8 Things No One Needs to Apologize For

I am pretty angry with myself. I have let people take my happy place from me.

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What the hell was I thinking? I can do better.

I have had to protect myself from being a part of some really amazing things because the feelings associated with this are currently devastating to me. I was chatting with the hubs about people in my life who did some hurtful things and how it made me feel. He was sad for me and said “Oh no, they took it away from from you” He is right, and I am taking it back right now.

I let myself sit in the pain for a while because I have learned from experience that feeling pain is the fastest way to over come it. Then I was speaking to a friend about it and I burst into tears. I didn’t mean to. My emotions are sitting pretty close to the surface so tear leakage happens  easily at the moment. I was rewarded with their annoyance. At the time I felt apologetic for making this friend feel this way.

Then I snapped out of it. Brought myself back to my senses and thought….

WHAT THE HELL ROBYN? STOP APOLOGIZING FOR OTHER PEOPLE’s FEELINGS.

I feel this way. Period. Feelings just are. I cannot control them, but I can control the words that come out of my mouth and I am taking back that I apology.

I am not sorry. You should be sorry. You are part of the reason.

I am no longer sorry I made my friend feel awkward and annoyed. Too bad so sad. You want to be my friend? This is what happens when people hurt me. You don’t want to deal with it? Leave.

A shift happened. The sadness stopped and its like an imaginary hat pulled down low on my forehead. My eyes narrowed and now I am in the angry phase. I am owning it.

How dare I let myself be influenced this way.

Then I found this gem

8 THINGS A STRONG WOMAN SHOULD NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR

1. MAKING CHOICES AGAINST CONVENTION

Even women who consider themselves liberated from social conventions feel that they will be judged for going against the expectations that others have for women, even though that expectation has changed over time.Women make choices that are right for them and they should never apologize for that.

I made a choice that was right for me. It maybe very Canadian to apologize for it, or very female especially in a world full of men. I take back my apology and I stand by my choice. I made it for a reason and it had everything to do with the behaviour and attitudes of others. It didn’t fit with my values. I am owning my decision. I will not feel guilt. quote-amy-poehler-2

2. PUTTING HERSELF FIRST

A strong woman knows that she can’t be her best for others unless she is already at her best. By taking care of her own needs before helping her family, boss or community, she is able to do more for them.

But first she has to be healthy, financially secure, and mentally strong. Strong women don’t apologize for prioritizing their to do list with taking care of her own needs.

Men don’t, yet they seem to expect women to pander to their egos and support them when its not reciprocal. I am just as important as anyone else in the room. No one else is going to put me first – that has been proven time and again. So as with everything else, I will do this myself.irene_parlby-900x300

3. MAKING PLANS WITHOUT DEFERRING TO ANYONE

In the 1970’s a study found that prior to learning about women’s liberation, women felt the need to defer to men when making a decision. The need to ask permission of the men in their lives left them feeling resentment and anger.

About that…its called being an Adult. I no longer ask for permission, however, I do include because being exclusive is hurtful. I am not intending to be hurtful. I have learned what it is like to be excluded and funnily enough my male friends do this regularly. My women friends do not. Here is the difference,Women tend to do this: “I am  doing this – would you care to join me?” My Male friends tend to d o this: “I am doing this” Without the invitation and then are surprised when people get hurt. 5women-4

4. BEING COMFORTABLE WITH SEX
Consensual sex is healthy and natural to both men and women, but it’s only women who feel like we should hide the fact that we both have, and enjoy sex just as much as men do. A strong woman knows that she has control over her physical enjoyment and has a choice of whether or not to have a partner.

A strong woman rejects the negative labels that have been given to women who have sex frequently or outside of marriage. What she does with her body and with whomever she wants to is none of your business. 

AND a woman’s body is HERS this means you are not allowed to help yourself to it whenever the mood strikes you. Consent is key. 41355f3a2fa0f3e3ff0d0ae606aea447

5. SPEAKING HER MIND
Words have power and a strong woman uses them to her advantage to communicate effectively. Strong women should never apologize for using language to express themselves; even if that includes swearing, raising her voice or saying unpopular things.

Exactly – so fuck off, I am 48 and make my own decisions. Being the devil’s advocate because you enjoy the argument that ensues just makes me think less of you. If you actually believe your statements then you are entitled to your own opinion and we must agree to disagree. My voice is as important as your voice. So again…fuck off. 05d0ac0c0839ccf60e31c7c31b42c614

6. SAYING NO
‘No’ is a powerful word, and strong women will not apologize for using it liberally. A strong woman will decline to overextend herself so that she has more energy to devote to people and activities who are a priority.

Although it can be tempting to apologize for skipping your party, a strong woman knows that she’s not doing anything that needs your forgiveness. If you are upset that she can’t attend your event, that’s a negative emotion that you put on yourself, not something that a she has caused you to feel. Apologizing for someone else’s negative emotions is not what a strong woman will do.

Yeah…so this one is still hard for me. The new phrase in my vocabulary is “No Thank you” Still to the point and polite. Because above all else, manners elevate you.

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7. HAVING STRONG OPINIONS
A strong woman will not apologize for having and expressing her own unique thoughts, even if they are different from yours. She also has no need to apologize for holding seemingly conflicting beliefs. For example when she expects a gentleman to hold the door for her, while still expecting him to treat her as his equal.

Strong women are aware of the convention of devaluing traditional female roles and segregating gender in the workplace and they do not apologize for expressing their dissatisfaction with this. Strong women will not apologize for expecting equal pay for equal work, equal treatment by the law and evolving gender roles.

I have lost friendships over this, that is how important this is to me. I am as deserving as any man, maybe more so because I have to work harder to prove it. My wish for my daughter to is to just be equal. It is looking that her peers have grasped this concept in spite of their fathers and grandfathers or the “old boys club”. I am a proud mama of two feminists one male and one female. #sheforhe

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8. EXPECTING MORE
A strong woman has a list of accomplishments that she wants for herself but she also knows that she is capable of much more. She not only expects herself to achieve, she expects the same of others. A strong woman knows what she wants to change and how to achieve it.

A study in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that when it comes to breaking gender barriers, women’s own expectations for their success were important to their sense of achievement. Since gender discrimination still exists in the workplace, women bear a psychological and economic burden that men do not.

Amen to that. I found this is true across the board and even is found in my volunteer work. Mostly because the men feel the need to remind me of it. I don’t need reminders. Unfortunately I have to look past their shortsightedness and bring more to the table. I refuse to expect less of me. I refuse to apologize for my ideas and my efforts. However, if I am capable of more, so are you.I now expect it of you.

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Just do it.

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.

 

Yuge!

I was scrolling through my feed today and came across two very different posts from women friends of long ago whom I still admire greatly.

One has always been afraid of living huge (YUGE! with a Scottish dialect) and she has found herself taking risks and trying out new things in pursuit of her dreams and goals. I am excited for her. She has so much laid out in front of her that is ripe for the picking. The other has always lived huge, not afraid of risks and trying new things. She has had to pull back and cocoon her family. Nurture them and care for them at the expense of her goals. I love this about her. Her life is intertwined with her family, therefore she is holding them close.

Both women are strong, brilliant feminists.

I have been so inspired by both these women. They have embraced the fear and made positive choices because the need is greater than the fear.

I have been licking my wounds lately. There is something so peaceful about pulling back, reflecting and taking that quiet moment before moving forward.

Fear is a powerful deterrent.

Fear is a huge obstacle.

It is getting in my way of moving forward.

I am in the processes of figuring out some things, like if the current trajectory I am on is the best for me. There are things I really like about it but currently there are things I dislike about it more. So is it worthwhile still pursuing?

That is the thing about goals. I feel the need to see them through, I hate quitting. But if it doesn’t feel right and is stressful, is it worthwhile? Will the feeling of accomplishment be worth it in the end when the people you are working with have a very different point of view? Will we meet the end goal in just a different way than we first thought? Maybe.

I miss living huge.

I have done so many amazing things and my last amazing thing put in a place where I have to pull back on the huge part. I ran out of money to do huge. By no means is money the part that gives a huge meaning to my life, it just really helped with checking off the bucket list items.

I think my problem is I do not have a goal in front of me that I feel like pursuing. That is a big deal. I have not lived with a goal in front of me for 6 years. I feel lost.

There was a time where physical goals were my focus. That has changed to some degree. I have been given the green light to pursue a 5km. Something I am not all that sure I care very much about other than it is important for my health to keep moving. I have lost my mojo towards it. I am sure it has something to do with the fear of the excruciating pressure that builds up in my brain when I do this. So for now, walking is lovely, but it doesn’t feel like an accomplishment.

Education was a huge goal for me. I still think I want to go further in pursuit of Women in Leadership. But that takes cash that I cannot ask my family for.  I can always go back. This one will wait for me. Universe…when you have some spare cash laying around, throw it my way so I can go to Royal Roads please.

Career goals. My career is on track, I quite like what I do and the people I work with. It doesn’t keep me up at night and it is diverse enough to keep me entertained without boredom. What more could someone ask for? Oh right, a raise…. A raise would help with my lack of cash issue. But as quality of life goes, it is pretty darn great.

Family goals. I finally feel like I can worry less about my children and let them figure out their stuff. My son complained to me that I was “too chill” and I let him be too independent when he wanted to be held closer. Well, sorry? I knew independence was best for him AND me in the long run, so that is what I did. We had major bumps along the road but he is standing on his own two feet currently. Sure I will catch him if he needs me too, but right now, it is sweet relief that he is well sorted and on his way. My daughter is not too far behind, she has goals laid out before her and is in hot pursuit of them. I worry about her much less than her brother because she also communicates very well and I know what is going on with her. She is golden.

House goals. My house is in need of some TLC. Paint, flooring, furniture and a roof. I will paint it this summer. Bring it back into its former glory. Then perhaps sell it, or not. I don’t want to live in the burbs. But I am not so sure I want to live in this city either. This is where I feel restless. I feel like I am in limbo and get resistance from other members of my family when I bring up the subject of moving.

Friendship goals. I started a book club because I am searching for intellectual conversation about fictional worlds and how they relate to the world around us. This is a good substitute for the Education I am wanting. I am also on the lookout for a book club of strangers – perhaps at my local bookshop. I want to discuss books, not participate in social events. I don’t want to get too close to more people, but I want to hear what they think. This may be a tall order. People in my experience tend to get emotional and social at these kinds of events. Emotional discourse fatigues me. I have “cleaned house” of the people who have me sitting in anger. I don’t want that for my life. I want peace. I want to stop hurting every time I go do something that is supposed to be fun.  Perhaps I am not cut out for lots of people in my life. I do prefer the company of silence. But I know I am self-destructive too. When something cuts to the quick, I am dump it and fast. Maybe I need more of the same rather than different. Finding people who share the same values as me is harder than I thought. I value Loyalty, Kindness, Respect and Honesty. I give these and expect them in return. I am shocked and disgusted with the political discourse in the United States. Why is being kind and respectful such a hard thing for people?

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So this leaves me no closer with my want of HUGE. I feel like I am treading water trying to find land.

I think perhaps if I fill my life with structure the goals may manifest before me.

  • I will set aside Sunday Mornings for time with my writing. It is painful right now, I have got to the part where there is conflict and it makes me cry as I write it down. I think this is the best I have ever written so the emotional strife I am feeling is worth it.
  • I will set time aside on Saturdays to explore my world with my pup. I am a better human to live with when I ground myself in the parks of Edmonton. I will visit every River Valley Park this summer. Apparently there are 20, that is a good start. Maybe I will reinstate the traditional Family Picnic we used to do every Friday night.
  • One closet at a time. I need to simplify, I am going to purge one closet/cupboard/storage at a time until my world is free of clutter. This always makes me sleep better. I want to be minimalist where my family is not. Today I will tackle the space under the sink.

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Like it or not, I now have 3 goals laid out before me. The meditative tasks of two of them will likely help me figure out how to live large once again. Pulling back and focusing on smaller pursuits may be just what I need after my large adventure of last year. It should help with the big obstacle of fear standing in my way. Thank you my friends for being such lovely inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Lost and Found

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

Still waiting.

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

I feel ripped off.

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

I walked away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My hair is matted and Cheetos are stuck to my face…but I have a plan

I laughed at my sister the day she received a kareokee machine for her birthday.

Not because she got a kareoke  machine, but because she knew at that moment she would never get anything done until she got over the binge use of that machine.

She laid on her sofa and demonstrated for me how she would look after weeks of use. It was as if she knew karaoke was her heroine. She leaned on the arm and feigned drool coming from her lips as she was singing Aerosmith or Show-tunes. Didn’t matter which tune it was, she had an addiction and she knew it.  I could envision dishes stacked to the ceiling and Cheetos stuck to her shirt with crusty food creased into her hip. She knew it and I knew it.

That night we sang for 8 hours. My voice was lost to every single from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I pulled out tunes from the 60’s that I learned at the steering wheel of my Dad’s Montego MX, Jimmy Rogers and the Kingston Trio, then there was Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and Barbara… Barbara doesn’t need a last name.

My voice was done for days afterwards. My sister? Well…she continued down that road of music addiction. Then one day it stopped.

I do not mock her or tease her about that problem she had because it could have easily have been me.

Wait…

It was me.

Since I have finished University Studies, I have been binge watching TV as if the world is about to end. Since December 3, 2013, I have found myself enjoying the delights of televisions series that challenge my interest, make me laugh in a subtle way that compliments my humour and I have been solving mysteries with finesse. Or at least that is what I tell myself after watching the show 3 times in order to figure out all the clues.

I have binged watch Sherlock, Call the Midwife, and most recent….Suits.

I come home from work, watch Suits. I wake up early to get an episode in before work, I have a day off – stay in my jambes and watch suits.

I find myself looking like Penny after she started playing on-line videos games….with Howard.

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Then as quickly as it happened, it was over.  I am caught up and the season doesn’t resume until AFTER THE OLYMPICS.  I found myself relating to Donna, coveting Jessica’s wardrobe  and having a soft spot for crazy Louis. I want to be on team LITT!  I want to wear Christian Loubatans to work and carry Prada bags. I want to have the trust and loyalty of a Harvey and I want an office dammit! I want an office with a view of Bernie Madoff’s old building. I would settle for an office with a view. Hell, at this point, I’d settle for an office.

What I do have is potential and possibility. What Suits has done for me has pointed out the people in my life who I trust and those who I need to guard myself against.

I have set new goals for 2014. I understand my vision NEVER turns out as planned. If you asked me 3 years ago if I knew I would be standing where I was, I would have laughed you out of the room. Therefore I am changing my focus. Where and what are out of the picture now. I can reach higher than that.

I really like my possibilities for 2015, besides…anything can happen.

Now…what to watch next…

Goodbye, Farewell, The End

In one month it will be the second anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project ( I woke up this morning and realized it is the third anniversary! WOW 3 years!).

I can no longer recognize the girl I use to be.

I began this site as a way to help me become accountable, take risks, heal the hurt and become the person I dreamed I could. I learned the difference between goals and dreams. A goal is a way to realize your dreams and wishes. I have learned the secret to goal achievement and it is satisfying in ways I never thought possible.

I will graduate in December. WOW. I once never dreamed I was smart enough for University. Now I find it mundane and limiting in my learning. Looking forward to having letters after my name. It automatically gets people’s attention when the reality is, I was just as smart before, but now I know how to put it all together. That is progress.

I say yes more often to try things and no more often when I have taken on too much or just really don’t want to do something.

I have traveled solo and figured out where I begin and my family ends. This was also important for me. I needed to learn boundaries.

I have learned and practice great nutrition. I have lost nearly 95lbs in two years. I have  another 90lbs to go, BUT it has become habit. Great food choices made of REAL food have taught me to listen to my body. I know what it needs and when it needs it. Eating gratuitous sugar because it is someones birthday is rarely worth the calories. It has to be OUTSTANDING before I will spend calories on sugar laden food because there are consequences to those actions. I either eat less, work out more or gain some temporary weight. Neither of those options are awesome. So I choose carefully.

I have learned that loving someone doesn’t mean it has to be a married relationship or a parental one. I love my girlfriends, fella friends, and family with a fierce intensity that I didn’t know existed within me. This has given me permission to spend time with those people and the ones I just like…get less time or none because my time is limited and valuable. It doesn’t mean you are not valuable it just means I am prioritising my life. I come first, then family, then friends, then school, then work. Work is last because it is a means to a lifestyle. However, it made the list so you can be sure work is filled with passion. If it isn’t on the list, it lacks passion. Without passion, I have no desire to put in an effort. That was my problem before the project. I had my priorities mixed up. I need to nurture me so I can nurture my passions.

That makes it simple.

I place me first for the reason listed above, however, I didn’t put into what ME means:

I have learned I am a social introvert. I like socializing but not all the time. Please don’t drop in on me, call first. There is a list of people who are welcome to drop in and that list includes my mom, dad, sister, my best friend and George Clooney. Call first or I get cranky.

I need to include fitness in my life for lots of reasons, but the big one is if I have to face surgery for my brain tumour, then I want to be as fit and healthy as possible. Death does not scare me, but my children still need their mommy for the time being and I intend to be there as they need me. Being THE MOM is a responsibility that I do believe I was created for. I take it seriously and approach it with humor and humility. I have raised amazing humans and can’t wait to see how they shape their future.

I need to read. I need to continue learning and I need to sit in stillness and reflect. This is what defines me. Include fitness in there and those things need to be done alone for me. That is my recharge time. People exhaust me, I love them but I need that space away – and often, like everyday.

I need to set goals to reach new dreams. Goal setting and dream achieving is simply amazeballs.

So does this means I am fixed and no longer need the Edmonton Tourist Project? Well?

I have been think about that a lot while I run. Running has become my focus and passion lately. Writing is my creative outlet. I am writing 2 books right now. They tumble out of me like movies. That leaves me with nothing left to say on the Edmonton Tourist Project. While my growth continues, I no longer feel blogging about it is the right platform.

That must mean this is the end.

I am so incredibly grateful to those of you who have supported me all the way along. I have met incredible bloggy friends along the way, some turned into real life friends, some have drifted away and others have died. This tells me that endings do not have to be bad. Happy endings are lovely too.

Is my blogging career over? NO WAY! I am devoting my writing over at my health and fitness blog called Me and MO. Mo is short for momentum. You can find it HERE or http://justmeandmo.wordpress.com/  It is the same me who looks at life slightly skewed with humor in her brain and wit on the tongue.

I get it if all that running and nutrition talk isn’t for you. I do understand that. It isn’t for everybody. For now it is where I need to be.

Soon I will close this site, revamp it and change it into something different. But I am taking the summer off.

This feels right. It is time to say goodbye to old me and embrace the me I really am. It kind of feels like the final episode of M*A*S*H* and I feel like BJ. Not wanting to say it but needing to.

Keep in touch friends.

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Beyond Your Limits

I have been thinking a lot about pushing myself to the limit. Be it physical, mental or emotional. There seems to be no greater satisfaction than from those who are able to accomplish this feat.

Emotional limits, both positive and negative expression is not my favorite. I struggle with the pain of ending and heartbreak as do most of the humans I know. It is the hardest one for me to push.

I love pushing my mental limits, but being brain tired is the worst after emotional tired.

Yet there is something so completely satisfying about pushing your physical limits. It makes my mental juices flow and sends me to emotional heights that I am sure only George Clooney could equal.

This past month I have pushed my physical limits past the point I thought was my limit. I ran up Emily Murphy Hill 3 times, for the first time ever. She normally kills me after half way on the first time. Yet I conquered her. I ran in my first 10k race and set a personal time record. I was tired for 2 weeks but I knew it was because I left my guts out there on the road. I have set some pretty tough goals for myself this summer and I know the only way I will get there is by leaving pieces of me on the ground, in my books or on my sleeve. I will either be broken or exhilarated. Either way, pushing myself is my way of celebrating success.

A couple of years ago I never did anything that was hard. I never challenged myself through work, I never challenged myself through intellect, I never did anything physical that could test my limits. If it was hard, I avoided it and said no.

The Edmonton Tourist Project challenged me to say yes and try new things. I look back and don’t recognize that girl in the pictures. She looks different than I do now, but more importantly, her spirit was broken or harnessed by others. I said goodbye to her and the new and improved me is  – as my friend It’s Maevealous says – FIERCE. I love that word.

I am inspired by her intellect. She is knowledgeable in ways that humble me. She is insightful and brilliant, adventurous and fun. All things I wanted to be and now am achieving.

Through facebook I have become part of a running team WDW Radio Running Team for The Dream Team Project. I have met amazing athletes who are in different chapters of their book. I am just past the Introduction, while others are near their climax and some others are in their epilogue. Yet we all chEAR each other on and support through words, laughter and help. One of these athletes just became a 2 time IRONMAN. She is my hero. I am inspired by how she pushes herself to her physical limits and signs up for yet another IRONMAN because a teammate has decided to enter for the first time and so she will be there in full support. She is gracious enough to tell me her story, so look for that coming up soon.

Weeks ago I put my emotional struggles here on this page for all to read. The fat girl running faced bullies and went head to head with them. That blog post went near viral. Women all over the world read it to the tune of 15000 visits and countless shares. Local women came up to me and asked for my autograph. It was weird. But through that post I met a running mom who ran her first half marathon in Vancouver. She has inspired me to join Team in Training and pursue the San Francisco Marathon next year. I will be talking to her soon too about Team in Training and her exciting adventures about running in Vancouver with an injury!

And then there is my one of my dear best friends. She is a new friend but you know how some people just click? We did. Last year she entered a spin-a-thon event and cycled for 90 minutes. She had never pushed herself to do anything like that. Today she is riding 93km from Leduc to Camrose in the MS bike tour. I am so excited for her because I know she will never be the same after she feels what it is like to push yourself beyond limits. I am going to meet her at the finish line today. You don’t get a medal for this event, so I made her a giant chocolate chip cookie medal to hang around her neck – and then eat because I am sure she will be super hungry.

So when people ask me “how are you able to do that?” be it running, university, work, momming or reading a billion books for fun, I tell them because pushing yourself to limits is incredibly satisfying and it makes me

FIERCE

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