Zen and the Art of Driving

I tend to drive vehicles the way I live my life- reckless when I was a young sex worker (professional rape victim), and responsibly now as a woman with a career, committed to a life-partner with long-term goals.

When I was a child I felt nauseous during car rides. I vomited into faded plastic containers which always traveled with me.
As a teen I drove illegally, borrowing my classmate’s broke-down rust bucket of a car. In exchange he took much more from me.
On the brink of adulthood I got ticketed by a cop for not stopping at a stop sign ‘long enough’. I was driving because a friend asked me to take them to the corner store, and I said yes. I always say fucking yes, even when it puts my life in danger. I was rushing on the drive because I was freshly heartbroken, and wanted to hurry back to the party to be near the guy I love even now, even though I’d already lost him.
Every time I’ve gotten pulled over or in an accident, it was with other people in the car. My extreme empath tendencies left me lost in their desires- to drive faster, longer, drive when I felt exhausted or didn’t want to, ignoring my needs over their wants.
What I failed to realize was that I was the one who was driving, not my ragtag friends edging me on. Like a puppet, I felt pushed and pulled, never free to be me, always somebody else’s words coming out of my mouth. Far too many yes’s. Everyday, the struggle continues.
I am grateful for the accident, because it made me a safer driver, though I could do without the PTSD dreams of not having control on the road. Perhaps post-traumatic stress is not a disorder, but a natural reaction to trauma.
I still feel nervous around others: my social anxiety is always ready to rev its engine, and makes me a more skittish driver when I have others in the car with me, but everyday I practice presence, breathing, and empath empowerment.
I am in better control of my life now than I have ever been before, and I am a safer driver on the road.
Driving through patches of panic, I find my breath, and arrive safely home to the present.

Love and Ice Cream

Love and ice cream
Are my slippery slopes,
My legal dope
I use them in plain sight
To abuse my body day and night

Too many years
I’ve caught myself in the cycle
Of getting high every time I start to withdraw;
I let into my life another bowl,
another boo, even worse than the one before
The novelty wore off long ago
And I’ve seen the pattern;
I know where it is gonna go
It always ends in regret

Today I was hot and thirsty
For that cool creamy sweet treat
With chocolate chunks for me to eat
It was on sale and high in quality
So I loaded up my shopping cart,
imagining the pleasure awaiting me

Then I remembered
How bad I always feel afterward
How out of control, how unwise
I’ve given in to temptation too many times
And paid too heavy a price

So I put the four pints back on the shelf
Let them go home with somebody else
Victory was mine at last
At least for today

Then I got home and considered writing to an ex
An ex who is still sort of a friend                                                                                                             I love them dearly
But slow down, it’s a dangerous bend
They treated me unhealthily
Why would I expect anything different this time?

Feeding my addiction
Would bring me a quick, cheap high
Although I desire them so
Like ice cream on a hot summer’s day
If I over-indulged, the disappointment in myself
Would be here to stay

I’m only human
I have to eat and to love
But knowing how easily
I fall hard where others only stumble
It is worth it for me to mindfully look where I’m walking on the rocky road
So that I can stand tall when it rumbles

Pockets of Bliss

Pockets of Bliss

Hard-scrabble
Uphill battle
Stoically strong
All my life long

That was my marching song

Yet if I let myself unwind a bit
I find myself basking in pockets of bliss
Soaking in satisfaction, abundance, gratitude
It feels like the ultimate kiss
As I both receive and radiate
The generous glow of the sun

My mind usually tells myself that I don’t have time
For such indulgent, frivolous nonsense
That I’ve got to push push push
And forever rush rush rush

I fooled myself into believing
That I didn’t deserve the luxury of deep breathing
That rest and relaxation were only for the privileged rich
Such was my justification for prioritizing everything else                                                       Before my own needs

For too long I wrongly bought into the ideology
That my life was not to be enjoyed
That I should run hungry all my days
As if pursued by a ravenous wolf in all kinds of ways

But today I re-realized that I am the wolf
And also the prey
Only I have the power to say,
‘Enough of being tough.
I am ready for ease!’

If only in pockets to start
Because old habits are hard to break,
Just ask my heart

So it is with patience and persistence,
Guided by gentle wisdom
That I fill my pockets to overflowing
With bliss bliss bliss