Paradise.

I have been working and (sometimes) running a lot recently.

I find myself working out common hormone, stress and life change ailments in the duration of a run.  Sport fascinates me. Elite athletes amaze me. I’m amazed and terribly humbled by many things daily.  I’m taking this as a suggestion that my spirit is growing and the universe sees fit to continue to drop me to my knees enough to pray and say thank you.

Some people take offense to my belief that the universe, or more specifically the creator, humbles us.  I am not bothered by that. I understand the conflict. I believe for me, as a human, it is my nature to suffer to some extent. Without this challenge I would struggle with my own sense of purpose. Believe me, I’d love it if there were not the case. But, I’m not a holy creature, God or a divine one.  I’m just an aging chick with some challenges. For now this works for me. Years ago I would have felt differently I’m sure.  Years ago I blogged about dating, my father’s alcoholism, being Indian and learning.  Those things are still important, but they are not everything.

By no means do I think or believe the creator does not love me. Nor do I believe that there is an anvil waiting for me to pass under her slippery face.

I think a lot about what I want my son to know about me, to see, to believe.  I want him to learn kindness, courage, when to be brave,patience, and ways to practice kindness.  I feel like the world I live in has much kindness but could use more.  I see reactionary behaviors everyday, people making excuses for shit behavior. I have to walk away sometimes, I’m not a fucking saint. But, the collective hurt, it hurts me. I don’t know understand it. I suppose now is not the time to ponder this, but I’m sharing as an observation.

Anyhow, I digress, I just thought I’d share & say I’m still here, growing, changing, laughing. 

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City of Angel.

A brief history of my “drugging”:  

I have bronchitis.  I sounds much more appealing than it actually is.  After several days of struggling to breathe-mind you this was after a breathing treatment, albuterol and steroids, I went back to the doctor.  They gave me cough syrup with codeine.  Holy.  This stuff is insane. How they would just hand it out is amazing.  It seems everyone had a story about this orange drink.  

I did some research (thank you Google and wikipedia) and it turns out the stuff is a narcotic with some snazzy properties.  NIH states:  Codeine belongs to a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics and to a class of medications called antitussives. When codeine is used to treat pain, it works by changing the way the body senses pain. When codeine is used to reduce coughing, it works by decreasing the activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.

And that it does.  Not to mention it provides some strange fuzzy-headedness.  Drugs fascinate me.  That’s putting it lightly. Anything that changes the body and it’s perceptions has my attention.

I’ve worked professionally in substance abuse prevention and treatment for the last decade.  The reasons people try, use and abuse drugs are numerous.  Every story is different but similar.  I know the normal development patterns of experimentation, the classifications for abuse, dependence, etc.  I know the legal, social, psychological and biological aspects of drugs, but I’ve never tried drugs.

It’s true.  I’ve never tried drugs.  At least not in a non-medical sanctioned setting or situation.  

I tried cigarettes in middle school.  I got lucky, the tobacco made me nauseated and I threw up behind the social studies classroom.  Strike one.  Earlier with some older cousins/aunts I tried chewing tobacco.  The mud made me sick for at least a day.  I never considered chewing again.  I think my aunts still chew.  

In high school I played sports.  I didn’t see the point in trying drugs.  No one I knew did meth or cocaine.  I feel bad for these kids smoking and injecting heroin.  That shit wasn’t happening when I was growing up.  There was plenty of pot but I thought it smelled like butt-faced-loser.  Backstory: My father was a pothead.  I grew up with him steaming up the bathroom and pretending to “read.”  For the record my father didn’t start reading books until I finished college.  I had an uncle who was a speed head.  I knew there were drugs around but I didn’t see the point.

I had also had some very traumatic experiences as a young child with a mentally ill/drugged out uncle who tried to kill himself, others and did some very uncool things in front of me.  So, drugs in my mind were tragic for teen aged girls, they were akin to naked penises and hiv needles-all around bad news yo.

In college there were many more chances to do drugs.  I again side-skirted the drugs and have memories of watching a girl dancing on a balcony and taking off her shirt in front of everyone.  I just didn’t see the point. She didn’t seem free, hip or interesting.  She was beautiful and broken.  She looked like glass, fragile and also oddly slippery.  I left that party and revisited my social circle.

In graduate school there were more drugs.  Not just any drugs, but complicated drugs being used by more interesting people.  At that point I figured I had dodged the bullet enough times, so why pull the trigger?  I was curious about pot and had a boyfriend who claimed it “helped” his ADHD.  For a little while I fantasized about trying pot but seeing as how I worked at a rehab it seemed contrary and stupid, so I never tried it.  I figured my window for exploration had expired. We broke up and I was thankful I hadn’t tried pot.  Honestly he never offered and I think it would have freaked him out if I had asked.  I wanted to understand what make it so appealing.  I wanted to know why he would sacrifice his job and his securities to smoke after work.  I wanted to know what it felt like.  From the outside looking in, it just never seemed all that interesting.  What about it could make someone do all those things?  It just didn’t make sense.

So, the codeine, it fascinates me.  My body needed the relief to heal.  But the recreational aspects of opiates and other drugs are a mystery to me.  Not that I don’t understand a high.  Once after a surgery they gave me some opiates, holy hell did I ever get high.  Imagine runners high times 98 times 65.3 plus the rush of a 12 pack paired with a crate full of donuts.  Yeah. 

But, drugs, they’re still not for me.  I philosophize about them.  I learn about them.  My clients struggle to recover from them.  My family suffers because of them.  My tribe is being demolished by them, and still they are a mystery to me.  

In summation:  Danna’s elicit drug Experimentation: zero.  Abuse: zero.  Dependency: zero. Capacity for dependence: high.

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maybe deep beneath.

Is a desire to get better, to grow.

Some days I felt ultra introspective. A new co-worker that I’ve come to see as friend will some days stick a post-it with a heart on her shoulder. On a particularly tough day she offered it to me. I didn’t know it would be a rough day when I woke up. That’s the beauty of it. Life, it doesn’t alert us to those rough days. Sometimes there are successions of them, periods where days blur into weeks, months and then suddenly, a wave shoves forth and like that–we are free.

There have been a lot of changes lately. I’ve been running a lot. Working. Trying to be more patient with things but finding my usually batty rapid thinking that gets me from a to z 68 times before I’ve stopped to consider b.

Recently there have been family issues. Worries that have brought to the surface my childhood. The dark spots, the waiting and sleeping in cars whilst my mother drove bar to bar looking for my father saying aloud prayer that he wouldn’t have spent his whole paycheck or have been rolled by some Godless heathen. Prayers that the car wouldn’t break down or that she’d find $20 more dollars for a couple gallons of gas to get home and get a piece of meat to stretch through the week. Yelling, blood.

I’m thankful for a great many things in this life, one is that childhood is not forever.
I pray and deliberate each day and am thankful that Kale does not have my childhood. I am also sad that he will never get to see the beauty of life on a reservation.

We moved.

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dunkin donuts

We made it back to the desert. It’s been busy and happy.

I’m nervously training for a 5k. I feel slow and tired but my body loves the exercise.

I’ve hiked Piestewa Peak with a friend.

Kale is growing.

I mean to quilt more.

I’ve considered dumping the blog because I rarely post. Most days I’d rather live my day than reflect on it.  I still have periods of missing my grandma terribly, she left this earth 2.5 years ago and the grief doesn’t get easier-you just acclimate.

I like my new job. Most of the time I love it. I hope whomever reads this is well.  🙂

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Photo of the day.

Despite the sign, there were no Indians.

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The charge of loss.

I wrote this the other day, and it made me cry:

I met someone in a professional setting recently and he asked me how I felt about the Navajo Nation and it’s problems. It seemed like the beginning of a conversation but turned into a mini lecture.  I thought he wanted to talk about the basics: addiction, poverty, low educational attainment.  Instead he offered up modernism.  According to him all the problems with the youth on the Navajo reservation are due to modernism and “being lost.”

He said modernism has overtaken the reservation and the current generation has lost its way.  He told me that the elders spoke our language, but noted that the children did not.  There’s a gap he said, a generation gap.  Some reference to tv.  Not enough time sitting under trees.  He wondered if I was willing (and able) to sway the youth back to their rightful place as keepers of our culture.

I think I may have chuckled a loud both confused and surprised to find myself the middle of the conversation with the expectation that I say something clever, yet oh-so-Indian to convince him I am not in fact modern myself. (Drats, for I am.)

I think he meant it as both a challenge and an attack.  He then went on to discuss how with all “our” (mine) education and “fancy” certifications that we don’t know what’s therapeutic for our children.  (The Navajo children, the children on the reservation.) There was more about “us” not being able to think outside our educated box.  Us being me.

I wanted to ask him about trauma and how he felt that affected these lost children.  I had statistics and research at the ready.  There was no pause to interject.  I wanted to talk about psychotherapy and it’s benefits.  I wanted to ask how he felt about doing therapy in Navajo and how he documented such exchanges.  But, since the children don’t speak Navajo I realized I had an answer.  I began to suspect my educated, experienced and evidenced-based version of psychotherapy was not seen as helpful because it represented the enemy.  An enemy had he named but had not yet slain.

I think he wanted me to pick a side, to state my intentions, to say something:  the White world is terrible!  To shout, ” Navajo Nation is king!” or something equally masculine and heroic. I did not.  I don’t recall how we changed subjects, but we did and we talked about play therapy.  I never put my flag in the ground.

This battle is not new.  I suspect many urban Indians have debated, defended, argued for and clarified modernism.  We’re well aware of our unofficial status as apples (red on the outside, White on the inside) for our decision(s) to move off the reservation.

Our families on the reservation (including mine) do not let us forget we have moved and have left the ways of our people.  Every holiday, every weekend spent off our ancestral home is a reminder that we have abandoned the flock. (Or so I’ve been told.)

Saving the reservation seems wonderful.  It’s a dream I’ve had too.  And the older I get, the more I realize maybe it is just that-a dream.  There are massive barriers and little support.

When I go home I meet tribal members who are quick to judge me.  Who would rather argue and try to slice me up than talk about the social issues, the high teen pregnancy rates, the high suicide rates and come up with a plan.  They insinuate and tell me that I’ve led the charge of loss because I left the reservation and therefore must have left my culture there too.  Fortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

I’m a different Indian having left.  Yes, I’m one that likes Angry Birds and cooking Chinese food, but I’m not bad, just different.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.