26 Things I've Never Told You

Photo: Heather Jackson

Photo: Heather Jackson

I’m back in the states and ready to put more effort into my personal website and blog. I enjoy writing and refuse to believe that people don’t take the time to read anything that’s more than 280 characters. So, to kick it all off I want to have a little fun with what feels like the start of something new by letting you get to know me a little better.

I am a big advocate for transparency. I find it refreshing when people take off the mask and are willing to sport and show their flaws publicly…our flaws are what makes us human after all. So I’m going to share with you 26 of my quirks, secrets, or habits that you probably don’t know about me.

1. I hate audio books but LOVE podcasts. The only audio book I’ve been able to listen to all the way through was 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Highly recommend it.

2. Almost every night I fall asleep to one of two shows ‘New Girl’ or ‘How I Met Your Mother’. I’ve seen the series of each more than I can count. I know exactly what’s going to happen which makes it perfect background noise. I like falling asleep to familiar sounds, especially since I spend a lot of my nights sleeping alone in my van where I have encountered some very interesting and scary sounds.

3. Birthday cake is my favorite desert!

4. I’ll never buy a kindle. I love having a physical book in hand…and yes I am aware that its bad for the environment…but so are kindles.  

5. I started homeschooling my Sophmore year of high school and sometimes wish I hadn’t so I could have gone to prom and graduated with my class.

6. I fall asleep excited to drink coffee in the morning. The ritual of coffee brings me sooooo much joy.

7. I always get to the airport two hours early sometimes three…I have real fears around missing my flight.

8. I cry a lot…sometimes a beautiful sunset can bring tears to my eyes.

9. I’m pretty sure the first movie I saw in theaters was Braveheart! Which was in 1995, I was 5 years old and is probably the only thing I vividly remember from that age.

10. I REALLY REALLY hate wearing shoes.

11. Putting stickers on things gives me anxiety. What if it has bubbles? What if I put it on crooked and when I try to fix it it looses it’s stickiness? (I might have some serious commitment issues)

12. I have a huge aversion to small talk…I really like getting right to the meat of it from the get go.

13. When I was in preschool I threw a big rock through a parked car window to impress my friends. The cops were called.

14. Also, in preschool me and my friend cut the whiskers off a cat we were secretly feeding under my porch and the next day it got hit by a car.

15. I don’t want to have kids or get married. I don’t believe marriage is necessary, I think people change so much throughout their lives and it’s difficult for me to imagine loving one person the rest of my life. I’ve also seen it destroy a lot of relationships. I don’t want to have kids because I enjoy my freedom too much and I think there are too many people in the world….someday I may adopt.

16. I have never danced in public sober since I started drinking in highschool…but I LOVE dancing and it’s a personal goal of mine to change this.

17. I think high-waisted jeans look stupid.

18. I’d like to eventually live off-the-grid.

19. I love meditation and yoga but reject a lot of the “spiritual” fluff that comes with it. The moment someone tells me they charged their crystals I glaze over and can’t take anything that person says seriously.

20. I LOVE music so much!!! One of my favorite past times is making playlists on Spotify.

21. I’m really jealous of musical artists. I wish I could sing so I could turn some of the things I write into music.

22. I do not have or follow any religion. I don’t need religion to give me purpose or to make me feel at ease about death. I find more comfort in knowing my body is made of stardust and the energy that is “me” will be recycled back into the natural world then I do about a heaven or hell.

23. I think about death a lot. I’m always very aware of how fragile my own existence is which makes me live in a way that is sometimes very impulsive. And seriously, have you ever been sitting in traffic and thought to yourself, “Some day every person here will be dead?” Try it sometime…it really puts things into perspective.

24. I’m very disorganized, my van, room, bags are always in a state of chaos…I have embraced this side of me.

25. I love the smell of mildew. I think because it reminds me of my summers spent in Cape Cod with my family.

26. The biggest gap in my knowledge is cooking. I am a terrible cook. But my time in Costa Rica has inspired me to learn and get to a point where I can cook a big meal for my friends or family.

Thanks for reading all the way through this little experiment. If you enjoyed this please feel free to leave a comment with your own quirks or secrets…I’d love to hear from you. If I’ve offended you in anyway thanks for reading anyway.

RVR 2 RVR Costa Rica Retreat: The Pacuare River

It’s not secret now, if you’ve been following me on social media, that I am in love with Costa Rica. I love sharing the things I love with others. I’m not one for keeping things to myself. So hosting this retreat with Amazing Vacations Costa Rica was my opportunity to share this special place with others. It was an eight day experience and three of them was spent on my favorite river, the Pacuare. We did two days of paddling with one active rest day in the middle where we hung out at jungle camp, ziplined, and swung through the trees.

This was the first retreat but it certainly won’t be the last. Stay tuned for more upcoming retreat dates!

The Recovery isn't Over

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The year leading up to my accident I had undergone extreme growth. I had faced some of my biggest fears, overcome some great obstacles, and was in the best shape and health of my life. But after my accident it felt like someone hit the reset button on me and all that work I did was lost. My confidence took a big hit and my overall sense of self has been muddied ever since. When I tell people what happened and they see where I’m at now, only eight months later, they look at me in disbelief. People call me a warrior and tell me how strong I am…because, from the outside I look like I’m fully recovered and back to my old self. But the truth is I feel so far from who I was before it all happened.

I feel lost a lot of the time. My mind foggy and my memory weak. My emotions fluctuate and I can be overly sensitive. I don’t know how to describe having a brain injury other than that it can be sooooooo alienating. Not a single person can see that eight months later I am still in recovery. The people I talk to can’t see that I am working very hard to train my attention on them and that my eyes feel like they are crossing. Nobody can see that when I struggle to find a basic word like ‘climate’ I am engaging in an internal dialogue of negative self-talk. Everything that I experience from my injury I do so behind a curtain, very much alone. 

It’s very true that I am having to start over. All the things that gave me strength before like meditation and yoga now feel frustrating and tedious. Even though I know these things can bring me back to my strength…I rarely do them because they are mentally painful. Paddling and the river is the only place I feel strong now. It’s the only place I feel focused. It’s the only place that my brain injury doesn’t exist and I can step out from behind the curtain. 

I’m leaving Costa Rica in two days, the place I have identified as my healing grounds. I’m nervous to head back to the states. Afraid to be around those that knew me before my accident, afraid they will see I am not the same. Afraid they will see how weak I feel like I am. I know what I need but am too afraid to ask for it. Afraid to be seen as self-indulgent and that I’m just milking this injury...using it as an excuse. I know I am not alone in this. Anyone with a traumatic brain injury can relate to the fear of asking for what you want or need because to everyone else you appear to be fully recovered. 

If you know anyone recovering from a brain injury the greatest kindness you can show them is patience and an unconditional support...free of judgment. We are the only ones who know what we need. You don’t need to know what we are going through. All we need is to not feel so alone in the process of coming back to ourselves.