Goodbye.

Today I got an email that took my breath away.

Noorish Yoga is closing. My safe place.

I’m stunned to the point of not really having words.

When I found Noorish, I was falling apart. My heart was in pieces, shards that I couldn’t place back together, and my knee had been freshly destroyed. I don’t even know if the bruises from my fall had healed. My ex had moved out but hadn’t stopped calling. I needed a place to stretch, a place to declare MINE as I healed, both heart and body.

A Groupon showed up for 10 classes at Noorish. I checked the schedule out online, and signed up for a candlelit yin class. It was on Wednesday night, at 9 p.m. I showed up with an old mat and low expectations.

That was the only class I attended at Noorish for a full year. And I was there every single week that I was in the city. Every single week, for a year. Maybe a year and a half, even.

Have you ever been to a yin class? It’s a slow, deep practice, where you get into relatively comfortable positions that you hold for an extended period of time. Have you ever reclined in pigeon pose for 5 minutes? You start comfortably and then descend into an angry, emotional pit where all you can think about is MOVING GODDAMMIT BECAUSE THIS ISN’T COMFORTABLE ANYMORE AND FUCK YOU FOR MAKING ME SIT IN THIS PLACE FOR SO FUCKING LONG. Yin is designed to stretch the fascia of your muscles – making it more intense than usual. However, because of its intense nature, and the targeted areas, it becomes an emotional practice. You hold your anger and sadness, your fears and frustrations in the fascia, so when you work through it, you become very emotional. I found myself weeping after releasing these positions, and not knowing why. Was it sadness? Relief? Healing? Whatever. As long as I’m not in fucking pigeon anymore.

The instructor was stunning. She seemed to intuitively know what part of me needed breaking open on Wednesdays – sometimes it was hip work, sometimes it was heart opening – and I’d leave her classes feeling relieved and moved. She’d bring in musicians to play beautiful music as we suffered. I’d often end up in tears that I couldn’t explain as she spoke. I loved, loved, loved my yin practice.

I never brought people there during that time. Noorish was MINE, my safest place. It was where I learned to be me again. Where my heart healed. Where my knee healed (kinda sorta, stupid stupid knee).

After a few years, I signed up for a yoga challenge – the Get Your Glow On Challenge, which I wrote about here. As I detailed, it was a game changer. Gluten free, dairy free, meat free, alcohol free, caffeine free, and sugar free for 8 weeks, and 5 classes of yoga a week. I experimented a lot at Noorish, coming out with defined loved (and hated) classes, and a brand new community of people.

I started volunteering there right after the challenge, on Thursday nights, as a karma yogi. It became more than my safe place, it became my church. I had moments where angels visited me, moments of stark clarity and logic, and rarely my anxiety attacks. I was devoted to Noorish, and I loved the work. I mean, I loved the free yoga as well, but my heart belonged to Noorish.

During that really really dark summer two years ago, Noorish became my anchor. The manager hired me as the assistant manager, and I got PAID to be at my safe place. What? Even as I worked there, it never lost that beauty or safety. Even with my second unemployment stint, Noorish had my back. I worked a lot, the paychecks from there keeping me afloat as I struggled to find work in my field. At one point I was even offered the manager’s position to cover a maternity leave.

When I discovered the job I’m at NOW, I decided to keep Noorish as my second job. I made it work for awhile – taking the train to University station and then walking to make my shift. Then, several things happened at once.

I was needed at a work event on a night that I worked at Noorish, and told that if I wanted to succeed where I am (in my field), I’d need to prioritize this place over Noorish. I started the Jenny Craig diet and couldn’t eat at Noorish (and I am one hangry human). My manager left on maternity leave. I adopted Nox. All at once. It was June. And all at once, I thought “I need to resign from Noorish in order to do right by me,” and my heart breathed… “Yes. It’s time.”

So I resigned after 2.5 years of working for Noorish – 4.5 ish years of being at Noorish steadily. I do admit that my heart broke at the lack of recognition from Noorish at that time (I wrote my resignation…. And no one spoke to me after that), but it didn’t break at the thought of leaving. It was time. I knew it was the right decision immediately.

I’ve been back twice since I left. Both times have been okay. But not the same.

Lately, though, I’ve been craving the feeling and the community I had at Noorish. I found peace there, fell back in love with my body there. It’s this magical, beautiful place that makes my heart so full. The place I learned to breath through the pain, the place I’ve wept countless times on my mats (true story, I went through 5 mats during my Noorish years, and all of them had been wet with my tears more than once), the place I felt like the best N I could be. The feelings of loss I’m currently experiencing are beyond anything I could have imagined – I took for granted that Noorish would just always be there.

I am so grateful that I found Noorish. I’m so grateful that I’ll be able to spend some time there before the doors close forever. My heart breaks because this special secret gem is closing… but I am so grateful that I was given the chance to learn there. I’m so grateful that I learned so much about myself there, grateful for the journey and support Noorish has always provided me, both on the mat and off. I’m so grateful that I will be able to say goodbye.

If anyone wants to join me there this month, please let me know. I will make space for you in my haven.

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The rantings of a pissed off introvert

I was 18 or 19 when I gave someone a fake name for the first time. I don’t remember how old I was precisely – I know that my high school sweetheart and I weren’t together at that point in time, but we were allowed to smoke in the bars, so I had to be under 20.

Like most little shithole towns, mine had a bar called The Zoo. It was typically shitty – the carpet was ancient and so sticky that you could slip a high heel off, stretch your toes, and your heel would be exactly where you left it, the pool tables warped and faded, one of the ladies’ toilets stopped flushing years ago – and it’s been a very long time (like, I think I was 24 the last time I was there) but I still remember the layout. They used to put up a stripper pole a few nights a week, used to truck sand onto the dance floor a few times a year (for a beach party!), and it was your typical shithole bar. It was my shit bar. I loved there, I fought there – generally with the same person.

Anyway.

This particular evening I was likely having a smoke with my beers (I was a social smoker. Altogether now – ewwwwww) and this guy slid up next to me. He was older than I was, but I didn’t recognize him. He made my skin crawl, but I couldn’t walk away easily because of a small wall between us.

“Hey, cutie. Howzit going?” His breath full of smoke, his eyes droopy from the drink. “What’s yer name?”

A fake smile. A realization that I couldn’t move away from him easily.

“Luke,” I yelled over the music. A lie. A joking nickname one of my high school friends gave me due to my riding shotgun pretty much all the time until I was allowed to take my dad’s truck more often.

See, if I’d given my real name, he would have leaned in closer to try to get it right. He’d have blocked my exit more than he already was, gotten close enough for me to smell the nicotine seeping from his pores, maybe would have put his hand on my lower back to steady me as I repeated my real name until he got it right.

Since then, I give Luke out when I’m too tired to talk about my name. Coffee shops, creeps in bars (you’d be surprised at how many people believe that Luke is short for Lucinda, but I disgress), you name it, I’ve given my fake name there. I even used to have a flask that read LUKE in all capitals letters, given as a goodbye gift from a friend in Australia. It’s particularly lovely given my introversion.

However, since entering my profession, I’ve gotten more careful with my name and pictures of myself. I’ve curated my online reputation to the point of lunacy, I’m sure. I tend to be anal about Googling myself (every 6 months or so), to ensure that nothing new has cropped up. My privacy means a lot to me (especially since the business intelligence team. It’s alarming how easy it is to find someone.) and I protect it fiercely. Triply so since this whole terrible terrifying encounter.

So, what does this mean? It means that I don’t use my full name on Facebook (and, in fact, am debating changing my name to its traditional spelling to hide further). It means that there is no photo or detail on LinkedIn until we connect. It means I use a bastardized spelling on Instagram, and I’m named nowhere but on media releases and for volunteer activities. My Reddit account is tied to me in no way, ever. Period.

Now, however, I’ve found myself embroiled in an unusual situation, and the media wants to talk to me. And I’m torn between rioting for this unusual (for me) cause, and protecting my privacy.

I bought a place a few years ago, and until now, we have been allowed to smoke on our personal patios. Frankly, that meant sweet fuck all to me. I don’t smoke, precious few of my friends smoke – but we were allowed. And now, in a knee jerk response to the legalization of marijuana, my condo board (who are, with the exception of one truly lovely soul, a pack of judgmental assholes) has decided that the entire property should be grow and smoke free. The level of Reefer Madness has reached feverish heights, and the bias being shown by the condo board is unbelievable. Like, if you smoke pot clearly you’re a criminal levels of bias. At an “informational meeting”, one of the directors was giving her absolute bullshit opinion on medicinal marijuana and how you can take different things to get the same effect.

I’m a bit pissed. I don’t smoke a lot, but it’s none of anyone’s business whether I do or not. I have no desire to leave my home to go for a walk, or to a smoke shelter (where old men in my building can sneer at the “dirty hippies embroiled in the sex, drugs, and rock & roll lifestyle” as they stroll past). I don’t want to host a gathering of friends and police them – “Sorry, I know that you smoke cigarettes but you need to leave my house and property in order to do so” – let along be fine with my neighbours propping doors open. There are security risks, safety risks, and all this board cares about is banning cannabis. They are saying it’s because it’s a fire hazard, but are doing nothing to prevent the smokers who are currently tossing their butts over the balcony railings. And even though the most vocal people are ANTI this bylaw, and even though they are using skewed data to support this decision, the board isn’t saying anything… I’m furious.

First, I’m aware that I’m at the mercy of multi-housing living. I do realize that. I did join the board for a time, but literally couldn’t handle the stress of it all – the continued drama and flat out lies told by the then-president. And this just….

Makes me want to riot.

I went online awhile ago and asked for options. “Does anyone else have some ideas how to deal with this?” I got railed on a lot, and was given a really hard time by a few, but now a reporter wants to talk to me about this. Frankly, I’m debating publicly shaming my board. I’m debating tying my name to the “Hey, I smoke pot sometimes!” article and speaking my rage to a paper to be published for the city to see. Right now, she and I have gone back and forth on it – she can’t grant me anonymity, but wants the scoop. She messaged me again this morning. And I want to do it. I want this reporter to call my property management company and demand answers, and then destroy them in print.

Except it’s in ink. The internet is ink, and my name will be tied to that position forever. My real name, which most of the people reading this blog already know. But I’m sure that I’m surprising people that I’m on this side of legalization (hey guess what, I also staunchly support the legalization of prostitution! Surprise, y’all!) and it scares me that my position on a smoke and grow free building will be freely available. I don’t want my colleagues knowing that I dabble or support it.

Ugh. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

But, here’s a happy tune to end with. Happy Friday – may your beer be cold and your decisions wise.

One day before 35

We recently completed an employee engagement survey at work. I hate those things. Generally it doesn’t change anything but the rhetoric, and it feels like more of a chore than anything. My team had a meeting yesterday about our results, and after a lot of talk about the past and how we can move forward as a team, I spoke up.

Now, I am very happy at my job. In fact, I LOVE my job. I wake up excited more than I don’t, and I’m usually bubbly the second I walk in the door. My team is amazing, and I am proud to work where I am. Full stop. I’m in love with what I do, and where I am. I get thanked a lot for the work I do, I get a lot of compliments about my attitude and the effect it has, and I haven’t said no to a project yet. Hell. I even had a little birthday celebration yesterday, and got thanked by two directors (including my own) for overtime I put in.

I. Love. My. Job.

All of that, however, didn’t stop me from pointing out that employee engagement results tend to be difficult to implement, that I had the previous results and nothing has changed, and that I didn’t see the point of putting a lot of effort into something that wouldn’t matter anyways. I genuinely believe that effort needs to come from the top – that it’s impossible to say to jaded individuals “It will get better if you work harder!” unless you want to piss everyone off.

Given that I’m generally the happiest person in the office, that statement has raised a few questions and a few compliments from my team. Most obviously, the one I’ve heard 4 times now is comments about my positive attitude versus my opinion about employee engagement surveys.

To that, I say I choose this.

I’m turning 35 tomorrow (what the fuck), and I have to say that the lesson I’ve learned the most since last year is that your attitude defines your life. I have finally learned that I get to choose.

I choose to be happy at work, especially on Mondays, even though it would be really easy to be grumpy and disengaged.

I choose to be happy. Even when reason says I shouldn’t be, I choose lightness over darkness.

I choose hard work. Whether it’s the gym or repairing a relationship, or even cleaning a storage room, I choose to get sweaty and fight through it.

I choose to dance. Even though I’m TERRIBLE at it, even though I don’t know how, I choose to shimmy and shake and sing to honour God and myself, I choose to feel lovely as I move.

I choose love – I choose to love me in all my busted up glory, I choose to love my friends and family, I choose to believe in romantic love and a happy ever after (even though I struggle with that last). Today, especially. I choose love.

I choose to fight for the things that I want. As Sugar says, I want to fight in the muckiest muck and walk out, filthy, exhausted, but still choosing it every time.

I choose, I choose, I choose.

It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, only in real time. It’s really hard to be this way – I struggle with falling into old habits (“Why does this keep happening to me?!”) and somedays, owning my choices is really fucking difficult. But the more I do it, the easier it is.

I turn 35 tomorrow, and I choose to be happy. I choose to keep living my life without regret, I choose to keep working to being the person I want to be. If I could give you any advice, it would be to choose. Choose what’s important to you, choose to fight for the people you love and the future you want, choose yourself, choose love.

Week 7: February parallels

This time last year, I was well into a bottle of bubbly.

I had been restructured out of my job. They pulled me into a meeting room, told me that they didn’t need a marketing and communications pro (which, to be fair, was true), tried to look sincere when they apologized, and then let me pack up my things and go. I sat in my car and screamed, cried a little…. and then came home and drank prosecco because I had no idea what I was going to do.

To be clear, this wasn’t the same as the Irish whiskey black out that happened when I left the GoA. This was a night of “well, fuck it, I don’t have to work tomorrow. Cheers!”

It’s been 365 days. And oh so much has changed. In true N style, let’s show some gratitude for that time before I get into the parallels.

I am just over 10 months into a job that blows my mind every. Single. Day. Seriously. Every day. I wake up absolutely pumped to go to work, and my boss often teases me that I must be on great drugs because I’m just thrilled every day. My reviews have come back positive, and I’ve been praised for my leadership skills. Which is awesome, because this is my first leadership role (hooray to going from a MarComms Coordinator to Communication Team Lead!). I’ve been doing things that are generally out of my comfort zone and succeeding – traveling to large scale events with no idea what I’ve been doing, interviewing for vacation positions – and I am so fucking in love with my job. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

I have the homicidal love muffin. She’s currently asleep in a shoe box (well, she’s trying to fit into a shoe box) and chirping in her sleep. I didn’t plan on adopting her. I saw a photo, and all of a sudden I had a feather chasing fuzz butt who is now 12 pounds and loves to play hide and seek.

For the first time, I dated with intention. I realized precisely how lonely I was, and started being even picky than I usually am with dating. There were some really nice guys. And now… there is just one really nice gentleman. No drama, no strings attached, just goodness.

I am slowly but surely getting healthier. Full stop. There have been slides backwards (like right now, because fuck my ankles and the flu, that’s why!) but I am always getting back up and continuing to move forward.

However, it can’t all be hunky dory. This time last year, I was steeling up the courage to go to my doctor and tell her that I wanted physio to heal my knee so that I could start running again. And now, I’m dealing with an ankle that isn’t stable that I’ve been instructed to be gentle with until it stops popping out of place. No high heels. I’m not allowed to spin until I’m done curling (repetitive motion, for the win!) so I’m generally just cranky about it. The other night I slid out of the hack, and my foot popped so loudly that I thought I’d broken it. And today, it’s all swollen.

All that said, I take a lot of peace that the only thing that is the same as last year is the idea that I need physio. How amazing is that? I’m experiencing a lot of joy, things are finally in a place where I am content and feeling happy. I don’t think I’ll ever say that I’m done improving, because I don’t know that I ever will be, but I’m so happy.

Week 5 – so much for weekly updates

Well.

The road to hell, and all that jazz.

It’s week 5. I’ve been steadily losing, minus one really weird week that I will account to a monthly bloat. I went up 9 pounds (WTAF) and then dropped to my lowest weight yet. Boom. Low 170s. I’m a babe.

My January and February so far has been a lot of remembering. I have been struggling to meal plan and prep, but I’m getting better every week. I have said this before – but prepping healthy and delicious meals for one person SUCKS. I get sick of what I make easily, so I’m trying for variety and delicious. This week was the best one – raspberry, salami, and feta spinach salads, and roasted sweet potato, apple and feta spinach salads. I had smoothies and egg sandwiches for breakfast, and snack consisted of fruit, snack bars, and yoghurt. Simple but delicious, and lots of choices. This week felt good.

Exercise has also been good. I signed up for my friend AR’s weekly spin class. AR and I used to run together (and by together, I mean that we’d chat before our runs, because even in my wildest dreams I likely couldn’t keep up with her). But, a year or two ago I confided that I was sad that I wasn’t able to run any longer, and now we work out before our beer visits. Whether it’s yoga or spin, we move together. So when I say “it’s my goal to ride one of those core bikes”, I know that she’ll have me on one. And I did this week – it was a bit of a stretch for me, but it felt GREAT afterwards. I feel super lucky to have a friend like AR.

I’ve also been at the gym at my work almost every day. My go to is walking – I can walk over 3KM in 40 minutes. I love walking – it’s as close to running I’ll likely ever be again. Also, confession – I don’t like figuring out the machines, plus I’m a creature of routine, so I like the treadmills. That, however, is changing.

Because I signed up for, and started working with, a personal trainer. And she has told me that I’m not going to be walking anymore. Because I’ve also told HER that I want to push myself. I am regretting that a little today, though. Yesterday was our first REAL session together, and I was feeling like a babe before the session. Wednesday, I wore my old running pants to spin. They had stopped fitting about 2 years ago – and they fit amazingly on Wednesday. On Friday, I was able to bust out a pair of jeans that make me look and feel amazing. To say I was feeling like a babe is an UNDERSTATEMENT. And then I went to the gym.

You guys, I was so ashamed. I almost cried in the gym I was so embarrassed. It was an easy ish routine (even now, replaying it in my mind, it seems easy) but I am so so weak. My arms were shaking as I moved the weights, and my balance was off. I struggling to finish, my legs were wobbling. I am so ashamed that I’m so weak. I have neglected myself so much that I struggled with every single movement – and today my body is ACHING. My shoulders and legs especially. Even putting on my awesome jeans after the workout didn’t make me feel better. I felt sad. And fat. Which, as I’ve already discovered, makes me want to eat. That makes me feel infinitely worse.

This is the defining moment, though. I know that, in my heart of hearts, I have two choices. I can give up because of my shame – I can go back to what I know, and what I am comfortable with – or I can choose to move forward through the discomfort to be better.

It’s the second month of 2018, and this is the second time I’ve made this choice. I went to a meditation workshop in January, and during an affirmation session, I started to cry. The session leader was talking to us about the teaching of Louise Hay, and I couldn’t repeat these affirmations – all positive statements that I want to believe about myself. The words we were speaking are my deepest fear about myself, the thing that keeps me awake at night and prickly during the day. As I was struggling to speak, my tears were flowing down my face. My heart felt like it was being shattered open. Even thinking about it – I have tears in my eyes. And maybe on my cheeks.

There are only two real choices as I move forward with this journey. I can choose easy. I can choose to move forward with my hard shell and soft body – I can ignore that my joints ache, and that my heart breaks (and I cry) every time I try to speak about my deep fear. Or I can choose discomfort – I can choose to continue to show up for myself, to look at myself in the mirror and acknowledge that it’s hard and that it hurts, but moving forward is the only way to go.

This is my choice. This discomfort and vulnerability is my choice. I will continue to make this my choice, even as my heart heals and my body gets stronger. I choose discomfort over easy.

Week 1 – Again

It feels weird to write Week 1, again. Especially since the Week 1 already happened, but it feels like just starting over.

Accidental John Lennon reference in the first sentence. Go me.

Ok, so it’s week 1. My Fitness Pal gave me a very very salty goodbye yesterday (“We see these reminders aren’t helpful. So we are going to stop now.”), because I’m having a hard time putting my meals into it. It’s not like I’m not eating well, because oh, I am, but I just don’t seem to have that particular routine down yet.

HOWEVER. Overall, the rest of it came back easy peasy. I managed the gym 3 times this week, with over 11,000 steps each of those days, and I completely forgot how much I loved working out. Also this week – I signed up for 13 weeks of spinning, and gained a 25 class pass at Oxygen Fitness because I’m so done feeling like not my total babely self!

That said – and I’m very excited about this – I stepped on the scale the day after my last post. It wasn’t as high as the first Week 1 – about 10 pounds under that first horrible terrible first time – but it was higher than the last time I stepped on the scale. However. I stepped onto the scale on Tuesday.

And I am officially in the 170s. Officially, more than halfway through the 170s.

I feel like a total and utter babe.

***

To that, there is something else I want to write about. It’s been percolating a lot this week. Mostly because 5 years ago, exactly, I was in Africa. Africa was a total game changer for me.

5 years ago, I was ready to quit communications and marketing altogether. Like, full stop. I hated my job, I hated every single day I was at my job. There was one good thing about my job, and she was my boss. I wanted to quit and run back to operating heavy equipment. Because, and this cannot be overstated – I hated my life every. Single. Day. I had to go to work.

5 years ago, I was sharing my life and home with a man, who I very often described as my soulmate. I had a dream for us (even though I wasn’t allowed to talk about it with him), I wanted to marry him and have his children. Even though it was secretly awful and devastating and far lonelier than I have been since.

5 years ago, my anxiety was off of the charts. I wasn’t allowed to cry or be anxious at home, I wasn’t sleeping, and I was constantly thisclose to a full on meltdown.

And now I’m here.

I love what I do, even though I’ve gone through a couple of major derailments and ended up on my ass (and sometimes in a bottle). I love writing, I love the challenges I face day to day. Communications has become my love.

I have been single for most of the last five years. I have dated- some men longer than others – but haven’t ever found anyone that made me feel like my former roommate. I keep faith that I’ll find that spark – but then I think, maybe a spark like that isn’t meant to light a life. Maybe they are meant to incinerate who we were, in order to become who we need to become. I’ve been on the most hilarious and terrible dates, but I’ve also fallen in love with myself. That was something definitely missing from my life 5 years ago.

It’s been a battle – mostly with myself. I have fought myself into corners, fallen, given up, folded in child’s pose and wept, stood back up, and kept fighting. I’m really, really proud of all that. I’ve learned to dance more, sing louder, care more, and be fiercer.

To that – here is a really great dancing tune. Please go and dance for joy. Dance for life, dance for love, dance for all the lessons we have learned, for the lessons we haven’t learned yet, and the choices we yet to get to make.

End of the Weeks: NYE 2017

It’s here.

My favourite day of the year. My favourite holiday. My blank slate, lots of hopes and dreams and expectations for the upcoming year. And today, this morning, they all feel possible as I sip my coffee and look out onto my patio. I should be out running around, completing my last minute errands before I head out to dance for the night… but all I can think is writing about 2017, and letting out some of my dreams for 2018.

2017

This year started out the way it’s about to end – dancing to a local live band. The difference is that I kissed someone I really cared about at midnight. Yep, that’s right – I spent a good chunk of my year dating someone. One someone, actually. No one ever met him, and there are no pictures of us together – which is a little sad, especially now that’s ended. The one lesson that I really took away from it, and a theme that ran through my year, is the lesson of loneliness. I spent my time with this someone hiding from the world at his insistence – never touching in public (minus one very drunk New Years kiss), never referring to one another as “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” (real talk – the first time he referred to me this way, he gagged. FOR REAL.) – and that quickly turned into a deeper loneliness than being alone.

So I spent a lot of time delving into my loneliness. I sat with myself and did a lot of work on it and me and focused on the root of the issue. There was lots of quiet time – lots of meditation on my part, which was both enjoyable and devastating. My favourite meditation spot – the edge of the lake during vacation.

Yep, I took a real vacation. My first since 2013. I spent 4 days volunteering and dancing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and then drove out to Shuswap to camp for a few days. Oh my god. It was glorious. There was swimming and dancing and laughing and talking and starlight and a few killer sunrises. During my vacation, however, a crack happened one morning. I split in two – it felt like my soul was exposed. All of the deep fears and a feeling that took a long time to identify – love – were released into the universe. I spent the next few days confused and fearful, and made some pretty significant changes following that morning.

This year, I ended up having a lot of time on my hands- another restructuring meant another 2 months unemployed. 2 months with my thumb jammed firmly up my ass – I played endless amounts of Pokémon Go and worked at Noorish way too much. I did lots of yoga and applied for endless jobs (again. Seriously, I can write the most awesome resume/cover letter/LinkedIn profiles ever), and ended up fielding multiple offers, which blew my mind. It’s been 9 months, and I still wake up in love with my job.

To that – this year has been the healthiest and happiest I’ve been in a very, very long time. In May, I started losing weight in a pretty big way – dropping 25 pounds (give or take) and pretty much overhauled my lifestyle. I started scanning labels at the grocery store, I started using My Fitness Pal religiously, I started working out every day at lunch time.

And then a bunch of people quit or retired and I am up 10 pounds because I got stressed right out and lost my motivation. So hooray me?

The best part of this year – Nox Minerva. My little fur baby, the stinky slinky, my Snickerdoodle. Adopting her was the highlight of the year. She’s 9 months old, drives me crazy, is so full of mischief and cuddles… and I honestly still can’t believe she’s here.

2018

My first and biggest priority is getting back on the healthy train. Back to being the person scanning in the grocery store, back to moving every lunch time (starting Tuesday! Hooray!), and back to dedicating time to meal planning. I’m planning on signing up for my friend’s spin class, I’m planning on joining a yoga studio near here. My health kick was great – I was writing on here every week (EVERY WEEK. This blog post is coming 2 months after the last one I wrote! WTF), I was feeling like a babe all of the time, I love the feeling of my clothes falling off of my body. Which is weird, maybe?

My other healthy promise is that I’m taking a mediation course in a few weeks. I want my mind to be clearer, I crave that focus and peace. I’m sure that these two goals are going to lead to a third, actually, but I don’t want to discuss that one until later on into the journey. But you are all coming along on my journey, because my GOD I’m updating this weekly throughout.

I’m also going to use all of my vacation days. I’m taking at least one vacation this year! I am striving to go away for my birthday – I cannot have my birthday here – so I’m going to try to take an overseas vacation in March (think booking the time off and then seeing what last minute trips are available… and then leaving for a beach and a bottle of rum on a beach somewhere). Maybe another one – another Folk Fest weekend – and maybe out to Vancouver Island to camp and chill on another beach. Maybe. The only solid one right now is my birthday.

The dating thing is…. fucking dating. Of course it’s a goal, because funny enough I still want to have a baby and still want to get married. My goal for this: I want a man who is super proud of me, and is totally fine screaming to the whole world that I’m his girlfriend and he loves me. Is it crazy that I want him to share pictures of me if he has social media? If not, I’d like to share pictures of him on my social media – I want someone who wants to be seen with me. Maybe I’ve met him already, but if not – it’s still my goal.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope this year is the best one yet for us all. I hope it’s full of love, light, healthy eating, sweating, kitten cuddles, laughter, starlight, and really really great sex.

Week X: The Day the Music Died

Tom Petty died late last night. And, lucky me, I managed to throw my back right out so am high on painkillers and on a heating pad, so all I’ve got right now is writing. And Netflix, of course. Frontier was just added – filmed in Newfoundland and starring Jason Momoa. It’s decent, he’s delightful – two drugged thumbs right up. But yes, Tom Petty. 

I grew up with music. My parents brought us up in a home where we were surrounded by music. We sang while we cooked and cleaned, we listened to music all of the time. My father used to (and possibly still does) air guitar to The Rolling Stones as he cleaned, taught us to twist and crocodile rock; my mother made perfect mix tapes that covered Rita MacNeil to Guns N Roses, encouraged us to bring home all of the music to discover. My brother and I grew up dancing together, singing along to whatever came on the radio, and both still have wildly eclectic musical tastes. 

With all of this, I have vivid musical memories. I remember hearing The Traveling Wilburys for the first time (my parents had the album). I remember hearing Free Falling for the first time with Mel, one of my oldest friends. He wasn’t an artist that my parents ever really listened to, but I really liked him when I heard him, and really discovered him in high school. 

Because of the way the high school credit system worked, I needed to either take French or Drama to get my required amount – so I unexpectedly became a drama kid.  I’ve told the story about the drama room here before, so I won’t tell it again. But one unshared part of the drama room was that we had to sing before every single class. The songs were generally songs that we knew, and of course, we had to sing American Pie. At the same time I was taking drama, my HS love and I were discovering music together – I’ve mentioned the Hip before, but we looked into The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Meatloaf, Jethro Tull, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Metallica…. the list marched on into popular music. Even after we ended, I still listened to these tunes. Much later, someone would call me Honeybee in reference to the track off of the Wildflowers album. Tom Petty feels timeless, he feels classic. I always dance when I hear Tom Petty. 

Maybe it’s today’s drugs, or maybe it’s because I’m trapped in a body that generally feels injured and slow… but I am slowly starting to understand why they sang that the music died. We seem to lose all the good ones before we are ready – Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Amy Winehouse, the Notorious B.I.G., and Whitney Houston come leaping to mind – and now it seems like we are losing all the really good ones. 

I don’t know where I’m going with this. This week has been nostalgic for me – someone from my past resurfaced in a really unclear, odd way and it has ignited a flame of hope in my chest. One of my favourite films (and BOOKS!) of all time, The Princess Bride, turned 30. I’m afraid with the terror that is gripping the world. And now, my favourite dancing music has died. 

I really hope that the muscle relaxants kick in enough that I can go to the gym tomorrow. I think I need that break. 

Week X: today I’m sad. 

Today, I’m sad that I have lost track of the weeks. I know, though, that this journey started in May 2017. I’m happy to have a goal post. 

Today, I’m sad because I feel lonely in this city, especially on this cold, blustery day. I am grateful for Nox, even though a lot of people poke fun at me for being a crazy cat lady these days. Truly, she’s my constant buddy and makes me so unbelievably happy. She makes me feel peaceful.

Today, I’m sad because I am alone and lonely at the same time. Usually, I can handle one or the other, but today it’s both. Today I am alone, awash in a sea of impossiblities. I had a moment of reconnection this summer, a moment where I became aware of the knot in my chest as I hugged this person. I’ve been alone for a very long time – and even in the moments where I feel that it’s possible to connect with someone, I am afraid. We live in a world where it’s common to get swiped past for a word, or a unusual pair of eyes. I have been on countless dates, have lost count of the nights where I hug someone goodbye and they grab my ass or my breasts and squeeze as if to check for ripeness, where sex is expected by the third date. Even recently, I’ve been told that my words aren’t enough and “physical connection is the most important”, even though I’ve communicated my worries and fears to someone. My words are nothing without sex behind them. How can people even think like that? When did we stop listening and start groping people as we hug them goodnight?

Today, I’m sad because summer is gone. While I did have a lot of fun this summer, I hoped for a lot more. I got treated like crap a lot this summer, by someone I really care about. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to with my diet. I wanted to camp more. And today – summer is gone. 

Today, I’m sad that my reaction to all of this is to eat. To bury my loneliness and sadness in something comforting and delicious that makes me forget that I am eating my meals with a cat. Lean Cuisine does not have the same effect as charcuterie or pizza. I am glad that I take transit to work, because otherwise I’d have grabbed a bottle of wine and had grapes for dinner. Grapes for dinner, all by myself. Drowning my sadness in a bottle. 

That last statement is really reflecting light that my eating habits might be disordered. Truly. I hate cooking for myself, but on nights like tonight, lonely blustery cold nights where I’m alone on my couch with a cat and a nanny sweater and The Defenders, I only want comfort food and wine. And maybe someone to share a bottle of wine with. 

With all this moping, please know that I am okay. I’m grateful for where I am, working at a job that I like, with people I like. I am grateful for my family and my friends, because I know that even though I feel alone, I am not truly alone. I’m truly thrilled that I’m able to point to exactly what hurts and why it hurts (Emotional Agility, y’all. Read that shit if you’re lost), even though I hate hurting.

I know that I’ll have someone to share a bottle of wine with eventually. I might have to seek a sperm donor before that happens, but I know that my dreams are possible. 

Week 16 (or so): The vacation and its aftermath

So, I’ve lost track of the weeks. Whoops. 

I was on a really great streak, though. It was really great for me to do it, though. I was accountable to everyone who reads this, or, at least, it felt like it. I’m still losing weight, though. Hooray! 

The truth is, I’m struggling to write about this summer. I always preferred winter anyways, but this summer is a brutal reminder of what happened last summer. I struggle with the idea of telling the full truth here – what’s worse, telling the harsh truth about why you’re struggling to focus on the goals you’ve set, or be silent and appear to have given up? I feel like I give up far too often, but that harsh truth…. yeesh. Yeesh. I never understood how someone can have big heavy secrets until last year – and now I have secrets that I’ll never tell anyone.

I’d like to think that the harsh truth can be forgotten, one day. The tears and the alcohol and the begging and the crushing depression – maybe that will go away. I think I’m on the best path I’ve been on in years… but that has been sticking in my mind. Those broken pieces, those secrets, that crushing blackness – I’m so afraid that it will happen again. 

However, in an effort to show my dedication to my goals and avoid that harsh truth, I’d like to write about my vacation. The first real runaway I’ve had since 2013. I’ve had time off, but it was plagued by depression, anxiety, and all the fun that comes with those bastards. So, this year, I decided to take time off, properly. To enjoy my volunteer gig at Edmonton Folk Music Fest, to dance all night, and then to camp in the Shuswap with a group of amazing humans. I started volunteering on Wednesday evening, and this is what my Folk Fest did for my FitBit. 

  • Wednesday – 14,784
  • Thursday – 21,117
  • Friday – 14,161
  • Saturday- 28,426
  • Sunday- 18,052
  • Monday- 10,228

For anyone who doesn’t want to do the math, that’s 106,768 steps in 6 days. It wasn’t all walking – I did lots of dancing, lots of wandering. I (with the help of my astounding parents) meal prepped for my camping trip, and I was on my way on Monday evening (only part way, though. I though I’d be able to drive to the Shuswap on Monday, but HOLY MAN I needed sleep). 

I derailed in the Shuswap. We had a great time – lots of swimming, lots of walking, lots of games, lots of laughs – and my diet fell off my mind. I had all kinds of other things to think on, and I feel relatively OK that I fell. I still lost weight that week (I think I can blame the one truly horrific hangover for that), but now, I’m struggling to get back on the horse. Or should I say treadmill? I’m struggling to get back into my routine, back onto my treadmill. And now I’m back at work, working even earlier than usual for a few weeks, and it’s been a tough two days. And maybe I’m being a wimp or maybe I’m over tired, or maybe it’s the anxiety and sheer panic that hit me two days before my vacation ended, but it hasn’t been a good two days. It’s been a sad and stressful two days, and now, I’m back to the edge of panic. 

I know that a lunch time walk would feel AMAZING. I know that I need groceries in order to keep up meal planning. I also know that my get up and go… just got up and left. Once I’m back into the routine, I’ll likely sleep better and will likely stop worrying so much (insert audience laughter here). But getting there? Oh man. SO MUCH HARDER THAN I WAS EXPECTING. 

Anyone out there have any tips? How do you get back onto the treadmill?