Tag Archives: experience

What It Means to Love Thy Body.

I moved to New York February 3rd. My plane landed in the afternoon and my sweet sweet boyfriend, Danny, had me picked up by a driver and I met him at his work by the time he was off. I hadn’t seen him since January 2nd and I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest at the first sight of him. Could it be?! Danny in person! Not Face-time, not Skype. Person. Real life. When you date long distance, the feeling you get of seeing your significant other in real life is so surreal, you have to literally question yourself if you are dreaming or not. My World was spinning in all the best ways that day.

We hugged for what seemed like, ever. We kissed passionately. And we drove home and talked and he let me gawk at the views out the windows. To him, it was already “the norm” and to me, it was no Wasatch Mountain Range of Utah, but nonetheless, trees EVERYWHERE from the location the highways running through the woods. Snow capped land with enough snow to pack inside the Big Cottonwood Canyon and shred down fresh powder for weeks.

It never occurred to me then that my insides were in the middle of turmoil.

We stopped at Trader Joe’s on our way home and loaded up on groceries. That cutie pie had stocked our pantry previously with all the foods I loved so much to my surprise. He would be leaving in two days and seeing as how I wasn’t yet employed, the only money I had was what was already in my account and he didn’t want me to worry about not having money to buy food while he was in Manchester, UK for work for the ten day pre-season trip.

We went home by the evening and unpacked my luggage and he was giving me a tour of the apartment. Our cute one bedroom, hardwood floor apartment with checkered bathroom and a bedroom with broken ventilation. To me, I thought “this is romance.” The story of lovebirds living in New York in a shitty first apartment with a living room that has no electricity and no heat in the bedroom. The lights and heat worked everywhere else and I imagined us going through this year lease together learning how to fix up the apartment ourselves. New York is expensive to rent in and for the price you pay, it’s surprising how much you get. Like the small shelled bugs that periodically are caught roaming in our house. But it’s our home and that’s what makes it special. It’s our first place together and it’s the place that will upset us and let us down when something breaks and it will be up to us to not let it get the best of us because it’s our first place together and it will be the place that tests our teamwork. Because we are a team. Working hand in hand.

I love the apartment no matter what it’s like. I love the person I see standing across from me in the kitchen dipping his Chewy Chips Ahoy into a glass of Organic Whole Milk. I love that the next evening I get to drive to JFK airport and pick up my most beloved dog and together we will be the Campbell-Laroche household. I love the bitter cold weather of the snow and the way it freezes my fingertips and toes and makes me feel as if my nose will be frost bitten with each deep inhale. I love our tiny town that is one mile long and supplied with just about everything I need a town to have. I love the accent of our Albanian neighbors and the smell of Mary’s Greek food that she cooks everyday. I love that we are the only two apartments in this building above shops and I absolutely love the narrow winding roads that go in and out of the woods along the Connecticut/New York State Lines.

Love, love, love, is what I’m getting at here.
I am telling you everything I love about everything but the most important thing connected to me. And me being my soul. Because I am a soul. My body is my vessel. My body is not me. It is my armor. I never mentioned anything about loving it.

Danny and I finish dinner. We go and lay down in the bed and he puts on a movie. I am curled up awkwardly and thirty minutes go by and suddenly…. I can’t breathe.
With every fiber of my being I CANNOT BREATHE. I began to panic and Danny’s eyes open up wide in terror as he begs me, “Ash what’s wrong??? What’s happening??” I’m gripping my lower abdomen and crying my eyes out telling him I have no idea what’s going on. I can’t stand up straight. It feels like knives and needles are stabbing me and gutting open my insides. Talons are wrenching open every muscle fiber and every connective tissue that is supposed to protect my insides. My uterus is cramping so hard; I have never felt this pain before. I am inexperienced with menstrual cramps because I can count on less than one full hand the amount of times I have had menstrual cramps. And when I have experienced menstrual cramps, all it took was a banana and a 30 minute nap on my stomach to relieve the irritation of the unnecessary process of my monthly due. This was an omen. This was something so foreign and unnatural, I felt like I was releasing something evil through the work of Exorcism that Jayme and I had preformed on people. Their violent screams and gritting teeth. I was feeling this pain.

Danny told me he was taking me to the hospital and I immediately objected. I figured, “Whatever this is, I will sleep this off. Please just get me a hot towel and help me lie down on my back.” He got me what I asked for and told me that I can’t use a home remedy for something that I have never experienced before. Given, that I beg to differ, as I study natural medicine and home remedies for everything, I knew he was right. I had NO idea what was happening and my body was sweating profusely, my adrenaline was pumping. I couldn’t be still long enough to listen to my body. Danny set the timer on his phone for five minutes and I compromised with him that at the end of five minutes, if my pain wasn’t lessened, he was taking me to the Emergency Room.

All I could think about was trying to get my breath slower so I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital on my first night moving to New York. I didn’t know what to think. I knew I would refuse medicine if they tried to give it to me. I didn’t want any drugs in my body and I certainly didn’t want to spend the night in the hospital. And my mom. Last thing I needed was to have my mom stressing out that her youngest daughter, who is prone to developing the most odd of injuries always coming out of thin air that are rare and damaging, be in a hospital in New York her first night moving to New York.

Five minutes was up.

I tried my best to smile and tell Danny my pain was better. He told me to get off the bed. I rolled my eyes and reluctantly started to move. It didn’t take but a couple of seconds before I was clenching my jaw so tight to keep from screaming in pain. Emergency Room is was. I gave in the towel and grabbed my insurance card and he hauled me to the car and we drove to the Northern Westchester Hospital Emergency Room.

A nurse awakened me in the waiting room and walked me back to the room. It was no dream….. I was really there. Danny looked sad from not being able to know what to do to help my pain. I looked at him with sad eyes, feeling like a burden because of my pain. I was wheeled off to another wing of the hospital to get scanned; finding out the omen was a ruptured cyst.

A ruptured cyst.

I couldn’t believe my ears. Or my eyes, when I looked at the ultrasound images in the small dark room, with a very comforting and friendly nurse who I could tell was probably a phenomenal and adorable grandmother to some kids out there in the World. She explained to me that the black blob was free floating fluid outside of my uterus. It would take a few days, maybe a week, for it to exit my body entirely. She was unable to give me a gauge of what my pain would be like, if any.

I just sat..stunned. Flashbacks of horrific memories began flooding my mind and in my heart of hearts, I knew how I had developed this cyst. Given the duration of time, it only makes sense that it would have to burst at some point in time. It made sense to me how it developed. And I couldn’t help but shake my head in deep, deep sorrow as I cursed myself for not realizing what the pain all those months and almost a year before was. For never getting it checked out. I assumed it was one thing entirely natural and instead, it was indeed, the cyst itself, forming and gathering particles until it ceased to grow anymore until there was no other way out other than explosion.

I accepted the news.
They discharged me and told me I could buy Motrin for pain if I felt like I needed it. Otherwise, I should take it easy and avoid vigorous workouts.

When Danny left for Manchester the morning of the 5th, I cried and cried and cried.
I went to the bathroom and held my stomach and looked in the mirror.

And that’s when I realized…..

I had forgotten to truly love my body.

I had spent so much time, for YEARS, including that day, gawking at everyone and everything around me and above me. I expressed love for people, places, and things. I expressed love to myself but never, not once, did I take the consideration to express love; real love; to my vessel. My mortal packaging of bones, tissues, veins, muscles, and organs. My beating heart that worked hard day in and day out to provide the clean blood to pump through my body and feed every square millimeter of my body.

I held my abdomen as I looked into my eyes in the mirror and cried and told my body “I am so sorry for the pain I have caused you over the years. For the impurities I have allowed to soak you down in and the beatings I allowed you to take. Please forgive me for the times I have starved you from real nutrients and water, drying you out. Of course you would begin to give up on me! I don’t blame you. My sweet body…. I love you so much. My beautiful vessel that carries me with these mortal feet, wherever I want to go; every single day of my life. My hands that write and type until my beautiful eyes beg me to shut. They never fight me. You allow me to overwork you and underfeed you and push you to your limits everyday without the amount of rest you deserve. You have sacrificed so much of your energy for me so I can selfishly live how I want to live and I think because you are my body and my mind tells me it’s okay that it is okay. I am so sorry vessel. I am so sorry for the torturous things I have put you through and I beg of your forgiveness. I express all my gratitude to you now and forever. I express my love to you endlessly, for without you, I would not be this being.” I began to specifically touch each individual organ and tell it how much I love it and thanked it specifically for the unique work it does for my body to retain power and strength, giving me another moment inside my own handpicked body. I began to revel in my love for my body and began to have conversations with my body I had never thought to have before. My body began to tell me things it has held onto for so many years. We talked, we laughed, we cried together; my body and I.

And together, we let go.

I promised to myself and my body from that moment forward, I would always remember to give my love and gratitude back to it. I promised to always take care of it. I promised to always listen deeply to it and never take for granted what it has to tell me. I promised to trust my body with its communication.

Just like our friendships, work relationships, romantic partnerships, and family ties that require love and attention and effort. Our body and our souls are tied together in their very own relationship. One that we too often take for granted.

We are not our bodies.

And when we die, our bodies are not ours to keep. Our bodies do not follow us wherever we go because our soul is timeless. Our soul is not kept inside our body because our body is a costume that merely contains our soul which is in fact our life form. Our body is there for us immortal souls to operate and function in a mortal World.

Among every relationship you have in your life; don’t forget the relationship you have with your body. Take the time to touch it, talk to it, listen to it. It is what carries you. It is what saves you. It is your protection. Your very resource for movement alone. And without it, you are imprisoned in a case that will only release you when it finally gives up. So, I say again with as much encouragement as I can muster………..

Love the World around you. Love the ups and downs that come your way. Love the people, places, and things that come in and out of your life. Share your stories and memories and make things happen.

And most importantly, LOVE THY BODY.
The very unique, exquisite, and beautiful threshold that you reside in.
Your ultimate home.

Love it with your full soul and heart and it will love you back. And together, may you both live in this Mortal life, happy, healthy, and prosperous.

 
Amen.

Hi again,

It’s one of those nights. Those nights to let it all go.
After a long day of thinking about my actions and life choices and seeing how they have come to effect my life now, I’m wiped out. Everyday, you do something, anything, and it moves you one step closer or one step further away from where you want to be.

Our problem is that we rarely stop to assess. Some of us have more awareness. Some of us truly believe we are aware people, and sometimes come to surprise even our self in the observations we have.

Let’s begin:

I haven’t been onto my website in a long, long time.
The worst part is, I have had so many great ideas on what to write about.
I used to just stop and write it out on my WordPress app on my phone, but now I am finding that I’m becoming more and more lazy about it. I am thinking about the idea of writing out a giant, long, detailed blog for so long that I actually end up getting overwhelmed and deciding to leave it alone completely, claiming that “I will just remember this topic and write it down when I get home.”
Really?
Who am I kidding?
I won’t remember. And even if I did, I wouldn’t do it.I’ve been exhausted for months.I have been living with two female roommates since the end of January, in downtown Salt Lake. It was fun for the most part. 

  • I got a dog at eight weeks old and have been juggling being with her, training her, playing with her – all things Zai.
  • I have been working a job that became more and more dissatisfying every day I went in for another shift.
  • I am going to a school where, besides my dog, is the only thing that keeps me sane all the time.
  • I have been in a six month relationship and have gone through the ups & down, in the end, enjoying every minute of it. I’m in love. I love another person’s soul. And I have loved his soul longer than I have loved him.

After all, isn’t that how I should feel about my other half? We connected on ways we’ve never connected with other people before.

And with Zai… I have never communicated with any animal the way I communicate with her. I think people forget to realize, more or less of the time, how much animals can understand. If you give them a chance, they will understand you. It’s a wonderful thing, mammal communication.

I quit my job yesterday. All the time we hear or read, on blog and motivational pieces, encouraging you to quit your job and take the risk of doing what makes you happy. And it really is great advice, except for the fact that sometimes, certain people are just sillier than others and quit without a) having a concrete backup and b) stacking those racks and really preparing for the time spent off track.
Oops! But what can you do? You can use that unpreparedness to your advantage and boost your motivation to fulfill a position that fits your current lifestyle exactly how you see fit.

I’ve taken my hiatus from blogging and reading, unexpectedly. It’s driven me nuts, and all along I have recognized the feeling of unbalanced energy in my life. I have to hit my forehead, bringing me back to reality, quite frequently, saying to myself, “Of course this is what’s missing! Why am I holding back? Why am I not writing? Why am I not engaging in the passion that drives my soul?”

 

Excuses.

It doesn’t make me a phony in how I carry myself, in any sense, however I have come to the comfortable realization that sometimes when you grow and progress so quickly in so many different ways, you forget about your foundation.
“forgetting where you came from phase.

It doesn’t make your person any better or worse, it just leads your core in a tornado across your entire thought process. It can be overwhelming or stressful and not only until you bring yourself back to center and remember where you are, how you got there, and where you want to be; will you make the necessary changes to pick up, regroup, and move forward in the best sane matter you know possible.

It’s not about doing it like anybody else, it’s about doing it the best way you know possible for the moment until you find the next big thing that will encourage, drive, and push you into the limits you never knew were available at hand.

That’s when the universe answers your call and decides you’re ready for the next big thing.

 

 

 

Dear Universe,
I don’t know if you know me as well as I know you. But I get you.
And I’m ready for you.

Yours Truly,
Z.

 

I pay my respects out of respect.

Seven Days To Go

I have never believed that people can fully change in a span of five months. However, I do believe that with the right experiences and opportunities, one can greatly improve the path he/she is on to be the best person they know they can be.
I am definitely still on the road to becoming exactly who I want to be. I know there are some views that I have changed, some I gained, and some that I will always stick by. Living in China has opened my mind up greater than I have expected and has shown me a new life I thought I’d never live.

My first seven days I remember thinking, “What in the hell am I doing here? I can’t teach. I can’t feel my toes, and I keep forgetting to not flush the damn toilet paper in the toilet.” I was pretty nervous to talk to anyone. I didn’t care to get ready or look nice because I felt too cold to do anything. I slept at any given moment because I was even too cold to be active. I had a [short-lived] fear that I would be a rucluse while teaching.

And then within my first two weeks, I met Ya Wei. We instantly became close and exchanged many emails all day long. We enjoyed talking whenever we could, sharing our different cultures, telling stories, and swapping pictures. I never would have thought I liked all the things about him that I do. That is someone who has completely taken me by surprise.

Wang Meng and Dong Mei. They are probably the absolute closest friends to me. I have never met two more honest people in my life and I am forever grateful to call them a friend. I never would have thought the majority of my time would be spent on campus with them, laughing, learning, and talking about life. While Dong Mei have each other to watch basketball games, Wang Meng gives me lady lessons, which I will definitely continue to use while back in America. I have no insecurities around them, no second thoughts, and absolutely no doubts. I believe that is when you know you have a true friend.

I have been at Mayflora long enough to get to know many people on my school’s campus. We joke together, we play sports together, and cheer each other on during sporting events. We help each other out, feed each other, and do favors for the other; not because we feel obligated, but because that’s just what friends do, and we’re happy to do it. And in fact, it’s never made me feel happier.

I now love practicing my Chinese on any given stranger in the city or on campus. I love flirting in Chinese and bargaining while shopping. I love the street food. I have really come to ignore all the staring, and now, find some fun in playing around with it. The field at night has become my unannounced territory as I put my ear buds in for a couple hours of dancing. My students are my everything. My memory has gotten better (thank you healthy food!) and I feel the culture has significantly helped me to “be what the moment requires” – a quote from Robert Greene in his book The 48 Laws of Power.
I never fully understood what it meant, until today.

Being what the moment requires is more than just forcing emotion and nodding your head in agreeance. It’s truly deciding to make the conscious effort to be what is necessary in any givent moment. You would never jump and run in a skirt and heels. You would never use profanities in front of anyone that doesn’t actually know you on “that kind of level.” And I certainly hope that you would not ever be the loudest one, unless given a valid reason to do so. That last one I am still working on.
Because of Wang Meng, we agreed I could be 70% lady like and the rest, I can get sweaty, play sports, have a beer with the guys, practice kung fu, be loud, be crazy, be wild – but not when I should be a lady. And it really shows me just how inappropriate and unattractive it can be if I am not in “the place” where it is permitted. It’s a conscious choice on my part to put his advice in action. I don’t need to be all those things or show I am all of those things all the time. Only when required.

I have learned more things than I thought possible. I have learned to love kids more than lot of other things. I have become more of a woman. I have bathed in sophistication. Fought with a Kung Fu Master. I became tolerant of using my right hand. I can be completely confident in my words and actions and refuse to apologize for any of my honesties. I played with little kids. I’ve played in soccer games, got more into NBA, and learned exactly how to throw a punch. My flexibility has significantly increase. I have seen glamoous sights right down to the fece-infested streets. I’ve given and taken meaningful gifts. I’ve made solid bonds. I’ve been inspired and inspired in return.

So for these last seven days, now that I know this city so well and truly love these people I surround myself with on a daily basis, it becomes harder to pack my luggage. To go back to America and literally count down the days until I step foot in Bengbu again. And not just Bengbu, for that matter, but all over China. All over the world.
With seven days to go, I remain grateful. I remain honored. I remain in love with the city that opened its arms to seven strange, ignorant Americans.
It’s something that can never be topped.