Winter is Here and it’s Cold!

So I’ve been dormant, hibernating and a bit sad the past few months. Running out of money is no fun, and I had to act fast. Took a job in Vail in the photo department where I’m working a daily gig and making a less than living wage. It’s not as awesome as I had sort of envisioned my winter being.

I made the mistake of renting a room in a house instead of using that rent money to upgrade the van for winter. The result? Two months of living with some insane drunken sad sods and experiencing some uncomfortable misery. Alcoholics, can’t live with them, can’t live with them.

The good news, I had an escape pod in the driveway, and after two months, I got back in the van full time. While I blew rent money I’ll never get back, I traversed some valuable life moments and made some wonderful realizations. Here are a few of them:

Boundaries: I know I can’t live in a place where people are emotionally and psychologically sick. I don’t have to stay where I feel other’s pain and their pain is not my responsibility. My joy and clarity are more forthcoming than they used to be and I cherish having the space of serene happiness. Witnessing abuse in any form is hard, living with it is even worse. It broke my heart daily to see my pal be mistreated by her shitty husband. It was even more challenging to see her pass out alone on the couch sobbing and downing another glass of cheap read wine.

This life is my past. It’s my mother and her pills and vodka running rampant and raging around the house. It’s my ex husband showing up at 5am wasted and throwing things to the floor while calling me fat and useless. It’s the past. It’s not a life I have to live again, even vicariously through roommates.

Home is Where You Park It: I can create my home wherever I am. My van is a magical ride because I made it that way. My creativity took a nosedive into the abyss when I moved into that toxic house in November. I stopped writing, sketching or enjoying a good poetry book.

I have a couple of days off, and yesterday it was all about getting the van back in order. I got new wheels and tires put on, thanks to the gift from my pal Bill Wheeler. I took everything out of the rig and scrubbed it from top to bottom. I rearranged and reorganized. My space is back, the energetic flow is working and everything feels like home again.

Now, I need to find a few more chill spots to park near work, and I’m golden for the rest of the winter season.

Empowerment Comes from Within: In a therapy session with my new therapist a few weeks ago, we talked about my feeling powerless in my work, my home and my life. That losing my freedom was affecting me greatly. What I gleaned from our talk was that I have been able to empower myself and make change. My transformation has been mine to own. Getting up and moving out of the yucky house was a first step. I’ve been standing up for myself in the areas of my life that need it. I’m speaking up, making changes, taking care of myself and discovering that sweet spot that is happy filled again.

It’s very scary to make changes to any situation. The results may not turn out how one hopes. Things that suck won’t change unless I evoke the catalyst. That’s what the past couple of weeks have been about. Making shifts. Getting rid of what doesn’t serve me. Speaking my truth and standing up for myself. I won’t have an advocate unless I’m the one advocating for me.

Van Upgrades: In an effort to get back to living in the van full time, I needed to make some very important updates. Here are a few things I’ve done to ensure a warm night’s sleep:

  • Electric 12V Blanket: I put this under my regular blanket and let it charge for up to 45 minutes before bedtime. The blanket I got auto shuts off after 45 mins, so I don’t have to worry about overheating or using up too much power from my car or lithium battery.
  • Flannel Sheets: what a difference these make! Definitely a lot more cozy and warm.
  • Camco Wave 3 Heater: This catalytic converter heater operates off propane tank I got from the grocery store. The same kind you use for grilling. I put the tank in a milk crate to improve stability. To make it work for my rig, I got the legs, a 6’ regular and hose, the dust cover for the heater and made it a stand alone unit rather than attaching to the wall. This is great for me, because I can move it closer to the bed for more intense heat or turn it towards my desk if I’m writing or working.
  • Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains: These trap heat in the cabin closer to my bed area and provide extra privacy. By closing in the space where I’m trapping heat. The blackout feature is a nice bonus keeping light out which helps me a lot in the commercial well lit spots I park in around my job.
  • Extra Blankets: I’ve got a few extra blankets I’m using which help trap heat. I hang one over my side sliding door, one under the bed to block breeze from the garage and an extra new fluffy down blanket on my bed which was a gift from my sweet pal Charles. I have a few other camp fleece blankets in the rig that I can use if I need, but haven’t had to grab those yet.
  • Shag Fluffy Throw Rug: I have a few rug mats on the floor already, but they still get a bit cold on my feet, so I got a new shaggy faux fur throw rug for the floor that feels so nice on these cold nights. When I’m not using it, I roll it up and keep it to the side with my other throws to keep it from getting grody. This definitely helps trap the heat where I want it, by my bed and desk.
  • Four Legged Heaters: And let’s face it, Nermal and Scoob rock at snuggling and helping me stay warm for shizzle.

I made a video showing these updates, if you want to watch, click here.

So in the past two weeks, my overall outlook and life feeling tone has improved exponentially. What I have gleaned from all of this is my life is mine to be awesome or shitty. My attitude is mine to adjust. And if life is too hard, I can empower myself to make changes to make it work. I can’t control the people who live in a state of angry and mean. I can notice my response to it. Leaving the room is a survival response, and gives me the space to be joyful, serene and happy. Things are temporary, and everything is impermanent. Visualizing how I want things to be, and shifting myself into the grooves that lead me to that ultimate life I truly want. I think I’m a lot closer than I realize.