Whispers of Autumn

Whispers playing off the breeze
entice us to look closer
at the bouquet of life
rising from summer’s warm hands.
We catch our breath
watching the spectacular
V-formations of birds
readying for their trip south.
Together, we ease into autumn.

 

©Alexis Rose. Image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

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Road Tripping with PTSD

As summer begins to wane and the occasional cool breeze brings a hint of fall in the evenings,  I find myself packing to hit the road to participate in an art and authors festival in Northern Minnesota. It’s been planned since last winter, but I gave it zero thoughts until this week. I’m excited because I will be traveling with my bestie and we have always wanted to take a road trip together, but the driver is someone I don’t know. I’m a bit anxious about that part of it because it’s not easy for me to travel and manage my symptoms, especially around strangers. I don’t want to be the person who appears nervous, edgy or aloof as I navigate new places and different surroundings.

Traveling with PTSD takes a lot of planning on my part, and I have to be aware that this time of year can bring about triggers as the evenings turn a bit fall-like. I have to make sure I have some plans firmly in place so my fun little road trip doesn’t become a series of frightening flashbacks or anxiety-riddled days of being overwhelmed and hypervigilant.

I absolutely love the freedom of hitting the road. I love the spontaneity of it, and the possibilities of  “let’s take this road and see where it leads” adventure. I love to explore, I love new places, I love new people! These things appeal to my carefree nature but unless I’m planful, these experiences of joy can often be squashed by PTSD symptoms that lie just below the surface.

My trauma occurred over a 20-year period in many different places throughout the world. I can be triggered by certain smells, sounds, the way the wind blows, dialect, and many other things. Sometimes, that can start a flashback. Sometimes, I get disoriented and anxious, and sometimes it’s just a general feeling of knowing something’s off. When I’m at home, I can figure out ways to ground myself, get support or use one of my distress tolerance tools to ride out the wave. When I travel, things are unfamiliar and it takes longer to come out of a trigger.

Another symptom of my PTSD is that I become overwhelmed in busy, loud, places — restaurants, for example. It’s very easy for me to get flooded by too many menu choices and a voracious appetite can become non-existent. Before PTSD, I loved trying new food and going to restaurants that I wouldn’t have visited while in my hometown.

Busy roads while not necessarily triggering, can be overwhelming for me. The speed and crowded freeways can be overstimulating, and I tend to get anxious.  The same anxiety I used to feel in gridlock or driving at night with 18-wheelers whizzing by is now more pronounced for me. My anxiety is ramped up because my perpetrators often drove me to places across the country.

My support system is different when I travel. For my family, it’s often a good respite for them when I go out of town for a few days. It’s not an easy decision for them to let me go off without one of them accompanying me. So, a lot of moving parts must happen before I leave. My support works together to provide regual check-ins and remains available if I need to reach out. It feels uncomfortable for me to know that I require this support, but I’m grateful that I have this in place so I can do the things I would like to do and experience new adventures.

Road Trippin’ with PTSD is certainly a challenge, but not impossible. In fact, with a bit of planning and the agreement to tell my travel companion if I’m having any symptoms and their willingness to be fluid with plans this adventure is not only possible, it’s happening!

Photo by Madhu Shesharam on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

Fly free little bird; Remember the lessons of the flowers

Stretching and flapping her strong wings
this is the eve of our youngest bird
preparing to fly far from the nest.
Across the country
the hallowed halls of law are ready to take our bird
on her chosen path; her next life steps.

I know that as she embarks
on this  journey that our little bird will
take with her the lessons from the flowers.
She will persevere and grow
Silently displaying her inner beauty and strength
She will reach towards the sun, hold fast during storms
and live life fully in bloom.

Fly free little bird. Enjoy, and remember the lessons from the flowers.
©Alexis Rose, Photo by Chloe Si on Unsplash
Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

It’s Okay; You’re Okay!

It’s okay to just be in the moment
of love, acceptance respect, and friendship

It’s okay to let yourself feel
love, acceptance, respect, and friendship

It’s okay to give
love, acceptance, respect, and friendship

You’re okay and worthy
of being heard, being seen, being loved

The squeeze of a friend’s hand
That reassuring knowing

that whatever version of you shows up
it is okay; that you are okay

Being in the moment
Feeling the love, giving love

It’s okay, you’re okay
And the world shines brighter
Because you are in it!

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Ageless

Throwing caution to the wind
dancing
running
skinny dipping in the river
secrets
singing in unison
off-key, on key, harmonized – back-up singing rock stars
cruising with the top down
THAT song…blast that song

Was that my back – my knee – my neck
the pain of play, of life, of age
Wait I need my glasses ~ there we go
What is gravity doing to my body – those used to be higher

They are playing THAT song,  Blast it!
throw caution to the wind
dance
run
skinny dip in the river
whisper secrets
sing loud, soft – any key
cruise with the top down
Smile – it’s life
We’re Ageless!
©Alexis Rose, image source Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

Riding the Winds of Change

I experienced a profound and precious moment the other day. My kids are grown and have flown from the nest. They are making their way in the world and creating their own lives as adults with a lot of fortitude and grace. My youngest lives in a different state and is back for a few weeks this summer. From another room, I heard my kids talking to each other at the table. The easy cadence of siblings who had become friends brought a smile to my face. I closed my eyes for a moment and realized that lately, I have been riding the winds of change.

Change is a fact of life. Our bodies change, as do our cognitive abilities. Our circumstances change, the weather changes and so do the seasons. We change our minds, our clothes and our cell phones. Sometimes we embrace change, but sometimes change can feel daunting. The fear of the unknown and the anticipation of what might be can be paralyzing; the feeling of vulnerability can prevent us from moving forward.

But change is inevitable. I have been through an enormous amount of change in the past two years. Some of it was unanticipated and frightening, while some of it has been purposeful and has brought about a sense of freedom and peace.

Typically, when I enter a new decade I think about the goals I want to achieve for the next ten years. I am approaching a “big” birthday in August and instead of thinking about goals, I find myself thinking about what wonderful possibilities will open up in the next phase of life.

As retirement gets closer for some, and we experience the natural cycle of parents and in-laws passing away, the conversations I have with my friends has changed. Sometimes turning to the inevitable health scares we may be experiencing, as we collectively hold our breaths for one another until we hear the results of the test.

And still, many of us, including myself, feel ageless. We feel more confident about our bodies, and claim that confidence with the ease that alluded us in our younger decades. No longer trying to live up to society’s version of what size is beautiful.

I noticed that I’ve learned to embrace my ability to say, “no.” I’m calmer and much more confident in my writing and when I’m asked to speak to groups. I’ve learned to discern what is a fit for me as I continue to help support survivors of trauma and bring awareness to living with PTSD.

Change has brought the gift of new friends and has deepened the roots of long-time friendships. Change provides perspective. It has prepared me to understand when to let go, and when to fight. It has also taught me a great deal about self-respect and self-compassion. Beautiful, painful, and thought-provoking lessons.

I realize that nothing stays constant; there is always change, and that brings a sense of freedom and empowerment. Of late, that freedom has brought a sense of calmness. I’ve realized that part of experiencing a very lived life is catching the current and riding the winds of change.

image source: pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Where Do You Get Your Oxygen From?

She is the embodiment
of the questions we pondered
on a sunny afternoon.

Knowing the hype of the
newest workshop and buzzwords
would all have their moment in time
we asked each other, What Comes Next?

What is…
The driver of contentment?
The reason to try one more day?
The song we sing to our inner-self?

With quiet wisdom, and wonderous curiosity
she asked, “Where Do We Get Our Oxygen From?”

Today I danced as if it was warm and sunny outside
As if the world can someday be just, fair and peaceful for All
Believing that alone and collectively we make a difference
to ourselves, our neighbors, and our world.

Smiling huge and with a nod to the snowbirds
soaring above me on this winter’s day
my thoughts went to my teacher, my friend
I thought back to that moment when she asked
“Where do we get our Oxygen from?”

And I answered aloud to that clear blue sky
I get my oxygen from
Love
Health
Family
Friendship
Kindness
Hope
Trust
Honesty
Laughter
Dance
Breath…Life

And I know without a doubt that my friend, my teacher
would look at all who reads/or hears this poem
and ask
“Where Do You Get Your Oxygen From?”


©Where do you get your Oxygen From, (A poem for Rosy) by Alexis Rose