Happy Roma Pride Day!

from GIS.

In a matter of 20 minutes, Roma Pride March will officially begin. If it’s anything like last year, then that means it will start in about an hour. Hence, I am still at home writing this post. ¬†ūüėČ I’m looking forward to capturing some footage of this event and sharing it here.

If you are in Rome, come out to Piazza della Repubblica.  Event starts at 4:30PM!

Happy Saturday! Happy Pride!

Until Tomorrow,
D.

Fibromyalgia & the New You: How to Begin Restructuring Your Life After a Loss of “Self” (Part 1)

hyperrealism,art,swim,swimming,relax,

A decade ago, the word¬†fibromyalgia¬†didn’t exist in my vocabulary. ¬†To be honest, my relationship with illness was that I was¬†never ill in any serious way. ¬†I lived to work and study, which eventually jeopardized relationships. ¬†That way of functioning, however, was what I was taught growing up. ¬†You were suppose to disregard all else in favour of work, whether physical or mental.

I saw my body and my mind as tools to be used relentlessly. ¬†I would work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at one job, then jump in my car, drive one hour, and then work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. I worked every holiday–a habit that I did not break until I moved to Italy. I volunteered to work when someone else didn’t want to, or called out, or whatever. ¬†I made myself overly reliable, and everyone knew they could ask me to step in to help at any time.

Work trumped all else.

So, what happens when a person who self-defines through excessive work (“workaholic”) loses the ability to overwork or even work? ¬†In Rome, we say sono distrutta/o¬†(“I am destroyed”) when something happens that is overwhelming and/or devastating. ¬†I think this expression is apt: you feel a huge part of you has been destroyed. ¬†There is a shattering of the self, a destructive blow to one’s inner worth.

However, the blow doesn’t happen just once. ¬†There are many blows, one for each thing you realize that you can no longer do. ¬†Moreover, the blow aren’t just internal. ¬†You receive external blows that land in the form of judgement, dismissal, and utter disregard…even from the people for whom you once bent over backwards to help when you were well.

That, sometimes, isthe harsh reality of having this illness.  Some people may begin turning their backs on you as they come to realize that you can no longer do what they want/need.  Although such experiences can hurt, they offer you the great opportunity to begin understanding who your real supports are, who you can really trust, and where you actually stand.

Knowing where you stand with yourself and with others, I think, is the one of the most fundamental aspects of beginning to restructure your life after any sense of loss of “self.” ¬† In an¬†earlier post, I wrote about reality checking, i.e. making certain that you understand what is happening in you and around you. Knowing where you stand with yourself and with others is, in essence, reality checking. ¬†One might even call it being mindful to self and environment. Regardless of what you choose to call it, simply do it.

First, take stock of you, what’s going on within you. ¬†Open yourself up to a non-judgmental¬†inner dialogue, and encourage yourself to express all that is challenging you when it comes to your illness and the impact that it has had on your life thus far, or even what fears you may have about the future. Be honest with you.

Second, speak directly with those around you. Open yourself up to non-judgmental external dialogues, and encourage others to express to you how your illness challenges them, what scares them about it now and what they worry about in the future. Of course, make sure you express your thoughts and feelings as well.

Remaining in a non-judgmental stance is vital, in my opinion, to understanding 1) where you are, 2) where you are going, and 3) where you might prefer to go instead. It keeps you here and now, but with a distance that allows for some objectivity about your life.

It’s true that having fibromyalgia can suck the life out of you. However, you do not have to allow fibromyalgia to suck you out of life. Yes, things are different now. Yes, you have no idea how it’s all going to work out. ¬†Yes, you are scared. ¬†All of those things are okay. Your feelings are you feelings and they should be owned you.

Still, having fibromyalgia isn’t the end of the world. ¬†It may be an ending of a chapter of your life as you knew it. ¬†And now you can¬†write a new chapter.

Until Tomorrow,

D.

Travel | Night of the Killer Moth and Other Thoughts at 1:40am

Image from Flickr

I’m sure moths can be beautiful. ¬†When, however, you wake up to one trying wage war against you, they seem more like a nightmare.

Now, I aim to live peacefully with all creatures. I even apologize to the ones I know that I am squashing as I make my way through the day. If I could stand still and hurt not even one, I would be a happy person.  And perhaps it is silly of me, but I expect the freaking same from these creatures, too.  Live and let live.  Sleep and let sleep.  All right?

Well, that hasn’t been the case for the past two nights with Mr. I-have-nothing-better-to-do-than-terrorize-you Moth. ¬†Seriously, I’ve resorted to hiding under the covers and leaving the light on…which seems to be a good deterrent. ¬†Any suggestions?

While strategizing to find the best way to live harmoniously with Mr. Moth, it dawned on me that I had learned another important lesson while living in Rome: insects have a right to exist, too.  I always knew that, but in the US it seems like we spend a lot of time trying to keep our surroundings bug-free (which, of course, can be a very good thing).

If you are travelling to Rome and you do not have a good relationship with creepy and flying things, prepare yourself psychologically beforehand. ¬†Here, it’s not uncommon to see flies in bakeries (pitching on your soon-to-be-eaten pizza slice) or in restaurants. Seriously, it happens, especially in the warmer weather. ¬†And the attitude is….well., live and let live. ūüôā

Strangely enough, I’ve never seen a cockroach (knock on virtual wood). ¬†Now, I’m off to negotiate with a moth.

Buona giornata!

Until tomorrow,

D.

Vlog | My Vegan Munchies! Awesome YouTube Vlogger

Fruit stand, Venice (2015)

Fruit stand, Venice (2015). Click to visit My Vegan Munchies’ channel!

Thinking about going vegan? Worried that you can only eat lettuce? Frantically thinking about surviving living abroad while vegan?

Check out My Vegan Munchies‘ YouTube channel to learn great recipes to begin your vegan/vegetarian journey. ¬†I’m super happy that I learned about her channel. ¬†Other healthy living vloggers I love are CharlyCheer (health/travel) and Zipporah G (health/travel).

Well, Check out My Vegan Munchies Living Abroad While Vegan Video:

Daily Blogging & Writing Fearlessly

On Via Fori Imperiali

On Via Fori Imperiali (May 2015)

I’m almost certain that many writers spend time thinking about how to write more, why they aren’t writing more, when they can write more, if they should write more, if they can write more. I’m no exception.

Lately, I’ve been writing, but not publicly. I have an awful tendency to stop writing because I believe I have nothing of interest/importance to state–usually, that translates into “I feel like crap about myself in the world.” ¬†I recognize that writing about true feelings/thoughts not filtered through psychobabble scares the living daylights out of me. ¬†Seriously.

It is a scary thing just to write “I feel…” and not add something about Freud or CBT or DBT immediately before or after it. ¬†What would it mean to simply state my feelings, my thoughts unfiltered, uninhibited in my own little virtual space? ¬†Who knows. This, however, is the starting point.

It’s a promise to myself. Every morning, I will write something, anything on this little blog of mine. It may interest you. It may bore you to tears. ¬†The point, however, is that I am writing what is honest/authentic/true for me. I hope you’ll continue to give me your support.

Also, I an starting a health journey daily vlog upon my return to the US.  It will run from May 25-August 15, and will be tracking my progress with taking better care of my overall (but mostly physical) health, including diet, exercise, hair, skin, etc. I am really ready to commit to a healthy vegan and natural lifestyle, and I would like to document that process. So, wish me good fortune on that as well.

Sometimes it’s when we are about to experience enormous change that we truly recognize the direction in which we are heading.

Until Tomorrow,

D.

Vlog | Mother’s Day in Garbatella & Travel Tips

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Join me for a quick look at Mother’s Day in Garbatella, where I attended the weekend market, tried to play soccer, experience a bit of nostalgia, and give my tips on where to stay (and why) while visiting Rome.

Vlog | Rome Off the Beaten Path: The Conca d’Oro Flea Market (Il Mercatino Conca d’Oro)

Conca d'Oro Market (Photo by D. Blake)

Conca d’Oro Market (Photo by D. Blake)

I took some time out last week to visit the Conca d’Oro Market. It is wonderfully organized and there are many interesting items to be found at low cost, everything from food to cleaning products. ¬†Take a look at the video to see what else is on offer. And if you happen to be in Rome, why not take a quick trip on the metro line B to Conca d’Oro to visit the Market.

Hours: Saturdays & Sundays, from 9am to 8pm

Via Conca d’Oro 143/145

Vlog | Fibromyalgia & Travel: You Must Be Your Number 1!

Thank you so very much, everyone, for sticking with me both on my blog and on my YouTube channel! ūüôā

Vlog | “Wash & Go” for 4C Hair / Il “Wash & Go” per I Capelli Ricci Afro 4C

titleenglishI got it together to begin posting videos again. ¬†This one is on the “Wash & Go” style. ¬†I have made both an English version and an Italian version. ūüôā

Although an easy go-to style, the “Wash & Go” isn’t one that I would recommend wearing often as it leads to knots/tangles. ¬†The idea of the style is to be able to wash your hair, add some products, and get out the door.

In most cases, one of the main products used for this style is gel–I’m just not about that particular life. ¬†So, I opted for KeraCare‘s Twist & Define Cream instead. ¬†It worked well for my hair, and left my hair feeling soft.

For the washing portion of the “Wash & Go”, I used KeraCare’s Cleansing Cream (shampoo) and my usual Garnier Fructis conditioner Fall Fight. ¬†As a leave-in, I used KeraCare’s aptly named Leave-In Conditioner.

KeraCare: Cleansing Cream, Leave-in Conditioner, and Twist & Define Cream. Click to visit their site.

KeraCare: Cleansing Cream, Leave-in Conditioner, and Twist & Define Cream. Click to visit their site.

Curious to see how my “Wash & Go” turned out? ¬†Watch either video below! ūüôā ¬†And if you could, please visit my YouTube channel to like this video and subscribe!

Until Next Time!

D.

English Version

La Versione Italiana

Throwback Thursday | Reblog: Roma, che cosa vuoi?

Statue of Giordano Bruno

Rome is a hard place and I am a hard person.¬† What I mean by hard is simply that Rome is all stone and little nature.¬† It is all grit and grime and movement.¬† I often feel now that I find myself to be same…¬† That there is no softness, purity, and no patience…¬† I am eager to build upon the last event and move on from the present one.¬†¬† I feel as though my life has shown me too much in too short a period of time, and has made me too wise… but not wise enough to avoid this place where I have now found myself.

If you asked me what I want most right now, I would say to be free of all worry… then I would say to remember… then I would say to forget… then I would say nothing… for why should I want?

I despise Rome because it is so much like me – It reflects back to me so much of myself… or at least, who I have been in my many forms.¬†¬† And it seems that now I am finding myself to be no different from many of my clients, whom I have seen over the years, i.e. wanting the past to go away… wanting to be far away from myself, but finding myself nowhere else but here with me.¬† I suppose I am human after all.¬† And so I have placed myself here in Rome, a physical manifestation of all of the parts of me I had come so to resent, but perhaps no so much anymore.¬† Now, Rome, what do you want?

Nessun Dorma

“Nessun Dorma” (“None shall sleep,” an aria from Puccini’s opera “Turandot.”)