New energy, courtesy of Costa Rica

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Costa Rica — it was my first trip there.

I was astounded by the natural beauty and in the areas I visited, at least, the unspoiled nature. Truly, I felt like a visitor to the jungle, just saying hello to the animals for a time while they clearly ruled the place.

I came home with renewed energy for my life. Like the chameleon in this photo  (I took his picture at Manuel Antonio national park), I can change when I need to.

And I need to. I have a clearer vision for my life and what I want to do with my time. Now I know what I want to write and how I want to make a living.

I have the chameleon, the crocodiles, the fireflies, the iguanas, the monkeys and the canopy to thank: for showing me the simplicity of life’s choices when it comes right down to it.

Still standing, still walking forward

When I was going through trauma therapy, I learned — but wasn’t surprised — that many victims turn to drinking or drugs, and some end up killing themselves.

I have gone through periods of time in the past 22 years (that’s how long it’s been since I moved out) when I got really down. I never seriously wanted to end my life because I knew I had to be there for my daughter. I also never drank or did drugs, although there were days when I thought about it.

Why didn’t I?

I had the kind of upbringing where alcohol wasn’t in the house except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. No beer, no wine, nothing. I never went to wild parties in high school, and in college I was the one who made sure all the girls went back to the right rooms after a night of drinking.

Never smoked anything. Never took a pill.

Because I always wanted to be in control of myself. I never wanted to be vulnerable enough to jeopardize my safety.

Ironic, isn’t it? Considering what ended up happening to me?

I still never drink or smoke or do drugs. Going through trauma therapy last year, I had days where I didn’t want to wake up. I’ve never felt such deep grief, not even when people in my life died. But somehow I knew that drinking wouldn’t make that pain go away. I knew I had to walk, and sometimes crawl, through it.

I still have days where I feel as though I’m crawling. But most days I’m standing up straight. And then I walk forward.