Sunday, February 26, 2012

Still, a Weekend Well Wasted


 Winter has come late to Manitoba this year.  And as it blows in and brilliant white snow covers everything, it just feels right.  Cozy and safe to hibernate in the house with a good book.

 And I had one.

A fifty cent purchase at the thrift shop.

 I chose to employ the book instead of the red set of Samsonite luggage that I scored for a cool five bucks.

But I don't have anywhere to go.

Besides.  It's snowing.

Living In My Head

 But, knowing that I'm ridiculous doesn't seem to stem the flow of thoughts.  

I've lived for years in a strange mid-point where I continue to have unrelenting thoughts of inadequacy and failure, but no longer believe them whole heartedly.

I've been plagued for the past thirty-one years with thoughts and obsessions about my weight.  I've taken it to extreme degrees- starved and binged, wasted away and plumped out.  I know that freedom from these obsessions lies within the realm of possibility; as I've enjoyed long periods of peaceful remission.   I know too, that bondage in every sense is also possible, since I've also suffered long bouts of this reality.  I am no longer whole-heartedly committed to hating myself, and this now prevents me from becoming as thin as my dysfunctional daydreams dictate.  

So, I live in this world between being blissfully well and not-at-all well.

All of it rests on my state of mental health.  When relationships fail, people cause me pain, and I'm at a loss for how to respond appropriately, my mind hits the "big red button" and my obsessions kick into moderate to high degrees.  I dream of diets, weight loss, clothes hanging in folds.  I imagine the peaceful facade that a thin body would provide me.  It would give me the protection from the cruelty of life.  

These are my imaginings; though I admit they are ridiculous.

My other automatic defense against the pains of life is to blame myself, and even here I no longer believe my thoughts.  It used to be easy to imagine that I brought pain upon myself by being inadequate.  That surely I deserved to be mistreated and disrespected.  It's at least as painful, if not more so, to admit that sometimes people just fail and mistreat me.  Due to nothing that I deserve.  This puts me in a position of powerlessness.  I am powerless to change another person, or influence how they choose to treat me.

Hence the urge to starve.  Something that I can manage on my own.

But all my years of therapy and endless reading and strenuous mental work have rendered me incapable of the basic necessities of the eating disordered.  I'm grateful, but left wanting.  All I'm left with is the mental struggle of sorting out my thoughts, disciphering what is truth, deciding what to own and what else to discard.

I get tired of the weight of my brain.  My anxieties, worries, fears, and introspection.

Meanwhile, my smiles are real.  Sincere.

And I do love to laugh.

I will move on.  It will take me longer than I wish it would, and I'll likely put in more mental energy than your average bear.  It will be moment by moment, and will only occasionally feel like a renewal.  It mostly feels laborious and painful.

I will be honest, and I will do my best to be kind and patient.  With me, and with everyone I can.  For everyone carries some sort of burden.  (thanks, pinterest for some variation of that quote, I've thought a lot about it).


(not to worry, oh speculators, my marriage is intact.  I have these bouts- always have.  This too, shall pass.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Snow Day

 The view out of my kitchen window.

 The deck.

 The yard.

Lucky kids, they have no school.

Lucky husband, the school teacher.

Lucky me?  Perhaps I'll take my day kids outside, to get away from it all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Home again my newly thrifted skirt, a head full of memories, a whole day off, and some treasures worth sharing.

 When there's a whole extra day to the weekend, there's plenty of time for the laundry, vacuuming....... And even..... The annual battle of the taxes.

 But meanwhile, my eyes and mind can wander to all the richness of the weekend.



My creative and "old stuff loving" friend, and the richness of the way she lives. 


The endless surprises in her house.

And the strength, love, and beauty that her hands portray. 


 More people should live in homes where it's okay to engrave "I want to live here" on the breakfast table.

 More kids should grow up in kitchens where apes belong on cupboard pulls and bananas have individual homes.

 And you should all have friends who take you treasure hunting in their ancient graineries.


 At home again, coffee in one hand and wine in the other and taxes still before me, I see my newly gifted treasures around me.


 A yellow paisley kitchen apron.

 Granary rescued curtains for my bathroom.

And a tall stack of bags4darfur potential.

My daughter Jane came with me as well.  To reconnect with her childhood friend; my friend's daughter.  Jane came home to a renewed relationship with these:

 And her own head full of memories of snowboarding, and friendship.

Life, my friends, is largely good.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I am here.


 I am here, in one of my happiest places on earth, with some of my most favorite people.

 And my favorite golden retriever who is absolutely, without question, never, ever allowed up on the couch.

Unless his real alpha goes upstairs to bed.


I am here for some of this. 

But mostly, I am here  

for this 

and this 

And this. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Make Hugs, Not War

Sounds sweet; doesn't it?

That's not the kind of day it was here at Happy Happy Farms.

It was a tug o' war kind of day without enough giggling or winning.

But when the day finally ends, I get to hand these kids off to parents who care. Who say; "Oh! Please vent. That's what I'm here for..." or "Joyce, kids get hurt sometimes, its ok. It happens at home too- you can't be everywhere....." or "Joyce, you're such a blessing... we're so glad to have you loving our kids....." (even when I've suggested that at times I wanted to throw them out into a snow drift.... they still say these things....)

So today when Princess Penelope got dropped on her head (no, it wasn't me....) and bit her tongue..... and bled and bled.... what did I hear today?

"It's not a broken bone, Joyce. Tongues heal really fast. I hope you have a relaxing evening, Joyce. It's not as bad as when she bit her tongue last time... at home....."

You've no idea how grateful I am. You've no idea what it means to bask in this kind of support, trust, love, grace. I don't know if I could do this if I didn't have all of you- my most amazing moms and dads.

I'll save my giggles and kisses, rolling, grinning, and cuddling for your babies. But when my house is quiet again, I'll be grateful to you.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Love Letters

I have a book that I can read.

My daughter made it for me one christmas. I cried when I read it then, and I cry when I read it now. It reminds me of the beauty in my life. The beauty amidst the mess and confusion.

It reminds me of this constant love I have around me. How my family is always here with me, in one way or another. How the ones who have left us are still so special, so missed. (I can still hear him laugh whenever I see a picture)

It comforts me when I wonder if my children mostly despise me. (I know they don't, but sometimes its a shaky deal). It pleases me no end to see the creativity and thought and time that went into this book. How she made it for me, her mama.

I have these amazing kids, this perfectly malfunctioning family, and a nineteen year old marriage chock full of love, forgiveness, and hope.

There are times in life where stuff gets thrown around in places it doesn't belong. And its easy to forget all the amazing goodness right in front of me.

So when life is sad and heavy,

I have this that book I like to read.

(thank you my beautiful daughter. You make so me happy)


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Crisis: a Snapshot

 Call me an overachiever, but I'm thinking of practising for my upcoming mid-life crisis.

I should have time before the weekend to paint my kitchen turquoise, replace our boring, functional refrigerator with an awesomely curvey one,  and install a spice rack that can double as an ashtray holder.

I already own a tutu-esque garment, thanks to my grad dress shopping forays into Winnipeg's Ragpickers.  All I'll have to do to fit into a supremely delicious green checkered dress is tensor my breasts, and wear roughly five pairs of spankies, plus my mother's handmedown girdle from the 1970's.  And not eat for the next fourteen days and nights.  But that's what the cigarettes are for.  I'll throw my red valaise atop the voluptuous fridge so that I can dash away at a moments' notice.  I'll leave the door thrown open.

It's going to be divine.

Maybe I'll have time to start after chauffeuring the kids' basketball team; Saturday.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Am I Who You Say I Am?

Who am I when what I hold near and dear doesn't reflect or confirm the goodness that I know I possess? How then do I hold fast to a self-concept that I've carefully constructed, guarded, and protected? What character must I possess to know who I am in spite of what others believe? Can it be enough that I know who I am?

In "Le Miserable", Jean Val Jean doesn't insist that people understand that he is a good and kind, honest and trustworthy person. He doesn't insist on convincing anyone. And people mistreat and abuse him terribly. He is cut off from people who he's loved with every cell in his body. People he has sacrificed and suffered for. Is it enough that he truly was good, kind, honest, and trustworthy? What did he tell himself?

Where does selflessness end and self respect begin? When is it important to speak your own truth without fear, and when is it better to just let it go.....

The careful dance of caring for others while respecting oneself is a great mystery that is not without pain. It holds no set of instructions, and a heartbreaking variety of possible outcomes. Loving people brings all the richness that life can hold, while it twists your guts and makes you wish you could stop caring.

It is better to be kind.... it is better to be kind.... it is better to be kind....

Be kind.