Keep your eyes on your own work!

During my last year of university, I was an RA and dating a dude who wasn’t good for me. We had a fight two days after my grandmother died, and I retreated to my music and my laptop to write a paper rather than continue to duke it out. I don’t like to fight, never have, so grieving and writing about The Monk was the best choice for me. He called me later that night, so drunk that he could barely say my name, and mumbled that he needed me. Tired of fighting, tired of crying, (and, let’s be honest, wanting some cuddles) I walked over to his place in my boots and fuzzy shorts (ah, university) and found him in the bathtub with an empty bottle of gin, a note, a knife, and arms full of slashes.

Even though I’d been trained in suicide counselling, I had no idea what to do. I got my BF out of the tub and cleaned his wounds, checking for depth (thank God, none of them were anything but flesh wounds). I sat next to my guy as he slept that night and listened to him breathe, too afraid to sleep. I called the RA on duty, who called our boss, who showed up at 8 a.m. to escort both my boyfriend and I to the campus counselling office.

To put it mildly, I was fucking furious. And heartbroken. And afraid.

I am a late bloomer, in the emotional sense of the word. I suppose, reflecting back, I have been learning this lesson for the last ten years, but I’m really learning it all now.

A few years ago, I realized that I, through a mess of my own damn making, am in emotional shambles. In times where joy isn’t an option, I default to anger – I always have – because being angry hurts less than being sad or lonely or afraid. I find it infinitely easier  to be pissed rather than allowing myself to feel the pain. And, if being angry isn’t an option, I will bury the feelings that I don’t want to feel. This is a battle that I am open about, a battle I am constantly fighting, and one that I want to end. It doesn’t serve me, it makes for hellish yoga sessions (because I’m constantly at war with myself), and I think it makes me more awkward than ever.

And then, a book found me. I read an excerpt from a book called Emotional Agility, and it resonated in a big way. So, thanks to Amazon, a bunch of weeks later, my new book in hand, I dig in. The things I’ve noticed so far:

  • I love/hate books that are so right that you can’t argue it.
  • It references A Course in Miracles, because of course it bloody well does. That literally makes every single self help book that I’ve picked up over the last 3 years
  • It’s already a game changer for me.

So, now, is the part I’ve been batting around.

I have an active presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And, as much as I like keeping up with my friends and family, social media is one of those mediums where you are constantly up close and personal in people’s best lives. I especially have a hard time because I want to be married and be a mother so so badly. And I am of the age that most of my friends are either one or both of these things. So I have to struggle with envy as I’m overwhelmed with my friend’s joyous celebrations. And I don’t like that. I am happy for you, dammit, let me be just bliss. I have started this work – I started during the GYGC Challenge, and now it’s time to use all the tools available to heal this hurt.

Social media can be used to look into the lives of anyone – former lovers, employers, former classmates who made your life hell, strangers that you will never meet. In full disclosure, I have blocked the people I’m afraid to see – and the harder my life is, the easier it is to slip behind a screen and disappear into a world where I feel more confident. I’ve always felt like it was easier to make friends behind a screen – my best friend through my teenage years was the result of a random ICQ search, and our friendship lasted a long time. And yes, we ended up meeting IRL almost 10 years after we connected. At the same time, I disappear into a world where I am boring, and alone, and a geek – a world full of “best selves” at a time where I’m trying to unearth my best self. Social media makes me lonelier than ever, and also makes me wonder if the Beatles didn’t have a clue when they asked where do all the lonely people come from.

Here is what I know.

My biggest source of anxiety is that I’m never going to be good enough. That I’ll never be normal enough for a big true love, that I am going to be alone forever and die with 8 cats. And this book is really helping me dig into that, to feel it as I ought to, to help me deal with the pain and sadness in a healthy way. The author also suggests writing every day, and being mindful with social media, to really remember whose journey it is that you are on. “We’ve been taught this idea since grade school – keep your eyes on your own work!” Pretty much as soon as I read that chapter, I looked at my online presence – really looked. I’ve maintained a constant stream of jokes for over 3 years – a timeline that started when my heart was broken. My feed is something that I’ve crafted to make people around me – and, by extension, myself -feel better. I love doing it – but is it something that makes me better?

So today I’m challenging myself. Throwing the gauntlet. Drawing the line in the sand. Steeling my nerves. Screwing my courage to the sticking place. Running out of bad metaphors.

I’m taking a week away from social media – something I’ve literally never done while on Canadian soil. As of 12 p.m., November 1, I will be away from it for a week (maybe 2, depending on how it goes) – and really, really away from it. The only caveat – because I maintain social media presence for both of my jobs, I will be signing in because it’s part of my employment. Email is also not covered in this challenge – because it’s the sole communication tool for my second job, and my Board commitments, etc. So. No personal social media. No online dating. Email. Only employment-based social media.

So, if you and I maintain our friendship on Facebook Messenger. If we send each other funny pictures. Keep messaging, keep sending. I promise I’ll get back to you. If it’s an emergency – maybe try texting (or calling) me. Until then… I’m planning on being buried in books.

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The true story of Bruce

This weekend, I had to be rescued from a bat.

And I’m planning on getting into it. But first…

I don’t keep my struggle with anxiety a secret. I don’t generally discuss the severity unless I know you well, but I don’t hide the fact that I am an anxious, anxious little panda. And this summer was one of the hardest times I’ve ever had with it. Between the constant “WTF AM I DOING” and the “I AM SO ALONE”, it was fight or flight every day, all day, for over a month. I did some really stupid things (hello Irish whiskey!) and some really productive things (hello novel!) and some really ill-advised-but-necessary things (hello texting ex-boyfriend!), but I was constantly flooded with adrenaline and depression and anxiety. I think I’ve dropped 15 pounds from stress, and what I refer to as the “starvation diet”. In a moment of “I’m cleaning my bookshelf”, I also unearthed a hard truth about myself – one that’s shaking me down to my bones. So, still lots of hard work. There is something about turning to face yourself that is terribly uncomfortable.

That said – there is light now. I’m still in the well, but I’ve climbed out of enough that my hands are clinging to the top. My face is in the sun. I went from no jobs to two, and managed to create a freelance position for myself (I have a logo. How exciting/awesome/terrifying!), I have fresh veggies in my fridge, I’m at Noorish ALL OF THE TIME which is amazing, there is a flirtation or two. Life is looking pretty rosy.

I recently took an afternoon/evening to drive into the prairies to visit two of my most favourite people. They have been in my life for well over a decade, a husband/wife team, and easily are some of the most powerful influences in my life. When things got bad three years ago, I reached out to K, the wife. She remains the only one who I have told the entire JM story to – she is so safe, a port in the storm that I’d created in my life. I don’t like to reach out, to share my darkness and fear, but I know that I can – to either one of them, or both – and I know that they will still be there, which is a rare, rare trait. Our visits are full of laughter, and geekdom, and generally a beer or two.

So, after a story about how a bat got into their furnace, and a few beer (for the husband and I), we retired. It was relatively early (go midnight!) and we were mostly sober (we’re adults now!), so when I woke up at 2 ish to a scratching noise, I figured it was the dog at the door.

“Go away, Tet.”

Nope. Still more scratching. I decided to flick my phone flashlight on, because my imagination runs wild – and then I shine my phone directly at the little bat who is crawling around on the floor, hugging closely to the desk. I do mean little – maybe the size of my hand, if his wings are spread out. But a bat, never the less.

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Isn’t he so fucking cute.

I keep my phone trained on him, and debate my options. First, I could release the shriek that is caught in my throat, wake the baby, dog and my friends, and everyone gets to be as freaked out as I am. Second, relocate to the couch, block the door, and pull the husband aside in the morning. Third, go wake my friend and make him trap the bat. Fourth, move my bag off of the floor and go back to sleep.

Then the little dudes tries to take off, hits the door, squeaks, and shuffles behind the bed.

I grab my sweater and take off to go wake the husband. Because NO WAY AM I SLEEPING WITH THE BAT. It’s a testament to our friendship that 1) he got out of bed when I whispered, and 2) he didn’t laugh at me.

So he comes downstairs with me, gets a bucket and a lid, and we listen in silence for the shuffle of the bat. We locate it, and I start to giggle. I giggle when I’m nervous, which, lemme tell you, is NOT A FUN TRAIT. Serious conversation at work? I giggle. Breakups? I laugh. So I’m in my nightgown and sweater and I’m laughing and apologizing, and he’s moving things on the floor, and traps the stupid bat, and then I’m trying to muffle my giggles as we walk up the stairs to let the stupid thing outside, and then he releases it on the lawn. Well, release is a loose term – flinging the bucket and the lid onto the lawn and then sprinting on his tiptoes to the door, where we quietly slam it shut.

“Are you okay?”

“Yep.” Which I wasn’t – I was about ready to burst into tears at that point. I also didn’t sleep the rest of the night, because every sound I hear was a bat sneaking up on me. I also shook my bag out as I got dressed in the morning. You know. Just in case.

Now, I find this hilarious. As soon as I walked upstairs the next morning, there was discussions about dreams with their daughter (with her dad making bat motions behind her), and it instantly became a joke. As I’m writing this, I’m giggling (from mirth, not from anxiety) about how hilarious the whole situation is/was. Seriously. Just think about that for a minute (maybe not if you’re afraid of bats, which I’m not, usually. Those little bastards are a whole different ball game on the floor vs. in flight). However, I was working at my second job last night, thinking about that little bat and his little squeaks. Given that I’m trying my best to really look at my life right now, I decided to Google the symbolism of bats.

“Bat’s wisdom includes shamanic death and rebirth, initiation, viewing past lives, pollination of new ideas, transition, understanding grief, the use of vibrational sound, camouflage, invisibility, ability to observe unseen, secrets…Here they confront their fears and are reborn without their old identities. Bats help us to release fear and patterns which no longer fits within our pattern of growth.

Bat flying into your life signifies that transformation of the ego self is about to occur, the end of a way of life and the start of another. This transition can be very frightening for many, even just to think about. But you will not grow spiritually until you let go these old parts of you that are NOT NEEDED. Facing the darkness before you will help you find the light in rebirth. The bat gives you the wisdom required to make the appropriate changes for the birthing of your new identity.”

Huh. Would you look at that. Imma just leave that right there.

The theme of transition is strong in this blog. I write about being healthy, and single, and how I am working on myself. And I’m seriously always doing those things – I’m constantly a work in progress. I do find it interesting that, in a period of “What the actual fuck am I doing with my life, and what do I want to be doing”, that I encounter a bat. Especially “this transition can be frightening for many” – that resonates down to my bones.

While I’m still plugging away with all this change… It’s nice to see the universe is still on my side.

I’m fabulously rich…

I recently started commuting in my car.

It’s very different.

I’ve spent 8 years in the city, and have successfully avoided rush hour until now. It’s so strange – I’m so used to leaving the house about an hour early, bag heavy (lunch, keys, coffee, iPod – you know, the essentials) and braving the elements in order to catch my bus. Turns out, though, that commuting via ETS would take me about 2.5 hours to my new-new job, but driving takes 15 minutes. So, morning little Bruce-car. I love my underground parking, and I love my little beast. And my bag is about a million times lighter, because I don’t need to carry it on my person for an hour. OH. And I get to wear high heels!!

Let’s do this commuting insanity.

I’m dealing with the radio too – listening for traffic reports, singing along as I deal with the craziness of city drivers. I have finally warmed my heart to the Garner Andrews Show – it took a few years, but I enjoy Garner’s insight, generosity, and overall dry humour. Today, he performed a wonderful magic trick – he took me back to being a teenager again.

Let me start by saying that I like the Tragically Hip. I’m not a huge fan – I like a lot of their songs, and I enjoy them. Hearing about Gord’s diagnosis broke my little Canadian heart, but I also didn’t buy tickets to the final shows. I’d rather let someone else who loved them go. If my brother wasn’t getting married on Saturday, I’d very likely be going to a bar to drink beer and watch the final concert. But. Priorities.

However. My most vivid memories of my first love are tied to The Tragically Hip. I fell in love for the first time with the Hip (and Zeppelin, and Meatloaf, and AC/DC, to name a few) providing the soundtrack. We met when I was 16, and I busted through the drama room door, minutes from being late, and smashed him with the door. Our first conversation, lemme tell you. Stuff of dreams.

“Why the fuck would you come through a door like that?” he growled as he picked himself up from the floor.

“Who the fuck stands behind a door like that?” I snapped, ever the aggressive Aries.

And then we glowered at one another for a week. Glorious. Can you feel the love or what? Sure enough, shortly after I took him out with the door, our teacher decided that we needed to be in a group together. Hooray.

He was a year older than I. His eyes were emerald green – changing, as I later found, with his green sweater or when he was angry or when he kissed me– and he drove a beat up Ford pick up. He threw his head back when he laughed, and his hands were beautiful – long fingers, soft, gentle palms. He hated having his picture taken, liked skipping class, smoked, and I was in trouble. Of course, now that I’m older and know what real trouble is – my pick-up driving, cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking truant of a high school sweetheart seems like a dream.

We started dating in October, and I remember vividly on our first date – New Orleans is Sinking came on our shitty hometown radio station. (PSA – the radio station still exists, and I imagine that they haven’t expanded their Hip offerings since I was 16)

“It’s the Tragically Hip!” I exclaimed.

“I think I could love you!” he exclaimed back.

Two or three months later, right before Christmas, we drove to “our” spot, and he told me, nervously, full of hope and terror, that he loved me. I, just as full of terror and hope, told him that I loved him, too. Wheat Kings was playing in the background.

Some days, my long memory feels like a curse. I remember a lot of bad things – the heartbreak, the sadness,  the anger – it feels easy to remember how much it hurts. Especially at night, as I lay awake wondering if karma has finally caught up with me. For setting my life on fire to love a man who, I truly fear, never loved me. For never being able to verbalize my fear and vulnerability to the good men over the years, as they made their intentions clear. For the hearts I have broken, so I wouldn’t have to break my own. It can be easy to think, especially when the night falls, that karma has finally caught up to me. I try, in those moments, to remember all of the good little things. I even have a journal near my bed, full of the little things, to try and keep the darkness at bay. And sometimes, like this morning, the little things sneak up on me.

Today, Garner was talking about community celebrations for the final Hip concert – it’s being broadcasted on the CBC – and then he played Bobcaygeon. My very favourite song by the Tragically Hip. The very last Hip song I shared with my high school love.

As I was driving today, all I could remember was the morning we danced together. It was freezing cold, with fresh snow on the ground – maybe December or January? We were waiting for the coffee, or maybe just had the coffee. The floorboard squeaked as we danced in our bare feet. Laying my head on his shoulder, close to his neck, and feeling his cheek rest on the side of my head. One of his hands entwined with mine, kissing my fingertips before placing both of our hands over his heart as we swayed to the music, his other hand resting on my lower back. Hearing his hum as the song went on. The house was quiet, it was just us. No words. There was just love, just sweetness, just my love and I, just the Hip.

Even though I am still struggling with my darkness, clinging to the wall of my well, listening to the water slap against the stone, I strive for the good things. Little things, like memories about kisses on my fingers tips. Exploring new friendships, and collapsing as you laugh together. The way his eyes were sparkling emeralds the first time he said he loved me (it’s occurred to me, as I write this, that I apparently like to lose my heart to green eyed men). Hearing a song for the first time, or for the millionth time, and being taken back in time. Really quiet moments surrounded by the people you love most. Days that start with first round job interviews and end with signed job offers. The million little things that I forget when my anxiety catches up to me, and I fall into my well.

Today, I am thankful for Bobcaygeon, and for my high school sweetheart, wherever he may be.

Who ya gonna call (or, fuck the darkness)

So. This week I went to see the new Ghostbusters. As a lifelong watcher of the Ghostbusters (my brother is the world’s biggest Ghostbusters fan. No, really.) and a fan of funny, smart ladies, I was SO EXCITED to see what they had done with it.

Have you seen it yet? Go. I’ll wait.

I love that there were cameos of all of the original players. I love that Sigourney came back, because QUEEN. And I love (love love love love) Kate McKinnon. Seriously. And that end sequence? I know that the proton packs weren’t designed that way…. but it was spectacular and the music was epic. Loved it!

I always get super excited with film – I used to ask a battery of questions, but was told that it was super annoying, so I stopped. But this one?! I had to ask the gent that I had seen the movie with…. Do you believe in ghosts? It was a short convo – and he never asked me back, but I’m going to answer that question I posed, right now.

Yes, I believe in ghosts. I didn’t believe until I was 24, because I was aware that there were scarier things in the world. I liked fact, and as a history buff, during my trip to New Zealand and Australia, I made sure to make time to visit Port Arthur.

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Port Arthur, for a short introduction, is a small town in Tasmania. It’s a former convict settlement (1833 to 1877), and now is one of Australia’s most impactful heritage sights. It is a naturally secure site (a peninsula with a 30 metre wide isthmus, and apparently surrounded by shark infested water), so it was sold as an inescapable prison. It was for only the hardest criminals being sent to Australia, and had some of the strictest security measures in the British penal system. In addition, Port Arthur practiced the “Separate Prison” method – a movement from corporal punishment, to psychological. With over 200 rules for the prisoners inside the Separate Prison, it became the example for prisons around the world.

The Separate Prison, by the by, is also the reason that they needed to build an insane asylum right next door.

It wasn’t just the Separate Prison, as I learned. There was a tiny settlement (complete with an unconsecrated church, the reverend’s house, one charming home containing a human dissection room in the basement, another different prison (a level down from  the psychological torture – don’t mess up here, or you’ll end up there) and several other small dwellings. The Isle of the Dead is also a draw – the burial ground of the people living there, the site of the cushiest job at the prison, and apparent tourist attraction for the Devil himself. Port Arthur has a bloody, ruthless, and terrifying history – unfortunately, until as recently as 1996. I’d highly recommend looking into it, if that’s your bag.

I was so excited for a ghost tour onsite. Armed with our tiny backpacker flashlights,  my friend and I took the darkened forest path along the ocean from our hostel site to the historic site. We had recently taken a similar tour in Fremantle – while it was startling, it wasn’t scary. We expected more of the same, as we teased one another in the dark. Maybe a freaky walk back, but nothing we couldn’t handle. The darkness fell quickly – by the time we reached the site, the stars were coming out.

To put it mildly. Port Arthur was absolutely NOTHING like Fremantle. At all. We begged a ride from our tour guide after the tour, because neither one of us could imagine walking back on the path. We couldn’t, even together, holding hands after our decade of friendship, face the darkness and long walk home.

While I won’t go into all of the specifics (if you wanna know, you’ll need to ask), I will recount my first experience with a ghost. We went to the roofless church (it wasn’t ever finished, or dedicated to a specific faith), and then we walked into the reverend’s home. Our tour guide refused to open the door because of an experience she had there before (at this point, I was taking her reluctance as melodrama) and one of our group opened the front door. The group filed into a sitting room, on the front right side of the house. The only light came from a light illuminating the path outside, and three lanterns in the room. Our guide stood in the middle of the room, telling us the story of the man who used to live there. I stood in a corner, with my back mere inches from the wall (I jump and scream when grabbed from behind – this way, nothing could sneak up on me), listening intently to the story of the unusually tall man who used to try to bring God to the criminals of Port Arthur.

In addition to being a jumper/screamer, I’m rather short. And, sometimes, I can sense someone standing behind me before I am really aware they are there. It gets electric, especially if they are taller than I am. It’s nothing ominous – just a shorty sense. As she was standing there, I started to get tingles up my back. Like someone was standing there, breathing on my neck. Quick shoulder check – nothing. At the time, I specifically remember thinking that I was being too imaginative. Or maybe… he was behind me? Nah. Definitely imagination, I decided during the story. Ghosts aren’t real.

Within an hour, I knew that I had an experience with ghosts. The first one was the only peaceful one, but I knew it wasn’t my imagination.

However, once we were back at the hostel (thank you again, tour guide whose name I no longer remember!!) safe in our pajamas and sleeping bags and were able to speak, we decided that our imaginations had run away with us. Even though I had unexplained bruises (thank you, Separate Prison) and she had freaked out in the dissection room, we decided that our imaginations had ruled us, not our intelligence.

We had another day on the site (I KNOW. This is how much of a history nerd I am!!!) and we decided to check out the sites that we were able to (human dissection room is closed during the day, folks) to see if we had the same experiences during the day time. Given that we each had difference experiences in different places (I got the tingles, and my ribs squeezed, and she didn’t) – we thought that, if it were truly ghosts, they would affect us the same way in the sunlight.

IMG_1095This is the front room of the reverend’s house. That was my corner from the night before. I carried both a film and digital camera. I knew my cameras. Intimately. They were as necessary to my trip as my big red backpack was. And both cameras showed that orb after the fact.

Neither one of them ought to have. And I got the tingles as someone, long dead, stood behind me in the room – even in the daylight.

So, what’s the point behind my ghost story?

I am still in the darkness. I have flashes of light, moments and hours of bliss, as unexplained as that orb. As I told my brother earlier this week, all I want to do is lie down and give up. I have been strong for years. I keep getting knocked down, and I have to keep getting up. I don’t have another setting – I honestly can’t imagine giving up. Call it Irish stubborn, call it Aries determination, call it martial artist training – I don’t have a “give up” setting. I only know strength – for myself, for my loved ones – I only know how to be strong and to keep standing up.

My desire to just give up, and lay down, and stop trying, is indescribable. I know I can’t, but I really want staying in bed all day to be a viable option. I think the hardest part, especially for the people who know me the best, is the silence. I am not good with vulnerable at the best of the time. And right now… I just need to open my mouth or let someone touch me, and I’m a mess. My tears clog my throat with my honesty, and I am crying way too easily. I know enough to know that I’m scaring the shit out of the people closest to me.

However. I know I have to stand up. Kneeling in submission is not an option. And, just like I felt that ghost all those years ago, I feel the love and support of the people in my life. It’s like a million invisible hands in between my shoulder blades. Urging me forward, into the open, into the light. Reminding me that my imagination is wild, and that the darkness isn’t forever. That, even though right now I’m in the darkness, clinging to the side of the well, things will change soon. It can’t be as bad in the daylight.

So, baby brother. The man I scared the shit out of this week. I’m standing. I’m here for the fight, and the long haul.

Fuck the darkness.

I wonder how Rosaline felt?

I’ve always hated Romeo and Juliet.

There. I said it.

It’s the play that introduced me to Shakespeare – I honestly don’t recall not knowing it. It’s the first play I studied, the only play that I can remember rhyming couplets for, and I hate it. I thought the idea is ridiculous – I think that Romeo is a player, that Juliet is an airhead, and that they both need to learn to communicate (now, I have to wonder what my tenth grade teacher would have graded for a paper with that opinion….)

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I fell in love with Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet when it came out. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a fish tank the same way. Need a reminder?

But I only ever liked watching it until the balcony scene. And I’d take County Paris (aka Paul Rudd) any day over Romeo. Especially when that Romeo was played by Leonardo DiCaprio. But it always seemed ridiculous to me, even as a girl. Even when I was a girl in love for the first time… I couldn’t imagine anything like this. Who falls in love at first sight? And what kind of idiots get married after only speaking for twenty minutes? Rosaline got off easy, I thought, escaping an idiot like that.

I was either born jaded or pragmatic.

I can say this, about the Bard’s play. When I was 18, I had one of my most memorable kisses to some of his lines.

I went to South Korea with a TaeKwon Do group when I was 18. If I had to do this by memory (and I do at the moment), I’d say that there was 25 of us. No one really knew me – I had never competed, and when I went for my first black belt I was a stranger. There had been glimpses as I received my instructor’s certification, but in this group that I found myself in, I was a stranger (minus my Master, her son, and another woman from my hometown group). I gravitated to the only person I knew outside of our group – a man from High Prairie. I honestly don’t remember how we met, or his name. But there was a small group from High Prairie with him, and I happened to hit it off with a fellow by the name of Jordan.

With this being so many years ago, I don’t remember much about Jordan, either. I remember his crooked grin. His height. I think there may have been a tattoo? He definitely had spiked hair, and I was definitely senior to him belt-wise… but that’s all I really remember. Anyways. We hit it off. Lots in common. We talked a lot in Seoul. One of the first nights we were there, we left the group as we were walking back from our nightly excursion. I think that we had decided that Seoul was a safe city (if you’ve heard me talk about this trip, I’m still shocked that we all made it back alive and unstabbed), and we snuck into a park near our hotel. We found a fountain under the strange trees, and for whatever reason, Romeo and Juliet came up. He asked if I knew the party scene, I said yes. He asked if I knew the lines that lead up to the first kiss (can you see where this is going? I was so young) – of course. I recited “Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.”

And of course he knew the next bloody line and of course I got kissed in a strange park in Korea. I wouldn’t know Jordan if I saw him on the street now, and I don’t know where he is in the world, but I remember that kiss.

Anyways.

Right now there is a lot of darkness. I tripped and fell headfirst into the well and I’m surrounded by darkness. I don’t sleep a lot. I lay away and think about all of the circumstances, about my next steps, and freaking Romeo and Juliet. I’ve been alone for a long, long time. And part of my brain thinks that the darkness wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t alone in it. Because, while I have amazing friends and family and an epic support system… when the night comes, I’m still facing the blackness alone. I know that it takes time and it happens when you aren’t looking… but man. I’ve looked, and I haven’t looked. I’ve worked on myself, I did the thing, I bettered myself… and it’s been 3 years, with minor bumps on the way.

3 years alone is a long, long time. 3 years without being able to whisper secrets and inside jokes is… harder than I can possibly put into words. I’ve been crying a lot this week. In rose bushes and in rocks beside hot tubs. In a front garden, hidden by trees and rocks. Even into my cat’s fur. The darkness frightens me, and being alone in it… doubles it. I drank a lot of Irish whiskey to help me sleep last week – after telling a friend I was done drinking the pain, I haven’t done it once this week. My dreams are unsettling, and I’m sleeping less than 5 hours a night.

I always though that Roseline, Romeo’s unpictured infatuation, got off really, really lucky. Nights like tonight I wonder – maybe she was trying to be proper. Who wouldn’t want the romantic knight of Verona, from one of the best families in town? Maybe she was bashful, and followed the rule book, and returned Romeo’s infatuation in her own quiet way. And then had to learn to survive without her love. That’s the key, right, to survive the play without being stabbed or committing suicide or poisoned or being baked into a pie (no, really, that happens in Titus Androcius). Maybe Roseline got Paris, in the end, but maybe her heart was just broken. Where can you go when your heart has been broken, and there doesn’t seem to be a salve? How many times can it break, before you finally just need to brick it shut and hope for the best?

I have a very wise friend, someone I’ve known since kindergarten. As I’ve been descending into the darkness, I’ve been confiding my terror and sadness to her. “It’s a tunnel,” she tells me, over and over again. “All of this is a tunnel, blocking you from the light. You’re halfway through the tunnel and the light is far away, but tunnels end. This is the purpose of tunnels. They. Have. To. End.”

I can’t wait for my tunnel to end. I’m ready to leave the darkness. Ready to be one of the lovers, rather than wonder about Roseline.

Serenity.

Nope. Not that serenity.

I’m talking Serenity.

Home to Captain Malcolm Reynolds. To Jayne Cobb, and Inara Sara, and Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye. To Sheppard Derrial Book and Zoe and Wash Washburne, and Simon and River Tam. My first real step into geekdom.

There is a scene in the pilot that is replaying in my head lately. Without giving it away, near the end, Sheppard Book is on his knees in front of Inara.

Book: I’ve been out of the abbey two days. I’ve beaten a lawman senseless. Fallen in with criminals… And I’m not even sure if I think he was wrong.
Inara: [softly] Shepherd…
Book: I believe I just… I think I’m on the wrong ship.
Inara: Maybe. Or maybe you’re exactly where you ought to be.

Right now, I am so lost. About everything. Even this space. A place I created to simply write and celebrate my geeky existence. And now I feel like it needs a theme or that I’m giving it one that’s based in my anxiety. I think I’ve written 15 drafts in the time since my last post, and I can’t bring myself to hit publish.

I am so conflicted about my life right now. There are moments when I look at what’s happening, and I don’t recognize myself. I’m anxious, and fearful, and waking up with dread in my heart. I feel like a stranger in my bones. Like Book (all of the Firefly characters, really), I feel like I “been out of the world for a spell… like to walk it a while.” I feel like I’ve created this life – a good life, a life built on my own back with so many amazing things! – and now I am searching for an escape from my life.

Like the wise Sheppard said… I believe. I just think I’m on the wrong ship.

One thing that keeps me (mostly) sane is my belief, shockingly.

I’m not a church goer. At all. I don’t have a secular belief system. My relationship with God is complex and simple, gentle and terrible. I’m not Mal – I do believe in God. I also don’t believe that my God has abandoned me – I feel that presence all the time.

Like tonight. It wasn’t a great day at work, and I went to the kiva (I love Noorish. Have I said that lately? I fucking LOVE NOORISH.) for my karma shift. As I was walking up to the building, I noticed a familiar shape next door to Noorish. Sitting outside the Cuban cigar shop, smoking a cigar and bullshitting with another firefighter, was JM. He was facing away from me, and I knew it was him before I even got close – I know that shape so well I could draw it by heart (you know. If I could draw.). I caught the eye of the other man (who was, at one point, a dear friend of mine) and he couldn’t place me – I was so relieved. I ducked behind the building, walked into the kiva, knelt to the floor in front of the alter, and started to weep. Cherry on top of the freaking day. I seriously think that breaking up requires the division of neighbourhoods. “Oops, sorry, Garneau is actually MY place. You are required to stay a kilometre away from Noorish at all times. It’s my safe place.”

But, as I lay there, head on the floor, weeping in the candlelight… I knew I wasn’t alone. I could feel it, almost like someone had laid their hand between my shoulder blades and started rubbing my back. I WAS alone – I was opening the kiva tonight – and I just knew it was God. It didn’t take me long to stop crying after that.

Yes. I realize this sounds insane. It’s happened to me a few times there – whether it’s just plain energy, or the tears that follow a heart opener, or singing as I’m cleaning and feeling a presence. Full stop. I know who it is. I know that I’m safe. That it will be okay. No matter what shit comes, I know that I’m not alone.

Even tonight, where I feel like I’ve fallen into a well. I can hear the voices, and the laughter of the people outside of the well – I’m clinging to the rock, just at the edge of the darkness, shaking with effort trying to crawl back into the light and out of the well. The darkness is licking my feet – and it would be so easy to let go and fall back into the blackness that used to rule my world. But tonight, as I laid there and cried about my loneliness, and about my shitty day at work, I knew I wasn’t alone. Maybe I am clinging to the wall of the well, but I’m certainly not alone.

Which is something else I share with Book, I guess. Maybe I am on the wrong ship. Maybe my path isn’t what I thought it was. Maybe I’ve chosen the wrong career. But I am not alone as I battle. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty comforting. Almost as comforting as the wine.

Two choices, I suppose. Choice the first. Succumb to the lost feelings of the black. Let go of the wall, tumble into the well, trust that I can climb back out once my arms have rested. Choice the second. Trust that I’m exactly where I ought to be. Trust in my ability to  be strong enough to lift myself out of the well. And trust that, even with my misgivings, I am on the right path.

Shiny.

I’m going to go to Stettler tomorrow and be bad guys. (Well, not really bad guys. My best friend is pregnant and doesn’t really drink even if she’s not pregnant. And the rest of us are too old to get into *much* trouble). But I can’t end a blog post about Firefly and leave that line out.

 

A Year Later

It’s been a full years since the completion of the Get Your Glow yoga challenge. 365 days, and 2 weeks.

Honestly – it feels like it’s been both longer and shorter than that. My life changed irrevocably, that goes without saying. It hasn’t always been easy – somedays, it’s been a pain in my nerdy ass to maintain some of the lessons that I learned over that 8 week period. So, it feels like a good time to check in.

A year later

Food –I still maintain a mostly-vegan diet. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and have maintained using other forms of protein (chickpeas, looking at you here). I’m not super strict about the lifestyle, but I do try to maintain it. Reason being – my body feels way better without a lot of meat in it. My guts works better without having to digest meat, my skin feels better, my whole body feels good. That said, still can’t give up the cheese. My sugar addiction is back in full force, which I loathe. I find myself craving it after almost every single meal, minus breakfast (my theory about that – I have fruit in every breakfast, whether I’m having a green smoothie or fruit and yoghurt, so I get a natural sugar fix there), but most days I can ignore the cravings. Coffee – also back in my life daily. Can I blame my 530AM wakeups to be out the door for 630? Oh, and my overall attitude towards getting a good night’s sleep. Which, lemme tell you, is slightly piss poor.

Maintain a yoga practice – mostly, sometimes. Given that I’m still a karma yoga, I am guaranteed one practice a week. I’ve been good over the last month, and generally practice twice a week at Noorish, and once at home to stretch out my back. That said, I no longer practice 5 days a week. Why? Busy, plain and simple. Which, in my mind, is a crappy excuse for how amazing a multi-practice week made me feel. I’ve talked to my “manager” and friend at the yoga studio about it – I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who has a free pass, who doesn’t come all the time. Still. I want to get better at this whole multiple classes in a week thing again. I miss my practice so much.

Meditation – I meditate for at least 20 minutes daily. Every single day, I get mindful and still and focus on my breath or a mantra and I love this. Love love love this.

Permission – in my ensuite bathroom, I have a sticky on my mirror that reads “Give yourself permission”. Every morning after my shower, as I do my hair and my makeup, I read this note to myself. I am still learning to give myself permission. I have written about my mean girl, and how hard I need to fight not to bash myself – and I have found that I need a daily reminder to be gentle. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to take time for myself – to have a night off, to demand that I have time to meal plan and grocery shop, to go to yoga rather for a beer with a friend. I have even learned to be gentle if I slip – if I have homemade pizza rather than salad, if I’m having a bad day and would like something sweet – I’m not mean to myself any longer. Which, by the way, feels absolutely and utterly astounding. I always thought I loved myself – this challenge showed me the way to really, really loving myself. One big by-product of this permission (and something I wrote about last) is the ability to be authentic and vulnerable, even though it scares me. The challenge gave me permission to be me – something that I needed more than anything.

I am so hyper aware that my journey so far in my life has shaped me into this perfectly lovely yet wounded creature. Now more than ever, I identify with this:

Kintsukuroi

There have been a lot of changes since my GYGC – both good and bad. New Job became Hell Job, Dream Job fell into my lap, Karma Yoga takes up my Thursdays, JM came back into my life and left again, I purchased a home and moved my life there, joined a Board, left a Board, started getting into better shape, joined the Shakespeare Board, spent a summer volunteering, gave up on dating, created some amazing friendships, lost some friendships, started dating again (with amazing and exciting results). All up, my life is pretty darn astounding. I have a great job that challenges me, I have amazing friends and family, I have a home I’m proud of. A lot of this, and I truly believe this – is because I found a new shiny path. A path forged in the yoga studio, and in my kitchen.

Einstein (man I love that guy!) may have said it best:

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

The dirtiest word I know

During my first stint at university, I worked over my summer and winter breaks at a pulp mill in my hometown. I was a heavy duty labourer, a heavy duty equipment operator, and overall grunt. I can’t start to explain some of the messes I found myself in – black liquor, lime dust, hog, wood chips. I was on the business end of a shovel often, and usually in a place disgusting and dirty. The smell of fart was impossible to wash out of my clothes. I was generally surrounded by men, usually my father’s age (hey, it is my father’s workplace – he got me the job). In that time (4 summers and winter breaks, and 6 months after my university convocation), I heard a lot of colourful, descriptive language. Like, a lot a lot. Used in all kinds of circumstances. Examples include such fun (and non-fictional) times like:

  • Standing over a frozen chain as wide as a tire on a truck with a dude with an awesome handlebar moustache and a crazy temper, each of us holding crow bars trying to get it back on track, in -40 degrees Celsius.
  • Standing tank watch – 12 hours of staring at a hole in a tank. No newspaper, no one to talk to, minus the dudes doing the work in the empty tank. Which echoed. We weren’t allowed to look INTO the hole. Just at the hole.
  • Watching a man tip over a forklift into cable spools each worth thousands of dollars. Each.
  • Helping a fellow student and friend undress, so we could brush the lime dust off of him before it got wet (potential helpful life tool – lime is caustic when you add water).
  • Helping a man get kneepads and Vaseline for a job I didn’t understand (and was quickly given an insane excuse for the use of said knee pads and lubricant).
  • Sitting in a darkened room, watching millions of dollars’ worth of equipment shut down immediately, for no noticeable reason (someone pulled a cord in a different department – it took us 5 hours to figure that out).
  • Being sent into “The Tunnel” with another student and a shovel, with someone hiding under a fast-moving, unprotected conveyor belt, waiting to scare us.
  • Being stuck in a forklift, and having to be rescued by a 16 tonne front end loader. At midnight. With only a teeny horn to get anyone’s attention.
  • Having a book I was reading torn in half in the lunchroom (it was my friend’s deceased father’s copy, to boot) because it was the Devil’s work and I should be ashamed of myself

I have heard things I never wanted to hear. Swear words. Sexual expressions. And yet, with all of these curse words, these creative slurs used to describe chains and people and wives and tools, there is a dirtier word. Imagine that – the dirtiest word I know, I learned outside of my heavy duty labour background. Even worse, I identify with that word now, more than I ever have before in my life.

I am a feminist.

There. I said it. The dirtiest F-word in North America. Maybe even the world.

The longer I sit on this post (draft 1 happened in July 2015), the more I feel like I should be ashamed of this. I have friends who I respect who disagree with me, who will engage with me about equality and reverse feminism, and I find myself saying “I’m sorry – I’m not trying to offend you. It’s not misandry.” I have been told that “I don’t understand” and that my feelings are wrong. That “Yes, your life is so hard cause you r female give me a break.” So, here’s a non-exhaustive list as to why I’m a feminist.

I’m a feminist because when a woman is raped, we ask what she was wearing, or asked why we didn’t close our knees.

Because the United States Republican frontrunner for president wants to punish women for abortions, and he’s still in the running for the presidential nomination.

Because last week, (my formerly beloved) radio show host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted on four counts of sexual assault. So, not enough evidence to be guilty, but not innocent either. The women who testified were torn apart for speaking to him afterwards, for not remembering every single detail of the attacks (a decade later), for telling parts of their stories. This article sums up my full feelings on this trial.

Because earlier this year, a pop star was told that she couldn’t break her contact with a man who is accused of drugging and raping her – she can’t do her job, because their mutual success is more important than her sexual and mental well-being.

Because men are often ridiculed for reporting domestic violence and rape – after all, men want it all the time, right? How can you rape the willing?

Because I don’t feel safe walking down Whyte Avenue alone from about twilight on – even though I have two black belts.

Because there is huge controversy about LGBTQ policies in Alberta schools, and I honestly don’t get why anyone would disagree with such a policy. Really? Not supporting every kid just blows my little mind.

Because I think that sex education should be sex positive – that both sexes should be taught that consent is absolutely mandatory and that sex should feel good for EVERYONE INVOLVED and that kink is normal and nothing something to be mocked.

Because I think that we shouldn’t ridicule women for enjoying sex however they want to enjoy it, but somehow if you’re female and like sex, you’re a slut. Case in point (I won’t link to anything about this story because it bothers me so much) is Alexis Frulling – the woman who was filming having public group sex at Stampede last year. She lost her job and her home as fallout from that video being released and then going viral, and then had to turn to sex work (i.e. stripping) because no one else would hire her. To the best of my knowledge (and research skills), the men in the video suffered none of the same fallout. Which, to me, is utter and complete bullshit.

Because this year, in the wake of one of the most anticipated films since The Avengers, Disney decided not to release a Rey action figure initially (don’t worry – massive outcry changed their tune quickly). That said – they didn’t release a Black Widow action figure for Avengers: The Age of Ultron, either. Because you know. Girls don’t count.

Because in 2015, news broke that Alberta has the largest wage gap in Canada. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – women make (on average) 42% less than men do.

Listen, I could make a list all day – hell, I could likely list reasons as to why I’m a feminist for a full time job. I’m not great at feminism – I don’t understand intersectionality or gender fluidity, and I’m still learning in a major way. It’s the dirtiest word in my vocabulary – and I urge you to look into it. A fun starter (fact check it. I dare you.)


Oh, and also – I’m not arguing any of these points with anyone. Cool, you’re not a feminist. If you don’t want to believe in equality (and fighting for it), that’s your battle. I’m not nearly as skilled at verbal discourse in this subject as I’d like to be.

Vulnerability

In the summer of 2015, I met a man.

This man (let’s call him the Brit) checked a lot of boxes for me. He loved Shakespeare, knew who Mr. Darcy was, loved the Marvel movies and the Walking Dead, was taller than I was, had blue eyes – and he had an accent. Swoon! We clicked on our first date, and it was one of the only first dates where I actually let him walk me to my door, and kiss me goodnight. Maybe it was the posh British accent, or maybe it was the radical similarities, but I immediately liked him. For the first time in a very long time, I had the butterflies. I couldn’t wait to see the Brit again, and the feeling was reciprocated.

True to form, though, I was wrong. Despite checking the boxes of being handsome, nerdy, and a good kisser, the Brit had a secret. I knew he had been married, but during our second (or third) date, he told me the extent of his relationship. He wasn’t divorced – in truth, he couldn’t even leave their house, because they were going for permanent residency and needed to share a residence until they received their PR status. Oh, and his children were two years old, and two months old but he was sleeping on the couch. So. Married. Living with his wife. And did I want to be his girlfriend anyways?

That was a rough truth bomb. I appreciated the strength it must have taken to be that honest, but holy crap. My butterflies died almost instantly, and then died a little harder any time that he would text me after that (especially when it was a “let’s be friends” and I started getting messages about his very public, very kinky sexual escapades). Since then, as documented, I don’t get the butterflies. I get the creeps, and the stalkers, and the looney bins. Sometimes I get twidderpated (like the time I had a crush on a local MMA fighter. I don’t even like MMA.) or attracted. But not the butterflies.

For me, butterflies equates being vulnerable. And, anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m not a fan of being vulnerable.

Oh, if I know you, there are glimpses of it. You’ll see pieces, maybe I’ll choke up telling you a sad tale. Maybe you’ll hear me rave about Ford Canada and how much I HATE FORD CANADA. But the real parts? The parts where I cry, or tell you that I’m angry or hurting, or confess that I’m anxious and close to having a breakdown – those are rare. And, with the butterflies especially, I find I have to be in a good place about myself before I can let that guard down. I met the Brit following my yoga challenge – I was in a very good place.

I’m finding, though, that this theme – the theme of vulnerability, and trusting yourself to be vulnerable – is popping up in my life in a major way. Dear Sugar is back with a podcast (and I’m so happy – both Sugars, no longer anonymous, but Sugar nevertheless) and the theme of being vulnerable is major. You need to trust the people around you, and yourself, to be this way. In order to foster true intimacy and trust, be vulnerable. Since I’ve made no secret about being a major Sugar fan, I’m trying to take this advice. Not well, mind you. I handle vulnerable the same way that Kylo Ren handles anger – poorly. But, I’m trying. That’s the key, right?

So, with that, let’s get open, shall we?

It’s lots of good things in my life right now – it feels like there was a massive cleansing in my life, like a river in spring washing away the last of winter’s ice. The New Job, that I loved so much, that was full of amazing smart creative people, took a fast turn into Hell Job. Literally, almost overnight it went from being my dream to my nightmare. It became full of drama and backstabbing and fear – I had (and still have) my core group of humans there, but I hated every single day I had to get out of bed. I started flirting with the idea of leaving, and all of a sudden, my dream job slipped into my lap. Out of nowhere, I hadn’t applied for it or anything like it, and I had the opportunity to step out of hell overnight.

So, New Job is no longer a thing. I miss my New Job humans all of the time – I found amazing friends there. There is D, who teaches me every time that I see her that faith is such a key thing – her faith intimidates and inspires me, and every visit with her makes my faith in God and people stronger. There is BS, and his wife AH – nerds to the core, but patient, powerful, intelligent humans, and amazing party planners. A, who lets me be me and loves me for it – whether I’m being a yogi or dancing around my kitchen with wine. My curling team – R, RB (and his amazing other half JO), and M, who cheer me on and laugh with/at me, and who embrace the power of education. G, who is everyone’s mom, whether you want it or not – someone who supports you when you can’t support yourself. I miss them all every day.

Dream Job is the biggest thing at the moment. Dream Job is busy and intensely complicated – I have to learn a brand new structure and this structure, lemme tell you, is a beast. I have to learn the ropes, and I have to be present in every moment. I have 12 months’ worth of probation, and I’ve been assured that I’m going to feel dumb every single day for that year. There are moments, even a month in, where I’m convinced that they have made a mistake. They wanted an expert, somehow they hired me – I’m convinced that someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say “Sorry, we made a mistake. We need you to go now. Good luck!” But, then, I’ll be in a meeting and be asked about a communications strategy – and when I open my mouth, the expert is in the room. It’s been stressful and busy and oh-so-damn-amazing. What’s even cooler about this place is that we are asked to be vulnerable – we are asked to be open with things, and taught to trust our colleagues to be vulnerable too. I’m actually taking a course about it – it’s so amazing.

Pulling this all back to the Brit and the butterflies – I have, as documented, been trying to date for about 3 years on and off. I’ve been very single for that amount of time, with one ironworker mistake (that Facebook is bringing up in my memories right now, ugh), and I’ve laid out my struggles with it – whether it’s games, sexism, or just plain balance. I went through a point where I was trying too hard, and I complained to my mom. My mother is a force to be reckoned with, and when I complained to her about the car being broken and my job sucking and being single, she constantly reassured me that it would all work out, and likely within a short time frame. She always kept this up – through my struggle with my vehicle, through the switching of jobs – and when I bought my new condo, I told her that I was lonely.

“He’s coming”, she’d assure me. “Stop worrying, and be you. Just keep moving forward.” And I have. I have (mostly) overcome the loneliness – now, I find myself relieved that I have the place to myself, that I can take my shoes off where I please, and make coffee in my Batman pajamas without judgement (not that my roomie would have judged me at all). I have a life that I’m in love with – one full of a Board I’m crazy about (hello, Shakespeare!), a yoga practice that is strong, one full of friendships that I am proud of, one where my family is so supportive, one where I love my job and my home, one where I’m finally starting my novel – and I’m constantly busy with my loved ones – friends and family. I have wine and piecaken dates, board game dates, curling bonspiels, wedding websites, walks, laughs, drinks, and movies. This life I have is one that I am proud of. I’m proud to stand in front of it, I’m proud to have it, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. As the wise philosopher Drake once said – we started from the bottom, now we here.

And now, as I’m standing here with this life, a life full of people I love enough to be vulnerable with, and I’m finally allowing that vulnerability to shine through… the butterflies have returned….

The art of balance

I don’t know if I like Facebook memories or not.

Right now, I’m at a period of really amazing things. January has been epic – I’ve been getting up early, spending lots of time prepping my food, fitting in lots of yoga and walking, spending time with my friends – and I’m really enjoying it. I feel great, I’m starting to shrink a little – I can see my collarbones again, and my face has slimmed down considerably, which I love – things are amazing (and don’t worry – I’m going to get into the whole “new year, new me” thing shortly) and I am really happy (albeit very busy).

So, in a way, Facebook memories are awesome to remember where I’d been. Right now, for example, I’ve been brought back to Africa. I spent an insane three weeks in Accra, Ghana three years ago, and that’s what I’m relieving on my timeline. I got to work with a childs’ rights organization doing communication and advocacy strategy, I met some incredible people, had some wild adventures. Three years ago last week, actually, my friend HB and I went on an elephant trek to Mole National Park. We booked it on a whim – hoped for the best with the hotel, danced at a Container until 3 AM, went to the airport for 5 AM, and hired a taxi in Tamale for 8 AM. We went on a sunset trek that ended with us off Jeep, in our hiking boots in the savanna, with a dude with a gun hoisted on his shoulder by twine, standing in a bluff of trees, surrounded by female elephants.

I’m seeing posts from when I lived in Perth – I’m reminded of the time I met an amazing dude underwater. The notes I wrote when I was travelling for a year, trying to figure my life out. I’m seeing the first time I lived with someone, and how much I loved him. I’m seeing friend love and funny and inspirational. So, in a lot of ways – Facebook memories make me really happy.

And then there is the not-so-happy stuff that I’m hyper aware of. Facebook, can we keep the ex boyfriends and heartache and breakups hidden? K thanks.

Anywho. More on the good stuff right now!

I’ve been planning and preparing my meals like a crazy woman. I’ve gone to the vegan side of things – not because I don’t enjoy meat, but because I struggle sometimes with it being easy to make 1) healthy, and 2) tasty. Dairy is easy enough to ignore, minus cheese. Oh cheese. With the exception of one really dizzy few days, it’s been mostly easy. That said – I’m not super strict about it. A few night ago, while rushing to a board meeting, I had an apple and cheese as I was driving. If I was as dedicated I needed to be, I would have taken out a quinoa cookie (vegan, and always in my freezer) – but, really, it’s not the end of the world. Although, I may have to slow down with the whole “freezer” breakfast thing – at the moment, I have 10 bags of frozen kale and banana for smoothies, about a dozen blueberry-walnut-lavender scones, and about 1.5 dozen peanut butter-walnut muffins, roughly 2 dozen quinoa cookies. Delicious choices in the morning, makes me look rather insane when someone looks in my freezer. But my “food” life looks like this, mostly.

As for my yoga practice – the first week into this lifestyle overhaul, I was ALL OVER IT. It’s something that is super easy on all my sore bones, I love the peace that accompanies it, I love the community that is Noorish. I think I logged 5 or 6 practices in, and I could feel my body glowing gratefully. And then, as it sometimes does, life happened.

One of the biggest challenges of my getting and staying healthy is my effort to grow and maintain my friendships – that balance is hard for me. For example, starting January 11, this was my schedule:

  • January 11 – curling with the ESSC
  • January 12 – Star Wars with a friend
  • January 13 – writing assignment
  • January 14 – karma @ Noorish
  • January 15 – spontaneous movie date with a friend
  • January 16 – lunch date in Red Deer
  • January 17 – “family” dinner
  • January 18 – curling with the ESSC
  • January 19 – condo AGM
  • January 20 – Freewill Shakespeare AGM & Board meeting
  • January 21 – karma @ Noorish
  • January 22 – I AM TOTALLY TAKING THIS NIGHT FOR MYSELF
  • January 23 – Beauty and the Beast to support YESS

And so on. So, if I’m up and gone by 715 AM, I’m at work for 815 AM, leave work by 415 PM to be home for 515 PM. That gives me roughly 5 hours to do my thing at night – which, lately, has been mostly away from the kiva. I generally don’t mind this kind of existence for brief periods, but last week, I was freaking exhausted. Had a coffee before lunch, want to sleep under my desk, do I have to do anything besides collapse into bed, exhausted . I hadn’t been to bed once last week before 11 PM, and that’s about an hour too late for me. I come home from the various awesome things, make lunch (thank God for prep!), make some tea, and crash into bed to wait for my mind to stop reeling so I can sleep.

So, my current state of questions – how can I balance this? Do I stop striving for friend excellence and settle into myself? Where should my line be between “give myself permission” and “lean in”? The hardest question is – how on Earth can I manage to get up at 530 AM for a short, in-building workout while I’m also trying to break the weekday coffee addiction?

But. The hard work and all the questions are worth it. Baby steps… but I’m seeing big progress.