Vlog |Travel with Me to Il Mercatino Giapponese (Japanese Market) in Rome

Video accompaniment to the recent Mercatino Giapponese post.¬† Hope you enjoy watching it! ūüėČ

Travel | Cheap Vintage Shopping in Rome (Like Goodwill, But More Expensive)

It took 4 years, but finally I found out where there is a real second-hand store in Rome…and it happens to be in my backyard. ūüėČ

Before I left the US, I was pretty much hooked on spending part of my weekend in the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. I have a thing for anything vintage and I am ridiculously cheap frugal, so shopping second-hand leaves me in bliss.

When I first moved to Rome, ¬†the “vintage” stores here left me thinking Oh, Hell No!

Seriously, the prices were (still are) enough to induce cardiac arrest.

Luckily, my friend Sammy introduced me to Ex-Novo¬†on Saturday. ¬†Although the prices are still considerably high in my book, they are still significantly lower than the vintage stores that you will find in Rome’s historic center.

So, if you’re in Rome, or planning to travel here, and love vintage, check out Ex-Novo in the San Paolo Basilica area. It’s just a few steps from the metro.

Ex-Novo

Via Corinto 12, Rome

(San Paolo Basilica Metro)

Hair, weight…Results are in (Part 3 of 3)

"True Mirror Image," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

“True Mirror Image,” photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

So what happened after March 2009?

I decided enough was enough.  I was sick, tired, self-pitying, angry at the world and at myself, and just generally feeling that I was inadequate that my existence was quite pointless.

I wasn’t able to participate fully in either my personal or professional live. ¬†It was hard. ¬†When I looked in the mirror, the image smiling back at me was still sad. ¬†I decided then that neither Fibromyalgia nor my mind nor my surrounding was going to stop me from finding a way to live.

"Not the self-destruct button" found at http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/4100.  I had to include this image... It was just too funny not to do so.

“Not the self-destruct button” found at http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/4100. I had to include this image… It was just too funny not to do so.

I decided to do what I could do…take one step forward. ¬†I joined up with two other ladies to do a walk/run for 15 minutes for most mornings.

I decided to do Weight Watchers Online for three months to learn more about nutrition and to be inspired by others who were taking positive steps to make effective changes in their lives.

I decided to become vegetarian, slowly (and I mean very slowly) removing meat products from my life.

I decided to begin learning how to love myself as I was in¬†that moment, not lament who I had been. ¬†I wasn’t always successful, and sometimes I still struggle with that.

I acquired the following books:

I decided to become more natural with my medication, finding ways to decrease the amount of medications that I had to take.  It took consulting with my doctors and taking time to research, but it was worth it.

I temporarily joined a Fibromyalgia Support Group (though I did not always find it supportive, especially when it came to improving my physical health).

I began to speak out more about my needs and take steps at work to make sure that others understood the nature of my illness.

Waiting, photography by April Rivers (Fall, 2010)

Waiting, photography by April Rivers (Fall, 2010)

The Result?

After almost two years of doing this work, I found myself a bit more than 70 pounds lighter.  My blood pressure which was unreasonably high was lower.  My body that I could barely move most days began to move more.  My mind was less foggy.  I began to wake up to many realities of which I was not aware.

And finally, I became aware of something that I knew to be psychologically true…but never imagine I would ever experience. ¬†I became aware of the fact that people were angry about my changes.

I had to deal with rumours about my weight loss, i.e. how I lost weight, for whom I lost weight.

Of course, when you go from a larger size to a smaller size, you need new clothes. ¬†I was fortunate to receive some vintage clothing from April’s grandmother, which were more fitted to my figure. ¬†Wearing these clothing turned into gossip that I was trying to attract men…even though these people knew that I was married and highly committed to my marriage.

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

“The Revenge of Pride,” photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

There was also a humorous side to all of this (actually, I found the rumours humorous too).  I discovered that suddenly people felt more comfortable giving me compliments.  I even had someone say that they were surprised by how good I was looking lately.

Suddenly, too, many people were ready to chime in on my general appearance:  how I should look, what I should wear, what my weight should be.

I guess you could say that losing the weight brought me both joy and distress. ¬†I was happy to be free from some of the physical difficulties posed by my weight gain…but I was equally distressed by the growing hostilities coming from various parts of my life. Still, I do not regret it.

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And then…

I cut my hair and moved to Rome, which brought on a whole host of other issues, of which you can read about in earlier postings in my blog.

———

Until Next Time,

D.

P.S. Check out School Psychologist and Professor Nina Ellis-Hervey regarding mind and body well-being. Link to her website here.¬†Also visit her YouTube site “BeautifulBrownBabyDol“…You won’t regret it.

TWFB: I am flattered…but, why must you take a picture of me?

Found: http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-361011/how-you-met-your-idol
(No, this has nothing to do with the AMBW post. I just liked the picture out of all the ones I found on Google Images) ūüėČ

This story starts as far back as 1999 while I was studying in Berlin, where I was approached by an elderly couple, who 1) wanted to take my picture, and 2) wanted to ask me hair care advice for their recently adopted African grandchild.

Now, I am all for helping anyone out if it is within my power.¬† Thus, I acquiesced to their request.¬† Let’s fast-forward to my travels around Italy.¬† From the time I put my foot down on the sidewalk of an Italian city, I have been regularly asked to have my picture taken, sometimes by people who are visibly tourists and sometimes by Italians.¬† It doesn’t matter where:¬† walking around the Vatican (check), coming out of the Colosseo metro station (check), window shopping in Florence (check).

Of course, this¬†kind of thing is¬†flattering on one level–who doesn’t like to have someone ask to take their picture?¬† And I am human¬†enough to say that I find¬†it mildly entertaining, i.e. after the initial shock.¬† ¬†On the other hand, it is rather disturbing to me to come to the understanding that some people have such little exposure to others who are visibly different that they feel the need to record it–I am quite certain that there are random pictures out their in the world of me looking sightly (or very) awkward

In Campo dei Fiori studio (2011)

Anyway, what say you who are like me?  Has anyone else had these kinds of experiences, regardless of your race/ethnicity? If so, what do you make of it?

Vivian Nwakah, host of the blog Lonely Tripping, writes about her travels and her experiences. In one of her posts, she discussed the lack of positive portrayal of Black people in the media. More so, how the prevalence of this type of negative media has a potentially direct impact on the experiences of Black travellers.  In relating an experience with a young Turkish man, she stated,

Now in his defense he has never left his village in Turkey and he has probably never met a black person before. He only has the media and negative portrayals of black people to go on.

That being said, when you leave a big city and start to travel the world you should expect and be prepared to deal with misconceptions about your race, gender, culture, ethnicity, religion, and nationality. The most important thing to know is that if a person you meet is not open to learn about you and your culture; the only recourse you have is to continue to carry yourself with class and dignity.”

I agree with her sentiments whole-heartedly.

Until Next Time!

Best,

D.

Travelling while female‚Ķand Black (Part 2)

In Florence, photography by D.M. Blake (2011)

Where to begin…where to begin.¬† I am still listening to Vivaldi.

How is Vivaldi relevant to the topic?¬† Well, actually, I have found that listening to instrumental music is quite helpful when managing emotions.¬† And throughout my travels, I have most definitely had to learn how to manage my emotions (although I am not always the most successful).¬† ūüėČ

I have been travelling¬†alone since 1987.¬† My first trip was a 3-4 hour long flight from Kingston, Jamaica to Boston, Massachusetts.¬† Strangely enough, I remember feeling neither terrified nor excited–I was busy thinking about the most appropriate¬†way to act, in order to¬†make the best impression on those who would encounter me.¬† Even at the young age, I had tapped into something that has served me throughout my travels of the years.¬† That is, neither fear nor excitement will get you anywhere, if you do not behave appropriately.

So, let’s fast-forward some years to 1996 when my mother and I decided to backpack from London to Edinburgh.¬† Although it was a great deal of fun, it was also my first instance of having someone look at me askance.¬† What I mean to say was that my long braided hair, bell-bottom (before they were called¬†boot-cut) jeans, guitar slung over shoulder look along with my¬†big blue Jamaican passport causes one of the (thankfully female) guards to do an extra check on me.¬† It was the first time that I had someone basically put their hands on my person in such a thorough manner.¬† And I remember recording that in the catalogue of my mind.

Apparently, I did not learn from episode 1996, because in 1999 when I travelled to Berlin¬†to attend an overseas program, again I was stopped¬†and thoroughly searched:¬† shoes removed and all.¬† Of course, I was still rocking out in my hippie-mode¬†the long braids, guitar (I think), big blue passport, but then I had traded my jeans for cargo pants…you know, with the many pockets.¬† The guards at Tegel weren’t having it.¬† I wasn’t annoyed then…that came later.¬† I figured I would allow for stereotypes to simply be.¬† After all, even in the US, people pair Jamaica with the word marijuana, so…

Looking perplexed crossing the Charles River into Boston, photography by D. M. Blake (2011)

Berlin…to Prague?¬† No, I don’t think so…

Everything changed when I decided to take a trip to Prague to visit a friend in November 1999.¬† I remember clearly that it was an early morning trip, and already Berlin had become cold.¬† Even as I journeyed to Prague, I could see the pilings of snow covering buildings and streets–At that time, snow still fascinated me.¬† (Live in Boston for a couple of years, and you get over the fascination really fast).

So, what could have happened on that trip?¬† Well, long story short was that I, along with other people of visibly minority status, were escorted¬†(I use that for the sake of politeness) off the train and told to return to Germany…i.e. even with my big old visa that gave me the right to enter into the Czech Republic and thus visit Prague.

Yes, that’s right.¬† My passport was taken from me and I was kept in a holding area (feel free to read into that a little) until train heading back to Berlin had arrived.¬† Mind you, in German I directly asked the German border patrol¬†what the meaning of this was.¬† He¬†equally directly and quite civilly told me that the Czech¬†didn’t want people¬†like us there, and that was the reason for our removal. Wait…People like us??¬†¬†

Well, that was my first and last time to have an experience like that…and why?¬† The following¬†is not a definitive reason.¬† However, I will say that the episode caused me to do something I never thought I would do… I decided to become an American citizen.¬† I understood that with my Jamaican passport, I would continue to run into problems. Now, please, understand that this is merely my experience and my then-logic.¬† I understand now that problems with travelling can occur regardless of your passport.¬†The little blue passport, however, did help me in my travels.¬† No longer did I get the strange delays and the weird looks (okay, so I still got the looks). ūüėČ

(Expat in Korea celestrial81186 at YouTube.  See part two here.)

Okay, so what does this all mean?¬† No, I am not saying every person of colour¬† who is not American should run out there, toss their citizenship,¬†and try to become an American citizen.¬† I am proud to be an American citizen and equally proud to be Jamaican.¬†¬†What I am saying is that it is possible that¬†the origination of your passport potentially can help or hinder your ease of travel as a person of colour.¬† Again…these are just my thoughts.¬† Also, there is a difference when travelling to a place for vacation, and staying in a place for a longer period time, but I will come to that next…¬† ūüėČ

Also, if you have specific questions about travelling, please free to ask and I will address them in my next post.
Until Next Time.
Best,
D.

P.S. I was attempting to find a cute cartoon featuring Black women travelling…and so, I did as we are expected¬†to do these days and went on Google Images…What did I find?¬† Well, nothing could be posted.¬† Many of the cartoons were quite derogatory towards Black women.¬† Now, why is that?

In Absence of Loc’s…

Almost two years ago, I sat on the floor in my bedroom, staring at a propped up full-length mirror.¬† My eyes were red and stinging from crying.¬† My ex was staring at me with concern.¬† I am not sure where the dogs were, and it’s quite possible that they were there too.¬† It was Thursday.¬† It was evening.¬† It was Thanksgiving Day.¬† It was also the beginning end.October 1999.¬† Stanford-in-Berlin Program.¬† It was the day before we left to travel as a group to Weimar to visit Buchenwald and to see the Bauhaus School of Art & Design.¬† I sat in the darken closet space in the library/loft bedroom that served as my home for a semester.¬† My hands were moving silently and quickly trying to unravel, trying to untangle the part of myself that was false.

They weighed 2.5 lbs.  My dreadlocks.  Long, black, streaked red, interwoven with the hairs of those whom I had loved and still loved.  I placed them in a large wooden box, buried them with the things that once belonged to that which was now lost.  I buried the box under boxes, the memories hidden from my sight, my head free and light, even if my heart was fully empty.

I shoved the engineered strands that once formed plaits, that once gave me an image of who I wanted to be but was not.  I decided then, thirteen years ago, to accept the image of myself that stood:  dark circled eyes, lips too big, cheeks puffy, pimpled face, brooding, always too hungry and never fully satisfied even after consuming anything and anyone.  I had been living in a vaccuum catering to my illusions and fostering my disillusionment with the world around me.

The screaming voice, terrified in its inaction, broke my heart.¬† The words did not make sense, but then again they did.¬† Drop everything and run.¬† Dropped everything and ran to my car, open the door and drove speedily on curved roads.¬† It wouldn’t have changed anything.¬† It changed nothing.¬† Death happens sometimes in an instant.¬† There is nothing to be done. Whether it is the warmth of the cooling body that lays still beneath touch of a palm roughed and ruined by age and care.¬† In absence of signs of either life or death, there is neither hope nor grief.

“Bend or Break,” photography by Diedr√© M. Blake (2010)

Going against the grain.¬† It’s what I do best.¬† After I came out to my mom in 1996 as a lesbian, I immediately started dating men, resulting in¬†memories best forgotten and the decision that all men were bigs…I’ve changed my mind about that…somewhat. ¬†It’s doing the unexpected that make life worth living.¬† At least, you know that you are choosing and¬†not someone else.So, I decided to resign from my job just when I was eligible for indpendent licensure.¬† I decided to leave¬†the country that served as my home for¬†twenty-odd¬†years to move to place where I didn’t speak the language, had nothing and no one.¬† I decided to cut my hair just when I began to recognize myself in the mirror.

Until Next Time…

Best,

D.

Begin where you are…

Tourists and Construction, photography by Diedré M. Blake (Via Frattina, Rome, Summer 2011)

The streets of Rome continue to be filled with tourists, street vendors, performers, designer and not-so-designer stores, construction workers and apparently me.¬† To describe Rome as “hot” in summer is a vast understatement – I am beginning to wonder if I have descended into the depths of hell, and am only a few moments away from seeing fire and brimstone.¬†¬† Who knows… especially with the temperatures at night being somewhere between 80-95 degrees.¬† Regardless, I have come to look at this period as merely the final stages of my own personal experience of being tempered.

I’ve returned to Rome after being two months away.¬† The process of my return was not an easy one as it meant vast amounts of paperwork and a whole lot of letting go.¬† Both of which, I had assumed that I was quite accustomed to by now… apparently not. ūüėČ

Beginning where I am: Part 1

It’s been a long time since I have written on my blog… and with good reason.¬†That is, getting paperwork done to¬†move overseas is never easy and is time-consuming as is the finalizing one’s life that is being left behind.¬† More importantly, however, I wanted to take a break¬†away from my introspection¬†– As much as sharing my thoughts¬†with the larger world is an interesting and encouraging experience,¬†I have found¬†that there is equal importance to be given to the practice of shielding one’s thoughts.

In moving forward, I would like to make my blog a more interactive experience – I am not certain of how that may actually manifest itself.¬†ūüėČ ¬†From some of the feedback I have received, however, I have come to understand that my thoughts have been helpful to others and have given them perspective/insight into their own lives.¬†¬† And so, I would like to invite questions or topics to be addressed via my blog.¬†¬† After all, how much can I talk about my life? ūüėČ

Thus, I begin this new phase with the hope that I can reach out and help others more directly.  Of course, I will continue a weekly (or perhaps even more often than that) update of my blog with topics of interest that arise from my observation from the world around me.  In the interim, send me your thoughts and questions.  (diedreblake@gmail.com)

 D.

Monday, 29th of August¬†–¬†Beginning where I am: Part 2 (Self-deconstruction and understanding the strength of one’s self-foundation)

Never hold your breath: Finding space, sentences & self

From Florence to Rome, photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011)

Nine months ago, I began travelling once again.  It would seem that much of travelling would involve rapid movement.  Perhaps each day, waking up leads to seeing a new city, or being in a completely different time zone, or realizing that only one hour has passed of a ten-hour flight.  The actions of packing and re-packing and saying goodbyes and hellos only reinforce the notion that time is moving quickly РIt becomes a continuous cycle of beginnings and endings.

Then there is the “stuff” in the middle: the time spent experiencing a new culture, new people, or returning to the familiar.¬† Quick or slow, the hyper-awareness of passing time has become, perhaps, a universal experience for travellers.¬† For myself, practicing mindfulness has been integral in being able to manage time-based anxiety, to slow down,¬†and to keep myself “in the moment.”

I wrote about mindfulness in other postings, but I thought to share mindfulness expert Dr. Marsha Linehan‘s words on the goal of practicing mindfulness skills.¬† In her Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, she states the goal of mindfulness skills is “learning to be in control of your own mind, instead of letting your mind be in control of you.”

Dr. Linehan’s dialectical behavior therapy treatment (DBT), in which mindfulness is the core skill, has been proven to be effective in helping¬†a person gain a more adaptive method of dealing with his or her life.¬†¬† Just imagine what it could do for managing anxiety related to travel? ūüėČ

On the way home, photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011)

Never hold your breath…

In a recent New York Times article,¬†Dr. Linehan¬†revealed her¬†own struggle with mental illness (borderline personality disorder), and how these struggles helped her in developing DBT.¬† I was not shocked, or even mildly surprised,¬†by this article.¬† I imagine that there are some within the field of psychology, who are now balking at her decision to publicly disclose her illness.¬† After all, based upon my own experiences, I would say that there is a good deal of conservatism¬†on the subject of disclosure and just¬†how “human” (read:¬†have¬†struggles of their own)¬†therapists can reveal themselves to be.

After reading this article, one thought struck me¬†–¬†How terrified Dr. Linehan must have been over the decades because she thought it professionally better to keep her¬†struggles secret?¬† What does it mean for the field of psychology that one of its most prominent members has only now felt safe enough to disclose her struggle?¬†¬†Is the field¬†still so rooted in psychoanalysis, in the Freudian¬†desire that therapists be a type of tabula rasa (“blank slate”), wanting for clients to experience transference? Of course…¬†there is a reason for the¬†experience and acknowledgement¬†of counter-transference… Right?

I like the¬†idiom “don’t hold your breath.”¬† Traditionally, the meaning refers to impossibility of something happening.¬†¬†What I like specifically is¬†the coming together of¬†stagnation and the¬†flow of time.¬† For me, the expression reads more¬†like “It is important to continue living,¬†even¬†when¬†waiting for something or someone, because the only actions that can be controlled are your own.”¬†¬†In the article on Linehan, she states clearly that she did not want to¬†chance dying and not have been brave enough to step forward.¬† In¬†terms of travelling, it is the idea that focusing on either the beginning or end might cause you to miss the important moments of the middle.

It is the middle, the moment in which the understood and well-regulated reality is held in abeyance, that creates the opportunity for new experiences and self-development.  So, focus on the moment, this moment, because the beginning and end come sometimes faster or slower than can be imagined.

Go, photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011)

Finding space, sentences & self…

I took some time away from the blog to become more settled (it’s a process), to lend support to both my family-of-choice¬†and family-of-origin, and to gain more complete understanding on my reasons for¬†sharing my thoughts with a larger audience.¬† Like the process of self-understanding, this blog is steadily finding its path.

Taking space has meant the opportunity observe¬†life and experience living without constant analysis, which is its own type of judgement.¬†¬†Moreover, at the end of the day, if the few or many words I choose to share offer comfort and encouragement to any individual, then I am satisfied.¬† Remember…

The path to self is never clear, and thus it remains important to “stop, look, listen… and think,” in order to keep living.

  Best of regards to everyone. 

D.

Wait… Life is changing fast: Chaos meets patience…

 

Aum, photography by Diedré M. Blake

 

Stand still, say little

or better nothing at all

Stand still, stay little

 

why bother walk than crawl

 

Stand still, sway little

for whom do you stay alive

for whom shall you thrive

 

Stand still, say stay, never sway

 

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

 

sway never stay, say

say stay, sway, stand still – Still stand

or nothing at all.

-db (3.18.11)

 

 

I used to wait…

Days are ending before they even begin, and I am trying to find a way to simultaneously slow time down and move it quickly forward.

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

Waiting is an acquired skill.  Truly, it is not an easy task, especially when the unknown is that for which one is waiting.  I learned how to wait, however, during my childhood while I lived in a convent in Jamaica.

There were many months inbetween my trips to see my mother  (and then eventually also my sisters) in the United States.  There was nothing exciting about that waiting.  Rather it was quite terrifying as I often feared for the safety of my family because they were so very far away.

In those days, I did not find joy in the thought of going to¬†America as many of my peers thought I would¬†and should feel.¬†¬†After all, what Jamaican¬†child¬†would not want to travel to¬†see the wonders of America?¬† At least, that was their thinking… I did not, however,¬†prescribe.¬† During those years, I could not have cared less about travelling to America –¬† All I wanted was to see my family… wherever they were.

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

Travelling alone as a child was equally terrifying, especially as I travelled by airplane for hours – Jamaica to Boston, Boston to Jamaica,¬†Jamaica to Orlando, Orlando to Jamaica –¬† Time never seemed to move quickly enough.

Lately, I have found that I am still very much like my childhood self: a bit terrified of the unknown, but waiting for it nonetheless.  What is different, however, is that as an adult I am appreciative of each and every second that I have in the day.  Whereas in my childhood, I despised time, which seemed ever long.  I suppose the difference is that as a child I merely tolerated the process of waiting.  As an adult, however, I have simply become patient.

 

Life is changing fast…

I often express the fact that one can only change and control¬†one’s self and no one else.¬† The same could be said for situations.

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

Presently, I stand amidst a flurry of activity and inactivity, over which I truly have limited control.¬† Then again, even if I could have control, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t want it.¬† Why? Well, simply because I am a planner, who attempts to create order and routine wherever I go, and who is hyper-aware of time (in¬†a sort social clock way).¬† Whether this stems from the uncertain structure of my childhood, i.e. living in multiple places and away from my family, I am not certain.¬† What I do know, however, is that I spent an inordinate amount of time creating a structured self and world only to watch both¬†destruct and fall to chaos¬†in a matter of few short years.

 Transitions of all types tend to be stressful.  Thus, as I experienced life-changing transitions and disruptions to my well-planned and well-timed established order, I experienced great amounts of stress (and we know just how good that is for fibromyalgia РRight?) .  Most of the stress I experienced was as a direct result of these transitions, but there was a good deal of stress that came from my own internal processing, i.e. negative self-talk РI engaged in emotional warfare with myself, berating myself for not complying with my mental agenda and achieving goals in a timely manner.  Fortunately, the process of battling an overly planned future and uncertain present led me to the following realization: at the end of the day, I simply want to be happy, regardless of the presence of either order or chaos.

 

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

Chaos

There is beauty to be found in chaos.¬† Though, some years ago… perhaps even a year and a half¬†ago, I would not have agreed.¬† Now, I find that chaos¬†brings about opportunity for growth, which¬†my own life has shown me, especially over that last few months.¬†¬†It is in the deconstruction of one’s life¬†and self that core truths can¬†be found.¬†¬† After all, once the masks have all fallen away, only the face remains, upon which the truth of one’s life is plainly written for all to see.¬† Sometimes, one has a choice¬†as to¬†when and how to remove the masks.

Sometimes, however, life simply tears them off one by one without any warning.  Either way, the removal of the masks and the resulting confrontation of the self is rife with uncertainty due to the potential unknowns about the self, with which one must contend.  These unknowns can be egoshattering, and can lead to an experience of internal chaos.

So, what’s the point of this rambling, D.? Well,¬†I suppose it could be referred to as a¬†moment of indulgence, i.e. for a bit stream of consciousness writing.¬†¬†¬†There is also this point: patience is a not just a virtue, it is a necessity, especially if one’s¬†goal is to survive the unknown, to create order out of chaos, and to thrive during the process of it all.

 

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

The Phoenix

With each breath

comes reincarnation

like the sunrise of this morning,

finding solace in the fragility

of existence:

 

ashes can mean rebirth.

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

As I am

 

the phoenix,

wings burnings flame red, yellow, orange,

welcoming finality as a friend

long missed;

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

acknowledging that freedom

 

exists within

each moment experienced as the first

time with serenity and absent

rising sun.

-db (Spring 2005)

 

 

 

 

 

Patience

There are, I am certain, many ways in which patience can be defined, and perhaps more psychologically and scientifically-minded than what I am about to write.

It is my opinion that patience is the process by which one is able to repeatedly regulate his/her emotions in order to tolerate distressful situations.    It is about allowing for an adaptive experience of the cycle of emotion.  What exactly is the cycle of emotion?  Well, it can be described as the stages/process that one goes through in order to manage his/her emotions.  It might look like this:

Distressing emotion experienced  leads to two choices:

Deny or  Recognize:

  • ¬†Deny ->React ->Supress -> Escalate now or later -> Explode -> Dump ->Incomplete Resolution

  • Recognize -> Accept¬† ->Release the energy by Expressing -> Clarifying -> Choosing an Action -> Resolution

 (Taken from the Conflict Resolution Network site: http://www.crnhq.org)

 

¬†So, how does this apply to patience?¬† Well, patience is a choice.¬† Right?¬† Possibly, it would be¬†developed during the stage/process of “Choosing an Action.”¬† The action would be, if you are trying to develop patience, would be do nothing/wait.¬† With every choice to simply do nothing/wait, one is developing patience.

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

Patience, in my opinion, is an extremely mindful practice.¬† It involves an acknowledgement of one’s thoughts and labeling¬†of one’s feelings in the moment.¬† Thereafter, the goal would be¬†to find an adaptive method of managing those feelings (e.g. deep breathing, taking a walk, talking to a friend) and reframing the thoughts, in order not to become reactive (which is just as good as saying “lose patience” in my world).¬†¬†¬†It has been my experience that¬†reactivity and impatience tend to go hand in hand.¬† Thus, the less reactive one is, the more one is practicing patience.

I started this article discussing the fact that I used to engage in a great deal of waiting, especially during childhood.  I went on to write that I became patient as an adult, having recognized the importance of the now, of the present.  I suppose how I want to end is simply to state that I have learned the benefits of both being patient and of practicing the skill of waiting.  And even though I may have my moments of anxiety, I am enjoying the process of patiently waiting for the future that draws nearer and nearer each day and becomes the present I am living. 

Tomorrow is today as today is yesterday…

(Today is yesterday’s tomorrow)

Best,

D.

 

New start: Self-portrait series, photography by Diedré M. Blake

 

Quotes:

“The past is behind, learn from it.
The future is ahead, prepare for it.
The present is here, live it.” – Thomas S. Monson

‚ÄúLearn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.‚ÄĚ – Albert Einstein

 

¬†¬†“…Now our lives are changing fast…
Hope that something pure can last…
We used to wait…”

 

The familiar, a foundation, and finding my path back…

I could make many excuses, and all would be equally reasonable, as to why I have not written in so very long.¬† What I have come to realize is that no matter what, none of these excuses change the fact that I haven’t been writing, and that’s that.

Snow covered ground now

bones stiff with age like dried tree

limbs for wildfire

-db

Alice stepping through the looking-glass, John Tenniel (1820-1914)

So, what, pray tell, have I been doing with my time over the last week and a half?¬† Well, I have been learning what it means to be back in the Boston area, to be back with my family of choice, and to be around all that is familiar to me.¬† Somehow, however, the familiar has not been as comforting as perhaps it should be.¬† Rather, I find myself rather disconnected and jarred by the experience of being back…¬† I feel displaced as though I have landed in a version of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There,¬†where I have stepped back into¬†a life that is¬†quite upside-down, backwards, and surreal.

"Passage of Freedom", photograph by Dolores Juhas (http://www.dolores-juhas.tk)

Each morning the snow on the ground shocks me, and stiffens my bones.¬† I spend¬†my days perusing employment advertisements in English, Italian, and German.¬† I research immigration information, and download more and¬† more forms, and consider the challenges involved in moving to Rome.¬† It is in these moments that¬†I think about the days I have spent there, and the people, whom I have met; ¬†and most importantly, ¬†the person who I¬†have become¬†because of my journey to Rome.¬† Thus, these challenges¬†have become opportunities for¬†self-growth in my mind, and I understand that it is¬†only through perseverance that one can truly accomplish one’s goals.¬† For myself, the goal now is to be happy, and at this moment in my life, where I am happiest is in Rome.

  

Foundation

It has been amazing to me to hear the various responses when I say that I am planning to move to Rome.¬† ūüėȬ† The conversations usually go something like this:

Me: “Yeah, I would like to move to Rome by the end of September.”

Person: “Wow! Do you speak Italian???!!”

Me: “Umm…. No, not really…¬† Surely, I can learn though.¬† Right?”

Person: “Yeah, I suppose…. Um… Do you know how hard it is to get a work permit to work in Italy??”

Me: “So, I’ve heard.¬† I am a pretty positive thinker though.”

Person: “Oh.”

"Fragments of Freedom," photography by Dolores Juhas (http://www.dolores-juhas.tk)

I am often amazed by how easily others can be deterred by a seeming obstacle.¬† For myself, I recognize the challenge in getting a work visa, but it is not impossible – It is merely difficult.¬† If, however, I simply threw my hands up in the air and said, “Oh, forget it!¬† The Italian government won’t give me a visa!”¬†then¬†my cause is already lost, because I have already made the decision for them, i.e. that I do not want the work visa.¬† This¬†is not my way, however.¬† I am laying the best foundation that I can, so that¬†my application will be accepted, and if plan A (self-employed work visa)¬†does not work… Well, there is always plan B (being hired by an awesome company who will do the paperwork for me)…¬†And plan C is in development! ūüėČ

Finding my path…

Thus, I begin by reaching out to all who I have known, asking for guidance and open to all ideas, and welcoming new persons and concepts.¬†¬† All in the hope that this will lead me to further wisdom regarding the¬†path I am creating to achieve my goals…¬†And my goals are far¬†more complex than the desire to go to Rome…

There, and back again

warmth of Rome’s winter sun now

cold snow of Boston

-db