One Small Step

It’s always a shock, when I emerge from the depths of my basement, aka bitch cave, after a hectic holiday season full of anxiety provoking and mental break down invoking projects, activities and deadlines that I started working on in the fall (and continually added to, in over exuberant fashion) to find a new year has begun. I always look forward to this time of year, but it never fails that I end up disappointed with the end result of the holidays, often due to the hype my mind creates around one single day. It’s hilarious that I continually repeat this process over and over, expecting a different result!

I do this holiday chaos every year, and of course I regret it right after. I should’ve spent more time with my kids doing a plethora of activities but I have noticed that as they get older, they prefer more time with their friends or on their own than with Clem and I. It leaves me thinking, where has time gone? Sad, but not unexpected. Anyway, I’m still here and looking forward to a new year full of many special moments.

My overachieving ass

I dropped off the radar nearly a month ago when things got crazy. Let’s just say that I survived the making of 3 quilts, 3 quilted table runners, 12 quilted mug rugs, 3 quilted teapot cozies, 3 sewn aprons, one painted sign and a pile of holiday baking, on top of all the decorating, shopping and travel. Just last night, I finished a large project for a school in the area. Whew! Now, where’s my damn medal! Just kidding! Within all of this calamity, I had many moments of realizations and reflection that hit me between the eyes and it has set the tone of my future outlook.

Looking back, I’ve been a stay at home mom for many (many) years, and the year Caelan went to grade one, I had hoped to return to the workforce to help dig us out of the crazy debt we accumulated and move on with our life. That, apparently wasn’t what the universe had in store for us. Just before Caelan was diagnosed, Lola needed help, as she couldn’t handle (and still struggles) with the environment that is now defined as a ‘normal’ classroom. Why hasn’t school evolved? Head scratcher, or maybe we have too many ass scratchers? A mystery for sure. At the time, I was trying to volunteer as much as I could to help Lola’s teacher, who didn’t have the necessary help, and be there for the kids, including mine. 

Lola began pulling out her eyelashes (trichotillomania) in response to the stress from the classroom environment she was expected to excel in (think volatile and violent outbursts on a daily basis, such as chairs being thrown and physical altercations with other children). Even I struggled to sit through the outbursts or ignore them while remaining in the same room. Honestly, I’m surprised that Lola and a number of other kids didn’t suffer worse. The school counselor told me that the school division psychologist had been contacted and they were all in agreement that Lola needed medicating and professional help. I love how this was considered a viable solution, despite the many issues that required addressing. Anyway, enough bitching.

The photo that guides me

So! There we were. I have this ‘picture’ in my mind, of my family in that moment. We’re all standing together, posed like we’re in a photo, and it looks something like this: my eldest child, sans eyelashes, looks anxiety ridden with big desperate pleading eyes, who looks terribly unhappy and tired. Standing next to her, is her little sister, bald, sick and lethargic due to dealing with the shitty side effects of chemotherapy. Clem and I, both exhausted, bald and frustrated standing with our children. We both have a look of ‘There’s a mass murderer standing behind the camera and we don’t know which one of us he’s about to kill.’ and also, ‘Where the hell did this life come from?  We didn’t sign up for this shit!’ look on our faces. We stand, tightly clinging to one another, with uncertainty, fear and hopelessness in our eyes. It’s hard to even write about this without those feelings creeping back in.

How far we’ve come. 

I have to say, that mental family photo that I see in my mind from that year, was exactly how you’d picture it. Stunning. It screams, we are up shit creek full of class 5 rapids without a paddle, on fire with a hungry cougar riding in the boat and there ain’t no manual on how to get through this shit, and even if we do, how is it all going to turn out? We totally had it together…pfft…yeah right. I swear, that’s what people thought. Underneath it all, what a shit show. This photo within my mind, is a reminder of one of the absolute lowest moments in my life, and the beginning of the biggest storm I’ve weathered, thus far. That mental image is what I use to gauge how my life is now.

I remember starting out that year, feeling very hopeful and energetic in the hope that we were finally going to get our life together.  I’d abandoned the thought of having any more children, and dealt with the mourning process that followed. I celebrated the fact that I managed to survive raising my children to the point where they were self-sufficient enough to go to school full time. I was ready to have a different life, separate from being a mom. It was freeing.

I never saw the storm clouds brewing, nor the storm that followed. 

It’s hard to believe that we managed to survive together. Thank goodness for that. I must admit, it’s hard to take a step forward again, without having that fearful sinking feeling accompanied by the memory of a time when I thought positively, about taking one step forward, only to be hit unexpectedly by a bag of shit.

It’s time to be brave again.

New year, new outlook

I’ve finally decided to see my future as 20/20, and not my past. I will stop living with the regrets that have plagued me these past 4 years, and quit letting them beat me down. Those lessons are my hard earned wisdom and awakening, not a tool used to justify my own punishment.  It’s hard to believe where we’ve been, and it’s time for me to take a step, even if it’s only just one. I can do it, I know I can, and it’s finally okay to do so. I give myself permission to stop the negative self-talk and allow myself to have hope and be positive while seeing through these new eyes of mine.

I am going to look forward to a bright, positive and hopefully healthy future, full of new and exciting experiences. I wish to create and put out an abundance of positive energy, where I expect nothing in return as I always have, and hope to create a new happiness in my life. I realize that it’s never too late and I am never too old to chase dreams and create new ones…thank you Lea, for your infinite wisdom on that one. I am ambitious and my work ethic is stronger than ever. I will adopt some fearlessness and ditch the self-doubt, it doesn’t look good on me anyway!

I know that it is more than reasonable to set goals and aspire to be happy whatever the situation may be and continue to be grateful and thankful for the life I have. I want to live this life to the fullest, in peace, and hope the same for everyone else. This year, is an entirely new volume within my life, and here’s to hoping the storm clouds stay away for a while. The mental picture I have of today, is vastly different than the one I had only a few short years ago. It is full of hope, vibrancy and wisdom.

Here’s to moving forward. Give yourself the gift of freedom to be yourself and be your own biggest supporter this year, you won’t regret it.

I wish you all a peaceful and wondrous 2020!

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