Lucky #13, turtles & a timely perspective

Soooo, I’m moving again.

I can’t help but think there was a colossal mix-up during my incarnation, and I was actually supposed to be a turtle.


Why? Because this will be move #13 in 3 years and move #4 in the past nine months, which includes a 5-month stretch living out of a suitcase…in 3 different countries.

I fear I might have cursed myself with the whole gypsy association. If this is the case, I would like to clarify: what I meant was “a free-spirited, love to travel, always up for adventure” gypsy…not the perpetually displaced kind.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, well, I am. Because let’s be honest, moving is f*cking terrible. One of my favorite bloggers, mydangblog, summed it up perfectly:

Moving is bullsh*t. Everyone knows that. In fact, I can’t understand why people don’t just live in the same place until they die because moving is so horrible.

And just to make sure these moves were sufficiently terrible, I did most of them with virtually no help- one, on the hottest day of the year, another, in the pouring rain, and the most recent, minutes before the worst blizzard this year ensued.

One move, in particular, I believe #7, stands out as one of the more challenging. To add insult to injury (literally), I had conveniently torn a tendon in my ankle two weeks before. So, I hired Karl to help…Karl, with a “K”.

Karl was a friend of some random guy I met at a coffee shop. I was so grateful, I never asked if “said friend” was a guy or girl, which proved to be a good thing.

I’m the first one to declare that our gender is just as capable as men at performing most physically arduous tasks. But realistically, the average woman isn’t primed for hauling heavy furniture and boxes upstairs. And since women aren’t frequently recruited to help friends move, they aren’t necessarily good at it. And I’m here to tell you, there is an art to moving.

All to say, I was admittedly disappointed when *they showed up…and a bit worried. My concerns proved to be valid. In addition to having to haul the heaviest boxes myself and explain how to maneuver furniture around corners, there was an additional element that proved to complicate things further.

In an attempt to make the task at hand more bearable and boost morale, I tried to lighten things up a bit- crack a joke here and there, throw out the occasional affirmation, for example, “We’ve got this, girl.”

But I was getting the vibe that my cheerleading wasn’t working. This was confirmed about 30 minutes in when they turned around, mildly annoyed, and said something to the effect of…

Helper: Could you please stop calling me that?

Me: Wait, what? Oh god, what did I say?

Helper: I’m actually transitioning and no longer identify as a girl, so if you wouldn’t mind…”

Me: Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t…I mean, I couldn’t…I was just…

Awkward pause.

“Right, got it.”

I darted downstairs and slid into the bathroom. Seriously Brooke, could you have made that any more awkward? Just call her by her name…or do I say his name? Oh shit, I forgot what her name is. I mean his! Oh my god, I seriously can’t…

Within an hour, they announced they needed to go. I panicked. We had barely made a dent, and my ankle was twice its normal size at that point. I caved and called “E”.

Me: Um, so I hate to ask you to do this, but I’m kinda desperate. This girl, I mean, this friend of an acquaintance, was helping me, but she, shit, I mean, this person has an appointment that she. Oh my god, I seriously can’t…

E: (Laughing) Uh, you okay?

Me: Tears.

E. Oh, alright. I’ll be over in a bit.

I grabbed my checkbook.

Me: So what is your name again? I mean, I know what your name is, but how do you spell it, exactly?

Helper: Karl Adams, Karl with a K. But for now, just make it out to Carly Adams, Carly, with a C.

Me: Right, got it.

* This is not intended to disrespect anyone in transition AT ALL. After the fact, I did some research and the consensus seems to be that “they” is best when you are writing if you aren’t sure. In retrospect, I should have just asked, which upon further inquiry, seems to be what most everyone prefers. All to say, I’m so very sorry, Karl, wherever you are!

In contrast, my next move, or maybe it was the move after, had serious potential for a better outcome. I happened to meet a kind, extremely fit, very attractive Australian who offered to help- a seemingly fortuitous encounter that turned into a love story of sorts, just minus the happy ending.

So I opted to go solo my last move. A sore back and a few bruises seemed better than offending the shit out of someone or a broken heart.

I made it a little easier on myself this time, leaving all things too cumbersome in the ally for some stable homeowner or renter to enjoy. I have replaced them with versions I can manage by myself if necessary. And yes, this includes a desk and a dresser. (You can’t even wrap your head around what I’ve managed to haul up and down three flights of stairs.)

Moving usually makes the list as one of life’s most stressful events. Divorce is usually high up there too (check), death of a loved one (partial check, with a terrible twist), financial upheaval (check). Imprisonment is high on the list too, but to date, I have managed to avoid any run-ins with the law, for the most part, anyway.

But, I shall refrain from complaining further. I do still have my limbs, after all, and a roof over my head…most of the time. I mean “I have a roof over my head most of the time.” My limbs are hopefully here for the long haul…because I kinda need them to haul shit around, it seems.

be thankful.paradise

I try to keep reminding myself of this because I know it to be true; I’ve been on both sides.

When I was packing for the Congo, one of the essentials I was told to bring was a watch. Electricity was going to be a luxury, so if I couldn’t charge my phone, I wouldn’t know what time it was.

Why would one need to know what time it is in a remote village in the Congo? Well, there were chimps to be fed and an imposed curfew we were supposed to abide by for safety purposes. I admittedly regularly missed the latter, but I truly didn’t know what time it was…because I had misplaced my watch the first week I was there.

I wasn’t too upset about it. I’d only ever used it to time my track workouts, and I had my travel alarm, so the chimps wouldn’t go hungry.

So a month or so later, I was running with Rafael, one of the staff I had become friends with, and I noticed he was wearing my watch. I don’t think for a second that he stole it. I think I took it off when I was washing the chimps’ veggies and left it on the counter. That meant it was up for grabs, plain and simple.

As we were running, I realized the watch no longer worked. It was just a dirty, pastel green band with a blank screen. But Rafael was now one of the only people in the village who had a watch. It didn’t matter if it worked or not; he had a watch.

He did not, however, have running water or electricity in his home. And his home was what most would consider a shack, probably just one open room with dirt floors and a tin roof.

My point is, for most of us in the developed world, Rafael’s life seems tragic. But he was always smiling with a kind disposition and fun sense of humor. He had a job, which was extremely rare in the village. He had food to eat, albeit mostly beans and cassava. He had friends and a healthy family, all of his limbs, and a roof over his head. Most of these were a luxury there.

I know, a seemingly random tangent, but I think of these things when shit seems like it can’t get any worse. A) I make it a point to never say that because I’ve learned it definitely can, and B) I can focus on the shit that’s wrong or the shit that’s not. Unfortunately, the prior wins out more than I’d like.

So, here’s to lucky number #13 and the hope that a kind soul will swoop in and help a girl out. I promise I will commit your name to memory and keep the cheerleading to a minimum.

And if you are in fact, a kind, fit, attractive male, that’s great. Just no broken hearts, please. Cause, although I can’t give you the exact length of time (I misplaced my watch, you see), I know a good chunk of it has been wasted trying to move on…which I think we’ve established, I’d rather stop doing.

Besides, I’m simply not wired to be a turtle. I’m too impatient and tend to operate in 5th gear most of the time. And even if this is someone else’s paradise, it’s not mine, so I’d like to get things moving (or even just help moving), and time is of the essence.




29 thoughts on “Lucky #13, turtles & a timely perspective

  1. Were I in your area…
    A personal reflection on moving: the more often you do so, the lighter your load becomes. Essentials become truly essential. Imagine 20, 30+ years entrenched in one domicile. The tossing of decades of memories into the rented trash container is as heartbreaking as any loss of a pet, or job. And the fact that it takes weeks if not months to flush it all clean — truly painful.
    In my 20’s I owned a motorcycle and a duffel bag. Needless to say, I was moving in motion. Between then and now I’ve acquired some non-essential essentials. But I’m sure, given the chance, I’d abandon it all for a bike and a bag and a reason to travel.
    Your many moves have no doubt trimmed down your attachments — and that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, my load is now less than half of what it was three years ago. And yes, it is liberating on some level. But as you said, it’s heartbreaking as well. But the detachment part is substantially less painful than feeling so completely detached…
      “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”
      But this is where I’m at, and the only thing I can do is start from where I am…which will be a hell of a lot easier when I know where that is.
      But I will say this, my friend. In my opinion, there is always a reason to travel. Always. It’s what feeds my soul the most…but only when I have a home to come back to. You do, so go find yourself a bike, pack a bag and go explore. Life is short, after all, and time is of the essence. 🙂


      • You might enjoy my poem Slow. I think I posted it last Friday. Sure, it’s about older people but still, it’s the feeling. You’re a hero, by the way. By the way, I found a permanent home at the age of 46, ie in 1986. Even years abroad are different when you can eventually come home. I wonder if that will be true for you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You might enjoy my poem Slow. I think I posted it last Friday. Sure, it’s about older people but still, it’s the feeling. You’re a hero, by the way. By the way, I found a permanent home at the age of 46, ie in 1986. Even years abroad are different when you can eventually come home. I wonder if that will be true for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow Brooke! You have quite the Greek or Gypsy tragedy going. I’m sorry that your life is in such a state. I thought moving 7 times in 4 years was a pain, but you’re the master! My moves were also made easier in that I had downsized from a townhouse to a van, then rooms in houses so I didn’t have too much to move. Then 4 years ago I did it again, sold my house and downsized to living in rooms. I’m glad that you’ve clarified for us and the universe that you want to be a gypsy with less moving. 🙂 I hope you find the perfect place to call home base for your travels. Hugs and shit…

    Liked by 1 person

    • God, right? I feel like I should at least be sailing distant seas and conquering dragons instead of basement surfing Denver! I am blessed to have had the chance to travel far and wide, but I would love to start exploring sans the heartbreaks. It will happen, I just have to let my head have a say in matters of the heart, I suppose.
      And yes, I have widdled my belongings down, which is challenging when I am also hauling around the last few precious things that belonged to my parents, grandparents, etc. All to say, this move will be more manageable, I’m hoping…although there is the minor detail of finding a place to move to. Hope you are enjoying the spring…more photos, please!! 🙂 Lots of hugs and shit back to ya!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry your moves don’t at least involve some high sea travel. I won’t offer help or advice on relationships since I’m single at 61. 🙂 I hope you find a wonderful place to live as I have. Although I may be moving again for family reasons! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I feel you pain, believe me! And I would totally come and help you if I was anywhere near you, as a thank you for that wonderful shout-out–I really appreciate it! I hope number 13 is as lucky for you as number 9 was for me:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Brooke, New to your blog – I really appreciate your honest, courageous, vulnerable and heart felt writing.

    For some reason your story brought back memories and feelings of being disconnected, not good enough, lost, and empty when I have ran/moved from a situation chasing answers about who I was, my purpose, the meaning of life, why don’t I feel right, etc. Lots of desperate looking for answers, I was finally able to escape the mystery that seems to be my mind, God knows how many millions of laps I did around that place.

    Be easy on yourself, lift with your legs, avoid places with stairs and narrow doorways. The only thing that is truly real and matters is moving closer to your soul and who cares if it takes 13 or 130,000 moves (think of all the blog post material). As long as it’s you and not me, my dog doesn’t like to move, apparently supervising me is too much work for her.

    Grateful for you sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian, I’m so glad you happened upon my blog! Your insight and counsel are sage and much needed. I do still feel and grapple with a lot of what you said. Although, I do have most of the answers to why “I don’t feel right.” In fact, I have spent the entirety of my adult life trying to navigate the ‘why’s’ and uproot their relentless origins…which most definitely has resulted in feeling “disconnected, not good enough, lost, empty, etc.”
      I think when crippling beliefs are imposed on us by those who we believe define us, it can be a life-long battle to disassociate their stories from our true identity. But I believe I know who I am and what my purpose is at this point. However, after ending up face down “in the arena”- getting back up and knocked back down so many times I can hardly remember what it feels like to stand- I can say with absolute certainty, it takes the will and strength of Zeus to get back up again and fight. The pain of the blows (our circumstance, poor decisions, etc.) become soul-crushing “affirmations” that we aren’t good enough, don’t deserve, and all the other bullshit we were told.
      ANYWAY, an extremely long-winded response to say thank you, and I will do my very best to be gentle on myself. My legs are pretty solid, so I should be okay in that department, and by the grace of the powers that be, I will be spared multiple flights of stairs and narrow doorways.
      One thing is for sure, when I make my triumphant exit out of the arena, my first stop will be to find a puppy of my own to take home- a real home- where he can supervise me to his lil’ heart’s content. 🙂


      • Hi Brooke – Thank you for the reply, not long winded at all, more like courageous as hell. The first time I read it I could really feel your wounds in my heart, grateful for you sharing those raw emotions. Does it feel like since you have moved so much that you are always “in the arena?”

        To be honest I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to be a smart, strong, and sensitive woman in this society and especially one that has a soul that has important work to do through you. Your story reminded me of the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and her quote “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

        I too have struggled with addictive negative thinking (mostly my own critic) and have felt like I was in a black hole. There is hope, after many years of trying many different things I have found methods that have worked for me to heal the traumatized parts of me and quiet my mind and find an ever-growing level of inner peace. I am more than willing to share with you what I have learned. You are a fascinating person, I want to get to know you more, email me at bprumburgatgmail.

        I hope you find an amazing place that is dog friendly. We are currently looking for another family member, we had to say goodbye to a great friend recently, after 15 years together, and now I have a sad little girl who wants someone to play with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Still I rise” is a poem (probably THE poem) that has inspired me most, and Maya is one of the most extraordinary legends of our time in my opinion. I suppose I’m still coming out of “it”, so most days, it feels like I’m still barely standing. But progress has been made if I think of where I was a year ago, and an outright miracle transpired in the fact that I’m still standing after the hell that was the entirety of 2016…and ’17’…and most of 18.
        But all we can do is start from where we are, right? Although it would be extremely helpful if the universe would work with me a bit. I suppose it is, I just can’t see it, and definitely have yet to understand it.
        But your words are healing in of themselves, so thank you. I lost my guy/puppy too, in the midst of the worst of “it”. I can assure you, that was the straw. I still tear up when I think about him and miss him every single day. They do take a part of our souls with them when they go, no question.
        I don’t see that you have a blog and wonder how you stumbled upon mine. But regardless, I’m grateful that you took the time to reach out and share your thoughts, words of wisdom, and experiences, so thank you. 🙂


      • Maya certain certainly lived with a courage from her soul. I am grateful you are standing no matter how well and also rising, congratulations on the progress you are making. Three plus years of being in “it” must feel like running on a hamster wheel. What have you learned about yourself going through this and found to be most helpful in making progress? What advice do you think Maya would give you?

        One method that I have found to be amazing for understanding and healing my pain and trauma and is the Internal Family System (IFS). I was stuck in my head for a long time and could not find a way out. It really helped me understand my mind and my unconscious behaviors that were keeping me stuck and then gave me a method to deal with it. It’s really pretty simple to do, but too long to explain here. “Self-Therapy” by Jay Early and “You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For” by Richard Schwartz are amazing books on how to use IFS. The first is a personal how-to and the latter is more of IFS for understanding relationships. After using IFS and healing and understanding my traumas I now see those events as life lessons and am grateful.

        No blog yet, got name, but that project is currently behind a seemingly infinite painting job. Any advice on starting a blog?

        I used to get really emotional thinking about my puppies that have transitioned, I was grateful that after my first pup passed I was gifted an incredible “heart opening.” I have transitioned to a phase of pure heartfelt gratitude based upon the teachings of Anna Breytenbach.


      • FYI – relationship postmortem – > Elephant Journal – > “I Hate You Because I Love You” -. Google search – here


  5. I so dreaded moving again after moving the last time that instead of trying to find a place to move, and packing up my shit again, I just bought the place I was living, even if it did come with the strain of “how will we afford the extra payments/repairs/insurance and stuff?”

    I mean, I love the place, that helped. But I think I would have loved the next place or the place after that, too, if moving wasn’t such a pain in the ass. Alas, I am happy to be stationary and hope to, as Suzanne said, live here until I die. And if I live forever, as is my plan, then so be it. Forever.

    As regards to you, my friend, I have only a quote from Muhammad Ali, one that popped up yesterday (or the day before) on my Facebook feed on the anniversary of his death: “What you’re thinking is what you’re becoming.”

    So, just for a while, quit thinking about being a gypsy. You’re far beyond becoming. You’ve become. 😉


    • I so needed this, Tom, thank you. Although I do believe that the thought of moving did nudge you to stay put, I also think you just found your place. That is a beautiful thing, and honestly, something I have never known. I guess that’s a huge part of the problem- the ongoing search.
      And yes, I know, “home is where the heart is”, but I’m here to tell you, that’s a very enlightened soul who can claim that and sincerely mean it. However, I also think those words can be interpreted in two ways- our hearts are fullest when we feel at home.
      To your point, I agree “wholeheartedly” with Muhammad. And I promise, Tom, I am doing my very best to keep my mind right and focus on the positives, both present, and future. But man, most of the blows and circumstances that keep happening …correction “kept” happening, 🙂 tend to reinforce those fucked up imposed stories I’ve worked so hard to expel. Holy hell, I truly need the mental fortitude of Mr. Ali’s physical strength to keep them at bay. Thank god I have it.
      Regardless, thanks for your faith in me. I do believe that that I’ve become the person I want to be…most days, anyway.
      Big hug. I’ve missed ya (but I would opt to play with that precious puppy instead of delving into my blog too!!!)

      Liked by 1 person

    • I already said this on your “share/re-post”, but to reiterate, it makes me so happy this made you feel and seeped into your soul…and it kind of makes me feel bad at the same time! I hope your world is gentler on you from here on out. And for god’s sake, keep sharing it with us…your writing is brilliant!


  6. Pingback: Lucky #13, Turtles & a Timely Perspective – beauty of imperfection: the kintsukuroi life

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