Thankful

With so much evil and hatred in the news, and some of the stories hitting close to home, I think most people are feeling overwhelmed. The tragedy in Las Vegas coupled with a local attack against an Edmonton Police officer as well as ongoing racial injustices…. the world feels so broken and heartless.

I’ve struggled with my feelings about these issues and how to address them.  We all have opinions on what needs to be fixed and how to fix them, myself included. All of this had me feeling hopeless.  I’ve tried to focus more on what’s here in my home and look inward at the things I’m thankful for. Guys, do I ever have a lot to be thankful for.

My partner is a wonderful man. I am not the easiest woman to get along with, I am aware, but that makes my love that much more special…right? (RIGHT) Through my ups and downs, battling depression, anxiety, overcoming issues with my weight, and constantly struggling with self-love, he has been there and been supportive.  We’ve had our own battles over the course of 5 years but I know at the end of the day he has my back and I hope he knows I have his. By the way, where the heck did 5 years go?! Time does fly, it ain’t no lie. (Except when you’re in a public washroom waiting for other occupants in the stalls to leave so you can have a poo. You know what I’m talking about.)

My kids are pretty fantastic. They drive me nuts, but that’s their job. My stepdaughter is fierce, brave, smart, creative and ballsy.  My son is brilliant, clever, hilarious, and so caring.  My daughter is brand new and makes me smile every moment I look at her.  And the fact that I get to have all of these wonderful human beings in my care makes my heart explode.

There’s a lot of shit in the world but I will do my best to educate my children on the rights as well as the wrongs in this world so they contribute to the good. I will encourage hope, love, peace, and education.  They can be the change I want to see in the world. (No pressure, kids)

I know thoughts and prayers alone can’t change the world but our children certainly can.

I started this post a week ago and struggled so hard to find to put words to my scattered thoughts.  It’s fitting that I finish it at the end of World Mental Health Day. This week has been hard and my mental health has not been at its best.  After a lot of reflection and discussions with some really fabulous and understanding friends, I’ve realized that I need to hop back on my medication while continuing counseling.  My path is not and will not be the same as anyone else’s but I do hope that if anyone is reading this and they are struggling at all, I’m a click, a phone call, or a visit away.  Support is important and I’m happy to be that.

Thanks for reading my friends!

xx

 

Imposter

I've always felt like I barely just made the cut.  In all facets of my life, it feels like I don't quite belong and am just waiting to be found out. Discovered to be a fraud.

In friendships, I've always been doubtful that people actually want to be around me.  This has become especially difficult to manage since I've quit drinking because I can't dull the feelings. Oh, how I miss dulling my feelings with booze and drugs. Once my friends figure out that I'm not actually all that enjoyable to be around they'll drop me like a hot potato (mmm potatoes… I need a poutine), so I try to avoid any and all social situations. When I do go out, I obsess about the interactions that I had. It's exhausting.

Career-wise, while I've always felt I've done a pretty good job at most places I've worked (I think) I didn't feel like I ever really deserved these jobs. I haven't been fired (was laid off at my short-lived electrical stint, I choose to think that doesn't count. But it does. It does…), but I haven't found anything that can hold my interest for a long period of time. I recently applied to a local Digital Media and IT program and was accepted but waitlisted due to the program being full. I'm not sure if that was going to be the best fit for me but I'm open to trying something new. Part of my imposter status is to just keep masquerading at new locations.

I've wondered that I might just be filling up my time with children and dogs to avoid really dealing with myself, and what makes me happiest/makes me tick. Am I an imposter mother, wearing this mask, going on play dates, sharing mom memes with mom friends instead of figuring out who I really am? I really do love having kids and dogs though, I swear. They are the best excuses for being anti-social and if I can't drink I need SOMETHING in my pocket.

Do we wear different masks at different phases of our lives? Or are they more like costumes, helping me get into the character we want to become? Maybe it's neither and I'm just overthinking again. I'm torn (also, maybe this pregnancy is scrambling my brain).

I can't wait to see a therapist so I can say "my therapist says this is what a lot of people think/feel" but for now all I have is Dr.Google. Dr. Google says my feelings are borderline crazy or completely normal. Jury is still out.

Anxiously Waiting

 

I have been avoiding writing because I've been avoiding addressing my feelings. Healthy? No. But it's the truth and that's what I'm here for.

My anxiety returned full force at the beginning of my 3rd trimester.  It was overwhelming and intense, no matter how prepared I thought I was going to be for it.  There are a lot of issues I need to broach (with a licensed psychiatrist but a huge one is the upcoming birth of my newest baby and the decisions I need to make surrounding it.    

My birth experience with my son was not what I wanted and left me feeling scared of a similar outcome this go around. After speaking with my doctor, we decided the next best step for me is counseling to sort through my feelings.

A big part of my anxiety is my everyday struggle with expectations.  What are my expectations of myself and what do other people expect of me?  I worry more than I care to admit about what other people think of me and what they think I should be doing.

In the words of my partner "fuck them and what they think" but that's always easier said than done.

I'm trying to be more in tune to what I need and tune out more of the (perceived) buzz around me.  

I'm trying to be me.  Still not 100% sure who that is yet…

 

It’s Not You, It’s Me.

Last weekend, I initiated a break for myself from social media.  I’m not super committed to the break so I temporarily deactivated everything with no end date in mind.  I’ve done it before but never from Instagram AND Facebook at the same time.  I have no connection to the social world! What are people doing, eating, and wearing?? Let me tell ya, my phone is less exciting without the social network. But a break was overdue.

I reached a point where I couldn’t feel anything but jealousy, guilt, and a general feeling of unhappiness when checking the updates.  I was comparing every aspect of my life.  Why aren’t I as pretty as her?  Why don’t I dress as nicely as she does?  Why can’t I wear my pregnancy like those women do?  Why doesn’t my house look like that?  Is my relationship and are my kids as good as theirs?  I’m not sure if any of you have reached this point but I felt like I was taking photos just for the purpose of being shared, not just for myself, or for the purpose of capturing the moment to remember.  I’ve always maintained that I stay on Facebook because it’s a connection to friends and family, a lot of which are scattered across this and a few other countries.  Which is true to some degree but at some point, I crossed a line.  I would post a photo and wait to see if people liked my photo. That’s a weird way to feel about a photo of your children.  Kind of takes the magic away, doesn’t it?

The week was not surprisingly hard.  Seriously. WHAT ARE PEOPLE DOING.  It made me realize that I really don’t have a close relationship with a lot of people – which is cool because the people I am in touch with regularly are amazing.  But I should make an effort to be more social (quiet Doug, I can hear you saying “I told you so”).  My break away has also shown me how much time I waste looking at Facebook and reading click bait articles.  I’ve actually read the world news on multiple occasions this week, without Facebook deciding which stories are the most important or prompting me to do so.  Baby steps in the right direction.

I’m sure I’ll end up back on the social media platforms, it’s a great way to stay connected and a perfect way to share blog posts.  But it’s definitely nice to take a step off the grid and remind myself why I loved my life so much in the first place, without someone else clicking a “like” button for me.

When I Grow Up

I’ve always been envious of people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives.  I have many successful friends and family members who are inspiring and have worked hard to get to where they are.  Career goals in their mind’s eye, they managed to stay focused (how? they were so many happy hours?!) and have reached fulfilling places in their fields.

Now, me?  I spent most of my 20s (most, all, whatever) partying while scraping my way through university. I’ve been extremely fortunate to land some jobs I really loved while traveling down my path and met some fantastic friends amongst co-workers.  Even though I don’t regret the steps I’ve taken, I haven’t ended up exactly at a place I’d like to be.  My lack of direction has always been obvious and led me to jobs instead of a career or towards an end goal.  I chose safe or for the moment jobs instead of broadening my views on what I could be doing for a lifetime.

I find myself still struggling to know exactly where and what I want to be. I know I’m smart (not smarty pants smart but I can read a book and write a paper) and there’s always the option of going back to school (hello, student loans). But, for what exactly?

I wish they had guidance counselors for people my age, who will listen to you ramble while you spill your dreams and describe the things you like, then they’d tell you the best career for you. But no. I have to be an adult and figure that out on my own. WTF. If I had that capability, I would have that sorted out by now.  I suppose I could seek out a psychic but who has the money for that.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Do what you love and the money will follow.

Passion is the difference between having a job and having a career.

Who do I know that is living one or more of these mantras? How did you do it? Did you always know what you wanted?

I think part of my problem is not knowing myself.  I hid me from me for a very long time with the help of drugs and alcohol. I’m now forced to reckon with myself and uncover some truths and one of them is – who are you and what do you want to be when you grow up.

I’ve started looking at various programs, different schools in my city, and discussing options and opinions with friends and family.  I’m looking inwards to figure out what I enjoy – I realized that analyzing and researching are my jam in addition to reading and writing.  But where does that leave me? The jury is still out on that but one thing is for sure, I haven’t blossomed yet because there’s a lot more for me to learn.  I just need to figure out where to plant my seeds so I can keep growing.

 

There She Grows

I like to take up hobby’s and quit them. Not because I’ve given up on myself but because I’m lazy.

My seasonal hobby is gardening. It’s almost perfect for me.  Very lazy-friendly. When spring comes, I can buy plants or try my hand at some indoor planting. When it’s really nice, I can move everything outside and let nature handle do its business all over my greenery. Every once in a while during the summer, I’ll hit up Lowe’s and buy some plants that are on sale/dying and plant them in the yard. Again, their survival is up to nature, I just like to dig.  When fall comes, I forget about the entire gardening process until the sun shines past 5 p.m. again.

I’m not so sure that’s how real gardeners roll but I do what I want.

This spring I’ve been trying my hand at growing vegetables from scraps.  As you may have noticed from me mentioning the on sale and near death plants, I am cheap. Thrifty. Not because I’m great with money but because I spent a lot of time being terrible with money.  I started a regrow station on my dining room table.  It’s a good daylight location and it’s out of reach from the cat and dogs little paws. “Regrow station” is a nice way of saying I put a big box in the middle of the kitchen table.  It’s hideous but it takes up space where I normally throw the mail I don’t want to read and bills I don’t want to pay.

My station started out with a celery stump, yellow onion, green onion, red onion, zucchini, potato, cucumber seeds, pepper seeds, avocado seed, and parsley.

Regrow Station 03.24

I put the pepper seeds on a plate to dry, same with the cucumber seeds. The avocado pit went into a small glass jar filled with water, toothpicks inserted on 4 sides to keep the pointed end in the water, and the old potato slices with a few eyes already growing were set out to dry.  The celery, onions, zucchini and parsley were all placed with the roots in water, not completely submerged. I kept a little spray bottle nearby for spritzing the outside of the veggies in water from drying out.  I checked on them every few days to make sure there was water in the dishes and looked for progress.

It helps to have a giant box on the table in the kitchen (where I spend half my days) – hard to forget to follow-up.

Regrow Station 04.02

After a couple of weeks, I had to say goodbye to a few scraps.  The red onion, zucchini, parsley and cucumber seeds didn’t make the cut.   Not enough roots for the initial three, they just turned to mush.  The cucumber seeds stuck to the clay plate – would have been smarter to use a glass dish. Live and learn.  My potatoes have sprouted, my onions are flourishing and my celery is reaching for the sky!  No action from the avocado or pepper seeds, I’m going to give them some time. Let them ponder on whether or not they want to show their shy, leafy selves to the sun. I dunno what I’m talking about, that’s how gardeners talk in my head.

Check out that onion!
Look at those potato leaves! How do potatoes even grow? Is it underground and you pick it? I’m afraid to google it and discover I’m not really growing a potato.

 

Over here stalkin’ my celery. GARDEN JOKE.

Oh, hello, my little green friends.

 

 

 

Check out those roots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing my own green onion will save me approximately $5 a year, at most. It’s not just about the money. Is it? No, it’s more about giving me a reason to keep the box out.

At the end of the day, my yard always has weeds that I can pull. That also counts as exercise and makes you look like a good neighbor. Little tip from me to you.

What about you guys, any gardening tips or tricks? Will you be growing anything this year?  If you’re a seasoned gardener, let me know! I’d like to grow something fun like strawberries or a giant peach. Kind of like James but without the huge talking bugs.

The Little Zygote That Could

I did it. Well, I don’t know how much of it was necessarily me or just luck.  Maybe it’s fate or simple biology. Who knows, not me.  My body did it.  And I’m thankful.

It held on to a little baby seed. The little zygote that could.

After miscarriages, periods, doubts, fear, and time (seemed like forever – in real life it probably wasn’t), I finally got pregnant. From the second I became pregnant, I knew it. Not in a loving “mama could sense it” way but in a “sick from day one” way.  My body let me in on the secret. A secret to be shared with the porcelain god and anyone within earshot.  I am definitely “lucky” I was unemployed at the time because there wouldn’t have been a chance I could keep it from my coworkers or employer.

It hasn’t been easy so far but I’m not complaining (shut up, Doug).  The sickness was unbearable for the first three months but it’s always sort of a relief to know that the baby is really thriving in there.  I finally stopped acting like the hero I’m not, once I reached month 4 I got a prescription for Diclectin.  I feel mostly like me again! Praise modern medicine!

I’ve been trying to keep my head straight this time around and enjoy all the moments I’m able to, should the present pregnant moment be my last pregnant moment.  I’m not anticipating a disruptive and terrible end. I’m just not wasting my time worrying every single second of every day that something has could go wrong and instead embracing the time that I’m given.

When I was pregnant with my first, I spent every moment in my head. Freaking out. Overthinking everything. (That’s my ‘thing’- did I tell you I’m obsessed a sinkhole will open up under my house? I digress). Did we have enough “stuff”? Did I prepare enough? Am I taking the right vitamins? Am I eating enough “good” food? How can I be a new mom and a stepmom?  My incessant and stressful worrying led me back down the path of depression I’d fought so hard to get out of in my teens and 20s.  I spent the final months leading up to my son’s birth attending mental health counseling and feeling like I was in the dark despite the brightness and blessings of my life around me.  My son’s first year found me struggling through a postpartum depression (PPD) haze, doubting my happiness and indulging in stress.  It took me an additional half year or so to realize I even had PPD and had developed some unhealthy coping skills to manage it (first I was spending money I didn’t have, later I was drinking more wine than I cared to admit).  I’ve made the decision that, with this pregnancy, I’d try to let go of those things I can’t control and embrace the moments along the way.

So, bring on the fun pregnancy photos in the snow. I might even do a maternity shoot this time!  I’ll definitely be writing about my experiences a lot more, even if it’s just for my own eyes.  Every day is not the same and I definitely have to remind myself to chill out and stay present.  For example, I may have freaked out a little bit before my last ultrasound after reading a few stories about children born with 2 heads or imagining there was an alien baby in there.  But I didn’t fall down the spiral. I saw it up ahead and spoke to my partner and the ultrasound technician about my concerns.  That particular spiral is safely in the rearview for now.  The world is safe, there is no Decepticon in my womb.  That would have been cool though, right?

I’ve begun month six and my baby is on track and my health is good – so far, this path is definitely less rocky than the last. I haven’t set up a single thing, purchased anything (we’re hoarders so we do have tons from the other two kids) and have yet to be consistent in taking my vitamins. What I lack in pill form, I make up for in trips to the refrigerator. The bathroom scale can attest to it.

I’m just human.  No path is the same as another, nothing is perfect and no one knows exactly what to do or what they’re doing.  It’s better to accept those imperfections as best you and I can and move forward rather than try to pretend they don’t exist.  Trust me on that one.