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For My Two Cents on Travel and Terror


“If anything is clear, it’s that terrorism can happen anywhere — in a Paris concert venue, at a marathon in Boston, at a train station in Madrid, in the London tube, at a company holiday party in California, at a funeral in Baghdad, at a hotel in Mumbai, in a suburb in Beirut. “ – Paige Smith, Huffington Post

I get my inspiration for my writings based on my life. I suppose you could say that I am my very own muse. In fact I like thinking about it in that way. Often I never know what is coming round the bend that will stop at nothing to get me to pay attention to “it”. Whatever “it” happens to be at that point will set up shop in my mind to let me know it must be heard and therefore shared. I will have a gut wrenching reaction either by crying, screaming, or laughing. Sometimes I get all three emotions at the same time. That’s when I know that in order to process these feelings I must write about them and thus myself.

Since meeting Meredith Maran and reading her works “Why We Write” and its sequel “Why We Write About Ourselves”, I have begun to think in these terms when I am about to share a deeply personal emotion on my blog. Most of time I am not even thinking of sharing these posts, I am just writing them to get them out of my brain once and for all. Then I will know how I feel about “it” and I can begin to get over it, deal with it, and ultimately let it go. It is that very last part of, letting it go that implores me to share my previous internal monologues. These are the works that pour right out of me before I can even construct proper sentences. These discussions within me are pure emotion and something about hitting that publish button and sending my message out into the galaxy is cathartic for me. Publishing my blog it turns out, is a very necessary, crucial need that is getting stronger and stronger as time marches on.

It is this process that brings me to this post. I hesitated writing it for a few days not out of confusion about whether to write it, but rather waiting for when I thought I would be strong enough to deal with the emotions it would bring up. It appears I am now at peace with my decision thus I must send it out into the world. I hope it helps someone understand my point of view and even better if it can help someone make a different decision in their life.

In recent months I have be on a journey of transition. No not like that. More like from chronic migraine sufferer to chronic migraine functioner. Over the past year my change in medications has aided my progress to a state where I can actually realize many of the dreams I have kept way down deep in my soul. The kind of dreams that during periods of intense pain and insomnia I thought would never come true. The kind that I didn’t dare voice out loud for fear it would slip through my hands. I never even wished for any of my heart’s desires when blowing out my birthday candles. For these dreams were too precious.

Over the course of this transition I feel as though I have awoken from a slumber, not to a waiting prince, but a waiting life- MUCH better! There are days upon months I have no recollection of as well as some that I can’t distinguish between dreams and reality. I am trying to heal inside and out, letting go of the disappointment and frustration that the first years of my thirtieth decade were robbed by my failing health. Instead I am focusing on how grateful I am to even be well enough to complain about such mundane things as vacations.

But don’t you see, for me those thoughts are anything but mundane. Those who have their health long enough to work to obtain paid days off and salaries that provide discretionary income might not be able to grasp the feelings I am describing. I have not had these luxuries in at least six years. I hung out here and there but there were many moments when my heart and especially my mind weren’t in it. It seems I have only really returned to my body after this chronic migraine monster has temporarily jumped ship.

For those of you who suffer from any type of chronic pain or illness I am preaching to the choir. As I recently shared (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2016/03/for-reality-tv-rage-that-burns-within-me.html) I can no longer stay quiet when “reality” TV is focusing on how unrealistic it is to be active and confined to a bed in the same day. Only those who have had that experience can truly understand, but you would expect that compassion is the minimum someone can extend to a person they allegedly care about. This has not been my experience either. I guess some of us are just raised better than others, SO many others.

The ironic part is that prevention of bullying is now so prevalent in our society EXCEPT for those who are chronically ill. Apparently this cause isn’t worthy of society’s full attention just yet but I am doing everything I can to speak up for my truths.

In order to truly understand the points I am about to make you have had to spend just a moment in my shoes. It is a bit like looking in a fun house mirror but the clowns staring back are you hallucinations (for me GIANT spiders) and versions of yourself at different moments of your health journey, most of which you won’t remember. Try getting out of a maze like that and then give me a call.

As Rihanna and Eminem so poignantly sang:

“I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed, Get along with the voices inside of my head”.

For me the voices in my head are the sounds of my chronic migraine monster that I have learned to embrace because fighting it never worked.

Since my health has become somewhat stable recently I have had room for other more positive thoughts and activities. I have also been working more at my day job but I doubt the progress is noticed by anyone but me. It may seem like I am still out a lot but less consecutive days and more productive nights when I get home. That is a whole lot for a girl who once had the same migraine for thirty-one days when I began to see my specialist five years ago. That was after being mistreated by a quack neurologist for two years. Now I am off drugs that I took for many years that had left me with some healing to do. With this now behind me I am more optimistic than ever.

"Fear is the oldest, deepest and least subtle part of our emotional life, and so therefore it’s boring." – Elizabeth Gilbert

Which brings me to the main point I am trying to make here, that after all I have been through the threat of terrorists attacking much of Europe is not what is going to keep me home. There are many reasons but let’s start with the obvious, I live in NYC and work near Ground Zero. I live with the reality of terror attacks all of the time. Plus every day on the news another school is getting shot up by its students. The world is changing and not for the better. No matter what, no matter where, no matter when, the odds of something bad happening are all around us, and they always have been.

“Paris is always a good idea”. Audrey Hepburn

Sure my heart broke for those affected in Brussels and in Paris, a city I love like my own. But we don’t have a crystal ball. We have to make the best decisions we can at the time. I don’t want a life consisting of maybes. What did I fight to get well for? I realize some dream of owning a home, running errands, perhaps a more simplistic version than I have for myself. I would never been happy like that. I want to continue to be a student of the world living in places I love that love me right back.

This is my path and I am now content that I will have to continue to forge ahead on my own. I always knew that was my destiny eventually. I am embracing it, I feel ready for the challenge, and more so to see what these opportunities will expose me to. I feel like the world has become my oyster.

Unfortunately my native country has gone from being The Land of the Brave to The Land of the Very Anxious. If you are worried that ISIS might strike the United States, you might want to take a second to acknowledge all of the things that are far more prevalent and deadly. For example the diseases that kill like diabetes, cancer, and I don’t know something with severely under funded research like chronic migraines. If you don’t think chronic migraines are deadly then you need to read up on suicide rates in my community.

“Consider, for instance, that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have been no more likely to die at the hands of terrorists than being crushed to death by unstable televisions and furniture.”

- Andrew Shaver (very last link below, the one that everyone should read)

Another major killer are vehicular accidents which kill more people weekly than from all of the countries threatened with acts of terrorism. Furthermore, by the end of each day approximately one hundred people I have died from traffic accidents. Every hour one person dies from a heart attack, one dies from skin cancer, and a military vet has taken his/her own life. “The equivalent of “a plane full of people crashing, killing everyone on board, every single day”.

Travel and fear is kind of like deciding which came first the chicken or the egg? Or like those small towns I constantly see on ID Discovery you never thought to look their doors until they were victimized. It is all relative. Just because you use to allow yourself to be ignorant doesn’t mean danger wasn’t all around you.

I am not a stupid girl and I never have been one to do anything without a plan of attack, pardon the pun (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-game-plan-part-i.html). It was very early in my blogging career when I shared my secrets for planning a getaway (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2014/04/for-this-smart-travelers-guide-to-all.html). These are still the tricks I swear by. Even back then I knew to register any foreign trips with the State Department and leave copies of my documents and detailed itinerary with loved ones back home. I also use a travel agent so when I am away I have a person to call for any additional help I may need.

Mary Mary sings:

“See I decided that I cried my last tears yesterday”

I have decided so have I.

I am going to trust my gut and begin living the life I have always imagined. With each new experience I am getting closer and closer to that dream.

Upon my returns from wherever I go in 2016, I plan to be poor but beyond blissfully happy. I think I will now be able to appreciate what Lady Gaga means by:

“So happy I could die and it's alright”

This is the last song lyric I promise.

To conclude I will quote myself and I hope others will too:

“I HAVE TO LIVE MY LIFE; I HAVE WORKED TOO HARD TO FINALLY HAVE A CHANCE AT ONE.” – Donna, The Queen of F-cking Everything

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