Tuesday, July 7, 2015


I find myself wishing recently that I could withdraw or rewrite some of my Grandfather's eulogy.

In the eulogy I wrote, I talked about him being a man's man who loved his family deeply and who held the women in his life in the highest esteem.

And that's all very true, and I certainly felt that way at the time I wrote it.  The man was 150% all about his family.  Through and through - he provided for them, taught them, raised them, had fun with them.  Gave them things his parents weren't able to give them.  And he saved.  My God was he a saver.  But he also had problems that I was blind too - sort of.

1) when it came to loving everyone equally, I'm not so sure he did that.
2) when it came to mental health, I believe he often suffered with what we now understand to be mental illnesses of depression and at times anxiety, but he would have fought you to the death to be labelled as such.
3) he thought the best way to make you strive for more or better was to help you see the worst possible options as a means of driving you to be better than that.  Let me explain, because these are truly the reasons that I wish I could re-write it now.

I've spent many years trying to figure out "how I got to be the way I was."  There were lots of great things he taught me.  For example, he taught me to save at least 10% of my salary from day one.  I did, and it's saved me more than once in a crunch, and I have a real shot at retiring by the age of 55 and living pretty modestly and comfortably throughout retirement despite any of the set backs I've had.  He also taught me that the day I stop learning would be the day I died.  I am surrounded by people who I am often envious of, because they just go about their lives without seeking the meaning of everything, but I am plagued by this innate need to peel back layers, understand, learn from my mistakes and others, while others just simply move from one mistake to the next,  No worry, no dread.  Just meh - and on they go on their merry way.  I learn which is wonderful.  But it also means I've got anxiety at times that can be very debilitating.

But I also beat myself up in insane ways over my weight.  I brood over every piece of food - the good and the bad.  I've done diet after diet and exercise after exercise.  I've done weight loss surgery, plastic surgery, taken pills, and done everything short of actually take myself out of the equation entirely...and even that, well, I'd be lying if I didn't say I hadn't actually tried dismally at that once even.

And when I've thought back trying to pin point who in my family had actually reinforced that I was physically beautiful, or otherwise even Just fine the way I was, I could pinpoint exactly who said what and when.  Because clearly my self esteem or lack thereof had to have come from something I was hearing or seeing regularly enough to warrant it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.  I can look at a photo of me as a teen, and while maybe I did mature early, I was smoking hot and slim and normal and nothing near what I envisioned myself to be back then.  I am certainly bigger than I ever imagined being possible now.  And the only voices that I remember hearing that countered those other voices were my mom's and a cousin's husband.  I can tell you exactly when each reinforced the good in me, because it was so infrequently heard, and so precipitated likely by a frenzied experience of hearing how horrifyingly fat and worthless I was, that they needed to be loud enough to be heard.

The voices who made me feel worthless, and horrifyingly fat and destined for a life of vomit inducing profiles, hiding from the world or putting myself on display at the circus?  My grandfather's.  My brother's.  In some ways my mother too who tried simultaneously to use similar tactics to my grandfather's and only countered the arguments when I would hit a breaking point, and who I believe tried desperately to overcome those feelings herself.

It makes me wish that the counter voices, the voices who reassured me of my worth and my beauty were louder, more frequent and more relevant than all the other voices.  It makes me wish I'd seen my mother stand up to my grandfather on my behalf, in front of me to stop him dead in his tracks.  It makes me wish our baby boomers didn't respect their elders to such a degree that they'd at least call them out on their bullshit.

And so when I find myself struggling with the decision about whether to reinforce my daughter's beauty or her brains, I try my damnedest to reinforce both at the same time.  At 5 she has already told me how un-pretty she feels.  And this is despite me trying desperately to model body positive behaviour for her even when it's not natural for me to do so.  And I wish I could find the right words, that would be the loudest of them all, that would tell her not to listen to other stupid and jealous people.  Words that would scream from the highest monuments, that other people's jealousy means absolutely nothing and that I've never seen anyone so beautiful as she is.

She stops the world, quiets a room, commands attention in every single way.  And it's her beauty inside and out that does that.  How do I make her believe that...?  How do I believe that for myself now that all the damage is done?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hide away

I still want to run away alone with my daughter and hide away from the world.  All the great things happening around me mean little to nothing.

I'm an empty shell of a soul.  I am the absence of anything solid.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tide Shifting

So I done got told to update this blog for goodness sakes.  The last thing I had up here was so depressing.

Well, it rightly was.  I have depression.  I have anxiety.  Hello - means often times my thoughts are actually depressing.  :)  Fancy that.

What had precipitated the last post was the fact that my brother, whom I knew had been looking for reasons to fully distance himself from the family, finally found what it was he needed as an excuse and decided I was no longer a good enough influence on his child and therefore he wouldn't be bringing her near me again.  Now let me assure you that what he found pales in comparison to some of his nasty habits, and it's not even my habit that has him making this decision...but whatever.  I'm tired of clawing at things that would eliminate his excuses.  I don't want him in my life if he doesn't want to be in mine.  With that realization, which admittedly came AFTER the last blog post, I found a liberating peace in my life.  While it's been painful to have to tell my mom that her kids won't likely be in the same room for a good many years, she's had her own similar experiences with her own brothers, and I think she understands.  Besides which, she's good at staying out of things...so there's that.

But after that moment of liberation, I started to plot a course to better things, and the tide is finally shifting in my favour.  I've been offered a new job with more money and better title and better learning opportunities.  It's a really exciting change that I think will be better for our family in the long run.

It's not coming without it's fair share of anxiety.  At the moment I feel like a great big bungled up ball of whoa...and there's no way to release it because I can't submit my resignation for at least 1 more week.  The biggest anxiety I'm having though is putting my daughter back into a daycare situation.  There's no way to make it work with commuting to stay home til she goes to school, and be home in time to collect her from school.  They don't give parents 5 hour workdays and pay them this great.  SO, we're trying to lock down on a sitter that makes the most sense, but it's breaking my heart already.  She's been in daycare before.  But it seems like I'm giving up the cup of christ by handing her over.  It's no easier than when I did it the first time.  That's because no matter what job I do for another company, it will always be at odds with my baser instincts of being a mom first.

But onward and upward.  In 20 years, when my daughter heads off on her own path, she'll have seen an example in her mother of a woman who stopped at nothing to ensure her family was well provided for, and who broke herself in two trying to be everything to her and her daddy.  Not such an awful legacy to leave behind.  She'll have witnessed confidence in the face of adversity, and thoughtfulness in a woman who truly looked for every possible way to make the best decisions for her family each and every single day.  She'll see a woman who spent as much time with her child as humanly possible, playing, engaging, and caretaking...and she'll see a woman who hopefully made the world outside our home just that little bit better.


The big job changes come at the end of the month and hopefully keep me busy and engaged and inspired for a good number of years to come.  I'm beginning the second half of my work journey - and I'm hoping it's a wild and woolly ride!

Onward and Upward.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Lost in my job.
Lost in my home.
Lost in my family.
Lost in my soul.

Feels like no one is knocking on my door, but some how there's so much to be done, to be said, to be felt from so many angles and people that I'm tripping over...and I'm lost.  Like I'm invisible to everyone around me.  My feelings mean nothing - they're easy to be trampled on.  As long as I don't infringe on anyone else's inalienable rights to be assholes, I should be able to survive and be happy right?

It makes me want to shut the world right off.  Makes me want to take my child and live in the smallest cabin I can find in the woods, and become a homeschooling hermit.  Makes me want to not speak to anyone...anytime...account for anyone else's feelings but my own and my daughter's.

Makes me want to hide and tell the world to just Eff Off.  If the world needs to be filled with and run by assholes, who am I to fight that?  I'll just find a small slice of something the furthest I can get from anything otherwise labelled as "civilized" and live off my own resources.

I'm close to a breakdown.  Maybe this is it already and there's no turning back.

Truth is, the people you love and who supposedly love you should be trying to be with you any chance they get.  I seem to be surrounded by people who are trying to stay away...so maybe I'm the problem here.  Maybe I need to just go away to make people happy.

Maybe the world would be a much better place if I weren't a part of it for all of those people.  I clearly don't bring anything worthwhile to the table that would make anyone want more.

Lost.  Invisible.  Alone in a sea of needy, greedy, fucked up people.
Stop.  I want off.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Big Difference

I saw a meme on Facebook that caused an epiphany for me.  It`s a great quote, but I don`t know who actually wrote it to give proper credits, but it`s too true not to pick up.

"The hardest part of my job each day is being nice to stupid people."

It's definitely not a nice thing to say, but it's one I know I've muttered too many times in the last 20 + years.  In fact, many years ago, some colleagues and I admittedly would take our coffee breaks at a coffee shop across the street from our work and compare the idiocy we'd had to deal with that day in competition for a completely fake award we dubbed the "dummy trophy".  Also, I'll confess as I write this, I recognize (as I likely did way back then) that this is far from "nice", but inevitably and very truthfully, it's the only visibly safe way to cope with some of the things smart people can be faced with in day to day life.

Which is kinda where my epiphany plugs in.  The general population learns in high school science class that every action has an equal reaction.  Simply put, EVERYONE knows that if you do something like push a ball, it will roll away.  Not rocket science.  It's basic logic.  And THAT's what differentiates the really smart people from the, shall we say, not quite as smart people.

Really smart people realize that there is not just simply an equal reaction, but that there are two equal reactions - one positive and the other negative.  Using the same ball example, when the ball rolls away, you no longer have the ball and must chase it in order to roll it again, OR risk losing it forever.  On the flip side, clearly you can be entertained by the rolling ball, you can analyze it, you can even potentially watch the ball bounce off of or be redirected by the things that impede it's path.  In every action, there is a risk and reward decision that must precede it.  That's why smart people have angst - and probably why the genius have gotten over their angst in not giving the negative reactions any power over the positive ones.

So I'm far from any declarations of "genius".  I'm far too angst riddled for that.  And my angst centres directly on the fact that I recognize that by every decision/action I take, I am both sending positive and negative messages, and that I honestly have no control over which message resonates loudest for the receiver of it.  It's also why I am constantly at odds with my job.  My job is not soul filling, nurturing or making the world a better place.  I get paid well to do a good job that makes other people filthy rich.  BUT, I make damn good money that keeps my family fed, healthy and living a good first world kind of life, and which affords me the luxury of finding other ways to make the world a better place for others.  It's not enough, but it feeds the smallest corners of my soul and gives me hope that retirement will be more fulfilling.  But it's also precisely why the meme speaks so much truth in such a simple statement.  In a world where we're doing things that don't fulfill our souls or make the world a better place, and leave us at constant odds with our own human purpose, well, it is the straw that breaks the camel's back to work with people who seem numb to purpose, and immune to the impacts of "reaction" in their day to day work.  Stupidity in it's own right, becomes the action that doesn't recognize it's negative impact on the world around it.

Which leaves me with a final thought - I learned from a wise teacher when I was very young (before people thought "Stupid" was the new four letter word that could no longer be used in the English language) that "the difference between ignorance and stupidity was that ignorance could be erased with education.  Stupidity won't."  In stark truth, this lesson was taught in specific relation to racism and it's impacts at a time when the world rallied around South Africa and Nelson Mandella as they fought apartheid.  Quite apropos that it's the epiphany I have as tensions rise in New York and Ferguson in the United States.  If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, then I'm not quite sure if Stupid or Ignorance is the reaction desired.  My guess is "stupid wins" and he who looks for a new solution to address the racists will move the needle further.  Protesting made a difference in the 60's and there were powerful voices that were silenced all too early.  Their sacrifices underscored the protestors' messages with the biggest yellow highlighter the world has ever witnessed.

Without inching into anarchy, in 2014 there has to be a different way to raise this and eliminate the issue once and for all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Single Way to be the Best Spouse

Something I've learned is that marriage is not a competition, but when it hits rough patches as they ultimately do, competition seems to be the way discord manifests itself as a symptom.

I'm not a marriage expert.  Unless you call being married enough qualification to be an expert - which, honestly, might just be enough in most circles.

The biggest thing I've learned in my 41 years on this planet and in the 8 years of my marriage is that respect, loyalty, love and honouring your vows are the ONLY ways you can be your best version of the spouse you intended to be the day you got married.

And the single most important thing I've learned is never to click on some crazy person's blog about how to be the best wife, or best husband.

While the husband ones aren't so bad, the wife ones are truly abhorrent and derived straight from the pages of a book that's so antiquated that it forgot to let people who pour over every letter within it, that the world moved on, women wear pants and work bloody hard.  In many cases it forgets to remind those crazy ass women that it's their turn to be the bread winners, so racing home at night to get the house cleaned, dishes done, meals prepared and the beer chilled, just in time to paste a ridiculous frigging smile on your face as your hubby walks through the door, is bloody insane.  It's forgotten that the virtues of feminism and equality prevail in a modern world, and no person with half a brain in their head is wearing the goofy smile anymore.

You can't be a better wife by doing all that - all that can do is make yourself depressed, anxious, constantly on edge and looking for what you might be getting in return AND that's what gives rise to competition and discord in a marriage.

SO - the best way to be your best version of the spouse you always intended to be, man or woman, is to share equally in the work of daily life, without grumbling and begrudging every second of it, recognizing that your spouse is devoting as much or more to the same ugly tasks of day to day life, and revel in the few and rare opportunities you get to be free of those encumbrances.  Respect your partner for all that they bring to your day to day life.  Fawn over meals even if they're dismal attempts and massive failures, with immense praise, knowing how many planets and stars had to align for your partner to even get as far as they did with it.  And be loyal.  Look past the disgruntled face, the worn out sighs, the disheveled hair...pour your martini and hers.  Bring them chocolate and flowers, beer or movie passes.  Get the sitter all lined up in advance, and ask them out on a real date - the way you did before you were married.  Show your partner, that through thick and thin, you see how beautiful they are, you love them, and you respect them.

Marriage is never perfect.  And there's no simple checklist to make it better.  Do what your mama taught you and just be a decent human being.  Everything else will work itself out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm such a softy

My husband kindly reminded me the other day that it's been too long since I blogged.  And he's right. My only response was that I feel like I have a voice that's not worth listening to at the moment.  I suppose it comes from the generic plights of being a mommy.  No one listens to mommy until they're old enough to appreciate how right she always was...that takes a lot of years before it kicks in, and I know it.

The only thing that's eating at me lately is that I'm such a softy.  It's only mid November and I've been a fuelled up crying machine, with tears pouring out of me at the drop of a hat.  Could be the toils we've been through as a nation recently.  Could be frustrations of motherhood, and stresses of wifedom.  Could be mounting stress and feeling a whole lot "less than" worth anything at work.  Could be just plain old gearing up for the holiday season, OR it could be Seasonal Affected Disorder.  Frig - this could be what menopause is like.

What I know for certain is that since I hit my first bout of depression, I'm a total softy.  I cry for anything.  EVERYTHING hits me right in the heart and like straight away.  I got depressed and the floodgates opened.  Welcome Niagara Falls.  My child pokes my rolls and snuggles into me on the daily basis and tells me how soft, and cuddly and squishy I am...and all I can think is, I used to be so tough.  I used to be impossible to hurt.  I used to be infallible.  Audacious.  Sophisticated and Bitchy (in the best possible way).  I was assertive.  I was, in short, pretty freaking amazing and independent.  A one woman hurricane on a gentle summer night.

And now I'm soft.  I've always been kind, but not to my own detriment.  My sacrifices were well balanced with self service.  Acts I carried out were usually mutually beneficial.  Now.  I give a whole lot, and don't ask/expect much in return.  But by the time I do ask for something, I've let it pile up and boil to the point where I'm ready to bust and the tears and anxiety are uncontrollable.

All this to wind up with the notion that I know I'm not lost.  I'm right here and I still know full well who I am and what I stand for.  My principles have not changed.  But I'm also aware that I'm older.  I care less for people's opinions and in swaying them, than I care about making the world a better place.  And who could argue that such a place in life isn't a better situation than simply being confident and audacious.  I'm still as independent as you could possibly imagine a woman being, but I would be lost and devastated without my family in my corner of the ring.  I guess the only real struggle this change in me introduces is in teaching my daughter how to be just that wee bit tougher and independent and confident when I, though confident and independent, am the first one fighting back floods of tears watching the Christmas parade, or the newest commercial/video online showing a soldier surprising his kids.

In short - I'm a sap.  Pass the syrup.