Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Upside of Anger

For a great while now I've been struggling with something that makes me really sad and angry.  I avoid confrontations because I fear what I'll say or do.  When someone truly deserves it, I hold it in because I don't like the what becomes of me.  So I try to avoid drama in my life. To avoid it I try to make a concerted effort to treat people as I would want to be treated.  I show loyalty and respect to those I love.  Would go to the deuces to have someone's back.   But yet it still finds me.  More so, it may actually be that I have a way of overreacting to it. I'm sure everyone has their fair share of it in their day-to-day lives.  For me however, it's fight or flight.  I can go from zero to sixty, in no time flat.  Likely have always done so but as an adult it's becoming more apparent and more shameful.

At least I feel shameful about it.  At this late an age why is it that certain things and certain people still have the ability to run roughshod over me?  The truth is that the person who likes to stir the pot ought to feel the shame but she only does it because she knows she can.  She has gotten the better of me and that I'm afraid is my fault.   She knows that I will not unleash on her.  It makes me appear weak. She found the chink in my armour. Time to get new armour.

The things I'm learning from this:

  • Loyalty:  A forgotten character trait.  
  • Trust: Must be earned.  It is no longer a given at the beginning of any relationship.
  • Actions: Speak the truth about one's character, before one can defend their actions with justification.
  • That standing your ground and having faith in yourself is sometimes the only thing you have.
  • That I'll be unleashing that ugly side of me in order to preserve the better side of me (but only to the truly deserving of it).
  • That in the face of adversity you can be fortified.  I'm fiercer and more motivated to smash every single one of my goals now than I was yesterday. 
So dear "frenemy" and "pot stirrer"  thank you.  Through your lack of ethics, lack of loyalty and your poor character along with your petty actions you've made me bigger, stronger and more successful than I would have been without you.   I'm bringing my A game.  What have you got?  

Better not flinch!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The World Outside Ourselves

Sometimes it's very easy to get so wrapped up in our own struggles that we forget that there are others in the world who have it a little worse.  Sometimes a whole lot worse.  When I was young I had a lot of hurts.  Nothing was ever easy.  I lived by the mantra that what didn't kill me made me stronger.  I had always been torn between religion and spirituality and the "modern' world and what was "my" world.  It was really easy to be secular because in my youth I didn't see the bigger picture.  It didn't feel as if I had any community.  I had no way of knowing that if I reached out anyone would care.

I've been following the lives of a family living with the truth that their daughter is battling for her life against a genetic disease.  The normal lifespan for a child with this disease is 18 months.   Years ago I would have viewed their plight as one of the saddest stories.  I wouldn't have fully grasped what they were going through.  I still don't.  I'm not in their shoes, not by a long shot but I am a parent who worries endlessly about her choices for her children.  I worry endlessly about how my parenting will effect them.  Am I giving them all that I can?  Should I have done something different?  I'm not struggling with whether to hold back food to my dying child so that she can breathe better as she fades away.  I can't even imagine what it would be like to gaze down into my sleeping child's face and know that one day the disease would take her away and knowing that time is coming fast.

Through reading their story I've had confirmed some things I always wanted to believe were true.  That the love of a parent for a child is the strongest force on earth.  Secondly, that we are not alone, not in our regular live-a-day lives or in the dire circumstances of losing a child, spouse or parent.  There is a community out there.  There are good people who are ready to help you stand stronger while struggle through your own personal hell.  There are people who will arrange meals to be delivered so that you don't have to even think about nourishing your own body.  There are people who will stand outside your home with lit candles to remind you that you matter.  That they support you, that you still belong to the whole, no matter what.  That there are more of these wonderful people than there are bad people.

Can it be possible to wear your heart outside your body and still survive?  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  My faith in humanity, community and love, is making me stronger though it hurts like hell.

We are all connected by a something much larger than ourselves.  My faith has been fortified.  My strength restored.  All of my thoughts and prayers are with this family.  They are far away from me but they are still out there, in the world beyond myself but my love and best wishes will reach them.  I have faith in that.


Monday, January 16, 2012

The Power of Getting Organized

It seems January has been paying off in cold weather and organization.  Perhaps being kept in on these frigid days is what is prompting the new spurt of getting it "together".  A few days ago I sat down and mapped out the menus for the whole month.  So far we've been on track and pleased with the results.  The move toward 100% homemade foods has been a happy transition.  Ok so I don't make my own pasta unless its gnocchi but I do make all my own breads and will be going back to making my own kefir and yogurts again.   The idea is to minimize the unnecessary add-ins.  You know, that special laboratory creation that is now what stores like to call bread or cheese spread.

There was push-back from the kids but after a week of "lump it or leave it", I am no longer creating two separate meals.  Except for when I make pizza where I will make them just a four cheese pie rather than a special adult creation with onions and olives.  It's a nice relief for me to be able to get a meal on the table without that feeling of juggling spinning plates.  It's too much like my days in a commercial kitchen during dinner rush.  I gave up the paycheck some many years ago....so revisiting the stress each night seemed so ridiculous.

My husband has even joined in and has cleaned out our walk-in closet.  Now we can really walk in!  It's amazing how wonderful the carpet looks in there.  It's pristine, what with the fact that it hasn't been walked on in 4 years!  Seriously, K did a fabulous job.  I've got clothes hanging up that I only vaguely remember.

It doesn't end there.  I've even got my work schedule mapped out pretty well.  I was feeling incredibly burned out before Christmas.  It wasn't the amount of work that caused it.  It wasn't the work at all.  It was the fact that I was fighting to keep all these spinning plates in the air that I just didn't feel like I ever had time for myself.  Then when it was time to get something done, I'd just totally dreaded it.  Even things that I liked!

I like this new map-it-out plan.  It's been a slice of heaven this month even in the light that I've added in so many more tasks.  Baking, cooking all these meals, working on old projects to clear them out.  Fitting in the occasional run with a friend just to chat.  Heck, once I'm done this post I'm going off to soak in the tub with wine.  WOW!

You're likely wondering why I'm using up my time here...good point.  Chow!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

On This Day in January

We got winter weather shortly after Christmas but sadly it didn't last.  We got that wintery blast that always reminds me of home (WPG) but it was a twelve hour affair, not that I mind that moving off to some place better suited.

Running at dawn down a country road in Durham Region I had many opportunities to take in the landscape.  This time last year I was out in snowshoes embarking on a new winter sport.  This year I'm wearing my fall run gear and enjoying 16K while looking at the mist hanging thickly over the stubble in the farmer's fields.  I am enjoying this warm spell.  I know full well it may not last.  I know that spring is not around the corner thought this time of year I usually get cabin fever and start planning my gardens.

I felt so peaceful this morning that I was quiet and ran by myself for much of the run.  Just taking in the moment.  Wishing there were a way of capturing it without spoiling it.  I was happy to be out running after taking an unexpected holiday from it.  I was even happier that the weather was mild.  In due time, I'll be out in my snowshoes.  Today was a state of suspended animation.  I was caught between two seasons.  Serendipity.