So Many FEELS!

feelsYesterday I wrote this post. By noon MST I had 72 emails in my inbox, had 3 Facebook messenger chats and 7 iMessage chats regarding my post on Violence Against Women.

So MANY FEELS!

I have heard from victims, witnesses, supporters, friends, strangers, acquaintances and my children. There have been so many questions and comments I just cannot get to everyone and I am sorry.

The next best thing I can offer is a reply to you here, since many questions are similar I thought we could have a Q & A session right here, right now. I prefer to answer individually, but I just can’t – and I am sorry. I do want to thank you everyone for their support and kindness. It really means a lot to me.

The Edmonton Tourist Answers Your Questions:

1) I hate surprises. Why did I read about this and not have you tell me? 

Honestly? I thought you knew. If you didn’t know then it was because I thought I was over it. Sorry. I hate surprises too.

2) This must have been difficult to write. How were you able to do it?

Good question. I didn’t find it difficult to write. Writing is my meditation, my creative outlet, my forum for sorting out my thoughts. I often don’t know what I am thinking until it comes out in written word. Then I read it and wow….that is how I am feeling or thinking. It is almost as if my emotions and brain have a life of their own and get to explore themselves while I am not looking.

Another reason it wasn’t difficult to write is because it happened 27 years ago. A lifetime ago. I am not even remotely the same person and I have the ability to look at the abuse objectively. I have knowledge and wisdom in my corner. The other part, convincing people it happened, that is painful. My daughter explains it best: That is just they was society is right now. It always seems to be the victim’s fault, like they should be able to control monsters. We all aren’t a SuperHero. My wise 18-year-old said: Unless you walk in their shoes, you have no idea how difficult the situation really is.

3) Do your children know?

Ummm….ya, about that. I am not the mom who hides things from her children. I face things head on. I am honest where other people blush. My 9-year-old asked me once about masturbation – they got a straight up answer and not the answer where you go blind and your hand falls off. The answer where they understood the mechanics. As they got older the questions changed from concrete questions to more philosophical. I taught my kids to be critical thinkers. They can hold their own in any conversation…watch out for that girl of mine, she will knock you down a peg or two if she thinks you are not walking within your set of values. Notice I said YOUR values. She doesn’t force her values on anyone, she expect you to live by our own code.So talking about me being abused was fine because they can see I am not a puddle on the floor and they can ask me anything and get an honest answer. I told them may not enjoy reading this blog, but I told them the basics. It’s up to them to explore for themselves. They know I am okay. They also know I can hold my own in any bar fight….so they are secure beds at night.

4) I never understood WHY my mom never left.

That is something you can understand. Listen to her. Be empathetic. You will figure it out. I have a feeling it had more to do about not letting you be homeless than it was about her not having courage.

5) It was stupid for you to confront that man.

I didn’t confront him. I supported her. If you can’t see that, then you still don’t get it and that’s okay, I can explain it a different way. I do not speak angry. Angry is a language that comes from somewhere deep inside and spews out hate. I have been on the receiving end many times but I shut down. I listen, absorb and hurt when it happens. I always stay quiet instead of fighting back. BECAUSE quiet is more powerful than words. Lowering your voice has greater impact than yelling louder. I wasn’t there for him, I was standing in solidarity with her. It wasn’t about him. It was about supporting her. I could care less about him. I cared about her. I could have been hurt. He would have had spent time in prison. Besides…..I know a guy ;)

6) WHY

Why is complicated. All I know is doing the right thing is hard. Doing nothing is easy. People say “Mind your own business”. Helping is different. Its part of who I am. All I wish for is for people to respect each other. Easy.

Respect means loyalty, kindness, equality, empathy and other things as well.

7) Did you do this to gain popularity?

HAHAHAHAHA no. I did this because I know how it feels to have no one stand up for you. It happened years ago. It happened last year and more recently it happened this spring. I was shocked when the one person I expected to support me didn’t. I get why now, he isn’t as strong as I thought he was. That’s okay too. Not everyone is who you need them to be. Just love them for who they are.

If I wanted to be popular, you would all get to see me naked. Being smart is way better than being naked.

8) How did you get out?

Hmmm. That is a bit more complicated. Without going into details that just don’t matter, I will say I did things that I would not have done today to be free. However, I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not done those things. It was hard and a lot of people were very angry with me. It was a lonely time and I don’t wish it on anyone. The one thing I might do differently is tell people EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. Victim shaming needs to stop.

9) You were brave.

If being scared is brave than I suppose I was. I just want to get people thinking. You may do something different because your life experience is different. BUT THINK. Think about actions and consequences. If you can live with the consequences, then you are golden.

10) I wish there was someone to tell him to be a better man.

All I can say to that is be the man you want your son to be. Change is possible. You do not have to follow in footsteps that are abusive, hurtful or sexually harmful. Fix your corner of the world. If everyone did that, this place would be awesome. I know WAY MORE GREAT MEN then I know terrible ones. I no longer give my time to terrible ones. It’s your time, your life. Live it so your offspring would be proud to call you Mom or Dad. If you don’t have kids, live your life so you would be proud to tell your Grandma, Mom or other important person in your life. They should know everything. No secrets. If you have a secret, then something is wrong. Fix it.

While we are on this subject, Men get a bad wrap. Women are far more sneaky and evil than men. Or perhaps that is just from my perspective. The men I have in my life are people I admire – except for that one guy….we all have THAT ONE GUY in our life that just needs someone to nurture a bit…then he will come around. But don’t condone his actions. Make him accountable…as long as you make yourself accountable. Judging is different. Don’t judge – it’s not cool or politically correct or nice. BE NICE PEOPLE!

11) How can you ever get over something like that?

You just do or you die. Everyone handles things differently. I have had triggers lately that have been upsetting for me. But there have been a heck of a lot of OTHER things in my life that are MORE upsetting. I suppose it is perspective.

Live is just a series of experiences. You take something away for each one, apply it to the next and so on. The plan is for one day to have learned enough from your experiences to have nothing phase you. Water off a ducks back. When that happens you die. The End.

Most of my experiences have been crappy ones. HOWEVER, I have learned a TON OF STUFF! I could start my own University, or Country or Planet with the stuff I learned. I can also tell you that I also don’t really know anything. Its complicated.

Just be kind and things will work out okay. If things are not okay, you are not at the end yet. Be patient, you will get there.

Moving forward

Lots of people are going to read this and think I am blaming. I am not. I am healing. That is a big difference. 

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Here is something you don’t hear everyday:

I was in an abusive relationship.

The question is WHY don’t we hear it? Likely because the whole issue of victim shaming comes up. It is as if the person who was abused should have somehow stopped it from happening.

I have news for you: They don’t know how. When you are in that situation, you can not see your way out.

I know, because it happened to me. For 10 years I was trapped, ages 16-26

I met this man (and I use this term lightly) when I was 16 and he was 21.  He took over my life by separating me from my family and friends, tell me my mom didn’t love me and I needed to accept that. I was emotionally abused, mentally abused and sexually abused and raped (for the record: nonconsensual married sex is STILL RAPE) I broke up with him once but because I didn’t tell anyone why – I felt forced back into that relationship. I can’t tell you why I told none. I don’t really know. I do know I can speculate.

  1.  Victim blaming. I should have been stronger. I should have asked for help. I shouldacouldawoulda.
  2. I felt pressure to get married and live happily ever after.
  3. I didn’t realize that life began when you are older, not ending when you are a teen.
  4. I didn’t know myself very well. If I knew then what I know now….he would be a puddle on the floor weeping….wait – I already made him feel that way.

I have had a lot of triggers lately that have brought me back to that moment when my life was the darkest. I understand that people expect me to just ‘let it go’ but it is nearly impossible and there is science behind it.

Doctor Bruce Perry has done copious amounts of research on the effects of Brain Trauma in Children. The human brain does not fully develop until it is 25 years old. The younger you are, the more affected by trauma you are.

For example: An infant and a 12 year old witness the same incident. The infant will have longer lasting affects than the 12 year old because the brain isn’t as developed. However, both with suffer long term. This explains why incidents from childhood are harder to get over than incidents as adults. Adults can put things into perspective. Children have zero life experience to go on.

I was 16 -26 years old during this time. My brain was not fully developed. I did not have the tools to figure it out.

Looking back, it is not my abuser who upsets me, it was the lack of empathy I received. That was the part that was traumatic. I wasn’t believed when I told people, if I was, I was judged for not fixing it.

I was in Costco the other day and I witnessed a man (again I use that term loosely) yelling at his girlfriend in the middle of the store. He was shaming her about her decision to purchase something without his approval.

My first thought was “if he is doing this in front of strangers, what will he do to her in private?”. I became the person who I wanted to rescue me when I was in that situation.

He was dropping FBombs ever second word. His body language was threatening. He was furious and shaming her was making him feel strong and powerful.

I crept uncomfortable close to this couple. I inched my way until I was in his space, but beside her in solidarity. I just stared at him and he finally turned to me and said “WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” I did not answer him because that would give him power that he did not deserve. I turned to her and softly said “you can do better that him”. She wouldn’t meet my gaze, but hang her head in shame. He gave me the stink eye and stormed off while she hung back.

I left the store and saw him out side. I know he saw me but he wouldn’t meet my gaze. I walked passed him and pointed him out to my family and told his story – so he could hear me. I shamed him back. I do realize I didn’t make her situation better if she chooses to remain with him.

And she will.

But I planted a seed. I validated that what he is doing is not okay and she is not imagining it. That is all victims need to get the ball rolling. They need someone who is empathetic, not sympathetic. There is a difference. Sympathy implies that you want to fix the situation and will sliver line it. Empathy implies that you don’t know how to fix it, but you understand. You are the ear or the shoulder for leaning. Not every situation needs to be fixed, or can be fixed. When we love someone, we just want to fix stuff. I have a friend who is the best at being empathetic. So much so, that just him saying “I can’t imagine how you feel, but I will be your shoulder” is enough for me to feel protected and safe.

I completely understand why he is angry and abuses his girlfriend. Understanding it doesn’t make the behaviour okay.  Blaming needs to stop somewhere.

When I was being abused, one person stood up for me. Ironically it was the sister – and not the sister I expected to help me. The one I expected to help paraded me in front of a series of abusers and made me feel little and alone. I will forever respect the sister who stood up for me, who showed me that there are better choices out there. Who got me started on THINKING about making a plan to get out.

I will pay if forward because of her, every single time I see an abuser. I will make them as uncomfortable as possible because I am empathetic, not sympathetic.

Like a Boss

My Parents came home yesterday. They sold everything and left for Europe for an undetermined amount of time. They aren’t really home, they are visiting.

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I hadn’t spoke to them in 106 days. Apparently I am bad at email. My sister emailed my parents 104 times. That is 1 for everyday they were away except for the 2 she was on the plane to England and didn’t email them because she was sitting beside them.

Apparently that makes me a bad daughter.

I’m better at texting.

This was the first time since the ‘DARK TIMES’ that I had been separated from my parents.

  1. Yes I am 47 years old
  2. No it doesn’t make me an insecure baby
  3. I do not have a dysfunctional relationship with my parents
  4. we just actually like each other.

I haven’t felt like crying so much since my parents left in July, 106 days ago.

I called my dad this morning and I instantly cried. Damn I missed them. It’s not even like I am the favourite child. That would be the sister. And rightly so, she takes care of them in ways I just don’t. Then the next favourite would be the brother. He is dependant on them in ways I am not. As a mom, I know there isn’t a favourite, they just like each of us for different reasons. I happen to be the most independent of the lot. I keep to myself, hold my problems in and try not to worry anyone. I took care of everyone when I was younger, now I let my sister do it because she loves it, I just did it out of a sense of obligation. I have a hard enough time taking care of myself and my offspring. I have learned a long hard lesson about self-care that I need to be cognizant of. People call it selfishness, I call call it survival. I always seem to be on the brink of disaster and I manage to hold it off.

That gets exhausting and it is exhausting talking about it.

So, I didn’t write about it. Mom didn’t get to hear about my days or the weariness in my bones, or the times I felt like I was a total an utter failure. As a mom, I know she wanted to hear those things….but I don’t do that. I don’t share. It’s easier to stamp the feelings down and swallow them.

After lunch, I packed up the FamJam and we drove out to my Grandmothers where my sister and my parents are currently living while my sister’s home is – for lack of a better word – being finish. My parents will have a home base/in-law suite where they can have a home base while they travel the world being gypsy hobos.

I walked up the steps to the house and right into the arms of my daddy. I cried inside where no one saw. I stuffed the tears away because I didn’t want to be teased or have my emotions get in the way for visiting. I didn’t want it to be about me. I wasn’t the one who left. I wanted to hear about them.

We stayed all afternoon and caught up on their zany adventures. I learned a lot of things about my parents.

MOM: The Woman who faced her fears until Hell Froze Over

  1. She went topless on the Mediterranean (My mom has always been modest to the point almost to the level of Prudish)
  2. She drank beer AND Scotch (Alcohol always scared her and for good reason)
  3. She smoked a cigar
  4. She likes my dad – and not because he is her husband. They spent 106 days together ALONE and enjoyed their time together. They have been a couple since they were 14. Liking each other is an important part of that.

DAD: The Man who doesn’t give a crap about what people think

  1. He sat on a bus tour and gave people hell for being late – they never showed up late again (Who else has the balls to call people on their shit?)
  2. He naps whenever he damn well feels like it…and like a boss (In Kensington Palace he was bored, so he laid down on the sofa and slept…in the palace… In London)
  3. If he thinks something is outrageous, he says so. (I always thought I took after my mom, but really, I am like my dad. People annoy me and I call them on it. Just like he does. I also expect people to call me on my shit – I respect them if they do. I think they are weak if they don’t)
  4. He likes my mom. They laugh together and have a good time. He lets her baby him and he humours her by letting her plan everything. Compromise is important.

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I also learned my siblings and I are more alike than we are different.

My sister wore a fancy hat on the plan home because she didn’t have a hatbox. She owned it like a boss. It wasn’t that much different from the time she wore a Sombrero home from Mexico because how else would you get it home?

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I am pretty much the same. I have learned that life is too short to waste time doing what bores you or is annoying or out of obligation. I am busy. I have very little time for my family. They come first. Everything else second. Don’t like? I’m cool with that. I cannot please the world.

As my dad is known to say, “If someone doesn’t like it, they can go down the street to find something they do like. Don’t break your neck trying to please because only you and your family matter in the end anyways.”

Amen Dad.

Welcome home, I’ve stopped crying now, so maybe we can hang out later.

#MoreLoveLetters

123-broken-hearts-14300882-564-605Today was one of those days where a trigger happened and I was suddenly thrusted back to a time and place where my heart was broken and oozing all over the place.

I hate it when it happens.

It usually is a song or a smell that will be a trigger for me.  90% of the time I push it out of my mind, but today was hard. I actually cried in the car all the way to work. It’s weird how something that happened years ago still affects me like it happened this morning.

I posted this on Facebook today :

Why is it that broken hearts never really heal?

And this was the response I received from a running teammate and rapidly becoming great friend:

Crumple a piece of paper… open it…
You can flatten it out but it will never be the same.
Forever changed… like the heart… hugs

BAM – she nailed it. I am sure I will never be the same. Not that the same was better. I have grown, gained wisdom and learned a lot from that experience. Yet the pain still lingers just beneath the surface. One false move and the tears can leak at any moment. Not true, it usually is masked or forgotten…until the trigger.

A dear friend asked me if I was ok. I guess so, in the sense that I don’t think I will ever be okay, just different. IT was an incredibly sad day for me. People looked at me and knew something was wrong with me, but were kind enough to let it pass. My Pup has stuck to me like glue.

Then I went to work this afternoon.

All was fine…sort of…I had work to keep me focused. Then it was my dinner break.

I had to head out of the shop and walk several blocks to my car because the lot was full. So I had to walk a different path than I normally do. That was when I discovered this envelope sitting by itself on the ledge of a window saying READ ME.

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I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland having to make a decision. Do I pick it up? Is it for me? Did someone drop it?

My first thought was ‘it might be a secret’ for Post Secret! COOOOOOL!

I decided to pick it up and open it.

Then I read this:

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Could there be a better message intended for me? I think not. It arrived at the very moment I need it. Thanks A!

Tears stopped, smile grew big, and I felt better.

It is amazing what happens with random kindness. Perfect.

#moreloveletters

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Put your boobs away

Feminismradicalnotion-1Why does it seem like self-esteem for humans is at an all time low? Why is the media focus on sex and sexulizing of women and girls? Why are more women around me subservient to their men? What the hell has happened and why am I the only one who is sadden by it? Okay, I know I am not the only one, but for every 1 friend who is outraged, there are 5 more who are showing their boobs off on Facebook, sexting with men who are not their husbands and generally sell sex to be noticed and wanted.

So what I am talking about?

Women’s role in this world… and by role I do not mean subservient.

I am gobsmacked by some of the things around me.

I am watching the Jian Ghomesi circus like a train wreck gone really bad. I cannot keep my eyes off it. Likely more than most women I know, I really understand why women didn’t come forward or tell the police. What’s the point? Unless there video proof…and then there better be a man to corroborate the story, Women/Victims are just not believed. I wasn’t. I told a few people, and I was accused of exaggerating because he was ‘so nice’.

yeah… about that. He wasn’t who he said he was. He LIED. Shocking, but people who are shifty LIE. Good girls keep their mouth shut and smile, don’t do anything that may upset ‘your Man’.  This was advice from my Grandmother, she was a quintessential 50’s house wife. She also was abused but said nothing – her’s wasn’t physical as far as I could tell, just emotional – which I think is worse. Cuts and bruises heal. Emotional trauma doesn’t.

Then I read an article from the Huff on how to have more sex with your wife…. are you ready for this? Clean up Cat Puke and text her.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

If the cat pukes and you walk over it to let me clean it up…you are a dead man.

If you clean it up and text me hoping for sex, I am going to tell you right now

  1. Cat puke is not sexy
  2. Cleaning is not sexy
  3. It’s your house too, so clean up
  4. Expecting sex for a task/job/money is prostitution

There is nothing sexy about being a prostitute. Whoever wrote that article also suggested that Texting your gal that you are going to buy breakfast so sleep in will get you sex…let me explain something to you

  1. You just woke her up to tell her you are going out. You wake me up and you are a dead man
  2. Surprises are not something you let her know in advanced. IT’s not a surprise then.
  3. It’s breakfast… you can’t cook? You can’t make coffee because its usually her job?
  4. Expecting sex for task/job/money is prostitution

Again, there is nothing sexy about being a prostitute. Well…some people role play and that’s a different blog.

Lately there is a trend happening with the whole ‘sexy whore’ thing. Halloween has come and gone and I saw WAY MORE Not-A-Commodity-feminism-23195990-400-600boobs and belly buttons than I care to admit. My niece let me know that an adult female costume could not be found without sexy connotations that go with it. This was true for even for children’s costumes. There is nothing more disgusting than a 5 year old girl in a mini skirt and belly shirt. First off, DON’T BUY IT. Don’t support these insane notions that sexulizing females and female children is appropriate. Why can’t we all just like each other for our interests and smarts and humour and kindness and ideas. Why is it not common to aspire to be smart, innovative or creative. Why must we be looked at as objects?

You want to have more sex? Tell the women you are with how smart she is. Listen to what she has to say. Respect her opinion. Ask her how she feels, ask about her needs, wants and desires.

Then tell her how you feel, what your needs, wants and desires are because THAT is sexy and no tasks/jobs/money exchange hands.

One day the looks wear off and all you are left with is everything underneath. Let’s hope it is support, kindness, interesting and innovative. Sounds a lot like friendship.

Now that is something you were never told to look for in a mate.

If you did, you win.IMG_7998

Lost and Found

When I was a kid, I could hardly wait to be a Grown Up. In my minds eye, the title was filled with freedom, wisdom and entitlement. I have been waiting for these things to happen since I reached the age of majority.

Still waiting.

It doesn’t look like it is going to happen any time soon either.

I feel ripped off.

I made a decision a few weeks back not to be the glue in certain situations. Yesterday it came back at me head on in the form of harsh words and anger. Because I have chosen not to engage in certain activities, means another person has to pick up the slack. While he voiced his discontent and anger and directed the harshness of his reality at me, I felt ambivalent. My immediate thought was…too bad, I am not going to do it, nor am I going to feel bad about it.

I walked away.

This is a huge step for me in my whole process of needing to be the care-taker or fixer of things. I can honestly say “Not Caring”.

But then why do I have that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach? I think perhaps its because I respect the person who is angry – truth be told, I know he is not angry at me, just the situation and I was the catalyst for the reaction. All I said was “Enjoy your day tomorrow” and shit hit the fan because he now had to work on his day off. Of course it wasn’t fair that I was the recipient of the behaviour but that is human nature.

I understand because I do that. I am not proud of it either.

I do try to be the nice kind people, but sometimes we all lash out at people because we are having an bad day or feel feel like no one really understands where we are coming from or what our situation truly is.

For the most part, people don’t really get it nor do they care because they are wrapped up in their own trials.

This makes me miss the ones who do understand. My sad reality is my empathizers are all miles away from me and thank goodness for Social Media because it keeps me connected to them. Yesterday I spoke with 4 of my – for lack of a better work – kin. They get me, I get them. They understand and I understand them. I miss them like I would miss breathing. I think about being away from them and my eyes tear up.

I think for the most part I miss them more than they miss me – of course I think that way because it still boggles my mind that people care about me. I am always shocked when someone does something kind for me. What a sad state of the world when kindness is a surprise.

While I think I have not found wisdom, freedom or entitlement, I know I have not lost them. If I look carefully enough, I realize I have indeed found those things, I just may be surprised to understand how they feel while experiencing them. I am not filled with the sense of awesome power. I am not filled with a happiness that I thought would accompany those things, but I do have a sense of peace knowing I am steering my own ship for the first time ever.

That alone makes me feel like a grown up. It also makes me wish for my mommy to come home and take care of everything like she did when I was little.

The time has come to let my mom not worry about all the little things I need fixing.

47 years old and I have finally found my way.1926170_10152827204221337_3195006942175040459_o

Unglued

If you have ever done Preschool Crafts with me or Scrapbooked with me long into the night, you are well aware that I have issues when it comes to adhesives. This one time I was a scrap night with my pals and it was long past midnight. I was so frustrated with some letters I was using. I had applied double sided tape to the letters, and after hours of cutting I had lost the letter I needed most. Could not find it anywhere. Looked under the table, cleaned up my spot, went through the trash…nothing. My friend looked at me with that expression you save for someone who tried hard but never quite gets it. You know what I mean – that awkward kid who just wants to be cool but never will. She had sad eyes and a sympathetic smile as she reached over and peeled an alphabet letter from my hair.

It had become stuck in my curls – forever lost had it not been for the keen eagle eyes of my friend.

I have been known to glue things together that needed to be separate, this list includes my fingers, left nostril and a lock of hair to my eyelid.

I am adhesive challenged.

Ironic.

It’s Ironic because I am typically the glue that holds things together.

My friend had made this comment to me the other day. He said reading some of my stuff is scary because he knows I am holding everything together like glue.

True.

I am the Krazy Glue in most situations waiting or rather wanting to be rescued.

The thing is, I fancy myself as Princess Elizabeth. The Great Robert Munsch Heroine, The Paper Bag Princess who rescues the prince and then dumps him because he is a jerk and she lives happily every after.

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Hmmm.

I have been doing a lot of rescuing lately. When I say lately I mean the past year.

I sat back and took stock of the gluing I had been doing and how well it was working. Typical me fashion, it was holding well, but not in the correct placement. I was feeling the stress of a situation that I didn’t really like, didn’t ask for, nor did I particularly care if this situation continued. So why was I keeping it glued together?

Great question. I asked myself the same thing.

I held this together to see if I could do it. Did I accomplish it? Yes.

I held this together to see if I liked it. Did I? No – it clashed with my values.

I held it together to ease the strain of others. Did it help? Yes.

Do I regret it? No. I learned a ton about myself, others and realized I have a set of beliefs that cannot be swept aside for cash.

I like that about me.

I unglued myself today. It felt like the right thing to do. It was hard doing it, admitting to ungluing. But it was done in such away that bridges are not burning down around me and respect was gained. In the end I did it for me and I know I did the right thing.

I am going to sleep well for the first time in 6 months. Why? Because I rescued myself.

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Trust the Journey

AC366 Back

I have been drifting lately.

I went for my annual MRI and lots of ‘stuff’ surfaces while I am alone with my thoughts for two hours. Perhaps I should do that more often….be alone with the thoughts. My busy life prevents me from dwelling too much, then suddenly I need to stop and think and it leaves me in an unsettled state of mind.

When I go in for my MRI, they need to get a clear picture of my brain and my acoustic neuroma. To do that, they place a cage over my head and attach it firmly to the bed while they roll me into the tube. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t at all pleasant. I suffer from claustrophobia and tried to keep myself calm enough to not have an anxiety attack. My mind was reeling between thoughts – none of them were positive in the way that made me feel great about my journey. In fact, some thoughts were actually harmful to my psyche.

I had spoken in great length to an incredible friend earlier in the week. We talked about my frustration with people constantly telling me I will be fine.

Dear People: YOU DON’T KNOW THAT. Telling me I am fine makes me feel like my feelings are inconsequential. My feelings just are. I cannot control them, they exist in a way that cannot be altered. I don’t like it, but I have learned to accept my feelings for what they are and not numb them. I know you mean well, and are trying to reassure me, but it just makes me angry.

There is a group of cancer survivors that come to my place of work every Monday night. They are part of a run/walk group that support each other and understand their situations in ways people around them just don’t. i have learned plenty from them. One gal in particular talked about not sharing details about her cancer because she didn’t want to alarm anyone, instead, it made things worse. People worried more about her.

I struggle with how much to share. I grew up with people telling me to stop being so mellow dramatic.

Ouch.

So how much is too much?

I cry on my own a lot. I blame other situations to ease the fear of the one I am facing.

So what exactly am I facing and why does it scare the crap out of me?

Well, here we go.

My Fear for all to see, judge and dissect.

  1. I fear my bran being altered in a huge way. I notice changes already, like not being able to recall nouns. Descriptors are fine, I can do that. Its like the door in my brain that holds all the nouns is locked. I can see it picture, word, image, but I cannot speak it. it evades me. Not every time, but enough that is scares me.
  2. I fear my intelligence vanishing. This part may be mellow dramatic, but it is a real fear. I never felt smart. Ever. I have learned and read studies that the more intelligent you are, the less you think you are. Which is why there are shows like JackAss. Those people are not bright, but are POSITIVE they are. With intelligence comes a humbling notation that you do not know everything, sure I tell everyone I do, but I don’t. Going back to University really proved a lot to me. I am smart, capable and understand a whole lot more than I give myself credit for. It scares me that I will lose this. Although sometimes, it might be nice to be dumb enough not to worry about things. It sounds peaceful.
  3. I fear my personality changing.  I like who I am. Whether its a real fear or not, I don’t want to be different unless I make those changes. I like being in control of who and what I am, the thought of a tumour being in control makes me angry.
  4. I fear I will look like an old person. I am 47 years old. There is a real possibility of me losing the strength in my face, making me look like I had a stroke. Apparently I am vain. I have never felt pretty, or desired…ever. But what I have I embrace. A lot of damage has been done to me over the course of my lifetime. I let men make judgements, and them believed them. I am at the point in my life right now where I am not over it entirely, but over it enough to say I look damn good for someone pushing 50. Please don’t make me look different until I am ready.
  5. I fear I will not be available for my children. My work has taken me away from them. This upsets me more than the tumour making me unavailable. But a real truth is all four fear reasons I listed above could make become emotionally unavailable or worse, physically unavailable. Death isn’t so much a reality, but vegetablism is. If that happens, please unplug me.  I trust my surgeon but anyone can have a bad day. Brain surgery is a big deal and I am not ready for it…now or likely ever. Thankfully I am not in the position to have it…yet.

 

Over the past 5 years, I am not going lie, my life has been difficult. I recognize other people’s lives haven’t been a cakewalk  either. Everyone has their own struggles. I do know this, I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. If you told me I would be standing here with the circumstances that surround me, I would never have believed it.

Yet here I am.

There is one thing I know when everything else seems so lost to me.

Trust the Journey.

It all seems to work out in the end.

I’m just not at the end yet.

 

 

It’s all for charity…

The Edmonton Tourist:

I am incredibly proud to have been a co-founder of this foundation! We aren’t your typical board tho, we lean to the side of the rediculous. Which is likely why we act before thinking. This is our next great adventure! Please consider donation and have your name entered for a pair of running shoes. New ones of course, unless you call dibs on my old ones. -Robyn

Originally posted on Running Down a Dream 23's Blog:

Last week someone (Matthew Thomas) over at Team DAWS, the charity dedicated to ridding the planet of the horrible genetic disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA for short, came up with the crazy idea of challenging myself and a friend of mine (Mitch Brannen) to a little fundraiser for DAWS to raise some cash for a good cause.

The Challenge:

This is a very simple event.

Assuming a certain threshold of fundraising is met Mitch and I will dress up and run as Anna and Elsa (From Frozen…but you knew that) during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend if people donated money.

After the fundraising goals are met, we will be dressed in full costumes that are being designed including a matching tutu or skirt. But who could forget complimenting makeup and a full wig to ensure authenticity…jeesh.

Donate money today and see us run around…

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MY NAME IS: yeah…not very popular

I lamented about Coke not ever putting my name on their can. I got over it.

Well, I pretended to. I went on holidays to Disneyland and searched high and low for my name spelled correctly on a SOMETHING…no luck.

I get home, check the mail, and I have a surprise package in the mail!

WOOOHOOO! I love surprises, except when I don’t and that is another story.  But this surprise came from New York via Ireland.

My running/book pal Tammy from Jibber Jabber went to Ireland and discovered a name plate with my name spelled the proper way! Here is proof:

 

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So mom…where ever you are, I am happy the Europeans – well – Irish folk, think my name is worthy of printing it and selling it.

I forgive you mom.

 

Thanks Tammy – you DO win :)