Catching Up

This past week has been something of a cleansing for me.  First, I’m feeling chemically cleansed because I stopped taking anxiety medication after 10 years of use.  My body is still going through the physical reaction to the change, and now my mind is catching up.

I’m definitely feeling a bit more anxious, and I am having to work extra hard at reminding myself to identify whether my thoughts are rational or not.  It’s hard to tell at this point if my anxiety is a result of coming off the medication, or if it has something to do with the lack of sleep and food I’ve been getting.  Maybe a combination of all three.  I’m toying with another theory; however, I think it’s too soon to determine it’s validity.  But something happened this weekend that has the little wheel (solo) turning in my head.

This weekend, I kept myself extremely physically busy.  I’ve found that the more I move, the less I feel like crap.  On top of my normal workouts, I moved a bed, cleaned my house, and then took on a landscaping project.  Yesterday was hot — extremely hot, and I decided to begin my yard project at the peek of the heat.  I busted up old rotten logs, racked gravel, pulled weeds, shovelled out my front garden, and hauled 2 big yard garbage bags or debris to my garbage bin.  Three hours of non-stop, heavy duty yard work in extreme temperatures had an unusual side-effect on me.

While tackling the yard work, I noticed I kept getting  dizzy, so I took several water breaks to keep hydrated.  When the work was done, and I was covered in dirt from head to toe, I jumped in the shower to clean up.  The dizziness continued, and so I figured I better try and eat something.  It was only 4:30pm, and I wasn’t ready for dinner, but I figured I could start the prep work.  I was in the mood to listen to some music while I cooked, so I brought up YouTube, plugged my speaker into my laptop, and found me some Willie Nelson.  The great thing about YouTube is that it continues to play songs that are similar to the one you chose.  Whenever I’m feeling physically off, I listen to old country.  A bit strange maybe, since I don’t even like newer country.  Anyway, I had a steady loop of ‘old country songs echoing through my house, as I chopped, grated, seasoned, and baked.

Song List:

Luckenbach Texas,   Blue Eyes Crying in The Rain,   Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,   Always on My Mind.

If you are under the age of 30, you may not be familiar with these songs.  This was the music of my youth; the kind of music that makes my soul ache for the past.  At some point during my dinner preparation, I pulled up a kitchen chair and just closed my eyes.  The music enveloped me, and I began to cry.  I sat, sang, and cried for almost an hour.  I haven’t cried like that since before I was medicated.  It didn’t hurt at all; it felt good.  It felt like a release of pent up emotions.  Is that what I had been doing?  Suppressing my emotions?  OR am I just extra sensitive right now because of the change to my chemical make up?  Like I said, it’s probably too early to say which is the case.  Either way, it felt good to cry unrestricted.  It will be interesting to see how I feel over the next few weeks.  I can tell you one thing — FEELING again, feels good.

 

 

Music From Dad

Country is not my first choice in music, as a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be able to name a new country song if asked.  However, when I need to fill my soul, I’ll be listening or playing some Waylon and Willie and the boys.

Twang music is how some describe Old-time country, and I love it.  Play me some “Luckenbach Texas”; add some wine to the mix, and I’ve got euphoria.  Sure enough, my guitar will be dusted off and I’ll be singing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

Music is magical, and music from your childhood comforts you in a way no other music can.  When I was a little girl, my dad used to play and sing old-time country; it filled our house with warmth.  When he left us, he started up a band and honky-tonked in dive bars across the province.

This is the only good memory I have of my biological father.  I’m astranged from him now, but I will always love the man he was to me as a young child.  He wasn’t a good father, but I forgive him for that.  Nobodies perfect, and I can’t blame him for his weak parenting skills.  When I think of him, I hurt for so many reasons.  I hurt for him, as I know he  wants a relationship with me.  I hurt for me because I can’t have one with him.  I hurt for all the pain he caused me growing up.  I hurt for his depression and bipolar disorder.  On this father’s day, I have mixed feelings of love and pain.  I wasn’t blessed with a life-time of fatherly love, but I was blessed with a few brief moments of happiness with my dad.

My dad will never see this post, but that’s ok.  This morning, I’m playing my memories of you dad.  I don’t like the father you were to me, but I love you anyway.  This is the only way I can say “Happy Father’s Day.”

Life, Love, and Forgiveness

Like many people, I come from a split family.  My mom went through a slew of half-wit boyfriends before she met my step-dad.  I was thirteen when they met, and I remember being happy my mom met someone with half a brain (and a job).  He was lived across the border in a town called Blaine, Washington (I’m a Canadian Girl); he had two teenage sons, and he smelled like leather and cologne.  My mom used to cross the border on Friday & Saturday nights to go drinking at a bar called Bob’s Tavern, and that’s where she met him. Her pre-step-dad boyfriend was a bouncer at Bob’s, and man was he dumb.  He lived in a trailer park just down the road from Bob’s T. He was fat, bald, had a grade 8 eduction, and he treated my mom like shit.  Side-tracked….

The early years of my mom and step-dads relationship were pretty fun.  He came from a big German family; all of whom lived in Canada.  We used to go to big family parties where there was food, music (singing/guitar playing etc), booze, and boys.  Yep, I had entered into the boy crazed teenaged years, and I did pretty much anything to get their attention.  I had major biological daddy issues (probably still do), so I was heading for trouble.  As a young vulnerable teenage girl, who was loosing her mother to a new man, I was seeking attention.  I drank, developed an eating disorder, slept around, and stayed out all night.  My mom didn’t pay much attention, as she was busy trying to land a husband and father for her three kids.  I don’t blame her; she was alone and needed help.  There was a lot of pretty messed up shit that went on over the years that followed, but I’m not going to get into it.  As a teenager, I didn’t realize the extent of the disfunction of my life; it wasn’t until I had a complete breakdown at 30 that I faced the demons of my past.

By the time I was 15, my mom and boyfriend decided to move in together, and they moved us to a small town located in the interior of BC.  Coming from Vancouver, the move to a mill/minning community was a huge adjustment for me.  I’d like to say it straightened me out, but on the contrary.  I had no friends in this new town, and I was still searching for attention.  I fell into the wrong crowd, dropped out of high school in the last year, started using drugs, and ran away from home.  I was 16 years old and living with a deadbeat, pot head boyfriend.  I worked full-time graveyard shifts to pay the bills, while he smoked weed, slept with all my friends, and treated me like I was the crazy one.  I guess I probably was at the time.  I finally left him at 19, and I moved back to the coast to live with my biological father.  I lasted 2 years there, then I met a decent man and got married.

My husband was kind and gentle, but he was also a push over, especially when it came to his family.  Near the end of our marriage, his meth-head brother came to live with us.  We were too young and ill-equipped to handle that kind of stress on our marriage.  I left my husband when I was 31 years old.  The end of my marriage is the straw that broke the camels back — I had a complete nervous breakdown.  That was the year I was diagonosed with generalized anxiety disorder.  I was put on medication, and I eventually sought out professional help.  I spend most of my 30s repeating my self-destructive behaviours, but I began to learn why I did the things I did.  Slowly, I started learning healthier ways of dealing with my anger and hurt.

I will be 42 years old this year, and I’ve now run 8 marathons, I have a full-time career in human resources, I own my own home, graduated from high school, started university, and I’m living single.  I’ve learned to love myself, and I’ve learned to forgive.

This little snap-shot of my life began with the sight of my 74 year old, fat, German, step-dad laying under my sink replacing my kitchen tap.  Regardless of disfunction in my family, I love them dearly.  I’m blessed to have people in my life who love me and who I can count on.  They are not perfect, and they have made terrible mistakes in their lives, but so have I.   I’m thankful for my ex-husband for being there when I needed love and security.  I’m thankful for my mom for always loving me, even-though she was lost and alone when I was a child.  I’m thankful for my siblings for being my constants in life, and I’m thankful for my step-dad for being there the only way he knew how.

 

A Storm To Remember

Anyone who was a fan of Prince was shocked by the news of his death yesterday.  I was writing out an incident report at work when I received a text message from a friend informing me of his passing.  The morning started out promising with clear skies and sun; but clouds rolled in sometime around 10:00 a.m.  Just after lunch, the rain started to fall; first a drizzle and then a down pour.  The thunder echoed loudly through the valley, as strong winds rattled the windows of my office. Watching the rain arrive

My mood changed from apathy to melancholy.  By mid-afternoon, a local warninMore fentanyl-related overdoses in Kamloopsg was sent out, as six people were admitted to the hospital due to a fentayl overdose — all within hours of each other. It felt like the storm was a result of all that was wrong in the world yesterday.

My emotions were as dismal as the weather.  After work, I drove home to prepare for my evening fitness class.  Last night was my first night back to teaching, and I hadn’t even planned out the class yet.  I put on my music and began preparing the warm-up, and then the rain started again.  The smell of wet pavement walfted through the open windows.  It was intoxicating.  My spirits began to lift.

The class went perfectly, and the energy in the studio was exhilirating.  Aftsweater class, I hopped on the spin bike for a quick 30 minute ride before returning home.  It was late by the time I got home, close to 8pm.  I started dinner before jumping into the shower to wash off two hours of workout sweat.  The feeling of warm water washing over my aching tired body was pure heaven.  I took my time in the shower, allowing my body and mind to relax.  Then I threw on a tank top and shorts, poured a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and sat down for dinner.

I opened my kitchen window and sat down to eat.  The rain had started again, but the air was crisp and the breeze felt good.  I turned on the radio; the DJ voice was somber as he talked about the passing of a pop icon — next he plays the song “Purple Rain”.  This song has always moved me; it’s one of those songs you close your eyes to and just drift with.  I turned back to my dinner, and took a sip of wine.  My dog was resting her head on the top of my feet, and all of a sudden a flash of lightning spreads across the sky.  I felt the hairs on my arms rise, and I began to cry.  “Honey, I know, I know, I know times are changing…” tears and wine lingered on my tongue.  I can’t even explain the rush of emotions I was feeling.  The lightning storm was at it’s peak, and the rain was falling in rhythm with my tears.

Lightning storms are common at this time of year, but yesterday’s storm is one I will remember forever.  RIP Prince.

A Picture Say’s A Thousand Words

Pictures are meant to keep our memories alive forever.  I have a shoe box of pictures, most of which were taken by my ex-husband.  I was sifting through my photo box the other day, and it occured to me that I do not have one printed picture of my life from the last 10 years.  I don’t even own a camera except for the one on my iPhone.  My computer is my new shoe box, and honestly it’s not the same.

I realize that my digital photos can easily be sent in for printing, but looking through my online photo album, I’m not sure I would bother.  There are maybe a handful of pictures of my family, friends and dog worth considering, but the shots are not that great.  Most of them you can’t even tell why I was taking the picture in the first place.   I have also notice that besides “selfies,” none of these pictures include me.  I’m not saying that to be vein, but it’s difficult to remember the events if I can’t picture myself there.

When I was married, my husband and I were diligent about capturing special moments on film (with an actual camera).  We had pictures of birthday parties, New Years Parties, Christmas gatherings, vacations, weddings, etc etc.  I was an active participant in most of these pictures, and I love looking back and remembering just how I was feeling when those pictures were taken.  Even though I am not married anymore, I hold on to these pictures as reminders of some wonderful times.

Scrolling through my phones camera roll, I realize my pictures consist of my dog,  the neat design made in my coffee foam, the stack of books I’m about to read, and several unpostable selfies.   Not one picture resemble anything like what I have in my old shoebox of prints.   It has me wondering why this is.  Is it because I’m single, and I have no one to share my special memories with?  Or is it because the convenience of phone photography has changed what moments we want to capture?  I can’t say I ever remember taking a selfie with my Canon digital camera, yet I have more than I’d like to admit on my laptop and phone.

My old pictures definately say a thousand words.  They say, “look at me living, loving, and enjoying life.”  I’m still living, loving, and enjoying life – maybe  a bit differently, but just as equally.  However, this has not been capture on film for me to keep as momentos.  This, I have decided, needs to change.  I am making it a new goal to bring memory keeping photography back into my life.  I’m not sure exactly how yet, but I will find a way (and it won’t be with a selfie stick).