Getting Real

I just got back from getting my Real ID. It’s a perfect morning in eastern Oklahoma—bright, clear, cool—so the short drive over the Arkansas River with the pretty foothills in the southeast pulled my shoulders down from my ears. I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for the last week. Getting out and breathing in the beauty of today was better medicine than anything on my nightstand.

Getting a Real ID—the one that gives a person more access than a regular driver’s license—takes some preparation. This kind of red tape is stressful for me. Ghosts of Doing It Wrong rise up and cluck. But when I dug out my passport, it surprised me by still being valid. It also rolled out wonderful memories of my whirlwind trip to England in 2014 and stirred my current fantasy of visiting Scotland some far-off day.

Whirlwind Souvenirs

I was Real when I traveled to England, but realized I’d lost that sense of myself. Too much stress. Too many changes. Too many dreams abandoned—Trump, Covid, Oklahoma and adapting to life with my sister. My bipolar disorder wrapped me up like a quilt and bundled me into a safe, padded room.

Today, my illness feels lighter. Today, my art is coming back, like red-tailed hawks came back to Iowa after DDT left the ecosystem. The birds migrated to a place where their eggs could be viable, but eventually came home again when it was safe.

My art seems to be laying eggs again, too. I’m getting new ideas, using new elements, trying scarier and out-of-my-comfort-zone things. Like making little watercolor and marker sketches of my own to illustrate my cards.

A walk through my sister’s lovely backyard garden gave me lots of deadfall and other treasures to make some different kinds of cards. Sewing something so fragile feels like a meditation, and I haven’t been able to meditate in a long while.

My therapist and I are also working with a new (for me) kind of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Lots of familiar behavioral and mindfulness elements presented in a new way. One of my first tasks was to sort through What Is Important To Me. Honestly, I wasn’t sure anymore, so that took time. And now I’m journaling about how I move toward those things or values. You can see how much progress I’ve made so far.

With this unmoored sense of self, I will have to dig to find ways I am actively seeking the things I say I value—if I’m doing that at all. And it’s scary to think how much they might have changed or if I just abandoned what I loved and valued. But that’s what therapy is for, right? To set a new course. To Get Real.

And maybe, when I’m a Real Girl again, and the Covid pigs fly, and the Border Unicorns prance open, I’ll take my passport to Scotland and breathe in the beauty there.

Oh, today I am blessed with Adventure.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TamrahJo
    Oct 07, 2021 @ 12:19:41

    Bravo! Kudos! So HAPPY for you!!! And best wishes as you emerge from the time of Trials, to explore, decide, move forth walking the Path you create before you, with every bit of the “you of you” that shines through – over and over and over – – – at least, to my eyes. Have missed seeing you in my reader, figured you were ‘busy’ doing something, somewhere, on fronts needed to chart the new story of your life. Thank you so much for posting and sharing – and yes, whether it expires or not, whether you make it to Scotland or not, in my heart? I just figure you ALWAYS have a Passport to Life – – and well – don’t know about you, but for me? That Passport also means, sometimes, layovers in areas where we stop to rest, regroup, redefine the itinerary – – 😀


  2. MarthaS
    Oct 07, 2021 @ 12:27:27

    Is there a link to your Etsy store someplace in your email? XO


  3. Sue Johnston
    Oct 07, 2021 @ 15:50:04

    You will love Scotland Sandy! One of the most beautiful places on earth – truly it is!


  4. Val Boyko
    Oct 07, 2021 @ 19:31:28

    Art laying eggs and wonderful renderings of you being real. I like it 💕


  5. Val Boyko
    Oct 07, 2021 @ 19:35:00

    Men in kilts! Love it 💕💐💕


  6. kirizar
    Oct 11, 2021 @ 10:29:25

    I was having a bleak, dark morning and then watched Men in Kilts. Definitely helps to scurry the blues back into the corners, at least for a little while.

    You are not alone in trying to find a path back to someone you recognize and like. I’ve done ACT therapy and the only difficulty I have is remembering the things I learned. I also struggle with memory challenges, that, apparently aren’t something that my doctors feel is anything to worry about. Maybe I haven’t expressed how much it worries me? (Makes note to bring it up in my next session. Let’s hope I remember.)

    It’s a Monday. Mondays are hard, even when they aren’t. It’s my day to reset and try to find my footing after a weekend with the kid. He goes to school for about 5 hours and then he’s back home. Five hours to reset is good, but it’s a bit like patching the holes in a dam with chewing gum and hoping it will hold when the storms rage. Iffy at best. (God, I swear Mondays make me into a huge ass whiner. Ignore me. I’m sure there are happy people somewhere you can talk to.) That is all!


  7. Lori
    Oct 11, 2021 @ 22:18:33

    Keep going, Sandy! Love seeing you writing again!


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