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.