that got me to the point of where I am now.
Finding Meraki was amazing. It was a dream that came true, although short lived and enjoyed by only me. Also, the RV trip has led me to slowly succumb into alcoholism.
How did that happen? I don't think there is a need to analyze this under a microscope other than to say this, it happened. I am actually terrified of getting to the point where I need to stay sober. I do not want to lose my privilege to drink. I like my beer. I like hanging out with friends and having booze as well. I like to celebrate with my booze. Basically, I love to drink.
My problem isn't that I drink everyday. My problem is, when I drink, I do not know how to stop. I hate the fact that something nonliving actually has more power than I.
Come to think of it, I feel like a lot of things right now has more power than my very own being. I think that is why I loved my Mer, I was in complete control with where I went, where I stayed and who I met. Boy, what a mouthful of a philosophical shit, no wonder I turn into my happy buzz and connect with fun people when we drink.
Anyway, there you go. I'm depressed AF and on the border of losing my privilege to drink.
So, with that out there, I'm seeing a therapist. I'm going to track my drinking habits and be accountable for it (whenever I drink, limit to two and never to do it alone). If I find myself failing to do those two "rules" I set for myself, then off to AA it is. I'm going to go into the mindfulness mode where I mediate through reading personal development books and write in my "Zen as Fuck" journal.
I mean, I have it good. I have an amazing lifestyle, a fun job that I am passionate in, I got a great family and lots of friends I connect with on a deep level. I sure as hell don't want to fuck it up.
I tried to write. I sat in my garage late into the night, staring at my lit up darts board. I really tried to write. From the heart. But it was too much, too revealing and too unseemingly.
Bullseyes. Bullshit. If you aim for the “moon,” you will truly fall. I fell onto a shooting star and it sure ain't a fun ride, so far.
I could keep throwing darts, over and over, having my goals met or being all over the map. It doesn’t matter. It didn’t.
Literally, what’s the point? What’s the point?
You know the "Story of the Hour," by Chopin? I feel like that woman just saw her supposedly dead husband walk into the door. The only difference is, I didn't collapse or die, but I kept going down the stairs, leaving that small window behind.
Now that I am truly home (just got back from Deaf Film Camp), I'm feeling the very opposite of being settled in. In fact, I am feeling very raw and pointless at the moment.
What then? The constant motion and new experience is now at a full dead stop. I have little to look forward to. May be that sounds bleak and a little bit melodramatic, but that is exactly what it feels like for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I have it good, I have awesome boys, a beautiful home, a great group of friends and an amazing family. Yet, it doesn’t feel enough and knowing that, it makes me feel even worse for my self-centeredness.
Staying at home, it isn't me. I ain't meant to be a pinned butterfly and put into a shadowbox for showcasing. I am meant to travel, to document and tell stories about it. I desire meeting people on a daily basis and having deep conversation with every one of them.
I feel changed. Very changed and so alone in this transformation.
Oh well. It is what it is and I just gotta wait til all the dust are settled and then sweep them into one pile and dump it into an organic trash bin.
So, this is what it feels like. I wondered what it would feel like when Meraki rolled into her final stop. The feelings?
Imagine a large area with fresh cement poured over, wet and brand new. Now, here I am, standing in the very middle of it. I can feel the weigh of the wet cement. I am torn between just staying put so I don’t mess up the area or just wading around until I figure it out.
However, my very physical state will be content with curling up into the cement and hibernate, putting the “hide under the rock” into literal use.
I don’t know what I want to do next. I do know that I have some commitments I need to finish before making any big decisions. Right now, seeing Mer sitting on the road in front of our house, it’s a sad sight. She no longer will carry us with a fulltime status, but more of collect dust. I have no idea when I will use her again. Right now, I need to find a good storage space to put her away.
She’s way too big to be put away. She and I don’t feel finished.
The last leg of finding meraki was perfect. It was exactly how I envisioned. I was mostly alone, with my oldest son who tagged along. I was able to go where I wanted to go, to cook what I wanted to cook, to do things my own way and lucky me, my oldest son was on the same page. There were no battles as a mother, there was no frustration or exhaustion in a mental state. It was perfection on every level. We saw so many places, more than we did in months and we experienced the beauty of randomness. Finally.
And now, here I am, back at home. With commitments I have to stick to because of my life decisions I made prior to knowing who and what I am.
People asked me, “why did you have to stop?” I had to stop because this lifestyle, the free falling and swimming in experience? I am the only one who wants it.
So, I stand still in the middle of the wet cement as I try not to allow my feelings run amok. It’s a good thing that feelings are intangible therefore, that neat area of the cement? Intact. Otherwise, there would be a total random of a mountainous mess.
We have meraki’d (languished in solitude) so hard throughout the journey that the last three weeks was insane. Chaotic. Overwhelming to the point where all of our introverted personality turned into a monster demanding peace.
But, I say this with such sincerity, it was the best kind of chaos. We have barely had the time to blink. Seriously, however, I told my Introvert-Monster to shut it and suck it up, for the time being because it has been wonderful.
The quiet solitude energy of meraki to constant overstimulation was like a pendulum. It swung from one end to another, and kept swinging the past few weeks. There was never an in-between moment. We got so busy by being around other people, by my photographing back to back sessions and moving from one place to another without really settling down for a bit.
I admit, there were times when I wanted to hide under a rock and escape the constant “on” mode. It got so busy that I pulled an ostrich method with my phone, totally ignoring texts/emails and left some of my friends hanging.
And now? We are in the meraki-mode full force and I blinked. Several times. Eitan said, “it’s over, just like that [in reference to the Cassidy get together for the Memorial Weekend].” I am so grateful for last weekend, where we have dubbed the fun as the #moosehillgang (be sure to check out the hashtag on Instagram). Being with my family felt like a calling of a sort, it's like I wish we lived closer and I know that I can make that wish come true, easily. Of the entire meraki trip, I felt the most centered when with them.
It’s so quiet, too quiet. We are grabbing this week as our final week to take a deep breath because, from now until June 5th, it will be our very last time to be just us. Hereafter, it will be a pendulum furiously swinging til we arrive home mid-July.
When this trip is over, the pendulum will finally stop its momentum and be still. When it is calm, what will become of the spirit of meraki? My photos. My photographs of the entire journey into a book will be a spirit that will forever stay still.
I once volunteered overseas and went through training about the cycle of living abroad. They said it takes two years to adjust to your current living situation. The first 6 months usually is called the Honeymoon phase. Then it pretty much goes downhill afterwards until you hit rock bottom and question your sanity. Either volunteers quit or stay through it. It could still be in the dumps or it could finally start looking good and worth the months of hell. Those who stuck through it never regret the last few months and actually is the best phase than the Honeymoon phase. Then they don't even want it to end.
For Mer, everything is falling apart in slow motion.
First, it was the leak in the toilet that would not stop. The leak cause flooding as well as damages to the floor.
Then, my stupid move going up a curvy steep hill that scraped the bottom of my black water hatch, which leaks "soup" every time I drain it.
Next, the propane. That expensive propane keeps running out because we are constantly in places that's so cold at nights (20's-30's) and rely on the furnace. Getting the propane filled is not cheap nor easy, it's a hassle.
Then, the tow dolly's connector to Mer fell off due to bumpy roads in Indiana and pretty much sent the teeth part into smithereens.
And finally, a new discovery, the damn crack in the window, which is probably going to be hard to replace due to abnormal size.
Then there's me. I'm completely unhinged from moments in my journey.
It's like, the fragility of it [me] cracked and now it is in the state of vulnerability. The only way to fix it is to replace it. It will be costly, but at the end, a new type of fragility is in place. I just need to know which company [which path] I should choose as a replacement.
Sorta like, mer is me and I am her. We're breaking down into pieces, needing repairs and I know that whatever decisions I make, it'll be costly, no matter what path I choose. I just need to remind myself that it's okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to change and it's okay to be selfish in order to be selfless.
So, this is where my training from overseas kick in, I'll stick through this mess of becoming me, all of me, and then I will shine.
I likened myself to the Moon.
She’s always there and her energy waxes and wanes. When she’s full, she is a force to be reckoned with. When she’s in her phases, she’s still whole even in the darkness. Steady and true to herself, and giving, always giving.
Tho, I do ask myself, does she ever tire like I get exhausted? Does she have that point in her time where it hurts to shine, when you have to shine? Because it is bravery with a smidgen of insanity to take in the sun in full force. Then other times, it’s effortless to share the brightest moment in your time. Does she say, “Sweet Jesus, I survived” and weeps quietly when she’s crescent or does she yearn to shine fully when she's in that slim curvy silver phase?
Or is the Moon just an inanimate object who puts too much value in herself? May be so? Is she jealous of stars for their abilities to shamelessly burn brightly and then rip themselves from the sky and free fall?
Who knows what she thinks. However, whenever I look up at Her, I hope she knows I always am in awe with her. Always
Today I spent over an hour digging in Arkansas dirt in search for diamonds. I, and my red Hunter boots, had my butt firmly planted on mud, as I used my bare hands to dig. My neck craned and my focus was on just one area. I buried my fingers into the dirt and dug them out. I didn’t shift position for a long time.
My boys joined the fun as well, but after a short time, they were ready to go. Not I. I felt like a little girl, digging in the mud without a care in the world. I knew my chances in finding a diamond were very slim. Nonetheless, it was exciting. It probably was the closest sense I had to “being” grounded.
It was life in its grandest gesture, to find a diamond in the rough. Which, oftentimes, pretty much is a tease and leaves you with nothing but a bunch of rocks.
I know this. I left the park muddied and with several tiny rocks in labeled brown paper bags.
Still, I smiled. And my smile was for the dirt, the dirt alone.
looking at meraki, you see an RV with its universal patented look: curvy streaks across the body, maroon and gray with the Dalmatian dog panting above “Coachmen Freelander.” The ass of mer sticks longer from the rear tires, giving you indication that it’s bigger than 26 feet long. The only sign of character you would see is “yes, I am the cat lady,” magnet stuck on the cover case of where propane releases when using the heater.
That pretty much reflects the outer part of who we are. If I had it my way, there wouldn’t be a sticker of some curvy sorts. Fuck conformity. There wouldn’t be that out of breath Dalmatian hovering over the word “Coachmen” (sexist much?). The only thing I am okay with is the term, “Freelander.” Otherwise, it’s just a manufactured crap telling us its sticker price’s worth. She’s far more storytelling than that uniformed look.
She’s our home and inside that manufactured body, she holds hundreds, if not, thousands of memories that will last forever.
Now, as I sit outside with my coffee and enjoy this gentle Texan breeze, I just thought of an idea. I want to find a decal to add a cape on that dog (that breed is known to be Deaf, did you know that?), with a tiara on its head and to add two letters “w-o” in between the h and m. Then whoever notices those slight creative adjustments would definitely get insight of who I am [we are].
As a liberal Californian mother of three boys who have Jewishness in their blood, going into the Deep South had some reservations from me. Especially when the majority of them voted for Trump. Not just voted, they believed in him. When doing so, they believed in so many things that basically decry on the very humane aspect of love and humanity. When one goes against it, how is it possible for them to have a speck of iota of spirit in kindness (when they are extremely conditional and selective)?
Needless to say, my judgment and reservations toward the people of the Deep South is harsh, filled with bitterness and resentment… and disbelief. Trumpets, I call them. When I call someone a “Trumpet,” consider it the deepest level of offence I can offer, with such disdain. To this day, I still hold them accountable for the hatred we have in our society, especially to the people of color, to the people who want to love equally and ultimately, personally close to my heart, to the women.
We were knee deep into the south the past few months. I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s with profound sincerity when I say this, the Deep South has the heart of the country, but it’s so flawed. They were the friendliest, sweetest, kindest and charming bunch. They were patient, they were helpful, they handled our Deafness far superior than those people in the blue states. It shocked me to the core. Everywhere I went, be it a drive thrus or at a general store in the middle of nowhere, they all somehow knew sign language. They all called us “honey” or “sweetie.” They did not make me feel inferior, but rather treated us as a revered novelty. They welcomed us as if we were family members and offered us kindness even if we were complete strangers.
But, how in the world can they be as heartless as my label, “Trumpet”?
The other day when Oisin made a new friend with a complete stranger, I sat and watched them play and chat together. The boy’s mom was also watching. We waved at each other and I went over to her and we started talking. It was beautiful, us getting to know each other, and my son getting to know hers (they were talking about the book titled, “wrinkle in time.”). She asked me if Oisin’s name was Irish and I almost started telling her that my kids’ names all had both ancient Gaelic and Hebrew names because they are of Jewish descendant. I hesitated and decided to jut say, “yes, we chose ancient gaelic names.”
She smiled and looked at our boys, the sun was descending, it was super warm and you could see both boys laughing as they were trying to communicate.
It was beautiful, but my fears in telling her that my boys are also Jewish disturbed me. I don’t think that the mother realized that she made me feel uncomfortable in the fact that I would have potentially endangered my boys if I told them that they were not just Irish, but also Jewish. To be fair, she probably is a kindred soul and not deserving of my assumption.
That’s how it is here, for me, in the Deep South. As sweet as their iced tea are, they coated sugar over their self-serving steeped beliefs into what makes America Great. Being sweet and all, but totally going dark on what really matters and that is, being a humane human.
just a mother who fled from society's constraints and is super excited to wake up to the outdoors, remain braless daily and teach her boys the art of boredom and discovery.