Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Not my Gumdrop Buttons

When I was a child, my mother  would read us fairy tales.  Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty.  They were romantic and I spent many play moments dressed up as a princess, with my flowing skirts and my wand.  For some reason I always had a wand.  But then again, I had a lot of wishes that I wanted to come true.

And I grew up and I started looking for my Prince.  The one that was supposed to complete me.  Heck, I envisioned passing some handsome dude on the street and the hands of fate would bring our heads up, our eyes would lock and that would be it.  It would be instant love, so strong that it would last forever and beyond.

I know that conditioning wasn't done on purpose but I have spent many years waiting for my fairy tale, my Prince Charming, my happy ending.  Cinderella got it and she had to put up with those bitchy, ugly stepsisters.  Wait a minute!  I have siblings.  So what was with all these frogs???  Love was supposed to be everlasting, with no problems, a blissful, peaceful life.

I am not even really sure why I thought that love was like that.  I lived with my parents.  I saw my father destroy my mother with his multiple affairs.  I was witness to more that one argument and sometimes a full on fight.  I overheard my mother talking to her friends on the phone about her problems with my dad.

I think I clung to the hopes that MY marriage would not turn out like my parents.  A love that was so great that they couldn't even stand to be in the same room together.  A love so everlasting that my father left his life behind and "disappeared" to start a new life with a new woman without even the courtesy of a goodbye.  Oh we got a goodbye, my mother flew to where he had last been seen and dragged his ass back home to face the music before she divorced him.  I was going to have that Sleeping Beauty love.  My husband would think that I was the most beautiful being in the universe.  He would spend hours gazing at me.  He would slay a dragon for me, walk on fire for me, die for me...and then I got married.

My first husband is a good guy.  He is a good father to our children, mostly has his head screwed on, is a fun guy and a hysterical drunk. However, he didn't slay dragons, he didn't walk on fire for me although I am pretty sure at the time, he would have died for me.

There were no hours spent gazing into each others eyes.  No, we got pregnant very shortly after we got married and the only gazing I did was in the toilet bowl and I am pretty sure the only gazing he did was at the top of my head as he held my hair back.

Then life happened and somewhere along the way we lost each other. Things not let go.  Hurts not resolved.  And there was no happy ending.  We are both remarried now and I know he is happy where he is in life and I am happy for him.  He was my best friend for a long time and I am glad that we are both where we are.  Maybe that is our happy ending.

I have made a lot of people responsible for my happiness when MY happiness should come from me.  I need to be the owner of that and a lot of other things that I seem to have handed over to others.  It's really hard to take that ownership.  It means that you don't have anyone to blame anymore.  But I have given away a lot of my power and I need to regain that.

Every once in a while, some poem or saying will catch my eye and I will put it on my fridge as a reminder.  I actually have this one in a few places.

After a While

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning 
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts 
and presents are promises.
And you being to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes open
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plan your own garden and decorate your soul 
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure.
That you really are strong
and you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn.
With every goodbye you learn.

Veronical Shoffstall

The Journey Begins

I have gone through life with quite a bit to say but have not always felt heard - hence Shut Up! I'm Talking.

Those who know me well know that life hasn't always been the greatest, in fact some times I have just wanted to get off the roller coaster and never get back on again.   I have had my fair share of struggles and even though I would like to say that I thank my mother for always telling me that "what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger" I don't think that's entirely true.  In fact some days I would have preferred nothing more than to just run away and start a life somewhere else - of course it would be somewhere tropical - with a cabana boy, a tall, dark, muscular....oh sorry.

And here I am - 41 years of age and in a place that is strange and unusual for me.  It's like an uncharted desert.  It's called....are you sitting down?  Getting Healthy.

Four months ago, I decided that I had been a slave to cigarettes for far too long and with the help of some really great people (you know who you are) I have managed to quit smoking.  It was during this time that I realized a lot of things about myself.
  1. The damage from smoking for almost 27 years will not be undone in one night, or one month, or even one year.
  2. Patience is not something I possess very gracefully.
  3. I REALLY like instant gratification.
  4. I don't ask for help.  Even when I am on my knees I don't ask.
  5. Four months ago, I honestly didn't believe that I would actually quit smoking.
  6. I need to discover who I am as a non-smoker, emotionally, mentally and physically.
  7. I want to be healthy.
  8. If I work at it - I really can accomplish anything. 
I don't journal anymore so I thought I would get out of the 2000and late category and perhaps try out this blogging.  See how it goes.  So get in, hold on and Shut Up! I'm Talking.

    Fun in Dys"FUN"ction.

    One of the other things that I really need to work on is not physical at all, although in the long run, it will have a great effect on my well-being.  Mental Health!!

    What a scary word.  I'll tell you about my recent trip to the doctor.  I have been feeling really down lately.  Could be for a lot of reasons - there is absolutely no sun here right now, I quit smoking and am not always sure how to deal with things without my cigarette time out, my personal satisfaction meter is down pretty low and well it's me - that's a LOT to work on!!!

    So I decide to go and talk to the doctor about feeling depressed.  It was probably one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life.  I walked to the receptionist, told her I was there for my appointment and then and went and sat in those chairs - you know those plastic, scooped chairs that no one's ass fits properly in and I think they pick the most uncomfortable chairs so that the receptionists have something to laugh about during their coffee break.  I mean you can be right on time for your appointment and you will still have to wait 20 minutes.

    So there I am, slipping or slouching or scooching on the chair, waiting for the nurse to come and get me.  I pick up a magazine and it's actually a good one, some gossip mag not one of those "look at all your unhealthiness" magazines they like to leave out on the table.  And of course, right when I am getting into a story, they call my name.  Of course they do.  

    I get up and go back with the nurse - she really is wonderful and we make small talk on the way to the room.  We walk in, she puts my file in the holder on the door and does the usual "the Doctor will be right with you" and leaves.  Now I have a decision to make.  Sit in another one of those scooped chairs, or hop up on the paper covered (what is that thing??) bed, table???  If I sit in the chair I am going to end up sliding again and if I hop up on the paper, I am going to crackle every time I move and my legs are going to be hanging, swinging like I am a little kid.

    So I opt for the chair again.  And I sit, wishing that I had brought the magazine with me.  Because even when they take you back to the room you know you are going to be waiting for another 15 minutes at least.  And during that time, all I can think about is how I am being an idiot.  He doesn't want to hear about how I am feeling depressed.  He is just going to look at me as some hysterical woman who can't control her emotions.  My inside voice keeps repeating these things and I have now convinced myself that if he doesn't walk through the door in 30 seconds I am just going to get up and leave.  I think I might even James Bond it past the reception desk and not say a word.  And so I start planning my escape when - knock.  Argh he is here.  So I quickly convince myself he is like a gynecologist.  I don't need to be embarrassed.  I mean...seen one seen em all.  In his case it would be heard one, heard em all.

    I worked for the Mental Health Board.  I have a degree in Social Work.  I KNOW the stigma attached with mental illness - heck, even the word illness portrays the wrong image.  And I also know how many people don't seek help BECAUSE of that stigma.  I am not stupid but at that moment I want to bolt out of the room.  I almost think I would have been more comfortable telling him I thought I had contracted some sexually transmitted disease than dropping my guard, being vulnerable and asking for help.  (I also have a huge problem with this which I will discuss some other time).

    Well I stammer and stutter and get through everything that I am going through, how I am feeling and he pats me on the shoulder and says "That seems like a lot for one person to handle."  And I burst into tears.

    I am now taking Welbutrin - 100 mg twice a day and it seems to be helping.  I certainly don't have such racing thoughts anymore.  I have some heavy decisions to make and I want to make sure that I making them in a stable and healthy way with the thought they deserve.

    I struggled for a while.  Changing diet, exercising, changing my routine, all the things they tell you to do when you are down and nothing was helping.  I guess my point is, if you are struggling go see someone, get some help whether it be medicinal or therapeutic or even if you have to be referred somewhere else.  I consider myself pretty intelligent but it was pretty dumb of me to wait as long as I did because of my own fears. (Another one of those things I have a problem with that will be discussed at a later date).

    Tuesday, 29 March 2011

    Healthy, Wealthy and Wise???

    Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy,wealthy and wise.  What does that mean????  I am a night owl so mine would probably read, early to bed, early to rise, makes this lady irritable, cranky and a grump.

    One of my changes in my life is to get up 2 hours before I have to leave for work in the morning and yep, guess what?  It is dark outside, the dog is confused and I am having my morning cup of coffee at 5:47 am. I actually had set the alarm for 6:00 am but I think the anxiety of getting up this early caused me to waken before the alarm had even gone off.

    I decided that it was very important for me to have breakfast and important that the kids have breakfast too instead of grabbing something as they run out the door.  I don't usually eat until I get to work and when the kids are grabbing and running, well it is never anything healthy. 

    As it is right now, I am doing this on my own because the kids are on Spring Break and I really didn't want them to hate me that much.  Those times happen all by themselves often enough.

    **Update - well I made it through the day.  My eyes are stinging and are itchy, I must be lacking a crap load of oxygen because I can't stop yawning, but I did it. And it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  TO be honest I kind of liked having a little bit of quiet time.