I made it back alive & ok! 9.8.19

I’m a little embarrassed to share this photo - not because it looks like I’m holding my crotch and about to wet my pants (I am not) but because of my feet. I was taking the photo because they over-chlorinated their tubs, which are natural hot springs! And I wanted to record what the water did to my lower legs and feet but the photos where I’m not smiling look weird so I gave myself this weird smile, when really it was about my feet, which I’m weirdly very vain about, of all the things to be vain about, and they look all warped after I dipped them in the tubs for a bit, swollen and red. I didn’t go back in the tubs, which was a bummer, but I didn’t want to push my luck since the trip was going so well. Also, I think bathroom selfies are always a bit odd, but whatever, it captures the moment. I sat in the tubs with my arm anxiously wrapped up in my coat because I was so paranoid about it getting near germ-y water.

I’m a little embarrassed to share this photo - not because it looks like I’m holding my crotch and about to wet my pants (I am not) but because of my feet. I was taking the photo because they over-chlorinated their tubs, which are natural hot springs! And I wanted to record what the water did to my lower legs and feet but the photos where I’m not smiling look weird so I gave myself this weird smile, when really it was about my feet, which I’m weirdly very vain about, of all the things to be vain about, and they look all warped after I dipped them in the tubs for a bit, swollen and red. I didn’t go back in the tubs, which was a bummer, but I didn’t want to push my luck since the trip was going so well. Also, I think bathroom selfies are always a bit odd, but whatever, it captures the moment. I sat in the tubs with my arm anxiously wrapped up in my coat because I was so paranoid about it getting near germ-y water.

I did it!!! WAHOOOOOOOO!!!!

I traveled alone and survived just fine!!!!

Phew.

OMG I’ve been so so worried that this was something I couldn’t do anymore.

Obviously, I’d need to stay relatively close to home, but there are so many awesome places in this area, I’m ok with that.

I don’t even know where to start. I did have my computer up there but felt like taking a few days off from writing in here.

I did yoga! I painted watercolors! I made new friends!

I ATE IN THE CAFE! TWICE.

I did not have any alcohol other than a sip of a friend’s drink. I didn’t go in the tubs except for dipping my feet in them - which made them burn and scared me off from going in again. I asked the guy managing the tubs why they were so chemical-y - since they’re technically hot springs - and he said he was dealing with a new chlorinator? And hadn’t figured out the new chemical balance (yeah, got that buddy).

I think I’ve mentioned in here how I have SUCH a strong sense of smell, and I’ve always been super sensitive, this body of mine. So I could tell right away the chemicals were off in the tubs, and I talked to a couple of other people that said it seemed off to them too.

I took at it as a nudge to stay out of the tubs. I was so nervous about everything, it was for the best. No need to push the envelope and see how far I’d get BEFORE something goes wrong.

Like when I’d eat the wrong foods and think: I’m doing ok! Eat some more. I’m doing ok! Eat some more.

Oh shit. Not ok anymore.

Might as well quit pushing the boundaries while I’m ahead.

I made friends right away, of course, which is why I like traveling alone, especially to this location because it generally attracts a super cool type of person - I’m not sharing the location for several reasons but mostly so I can protect myself. I wasn’t too thrilled when people were trying to guess my location on Facebook - I’m like HELLLLO woman traveling alone! I realize I’m putting myself on the Internet and sharing a public post, but I’ve got to share my story if I want to figure out my medical case, so public it is. And others need to respect what I DO keep private.

Plus, this place is pretty wonderful and I’d like to keep it as chill as possible. The owners are SUPER cool and don’t advertise! Still very busy. It’s that kind of place.

Right off the bat, I met this couple where the woman is a doctor and was celebrating surviving her own cancer! She gave me some AMAZING referrals which I’m stoked to check out. Her system isn’t attached to the others around here because it’s a bit north. Not too far for me though, if it’s an awesome doctor. I’m willing to schlep a half hour or a little longer for a really great doctor.

She couldn’t believe I didn’t have an oncologist! I told her: they won’t see me because I don’t have cancer and they didn’t treat me when I did have it because I was in California when I got sick.

Appalled, was more like it. So she gave me the name of a couple of people. I should get on that, but the hunt for a speciality GI is number one. As long as I’m getting my cancer screenings, I can put off the oncologist hunt. But it’s pretty extraordinary that even with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, I can’t find an oncologist who will manage my case, and oversee my screenings. The one Lynch Syndrome guy I met said: I don’t have the staff to manage a complex case like yours.

I said: you need money?

He said: yeah.

Now with my dad gone…well, some ideas are brewing. A fundraiser of sorts. But that’s for another day.

I did get some interesting information from the doctor about one system here. Very, very interesting data.

Lord of the Rings for me. I get one clue and the journey continues.

While i was chatting with them, I met my new gal pal who is SUPER funny. We didn’t work that hard to hang out, but would just run into each other and say Hey! Let’s grab a bite, or whatever. I wasn’t sure I could enjoy my last night there because I was so wrecked that day, I slept SO much.

I napped for hours on Friday, and had all these trippy dreams. I had one where I was talking with me as a little girl - she looked like the version of me in my FB profile pic but was around 3 or 4 years old. We must have been living in Montana when that profile photo was taken - I was born there and we lived there until I was nearly 2 years old or thereabouts. Then we moved back to Seattle. I was the only kid not born in Seattle.

When my first serious boyfriend had a pick-up truck, my mom was like whaaaaaa?

I said: hell dad is from eastern washington and I was born in Montana, is it THAT much of a surprise?

I asked the little girl IN the dream: what messages do you have for me? (I think I’ve mentioned here that I can lucid dream, which is a trippy ass thing to do, I rarely dream these days because of all my herbal cocktails but this was during the day when I hadn’t taken anything.)

She said: play! You need to remember to PLAY!

Then she said - which is a little worrisome but I’ll get it looked at it: and get that thing on your shoulder looked at!

Dang.

The area I visited is pretty magical, everyone says so and it’s why I’m so protective of it. There is something healing about it. Apparently, it was a special location for the Native Americans, no surprise there.

I’d listen to the water lap up on shore, and got to see the stars! I love to look at the stars even though my vision is so sucky, I can never see them as well with glasses as I do with contacts. I can’t read my phone with contacts now, though I could use readers, I suppose. There’s been so much going on, I haven’t worried about the eye appointment thing. I do need to see someone but I’d rather see my buddy down near Portland - he is so good at figuring things out, and will know how to handle being so near-sighted AND now far-sighted. Oh the joys of aging.

Speaking of aging, my left wrist is FUUUUCKED up. I don’t know if writing on my computer at a wonky angle is doing it (I’m sure it’s not helping) or if I made it worse in yoga. Typing on my phone definitely makes it hurt, I have an ice bandage on it now, and it’s doing all right if I keep it straight.

But at least I did yoga! Man, it kicked my ass. I always think of it as a chill work out, but it’s really not! I think I’m so strong, I get cocky and a little competitive - with myself, that athletic side of me pops out - that I nearly fell over at one point in class, at the end. After that, it was child’s pose and being chill while the rest of the class pushed on. I’ve learned the hard way to listen to my body.

Pain? Stop. Falling over? STOP.

Of course, the teacher was 12 years old. No, not really, but it is strange when some of these adults are people that could be my children and I wouldn’t even need to be a teen mom or anything. This is why I’m so passionate about being brave enough to share some exercises on the Internet. I want to provide what I’ve been craving.

I want to see someone a little older, who says things like: now if you have issues with your back, be really careful now. Ok, here is the modified pose, or stretch or work out.

I’d like someone with gray hair as my exercise instructor! I know they’d KNOW things that a younger person wouldn’t. And yet.

So rare to see.

This is why I do what I do. I’m creating content that I’ve craved for myself over the years. I like to find a niche that needs filling, and fill it (kids and cooking - I wish I could convey NOW how bananas that sounded 20 years ago).

I’m a little bummed I didn’t get to sit in the tubs. I didn’t feel like putting on my bathing suit, though most people didn’t wear anything at all. I used to be like that, in the old days, probably no surprise there. I’ve always been pretty chill about that - but never alone. I’ve always worn a suit if I’m traveling alone.

Too many creepers in the world.

But I wasn’t craving any of that. I feel very protective of my body these days. No surprise there either! I’m finding I don’t have much desire to meet any new dudes. I want to get more brave about intentionally dating a woman, I finally realized why.

Because I won’t be able to get away with avoiding emotional intimacy. I hope that doesn’t sound mercenary. My poly friends say that as long as I’m forthright about what I’m looking for, it’s all good. A few have said that if I state that I’m solo poly - which would take a LOT of bravery to put out in the world, everyone around here would totally get on board with me dating a woman, but calling myself poly would take some adjustment, when really, for me, it means that I’m not necessarily looking for something exclusive or long-term, but wish to create a lovely connection with someone for however long it’s supposed to last - I’d never want to hurt someone in my journey for growth and exploration (was it necessary? Back in the day? For me to bump around, inadvertently hurting people in order to learn?).

Sigh, it sounds so daunting, in so many ways. All of it. Sharing my body again, sharing my emotions (eeks!), putting myself out in the world that way. It was different in the old days, you didn’t have to write a tagline on a profile! The whole online thing has always intimidated me. I prefer in-person meetings. But I know I have to evolve with the times. So many people my age and older are not getting that.

That times have changed, and are changing incredibly fast.

Evolving and adapting to the changes around us is crucial. (Even if ya have money, there I said it.)

Strange, how being intimate and soft is my challenge now. Not like in my thirties when I needed/wanted to flex that more aggressive side, the alpha - or Domme, I suppose though I didn’t view it that way back then - and figure out that side of me, learn how to hook-up after hardly doing that in my twenties. I’m sure people are surprised to learn that I only had a handful of hook-ups when I was young. I remember when a possibility arose, and I didn’t understand what to do, and I was in my late twenties by then!

I guess I knew I needed to develop some game after years of bouncing in and out of relationships.

Ends up I have no game! Ha! I really don’t. My game is: I like you, what’s going on, do you wanna hang out?

That’s it. That’s my whole schtick. I’m terrible at the games, which is why I don’t like when someone plays them back. They confuse me! I’ve gotten much better at flirting, and doing things more slowly and subtly (subtly has never been my strong suit, ever), but I still default to abrupt and direct. Sometimes these millennial men show interest - they love my hair - so just to see, I show a tiny bit of interest back and they are like whaaaa? and back away. I don’t mind. I feel very benevolent about things like that these days. Whatever is meant to be, is meant to be. I get that I’m a lot, I always have been, then you add in the medically fragile piece, and me sharing so much on my podcast, and it can be a bit much for the average bloke.

When I have spent time with women in a non-platonic way (and in a platonic way when I’m paying attention), I’ve been struck by how nurturing they are. Do you want anything? Can I make you tea?

(Have I mentioned that for all my intensity, I’m actually quite easy to please, make me some tea, massage my feet and put the toilet seat down, good to go. I put the toilet seat down too, by the way, I try to be fair. I always think that it is so funny that it seems so complicated and it’s really quite the simplest things, and yet…the midnight texters…so many of them refuse to take a moment to learn these simple things, I imagine I’m not the only woman like this, with essentially simple needs, the thing is we’re just all different. Laziness to listen and learn, what a turn off.)

Can I do it? Can I put myself out there? How do I find the bandwidth? How do I find the ENERGY?

Ahhh that’s for another day to contemplate, though I do want to push myself sooner than later, take some chances in that area. I’m working my way there! Not being sure how long I have to live is certainly motivating.

I was just so happy that the damn trip went well! And my new friend lives a little outside of Seattle but we’re still in touch. She made me laugh SO hard. It’s not easy to find a fun travel companion who also likes to be on their own, at this age, especially (though I could probably search and find them on the INTERNET, such a blessing and a curse, this invention).

I was so fucking happy to be laughing and enjoying myself and standing under the stars.

Oh oh oh! The funniest thing happened. So her and I stumbled across the campfire - my DREAM is living in this area, everyone is so freaking cool, well except for the arrogant hippies, what’s up with that? (Or the yuppies, I was delighted to see normal cars in the parking lot, if I’d seen a couple Mercedes and a BMW, I might have turned right back around, sorry not sorry, it’s time for the class conversations.) Some of these young’uns are SO cool. And some have so little respect for the older hippies, the ELDER hippies, I don’t mind being an elder hippie now, why not? I’ve got a little bit of wisdom and some gray hair, why don’t we make that a COOL thing, not a shame thing - I chatted up all of the staff and got their stories, I find it so interesting how they ended up working there.

One staff person, who was adorable, was in awe that I was turning 48 which made me feel good, granted it was in the dark cafe but still, I feel like I’ve changed a lot this year so that was a nice ego boost.

So back at the fire, my new friend and I encountered a couple hanging out there. We started chatting of course, my favorite thing about traveling solo is these random meet ups with random people and the random conversations than ensure. A joint was passed around - now for any young people, I haven’t gotten to drugs on my podcast or anywhere else, but I have lots to share on this topic. Listen, I’m an old broad and I’m very careful about how often I allow smoke in this body, and anything else, because I’ve studied the effects, and know the calculated risks of what I’m doing. For any young people, you have to be more careful, your brains and organs are still growing, the prefrontal cortex isn’t done until age 25, so you need to be super careful about how often and what kind, and my goodness please don’t vape or jule, those chemicals are nasty, and chemicals, avoid the chemicals and stick to mother nature IF you’re going to experiment, be so so careful please, never ever drive or get in a car with someone under the influence, and be careful of the source, and there is so much I want to teach on this topic, I never understand why people tell young people: NEVER do anything, because it’s so unrealistic and I’m so practical, I want to give smart information so that they can make intelligent decisions instead of live with NEVER or go wild, geezus, look on college campuses, it’s so EXTREME here in the U.S., I am so happy that one kid is hanging with international students who have a more balanced approach to all of this, instead we demonize it here in the U.S. and then are surprised with the stats on substance abuse, or read about BUTT CHUGGING (ick!), can we just teach them to enjoy a nice glass of wine or beer with a meal like in Europe please, otherwise the kids are more likely to go buck wild. More on this later - and we were all laughing.

Food was discussed, I got some ideas and oh! My weight is still at the target weight! (Though in just the time I’ve written this and editing, I’ve lost a few pounds by peeing, sigh, water weight from the IV bags, well it’s still weight!) I’m so thrilled about this - I worked so hard these past weeks to keep the weight on, and I worked hard up there, eating the same disgusting food, cream cheese right out of the package, avocados that I’m SO sick of, I discovered that cow’s dairy products like cheese and whipped cream are an AMAZING motility drug for me, and keep the weight on, the problem is that it also causes inflammation and dehydration because I get the runs from things like whipped cream and cheese so it can’t be the all-the-time solution - though I often am delayed a week on the scale, so we shall see what it says in a few days. Still. I did it.

I survived the trip ok AND enjoyed it!!!

When I was running around laughing my ass off with my friend, star gazing and all of that, I realized: I cracked the code! I figured out how to travel alone, at least on a road trip nearby! WAHOOOOO!!!!!! I brought more than enough supplies, extra saline, the kind of food I could travel with, I had that extra day for sleeping, and it all WORKED!!! Math, always math.

The next day, I see the guy from the fire behind me. We smile at each other and I start to introduce myself from the fire (it was very dark) and he says: hey are you Julie Negrin?

Hahahahah of course the two Jews on campus end up sharing a joint around a campfire. Classic.

Ends up it’s someone I grew up with. He, of course, said sorry to hear about your dad and we had a nice chat. Such a sweet dude. He wasn’t sure i’d remember him because he’s a little younger, grew up with a family member (of course, now over 40!) and I’m like: yes, I can see all your faces from high school in my mind.

Small world.

When I was dozing in my cabin, I listened to some podcasts and came across an amazing dude. He is a gay rabbi in New York who has “pop-up” shuls which I would LOVE to attend. His name is Amichai Lau-Lavie, and he comes from like 39 generations of orthodox rabbis. He originally didn’t become a rabbi and got into theater, drag and a group called Radical Faeries. Eventually, he became ordained as a conservative rabbi - I grew up conservative so that’s my comfort zone, it’s in between orthodox, which is super religious and reform, which is the most chill version of Judaism. This is on a podcast my friend Paula recommended called On Being with Krista Tippett.

SUPER interesting to listen to this guy talk about how women deserve to be considered equal in Judaism and of course, he and I are totally aligned on so many things, about appreciating uniqueness and individuals. I think we’re around the same age. I wish I could go to his shul and witness it! I think some people dress in drag? I’m not sure, but it’s super inclusive and it’s called Lab/ Shul. This is why I would be psyched to have more people listening to my resources - and get over my fears about that - so that the young people have great resources like this that they can turn to.

I also listened to my podcast on women supporting women with Kristi again, because I’m kinda freaking out about some things I said about women, especially married women. But if I don’t say these things, who will? I do want to rise above, though. I don’t want to do what women have done for millennia, which is NOT support one another. I’ve just had SO many years of being treated like an outsider because I took an unusual path, that it’s hard to let this out slowly and carefully. But I must be so careful! If I’m going to grow, I need to be so careful with my words. If I expect others to be careful with THEIR words, I need to do the same.

I want to model the healthiest way to discuss this sort of thing, which means I need to work through it. I need to do my OWN work regarding women. It’s not my problem if people react to what I do, but I need to put forth the healthiest version of what I want to see reflected back to me.

The part where she asked about women liking assholes kept running through my mind, as I laid in bed in my tiny cabin in my strange state between alpha and theta brainwaves (more on that another day, have I mentioned in here how I LOVE neurology? One of the kids wants to study it and I’m like YESSSS do it). I realized: sometimes I think i gravitated toward the assholes because it felt easier. If I WAS being immature or a party girl or just a plain idiot, it felt easier to do it with an asshole than a good one.

This is such a meaty topic and I think I’ll devote an entire podcast to it, but I want to work out my theories a bit more. Plus, I think my next solo one will be on traveling with disability, since I’m getting so many hits on the “my disability” episode. I need to be more brave and share my story! I’ve had so many people tell me that even my traffic post - about being trapped in the car without enough IV fluids and beverages to drink - made them think so differently about sitting in traffic. How for some of us, it could cause medical problems and feel scary.

As I’ve been untangling the concept that “women like assholes,” I realized I wrote something in here that came out wrong.

In a post from a few weeks ago, I worded something that made it sound like I forgot the kind one because he was kind.

And that was actually…bullshit. I fell into that trope myself, which we sometimes do. Also, it was a way to not admit things, to not dig further. I know if I don’t share a story that wants out, it’ll keep pushing at my brain until I do. So here is another one.

The truth is I really, really, reallllly liked the kind one.

He was my dream guy. I mean, the dreamiest.

There were tons of guys around me at that time. Guys with money. Guys with status, all kinds of guys. But none of that mattered to me (still doesn’t). If he was in the room, I had eyes for only him.

I don’t think I ever fully admitted to myself how I really felt about him. How hard I’d fallen. It’s only from recent sifting through my past, and photos, burying my dad, and letting my mind wander, that I let myself examine it more closely.

There was one night, where the stars finally aligned. Beautiful summer evening, no one around on a deserted street. I’d waited awhile for it.

Hahhaa, he could say: what? That night? You were just being silly Julie, that’s not at all how I saw it.

But I don’t think so, at least from my perch now. I’ve been around long enough to know that that kind of magic only happens when it’s felt on both sides.

I could be wrong. Lord, I’ve been wrong about so many things. But this is my memory of it and like I said, the story wants out. Maybe I’ll see another angle later, after writing about it. Maybe not.

Finally, after pursuing him for well over a year - he’s the only one I’ve ever pursued like that, all these years, him like a magnet, I’d try to pull myself away but would be drawn back to him again and again - there was the Moment. Like in a movie Moment.

And fucking words flew out of my mouth before I could stop them. What unfolded was all good (thankfully) but it wasn’t what I really wanted. I remember going home thinking NOOOOOOOOOOOO what the FUCK JULIE NEGRIN!!!!

But I was pretty sure.

No, I’m being fully honest here.

I knew.

I knew that if I started kissing him.

I wouldn’t want to stop.

Like ever.

And I wasn’t ready. I think I sensed he wasn’t either.

So I did what I did, not consciously, lord knows the outer part of me definitely did NOT want to take off, just thinking about it, I still shake my head. I’ve always felt like I choked, but knew it was probably for the best, because I needed what came next in my life - not everyone does - but I did, and I didn’t want to mess things up with him. The dreamboat.

I didn’t explore it anymore after that. I thought he didn’t like me as more than a friend. Still not sure. I’ve been making peace with the fact that I may never have some mysteries in my life solved.

I didn’t “forget” him because he was kind.

I shoved the feelings way, way down deep inside because I figured they weren’t returned. And as much of a masochist as I can be, I knew it was futile to keep carrying a torch for someone who didn’t return the same feelings. Hell I wasn’t even sure how he felt about me as a friend / fellow human!. I sometimes felt like he just thought I was amusing. Entertaining.

It’s only through all this digging around that I realized something.

He was the last one in the vault. Before I closed it down. It wasn’t fully shut at the time. But nobody else got in.

I don’t know if was the timing - so many things happened around that time - or if he was the last one in because…well I’m not sure.

I am really ashamed at the next part, which is also why this is double-y hard to share. Lord, if he ever read ANY of this, I’d be so embarrassed. But then I think, well, what if something happens to me? What if I’m gone soon? Wouldn’t it be so awesome to find these notes, these stories? I’m working on letters to the kids to give to a lawyer. I need to be a grown ass woman if I insist on men being grown ass men.

And that means having a Will in place, and making sure I’m protecting the kids in as many ways as possible. If I leave notes behind, then they know truly how I feel, and what I think of them, and how much I adore and love them, so that they can carry my words with them in their heart to pull out on a dark and depressing day, and be reminded of how much they made my life better and expanded my heart and gave me hope when I thought I couldn’t go on. I’m working on it. It’s depressing and hard to think that way, but I must, so I will.

The part that I’m ashamed about is this:

I can’t remember what happen the last time I saw him. I’ve dug and dug and I can not find.

I’m concerned I was drunk and said something mean. And then blocked it out. I bury that shit. Like a lot of us do. I’d be so sad and ashamed if I did that to this one.

He didn’t ever let on how he felt, but he was always respectful, always kind, always the things that mean most to me. He had that seductive charm thing, though I don’t think he knew it, but he never used it to to mess with me. Never used my crush to mess with my head, always so supportive and sweet.

Or. Maybe i got drunk and told him how I was in love with him.

I just don’t know.

Either scenario…well, now at this point, I’d hope it was the latter if it has to be either.

I really don’t like that I can’t remember. That I could have said things that I don’t remember. This leads down a shame spiral about my drinking, and those years - but facing these things is part of the healing and I need to face the truth about myself if I really want to be totally healthy now, in mind, and body. There’s good reason why therapy involves digging up the past. We have to un-earth things to examine them before we can heal them. This includes my relationship with alcohol (which I did NOT drink while I was away on this trip, wahoo, I didn’t really crave it - I also didn’t want to push my luck).

It baffles me why some people think I talk to the kids so openly because I WANT them to party. Ha! As if.

I don’t want them to party like I did. If they want to experiment or get some drinks with friends in college after a tough week, that’s to be expected. To think otherwise is completely unrealistic. Even delusional. (Not my kid! yes your kid will, so let’s set them up to make the wisest decisions possible and talk about all the nuances and possible scenarios so they are prepared for them.)

There’s fun social drinking, which I’ve done many times.

Then there’s unhealthy drinking, which I’ve also done many times.

I’m not going to get upset if young people do the first one as they move from teen to adulthood, as long as they are SAFE.

But I hope to hell I can help them avoid the second path.

I hid behind my drinking for so many years, in a way that became unhealthy. I know it was a tough world, and I’m a sensitive creature and an insecure one too, so it makes sense that I used it as a social lubricant, and a way to not get pissed every time I was pawed at, or dismissed or treated like shit.

But the hurt that I could have caused with my drinking? That pains me so bad to think about now, let alone admit here or anywhere, let alone say out loud on a podcast, let alone consider that I had a serious problem for awhile and it’s likely that my health problems saved me, in so many ways from a dark path.

Maybe I wasn’t just clean on and off over the years because of my health problems.

Maybe I was putting myself on the wagon.

I don’t know. This is a deep dive. I’m afraid of the murky waters I’ll discover, the pain I may have caused, the pain I’ll dig up. The mistakes I made.

After that night, I worked to let the kind one go. I remember it not being easy. After I shut the vault, I think I didn’t think about what was inside, because it was too painful. So in a sense, I did “forget” but it was because I forced myself to forget. It was too hard to consider that I may have fucked up something that could have been really good.

So it’s a complicated one, what Kristi said on the podcast. Why we are “attracted” to assholes.

I think at times, it felt safer. Over time, I’d make sure there was some sort of obstacle. Whether they lived far away. Or we had very little in common. Or were a jerk. Or had their own substance abuse issues. Or were younger and not looking for anything serious.

(That Matt Dillon look alike? I remembered his name. Jake! Fuck he even had a great name. Ahhh well. Wasn’t meant to be.)

I’d co-create a situation that I knew wouldn’t really pan out.

Why?

I don’t know. I guess because I couldn’t be honest with myself. About what I really wanted and needed. About how I felt like I was on this strange path up the mountain and maybe needed to be on my own, feel like the main protagonist in my own story, without a dude at the center.

Or, maybe, rightly so, I was worried about dragging someone with a good heart into my hot mess of a self.

And I never knew how he felt. The kind one was hard to read - which was appealing to me, of course, because most people I can read so easily, but that’s not necessarily a good thing if I’m in a healthy place -and very shy, which was also appealing, because I also felt so shy too. Which I’ve found, doesn’t work so well, when both people are so shy!

I saw this super shy chef yesterday I always had a crush on. At the place I was staying. He came over to say hello and I was like: I don’t know if you remember me, and he immediately said: yes, I do.

Still so fucking cute. You never know if that will still strike you later, or if you’ll think: what the hell was I thinking? This guy, though, still just as adorable.

But SO SHY. I could tell he was nervous talking to me, even with his big wedding band and him sharing that he has two small kids. It was the longest conversation we ever had because I was always too nervous to make a move on my trips there, years ago, and he was often busy in the kitchen. We’d just make eyes at each other, and converse about whatever meal I was ordering. Yesterday (was I really there just yesterday and now I’m back in bed with a fucking ice pack on my wrist and Lucy purring next to me, hoping I’ll feed her) he said he’d been working there for 10 years! I couldn’t believe it’s been that long.

That would make our first meeting around the time I was a real hot mess, not sure what I wanted or who I wanted.

He’s about to open a restaurant with his wife, I was asking about it, and promised to stop by when I was in town again.

Why. Do we let the shyness and the insecurity hold us back? Why does it take death and pain and almost dying to realize how unnecessary it is to hold back from experiencing the good stuff?

I’m sure I hooked up with some other rando while I was up there, there’s an open kitchen so my drunkenness would have been on full display. Shame. So much shame coming through from those days. Those YEARS. That’s often why we end up with the “assholes,” at least in my case. Because they’re more aggressive and in your face, and the shy one is in the back of the kitchen and not saying much. So it’s like: well you’re here right in front of me.

I mean, I barely knew the dude. I just happened to see him and chat right after having all these other epiphanies so it made all my “mind wanderings” more profound. I asked if he had an instagram for the restaurant, wanting to be supportive of his venture, and he got all nervous. So cute. Dude, I’m just trying to be a good customer! Him so sweet, he kept saying “we” until I finally said: are you and your wife opening the restaurant?

And he smiled a sweet smile and said yes.

That made me happy. That he was happy. That he’d found someone that was a good fit for him and his shyness. A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of chefs are introverts. Television has created this warped perception of the industry. My new assistant, who is glad to be working for me instead of a restaurant straight up said: a lot of chefs have anger issues.

Eeeks.

True.

I said: why do you think that?

She said: because they’re always getting pissed and throwing things.

Eeeks.

I never threw things. I never had tantrums or anything. But I’d definitely stomp around pissed. My staff felt so comfortable with me, sometimes they’d even laugh and give me a hard time about it. Jules, time to go to the gym. Jules are you hungry? they’d ask.

(Oh! I remembered part of that story about the friend who was trying to break up with her sweet boyfriend, and he was coming over to “talk about it” - he’d bring her favorite food when she was on a rant, knowing how much she LOVES take-out and wisely balancing her blood sugar. She tried to break up with him several times, and he’d just keep showing up. How’s that for a smart one? They’re such a cute couple.)

The chef from yesterday, though, I’m 99% sure he doesn’t have an anger issue. He’s just a shy introvert.

As I said on my podcast with Kristi, I really do believe what’s meant to be mine, will be mine. And what is not meant to be mine, will not be mine.

But if I sensed that this guy was with a woman who didn’t appreciate him? Or treated him poorly? Then it’s a different story. If one of the good ones is miserable, that changes things. At the very least, I’ll try to be a supportive friend and encourage them so they can get out, move on, find a way to happiness. It’s just who I am. I can’t stand it when people with good hearts are unhappy.

It’s what I fought so hard for all these years, for the kids. To position myself as a champion of the young people, outsiders, the people who feel as strange as me. Is it too arrogant to say I aspired to be…a heroine for the kids?? I wanted to become the person I wished I knew when I was young. Is that weird to say about myself? I mean, the hero’s journey IS the core of what humans want to experience, right?

I see all these really sick little kids, who just want to be a superhero, in the hospital, or for the day. I freaking love this story about the sick boy who got to be Batman for the day in San Francisco and the city obliged!

This is why i get so frustrated with competitive able bodied women who struggle with being supportive of other women, especially a really sick one.

They don’t fully grasp it yet, still asleep about disability.

That if I didn’t do what I do, on the podcast, or on social media, I’d just be sitting alone in this bed, worried about dying. And I can’t live like that. I can’t live just to live, like Claire Wineland said.

I need to feel like I have purpose. Like I have a message to share, especially with young people. Like I still BELONG to the outer world, not just to my bed and the medical system. Like I’m still a teacher, even if it’s just me, my computer and a microphone rambling about my thoughts and my feelings and my theories.

Who doesn’t want to feel like a hero in their own story? Isn’t that what we’re hard-wired for?

The Rabbi I listened to talked a lot about storytelling, and how it’s such a part of how we connect as humans.

I realized that I’m ready to start writing stories again. That if I keep things based on STORYTELLING, it keeps the listener engaged. Preaching, no. I’m an expert? Hell no, on many topics, not at all. I’m just an explorer of the human psyche, since I can’t explore the outer world very well anymore.

I don’t know what it is about my birthday and my storytelling, but I guess my birthday is always aligned with the beginning of the school year.

It also matches up with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. So there’s always a feeling of a fresh start for me in September. A new beginning.

Another chapter, starting anew.

A new story to write.

That’s why I like writing in here, because I really don’t know what I’ll say a good portion of the time. The stories often reveal themselves even to me.

I meant it when I said in my Facebook post about not living afraid anymore. I think people think I’m so much braver than I really am. I’m often terrified. I’ve just had so many close calls, and lost enough people now, that I know how to push through it, put myself in situations that freak me out, because I want to experience them so badly. Sometimes, I do things once, like skydiving, and I think: I’m good! Check that off.

I just want to KNOW what it will feel like.

If I share stories, then I’ll also be more open about the fact that I’m writing in here. I don’t know how I’ll manage spewing out so much content but I want to try. The stories are pushing at my brain now, lemme out, lemme out. But I feel like this page is for me, my mental health therapy, a place to share my random theories before I’ve gotten to the details of it, a place to revisit MY old stories, figure myself out. If people want to peek in, cool. If not, I’m totally ok with that.

It feels good to do this art, here, just for ME. Feels healthy, to do something that isn’t for anyone else to clap for or wake up. Just for me, to explore my OWN psyche, so that I can better understand myself, and then use that learning to understand the human psyche in general.

I was hit with so many memories while visiting this place. I’ve been going there for nearly three decades! I’ve brought friends from other countries, met new people while camping on my own, and of course, the way I discovered it which I’m going to keep private.

I remembered one birthday visit, stumbling down one of the paths by the camp sites late at night with several girlfriends, giggling like mad, having the time of my life, and other times, laying in my tent alone listening to the water lap against the shore feeling a little lonely but proud of myself for camping on my own. I’ve gone there confused so many times in my life and found clarity there.

Healing. This place is very healing.

And that’s why I went this time. That’s why I took the risk.

Because I’ve learned that healing usually involves taking risks, doing things we know may make us uncomfortable, or even cause some pain on the way to the healing.

It felt like the risk of traveling there was worth it.

The only to the healing is to walk through the fire. Dig in deep. Push ourselves beyond the comfort zone.

While I was up there on these last few days, I felt the last shift to wherever I am now - which I’m still assessing, still passing between both hands, figuring out what it all means. I feel ready to talk about pooping problems, but really my next venture:

I want to produce a video series on suicide and mental health.

This feels very, very clear.

I know who I’ll ask to get involved in the suicide project - I’m going to keep using that word over and over again so that everyone can get comfortable with it. We can’t heal what we won’t talk about. And I can’t stand hearing of one more story of someone taking their life, wondering if we could have had more in place for them, better resources, more support. If I can do even a little project, help even one person, then I’ll get over myself. I’ll work through my shit. Get my head clear so I have the bandwidth to do this sort of thing, gd willing I have the energy and cognitive ability to do so.

Collaborating with my tattoo artist got me thinking about how awesome it is to connect that way, with another creative mind, and produce something amazing.

I’ve always been afraid of collaborating on business ventures, the same way I’ve been afraid of collaborating in my personal life, merging myself with someone else, because what if it doesn’t work? What if it’s a disaster?

So, it’ll be a disaster.

Like I don’t know how to handle that at this point!

Maybe an even better story will arise out of the ashes of that disaster.

Maybe another aspect of my artist side with be honed in the fire of that disaster.

Or maybe it won’t be a disaster.

Maybe it’ll be the coolest collaboration ever. Maybe things I could never in a million years create on my own, will be birthed into the world.

Am I really going to let fear and insecurity and shyness and so many things hold me back from collaborations? Both creative, or personal or business - or all three together? Just thinking about the all three makes my heart pound right now.

I don’t know. I don’t know a lot of things.

I just know I can’t move forward being the way I was before. I was miserable for too many years when i was holding back. When I was hiding. When I let fear dictate my actions.

I don’t want to turn around and fall backwards into that trust fall.

I want to run toward the cliff with my arms outstretched and yell: HEEEEYY BITCHES I HOPE YOU CATCH ME!

And if they don’t. And I land SMACK on the ground, humiliated, defeated, alone, broke, in pain, and wondering if I can survive.

Well, I’ll know the answer.

Sure. Of course, I can survive all of that.

I already have.

Your faithful friend,

Jules