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.

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: Discombobulated

Discombobulated is a great word. It is up there with Serendipity, Halcyon and Quintessential on my favourite word list. Words are as much about meaning as they are about sounds. I retreat into words for their meaning and the way they roll of my tongue. There is a scene in Elf where Will Ferrell says, “That’s a fun word to say.” I have moments of those I share with friends who, like me, just like hearing the words roll of the tongue.

Thankfully my hearing loss is in one ear. I can still hear myself think and speak.

Sitting at my desk yesterday, I was on the phone retrieving my messages. When I finished I heard my C.O.O. talking to me. I whirled my head around and could not see him. I heard him chuckle. Finally he shook my cube’s wall and I looked up. There he was laughing at me.

I smiled and said in my under utilized Teacher Voice, ” I am deaf in this ear so sounds are always all around me but difficult to pinpoint.”

I said it for 2 reasons:

  1. To educate him
  2. To stop him from mocking

I played that card. I was pleasant and friendly but don’t laugh at anyone when they are confused. I don’t care who they are, what their skill level or disability. Laugh with someone, not at them.

I don’t enjoy that feeling of being discombobulated. It doesn’t happen with just sound. I am less dizzy lately. I think it has to do with severely reduced sugar in my system. I do think it has improved brain function. So being dizzy for several days in a row has either stopped happening or I have adjusted again. But what is new for me is the feeling of head removal.

I know, sounds weird. I don’t mean it feels like I have had my head severed, its more like my soul or inner self slides out of my body briefly.

I can sit in my chair, swivel it to talk to my team and suddenly it feels like my body moved and my inner-self stayed facing the other way. Then I snap back together. It is the oddest sensation but a million times better than chronic dizziness.

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I can sit still and this can happen at random. It is strange but never lasts for more than a few seconds.

Discombobulation is the best descriptor I can think of to describe this new sensation.

I was listening to my new favourite podcast, Modern Love . It began as a series  of essays written for a New York Times Column about relationships. Not just marriage and dating but relationships with with others, parents, children or friends. I am HOOKED.

One episode called In Darkness and in Light is the story of a woman who is going blind over her lifetime and how her husband promised her he would always be there to support her. I must admit to listening to this episode about 11 times. I feel the same things she does, only of course my life is changing through sound. We are both discombobulated. Her struggles, her fears all resonate with me. Her and I are more alike than we are different. It was comforting to hear someone speak truths and I understood. It was as if we communicated through an understanding. Neither of incapable of handling the changes, it is just sometimes it is nice not to have to explain the changes and have someone just get you.

I love it when someone remembers what side I am deaf on. Their movement is subtle but just enough so I know they remembered. It is a kindness I appreciate. Or when I lean in to hear better and they speak louder and don’t back away. I get so frustrated with soft spoken people because culturally they have been brought up not be loud. I cannot have a relationship with you that will work for me. I need to hear you to understand you because you do not communicate in other ways.

Nicole C. Kear the author of this poignant essay describes a time when her and her husband had a fight on the street on the way to a party and he left her standing there. She could find her way home but she felt abandoned. I understood that too. People get angry at me when I can’t understand what they are saying as if I can control it. I feel lost yet I know I will survive. I can figure out how to cope. But sometimes its nice to have a person in your corner who just gets it without having to direct. That becomes fatiguing. I am a leader in 90% of my life. Once in a while it is nice when someone looks after me or supports me and I don’t need to cope I can just be. Asking me “What can I do it help” is nice, but it is still me leading and directing. Just do. I notice everything and will appreciate it. Don’t wait for direction. Take initiative.

I get you Nicole and your story resonated with me in a way that I didn’t expect.

Discombobulated friends forever DFF.

Not This

We all have those voices in our lives that speak to us in a way that is completely on point. I have a few writers in my life who do this for me. Sometimes reading someone’s words can bring forth the thoughts that have been swimming in a discombobulated way in your head or can give you permission to act in a manner that you thought was right but just didn’t have the wherewithal to articulate it. 

It takes me a while to process my thoughts and feelings. While I go through this period of time, I find myself searching for the right words to justify my actions. My brain is always second guessing myself. If I listen to my inner compass, I tend to make the right choices for me. But…

I still need to process the concept with my brain so all body parts are in agreement. My heart is stupid. My brain is not. My gut or compass  gives excellent advice. When all 3 come together, I have the perfect trifecta and achieve peace. 

  
I am halfway there. I have one more choice to make. I think I know the direction I will take but I need to be sure all 3 are in the same page. The funny thing is, this time my heart is saying no, but my compass says yes. Clearly I still need time to heal before the last decision has been made.

The following is written by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her words have been consistently poignant for me.  There are many truths to her words and I find myself living in a calm and peaceful state that has been out of my reach for a long time. This alone affirms my decision was the right one for me

  

Dear Ones –
Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.
Maybe we will have to admit that we are in the wrong job. Or the wrong relationship. With the wrong people around us. Living in the wrong neighborhood. Acting out on the wrong behaviors. Using the wrong substances. Pretending to believe things that we no longer believe. Pretending to be something we were never meant to be.
This moment of realization is seldom fun. In fact, it’s usually terrifying. 
I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.
Because sometimes that’s all you know, at such a moment. 
All you know is: NOT THIS. 
Sometimes that’s all you CAN know. 
All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won’t be silenced. 
Your body is saying: “NOT THIS.”
Your heart is saying: “NOT THIS.”
Your soul is saying: “NOT THIS.”
But your brain can’t bring itself to say “NOT THIS”, because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don’t have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, “It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options.” You’re not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don’t know how to get out…
So your brain says: “WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE.”
But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS…NOT THIS…NOT THIS.

 

I think some of the bravest people I have ever met were people who had the courage to say the words, “NOT THIS” outloud — even before they had an alternative plan. 
People who walked out of bad situations without knowing if there was a better situation on the horizon. 
People who looked at the life they were in, and they said, “I don’t know what my life is supposed to be…but it’s NOT THIS.” And then they just…left.
I think my friend who walked out of a marriage after less than a year, and had to move back in with her mother (back into her childhood bedroom), and face the condemnation of the entire community while she slowly created a new life for herself. Everyone said, “If he’s not good enough for you, who will be?” She didn’t know. She didn’t know anything about what her life would look like now. But it started with her saying: NOT THIS.
I think of my friend who took her three young children away from a toxic marriage, despite that fact that her husband supported her and the kids financially…and the four of them (this woman and her three children) all slept in one bed together in a tiny studio apartment for a few years, while she struggled to build a new life. She was poor, she was scared, she was alone. But she had to listen to the voices within her that said, NOT THIS.
I think of friends who walked out of jobs — with no job waiting for them. Because they said NOT THIS.
I think of friends who quit school, rather than keep pretending that they cared about this field of study anymore. And yes, they lost the scholarship. And yes, they ended up working at a fast food restaurant, while everyone else was getting degrees. And yes, it took them a while to figure out where to go next. But there was a relief at last in just surrendering to the holy, non-negotiable truth of NOT THIS.
I think of friends who bravely walked into AA meetings and just fell apart in front of a room full of total strangers, and said, NOT THIS. 
I think of a friend who pulled her children out of Sunday School in the middle of church one Sunday because she’d had it with the judgment and self-righteousness of this particular church. Yes, it was her community. Yes, it was her tribe. But she physically couldn’t be in that building anymore without feeling that she would explode. She didn’t know where she was going, spiritually or within her community, but she said, NOT THIS. And walked out. 
Rationally, it’s crazy to abandon a perfectly good life (or at least a familiar life) in order to jump into a mystery. No sane person would advise you to make such a leap, with no Plan B in place. We are supposed to be careful. We are supposed to be prudent.
And yet….
And yet. 
If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don’t know what to do, instead…you may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever. 
You don’t need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong. 
The bravest thing to say can be these two words. 
What comes next?
I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is…? It’s NOT THIS. 
ONWARD,

LG

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.

 

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: Sounds of Silence

I was out for a walk with my pup this week and was overwhelmed with sound. My normal day has me turning my head head to hear better. I am completely deaf in my left ear. The tumour has severed the nerve. I have been told this is a permanent situation. Even if the tumour is removed, I will never gain my hearing back.

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Take your thumb and forefinger and rub them together beside your ear. My left one hears nothing. My right ear thinks that is a crazy loud sound. When I had my hearing tested I have zero hearing in the left but the right ear is blessed with better than normal hearing. Does it average out? Sure?

I experience a lack of sound depth. It is difficult to tell where sounds are coming from – I hear them all around me but cannot pinpoint the vibrations. Layer that on multiple levels of sound building on each other and I am lost. Put me in a group or stadium setting and I haven’t got a clue as to what is going on. I rely heavily on watching people talk. I can usually pickout their words when I focus on their lip movements. Unless you are my dad, then forget it. He covers his mouth or moves his head so I cannot watch him speak. The tone of his voice is at a pitch I cannot hear. Communicating with him is difficult in a group, but get him on the phone and I can hear everything. That alone is unusual. I have a really hard time on phones. Put it on speaker and I have to focus so hard that I end the conversation with a headache. Communication is hard. I prefer email or text.

Get me outside, walk beside me and I cannot hear what you are saying even if you are on my right side. The layers of birds, traffic, wind, leaves, people and your voice leaves me missing half the conversation. My motto has become “Smile and Wave” but I do it in the voice of the Penguin from some animated movie where the penguins are running covert operations …. I have no idea what movie that is, but that voice!

People at work come up from behind me and start talking. I have no idea what they are saying. Then they realize I can’t hear them and they shake my chair. “Well Hello! How long have you been standing there?”

I sometimes think I should apologize but everyone knows I cannot hear. So why am I apologizing? I love it best when people get angry at me for not hearing what they are saying and have to repeat it. Pro Tip: Speak louder or look at me and I will not ask you to repeat yourself more than once.

It is interesting to me that of all the symptoms I live with, this is the one that doesn’t bother me in the least. It bothers other people immensely. I am not sure why. I am perfectly fine with reduced hearing. There is a ringing or sound in my ear that I live with. Some people are driven mad by this sound, It doesn’t phase me. I was asked once what it sounds like.

Remember the old Tube TVs? That buzzing or humming sound when it warmed used? That is the base sound. Add another hight pitched tone like the TV Test Pattern, but higher. Then sprinkle wind chimes on top of that. With all that noise in my head, I don’t doubt why it is hard to hear you speak to me.

When I went for a walk in the park this week, I could hear birds. I looked in the direction I thought they were coming from and saw nothing. I could hear the noise of the traffic and it felt like cars were circling me. I could hear dogs bark and kids laugh and a lawn mower. I could only tell where the lawn mower was located. I paid close attention to the sounds of my world. I suppose people assume my world is quiet, but it is far from silent.

There is White Noise in my head all the time. The bonus of this hearing loss is sleeping on my right side, I hear nothing but the sounds that are in my head. This pleasant side-effect means and quiet restful sleep.

Not everything about this tumour is terrible. There is a silver lining in everything.

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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?

values

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: The Appointment

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There is a lot of stress and anxiety that surrounds the time between my MRI and the follow-up appointment with my neurologist. It generates fear within me because although I know brain surgery technology is leaps and bounds ahead of where it used to be, I still fear it. I think I fear it more than birds which is my greatest fear known within my circle of friends.

Last Friday I had a follow up visit. I have had lots of offers from people to come with me for my MRI. The anxiety around that has more to do with claustrophobia than fear of the procedure, so I decline. To me it is an irrational fear that I can easily face. The attendants (excuse my ignorance for I do not know their job title – I will rectify that on my next visit) are supportive, kind and calming. Their presence is enough for me to face the MRI. My Neurologist visit is another story entirely.

I want to be able to visit with strength because the information I receive should strictly be logical, scientific and very straight forward. It is to some degree. I hear the science of it and immediately become emotional because it is happening to me…not someone in a text book.

Last week I was to have a friend join me. They didn’t know this was part of their visit. But it was a stop before we proceeded on our plans for the day. I have been experiencing more pronounced symptoms this past year, so I feared the worse. I thought having some sort of support to lean on when I burst into tears would be helpful. Naturally they were unable to make the visit. It is a bit of an on-going saga with me and people…

So I made the visit alone.

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I arrived at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic with plenty of time to park and find my way to the fourth floor. I checked in with the receptionist and I sat in my usual spot over looking the city view views of South East Edmonton.

Black and White

Soon enough I was called into my Doctor’s office. I tear up now thinking about the fear and anxiety I felt in that moment.

I sat and waited about 5 minutes before he entered. He rushed in dressed in scrubs and his cap, looking like he just came from surgery. I am always surprised at his youthful appearance. He has a kind and compassionate manner, something I am not used to from surgeons, he specializes in pediatrics, so perhaps this is why he is a kind and compassionate human. We don’t waste time on formalities, I despise small talk. He turned on his screen and said, “Well, I am pleased its behaving itself.”

I immediately took that as good news. There was no significant growth this year so give me two more years of this kind of growth and I can move to an every-other year follow up. He showed me my past 3 MRIs.

However, we then did the physical tests that are required because of the proximity to the facial nerve.

My smile is lopsided, this isn’t new though, it has always been this way. My grade 2 school photo shows the prominence of the uneven smile. I am dizzy and fall more than I used to. The pressure headaches have worsen and then he did a side by side facial touch to see if there is numbness.

He touched the left side of my face around the eyes and mirrored the same touch on my right. I immediately burst into tears. I could not feel the left side. I had not noticed this before. I could feel pressure but not the skin sensitivity. The emotional reaction was pronounced and unexpected. I was taken aback by my reaction. My eyes got wide and he could see the fear in them. Placed his hands on my knee in a comforting manner and passed me his tissue box.

This is normal. He reassured me in a kind and gentle manner. I could  not stop crying, I held my tears back as best I could, but the screen was swimming before me while my tears weld up and slipped from my eyes.

We talked about continuing to watch and wait, we discussed my general heath and activity level. He thought I should attempt a 5k this summer, because of diet changes he was confident I would react better to the elevated heart rate. Over all he was positive about the changes and the likelihood of not having to face surgery in the near future.

All of this is good news.

Then why did I cry so hard?

Because its emotional. I find it frightening to be facing this. I sat in my car and cried for a long time. I kept touching my face wondering why I hadn’t noticed it before. I cried because I was relieved. I cried because I was alone.

I called my hubs to tell him what happened. He gave me great a point to ponder. Nothing has changed from before I entered the office. It is all still the same for me.

True.

I drove to my mom’s house because I was sad and didn’t want to be alone. Mom and Dad were not there. My friend did not come. Everyone else I counted on was at work.

I went home and cuddled up with my pup. He sensed I was unhappy and let me snuggle with him…something he detests but he understood. We later went for a walk in the woods, something that grounds me when I feel alone.

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I came away from that with the knowledge that I am the same. I do not have cancer, I have  a brain functions better than I could ever hope for, my intelligence in intact. I am strong and healthy. Most of all, my pup loves me.

I have a year until my next visit. I need to plan better for that one.

 

 

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.

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: Fatigue

What-is-Adrenal-FatigueI am meeting with my Neurologist today. This always gives me anxiety. He is a nice man, he is apparently really great at what he does, he could be more on point with respecting his patients time but professional men in my experience, often disregard people’s time because only they are busy. No one could possibly understand the business of their life because we are not them. Fair enough. But I can assure you, everyone is busy and everyone is AS IMPORTANT as any professional.

But I digress…

I spent the last month  – closer to six weeks in a fairly intensive work related event. For the most part, I really enjoy what I do. Stress wears me out as it does with everyone else. This past Saturday had me on site from 5:30 AM – Midnight. That was a really long day for everyone. It was an amazing day and we had great success but I was super tired.

There is something that I have a hard time separating. My age + fatigue = slow recovery. This makes sense to me. I am closer to 50 than I like to think. I can hear my grandpa now “Holy S*** you are old.” My reply was always I am not the one with the granddaughter who is 18, 35, 40….50 (insert appropriate age). We laugh but its creeping up on me. I made changes to the way I will handle, plan and execute next years event. I am not the 30 something man who did the event last year so I need to make accommodations. As I told my crew often with cheeky overtones – I am an OLD LADY! So clearly age has something to do with fatigue.

But I have a condition that makes me fatigue easier that what I believe is the norm. I have adjusted my diet to accommodate this – good bye sugar, you were really bringing me down!  I feel so much better and sleep better and feel energized. But when everyone on my team – older and younger can bounce back quicker than me from Saturday, that makes me think it isn’t just my age. It could be the level of stress I took on, but honestly? I have always been able to manage large stressful situations.

For the first time in my life, I needed to leave my desk this week and have a nap. I felt drugged. I needed sleep. I could have slept in my chair but I went to my car, pushed my seat back and slept for an hour. I woke up, went back to work and by 8:00 PM I had crawled into my bed and slept another 9 hours after having an hour nap when I got home. This was 2 days ago. I now feel awesome again, like my old self.

This fatigue I speak of reminds me of being pregnant. I would be talking in the car, and the next moment I wake up to my husband taking my pulse because I fell asleep. I am THAT TIRED.

I used to be that girl who stayed up late because I come alive after 10 PM. I am most creative and I feel amazing late at night. I am now that girl who is in bed by 9 and sound asleep by 10. The old lady shuffle at 48. I know this is common – but am I more tired than other women my age? Or is this extreme fatigue a symptom of my neuroma? I know fatigue is listed among other charming side effects. So today, my doctor and I will have a chat. A good long one about managing my fatigue and other issues I am experiencing. I am awake and then I am not. I do get increasingly more tired when my pressure headaches are more intense, that makes sense to me. My body shutting down to heal itself. So I guess I will find out soon.

And I lost my sweater… but memory loss is another topic of another time.