CELEBRATE EVERY DAY – Short Story

“I can’t believe I live here”, I told myself as I crossed the bridge that lead to the beach neighborhood.
I was on my way home from a late day in the office and the sun had begun to set over one side of the bay where sailboats were drifting about lazily. On the other side, jet skiers and power boats had barely slowed from playing about in the warm fall air. This had been my drive home for five years, and every day still humbled me with how fantastic life had become.
“I’m one of the luckiest people in the world”, I thought to myself as I walked from the only parking available within a half mile from my water-front condo.
I walked through the door with a smile still on my face as I wondered why more people didn’t strive to live in such a paradise. Even though I only made around forty thousand a year, it was still enough to live like this.
“Why are you always smiling?” My roommate asked.
“Guess I’m just happy,” I said as I put my briefcase down. “What’s going on?”
“Tina and Marci are coming over for the dinner party.”
I looked out the large balcony glass doors that overlooked the bay. “The sky’s already turning pink and purple. Why don’t we set up on the patio?”
“Sounds good to me.”
Life wasn’t perfect. I was trying to find my way out of an industry of questionable morality, some of the Marines close to me were dealing with some pretty serious PTSD and I always seemed to be broke. Even with the negatives, I was still happy and couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to live here. San Diego was only supposed to be a pit-stop on my move to Spain. I thanked God every day that I was smart enough to realize that I really had no clue as to what would make me feel this way, and now that I had found it, I better stick to it.
Every day felt like a holiday and I was thankful for it. In five years, those feelings had only grown stronger and I still dressed up as though everywhere I went was part that celebration.
I was often teased for always being so excited. I didn’t care. In fact, I was proud. It just reminded me of how aware I was of what I had. This happiness – this celebration – made me want to do more in life. I wanted to accomplish more, I wanted to be more creative, I wanted to help others, I wanted stronger relationships and I wanted to improve myself. Everyone and everything was a part of that. It was a party for the plenty, and I lucky enough to be the host.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO BE

• I want power, I want love, I want culture, I want to do good
• I want animals, I want art, I want balance
• I want adventure, I want people, I want success, I want fun
• I want nature, I want wellness, I want travel
What we want defines a big part of who we are. So does what we choose to do about it.

Do you still want the same things you did when you were younger? I do. I may no long dream of being the leader of a club of girls that wear leather and ride around on jaguar cats or want to own a zoo, but I still want to be close with those around me, love being around animals and crave the arts. As far as fashion goes, I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to wear a different look every single day, including selections from different cultures and styles. And I still like leather.

What’s happened since then? How many of us still have our dreams? It’s OK for them to change, but how do we go after what we’re passionate about, before that fire in our spirit dies out?

For many of us, it’s just a matter of knowing where to start. I wasn’t a big fan of “The Secret”, but it definitely had some ideas that stuck with me. One in particular was the vision board. The focus it required to pinpoint what I wanted, cutting out pictures of those things and putting them together made me think. Having those pictures up in front of me made my dreams real and it still to this day is a constant reminder of who I am and what I want.
I get lost all the time. My writing and that vision board are how I find my way back.

Once we’ve pinpointed what we want, how do we get it for ourselves? Being realistic and realizing we can’t walk through all doors at once are key. I’ve been writing since I was a young teenager and have a dozen unfinished manuscripts sitting around in mothballs somewhere. Finally, after a decade and a half, I got to the point of making the commitment to finish one, regardless of how good or bad it was, or even if it was ever going to go anywhere – I finished. Writing makes me happy and that had to be the payoff.

Another driving force was that I started to not only dislike myself, but also to lose myself. I had to finally accept the sacrifice it took to be true to myself or give into being unhappy and lost.

In order to go after my dreams, I couldn’t be as close in relationships as I like, had to pass on exciting business opportunities, say no to amazing trips and even move away from the home I loved. It’s been painful, but I did it.

As I took this first big step to reach what I want, it turned me in a different direction that I had never been able to see it before. A future started forming in my mind and I saw myself eventually “settling down” in this life I was creating for myself. It was amazing.

Once I was getting close to finishing the book, I started thinking about the other things I wanted in my life. How could I fit them all in and how could I realistically make it happen? I played with different scenarios until the random ideas eventually turned into this e-magazine. The most important sacrifice to getting here was giving up the expectation that it would be a career. That’s not to say that it won’t, I certainly hope it will, but to make it a requirement was way too much pressure.

The novel is done. The most important part of that adventure has been accomplished. As I make my way through disheartening moments of editing and publishing, I have to constantly remind myself of that, and I’m happy because of it.
The e-magazine is up and running. It may not be where I want it to be (your input, both good and bad, is crucial), but I get to write every day and bring other passions together to enjoy myself as well as share with others.

Finally, after all these years and experiences, I’m getting what I want.

What do you want? What gets in the way and how are you going to get it?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO BE – Short Story

Unhappy by TooLate_’s found on PhotoBucket
“She doesn’t want to leave, she just wonders if there’s life out there…” Amber sang along with Reba McIntire song on the radio as the words called out like the story of her life.
What did she want? She had been married for so long, there had been no time to remember anything outside of her step-kids, little baby and husband that was constantly unemployed and in legal trouble.
“I’m done taking care of you,” she said to him through the glass for the last time. “I met you in prison, I married you in prison and I’m saying goodbye to you in prison.”
“So you’re just going to abandon me?” He was leaning into the glass, trying to keep his voice down. “You’re just going to abandon your family?”
“Abandon my ass, Marco. I was just a kid going after the bad boy when I met you and I’ve been paying for it ever since,” she hissed. “Since then it’s been a full-time job to learn the laws in order to defend you, get you out of trouble and not only get some partial custody of your kids but also deal with a strung-out baby-mama. I’ve financially supported the whole family with extremely little help from you, dealt with your constant crap of bringing in drugs and low-life people into the house I’ve paid for, been heart-breakingly lonely as you ignore me unless you want something, sat alone with the kids as you disappear for entire nights at a time and then accusing me of not holding up my responsibilities. What’s the point of me working so hard to put myself through college when I was pregnant and work my ass off to get promoted so many times into a great job if you’re the so-called partner to share it with? You’ve never been supportive, never been a man and definitely never been a husband. At least, not a good one.”
“All couples go through hard times, Amber. Are you really going to bail on me when I need you the most?”
“I’m not bailing on you. Just like always, I put up the money and did the research to get you out of this shit again.”
“Fine. Be the fucking bitch you always are. Just fucking leave then. Go whore around with all of your slutty friends, get drunk and be a bad mom. You’ve always been an ice-cold selfish cunt.”
“Wow. You certainly make this easy,” she said, standing up with a smile.
“I’m sorry,” he said in a desperate effort to backpedal. “I’m just upset. You’re a great mom and you do everything for us. I love you, Amber. Please don’t leave me.”
“I’m done getting you out of prison. It’s time for me to finally get myself out, too.”
“You fucking whore…”
The last word trailed off as she put the phone down into the receiver from her end. She walked away for the last time as he banged on the protective barrier glass and was restrained by the guards.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It had been six months since she walked away from him. She thought it would be difficult to get the divorce, but he only knew how to fight dirty, which meant that he was helpless when it came to defending himself court. If he wanted something, he had always relied on manipulating through her compassion. He hadn’t had the first clue when it came to the law.
There were times she had been scared of him. There had even been times her friends were afraid. In the end he hadn’t done anything, but no one was foolish enough to think they were safe. Without her, he had turned into a pathetic shell of person, begging for any crumb of her love and then constantly burning the bridge right back down when she gave him an inch. Desperate people do desperate things, and no one was foolish enough to think he still couldn’t snap at any given moment.
Amber knew this was her new reality, but she wasn’t going to let it stop her from starting a new life. For the first time, everything was settling down. For the first time, she wasn’t letting him crash at her house or be involved in her life. It had been a whirlwind and consumed her until this point.
At first, she went out for months on end to not only numb the pain but also to celebrate her independence. Now that it all was calming down, she didn’t know what to do with herself. She was so used to fighting like hell to make her family survive, she was lost when it came to thinking about herself. She had a great job, but it was a lack-luster position in an industry that left her feeling nothing.
She was smart and had not only struggled to get herself through school while pregnant and working full time, but had also done it while taking care of her family and all of her husband’s problems. Those moments of doing such an impressive job of gathering the research that had continuously saved her now ex-husband had been one of the only outlets she had over the last few years to be happy with herself.
Now she had to think about how to be happy for herself, and the idea left her in a panic. Day after day, she was forced to look at herself a little more. She never had a chance to think about what was in her life before and now that’s all there was…time to think. What did she believe in? What did she want? What was she going to do with her life?
Those questions wouldn’t stop tormenting her. They whispered to her through the night and haunted her whenever she could hear her own thoughts. The more she tried to get lost in her career, the more unsatisfied she became with it. She had worked too hard to be working as someone else’s assistant in an industry she didn’t believe in. But what could she do? She hadn’t given much thought to her dreams she had been a little girl that wanted to own a dance studio. She didn’t want that anymore, but there had to be something.
“Amber – I need your help,” Marco said, interrupting the circle of thoughts with his phone call. “She’s accusing me of hitting Maria when I wasn’t even here!”
“Go get a notarized witness statement from everyone you were with and the people you talked to at the car show you were at during that time. The reputable ones, Marco. Gather any paperwork, tickets, receipts, pictures, anything you can think of from that weekend that helps to prove you weren’t anywhere near her or your daughter. Write out a detailed letter that’s as short as possible and label everything along with it to make it easy it court. Also remember to include a note that she refused to drug test the day before that.”
It was the most simple part of what she was used to doing for him. Constant research, learning laws and legal procedures. It wasn’t until that moment that she realized part of the reason she did she do so much for him was because she liked it. She was damn good at it, too.
She opened the internet and Googled “becoming a Paralegal”. A week later she was walking into offices of family law in a new suit and offering free help after business hours as an intern for three months in exchange for a position if she could prove herself. Less than a month and a half later, she was offered a permanent position that increased her previous salary by ten thousand a year and had begun studies to become a Certified Legal Assistant.
She was fighting for people again, but this time she fought for them to get away from all of the toxic garbage that had victimized her for so long. She felt powerful, like she was making a difference, successful and happy. She liked herself and what she did. It was the first time she had ever felt that way. Her life, career and dreams had finally become the same thing. Yes. She was finally a real person that had figured out what made her happy. Finally, she was really living.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

LOVING YIN AND FINDING BEAUTIFUL YANG

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
“They go to bed with Gilda, they wake up with me.” – Rita Hayworth
After years of others trying to change me and my trying to change myself, I’ve finally given in to the realization that it’s not going to happen.
I’m charismatic and neurotic
Passionate and overwhelming
Bad with money and good with people
The first to lean on in hard times but a lot of work
I’m a dreamer and unrealistic
Adventurous and dangerous
Attractive and overweight
Loving and sensitive
I’ve got addictive highs and lows
Fun but unstable
Creative and hard to understand
Easy to love and hard to hold onto
It’s easy to love the good and even easier to hate the bad in each one of us. What I’ve finally come to realize is that there’s always a flip side to every coin, and we all have it. More importantly, we don’t deserve any of it if we don’t love it all.
I was never able to accept this in my own life until I realized that loving what others consider their weakness is what makes them beautiful to me, and not loving it in myself is what enabled others to take what they wanted from me while rejecting what they didn’t.
Screw that.
I’ve finally come to love myself as I am, and am certainly done giving the time of day to anyone that doesn’t.
I am not here to be loved for what I represent. I am here to be loved for who I am.

How about you? What are the Yangs to your Yins? What about both sides make you and others bring the beauty?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

LOVING YIN AND FINDING BEAUTIFUL YANG – Short Story

“Let the party begin!”
Her big smile almost out-dazzled the fashionable fuchsia dress and multi-colored zebra-print shoes she posed in as she entered the front door.
“Hey everyone,” she shouted with warm excitement before heading into the crowd to hug every single person as she made them feel like the one-and-only love of her life.
“How are you always smiling, Blondie?”
It was a question she was used to hearing.
“How could I not smile when I see you, darling?” She was holding both hands of the young lady who had asked the question and looking at her with a twinkle in her eye.
She fed off the reaction of the crowd that fell under her spell. The attention didn’t stay on her for too long, but she had provided temporary excitement and there was a slight increase to the energy and mood of the room. She was an entertainer by spirit and found no better high.
“Let me take you out to dinner tomorrow,” pleaded a handsome young man.
“Calm down, tiger,” she said teasing. “You wouldn’t know what to do with me if your life depended on it.”
The promises of those enamored lies kept her at a distance. She knew it wasn’t intentional, but she was smart enough to realize that they were drugged on the character of her; not who he really was. Hardly anyone knew the other side that came out when the curtain went down.
*********************************
“Why are you so quiet?” It didn’t happen all the time, but when the long silences did come, it made her boyfriend uncomfortable.
“No reason, Gabriel,” she responded, still lost in thought as she watched the lights of the night pass on their drive. “Just lost in my own head.”
“I have to admit – when we first met, I didn’t believe you when you said you’re quiet and introverted a lot of the time. It didn’t seem…possible.”
“Welcome to the next stage of being in a relationship with me,” she teased. “If I’m not going off on philosophical rants, I’m recouping from all that extroverted fabulousness.” She smiled and rubbed the top of their entangled hands with her thumb. “What goes up must come down.”
“I like that smile,” he said, kissing the top of her cocoanut-scented hand. “You don’t smile as much with me anymore as you do when we’re out.”
“Come on sugar-britches! You gotta know that has nothing to do with how amazing I think you are. I’m just more comfortable with you now, which is a very good thing. I’m a tortured soul baby,” she joked with a dramatic gesture.
“I thought you were being sarcastic when you said that.”
“Yeah. It’s hard to believe. I love people, so I get excited when I first see them. That makes me all celebration and smiles, but that’s not who I really am. No one is. You get to see the me beyond those reactions to others. Most don’t see past the sparkle to see that there’s a lot more to me. Most don’t want it.”
“If you want to be taken seriously, why do you always flaunt about and wear such elaborate costumes?”
“Being animated and what I wear,” she said defensively, “is self-expression and does not determine how smart I am or how much respect I deserve. I don’t care if I get on the checkout stand at the grocery store and start dancing around in nipple tassels. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m a good person that does a lot for others and works incredibly hard to go after what I want and believe in. Besides – what’s wrong with being sexy? It should be celebrated. Not made into something we’re ashamed of.”
“But why do you always have to be so sexy? You’re with me now. Why do you want everyone looking at you?”
“Excuse me?” His comment bothered her, but she was still calm and understanding. “Have I changed from the person you first worked your tail off to win the time of day with?”
“No,” he said hesitantly as he realized he was walking into a trap.
“Do I come off as the type that does things to land a man instead of doing them because it’s who I am?”
“I’m not trying to suggest that. It just bothers me having so many people stare at you all the time.”
“I like making people feel good and I like entertaining. I hoped that you would enjoy that with me. I’m the last girl that’s going to be won and stuck away in a house cooking and cleaning for the rest of her life. And speaking of being in the house, in case you haven’t noticed, the way I dress is exactly the same when no one else is around as when they are.”
Gabriel stared at the road as he drove. He was unsatisfied with the conversation but, being a testosterone-filled guy’s guy, he was too uncomfortable to share those feelings.
“I don’t want to steamroll you,” she said switching gears. “You’re wonderful and of course I want to make you happy. I try to pay attention to your needs and find out where we both can be satisfied. Now that we’re getting more serious, maybe we can designate one dinner a week to trying to figure stuff like that out.”
He shifted in his seat, uncomfortable at the idea.
“Come on, baby. It can be very logical. We can try to think of it as business negotiations as much as possible if it makes you more comfortable and agree to keep as much emotion out of it as possible while we discuss things.”
He relaxed at the idea of keeping the emotions manageable. He had seen her, quite to his shock, switch on a dime when not getting enough respect from the fun-loving and light-hearted girl she was known as to a very serious and quite powerful woman.
“Only while we’re sifting through the nuts and bolts though,” she continued. “That’s all I’ll promise.”
He conceded with a slight nod.
“Oh come on pookie,” she said, unfastening her seatbelt to hop up and sit on her heels so she could throw her arms around his shoulders. “Lighten up for me. You’ve noticed how many fellas have tried to get my attention over the last few years.”
He tightened up, sliding back to an unpleasant mood.
“How many of them did I give the time of day? Even when I was single, I didn’t allow anything to happen and it was next to impossible to catch my interest. Why would it change now? Especially when I’ve got my dream man right here.” She started kissing him all over his face until he couldn’t hold back a laugh.
“Hold on woman,” he said, now in good spirits as he pulled her off. “You’re going to make me crash!”
“I know I’m a handful, Gabriel. I love you all the more for being such a strong man,” she said facing him in an Indian-style position. “You actually work at understanding me, loving me for who I am and working together to find a way to make us fit. Many think they want me,” she said, looking down, “but if I gave them a chance to see all of me, they’d run for the hills. I’ve always known that.”
“I can’t imagine anyone being unwilling to go to the ends of the earth for you,” he said, raising her chin. “All of you.”
Because of this, she loved him.
*********************************
As he parked on the street by the ocean, he stopped her before she opened the car door.
“I knew how heartbroken you were to invest the money you wanted to use to take your best friend on a birthday cruise,” he said changing the subject, “so I got something for you.”
She looked at him with surprise.
“Look in the glove box,” he said.
Pulling out four plane tickets to New Orleans for Marti Gras, she stared at the tickets as she processed what she was looking at.
“I want you to go with your girls,” he said. “You’ve been giving up a lot of the things that make you happy in order to do what’s responsible. I’ve noticed how much it’s taken away that spark I love about you so much. As much as I hate to admit it, I’d rather see your shining, happy personality with all of your crazy adventures than watch you be subdued so we can invest.”
Oh my gosh!” She jumped up and straddled him. “You’re amazing!”
“Just as long as we have a little something being sacked away, OK? Now listen. I trust you and want you to have fun on this trip, and I know you can take care of yourself, but it’s dangerous over there. I’ll be there too, but I’ll be doing my own thing with a couple friends at a different hotel. I’ll just be a phone call away if you need me.”
“How about late-night calls?” She asked with a seductive stare as she reached down to unbuckle his pants. “Are those permitted?”
“I think you’ve already worked your black magic on me, woman. What else do I have to be scared of?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

Who says a dog can’t learn new tricks?

Many people say that the 30’s are the best years of your life. You are old enough to know who you are, and adult enough to be able to act on it. While I have always been active, there are things that I was never able to do. Since I turned 30, I have embarked on a journey, to do things that I had never given myself the credit to be able to do.

Unlike most children, I never really got the hang of training wheels on a bike, so I never really learned. It was never really an issue of balance, as I was quick to learn ice skating and rollerblading. Once I got to college at UC Santa Barbara, a campus with a complex bicycle highway, people told me I would never make it through without learning. I tried once and hit a fence and a parked car. As I started teaching group exercise classes, I also became certified in 24 Cycle, Reaction cycle, and took many other cycling classes. I never felt I should teach it as I didn’t properly know how to ride and was worried about what the real cyclists in my classes would think. Once I got asked to sub for a month, I was hooked. After teaching for a while, I decided it was time to learn how to ride for real. My dad bought me a 24” girl’s bike at Wal-Mart. I ride it low so I can have access to the ground in case I feel like I’m going to fall. I pushed myself along to my mom’s a few times, a block down the street. I was finally able to go that little way. I had heard about the San Jose Bike Party and really wanted to take part in it. This would be a huge test.

They publish the course the day of the ride. I went with two of my girlfriends who had done this ride before. As much as I tried to express that I would be far behind, they did their best to try to wait for me and encourage me. But this was a battle within me. By the time we rode to the start, the SJBP route and then back, it was approximately 30 miles. I have never ridden a mile in my entire life. I kept thinking of what I would do if I got lost from the group, or couldn’t do it, or got hurt. But I pushed this to the back of my mind. All my life I had never been able to ride a bike and here I was determined to go these 30 miles. I fell to the back, as knew I would need lots of room and space to fall and make mistakes. I managed to complete the ride. I was very sore, very bruised, but the sense of accomplishment I felt was amazing. After that ride, I did my research and got a new bike seat, lights and accessories

Another adventure I embarked on was learning how to snowboard. I had skied in high school, but it was a relatively few times. I took a snowboarding lesson the first time, and didn’t manage to get back to Lake Tahoe until a year later, where I rented and fell – a LOT. Then I decided to get my own gear. I did a lot of research on how to snowboard, what to get, etc. When I decide to do something, I go full out. I went 5 or 6 times that year. This year I went, and am still working on the basics, but I learned how to carve and go toe-side and that was a huge accomplishment for me as that was my biggest challenge.

My next trial is running. I do not run. I joke that I only do “paid cardio”, as in when I teach cardio classes. I, by nature, am a lifter and am more comfortable in strength training. Many of my friends have run marathons and half-marathons and I want to be a part of that. I may not be able to do that. But most of those events have 5k & 10k options. When I rowed crew in college and we had to run, I was always one of the last. But just like before, this is not going to stop me. I have set my mind to it and it will be done.

In the last year I have also kept my mind open and I have gone whitewater rafting and ridden a horse. With all the technology that is now available to us, all the help that is out there, the gadgets, the online how-to’s, audio training and apps on iTunes, there is no reason to be afraid to embark on an adventure of your own. I am not an athlete. I was never ‘the best’ at anything. I believe that I can accomplish what I set my mind to. My method of training is to start with what people have to bring. You can’t train everyone the same and not all people can be ‘beaten’ into shape. I want all people to be able to feel the way I have felt as I work on these new things. You can start at any age, and any level. There are SO many options out there, and resources that will help, guide and encourage you every step of the way. I want to encourage everyone to get out of their heads and into something new and exciting.

“If you can run a mile, you can run a marathon” – See Jane Run www.seejanerun.com

“When I first started running, I was so embarrassed, I’d walk when cars passed me. I’d pretend I was looking at the flowers.” Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic Marathon Winner

Sites to get you started / Recommended links

www.seejanerun.com

www.active.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have been a Certified Group Exercise instructor and Personal trainer since 2001. (ACE, AFAA) I have a Dual-track minor from UCSB in Group Ex & Personal Training as well as graduated from SJSU Kinesiology:Exercise Physiology,MA with my project and studies on exercise and pregnancy.

Mission

My main concern over the years working with clients is extreme diets, unhealthy perceptions of what is ‘healthy’, finding something that works for you, and being able to maintain it.

Nicole M Thompson MA, certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor has been in the fitness industry for over 10 years. She has used her own body for experimental practice by competing in NPC Figure and Bikini competitions. While able to push herself to her limits, Nicole believes in finding out what works for each person to give them the best shot at sticking to a healthier, better lifestyle. Contact Nicole at ytweety79@gmail.com.

Nicole M. Thompson, MA
UCSB, Sociology, minor Group Ex & Personal Training
SJSU, Kinesiology: Exercise Physiology, minor Sports Nutrition,
specializing in Exercise & Pregnancy
NPC Figure & Bikini America competitor

DEALING IN DIFFERENCE

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=6844&picture=grotesque-figure
When trauma strikes, we each handle it our own way.
During the event, I tend to be calm and use humor. Then I mentally run away by compartmentalizing, being unable to focus and get tired to the point of being unable to keep my eyes open; especially when that ever-elusive elephant in the room is talked about. Much later, when the feelings finally start bubbling up, strange and quite often self-destructive behavior patterns arise. Unless there’s help from an outside source during the initial stages of shock and recovery, it isn’t until this point that I even have the chance to start dealing with the trauma in a healthy way.
This is one pattern, but everyone handles these situations in their own way. Some get violent and others cry. One person may not seem to care while another cares too much. Some over-dramatize, others use humor, some make it all about themselves and others take care of those around them. Regardless of how we react, if we’re involved in a traumatic situation, we’re affected.
My use of humor in high-stress environments often causes others to feel uncomfortable and confused. I’ve even had some get mad at me for not reacting the way they thought I should. In their effort to make sense of it, my reactions have been written off as my not having been too affected.
It affects everyone and we all have to deal with it.
Those of us out there experiencing more of the world are subjected not only to the good, but also to the bad. It’s a numbers game, pure and simple. And being the outgoing and charismatic free-spirits many of us creative and adventurous types tend to be, even more attention is brought to us by the way we present and carry ourselves. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to use this as a strength. Other times it turns into a bright red flag waving in front of a bull.
What do we do with all of this? Do we crawl inside ourselves and stop expressing who we are so we can be a little safer? Do we stop traveling, stop exploring, stop having adventures and start believing those who tell us it’s wrong, irresponsible, dangerous and we need to grow up? This lifestyle is hard enough without letting that poison in. We are free-birds that refuse to live in a cage, so we have to accept the consequences of flying free. Especially when being persecuted, physically attacked or facing many other kinds of danger.
Maybe part of the reason I use humor is to shrug off the horrible feelings that could scared me away from so much of what I love. Who knows. What I do know is that it helps me to keep going on and do what I want.

How do you react to traumatic situations and how do others react to you? How do you feel about their reactions? What do you think about the lifestyles that make us more subjected to these situations? Is there a way to be safer while still being true to ourselves? Or do we just have to accept if for what it is?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

DEALING IN DIFFERENCE — short story

copyright Backpack New Zealand http://www.backpack-newzealand.com/ni-gallery/Rotorua/night
Holding up one hand to the pistol and the other to the man it was pointed at with her in between, she had no clue why this was going on.
“He doesn’t know why you’re after him,” she said with a calmness that was one straw away from shattering. “Just let me get him out of here.”
She had jumped in the middle of their fight just moments before and couldn’t believe it had escalated to this point. The unarmed young man was just as bewildered as she was as he tried to defend himself and his girlfriend.
Unfamiliar with this New Zealand town, she held onto the girl’s hand tight and stayed close to the young man as they backed out of the restaurant and ran without direction.
Taking refuge in a pub a few streets away, she hugged the woman that had begun crying again and kept an arm around the man. She wished she knew what to do to comfort him as he sat there switching between moments of being stunned, devastated and being filled with anger, but she was still numb to how she was feeling herself.
“It’s a beautiful night,” she said, teasing at the officers an hour after they had first arrived.
“So you don’t know them?” A pleasant younger officer was casually starting to ask her questions.
“Not beyond tonight. We just met at the restaurant while we were waiting for tables and decided to dine together. We were having a great time before the night spun out into a crazy left turn.”
“How did it start?”
“The attackers were hitting on us girls whenever we would leave the table to go to the dunny. As far as I can tell, that’s what started all the fun.”
“You’re not sure?”
“Nope. I think they slipped some party favors in our drinks.”
“You think you were drugged?”
“Well – the three of us were sharing a second bottle of wine in three hours when we started feeling dizzy. Whatever happened after that is black. When I came to, I was in a back room of the restaurant with my clothes thrown around as if they were playing musical chairs. The yelling I heard in the main part of the restaurant woke me up and I ran out after pulling on my clothes.”
“Do you think you were raped?” His question dripped with skepticism.
The common opinion of the officers had been that she a charismatic girl who was little more than a bystander in this situation. This new information along with her light-hearted attitude made him think that this statement could have been for the attention.
“Oh boy. It’s a party now,” she joked. “It’s possible….actually, probable. I’m still woozy and confused about everything, but I’m definitely feeling pain all over. I must be in shock. They took my money, but I still have my passport, so it’s not a total loss.”
“How did the fight start?”
“Couldn’t tell you. I’m guessing it has something to do with protecting the girlfriend, but I don’t really know.”
“How did this happen without the employees or patrons noticing?”
“I’m guessing these guys are familiar with the restaurant. It wouldn’t take rocket science to figure out that there’s empty rooms used for banquets and the employees would have been distracted with closing up since it was late.”
“You don’t seem to be taking this very seriously.” His attitude had turned.
“What would you have me do?” She asked, putting her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. The way she relaxed into a knowing smile showed that this wasn’t the first experience dealing with this kind of reaction. “This is already a terrible situation. Why would I want to make it worse by falling apart? What good would I be then? If I can make others feel better by adding humor or showing that it’s not the end of the world, why wouldn’t I? I’ll be damned if I’m going to give the horror of it any more power by being upset.” A flicker of pain swept over her eyes for less than a second.
“Besides,” she said, looking vulnerable as tears filled her eyes for the first and only time that night, “if I didn’t laugh and smile, how would I ever survive things like this?”
That was enough to convince him and he felt horrible for coming down on her the way he had.
“Don’t worry about it, officer. Most people don’t understand the way I react. Trust me – it hits later. What else do you need to know?”
“Uh,” he said as he grasped to remember what he was there to do, “how did you end up here tonight?”
“I’m a rolling stone that likes to travel alone, good sir. That makes me cautious of who I let my guard down to and very aware that there’s safety in numbers. I know that being alone makes me a target. I trust my instincts, and nice couples are usually a safety-zone. I found the restaurant by asking around town today and would have gone back to my lodgings early if I hadn’t met them.”
“You travel alone? That’s brave,” he said as he scribbled notes.
“Yeah,” she said sarcastically. “Look at the situation I’m in right now. Real brave.”
“If you don’t approve, why do you put yourself in risky situations?”
“This isn’t my first time being drugged, raped, robbed, in the middle or a fight or even looking down the barrel of a gun,” she said still smiling, but serious and with a numb look in her eyes. “Bad things have always found me. Even when I was in the sheltered environment of the upper-class life I grew up in. I figured that if it’s going to happen anyway, I might as well live life to the fullest and try to make the experiences I face worth something.”
“You must be pretty strong,” he said with admiration.
“Yeah,” she said leaning against the warm police car in the cold night air, “funny thing about that. This I can handle, but I didn’t have the strength to survive that life. It was killing me and I wouldn’t have lasted much longer if I didn’t get out. So many people seem indifferent to how much we’re all different. Sometimes strength isn’t where it’s expected. Maybe the real strength for me was in realizing that and doing something about it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

GYPSY SOUL

I listened to the ghostly vibration of the BART train as I looked through the window at the tree outside and the house below in this unfamiliar town. Living the life of a gypsy seemed to wear on me less and less as I became more familiar with being unfamiliar. Turning my mind, heart and soul back on from the lethargic life of habit and routine was everything, and I breathed it in as I remembered what it was like to wake up and be alive again.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most of us get urges to jump in a car and drive off into the sunset, hop on a red-eye to some far off land or pack up our things and move to wherever the wind blows. What is it that gets some of us to do it and others to back off?

“You can’t have roots and wings.” – Jake from Sweet Home Alabama

Some quotes resonate with us from the most unlikely places.
Traveling is exciting and gives the chance to meet new people from other walks of life, but how do we cultivate the relationships we make if we’re always gone?
And then there’s work. Being self-employed and working temporary jobs are two ways that can protect us from feeling controlled and tied down, but it comes with a lack of financial stability, no guarantee of continued work and a risk of not having health care when needed. It may not seem like the end of the world, but being in a foreign land with a suddenly empty bank account or coming upon an unexpected surgery that will cost in the thousands will quickly take away the luster of such a “free” life.
What about marriage and having a family? When constantly gone, it feels impossible to nurture close relationships. How can something that requires that level of intimacy ever survive?

“Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they’re meant to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with.” – Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City

Maybe that’s just it. We have to stop trying to obtain what the rooted life offers and accept what this one has to give and, maybe even more importantly, what it doesn’t. Our version of relationships, stability and well-being will be something different than those that follow a different path. No one gets to have the good from everything and it’s not right to deny the hardships of the other. As long as we’re on the side that’s right for us, we just have to deal with and accept it, good and bad.

C’est la vie!


We’d love to hear your side to both sides of the coin. What’s your advice about how to go for the things that are harder to achieve on both?

This photo by Paul Moore http://www.diomedes.org/ can be found at www.dreamstime.com — Photo 1885871

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

GYPSY SOUL – the story

“I’m leaving,” she said.
“What do you mean?” her friend asked in alarm.
“I’m going to quit my job and leave.”
“Leave where,” the brunette said, sounding hurt. “You just got back!”
“I don’t know. New Zealand maybe. Beunos Aires just confirmed how much I have to do this, Lisa. Two weeks wasn’t enough.”
“You’re just going to pack up your stuff and move to New Zealand? Why, Calypso?”
“I’m dying here.”
“You live in an awesome place with a good job and a great life. Why can’t you just be happy?” She was beginning to tear up.
“I don’t know – I wish I could. I love it here, but I just can’t handle doing the same thing day in and day out. I mean, is this it? Is there nothing else to look forward to? Everything I have may be great, but it’s not exciting anymore. I’m not ready to stop experiencing new things. New people and cultures…I still need adventure. Remember when we took our first trip to Europe?”
“Yeah.”
“Getting lost in the streets of Venice, floating in the waters of Greece, going into overload on everything we took in as we tried to remember which country we were in and what language to speak…did you ever feel more alive?”
“It was pretty amazing, but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time. And I definitely wouldn’t want to leave the people I love like that.”
“That kills me too,” Calypso said, looking down at the ice cream cone in her hand. “I may not have it figured out yet, but what I do know is that being confined to this same mundane routine in the same tiny life with the same influences day after day is killing me. I can’t be with all of you if I’m mentally and emotionally a million miles away.”
“Why don’t you get out to more museums, galleries or step up the volunteering? I know you like that stuff. Go to the theater if you need culture,” Lisa said in a near panic. “Or if you really need to get away, take another week to go to the horse ranch in Montana you’ve been talking about. Why do you have to quit your job and leave the country?”
“It’s what’s in my heart, Lisa. I didn’t choose to feel like this and would change it if I could. I love you and everyone else that have become family to me. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but you know I have to do this. I know you feel like I’m leaving you, but I’ll come back. I swear.”

Calypso tried fighting her wanderlust with the week in Montana, but a month later she was on a one way flight to New Zealand.
Now on a plane with everything she owned, she sat there and thought about how sad she was to leave so much of what she loved, but how exhilarated she was at the unknown adventures, both good and bad, that were on their way. Eventually she’d find her way back to face the consequences of what she had left behind. For now, she embraced who she was and the happiness that came with. She was finally living for herself and felt a love for life that she had never been able to find before. In the middle of the skies and in these unknown lands, she had finally found home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.
Bobbie White

A travel & lifestyle blog about the messy pilgrimage of adventure, body-positivity and personal growth. Real and authentic. All the way.