Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: Finding Support

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I belong to several support groups for Acoustic Neuroma. The consistent chatter lately usually follows along the lines of “people say the understand, but they don’t really get it.”

For the most part I think that is true. No one really understands what you are going through unless they have been there themselves. My symptoms often get dismissed as “Oh well, you’ll be fine.” or something like” My uncle lost is hearing from artillery, he has a hearing aid, you should get one so you can hear.” My favourite was, “Well that is just the way it is now so get used to it.”

I know that. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Believe me….I know.

I can explain my situation but there are those people who just don’t want to know. Sure they say they do, but then their words are dismissive.

I have become accustom to keeping my AN ‘stuff’ to myself. I have learned that most people in the support group do this as well. It is our cocoon technique. We wrap ourselves up to protect ourselves from thoughtless or uncaring individuals.

Please don’t for one minute think I am painting you all with the same brush. I know who supports me and who doesn’t. I know who I can talk to about my AN and who I cannot. Yesterday something pretty astounding happened. The Acoustic Neuroma Association found my Discombobulated piece and featured it because it spoke to so many people about what they live with. I was able to articulate symptoms that resonated with literally thousands of people. I have pretty much cried for two days.

I often will take on the feelings of those around me. I have received so many emails, messages and comments saying “I stayed at my desk and cried. This is the first time I learned that there is someone else out there like me.”

Know this, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

We all don’t feel the symptoms in the same way nor do we have the same issues. Lots of us have hearing loss. I learned yesterday my deafness is called SSD or Single Sided Deafness…who knew? Apparently it’s a thing. But I also learned that we are more alike than different. I have taken the time to respond to everyone’s comment or question because I HEAR YOU and YOUR FEELINGS MATTER. Even that lady whose father tells her she is over reacting. You aren’t. You are reacting in a way that is real to you. I bet he is scared.

The lovely thing about the support groups is people share with you regrets about treatments, new research they found, relatable stories and kinship. True there is sometimes too much information and I need to step back occasionally. I don’t always want to know what the future could have in store for me. I have faith in science. I think science will solve my issues eventually. If not, science will save the next person. That is comforting. Until that happens, it is nice to know we can hold each other’s hand or offer a shoulder because we have all cried at some point. We have all been scared at some point. We have  all felt hope at some point. We just know.

If you are not living with an Acoustic Neuroma but love someone who is, you are also welcome to join the some of the support groups. We do not want to hear stories about people not suffering from AN – there is a different forum for that, but we would love for you to become more aware of our journey. We need support and we are looking for it everywhere. Having it close to home would be lovely. If not,that is okay too. That is why we are in the support group and we will hold each other up.

Acoustic Neuroma Association 

Acoustic Neuroma Public Group

 

Grow up already

 

I was told by a former friend who broke up with me this year that I must be really immature. Wait…what?

I have friends who I spend time with ages ranging from 18-94. I always looked at that as a strength. I could fit in and have fun with people from all cross sections of life. According to this guy, it was a weakness and I should be spending time with people my own age. I guess that meant sad, drunk, middle-agers were off my list. I still think I would be considered middle age because 48 + 48 = 96. My great Grandmother lived until she was 99. Both my grandmothers are 94 and 89 respectively, chances are if all goes well, I will live at least that long.

I don’t want to restrict my friendships to those who are only 48. Have you met many 48 year olds? Some are dead boring. It is a slim demographic to choose from and gone are the days that I have anything in common with friends from high school other than we went to school together and have common memories. I cannot build a deep connection on age.

I build deep connections on commonalities.

doctor-who-river-series-8There is a side of me that is tremendously geeky. I love superheroes, science fiction and obscure pop culture. I particularly embrace the bad-ass female heroes like Black Widow, Jessica Jones, River Song and Electra. These women are strong, smart and have relationships that enhance their being, not because they need one in their life.

There is a side of me that loves Hockey. I love the smell of a puck, the coolness of the rink and the sound of the thwack when the stick hits the puck. It excites me and it depresses me. I admire fan loyalty, be true to your team! and I enjoy the energy of the crowd. The commonality of cheering for a team is one of camaraderie that is lost in other areas of my life. I love being on a winning or losing side, because we are in it together.

There is a side of me that practices the Tao of Muppets. It isn’t a mainstream religion or Kermit-two1occult practice but it teaches humanity. Every single movie, tv episode, short or ad portrays The Muppets as a group of beings who embrace the difference in others. In fact, that is what makes individuals unique. Muppets are not haters or racists they are peaceful and loving. I appreciate this attitude. I want to surround myself with others who embrace this attitude as well. Not all 48 year olds do, but lots of Millennials do. I admire that quality. I want friends who don’t try to poke holes in people who announce their sexual orientation. Who understand that trauma is just that, trauma and people who have had traumatic experiences don’t need to have someone picking at their scabs. I want to be with people who understand that Women’s Issues are hard to understand if you are a White Privileged Male. Empathy is good, criticism feels crappy. Acceptance is preferred.

25893709There is a side of me that thinks books are an opening into another realm. Quote literature and I am impressed, quote movies and I think you have a good memory but don’t expect me to follow your reference. I don’t work that way. I am a reader. I have read 20 book since January 1, 2016. That means I have not watched many movies or TV shows because I learn far more from reading than I do from watching. I think its great that you spend your free time doing what you like to do, I spend my free time reading because that is what I like to do. I love the way a line from a book will resonate with me and linger for years. I have a notebook filled with impactful quotes from books such as Steve Martin’s Shop Girl, David Leviathan’s Everyday, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth Strout’s My name is Lucy Barton. I will read these over and over because they resonate with me and make me feel as if I am not alone in my thoughts. There is another person out there who is the same. Because feeling like you belong somewhere is important. It helps give your life meaning and purpose.

IMG_0579There is a side to me that enjoys fine wine. Not to drink until I cannot think, but because the taste and craftsmanship is exquisite. Understanding the process of how it became to be. Learning how it enhances the food I eat. Appreciating the beauty that it is. Sharing wine in a meaningful way brings me closer to friends who appreciate it in the same way. The relaxing way a glass of wine can define an evening is delightful.

images-7There is a side of me that loves to visit the Art Gallery. Looking at the works of people who came before me who displayed their raw emotion on the canvas in from of me moves in a way that other genres just don’t. I can feel the emotion that went into so works and I am moved to tears by others. This brings a connection that has me thinking about lives and commonalities. How the past and future collide with sameness. I love meeting people in the galleries and discussing the works of artists. Other points of view are uplifting and poignant.

There is a side of me that understands the need to run. I love the feeling it gives and the Me an my angelside benefits. I love the familiar faces you see race after race. I love the openness of my lungs after running on a cool crisp or even cold day. I love spending my time with people talking about races and events they want to do or have done. I even understand why people need running teams and need to train with others. I do not prefer this, but I sure understand this. I love the independence of running. I have never enjoyed team sports. Get me alone on a path with my pup and let my mind run free. To me this is one of the best feelings and I miss it.

There is a side of me who thinks it is important to either work in a job that makes impactful changes on the world we live in or give of your free time do make a difference. Being kind, helping others and supporting people who need a hand up will change you life in ways you can not imagine. Working with like-minded individuals on a common goal is so rewarding when it sees the light. This feeds my soul.

There is a side of me who thinks Family First needs to be a way of life. My heart breaks for children and animals who have been neglected by adults in their life who cannot do better or choose not to do better. If I could I would round up all children and animals who need to feel the hug of a loving mom and move them to a farm and hug them all the time. So in an effort or do the best I can, I rescued my puppy. I volunteer my time to support children and families. I used to work with children and families who needed support, but PTSD is a real affliction when you work with trauma cases for years. For my well being I removed myself because I could no longer see myself. I need to feel strong before I can do more. So now I work in my hobby and I volunteer where society needs me. This is a better mental health fit for me.

Looking over my list of who I am, I can honestly say these areas are not exclusive to 48 year olds. I have diverse interests and because of this, I have a diverse range of friends. I hardly think this means I am immature, quite the opposite. I am not the square peg that fits into the square hole. You might not understand this yet, but you will eventually.

 

Chchchchanges

I have that David Bowie song in my head ….Chchchchchchanges….

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

 

As much as I hate to admit this, I will always be that girl who is seeking approval from everyone. Whether I get approval or not, I still seek it because I don’t feel like I ever get it.

When I hear people giving me support, I am not all convinced it is genuine. It doesn’t matter who it is from. If its from my mom – she says one thing, I hear another. I assume everyone is comparing me to the better/stronger/smarter/richer person they know. I worked with a man who gave me great advice about 10 years ago, he said “You have to take people at their word, take it at face value.”  Yes but – multiple meanings, undertones, knowing what people have said before in the past all add up and then you hear what they say so it becomes multi-faceted.

It gets tiring. It eats away at me.

I will never be someone else. As much as I want to or desire it because that means I am better/stronger/smarter and lets throw in prettier, that isn’t who I am. I am that same wounded little girl with terrible hair and mean friends, and when I say friends, I mean people who I would play with because I didn’t know anyone else.

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Things have changed a bit this week.

I have struggled with change. I have wrote about it before. I told you about a crossroads that I am facing. I need to make some choices if I am going to move forward.

To do this I need to trust what people tell me is true. And quite frankly I just don’t. Lie to me on a regular basis and I am thinking you want me to be better/stronger/smarter/richer/prettier because you hide something from me. I assume it has to do with me ( because I have a huge ego and its always about me – I am rolling my eyes. I am super insecure and overconfident all at the same time) because as Miss Mimi says, “Lies take away people’s dignity.” I clearly am not important enough in your life to trust me with your truths. Therefore I am not better/stronger/smarter/richer/prettier.  I will never be as successful as my sister – not that it matters to me or her, although I do covet her deck and her red appliances. I will never be the top executive of the company I work for because  – who wants the headache? I will never be that gorgeous fit woman because it take time and effort to look like that and I have children, a job and interests that expand my brain, not my muscles. I know it is possible to have both, but then I give up time and my time is valuable to me. My body has never looked like that, so the work involved to get there is more than I am willing to put in.But it feels like I am expected to be that way.  I have to be enough at some point and if I am not I need to move on.

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There is something about me that has people I don’t know very well tell me things about people I care deeply about. I suspect these gossips do this for a couple of reasons. None of which is in my best interest. So I purged my friends list and blocked all of those who say things, truth or not, just to be hurtful. I don’t need that kind of negative stuff in my life, I can create enough of my own drama thank you very much. I finally got rid of the mean fake friends.

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

The changes I made brought me to a strange peaceful centre. I have turned inward and focus on my immediate surroundings. I have slept through the night since I made this decision. That alone tells me I did the right thing. That Precarious Gait said something that resonates with me – [who are we kidding, she always speaks things that resonates with me. I wish she was my neighbour so I could pop into her kitchen and cry my eyes out and she would pour me a coffee and say – I know EXACTLY what you mean.] She said when you talk about something with out crying that means you have finally healed.

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Can I have an Amen?

I have stopped crying when I tell my story.

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I’m going through

Does that mean I have closed the door on that chapter of my life?

No, but the door has been renovated. It doesn’t have swing hinges on it anymore for easy access. There is a really nice doorbell you have to press. Then please speak clearly into the intercom so I can understand your intent before I let you in. I am much more careful with myself now. I can’t listen to my heart because its really stupid and my brain does not let me down …ever. I am being smart about my choices.

I need to be smart about work, friends, and choices. What I want and what is attainable is very different currently. I can no longer expect something because I want it to be true. I need to do the best with what I have and then maybe one day, it can be what I want. For now it is enough…just like me.

When it stops being enough, its time to move on.

Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time

Changes have helped me lick my wounds. All the changes I have made in my life up until this moment have expanded my knowledge and have me looking at things with a new perspective. I regret nothing. I look at my daughter and wish I was more like her when I was her age, but I am more like her now that I am my age. She has taught me lots. Although people say the opposite is true.

At any rate, “Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man”

Or embrace the fact that I am Christmas Lights and not Flowers.

Living in the Moment

Since I began my new job almost a year ago, I have noticed a few changes within me.

I daydream less.

For years I have been doing jobs that were easy for me. I wasn’t challenged. I instinctively knew what to do. This led to me plodding through my days, not challenging my brain and letting it wander off to explore other recesses of possibility.

I don’t do that anymore – well, not as often and certainly not while I am at work. The only time this remotely happens is when I am thinking about expanding or making changes to a situation. I lean back in my chair, stare at the water stain in the ceiling tile and I imagine various scenarios that could work in the situation I am trying to solve.

Gone are the days of being bored and letting my mind wander.

Mark Messier once told me over a bag of sunflower seeds, “It is important to live in the moment.”

At the time I didn’t fully comprehend what he was telling me.

I can now look at both sides and see the difference in me.

My entire life I have been a day dreamer. We would drive to my grandparents house about 10 blocks away and I would stare out the window and imagine me riding my bike along side the car, or I would envision me sliding along the power lines like a circus performer.

I would put on music and place my great grandma’s doily on my head and I was the prima ballerina for the Albert Ballet Company. I was magnificent with my long hair flowing.

As I became older, I would be in hero situations on Battlestar Galactica with Starbuck and Apollo, I was Athena’s best friend and incredibly clever.

When I was living in the darkest time of my life, my imagination was my saviour and kept my mind safe from despair so great I would end my life. I would imagine a hero rescuing me, or creating scenarios of my then husband dying in the hospital. Sounds to horrible to be real, but that was the only way I could bee me gaining freedom. I was not in the position of living my life the way I wanted to, in the moment. I relied on my imagination to get me through the tough times to the point of opportunity so I could flee.

As I became older and took advantage of opportunities that came my way, I became a mother. By choice. This was the one thing that I could not stop. This was an inner drive pulling me towards children. I new instinctively that I was meant to be a mother. There was a reason bigger than me. All I knew was I had to do it, with or without a partner. Luckily for me, my new hubs was a willing partner.

This was the first time in my life I can recall living in the moment. Holding my children in the middle of the night, honing in on tiny moments to etch in my brain for eternity. I can conjure up each one of these moments as if I am rewinding a moving.

As my children became older and I transitioned back into the working world, I made choices to benefit them. I chose work that I was good at but afforded me time to spend copious amounts of time with my kids. I never liked that job. I remember sitting at circle time, dying of boredom, thinking “you have got through worse, this is just a job, your life is at home.” I would be able to zone out for periods of time and transport myself elsewhere to just make it through until the end of the day.

There is shame that accompanies a career choice that you are not focusing your energies into. I could do what I needed to, fight for what was necessary but in the end, I could walk away and never look back and never miss a thing because I wanted more. My imagination got me into all kinds of trouble. It made me miss important notes, it had me longing for another life, it was becoming my crutch instead of my saviour.

Once again I needed to claw my way back and live in the moment.

I went back to school.

There is no time to day dream and do well in school. I was focused and driven. I ended my day at a certain time to have my daughter come and sit in front of my desk and tell me about her day. We bonded in a way that will not be broken. She knew I chose her over school. She was the most important female in my life. My son knew he was the most important male in my life. My husband was most important because he agreed and supported me in having this. I was living in that moment.

I will admit to letting my imagination take me away to visit friends and loved ones I could not spend time with. I had a longing to travel and be with them. I learned that living in my imagination and being with people I imagine about are two very different things.

Real life is harsh.

It is hurtful and people are disappointing. In someways my imagination was distractive. I have hung on to friendships longer than I should have because I always hoped for a different outcome, when the reality was I was in a toxic situation. I get so angry with my self for letting things happen and moving along as if everything was status quo. I am that person that people tell things to. I don’t ask for it, they just share.

People Share  things for a multiple list of reasons,

  1. to hurt me
  2. to brag
  3. to hurt someone I care about

People also share things because

  1. they love me
  2. they know I love them

There are hundreds of people I interact with because they come to me. I stop, give them my time and listen to what they say. Lots of times I have no idea what to do with this information. Lots of times it just makes me angry. Lots of times I want to hurt them back. Lots of times I want to confront people about behaviours. But I don’t.

I have become that person who knows more than you think I know. I use this knowledge of human behaviour to succeed in my work. I understand people better and know how they will react because I have sat quietly and listened. I have the ability to see things unravel before they do. I have the knowledge to stop train wrecks yet it doesn’t work that way.

I can imagine scenarios where the recipient agrees and makes the change that could save them. In real life, that just ends friendships.

Living in the moment affords me zero time to engage with people who don’t matter very much to me. Living in the moment keeps my mind active, my priorities focused and my life in order.

This does not mean I don’t dream or have goals for my future, because I will always be that girl who wants more.

I want more out of life, I want more time with the people I love and mostly I want to squeeze every moment I can out of the life I have.

I still find myself speculating about people. I see you become active on Linked In and I imagine you are looking for a new job, or have been let go, or are in crisis and trying to find a new path. I see you suddenly conversing with a particular person on Facebook and I assume that you are unhappy in your life and are looking for romance with another human. I see you not engaging with people and I think possibly that someone is holding you back from your true self.

Whether these are true or not, I sometimes let my imagination take me away through these scenarios and I wonder about how unhappy you really are. I think most people plod along their life in an effort to get through the day. very few people are engaged with things or others that bring out the most joy of their life. We sit in a situation because it is easy.

I have made huge changes in my life in the past 6 years. I have taken risks and tried new things, I have said yes more than no, I have let new people into my life and I have done things that I wish I hadn’t. But I tried and I live in the moment.

I know there will be a time where living in the moment will end once again. It seems to wander in and out of my life after every crossroad I come to. I am coming up to a new crossroad now. I feel I am being pulled one way but I don’t want to leave behind the new things I have built. When I get there and make that decision, I have a feeling I will finally be free to be me.

I now know who I am and can live my life being me with one exception. There is that one person who I always hope will change but never will, I get suckered in every damn time. My imagination has helped me this time too. It plays out scenarios where I am hurt and nothing is blissful, it is helping me make the choice I need to when the time comes.

The day will come where I will no longer want to live in the moment because of physical restrictions that happen, this is when I will be grateful my imagination will be as playful as it was when I was younger.

For now, I am in the moment.

live-in-the-moment-picture-quote

 

The Brake Up

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Hey! It’s been a while and I have a few people ask me what I have been up to.

I have been a little on the busy side and my new career has me writing and being creative I haven’t been here much other than to answer emails and stare at a blank page. I’ve been coping with my health and sleeping when I get the chance but other than that, my life has been … complicated.

While the missing details of the past 5 months are going to stay a mystery for now, I can tell you that I gave up sugar and all artificial sweeteners and that has been like wrestling with the devil himself. The detox portion of that fun detail was like living with a Banshee. I was frightening and cranky with zero patience. I am happy to report, I have been sugar free since January 14 and am still going strong, but the struggle is real. The side benefit is I feel amazing! I sleep better (except this weekend where stress is keeping me awake, but that will end soon), I have more energy and a side benefit is I am not struggling with my Acoustic Neuroma symptoms like I have been. That alone is enough to keep me from having birthday cake.

Sugar and I Broke up.

I went to Disneyland in January to run the 10k and hangout with my friends.

I retired from running Races, my health issues have side effects that make running unsafe.

Races and I Broke up… for now.

The Canadian Dollar is killing me. Until it goes up, I am on a no vacation lock down. I need to save my money for my 50th Birthday Celebration in 2017, Traveling and I have Broke up… or ‘on a break’ for 2016.

I came back from Disneyland with new insights to people and behaviours.

I reread my last blog post on Adulting. All 11 points are still true except I will add a #12.

12. Karma is real and just.

I broke up with old me and I am not going back, for any reason. Karma is right and I know it.

I know that while not everyone will like you, it isn’t necessary to share your feelings. Hurting someone for the sake of honesty is just bad manners. Do it if you are both working out issues or need clarity to strengthen your bond but just to be honest with no benefit is really hurtful. People behave in a particular manner for reasons unknown to you. If you can see the reason, it helps with understanding the behaviour. It doesn’t excuse it, but it helps. I can understand a situation better and bottom line is, I like to know the WHY.

I also avoid people I don’t like and who do not like me in return. This is perfectly fine. Not everyone is going to like you. You will make your self exhausted trying to be on their good side. Bottom line is, I am a grown up and I will take my pail and shovel and visit a different sandbox. You are not the only human in town. I am really okay with this. Life is too short to spend time with people on your playtime who are not in your inner circle.

I have learned I am selfish with my time. Having a brain tumour made me look at things from a very different perspective. My time is valuable and I will not waste it.

I engaged in a lengthy discussion with a person regarding people and behaviours. People as a rule are multifaceted. They will show you one side. When you are not around, they may engage in behaviour that you are not comfortable with. That is fine, it is their deal. But as soon as they message me or try to learn things about my friends that I am not willing to share out of respect, that is when I cut them off. I am loyal to the end, but give me a reason not to be and I will not waste my time any longer.

It was at this point I was beginning to feel reprimanded for not wishing to engage in behaviours I don’t feel comfortable with and for my actions that other people don’t like. I am pretty much a nonconformist, I am not easily influenced by other people  and I am completely comfortable with people not wanting to be with me for this reason. Why? Because I am an adult, I am comfortable in my own skin and I also like who I have become, but that doesn’t mean you need to.

I experienced a moment of clarity. I looked at this person and realized they were braking up with me. A long and round about conversation about me and my behaviour led to a situation where I was no longer tolerated. Friends do that. They brake up with each other.

I was confused at the time. This person went to great length telling me who was in their inner circle, who was their family and who they would do anything for. I was not included. That is fair. I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I have lots of friends and I know who is loyal to me and who isn’t.

I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on my behaviour. I am honest about my struggles, I have feelings like everyone else, I hope for the best for people and yet there is something about me that caused the need for finality. I know what my faults are, but they are also what make me who I am. I don’t intend to be hurtful, but apparently I am and I am sorry for that. It isn’t intentional.

When I was a kid, I looked up at my grandparents with the knowledge that they were grownups and knew everything and had it all going on. Now I am their age and my life still feels like high school. It makes me tired. I have a feeling that my grandparents didn’t have it all going on, they struggled too. I have watched my parents brake up with ‘friends’ and at the end of the day, you learn who really matters in your life and who doesn’t. My Dad always imparts the greatest wisdom, “You have to do what is right for you. You are not here to please everyone.” So with that, I begin to let go of being a pleaser. The first steps are always the hardest. PLEasing compromises me. I am not turning my back on compassion and kindness, but modifying me to please others is ending today.

Pleasing others and I have Broke up.

I have come a very long way since I started my journey as the Edmonton Tourist. I am not going to be what everyone needs. But I have finally come to the point in my journey where I can honestly say, I am not here to be what you need, I am what I need. That is finally enough for me.

When I started this blog on August 15, 2010, I thought I would have everything solved and I would be ‘fixed’ by the age of 50. While my journey is not yet finished, and I have many more lessons to learn along the way, I know I am enough. I wish you the best and your secrets will always be safe with me because I am a lot of things, both good and bad, but I will always be loyal.

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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.

I see Susie and Bobby and Timmy and Mary…. but never Robyn

I am invisible.

I grew up with a name that no one ever had and people often told me they hated my name…Thanks?

My mom read Angel Unaware by Dale Evens before I was born. She loved the book and named me after the baby Robin.

In the 60’s, there sure weren’t a lot of girls named Robyn. I watched Romper Room every day hopping Miss Susan would look in the mirror and see me. I would sit up close to the TV and say Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease say my name.

It never happened. Not once. Ever.

Thus began my years of hating my name.

My first Husband, whom I fondly refer to as Idiot Stick, told me he hated my name.  Nice….Jerk. But the good thing is I have met plenty of other Jerks since him so he seems normal now.

My point being….Romper Room broke my heart.

Now Coke is doing it to me.

 

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Ouch.

My Pal Tammy from over at Jibber Jabber Happenstance  is in Ireland and posted this on Facebook.

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Orla gets a coke and so does Eweline but ROBYN DOESN”T?????

How is this even fair?

I could never get a key chain, or a mug. Never was there a pencil with my name on it. Now Coke is mocking me.  Ewelina is a regular name? Nice Coke…just nice.

My life sucked enough as a kid,  because of this now I need to take matters into my own hands.

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When I was 4, I became Danger Girl. I know that speaks to my sense of self. I was not Batgirl or Spiderman, I created my OWN Super Hero Name. I was the hero in my own life. I took control and I lead my friends to adventure and mishaps. I still rock that confidence today with some minor exceptions. Girls bring me down.

I hated the girls who got the boys. HATE them. I never played into that game of whatever it is they did that made a boy’s head turn. I was that gal who talked hockey smack, smoked cigars and played double dog dare. It still hurts a bit today. I always used my sense of self to pull up my boots (wellies) don the terry towel and safety pin and have an adventure of a life time. I was Ellie from Up. The fun kid. Lonely, but fun. Perfectly fine in my imagination and preferred it because people were nice and never hurt me.

I never had that inseparable other person who was my other half. The person who gets me. Does everyone get one of those or is it just a myth?

At any rate, SCREW YOU COKE and ROMPER ROOM. I have my imaginary side kick who loves me unconditionally. Who would move mountains for me. Who likes popsicles and will play Double Dog Dare. I don’t need you to call my name.

I am Danger Girl.

Hear me Roar.

And payback is sweet.

Here is Mom’s Coke can:

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Is it STILL a Man’s world?

suffragettes-300x227I had the worst time trying to fall asleep last night. The last conversation of my day was with Trusty Steed. I was telling him about my day at work – at my new job (which is awesome!) and how yesterday was particularly tough. I am being tested from a management perspective. The people I supervise are pushing limits to see where my threshold is.  I expected that. That isn’t a problem at all. I have no trouble expressing myself or my expectations. I explained about the issue I had with head office and how I dealt with it.

And Trusty Steed said – I am worried you may be shown the door because that would happen at my office.

WHAAAAAT????????????????

Apparently he works at an ‘old boys’ club where –  the generation gap exists and strong women are not strong but ‘pushy’ or ‘dragons’ and women are ‘just’ in the office typing pool.

WOW.

I thought it was 2013?

I was hired for my organizational skills, my people management skills and to create change. I am doing that. I have handled easy problems and terrible problems. I have protected staff from violent vagrant street people who have threatened them, I have managed issues from clients demanding unreasonable things and resort to name calling of my staff.

I cannot imagine trying to do my job where I need to be subservient. Impossible.

For one – I couldn’t work there. I am not a subservient kind of gal.

And two – what the hell is wrong with a world where women can’t portray themselves? I come from a very long line of strong women. They were strong when it was impossible for men to take them seriously. Yet they did it and changed the world.

I am teaching my daughter to be the same strong woman. Her brother thinks women ARE strong and his choice of companionship proves it.

At Christmas time, my daughter heard her Grand Uncle use a phase that was offensive to her. She asked him to please refrain from using it. He continued. So did she. She did it in a way that require no man to stick up for her. She was clear, concise and polite – some might say bold. I wouldn’t, because if a man said those words he is just expressing himself. She was too. I couldn’t have been more proud. At the age of 15, my daughter is strong. She is the type of person I appreciate and want to spend my time with. So that brings me back to my work place.

I work for men. However, it is not a male dominated work place. It is an equal opportunity one. Changes are happening to better serve the female clients who are the majority. My workplace understands they need a female perspective to better serve these clients. I disagree on that score. If people are treated equally – then there is no gender requirements. We are slowly achieving that perspective and I am happy to be apart of it.

The ‘Man’s World’ is on its way out. Sure there are still pockets of it all over Canada – but the up coming generation brings me great hope. They see a woman or a man in the same light. Someone who is capable because of skill, not gender.

Amen to that.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who could make babysitters cry…

06443029462bcbe897d59a3467928dc4_answer_6_xlarge10 o’clock at night and my girl is upstairs blasting Time Lord Rock while baking Rose Tyler esc cupcakes for a dear friend and fellow Whovian’s birthday. I have been told that she is quite capable of following the instructions and baking on her own. Agreed.

Then I hear “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, can I have your opinion on these cupcakes please? They are giant but liquid in the middle. How long should I put them back in for? And why do they taste like Cherry Cough Syrup?”

Good Question… Ask Grandma.

My mom was a good egg in lots of ways. She always let me listen the radio station of my choice when we were in the car. She didn’t care. Dad on the other hand would say “This stuff is utter crap, I can’t listen to this.” And the station would change to some oldie station playing Peter, Paul and Mary or the Limelighters. This would account for my obscure and amazing talent of knowing every song ever written between 1948 and 1989, this includes jingles and TV theme songs. It’s a handy talent for some great trivia games and for radio quiz shows where I get to win tickets to The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Mom would also encourage me to experiment in the kitchen. I learned the basics from her and my Aunty Mary Poppins, but the fine tuning I did on my own. I dad would eat ANYTHING I put in front of him and he would always say, “That is the best I ever had! Did I make it?” Between both my parents, that made me fearless in the kitchen. I am not a swell cook – but I am an AMAZING baker. There is a difference. I think some people can be great at both but often they are only good at one or the other.

My girl is a self proclaimed distraction in the kitchen. I let her do all kinds of baking and cooking experiments but there is usually some disaster that happens and we need to figure out how to fix it. To be honest, it isn’t always fixable, so we pack it up and give it to her Grandpa (my dad) who will eat ANYTHING and say it’s the best ever.

I remember baking on Friday nights when we had a babysitter because Mom and Dad were off Dancing  – I know…it was the olden days when people went dancing at the club – (as in country club) It sounds fancier than it was, but my parents loved it. We went through babysitters like some people go through socks. My brother and I were THE WORST KIDS EVER – not true  – were only bad if we didn’t like the babysitter. I liked the weak ones. The ones that were nice on the outside but I could make them cry in an instant. One time we had this gal, a neighbor of my grandma, she came over and wanted to play games or watch TV and I would say – no. I am baking cookies.

“Are you allowed to do that?”

Me: NO – are you kidding? Mom is going to kill you. “Yes, my mom lets me all the time.”

“Okay – call me if you need help”

Me: pfffff whatever – “okay”

I went into the pantry and pulled out all the ingredients for Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. The Just Add Water kind of cookie mix that mom would buy and add a billion things to for granola bars. I used an entire package (enough for 1000 cookies) and a gallon of water. I think it said one cup but the measuring cup was really big – I think it was 8 cups. But I filled it because it was still only one cup.

I had made cookie cake. It was liquid porridge. I couldn’t spoon it onto a cookie tray, it would run all over the place. So I left it in the bowl, put all the dirty dishes and baking garbage into the oven and shut the door.

I went to join the babysitter and my brother and said I changed my mind. I didn’t want to bake.

Later while I was fake sleeping, my mother called me into the kitchen.

She had the keen sense of Sherlock Holmes. There wasn’t a dish left out, yet she knew.

“What happened in here tonight?”

Me: I was fake tired and said “What???’ in my sleepy fake voice.

“This kitchen is a disaster!”

Me: What are you talking about? I hid the evidence. I knew I needed to stay silent.

“Were you making cookies?

Me: How does she know this stuff? Silence…………

“Where did you hide the stuff?” She looked around and likely saw a fingerprint on the oven door.

Then I remember the oven door opening and the angry voice lecturing me for what seemed like a week. But thankfully dad came home and sent me to bed.

Now that I am a parent myself, these are the thoughts that run through my head:

  1. Why would the babysitter let an 8 year old bake cookies unsupervised?
  2. Obviously mom saw the flour dust all over everything. What is clean to an 8 year old is not clean to a mom.
  3. Why didn’t my parents just lock us up under the stairs to go out? We tortured babysitters for fun. How we make it out of our childhood alive is beyond me.
  4. I always thought my mom was crazy about cleanliness – I still do.
  5. Why did my parents change babysitters so frequently? Did the girls just say no? I would – but to be fair, I could talk those girls into anything and I think they didn’t expect that from a kid. I was the evil emperor of kids needing supervision. Let’s face it, after every girl in Sherwood Park failed and became brainwashed by my charms, there wasn’t a whole lot for them to do. They became powerless. I would put my sister to bed, I would talk my brother into running away or hiding or really – anything to make the sitter never wanting to come back. I’m sure my parents paid well, but sometimes no job is EVER worth it.

Meanwhile, my daughter just made cupcakes that taste like cough syrup and I am proud like I am raising a little me. Luckily her grandfather lives a block from the school, so when her friends don’t eat the cupcakes – he will.

And the family tradition continues….only the dirty dishes better not be hidden in the stove.