Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Little Wine...

About two months ago, I decided to stop drinking alcohol.  I thought I was seeing a pattern of irritability and depressive moods within 24 hours of consumption.  I also noticed that I couldn't keep my big mouth shut and my opinions were suddenly VERY important and that was before I even finished my first drink.

So lastnight I had half a glass of wine with some friends.  I saw imediately why I don't drink anymore.  I noticed I was talking louder, I could feel the strain in my throat.  I felt this need to be heard, I found it hard not to interupt the person I was talking "with".  I put the word with in brackets because really it was more like I was talking at them.  I needed to sober up.  I dispised this feeling.  I went out for ice cream and sat at the docks and allowed the cool air to refresh me.  A headache came on and suddenly. I was exhausted and just wanted to be alone in my room.

I had nightmares, nightmares I haven't had since I was with my ex.  I woke up hugging myself and reminding myself that I was safe.  My side hurts like someone is stabbing it with a spoon.  My head has seen better days.  All this from half a glass of wine.

I'm glad for this experience, I'm happy for the time I spent with friends, but I can't help but feel that the time would have been better spent if I had been completely sober.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Self Compassion

3 days of a migraine later... I was fortunate enough to have caught it in the early stages.  By this I mean, when it was simply an aura and not painful yet.  I took my 4 painkillers, caffeinated drink and Gravol right away.  Then I kept up on my pain management regiment. So the pain didn't become too much.  However my migraines also bring on extreme exhaustion, slurred speech, confusion, limb weakness and by the 3rd day, extreme irritability.

The third day was awful.  I had no patience.  I needed a lot of personal space to just rest, and I got snappy when it was interrupted.  I also yelled after asking my son to clean up after himself for the third time.  I got way angrier, I gave the kids "the look." The look you get when you are about to blow up and you are just barely holding it in.  At one point my daughter was in tears, my son was in tears and I was in tears.  My children are not used to me yelling.  The yelling didn't  last long and was always immediately followed by apologies, hugs and breathing together coping techniques.  I had nightmares.  I felt horribly guilty. I felt like this was who I was as a parent and I was awful.  It's so easy to immerse oneself in this train of thought when you are tired.  All the excellent days of team work, good communication and patience disappeared from memory.

I woke up this morning headache free.  It was like a whole new world;  all bright and shiny.  I felt my mood drop for a moment when I remembered the day before.  Then something occurred to me: I was doing this on my own, most people have a partner to take on some of the responsibility of the kids, laundry, dishes when they are sick.  Yeah, I wasn't perfect by any means, but I recognized my actions and took responsibility for them. I also got them fed, bathed, kept them safe from harm and worked two shifts.  I needed to cut myself some slack. I wouldn't judge a friend in this position so harshly, why was I judging myself in this way?

Self compassion.  I'm getting it now.



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reminder

I forgot.  I forgot what I really wanted in my life.  I began to focus on the necessities and day to day living. My zest for life was fading, and so was my energy.  Little (and not so little) stuff was becoming consuming and though I could find small joys through out the day I knew I had lost something.  I meditated for an hour or two a day.  I worked through some emotional baggage from my last relationship (man, I'm getting good at that).  I realized I was beginning to focus too much attention on the possibilities of a romantic match.  Dating is fun, don't get me wrong, but it's best done when you don't feel you are lacking in some way.   I kept putting out there this desire to have an adventure with someone.  I forgot that someone could be me.

I'm not even sure what triggered the thought of taking off early and heading East rather than West, oh wait... It was that I had left my sexy leather jacket in Tofino.  My cousin told me to come by and get it.  I was like, why not take a trip earlier?  It might actually work out for the best that way.  So my kids and I gathered around the iPad and began to look up flight costs.  We decided that this vacation we would visit my sister in St.John's  instead of my cousin on Vancouver island.  Both Coasts in a 9 month span... not bad.

I promised myself that I would never take my freedom to travel for granted again.  That my work would not become my life.  Granted, having a job with a company as flexible as the one I work for is one of the reasons I can travel, yet another reason why my toy store job is awesome.

I stopped treating life like the miracle it is.  I forgot my purpose here is to experience, not to simply "get by".  When I first left my last relationship, I knew exactly the kind of life I wanted to live.  My focus was going to be on travel and rebuilding my bond with my children.  It was going to be about freedom.  I went out today and bought an even sexier leather jacket, I hear the wind can be chilly coming off the Atlantic in June.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A year.

So it was in late April that I moved to the shelter.  As Spring swoops in around me, I can't help but look back, even just to compare the weather.  I remember the first day at the shelter with such vividness. I remember being so kind and gentle with myself, it was like a small part of me had been hidden away and allowed to re emerge when I felt safe.

Of Lambs and Lions

Looking Out the window
There are ducks on the pond
Ducks mate forever
A cruel reminder,
For those of us in the shelter.

Oh, God. I've fucked everything up.
He'll never forgive me
It's truly over
We'll never come back from this
Good.
No more going back,
This time he won't take you
Not after this.
I think I'm going to throw-up.
Why haven't I cried yet?
It's the adrenalin,
Let it carry you.
Did I make a huge mistake?

Replaying scary moment before realization and decision.

Remember how determined and brave you were?
Find that again.
Find that woman who told herself: No more.
Did you find her?
Yes.
Good.
Now, take your kids for a walk out the back way
So no one sees you coming from the shelter
Hold their little hands
Let them help you pick out flowers at the shop.
He was horrible at picking out flowers
Yes, yes he was.
He always gave me Gerber daisies.
They were his sister's favourite, not mine.
Now you can choose whichever ones you want.
I can, can't I?
Yes.
Put the bouquet in your window
And look at them
Instead of the ducks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

To Whoever is Reading My Eulogy...



Now someone HAS to say this at my funeral, but only because it's a meme on facebook and it would be like an inside joke between the eulogy reader and my dead-ass self. It will still be awesome many years later because most of the crowd would be like "WTF? Are we at the wrong funeral? The only couches Amber ever owned were futons or procured on big item garbage pick-up day" (I always checked for syringes, cuz I'm safe like that).  I have had extraordinary footwear though. My favourite being the glittery platform ruby red slippers I purchased with my sister in TO while visiting her at university. I like my stuff. I like it because I never got it thinking about impressing anyone but myself. It represents me, or the stage of my ever evolving self in which I brought it into my life.  Material things can be so demonized in our society.  However, perhaps all we need to ask ourselves is: Am I buying this because it makes me feel better? Or am I buying this because it represents the awesomeness that is me? 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Eureka!

Some people come into your life to show you what you want, or more so, what you don't want.  Lately there's been a desire to have a relationship but I couldn't seem to decide which kind.  I want to be able to bring it into my reality, but I want to be concious of what I am looking for, so I can focus my energies on that. Since I put out there that I wanted a romantic relationship but without focus, there have been many opprotunities yet, none of them suited me.  It was like life was saying: "You weren't specific so I just sent you a bunch of different things. Good luck with that."
As each different person came into and out of my romantic perspective, I gained knowledge of the things I really liked and the things that were not for me.  Even awkward dates and let downs had their merits.  I'm able to hone in more on what I want with every single one.

I decided a change of perspective was in order.  I realized that I'm not looking for a person, I'm looking for a relationship.  When you look for a person, it becomes possessive, you are willing to over-compromise to have a person stay in your life.  Maybe accept a relationship type that part of you doesn't want.  It becomes about building a relationship around keeping that person.  Changing yourself to keep that person or expecting them to change (like you have) in order to keep you.  Seems like a lot of work and a recipe for resentment.

I've had a recent conversations with friends about romantic/sexual relationships. They described aspects of their relationships (boundaries and the like) and how it works for them.  I discussed my different types of relationships as well and through these conversations (mostly written in messages) I was able to really narrow my focus.  I reminisced on the relationships in which I had the most fun, felt the most free and grew in many positive ways.

They were not "traditional" relationships.

In fact, they were very open, very independent and had no expectations what so ever. Some only lasted a couple of weeks, some months and some were on and off spread over several years.  The common thing that made them work was mutual respect, and responsibilty.  It was not up to my romantic partners to change for me, it was not up to them to follow rules I made.  It was up to me to decide if I liked it as it was, if there was something they wanted from or in the relationship that I did not or vice versa we parted romantically.  No blame, no anger.  We are taught that good relationships are built on compromise.  I think long relationships are built on compromise. How good the relationship is, is based on how much it doesn't feel like you are compromising on your wants and needs while you are in it.

So after a very long message with a friend the other night, I figured it out.  The relationship type I am looking for is really just a series of very cool events shared and co-created with someone else along with physical intimacy where we are completely aware that our happiness is our own to maintain independently. So I'd like to share my gratitude to all my friends and dates (and both in some cases) who helped me get to this point. Now (to paraphrase Abraham Hicks) I'm going to manifest the shit outta this.




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Things I Love About Being A Lone Parent

I recently read a post about single parents pushing through.  I didn't relate to much of it.  But I liked that at the end it basically said that I was amazing.  I mean, who doesn't want to hear that?

Truth be told.  Lone parenting has been amazing for my kids and I.  I honestly do not want to find a co-parent, even if I meet a great romantic partner, I do not want them to have anything to do with my parenting.  In fact, I don't like the idea of moving in with anyone again until my kids have moved out.
What is so great about having a lower income?  Only one parent to meet your children's emotional and physical needs?  Let me list for you everything I love about Lone parenting:

1. Lower income (Yep, keep reading) our lower income has forced me to think creatively about housing situations.  I needed to think outside of the apt box.  So I decided to rent rooms.  We lived on a farm for over a month renting two large upstairs rooms, though in the end we left earlier than we thought because it wasn't a great fit, in the meantime we learned all about chickens and horses.  We even got to walk a miniature horse on a daily basis.  Now we rent two rooms in a large home (way more space and luxury than we could afford to rent if we got an apartment)  and we have a lovely and loving housemate.  Our lowered income has also focused us on what we REALLY want to spend money on vs just purchasing/doing something because we kind of like it, or it might be fun.  We are more grateful for what we have and what we do.

2. Parenting exactly the way I want to.  No explanations and no arguments. No discussions outside of my children sharing their feelings with me about my parenting and us working things out.  No having to jump in to do "damage control" when the parenting partner uses parenting techniques that I believe to be harmful.  This has freed up so much of my time and energy.

3.More time with my kids.  Before, I felt like my energy had to be split between 3 people in the home. It's still 3 it's just now one of those people I'm sharing my energy with is me. So I have way more. My kids climb into my bedroom and have a sleepover whenever and I don't have to worry about my partner having to work early the next day.  There is no sense of obligation to anyone but my children and myself.

4. Not having enough time to get everything done.  I've learned to prioritize. Health first.  I've also learned that while waiting for your bath tub to fill up you totally have enough time to wipe down the toilet and sink. The time it takes for coffee to percolate is exactly the amount of time it takes to empty a dish washer. I have also delegated responsibilties to my children.  They are amazing at it and they are learning team work and life skills.  I can see the pride in their faces when they switch over laundry and help make dinner. I've also taken a good look at what NEEDS to be done.  Priorities have been set there as well.  Learning to say "No." to some outside requests.

5.The opportunity to build community.  When you can get everything you need, in one small family unit, it's tempting not to reach beyond it and build a community.  However, being that I am in the market for a car and just learning to drive, we have needed to reach out.  I have met great people who have leant us a hand and even become family friends.  I was feeling a bit lonely, so I contacted some fellow musicians and went out to sing with them once or twice a month, it has been great for me.  I am open to meeting more people in order to keep a healthy social life.

I personally feel that Lone parenting is way easier for me than co-parenting.  This may have to do with the fact that I have what some people label as unique parenting views.  Mostly though, I think it has to do with the fact that the typical view of the nuclear family and the places of each individual therein does not appeal to me in the slightest.  Anything I put my energy into, I want to gain back.  I want to forge this path with my beautiful children, I want to do amazing things and I already have.  Single parenting does not have to be a death sentence.  It can be your ticket to life: YOUR life with no one to answer to but your kids and yourself.  Show your children how much love your little family can produce.  Show them that being single is a desired state that should not be given up lightly.