Things and Stuff

Cluttered-House

I read an article on Facebook today that discussed how Millennials are telling their Boomer parents to keep their crappy stuff as they downsize.

Damn, I needed to say that. I have a giant oak dinning table in my basement.

Apparently, the two very different generation’s values are in different places. The younger generation wants to spend their money on experiences while their parents want stuff.

Me, being a child of a boomer yet old enough to fall on the tail end of boomer-dom, although technically I am a Gen-xer, I fall somewhere in between. I have a lot of toys. I love my lego, my T.A.R.D.I.S, and my Vinylmation. I have Muppets and Doctors. Yet, I would give them all up for a chance to travel on a regular basis.

According to people I know, I travel a ton. I am always going somewhere, while this is true to a degree, I do not travel near the amount I would like to. My parents are in China, and my daughter is in Europe. My plans for the rest of the year are The Rocky Mountains, a road trip down the Pacific Coast, and a fall trip to a Wine and dine Festival in Florida. Not too shabby since I have already been to Florida this year. I am happiest when I am planning to travel or actually traveling.

This leaves me with a problem.

I have a giant house I do not want. I do not want to be saddled with the stuff that surrounds me. Most of it is cast offs from others…somehow I end up with it because no one knows what to do with it. I have a suitcase filled with electric massage things from the 70’s. Why? An uncle moved into a nursing home and somehow my home has his things in it. I have a sectional from the 50’s that was my grandmothers. If I had the money to spare, I would recover it because it is currently gold velvet… not my choice but I would rather fly to New York to than spend the cash on fabric. So I suppose it IS my choice.

We are looking at downsizing.

Sure my kids still live with me and will for a while yet. But does that mean I need to live in the burbs? I hate it here. It is FAR from my playground. I love to run in the river valley and need that sense of urban/nature uniqueness. I do not like the cookie cutter sameness of my neighbourhood.

Why did I choose it?

Good Question.

I think partly because it was expected. My husband is older and has generational values of a boomer. Home in the burbs, 2 cars, and family heirlooms. I agreed because for a long time I didn’t know what I wanted or I went along with the idea because it is what one did.

I picked this house because it was the best compromise. It was not my dream home.

My dream home is a 3 bedroom condo on the 11th floor of a high-rise overlooking Vancouver/New York or some other coastal Urban city. Is that the dream my family shares? Hells no.

So what does one do when you live in a shoe? Good Question.

Does anyone want my Royal Dalton China I never use? Or how about the Scrapbook room full of tools and papers? or how about the bins of toys my children do not want to part with? I have a basketball hoop and an Air Hockey table, then there is the Christmas decorations  that I never want to put up again or the Halloween decorations that people keep giving me. I HATE HALLOWEEN! STOP GIVING ME STUFF!

I kind of want to sell everything, but then I think, I should just give it away. I wish I had a home filled with things I wanted rather than things that I accepted because I didn’t really want anything anyways… or I lacked the cash because Id rather travel.

At any rate, the next time you come to my house and you see something you love. Take it. Everything is up for grabs expect my toys, my art and dog.

2015: The year of the big purge.

#WhyIRun

I was challenged this morning by my coach Brian

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at Running Down a Dream23 to post a video about #whyIRun.

That was easy.

I run for all sorts of reasons, but I started because someone told me I couldn’t. Nothing gets my dander up more than being told I am not capable. I narrow my eyes, focus on the goal and say in the dreaded whisper I give my staff “Watch me”.

I also run because I believe in being kind. You may be asking yourself, “What has that got to do with running?” I figure, if I have to work anyways…work to make a difference.

If I am going to run, I might as well raise money for a great cause. Check!

My cause is simple. I run to support children and their families who cannot help themselves and are in need of support. That is also a big reason why I am proud to say I help start a charitable foundation from the ground up. We are still little but I have a vision and just like the reason why I run, don’t tell me I can’t do it. I will drag you, Mount Robson and part the Red Sea to make it happen. People who are nay sayers have tunnel vision, are somehow misguided as to my reason for the charity and think I am in competition. Let’s get one thing straight right now. Any charity that helps children and their families who cannot help themselves is not in competition with me, they are in PARTNERSHIP with me. It will take a boatload of kindness to change the world. If we all work together we can change the world. I believe it to be true and it will happen. It just might take longer than expected.

Giving of self for others is a HUGE reason why I run…HUGE.

The other reason of course…this is a no brainer, is COOKIES

jammie_dodgers_2655228b chocolate-chip-cookies ba70b2e156ac36981dff4a301bddedbbDamn I love cookies. They are a ritual in my #CivilizedSaturdays and are that special treat for me where they used to be my daily/hourly food of choice.

I lost 5lbs in January. Total over three years 117lbs. I’m about half way. Think about that.

I have a lot of extra skin now. I am not ready to have it removed because it will interfere with my goals this year. Next year I will take care of the that. But I look back at photos of me, old clothes I used to wear. I got rid of everything except one pair of pants, and they kinda look like circus pants. They don’t have a fly because they didn’t put zippers in pants that big. But then someone says something to me about how heavy I am and I think…. you small minded F#$%T%#$

It sure doesn’t take long for someone to be mean.

JUST BE NICE PEOPLE! Jeeze… it isn’t hard! Okay, it takes practice to be nice, but it IS doable!!

Meanwhile….back to #WhyIRun

I am going to challenge YOU all of YOU who read this blog to do 3 things:

1. go friend me on Facebook because its fun and then I can see your video a little easier

2. Record a video and challenge 3 friends to comment on why they run. Tag me in it so I can see it.

3. Use Hashtag #WhyIRun #whyIWalk

Here is ME challenging YOU. I feel like Romper Room, I see Karen and Sharon and Tiffany and Scootadoot and Chef, I see Jenny and Ebone and Barbara and Cristina and Patty, I see Tammy and Mer and Charlotte and Kathy, well, I see all of you.

Let’s inspire the world to move more.

So, I hear you Quit: Deuxième Partie

A week ago I wrote this: So, I hear you Quit…

Since then I have had a lot of private messages come through from fat gals like me.

When I write, I get it out and then walk away. I haven’t given much thought to the blog post since I published it. But its resonated with readers, so I went back and re-read what I wrote.

I cried all over again. DAMN YOU TOURIST PEEPS!

Okay, not really, I appreciate you and the way you make me think and feel. Apparently, you appreciate me for those same reasons.

Lots of the newsy letters and comments from you had a common theme.

  1. People are judgey
  2. Boys are mean
  3. People like it when others fail
  4. Honesty is raw and strikes a cord

Lets just get this out the of the way and then I will answer questions and respond to your comments, okay?

First things First:

Write this out and fill in the blanks, sign it and date it. Put it somewhere to light the fire you are needing to get this show on the road.

Dear (insert the name of the person who hurts you most) ______________,

I am tired of crying because of the thoughts and words that you express about me. I am tired of you telling me that I am not going to make it or I shouldn’t even try because I was not (insert adjective of your choice – in my case its READY/FIT/PREPARED).

Without your help or support I will let you know I did a myriad of things that you deemed impossible. I succeeded in spite of you and I will succeed again. And when I do, you will be the LAST PERSON ON EARTH I will celebrate with. I will turn to those who high fived me, cheered for me, cried with me, gave me a hand up, quietly supported me and secretly knew I could do it. 

I am sick to death of supporting you and being the one you lean on in this one-sided relationship. Grow a pair, and I mean ovaries because balls are just too tender and delicate for this situation. You are my emotional vampire and quite frankly I just don’t need the drama. 

When I cross the finish line/graduate/lose weight/find a career, you being there won’t make a whit of difference because you didn’t help me get there in the first place. So stay home and sulk, because it’s not about you and you wish it was. Do yourself a favour and set some goals, then maybe you will finally understand what this whole exercise is about. 

For the official record, this is my plan for the year:

I am going to (insert your major goal here)

This is how I plan to achieve it (list the steps you will take to achieve your goal here)

This is how I plan to celebrate my success (insert the celebration of choice here)

Suckit.

Sincerely,

Me (sign your name here)

Now that you have filled it out, take a deep breath.

Your person who is blocking/sabotaging/jealous of your dreams/goals/abilities is honestly not thinking all that hard about you. They don’t think you can do it, the end. They don’t lay awake at night thinking about you. They lay awake at night thinking about them. They think about stupid stuff like, how can I get what I want by getting (you) to do it for me? Or I wonder if that sale on those great boots is still on, or damn its hot in here, I hate this Old Lady Hot business.

Truth.

We all think everyone is thinking about us but its not true. WE think about us. We dwell on comments made in passing and read more into things than are necessary…. well, I do anyways. And after reading so many of your stories, a lot of you do the same thing. If I am being honest, I much rather people be judgey to my face so I can fight back than if they silently click their teeth at me and I can’t defend myself.

So on that note,lets deal with the list of common themes from you.

1. People are Judgey. Hells yes they are! But you are too. You judge them right back for being judged. Its this never ending circular movement that makes my head spin. Here is what I am going to do about it.

Do my own thing with or without approval.

Boom.

My goal will be reached. Then End. Do I care that I don’t have the support I crave? Hells yes I do! But wanting it and having it are two very different things. I will carry on and complete my goals and Boom… I win, The End. So the moral of this story? JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

2. Boys are Mean. No argument there. Boys are mean, but so are girls. That’s right, I called you on it. GIRLS ARE SO MEAN TOO! The big problem here is that males are different from females so it gets foggy in terms of hurt feelings. What one person calls truth another calls mean. its complicated. My boys were hurtful to me, but I was hurtful back. The End. Humans are stupid. Just BE NICE PEOPLE! 

3. People like it when others fail. This is human nature. I know a gal who yelled some smack that was shocking to hear. She said “someone is lying and it aint me”. True, but she was loving that the other person was failing. I wish I could say I am above this, but I heard that someone who annoys me failed and I felt smug… I didn’t want to admit it because I knew that it was shameful that I felt this way… but there was me feeling it anyways. At least I had the good sense to keep it to myself. Feelings just are. You can’t control them you can’t manipulate them, they exist without your permission. What you can do is control what you do with them. From NOT TEXTING stupid stuff, to biting your tongue when necessary. Kicking someone when they are down is inhumane and just plain cruel. You should be able to tell when a person is down, and not laughing at themselves. If you can’t, you need social queues to help you. There are books for this. But most people can figure it out. So whats the plan? JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

4. Honesty is RAW and Strikes a cord. Hells ya! You know what annoys me? When someone is just plain mean and says “I’m just being honest” Really? Or are you Judgey, mean and enjoying the fail? Honesty can take a couple of forms, 1) your friend is being an idiot and you say “What the hell are you doing? SNAP OUT OF IT MAN!” Calling someone on their actions is not the same as calling them a douche bag. Its just not. And 2) so and so did this and blablabla… That’s gossip, not honesty. Gossip is hurtful. If you wouldn’t talk to your friend about it and can’t say it to their face, its not honesty, its gossip. Totally different. Honesty can be kind and painful, but not hurtful.

Here is what I mean, 1) you are a very thoughtful person. See how that was kind and true? That’s honesty. Now, here is painful honesty, 2) when you did this _______, I felt this __________. Ouch but important to know your actions cause pain. That way you can change your act.

The bottom Line? BE NICE PEOPLE! Why is this so hard?

I don’t have an answer, I just know its hard.

So here is my goal plan:

I am running Dumbo Double Dare the September long weekend.

I am doing strength training on my knee to get it into the best possible shape before I start running again.

I will run 4 times a week, include hill training, speed work and LSDs. Core and muscle work will continue as well as weight loss.

I will cross the finish line, get my photo taken and wear my medal around my neck all damn day, then drink to my success. I am dripping with confidence.

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There you have it, my goal. Simple and it doesn’t require help. I will not turn down support, but I have enough going on that I don’t need to search for support. Once bitten, twice shy and all that jazz. I know who my supporters are, they hugged me when I failed. They will hug me when I succeed.

Boom

The End

And for crying out loud…. JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

A Long Time Ago…It seems like a Galaxy Far Far Away

Facebook this week has people tagging each other to post their original profile pic. I dug mine up and laughed my head off. I do not even look like that girl anymore. 10805809_10153052104311337_3776625163417669245_n Let’s examine this closely, shall we? Round face: check! Short curly hair dyed mouse brown to be inconspicuous and asexual: check! Hiding behind children to block the fat view: check! Extra large boobs resting on the belly for comfort: check! This is me 8 years later: 1937498_10152992100491337_432840494231829037_n Round face: yes but more oval, cheeks are still mine but I can no longer see them when I smile. Short curly hair dyed mouse brown to be inconspicuous and asexual: Nope! Letting the grey show through highlights and low lights. Not afraid to be proud of the age. I’m pushing 50 and earned all those greys. The highlights make the hair shiny. Grew out the hair to have more options. Running with long hair is easy and not as hot. Hiding behind children to block the fat view: Nope! I am not skinny, but I am sure happy with how my body has changed! Here is me and Coach at Disney Studios, sure I am still on the cuddly side, but I’m cool with that. I am a work in progress. I don’t feel the need to hide anymore. 10835140_10153038437086337_6177125536509154145_o Extra large boobs resting on the belly for comfort: NOPE! Those babies are gone and so is all that extra skin up top. Next on tap the extra skin on the belly. I am pretty motivated to keep moving forward in the progress. It’s always a great idea to see where you have come from, so you don’t beat yourself up in the now. I want to run the 10km at the Star Wars Weekend in Disneyland next year. I also want to dress up for it. Never before have I had the desire to wear a costume in a race, but COME ON people! This is STAR WARS! I have been a huge fan since I was a kid! I waited in line at the paramount with my little brother to see it, not once but 3 times! That took a lot of convincing my mom. The last time we didn’t even tell, we just took the bus into Edmonton and saw it ourselves. We had the action figures, well, my brother did. I was allowed to be Leia and the Sand People. Leia was the first time I saw a strong woman who didn’t need a guy to save her. She was kick ass from the word go. This is what I want to wear: Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 4.04.37 PM This gal wore this for the Princess Half Marathon in WDW. Things I love, the sleeves, the length and the slit in the skirt. Things I will add will be a hood because SERIOUSLY look at that hood! Its awesome! Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 4.07.27 PM I will likely wear shorts instead of leggings, white leggings are just…well…no. White compression socks and some sort of white gator over my running shoe. The belt will have my firearm and hidden pockets for running stuff. I will use a sock buns for hair. But that HOOD! That is the best part! One whole year to wait! Meanwhile I need to:

  1. Fix my knee
  2. Speed Work
  3. Get my sewing machine back from my friend
  4. Keep losing weight
  5. Post a photo of Leia on my dream board

CAN’T WAIT!

So, I hear you quit…

I am now home.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I have been at Walt Disney World for the last week and now that I am home I feel discombobulated. So good to see my family but so sad to leave my team.

I traveled down to Florida to support my team in their epic quests for The Dopey Challenge, to attend some DAWS Foundation meetings and events and Participate in the Donald half marathon. I did a ton of stuff I had never done before and learned new things, met new people and had an amazing time over all. I honestly can say I love my team and wish I could spend all my days with them.

It was pointed out to me that I may enjoy starting fights at the end of the vacation because it is easier to leave in anger than to say good bye. Well…sure? I didn’t do it intentionally and I much rather leave crying because I will miss everyone than crying because I am mad. But then I learned that I made THEM mad.

Interesting.

Apparently I had a secret agenda for the half marathon. I was going to walk through the Castle and then call it quits.

I don’t remember it that way.

I do remember thinking “there is no fucking way I will be able to keep pace ahead of those balloon ladies with my knee the way it is. No freaking way.”

And there is it is.

That moment of mental strength out the window. The real reason my journey ended in the medical tent. I lost it.

That morning at 2:30 AM I woke up and was not nervous. I felt good. My knee was being a jerk, I taped it up, put on compression to keep swelling down, dressed and couldn’t think what I was going to wear to keep warm. I failed to bring throw away clothes for the start. I wrapped myself in a pashmina and figured I would be fine. It was quite cool and damp, but I was doing okay. I got separated from my team, but I was okay with that. I was mentally preparing for the fight ahead. I wanted to finish for a couple of reasons:

1. I love crossing the finish line.

2. There was a huge judgy rant back at the room the day before about slow runners and moving up corals so they can finish, people who don’t even try….yadda yadda yadda….

3. I have lost my mojo this year and need it back. My confidence is gone and this feels like one be giant fail of a year. It was harder than it needed to be or I am more sensitive than I need to be. At any rate, I wanted this.

I was enjoying the solitude of the coral when my guys show up. They found me. I was both elated and devastated at the same time. I had talked to my coach and told him my reasons for needing to run alone. I never run with people and have a great run. It is stressful for me. I don’t enjoy it. I can’t get into my zone and just go. I constantly worry. I know I am holding them back, I know they could go a whole lot faster, I just think about them instead of me. The WHOLE POINT OF ME RUNNING was to focus on me. That alone was a difficult thing to do. I am not that person. I am the caretaker and learning to set aside me time was really difficult.

Stressing that they would be running with me pretty much ruined my trip. It was hard for me to relax in the days leading up to it.  I would tell them no thank you, and I would get, too bad, we are running with you.

So there was that.

After I talked to my coach, I felt relaxed. I then had it in my head that I was doing this. My race, my terms, my way. Run my OWN race, the way you are supposed to.

When we reached the start line, I hugged and kissed them all, wished them well and was ready to watch them take off at the speed of light.

But that didn’t happen

They stayed around me.

I told them to go but they didn’t and it flustered me.

I ran too fast, I ran too slow, I tried to lose them, I was all over the place and started to cry. This was the WORST RACE EVER! I was in Walt Disney World! This was supposed to be AWESOME.

The worst of it is, they meant well. They were there to support me and I tried everything to get rid of them.

Coach came up to me and I told him how angry I was at them. He said he would make them leave at the first mile marker.

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It took 5km for me to calm down but I never found my stride.

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By Mile 5 my knee had swelled so much I had lost mobility and need to walk for longer stretches. I wasn’t having fun, I had no business being in this race and I wanted to just sit and cry. As I walked into Magic Kingdom, it hit me. I was doing what I had long dreamed about! I got my shit together and kept movingI was going to finish this freaking race. I stopped to take a selfie in front of the castle.

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Keep moving forward was my mantra.

Passed Buzz Light year, the weird happy guy from Tangled, a bear from Country Bear Jamboree and was able to really focus on the awesomeness of the course through Magic Kingdom. I checked my garmin and my pace was slowing. I had fallen behind pace by 3 minutes. I tried to step it up.

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I left back stage and made it past Mary Poppins and Bert on the left and the gold course was on my right. I was just over half way.

A big bus pulled in front and boom….. done.

The Grim Sweepers won and I sat on the cry baby bus with all the other crying/injured/slow runners/walkers. Worst feeling ever.

Almost.

I get to medical, they wrap me up, ice my knee, wrap me in a blanket and off to go look for my team. I have no idea where they are, I’m not getting text service, I am lost and defeated.

Coach calls and asks where I am because they were had already started to leave without me.

Ouch.

All mad at me for quitting.

It was that moment where I wished I hadn’t come. I wished I wasn’t me and I wished for someone to take the knife out of my knee.

I sat in a ice bath and cried. I felt lonely, disappointed and lost. I became that fat girl who couldn’t do anything again. Who wanted to fit in and just didn’t. Who wanted people to understand but couldn’t.

I was so ready to go home.

WORST DAY EVER.

So there we are. 2014 is done, this race is DONE. Soon the crying will be DONE.

Knee will get better and I will begin again….from scratch.

I can’t go back there until I am different. That may take a while, but I am working on it.

When I do… I will own it.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

With Great Failure comes Great Learning

Bansky-Flower-Brick-Thrower.

I am ready to say good-bye to 2014. It has been not as difficult as I think it was but it has been challenging both physically and emotionaly. I have not been able to finish any race healthy. Not one, not even a 5km distance. This frustrates me beyond words and I have learned more about self-love, self-kindness and patience in a single year than I have learned over my lifetime.

Rise-of-Banksy

Emotionally it was strange not to have to juggle school and life. But I learned about work and life in ways that I had never experienced before. My new job taught me more about empathy and compassion than one might think…especially since I was a teacher of young children with special needs and circumstances that was unbelievable to most – yet all true. The job I have now is not my ‘dream job’ because I have no idea what that means anymore. I like lots of thing about it, hate lots of things about it, but mostly it keeps me busy, validates that I am great at some things and not so great at others and work for a gentleman who in all respects has taught me more about empathy, compassion and self then any other human I have worked for.

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I have worked for some people who were just mean, some who worried endlessly over what others thought of them, they failed to do the right thing, some who were ambivalent and some whose values clashed with mine so severely…I had to leave.

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Values are important to me. I have learned that compromising values means compromising self. I am worth too much to compromise self. I no longer struggle with what others think or assume. I could honestly care less – unless that person is someone I value. Then I step back and examine my actions.

I failed at that this year.

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I stumbled upon the artwork of Banksy today and his urban art made me really think about my humanity in ways I haven’t explored before. I discovered that I’d rather be the kind human rather than the judgmental busybody. Flipping through Banksy’s art had me thinking about my dad and how he always said, “It never hurts to be kind and polite. You don’t have to agree with people, but kindness goes a long way.”

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I discovered a truth this year that shook me to my core. I felt like a fool, I couldn’t believe the impact of the findings could devastate me the way they did. Over a period of many years I thought “IT” was true only to discover that I was duped. Had I know about ‘IT’ when it happened, my life would be very different today. I feel like I wasted so much of my life…if only I had known. If only….

So that left me with some choices. I immediately was angry, hurt and judgemental. When I think about it still, I get very angry. Letting it go has been incredibly difficult. One side of the story was easier for me to be empathetic towards than the other. But when I examined both very carefully, I realized I understood the why and was able to let the anger go and morph it into something akin to pity. How much easier it would have been to know the truth right from the beginning. Clearly this was Karma teaching me a life lesson.

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I have distance myself from the incident. It clashes with values I have and if others don’t share them, then perhaps they weren’t the friends I first thought they were. I have worked hard at not judging. HARD. I never want to be that bitter old woman clicking her teeth because I have judged.

Because I like the human compassionate side of me more than the angry mean side of me, I reached out to one of those friends today.

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I want her to know I understand her loneliness, I understand her need to feel desired and wanted. I understand her not feeling important. I also want her to know, she can do better. There are things she can do to change her life. She isn’t stuck where she is. The choices she made will not rescue her. He isn’t real. That is the fake him and he can’t be trusted.

I suppose that is why it hurt so much. I know the fake him and I guess don’t know the real him.

I learned a very hard lesson a few years ago about honesty and empathy. Empathy is the key. Putting yourself in other’s shoes becomes an impactful reason for honesty IF THESE PEOPLE ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU.

If they aren’t then the questions remain: Why do you stay? Why is everything a secret and for crying out loud, why are you lying?

The answer is simple.

You are afraid of hurting. You may be afraid of hurting yourself or the other person, but either way it makes you scared.

Simple truth.

If it has to be a secret, it is hurting someone.

As difficult as this year has been, my grinchy heart grew three sizes this year.

And what happened then–well, in Whoville they say
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.
And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
And the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches–plus two.

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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.