Category Archives: Reflection

The last moon

Tonight is the last full moon of 2016.

For me, that’s a time of reflection and to see how far I have come this past year. I’m honestly sure the distance I’ve traveled cannot be measured in miles, time, or a length of unit I’m familiar with. This year has seen so much interpersonal and professional growth in multiple forms. At most times, I was not fully navigating my course but instead holding on for the ride. And what a splendid ride it was.

Most recently I arrived back home from a trip to Iceland by myself. It was a beautiful country with lots of adventures around every corner. I’ll be working on some “Autistic Abroad” posts in the future based on some of my observations and accommodations. I do love to travel and sometimes need a “proper adventure” where the entire day is up to you with no obligations at all.

As I prepare myself for 2017, I do it quite simply with a little notebook. It’s the same notebook I’ve had for years and it is only written in every few months. It’s a combination of goal book, dream journal, and road map to success. It’s where I very carefully plan out the things I want to accomplish. I say very carefully because, as I’ve proven to myself countless times, when I have my mind set to something there is nothing in the world that can truly stop me.

So here I will sit under the winter moon and plan for my future. I’ll be looking at performing, teaching, and presenting. Those are the three professional areas I’m looking to develop. There will be lots of overlap and other things may arise, but it’s good to begin to have a solid plan. My interpersonal developmental goals revolve around health/wellness, relationships, exploration, and self-care. I’ve begun to learn the valuable importance this year of not working too hard and I plan to improve on that in the coming year. Exploration refers to learning new skills, like cheese making and welding, or recovering some old ones like working on my French skills.

People make resolutions once a year, but honestly anytime is a good time to reflect and look for improvements. I’ve already actively begun to reshape things for myself and am look forward to what 2017 can bring me with a clear focus.

One thing different

The writing prompt for today’s blog seemed like an interesting one so I decided to use it as a jumping off point.

The prompt given was “If you could relive one moment in your life, what would it be and why?”

For me, there are many moments in time I can now tell changed things on a larger scale than I could have ever imagined. To be a dork for a second, it’s very much like a episode of Doctor Who entitled “Turn Left” in which the protagonist discovers the fate of the universe was completely altered one day when she decided to talk a left turn instead of a right turn while driving. In that same vane, it was the smallest moments that have made the most difference for me. As per usual, the significance of these moments went by almost unnoticed until much later with lots of reflection. At the time I did what my heart told me to do given the information I had at the time.

My biggest issues have always been relating to sacrificing my own comfort for the sake of appeasing others. I’ll put myself second in order to try to maintain relationships because I, foolishly thought, if I didn’t do things correctly people wouldn’t be friends with me. It has taken way too long for me to realize some people don’t deserve my friendship. There are, unfortunately, some people who will use good people because of interpersonal issues they have. There’s nothing wrong with me and it’s nothing I can change, so the healthiest thing is to keep my distance. Can you tell I’m been a series of unhealthy relationships?

I think the past year or so has given me a distance from some of my more recent trauma to more clearly examine some of the warning signs in order to prevent similar things happening in the future. I’m a person who has been systematically abused by friends, educators, people in positions of authority, and family members which wore me down for so long. It’s only since reclaiming my power by embracing authenticity have things changed for me. So my answer to this prompt is one I’ve recently been promoting to some of my younger friends.

Boundaries are healthy. If someone feels your boundary is restricting their behavior, especially towards you, it’s because they most likely have been violating your boundaries all along.

The moment itself is burned in my memories, but the edges have become softer with time. Like most burns, after time the pain lessens and there may remain a scar in the place of the trauma. The scar in my mind is the voice trapped in my throat wanting to say “No. I don’t deserve to be treated this way.” That moment in time has long since past with the other participants most likely not even remembering it. The significance however is not lost on me in those frozen moments. Since I was unable to use my voice then, I choose to use my voice now to help those who have trouble speaking for themselves. No one should have to go through what I went through and no one should be treated so poorly in their own home. I think home should be a safe haven from the rocky outside world.

Would anything have really changed back then if I had been able to speak up? Honestly, I highly doubt it. Things would have reached their natural conclusions in time and it’s possible friendships would have been maintained, but I don’t feel those people deserve my friendship for how they treated me. I’ve had someone ask me how one of the parties is and truthfully I haven’t spoken to them in over a year. It’s sad when people you thought you’d always be friends with are no longer part of your life, but there is a plus side. It does make room in your life and your heart for those who do care about you.

Big thoughts on a blank page

I miss your blog.
You should write more.
You have so much to say.

I need to hold onto those statements by friends and colleagues as I, as well as many others, get occasionally trapped thinking we are impostors. I see this happen to many of my artistic friends and it’s only when we allow ourselves to be authentic do we get to the places we need to go or the results we are seeking. There are so many people in the disability field with different voices, yet each of us has a different story unique to ourselves. Our triumphs, tribulations, strengths, flaws, and so many other pieces are what provides the whole picture. I get stuck in my head at times and as entertaining as it is there, it’s important for me to connect with others. It’s important to remind myself my flaws are part of my whole picture.

I do have something to say.
My voice can impact change.
The fact that I can’t fold my own laundry in a timely fashion has no impact on my ability to help others.

——————————————-

For those of you who’ve seen this website before you may realize I’ve tweaked it a bit and will be doing some more soon. I’ve also been silent here because it’s taken time getting all my ducks in a row as my dreams are becoming a reality. This fall, I am beginning to offer movement classes for children and adults in the Southern Maine area. Although the intention is for these classes to geared towards the disability community, all are welcomed to attend. The dates, times, and signups will be on this site and my FaceBook page when they become public.

I’ve also begun the first baby steps of creating a non profit on this same area. The Way We Move, based on the title of the Fringe Show I created this past spring, will work to create accessible Movement and Arts programs, performances, and eventually an artistic vocational track. Although the base of operations will be in Maine, there is already interest in bringing this to Colorado, Chicago, and other places around the country.

Right now, I’m currently teach the 3 week Film Camp at S.P.E.A.K.S. for the third year in a row. It’s so wonderful here and the campers are all great. We have already filmed our commercials and this week are creating great group films on the theme of Nature. Some of these kids have been in the camp for all 3 years and to see how they have grown into themselves is wonderful. I was lucky enough to have an artistic mother who supported me and I’m so happy these campers can embrace the arts in their own ways.

Choking on Words

There are many times we are victims of our emotions. As someone with mood disorders, I know first hand our bodies will occasionally act independently from our brains and mouths. Recently, I’ve been seriously struggling with my depression and crippling anxiety. My sleep pattern has been completely wrecked, I’ve been very unpredictably sad at random times, and my eating pattern is similar to The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Saturday when it eats everything in sight.
This past week, I’ve consciously stepped back from some things to get more control over myself. The biggest challenge for me has always been awareness and catching things before I get too overwhelmed or meltdown. My pattern for dealing with these bouts has gotten pretty defined into several steps.

Reflect- What has not been working for me?
            – What have I been wanting to do but have not actively made time to do?
            – How do I feel when I (insert activity here)

Remind- When are some times you have felt really happy?
            – What relationships matter to you?
            – When do you feel the most complete?

Resolve- What can I do today to make me happy?
             – What needs to change so I can avoid going into a mentally unhealthy place?
             – Make a clear plan to address the roadblocks.

At these times, it’s a struggle to clearly express myself. Words get muddled with letters drying up on my tongue. Fingers move over keys only to write words to sentences never thought of or half imagined. This explains part of the recent absence from this blog. The other part of my absence has been dealing with a lot of interpersonal issues and those things clouding my writing. Luckily, things are changing. Noticing my problems is the second most important step in changing them.

Accepting that things are a problem and resolving to change them is the most important step

This week I’ve been more in touch with my spirituality and this has helped me center myself by being in the present. I’ve been able to hang out with some wonderful people in person which allows me to be social in easy to handle environments. Planning for epic roadtrips and weddings has already begin which makes me very hopeful for the future.

My emotions will always come with me on these adventures as they can help to enhance the trips. However, wherever I go I’m going to be the one in the driver’s seat. My emotions can ride shotgun if they want and control the music, but not backseat driving is allowed.

The Longest Night

Last night we redesigned constellations and danced with fire.
We sat on the floor talking about our hopes and dreams and brighter tomorrows.
Our thoughts and hearts were filled with the hope of the new sun in the coming year.
Dreams are becoming reality.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The universe has been kind to me and is helping put the pieces of my life together recently. It’s not nearly seeming as forced as my attempts were in the fall, before surgery, so it feels more organic without being forced. This blog is going to go through some transformation pretty soon, including a new URL, but it wasn’t the number 1 priority for the past few weeks which explains the silence. I do have some wonderful news to share about all the things in the works and what this means for me.

I’m already actively booking programming for 2016 focusing on various aspects of art and movement. A part of this involves my recent acceptance as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s  PK-12 Teaching Artists Roster. This means I’ll be available to create both after-school programming AND teach classes during the school day.

I’ll also be working the Flow Arts Institute to write articles about disability, health, and wellness related to the spinning arts in the upcoming year.

Rumors of a book (or two) have some weight are also in the works with some brilliant collaborators.

For those concerned about my health, despite multiple setbacks my doctors continue to note my recovery progress with the most recent milestone reached this week of laying on my stomach while on a solid surface.

My performance life is being revitalized with a few “Sparks” of creativity helping pull me out of a lull. Even with health issues, there have been new skills being worked on in a little wooden cabin in the woods of Maine. Some wonderful collaborations are in the works with the local performance community and possibly the entire New England art community.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The winter solstice is the longest night of the year. It’s a time of reflection and optimism as we look at the growth of the past few seasons.  My solstice was celebrated with friends who have really helped me thrive in the past few years personally, professionally, and creatively. Next week will be more of a personal ‘year in review’ post, but for now I’ll leave you with the professional things to look forward to in my life.

Dear You, Happy Birthday.

3/10/2014
Dear Me,

Please know, it will get worse. That feeling in your gut will not lessen; please learn to listen to it.
That nagging feeling when you wake up in a cold sweat and can’t get back to sleep will not go away. When you hear a door abruptly shut and flinch because it will not “just get better with time”.
When  you want to make a plan with a friend and it makes you afraid they will leave you standing on a street corner, that is just considered ‘normal’ in your mind.
Things will be horrible for half this year (2014).
 ……
But when you turn the corner, things will get amazing.
You’ll finally start to appriciate yourself.
You will finally understand ability and disability in a global view.
There is an amazing home you can grow a wonderful garden in and remember what the ground feels like between your fingers.
School ends and it will not be as scary as you think.
The home you will make will be unlike anything you had imagined.
You remember what strong feels like.
You will never be truly alone as love will be in your heart.
…….
I wish I could hug you
and say we will all still be friends next year,
but that would not be true.
Know the price we pay will be worth in it in the end.
~B
———————————————————–
3/10/16
Dear Me,
We did it!!!!!!!
At times we wanted to give up knowing it felt like the weight of the world was on our shoulders. It seemed an impossible feet but it was accomplished in just the nick of time. There is nothing stopping us from this final journey.
Just take the one last step we need.
Just a leap, as we know our ways along the rocky coast.
This project is going to help so many people.
………
Blessed are you for remembering love.
You opened your heart and let such wonder and light fill you to the brink, overflowing into the ocean.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve paid off.
Be very happy you know what love feels like and know things will only get even better.
Finally we understand how others should treat us.
~B
———————————————————–
3/10/15
Dear Me,
It’s okay to be as happy as we are and not think the other shoe is going to drop.
We’ve turned the corner of success and our dedication will carry us through.
Resiliency is the greatest gift our family has passed on.
Please remember to laugh.
~B

 Happy Birthday to Me~

How do we get the control that we might need to feel safe? I say that the first thing that we need control of is ourselves.-Reference from Aeprils Astrology

What would you do?

There is a question I ask friends who come to me with existential questions about their life.

“If money was no object, what would you wake up every day and do?”

Today I got a rejection letter for a job I applied for. It actually was my first job rejection and for that I am grateful. A part of me knew I may not get it, but there was a sting at a different level in the e-mail. It hurt me because I almost threw away everything I’ve been building.

My job as an in-home support worker can be tough at times, but it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of. During the summer, I also have the privilege to teach a film camp with members of the autism community. Things are going very well for me with performing and, weather permitting, I have a few gigs already booked for this year.

I applied to the job on a whim. The pay wasn’t the best and it would have meant I would have needed to give up some of the travel and conferences already planned for this year. It’s also not a job I would have stayed in for the rest of my life.

After getting the rejection email, I had a conference call about the online classes, arranged another conference call for an upcoming writing project, and finished a posting for a class. Soon, I’ll work on playing with my levi-wand and filming myself for a short fan video.

It takes some perspective to remember I’m not interested in the 9-5 life. A life of adventure is more my speed. Next month is my birthday and I am gifting myself a tattoo which is a very fitting reminder. It’s the phrase Hannibal said while crossing the Alps and it’s also a quote on my business cards.

Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
I will find a way or make one.

Where are you tonight?

I’ve made it know that I have a special relationship with the moon. The passing of time makes way more sense to me from a lunar standpoint than just looking at the days passing.

So what has changed from the last Full Moon?

Well now I’m living in the apartment of my dreams. After the difficult times I’ve been through recently, it feels like I have a great reward for staying genuine and standing up for myself. Today I spent the day decorating and setting up things. Putting things in their place, my place, felt so rewarding. Everything has its own little nook to go in and things fit perfectly. I know I’ll be getting some furniture soon and I can’t wait. I get to really decorate this place and in the spring I have permission to garden!

It’s also been a time of reflection in relationships. As I move on personally and professionally, I deserve to be surrounded by caring individuals. Those who treat me poorly, and who treat those I care about poorly, have no place in my life at this moment. There are some people who are at the end of their journey with me for now. We may meet again, but on different terms. It is a difficult decision to fully remove a person, or people, from your life but it is a decision we must make at times in order to take care of ourselves.

Still, it is a time of celebration as we move into the darkness. This month is already shaping up to be amazing and my trip to the Midwest is beginning in a little more than a week. Don’t ask if I am prepared because the answer would shock no one! I’m looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues and friends.

Into the Woods

The month of July was a whirlwind. I spent time in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and starting the month back in Maine. Literally, I drove into the state today. It was an intense month of personal growth and professional development. It will take me a few days to process everything with a clear head, but there were some important things I learned that I am able to convey now.

I realized I am a lot better under pressure than ever realized. When real life do or die things are going wrong, it is my default to take charge and delegate things that need to be done.

Sometimes it takes listening to a song when you are the only one on a long stretch of highway at 3am to realize why it speaks directly to your heart.

Men-folk are wonderful, but nothing I’ve ever known compares to the feeling of having women friends support each other and help each other each their personal best.

Driving 2,628 miles in 31 days is not my personal best, but I still managed to retain some sanity. (haha)

The world is bigger and scarier and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Gossip is horrible and can cost people their jobs. Even letting it happen in front of you and saying nothing can be just as hurtful to a person. If you really want to know something, go ask the person directly.

Friendships can be formed just by saying “Nice bracelet”. It’s the littlest things.

So to process all the things in a relaxing space, I’m running off to the woods of Maine. I’ll actually be spinning fire all weekend at an EDM festival, but it’ll be the perfect conclusion to this month of adventures.

I know it’s been said multiple times, but there are big things coming. I can see them on the horizon and soon everyone will be able to see them.

Dear Me

Dear Brigid,
I’m traveling back from the mystical year 2015 to talk to you about being 25. I’m sure You are already aware you are in a completely different place then when you turned 24. I’m sure you would have liked a little heads up this year about what happened and maybe I could have saved you some heartache. Maybe I could have warned you to turn left instead of right and things may have ended up different. Maybe I could have brought you more happiness.

That’s not how it works, B.

You were supposed to feel this pain. You were supposed to be betrayed so you will know how to treat others better than you were treated. You were supposed to fall in love and lose it to let you know how beautiful it is to care about someone on a deeper level you didn’t think possible. You were supposed to get angry at how you were treated because that was what you needed to rocket your life in a whole new direction.

So I’m here to give you a glimpse at what this year will bring you because you need to know you are on the right track.

This year your TA experiences will bring you down a new path. You’ve been hearing the whispers of people praising your teaching skills, but you haven’t paid it much attention. This year you will be able to call yourself an instructor. The things you may be teaching won’t be learned in a book, but that is okay. It’s time for you to pass your knowledge onto others as people have passed information to you.

You wanted to be a performer, so here’s your shot! Literally, you are calling the shots. So run with it and you will be really surprised where it will bring you in less than a year. Audition for everything, try everything, and don’t be afraid of falling. You’ve never been afraid of making a fool out of yourself before so don’t start now. Follow your passions and remember: this is what you want to do so don’t you dare make excuses! Also, Practice. Practice every single day and don’t ever stop trying to improve. That being said, some things will always be a work in progress.

Relationships. Ahh.. This year…well… you already know this, but you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes to make friends. It’s okay. It will be scary, but a good scary. A rewarding scary. You will meet some amazing people this year who will stay in your life for a long time. You will also have some people who were on the outside become more important to your life. The big thing for you is to figure out what type of people you want to surround yourself with. There is no wrong answer, but you know you surround yourself with creative characters with loving hearts. Find more of them and promote each other to greatness.

I have to go soon, the penguins are getting restless, but before I end this there is something you must know for the sake of your own future.

Be kind to yourself.

Take it easy and relax. Some days will be battles to survive and others will be victory marches. You will mess up and some relationships may become strained. Know that nothing you say will ever fully push away the people who really care about you. If they run from your true colors, as difficult as it is to admit, you are better without them in your life. Be strong and celebrate the life you have built for yourself. Others are already celebrating your victories, it’s about time you join them. You’re a good kid like myself.

Take care and until we meet again, I hope you are happy.
~B