Friday, November 30, 2012

innocence

Innocence is fragile. Like a Victorian woman’s virtue, it’s gone in a whisper and can never be regained.

I’ve always enjoyed a modicum of innocence despite my age and experience. For some reason, until this year, I felt sheltered from the worst of life’s storms - even after a divorce, an abusive relationship, and some experiences I don’t talk about - some piece of me survived unsullied.

That changed this year. Something happened, and the last line was crossed. There’s been a lot of fall out, and there continues to be an impact. And, forever more, that last innocent, unknowing, naive piece of me is gone.

I grieve that loss as much as I do what happened.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

heaven

Heaven with a capital H is not much of my business. I figure God has that all dialed and all I have to do is get there. Heaven on earth though, that's a whole different ever-changing matter. 

Some days, heaven on earth is a 90 minute phone call to Shiney that leaves my side sore from laughing, my eyes damp with tears, and nothing unsaid. Some days heaven on earth is total silence, the house to myself, a book in my hands. Nothing in my head. 

Perhaps that’s my favourite heaven, because it feels so very rare and so very hard-won and, most days, so unattainable. Peace. Silence. A quiet mind. Heaven.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

pessimistic

It's a funny thing, but for all of my tilting against the dragon depression, I don't think of myself as a pessimistic person. Most of the time, even if things aren't currently okay, I do think they are getting better, or will get better. 

Are there some certain circumstances I feel less powerful to deal with? Absolutely! Are there times I get so beat down that I just want to curl up in a ball? Sure. Am I frustrated by the stasis in certain areas of life that matter to me? Hell yes. 

But, overall, even in those circumstances/moments/areas, I still know that life, by and large, is on an upswing. And not in that generic, social media campaigny, ‘it gets better’ kind of way, but truly really better in the tiniest of moments and in some of the biggest matters.

Pessimism? Nah. Not this girl. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

dreams & aspirations

For most of 2012, dreams and aspirations would more accurately be reflected in a post called nightmares and perspiration. Yes, I realise the prompt isn't referring to sleep dreams. No, that doesn't change how I feel.

It's hard to dream when each day is about survival - my own, or that of the people I love. Dreams get small and precious when loved ones are at threat, or a threat to themselves. Be strong. Don't give up. Little precious embers where dreams used to be broad strokes of sunset lighting across the sky.

I forgot, for a while, to have my own dreams and aspirations, focused as I was on fighting back the nightmares even during daylight. Let that be something we come back to in looking forward to the next year. Dreaming big again, splashing hope across the sky in bands of fuschia, orange and gold.


Monday, November 26, 2012

change

Ch-ch-ch-change turn and face the strange.

Well, I don't know if it's fair to call STG the strange. Though as changes go, moving into our love shack was sure one to grow on. Beyond the obvious address change, different light through the morning window, non-matching cutlery, and disordered spice cupboard there were, and still are, some huge changes that have come with sharing space.

The last time I moved in with someone, I was 20 and completely clueless about who I was, who he was and what it meant to live with someone. I’d never lived on my own, so there was nothing to give up. As it turns out, at twice or so that age, I thought I knew what I was getting into but there are still so many surprises - good and bad, and much less that I’m giving up than what I’m getting from having a warm place to fall, and warm arms to catch me.

And sometimes even marshmallows toasted in the fireplace. Change - sometimes it can be oh so comforting.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

dark

Did you know you can't see dark? I might be wrong, it just seemed like one of those things people say - there is no dark, only absence of light, or some such sloppy solipsism. It's quaint & achingly reassuring until the darkness is so palpable you choke on it while looking for the light.

If 2011 was the year of the best & worst of times, 2012 has been the year of beating back the darkness. There's plenty of light, it's just that the dark is so slippery and pervasive, the scent of it clings to everything I touch.

Sometimes I prefer the darkness. It's simpler, even if you never can see it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

light

The light burned my retinas even with the curtains drawn and my eyes squeezed tight. Had I slept past noon? Had I slept until spring? Yes, I'd read late into the night and, when I finally closed the book, slept deeply and soundly. But, what could explain this burning light?

It is November. In fact, nearly the end of November, and today is a beautiful sunny day. I walked out the door at noon with only a fleece jacket on. After a week of dodging puddles and downpours, the sun already feels foreign.

The grey can be so all encompassing around here that a rare sunny fall day feels as fragile as a soap bubble and just as fascinating. Even as I write this the clouds are creeping across the sky. The light is burning lower now than it did when I woke up.

Perhaps I need some black out curtains. Perhaps I need to dance in the sun. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

love

You'd think that since 2012 was the first time since 1998 that I have shared my home with a significant other, that when I think love & 2012 that's what would come to mind, right? Well, yes. And no. That was the tender, exciting, adventurous side of love.

But there's another side to love. A love that exists because we choose it to, over and over and over again. Love that survives because we commit to it - because we say so, damn it, come hell or high water. This was also a year for that kind of love. For love that is silent, love that holds tight, and love the rages in the night against anything that rises to kill it.

Love that says yes, come home. And no, that’s not okay. This was a year when love had feet and arms. When it was a word that denoted action. That’s the love that 2012 knew. In and out of the love nest.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

introduction

Introduction? What the hell kind of prompt is that? Isn't that what the 'view my complete profile' link is for? Ponder ... 

ponder ... 

okay ... I can do this ... this prompt falls into the reverb12 category, so what was I introduced to in 2012? 

OH right, I rode at a mountain bike park for the first time. Silver Star Mountain Resort. And while I am very very clear that I am still just a very novice, nervous beginner, it was amazing. I wish all mountain biking was riding at bike parks. I am a fan of riding the lift up so I have all my faculties about me for the swoopy zoomy ride down. 


There you go then ... Bike Park Rides – nice to meet you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

i would write 100 words and i would write 100 more

So, once again it's time to employ some outside mechanism to get me back in the habit of writing regularly (carrot, stick, cattle-prod - choose your weapon). My wonderful and talented BFF Shiney started her responses to the (mostly) one-word prompts below in her fabulous blog, and a life-long habit of tagging along on whatever Shiney is up to has me jumping in the fray. Of course, I also like to do things my own way so I will be using the same 100 one-word prompts, but I'll be breaking them up a little.

The first 40 prompts, beginning tomorrow, will take us through advent, Christmas, and the tail end of 2012. It's been quite a year - one might call it a roller coaster of a year - and so those 40 prompted posts will reflect back on the year that was - some highs, some lows, some 'that's life.'

The next 30 days/prompts will take us to my birthday. For the last 5 years, my birthday has been, in a word, abysmal. Some of the most significant upsets of my life have happened on my recent birthdays, or close enough for there to be shrapnel in my cake. I love the age I'm at, but have not been able to celebrate my trips around the sun with my usual gusto. I'm trepidatious - given what's gone wrong in birthdays past, I'm scared of what  might be coming. But, for the month leading up to this inauspicious day, a prompting we will go in 'all about me' land, most likely some trips down memory lane, but with an eye to creating my best year ever!

And then, the fun stuff - 30 days of free writing. It may be poetry. It may be creative non-fiction. It may be complete crap, but it will be fun. Or if not fun, at the very least free ... ya ... free ... that's the ticket. 

100 prompts for 100 days of posts with a target of 100 words. Short and sweet. Slow and steady. Starting tomorrow. You can read along on the 'Prompted to Write' label.
First 40 - Advent, etc
Introduction
Love
Light
Dark
Change
Dreams & Aspirations
Pessimistic
Heaven
Innocence
Drive
Breathe Again
Memory
Misfortune
Smile
Silence
Questioning
Blood
Rainbow
Vacation
Mother Nature
Cat
No Time
Tears
Happiness
Flowers
Expectations
Stars
Walk
Treasure
Abandoned
Rain
Grey
Phoenix
Edgar Allen Poe
Garden
Christmas
Morning
Friend
Moonlight
Insomnia

Middle 30 - Birthday Build Up
Solitude
Standing Still
What if…
Illusion
Hope
Night
Two Roads
Photo
4.29pm
Creation
Childhood
Sport
Deep in Thought
Danger
Sacrifice
Secret
Tower
Waiting
Rejection
Fairy Tale
Magic
Tropical
Do Not Disturb
To Dream
Advertisement
Snow
Playing the Melody
Envy
Puzzle
Obsession

Final 30 Free-for-all
Mischief Managed
I Can’t
Confrontation
Mirror
Movie
Insanity
Test
Drink
Starvation
Words
Can You Hear Me?
Sandwich
Pen and Paper
Heal
Space
Spiral
Seeing Red
Food
Effort
Pain
Triangle (deleted)
Drowning
Misunderstanding
All That I Have
Give Up
Horror
Storms
Safety
Annoyance
Relaxation 

Monday, November 19, 2012

a short story

A few years back, not too long after I'd settled in my chosen home town, I made contact with one of my best guy friends from 'the old days.' Snake and I had started school together in grade 1, been in accelerated elementary programs together, become fast friends by high school, and finally graduated together to escape our home town for greener, bigger pastures. From grade 10 on, I had a massive crush on 'my buddy' but always believed that he just saw me as one of the guys.

I couldn't stand the girl he dated in high school, but tried to make nice to her for the sake of our friendship. She was actually a great girl, and it was only jealousy that held me back from liking her. Jealousy of their relationship, but also of her seeming to be everything I wasn't. When Snake and I reconnected, it had been 20 years since I'd seen my friend, and nearly as long since our college letter-writing promise had died out - the last letter I'd sent him was to announce my engagement, with a hidden hope that he'd say 'don't do it.' We had a lot of catching up to do. 

We met at a local pub for dinner. I was relatively newly divorced at the time, and Snake asked how being divorced/re-single was for me. In the course of answering, I finally admitted my long-standing crush, and that there was/is some part of me that had made up from that probably-typical-highschool situation that I'm the kind of girl guys like to hang out with, but not someone they ever consider 'girlfriend material,' That decision I'd made in high school - that I'm too big. Too loud. Too much - continued to colour my relationships. Somehow, I was just not what guys want no matter how much weight I lost or how much I dumbed myself down. 

Snake looked truly sad when I said all of that, even though I tried to make clear I wasn't blaming anyone else for what I had made up. He had tears in his eyes when he said to me, "I was afraid of that. I always knew you felt something for me, and I too thought we'd be great together, but two things held me back: mostly - and this was the bigger factor - fear that if we dated, we'd both end up trapped in that little town. And, secondly, your sharp tongue." 

It was one of the best conversations I've ever had, and it seems like I'm still learning from it 6 years later. The moral of the story is that often when I think I'm being witty, it's at the cost of someone else, or at the cost of a relationship. I still do it - lash out at people to try to deflect what I'm feeling, or cutting off friends who empower me. I did it on Saturday to BB2 just because I had no real reply to one of his quips. I do it frequently to STG, and then wonder why there's a gap between us. 

All I can do is keep hoping that some day the lesson will stick. The problem with having a way with words is that it's so easy to turn them into whips. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Ever since I discovered that the sentiment expressed in this image is true for me, I've taken the time to have a day offline every now and then. Tomorrow is one of those days. I'm not sure why it is that having an overload of electronics in my life makes me really miserable sometimes, but, as my counselor says, I should probably worry less about why something is and just take action instead. Or, in this case, take inaction. 

So what am I going to do with my offline day? As close to nothing as possible! UberCoach recently lent me a stack of books in the Outlander series. I started to read the series almost 10 years ago but got tired of it at some point. I have to admit, though that I am thoroughly enjoying getting reacquainted with the characters. For the uninitiated, the Outlander stories are a little bit romance, a little bit history, and just enough smut to be really entertaining. They are definitely a guilty pleasure. 

So tomorrow is an Outlander pyjama day. Today I did enough cleaning and laundry and whatever else needed doing that I feel completely ready to lounge in my pj's all day reading Book 5: A Breath of Snow and Ashes and staying offline. No email checking. No Pinterest pinning. No using time off work to work on other things. Just relaxing peace & quiet with my favourite Scotsman and his wife. 

I get so very excited about these days. I don't know why I don't do them more often.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

depression lies

So I've been pretty writing blocked lately. Actually, that's a lie. One of several I tell myself. I have not been blocked. What I've been is flooded with words that I don't want to write, because while they 'feel' like the truth, that wee remaining rational part of me knows they are complete bs.

All the while I've been saying I'm blocked, I've also been saying "I'm not depressed, I'm just anxious." I got to say that because I believed it right up until the moment I finally went to the doctor. I suppose any number of people could and maybe did call bs on that particular lie, but I believed it, and that's what mattered.

After all, I've been fighting depression for my entire adult life, so surely I would know when I'm depressed. And, I really was anxious - I had my first panic attacks (they suck) - the first one while I was public speaking. Me - the ham. The attention whore. The woman who has never met a microphone she didn't like. Sweating and heart pounding and short of breath. Unthinkable. People even asked if I was okay. Offered me water, and a chair. I was horrified. And they happened twice more on separate commutes home - sweaty palms. Short breath. Pounding heart. That suffocating pressure on my chest.

I had muscle spasms from tension. I had a lifetime's worth of migraines in one month. I felt that my tendons could be played like a harp sonata. I couldn't sleep. And when I could sleep, it was a fitful, active, nightmarish sleep I wanted to avoid.

This was not the dragging through mud melancholia that I know depression to be. This was active and on the attack. The doctor laughed gently at me when I told him that particular lie - I'm not depressed; I'm anxious. He was quite certain that an intelligent and experienced woman like myself knew they are one and the same. And then he said 'no matter, the treatment is the same either way.' And so I agreed to medication, as long as we agreed to the lie that it was for anxiety and not depression. He assigned me some homework, handed me the prescription and sent me on my way.

A month later, the anxiety is gone - okay, it's abated. My fits when driving are now just my regular everyday road ragey reaction to the apparent stupidity of the average driver, not a signal to pull off and just breathe. I sleep. Actual restful sleep. Sometimes too much of it - like 13 hours two nights in a row. Who sleeps like that? I can turn my neck more than 3 degrees. I can breathe. 

Now that I no longer have anxiety to hide behind, lo and behold it would seem I am depressed. And so I have to keep reminding myself, in my very best Bloggess impression, "DEPRESSION LIES"* - It lies through whispers and shouts and unintelligible moans. It lies in murky purple puddles and in the shadows out of the corners of my eyes. It lies in wait.

But just because depression lies doesn't mean I have to. Just because depression tells me to just lie down and give up, that dreams are for suckers, doesn't mean I have to give up or stop dreaming. Just because depression tells me I'm way too f*cked up to be loved doesn't mean that I have to believe it over the people who tell me every day that they love me. Just because depression says I'll never be healthy again doesn't mean I have to stable my bike, invest in gallons of ice cream, and buy back my fat clothes. 

Depression lies. I don't have to. I may continue to be quieter for a little while as I sort beyond what I think and dig down to what's really so. I may take a day here and there to just cuddle up with a soft blanket and a trashy book and believe in time travel and sexy Scottish protectors. I may keep my eyes closed and my ears a little more open for a bit. That's probably not such a bad thing anyway, right? 

Oh, and for the record, here's one more lie we might as well do away with - the best writers are mentally ill. I don't need depression to be a writer. I don't need addiction or schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder any other mental health issue either. I could be perfectly well and healthy and be prolific and engaging and successful. 

By the way, in addition to exercise and self care, my doctor also prescribed happy music. No more sad songs, no matter how much they say (thanks, Elton John). So, here's my challenge to you - send me in the comments or via Facebook or Twitter your favourite Happy Songs and I'll make a YouTube playlist and post it here. Even better - why don't you make a playlist for me and add a link in the comments. :) 

*Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess & Wil Wheaton AKA the cool guy who has overcome having been Wesley Crusher on Star Trek the Next Generartion - both write eloquently about how DEPRESSION LIES, which is why it is Jenny's touchstone, and that's how it became mine as well. You can read Jenny's take on it here, and Wil's take on it here.
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