Sunday, September 8, 2013

Revisiting a Writing Project

So, I haven't updated. Blah blah, excuse. I work a lot and I'm tired, and mostly lazy. I'll have progress pictures up within the week and the diet I've been using to (safely) lose weight with my mystery immune system problems. But more importantly, I've been revisiting writing, and here's a piece that I feel deserves a little attention. I wrote it coming from a dark place, when I realized that being an inherently "gloomy" person really isn't a bad thing. I thought it was positive. Some people don't. But the revelations were a good thing for me, my sobriety, and my search for spirituality. So enjoy it!

Everything exploded. This was, of course, before you met me. I’ve wrapped myself even further into the cold blanket of reality since we met, sardonic wit amplified by life’s propensity to leave me under a deluge of icy water for just long enough to lose feeling in my toes. That may or may not even be a much of a statement, since the boots I pull on every morning make me feel like I’m going to have to cut off my feet at some point anyway. Every year, I go back and reflect on how much I’ve grown up and blah blah blah. I think I’m done trying to track it. It’s been visceral, sentiment becoming harder and harder to deal with as we slowly grow further from what we were and what we imagined ourselves to be. One day we step away and realize that what once was sanguine and bright has become lachrymose little tumors, burlesque caricatures of our youth dancing on the edge of memory.
Having no control over my own destiny right now is a major factor in aging 15 years in the span of two. I think only other service members really get this. We joined an institution that is a fountain of maturity frozen in time, surrounded by grown adults with no idea how to live until they are hit with the realization that this is really all there is. It isn’t similar to any other group of people, perhaps comparable to people trapped in academia for life. One day, you wake up and your mind is 30 while your body is 24 and falling apart like you’re 60. This is the moment of utter darkness, lying prostrate underneath a black sky blanketed with small pins of light. This is life. This is it, an unlit highway through the desert, unmarked by civilization until the tiny towns whose people regard you as a gentile. But, at least there is light.

“It’s all bullshit. It’s all bullshit and then you die,” said Kevin Spacey. Although it was a movie, I devoured this. My soul filled with foreboding while my mind tried to escape into impossible optimism. I repeated this line to someone and their reaction hit like a knife. “Jesus Christ that’s dark, are you okay?”

To which I can only reply; Since when has life been easy? Since when have we been able to lay back and things just worked out? Why does having a firm grip on exactly how shitty things really are make people so uncomfortable? I know why, and I can see it in my head. If I’ve latched onto this level of grim resolution now, in another two years my face will reflect the horrors of the world in a dimly lit bar, sipping scotch and staring into the void while club goers pass and stare for a moment in silent uncomfortable wonder. Is this what we become? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s easier to just enjoy things without wondering than it is to wax prophetic and philosophical. But your stories are never as good without an antagonizing force.

The universe exists to crush the atoms of dead things and redistribute them amongst the stars, and somehow these atoms comprise the souls of men. Everything is shared throughout all the heavenly bodies, and some people just feel the connection harder. The knowledge that we too, are mortal and will one day die, is everpresent in shots from the Hubble depicting massive things dying slowly in time. Nothing lasts, but we are gifted with memory.

Acknowledging how deeply futile existence generally is, to me, is not surrender. So what if nothing matters? If nothing matters, then everything matters. If I died tomorrow, I would be satisfied knowing that I did all I could to help people I’ve passed by or crashed into in this life. Everything is shit, but we’re all here together. And we’re all pieces of each other; no one is an original composition. I could be made of pieces of Hemingway, Hitler, a shark, and dead bits of planets and stars. The matter isn’t the subject matter.

I want to believe that love is real, that our connections are more than just weaving a great web to hold each other up. I want to go back in time, to enjoy the little things like arms around me in the morning and the cold sweat on the windows and the sun shines in. I want to see happy couples, and see something more than two people who will eventually make their progeny, who will be shitheads that inherit the earth. I want to go back and never question someone uttering soft and esoteric admissions of love, sweet nothings into the air whose breathy condensation rose into the sky and became clouds. If I could, I would go back in time and spend a little more time in those moments. Watching a face split into a grin at the sight of someone they know they could love and tolerate for the rest of their years, sighing in awe at the great beautiful gestures we make toward each other. I would enjoy meeting you for the first time, although I already know it will end somewhat tragically. I would hold you a little tighter at night. I would be less of a dick.

But I gave up trying to be someone I’ve already grown away from, because growing backwards has only led to self destruction. It’s gone, and it isn’t something I can teach people younger than myself to enjoy. We all have to fuck it up for a little while before that inevitable sense of inescapable understanding sets in. Nothing matters, and everything in the universe is trying to kill you. So one day you’ll die, and it was all ephemera. You’ll die and the leaves will change and grow again, and then they too will die. None of this means you can’t enjoy it while it lasts, or try to make things a little better for the people who succeed you. In fact, recognizing everything is shit and life is constantly trying to murder me has made the tiny breathy moments that much easier to appreciate.

Nothing matters. Therefore, everything matters.

And then, you die.

So that's it. Give me your feedback, if you feel like it. I'll put something new and interesting about myself and Wally up soon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

On Rehab, Grief, Dog Farts, and Smiling

I started my day this morning knowing what I was going to write about later. It was a pretty awesome idea. A friend of mine, Brown, asked me to write about what keeps me upbeat through the day, what keeps me smiling. What a great topic! She thought to herself smiling, as she unwittingly stepped into a shit-tornado of a day. It doesn't really matter what happened, in the end. I've been experiencing a lot of nonsense-pain in my body, and the forces of the universe just kept shitting on my head. I was doing well in public, smiling and being cheerful... but by the time I was on the way home, I was screaming at handicapped drivers and ideating about kicking kittens into episodes of Metalocalypse. I got home and laid on my couch for a second, and then my dog jumped up and farted right in my face. I ended up in tears on my floor for about a half hour.

You... little shit.

My friends know this about me: My life just never quits. The past three years have been something to marvel at. Crisis after crisis, and I'm still okay. It really started rolling last year, with a solid five weeks in rehab for alcohol dependence. Looking back, I'm glad I went. My recovery is no joke. I've had some ups and some serious downs since then, but I'm 45 days sober today so it's going well enough. October 2012, Reggie Mullen, a woman I considered to be a mother figure lost her battle to cancer less than two weeks after she went into the hospital for a cough. Then the inside of my head literally imploded, smashing the bones in my face together. I got my own cancer scare, a couple hospitalizations, two surgeries, a couple more hospitalizations. I lost one of my heroes, my Great Uncle Everett, to cancer in April. I helped my grandmother clean the apartment he died alone in after his throat hemorrhaged, blood around the place telling a story of a very lonely, painful death. It hurts my heart to think about. I've been in the emergency room twice since then, and I'm now facing my own medical crisis. And shit, it keeps going. Terrible things keep happening. And things weren't great before all this happened. My life before the Marine Corps has been politely described as hellish and insane.

You know why it never stops? Because it never stops. There will always be a crisis. Something terrible is looming around the corner every single day. It will never, ever stop. Once you realize that, you can choose to become bitter and haunted by the things you victimize yourself with, or you can become the person people look to for comfort in a terrible situation. I believe I think of this a little differently, because my recovery is so important to me. I love people in recovery because they tend to be so giving of themselves, and that's what I try to emulate day to day. A smile can change another person's day. If your smile changes one person's day, and their smile changes another person's... then suddenly you have a domino effect. You have improved the lives of people you don't even know. It's like the sex ed pictures, but with happiness instead of herpes.

(You have no idea how many pictures of herpes I saw before I found this picture.)

The light in another human being's eyes is so magical to me. That's how I stay upbeat throughout my day, Brown! I know that somewhere, someone is enjoying their life a little bit more just because I tried. It makes my heart swell. The Serenity prayer gives me a weird strength on days like today. "God (Bears/spaghetti monster/science) grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". It took me a while to really grasp the power of that, and become the change I wanted to see in other people, but now I couldn't be happier. So even though I haven't been able to eat real food for a week, and my entire day was balls, I still feel good. I feel satisfied with what I went out to accomplish. I made people smile. My dog may have farted in my face, and I may have had a little bit of a nervous breakdown.... But sometimes life farts in your face, and you just have to take it. Let the smell waft over you, let your eyes tear up. Then get back on your feet, laugh it off, and find the Febreeze.  Much love, all. 


PS: Tell your friends I write stuff. There's share buttons. It took me like 38 years to figure out how to make them work. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why One Heart?

One Heart is an idea I came up with a very long time ago. We have only one heart and one body, sure. So personal health and fitness is something I strive for on a day to day basis. But I'm hoping to achieve so much more with this blog and my other endeavors. I want this to be more than just another fitness blog, or just another DIY page. My name is Kayleigh, and this is what I'm all about.

I'm a twenty-something,sardonic, active duty Marine trying to get on day by day. I don't want this to be about me and my journey with the Marine Corps, but the lifestyle is pervasive and I'm sure it will be a topic of interest to future readers. About a year ago my overall health started to suffer for asymptomatic reasons, which is a fun phrase doctors use when they don't what is actually wrong with you. I was diagnosed with chronic bilateral sinus disease and had facial reconstructive surgery this past March, 2013. Around the same time, my doctors found that I had early symptoms of cervical cancer as well as other assorted cysts throughout my system. I had those all successfully surgically removed April of this year. During this, and in the aftermath, I was hospitalized four times and treated for kidney infection when the trauma teams could only find that my white blood cells were extremely overactive.

What this all means is that I'm facing autoimmune disaster, and also a very very important choice: What now? I love being a Marine, and I believe in the power of inspiration, motivation, and nutrition. I believe that anything can be treated and managed with the right diet and determination. I also believe that I can't do this without some doctors behind me, so I'm having a private doctor check everything out when I go home on leave the next time. For now, I'm a bacon lover forced into a torrid affair with vegetables and herbal treatments that reduce joint inflammation and benefit those with autoimmune diseases because I absolutely will not let this run my life. I may or may not stay in the Marine Corps, but god help the person who tries to take that decision away from me. I'm writing this to document my journey through alternative medicine, and hopefully to inspire readers into truly believing that your life is in your hands. Your life is a choice, whether that be a choice to eat garbage and get sick or a choice to get motivated and take your body back. We only get one.

This is what I'm choosing to do. Eat right for me, and rule my life with good choices and good workouts. Hopefully you enjoy the following posts. Follow me on Instagram (oneheartonebody) and keep an ear to the ground for my etsy shop to open. I make my own natural, organic soaps and I will be doing a giveaway once it's all off the ground. My dog and I would love to help you get healthy too.

If I leave you with one thing today, I want it to be this: Every day we wake up and decide whether to make it until closing time, or to slowly transform ourselves into the person we would want to meet. We decide to be great. Go out and do great things, don't forget that you have dreams, and try to inspire someone close to you today. Much love,