8

Poem, Uncategorized

The sound of crackling logs. The smell of chill, crisp, pine scented breezes waft through the air. The dull hoot of an owl languidly hangs above us. Scurrying and creeping critters behind us keeps our senses sharp. My body wants to drift off but I cannot pull away from the rich oil deep blackness of the night sky. Specks of cream roil and churn above our heads as the milky way lays itself out before our prostrate bodies. Warm hands intertwined, coats drawn up and snug socks keep out the chill. We are perfect here. This is perfect here. Time has gone and never ends. The moon is our clock and the sun our timer. Borrowing from the forest to eat and play, but always giving back when the time has come. Our journey is long but it always ends.

Retiring to the trees, we take our sleep. The gentle lull of timbers and the slow deep creak. We hang from the canopy on fabric made taught, to glide through the air, on our magical cot. As the forest turns around us, we find our delight. As trees sway and camber, all through the night. Our heads will be warm by hats that we wear. For when we wake from slumber, our hearts will be bare. For the trees they do calm us, on these nights of chill air. As our homes they will keep us, safe from the bears. My wife does sleep close, so that we may not part. And apart we won’t drift, intertwined as a pair. As dawn light breaks on our sleeping brows, we rise from our cribs as young baby sows. The heat it alights our bodies a glow, to bring new to the world, our love shall it grow. The day is a joyous triumph to be seen, a treasure to keep close an eye to be keen. And as the time passes and the trees they do sway. A tale will unfold, of our love each day. Our souls are renewed on this grassy glade, each year we give thanks and return just the same. We shall forever praise the glory of this hallowed place, always giving more than we must take. The wood for our heat, the meat for our bellies, the trees for our home, this place is aplenty. Our children will come and take from the glade. We will show them the bounty and to never be afraid. They will grow and love here and forever give back. For that is the cycle of our unspoken pact.

WHAT IS TRUE STRENGTH? On being a maker with muscular dystrophy.

Blog

People who known me know that I am a maker. It sort of defines my entire life and how I live. My basic values, my mantras, my need to upcycle and reclaim. What not everyone knows is that I also am defined by something else. Something that is invisible on the surface, yet constantly reminds me it is there every minute of my life, and that is muscular dystrophy. My whole life, up until my diagnosis at age 12, I knew something was not quite right. Be it lagging behind in track or weird muscle cramps after gymnastics. Something felt off. After my diagnosis, it had a name, McArdle’s Syndrome. I found out I was part of a small community of people throughout the world, nearly 1 in every 100,000 who suffer from this disease. It changed my life. No longer was I able to wrestle, run, or do competitive sports like my peers. I would immediately cramp up and then live in a hospital bed for weeks at a time recovering. Suffice it to say, I had to find other passions to sustain me.

I took up guitar, shrugging off the constantly cramped fingers and hands that would turn into claws from twinged muscles. I took up swimming and bike riding, everything had to be low impact and low strain. Since I had always been crafty and into making things, I found this a good activity to keep me active and my brain engaged.

I built everything as a kid. Potato canons, slingshots, rockets, robots, rope swings, tree houses, skate ramps, motorized scooters, you name it! As  young teen, I even enrolled in a local junior college to learn electronics. I was hooked on a trade that would be low impact with high yield. Making was my outlet. Yet I had to be careful to not overdo myself as building supplies can be heavy and sometimes require a lot of effort. Over the past few years, I have definitely found myself in the hospital multiple times after a bad fall or accident or pulling a muscle. Thankfully nothing life crippling has happened and I continue to make every day.

While this disease affects me every second, I do not let it dictate my life. I still get into the shop to carve, sculpt, weld, grind, cut, and sand. I may go slower than other makers and my projects might take me longer to produce because I need more breaks, but when you have a passion and a drive, why let anything stop you? So when you see me rubbing my cramped and clawed hands after cutting dovetails, or sitting down because my back has seized up after grinding for a thirty minutes, know that I am happy as hell doing what I love for as long as I can do it.

For me, true strength does not come from brute strength, it never has. True strength to a maker with muscular dystrophy, comes from perseverance, hard-work, and being maker-enough to go slow and take my time.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. As always, don’t forget to head over to my Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Patreon page to show your support so that I can continue to make more content like this!

Thanks for reading.

How to Stay Motivated When You Are Feeling Lethargic

Blog

The past few months have been quite difficult for me to stay motivated. At work and home, I find myself becoming more and more depressed due to many factors, professionally and personally. I think it all started during my time in the Peace Corps last year. I was having depression and anxiety issues around the work culture and issues at my site. This led to my wife and I eventually leaving Peace Corps and coming home earlier than expected.

After much therapy and healing time, I thought I was over it. I felt better, I was getting back on my feet and the heavy, foggy, weighed down feeling of depression was lifting. And then I started work in the federal government and those crushing feelings came back. The feeling of sloth, of weight on my shoulders, of anxiety nearly paralyzing me. I was trying to deal and cope until I found myself crying one afternoon in my cube and knew it had gone on long enough.

I’ve never been one to have depression issues or need medication to stay level. Heck, I come from the disaster management field where high stress is the norm. However, over the last year, I find stress to be really stressful. It is something that I am dealing with differently now and I am learning how to cope with a whole new set of problems. For instance, finding motivation to go to the shop after work has been hard the past 2 months. I used to go all the time, but I have trailed off lately. Sometimes I feel so tired and down after work, I need to come home and lay on the couch and not move for an hour. My brain needs more time to recover and that in turn manifests physically and affects my muscle disease making me more tired and lethargic.

All this to say that my coping mechanisms have changed. I can no longer just assume that I will be going in to the shop, I need to force myself. I have put off projects due to the fear and anxiety of not making them great, but when I have just forced myself into the shop to start the project, the fears recede and the fun and joy return. I just finished up the restoration on a 1960’s typewriter table. I have been sitting on this project for 3 months. Forcing myself to put the materials in the car and promising myself that I will take them into the shop after work was a very scary thing. Once I got my hands into it though and started grooving, I felt like myself again and the project came out great.

Stress, anxiety, fear, these are all things we deal with differently. Forcing myself to just start a project until I get into a grove has worked so far for me but won’t always work for everyone. I’d love to hear what works for you so that we can help each other to stay proactive and motivated despite our lethargic feelings and various issues.

20170626_204822

20170626_204752

I hope you enjoyed the read through and learned a little bit about the process. As always, don’t forget to head over to my Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Patreon page to show your support so that I can continue to make awesome content like this.

Thanks for reading!