I’M BACK! Lookit – my first proper blog post since arriving back in England is a Ten Things of Thankful. Which seems fitting, if I remember how to write and Do All The Things. I’m pretty sure it’s like riding a bicycle though – figure it out once when you’re a kid and there’s no traffic on the roads, then return to it as an adult and get run over by a jerk in a 4-wheel drive…no, wait…that doesn’t sound like my portion of the Blogosphere! Ha! NO JERKS ALLOWED!
(Okay, well, maybe jerks allowed sometimes, because I know *I* sure can behave like one when I’m in the wrong kind of mood, so maybe if you feel like a jerk, you just need someone to hug you extra-huge until all the assholery falls completely out of your character and you become a paragon of *twinklysparklygoodness* and light…)
So perhaps you heard I went to Murica?
I absolutely, completely, 100,000,000% loved it. Well – the trip yes, and all the sights and smells and tastes and sounds and SO VERY MANY FRISTS I experienced…ohmigosh you have NO IDEA! I’ll try to list a few in a moment. But the PEOPLE…oh my GOSH the people…I always knew that this tour of Murica to finally meet some of my people in Real was going to hurt like crazy because of all the goodbyes. I didn’t ever realise it was going to be this painful. I didn’t ever anticipate that I’d fly back to England feeling like my heart had been torn out of me and left on the tarmac, and that I would be walking around feeling like a missile had been shot through my chest, from the sheer agony of missing people who I’ve loved online for so long, and who have *just* been made Real to me.
I didn’t ever, ever know how much this trip would hurt, or how much it would change me, or how incredibly, unbelievably, utterly WONDERFUL it would be. And it was, so very ALL of those things. Or maybe it’s jet lag…
But here’s the thing. I’m not going to tell you all about it. Not yet. I’m still too raw and overwhelmed. I’m still at the stage where something or nothing will remind me of one of the people I met and loved, and bursting into tears. I’ve pretty much retreated to my bedroom since I’ve been back, and have been sleeping and crying and desperately messaging my Muricans to make sure I still get to be even a tiny bit still in their loop, and have been feeling like absolutely the very worst kind of shit, because I have people here who love me, too, and I’ve been pretty much self-involved and hurting since I got back. And because I’ve not wanted to share my adventures, I think I pretty much have come across as a bit of a prick. So I’m even more hiding.
Because here’s the other thing – I don’t really PLAN to tell all about my adventures. Not with blow-by-blow accounts of all the amazing, incredible times I spent with people (and believe me, I DID!)…the whole point in my trip was to go and see those people and make ourselves Real to one another, and that was a RESOUNDING success with each and every person who was in my heart before I ever left these shores…because those times with each person are so special to me that I don’t want to share them. I left photos on instagram (did you follow?) and I know other people put some photos up, but that’s mostly enough for me. I’ll write about my experience and how it changed and affected me, but those times I spent are sacred.
That said, there’s always poetry, which (for some) gives a clearer insight into my heart than anything else I write, and I’m really glad of that.
So today I’m trying to look very hard (she said hard!) at this week and scrape together a few silver linings for you, because I’m pleased to be back in this hop, I’m delighted that this community is still so strong and cohesive and bonded, and I’m SO GLAD that I had the chance to meet a few of you, and I just do not want to let you down.
The tattoo I got of the hardwired heart, on my last weekend (thanks to Sandy), is definitely something I’m thankful for. It reminds me that when I met people, no wires were required, yet without the wires and the wonderful World Between the Wires, and all of the circumstances which led to us all being online and open to making bonds and building friendships with others. It reminds me that no matter what, those bonds are now strengthened and reinforced with the delightful additions of sense memory (yes, I think I remember every first hug) and shared realities. Each person was every bit as incredible and perfectly wonderful as they are online, only MORE SO! AND, I got to meet ‘my’ kids, and each of them was ALSO as wonderful and completely perfect as I knew they would be. And I miss them every bit as much as I miss the friends who are their parents.
I’m very thankful that my TToT crew carried on without me, because even while absent I managed to mess up some of the HTML (I think, maybe) and there was a ruckus, which got fixed very slickly, without me ever needing to do anything, so that was AWESOME! Thanks gang, for taking care of the hop so well.
I’m thankful for so many FRISTS – margaritas, fried okra, seeing gun adverts in people’s properties alongside highways, inadvertent bonding with a dog, seeing a raccoon, being close to wild lizards, learning (repeatedly) that I cannot speak Murican, Ethiopian food, seeing a cardinal, feeding alligators, Vietnamese food, Fox News, track meet, football game, soccer game, Target, Walmart, Trader Joe’s (my favourite), Kroeger, salsa dancing, thrift store shopping, a pedicure, air-conditioned everything…my mind is still in a whirl over all the new things I tried and saw.
I got given some new words, too, thanks to Sarah and Dyanne! If you have the heebie-jeebies and are creeped out by something, you have the fantods (apparently this isn’t common parlance, but rather something unique to the Summerlin clan. And now me). If you have what we English call ‘The Lurgy’ (a non-specific, heavy-headed, probably-feverish, general feeling of physical crapness) then you can be said to be feeling epizootic! Rest stops will forever more be smiley stops, and I have a feeling that there are a number of Muricans who will long remember my literal pronunciations (and confusion around) hwy, pkwy, and expwy… (for those non-Muricans, that would be ‘highway’, ‘parkway’, and ‘express way’, which WHO KNEW?!?!)
I’m thankful beyond words for the 6, the 8, the 9, the 11, the 20, and the 40 minute naps I’ve taken today. I’ve been snatching time in between patients, and between activities, and in fact just woke up and realised I was still at my computer and hadn’t finished yet. I went to see Jenny (who is still on the streets, but has a decision being made on the 14th, and PLEASE send all good vibes her way on that day, because it’s getting cold (SO cold) and rainy here, and I’m really worried for her) and she told me to sleep in tomorrow (rather than bring her tea), because I looked grey, and as though jet lag had its claws into me. It does, and I will.
I’m thankful that yesterday I got to go to a conference in London, for World Sight Day. It was a big deal, and my three colleagues and I thoroughly enjoyed it, though the sheer enormity of the problem of diabetes worldwide, and how much impact it (and its complications) have, and how much its prevalence is growing, and how on EARTH we’re going to support people to be healthy and steer clear of it (particularly in places like Africa, where there might be one ophthalmologist for 1000+ patients with sight-threatening conditions), seems insurmountable. But research is being done and initiatives carried out, and it was all as upbeat as it could be. In between falling asleep, which I did as little as possible, but it was still a really tough day.
I’m thankful for every hug and every moment of being put back together that I’ve had on this side of the pond. Goodness knows I’ve needed them – I’ve been melting into puddles of tears all week. Let’s keep blaming jet lag. In the meantime, others have written of the shenanigans which were had – check out my Precious’ post over at Sisterwives, detailing the EPIC amazingness of the SW first meet up – Staddling Jesus – The Sisterwives Do Dallas.
I’m thankful for seeing that once again, the Blogosphere is rallying around one of its own, when they are in trouble. Some of you might know my friend Lindsay, and some of you might not, but the point is that she’s stuck in an immensely tricky situation at home, and the emotional abuse she’s suffering is causing a severe deterioration in her quality of life and ability to cope. And she hasn’t the funds to get out within the timescale she’s suddenly had foisted upon her. So a fund has been set up to provide sufficient funds to get her the heck out of an incredibly toxic situation. Donate or share if you can, but just MARVEL, for a moment, that once again, the World Between the Wires, and the love and care in people’s hearts for one another, regardless of geography, is MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
And love. Mostly this week, in whatever form it comes at me, or is shown or seen or noticed or felt or expressed, I’m thankful for love. Between me and others. Between others and others. Between anyone and anyone, because quite honestly what the world needs MORE of right now, is love. Deep, abiding, joyful, abundant, generous LOVE. It’s sometimes scary and takes you to new experiences and puts you in situations you never thought you’d be in. It takes you out of control and leaves you stranded, sometimes, wondering how on earth to get back. It makes you completely crazy (in a good way, hopefully) and is absolutely the most powerful force on earth. Tap into it. Utilise it. Because we all need to know that Love Wins, and we can all help it along, each time we choose to act lovingly towards others.
So get out there and LOVE YOUR PEOPLE.