About Cari

Born or, as Mom & Dad affectionately like to say, spawned in 1975 in the Detroit Metro area of Michigan, I still live less than 2 miles from the home where I was raised by the most wonderful Mom, Dad, & Grammy in the Universe. Yeah, I’m biased. So what? They are that amazing. I currently live with my husband, roommate (he’s also my ‘fwb’–yes, hubby knows), & our incredibly adorable critterkids. I’m a city girl by address & a country (northern Michigan) girl at heart. Someday I will live in northern Michigan where my spirit will finally truly thrive. That’s not to say I’m not proud of being a metro-Detroiter. I am. Detroit is so much more than just the harsh images you see on television. Most of us are great people, we are strong-willed by nature, & we can get through just about anything.

I have Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (as new research has emerged, CFS is becoming more frequently/accurately referred to as CFIDS or ME). While I’d like to say this condition doesn’t have me, the reality of this lovely combination of illnesses is that sometimes, it does. To say this hasn’t affected my life would be a complete lie. It doesn’t, however, define me. Some of my loves are hiking, just about anything pertaining to the outdoors, & touring caves (including some ‘wild cave tours’—think mountain climbing, acrobatics, & squeezing through very tight spaces underground & you’ll get the picture). Planning ahead for those types of activities, or sometimes anything, is nearly impossible now—they have to be done on the spur of the moment on the ‘good days’. I was a veterinary assistant for many years & also a medical assistant for a little over a year before my body told me it just wasn’t going to take the abuse anymore. At the time, I hadn’t yet been diagnosed. All I knew was that I was in a state of nearly constant pain & exhaustion. My heart was shattered. You see, to me there’s just about no greater feeling in the world than assisting in a surgery knowing that it’s going to make life better for an animal or even save its life. Fibromyalgia/CFS stole all this & so much more from me. Don’t expect me to forgive it any time soon. Never heard of this illness? Neither had I. Looking back, I know now that it’s highly likely I’d had it for years before I was diagnosed. Sure, it was great to finally have a name for what I’d been experiencing for so long. The knowledge that I’m not just the lazy whiner I’d been ruthlessly accusing myself of being was somewhat reassuring, as well. However, that knowledge doesn’t give back what I feel was stolen. Nor does it mean that I don’t wish I could turn around & choke the life out of this illness as it sometimes feels as though it’s doing to me. So, please, if you have a friend or loved one that’s experiencing these symptoms or has told you they’ve been diagnosed with this, please make the effort to understand & help them by educating yourself because they’re probably beating themselves up enough already. Trust me when I say there is nothing more valuable to someone who has Fibromyalgia than a truly caring & understanding circle of family & friends. There’s an absolutely fantastic analogy called The Spoon Theory” (© Christine Miserandino) that, although it’s about Lupus, is an incredibly perfect way of explaining what everyday life is like for someone living with an ‘invisible’ &/or chronic illness. I humbly, strongly, & most gratefully implore you to read it. The National Fibromyalgia Association & WebMD’s Fibromyalgia Health Center are also great starting points for resources to help you to better understand & help an affected loved one or yourself.

My Dad bought me a Bear Panda bow when I was around 10 years old & I’m proud to say I’m a heck of an archer. I’m pretty darn good with Grandpa’s 30-30 Winchester, too. Yes, I’m quite the tomboy & yes, I hunt & fish when I get the chance. Does that surprise you since I’m also an animal lover? It shouldn’t. No, I’m not going to regurgitate the standardized & overused answer about wildlife management that many would expect, although that does play a role. I was raised with the utmost respect for Mother Nature & Her creatures. Most hunters are truly saddened to see any animal suffer or the waste of life that happens on our nation’s freeways each & every day. Most hunters I know have more respect for the environment & the creatures that live in it than any animal rights activist or environmentalist I’ve met. Why? That’s easy. It’s because we hunters have communed in silent solitude for untold hours on end listening to the voice of Mother Nature as the sun rises through the trees, breathing in that spiritual essence, & taking it into our very souls. There is a feeling that can only be described as magical when being so still that a chickadee alights ever so softly on your boot, in hearing gently falling snowflakes or a distant breeze rustling through the autumn leaves long before it ever caresses your cheek. Most hunters are the real environmentalists. Essentially, we truly have hugged the trees.

Spiritually speaking, I’m what would likely be considered an eclectic Pagan or even a Christo-Pagan syncretic ‘hybrid’ of sorts. Suffice to say that, although I’m a very spiritual person, I don’t easily fit into any one specific category when it comes to my personal spiritual beliefs. In 2008, I became a legally ordained non-denominational minister of the Universal Life Church. While I realize there are those who, for various reasons, wouldn’t or don’t take that seriously, I do. Theosophical exploration is a passion of mine. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite pastimes is to study various faiths. Discovering the fascinating similarities & beauty within each of them is truly a rewarding treasure to be cherished. I believe extremism in any faith (or lack thereof) is volatile & dangerous. I dream of a wondrous day when people of all faiths will arrive at a universal realization that we’re all amazing creatures of Divinity, regardless of which name(s) one chooses identify with in their spiritual practices, & that it is possible to peacefully coexist.

Political party declarations? Not this woman. I am simply proud to be an American. I don’t subscribe to any one platform of ideals when it comes to politics. I know what I personally believe in & what I don’t. At times, those ideals lean more toward the conservative &, at other times, the liberal. Where I stand politically depends strictly on the issue at hand. In other words, I’m relatively moderate. I feel political extremism is just as dangerous & volatile as religious extremism. I’d be happy to see the day that we vote people into office, not party platforms. If that were to happen, America would truly be a free country.

I’m multifaceted. I’m highly opinionated yet open-minded. I’m a total nerd. I’m a dreamer. I firmly believe reading is fundamental. I know for a fact that video games can, indeed, be therapeutic. I still love going to the zoo. There are times when I unabashedly allow my inner four year old to come out to play & I find myself all the happier for having done so. Altruistic Utopian fantasy or not, I still have faith in the spiritual philosophy & infinite possibilities of hope contained within the word “Coexist“. I have Fibromyalgia, but I have no intention of allowing it or any of its various cohorts to completely defeat me anytime soon. Through this blog, I’m taking the first steps out of a long period of darkness & inner turmoil in my life in hopes that, though I’ve no idea yet where the path may lead, this blogging/writing journey will assist in restoring the pieces of myself that I’ve somehow lost along the way in that vast pit of darkness. I relish intelligent, thought-provoking banter & debate for that, in my opinion, is one of many thoroughly enjoyable methods by which the endless potential of the human mind can be unlocked in order to grow & evolve. I am neither afraid nor too proud to apologize when necessary. I feel degrees, titles, or the amount of letters that precede or follow your name have nothing to do with your actual intelligence—it’s your mind & whether you’re still allowing it to evolve that dictates the intellect, not pieces of paper. Politically correct? Not a chance! Right or wrong, I personally feel that phrase & its underlying concept should simply be eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary. Walking on eggshells throughout life with the cumbersome burden of that phrase dictating one’s every word & action is a phenomenal waste of time & energy that could be better spent actually accomplishing something. It also seems to transform one’s sense of self into an endangered, if not extinct, species. That’s not to say I’m lacking in heart, sympathy, or compassion. Please be assured, I have plenty of those qualities & more. Sometimes–to be quite honest, all too often–I tend to have an overabundance of those attributes. While it may seem to many that some of my beliefs, words, or actions conflict with my others, they reconcile themselves just fine for me &, in the grand scheme of things, that’s really all that matters. I am, unapologetically, Cari.

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35 responses to “About Cari

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  3. Really cool blog, Cari. Your ‘About’ page is more comprehensive than all of my posts combined (and more fun to read, too). Stay audacious!

    • Thanks, Anthony! Glad you liked my little mini-autobiography. Trying my best to ‘stay audacious’, but the Fibromyalgia & all the encompassing things that go along with having a chronic illness (I know you know the feeling, so I know I need not elaborate) have really got me down lately. I’ve been taking some time off from blogging, social media, & the computer in general to evaluate where I’m going & what I want to do. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, though, so I’m not just sitting here letting my mind turn to mush when it comes to pursuing my dream of becoming a writer. After all, you have to read to learn to write–or so I’ve been told. 😉

      I hope you are feeling as well as can be expected (I know there are ‘good’ days & ‘bad’ days with chronic illness) & that you had a great holiday season. I wish you all the best, Anthony.

      Blessed Be,

      Cari

  4. This is the most comprehensive “about” page I’ve ever come across. Kudos to you, Cari! Based on everything you’ve revealed here, I’d say we’re likely to be friends. Have a fantastic weekend! 😀

    • Thank you so very much, Alexis! I hope very much that we will be friends, as well. 🙂 Your blog is just as intriguing, by the way. I definitely meant what I said about being grateful for your blog posts that give tips to those like me who are still getting their feet wet in the writing world. I wish a wonderful weekend to you & yours, as well. 😀

  5. Hello I too suffer from fibromyalgia but don’t let it beat me. blessed be to you too.

    • Hi there, Sheilagh! Thank you for sharing that with me. Although I wouldn’t wish Fibromyalgia & all that it entails on anyone, it’s nice to know that we’re not alone sometimes, isn’t it? (((gentle hugs)))

      I must confess that the stress of the holidays really got to me this year so, in a way, the Fibro is beating me at the moment. I’ve been taking a break from the computer to read, relax, & reevaluate some things. I’ll be back soon, though. There’s no way I’ll let this beast keep me down permanently. 🙂

      Blessed Be,

      Cari

  6. Thanks for checking out my site. You’ve certainly got some interesting things to say. Let’s be blogging buddies! =D

    • As do you, James. I truly enjoy the way you’re unafraid of voicing your opinions loud ‘n proud. Keep on rockin’ those thoughts! 😀 Agree or disagree, it is only through tunnel vision & closed minds that won’t even deign to read a differing opinion that mental stagnation occurs. The human mind isn’t supposed to be slammed shut like a steel trap. If it was, we likely wouldn’t have the technologies & amenities we enjoy today. No one would have been courageous enough to think outside the box or, if they were, they would’ve likely been shoved back in the corner by someone who believed their way was the only way. That, my friend, would be a sad state of affairs.

      Blessed Be,

      Cari

  7. I would have asked on FB, Donna, but I thought Cari might like to know too. 🙂

    • Pssst… Cari does like to know these things. Especially where they’ll stay as permanent reminders due to the A.D… Oh look! A squirrel! 😉 You two have me cracking up–in a good way, of course. 😀

      Wait… What was I saying? Oh yeah, that’s right. Thank you, Aisling, for pointing out an extra cool thing to look for in “Second Death” & also for asking Donna when her next book would be making it’s debut.

      Thank you, Donna, for sharing the book info & Aisling with me. 😀 I’ll go trick-or-treating for book budget money. Maybe I’ll go as a squirrel… Hmmm… *giggles*

      Blessed Be, ladies. ♥

      • Cari, much as I’d love to see you dress as a squirrel for Halloween :), I hate to see you resort to that for buying Second Death. If you’ll email me at donna at donnakfitch.com, I’ll send you a Smashwords coupon for it.

    • Awww… Donna, that’s so sweet of you! Thank you for that generous offer! *big hugggsss* I already bought “Second Death” & am looking forward to reading it even more now that Aisling told me about the tarot reading part. 😀

      I was just teasing since your next book will be due out around Halloween. What could be more fitting a costume for me & my ever-expanding Kindle wishlist (I think someone pours Miracle Grow on that thing while I’m not looking, I swear) than a squirrel squirreling away for books? I could even make an acorn shaped trick-or-treating bag. 😛

      Wait… Who am I kidding? I’m so not that crafty. Martha Stuart does not live here amongst the squirrels. *falls over laughing* 😀

      • LOL! Hugs back atcha! A squirrel would be PERfect! Or hey, even a Kindle-Squirrel, y’know, like dress as a Kindle with a squirrel head and tail!
        Oh dear, I think I’ve been working and working out toooooo much today! *joining you in falling over laughing*

      • 😀 Hahaha! I think we’ve all gone squirrely today! I blame the weather. That’s my tail…ahem…tale & I’m sticking to it. 😉 A Kindle Squirrel, huh? Hmmm… There’s a thought. One in which there’s so much truth. All kinds of buried treasures in there waiting to be dug up & read. At least that lovely device organizes the treasures better than the squirrels do. *snickers*

      • Well… Donna is a knitter, and I sew and crochet. Not out of the realm of possibility. 🙂

    • Although one might think that any illness is catastropic, it sometimes becomes a blessing in disguise. One has to find their true self and admit that all the so-called games we play are not fulfilling, nature will have its way and gives one a true connection with life. Cari has shown that she is truly in touch with herself, her abilities, her knowledge,her passion and understanding of the true meaning of life, something most people will never enjoy. There is one infinite intelligence we call a creator but there is no “God” as described, it is there in all of us and only a few can find it, Cari searched and found.

      • Thank you so much for your moving comments, Gordon. They made me feel as though I am at least on the right track for both growing as a spiritual being & for helping others to open their minds. Even if it’s only the slightest bit of an opening, the knowledge that I may have played a small role in aiding someone on their own journey of personal growth makes this all worthwhile. I wish all the best to you & yours in 2012 & beyond. 🙂

        Blessed Be,

        Cari

  8. Hi — Donnakfitch‘s Facebook friend here. She is spot-on. Replace your illnesses with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and suspected celiac, and you could be me.
    She is an awesome writer, isn’t she? Did you know she has published a novel? It’s called Second Death, and it’s available through amazon.com. Of course I have a copy. 🙂
    I, in turn, am going to share your blog with more of my FB friends. Some share our beliefs; most are total Pagan.

    • Well met, Aisling. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. 😀 Donna said we’d have quite a bit in common, but wow–I had no idea. Insert Cari’s snarkastic voice here—->Aren’t these ‘invisible’ illnesses just lovely? <—-end snarkasm 😉 I do hope you followed that link up there to “The Spoon Theory” because I can’t think of a better way to describe the way people like us feel. My Mom has several similar conditions (I don’t know why researchers bother trying to prove or disprove whether these things are genetic–all one has to do is look at Mom & I to figure that one out) & she absolutely loved it when I shared it with her. It gave us a new ‘code’–not enough spoons left today. *snickers*

      I’m putting Second Death on my ever-expanding Kindle wishlist today. I should go do that now before I see a squirrel & forget. Oh. The squirrels. I guess I should explain those. *giggles* Not sure if you already know this or not, but A.D.D. can be a part of Fibro/CFS (as well as a part of the things you suffer from–they’re also finding links between the symptoms of Fibro/CFS & PTSD, by the way, but that’s new & I’m a wait & see kind of girl when it comes to the phrase “new research suggests…”) & boy did my brain decide it was going to latch on to that part. So, rather than calling it A.D.D., I affectionately call it my squirrels. The little monsters like to run off with plenty of my thoughts & bury them for later consumption, so it’s appropriate. 😉

      I thank you & Donna both for sharing my blog with your friends. There are times I can be quite opinionated & snarky, but I’m learning to fine-tune & balance. It’s always wonderful to meet other Pagans & eclectic Pagans. I’m so grateful & excited. 😀

      Blessed Be ~ Cari ~

    • P.S. Aisling, I went ahead & purchased Donna’s book, Second Death, for my Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display
      & will be reading & reviewing it shortly on my Goodreads, Amazon, & here on my blog.

  9. Hear, hear! An inspiring story, Cari. My mom has fibromyalgia, and has for many years, and she has expressed some of the same feelings about being thought “whiny” or “lazy.” Those “invisible” and chronic diseases are awful.
    I’m going to send a Facebook friend of mine toward your blog. She has described her spiritual journey in much the same way you have above, and I think she’d enjoy reading you.

    • Wow! Thank you so much, Donna. I’m completely honored & humbled that you’d think enough of me to call my story inspiring & to send one of your friends my way. 🙂

      I’m so sorry to hear your Mom has fibro, too. I don’t wish it on anyone & I’m sure she’s beaten herself up over it just as I have. She’s very blessed, though, in having an understanding daughter like you. In some of the fibromyalgia forums out there, I’ve read horror stories of ‘loved-ones’ emotionally abusing people with these ‘invisible’ illnesses in ways I don’t even want to repeat. I count myself as very fortunate that most of my family & friends understand.

      I shared your blog entry on my Facebook Page. It’s still under ‘renovation’, as well, but I just couldn’t wait to shout that blog from the rooftops. You’re an incredible writer, Donna. It’s such a pleasure getting to know you. I read that you have 3 kittykids, so send them some snuggles from me. Mine are beginning to circle my laptop like little purring land sharks which means “Mom, enough paying attention to the little pink machine with the clicky buttons & pay attention to us or else we’re going to tap dance across those buttons & start writing things for you that will embarrass you.” 😉

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  12. Hi Cari. I see you have a few opinions. :o) I’m the same.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello.

    That’s sad about your illnesses. You have the right attitude.

    I love being still in nature also.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Janalyn. I enjoy your blog very much, so it’s quite an honor. :o)

      Yes, for better or worse, I’m more than a smidge opinionated. Sometimes, though, it’s proven to be a good thing because, through various feedback & trying to maintain an open mind, I’ve learned new ways of looking at things from others & even changed my mind a time or two. The way I see it, that’s how we continue to grow as human beings.

      The fibro & other assorted ‘treats’ that go with it does like to play havoc with life in general, but I refuse to allow it to steal my thoughts, my dreams, or my soul. My body may betray me, but I will not betray me. ;o)

      Just being still in Nature is quite amazing, isn’t it? I’m not sure there are words worthy of truly expressing the feelings of awe & enchantment.

      It’s a blessing to ‘meet’ you, Janalyn. May your day be a wonderful one filled with inspiration.

  13. Pingback: Dragon Age Origins ~ This Is War | Audacity She Wrote

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