Monday, July 25, 2016

Migraines Over Matter

Today I got hit with a whopper of a migraine.  I caught the pain part fairly early, but the exhaustion and neurological symptoms just kept coming.  So I had the embarrassing task of calling my manager and slurring and stuttering through the explanation of why I can't come in.  I'm not embarrassed about the slurring and stuttering itself, it's that I know it's alarming to hear, I know it creates pity.  I hate pity.  I'd like to assure them I'll be okay, but as you can imagine, it's just going to lead to more slurring...  and less reassurance.

So I was forced to lie down in bed.  No Netflix, no reading, no music, no facebook and with a stomache just upset enough to keep me awake.  In other words; no way to avoid looking at my messy emotional life.  I think this migraine was planned by the powers that be.  I have been the queen of avoidance for the last 3 weeks.  It has been extremely fun finding new ways to distract myself.  Live music, new friends, flirting, swimming, dancing, writing, movies, art and work.  But there have been things eating away at me.  I had to let go of my ex.  Fully, completely, let go.  A part of me was limiting myself to casual sex, because I was thinking that I couldn't possibly start a meaningful relationship with another man while still being attached to my ex.  That I would just be reminded of him whenever I was intimate with someone else.

That, my friends, is bullshit.

I totally deserve the potencial for something better than mediocre sex.  Because sex without a great connection is mediocre, I don't care if the guy can go all night in all positions: if I don't really like him, the sex is still lacking in something fundamental and therefore mediocre.  That's not to say that I won't scratch an itch... I just know I can and will have something better very soon.

So I did it.  I reviewed everything in the relationship from beginning to end.  I saw where it could never work, I acknowledged and felt gratitude for the lessons I learned.  I fully accepted it's inevitable demise and without blame or anger (okay there was a bit of anger/hurt, but we all need something to jump off from).  Five hours later, a feeling of inner peace came over me.  The guilt I had been carrying for wanting to scratch an itch was gone.  The negative belief system of not being ready for another meaningful relationship a thing of the past.

So, here's to new beginnings and the blinding pain that forces us to look at ourselves.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Stains that Fade

Adrianna came over to do a henna piece on me.  It's a Phoenix.  There's no doubt that I have risen from the ashes.  Last year at this time I could feel my insides shaking.  My stomache muscles were tense at all times.  My shoulders hunched forward in a protective manner.  Deep breaths were an act of courage.  I cried in class during the chest opening yoga poses, because they reminded me of how much healing I would have to do and the vulnerability necessary to do so.

Here I am sulking in my "heartache".  Wanting what does not exist, feeling an ache of loss in my chest... A chest that can fully expand, a rib cage that revels in deep breaths. I got so wrapped up in these infrequent moments, I feel as if I had been feeling this way the whole time.  Then I glance at my Phoenix and realize how transient it all is; How pain is relative and even in the worst time of betrayal and heartbreak it has it's own mortality.  

I laugh at my melodramatic emotional thought processes.  Then I take a good look at my coping mechanisms.  There's a bit of cringing.  There's a bit of head shaking.  There's a soft smile that spreads across my face. People are my coping mechanisms.  I love people.  I love what they say and do.  I like seeing them be silly, I like seeing them bloom when I focus on them with my heart.  I see a person and I think: Hey, I like you.  Let's have a good time, even if just for a few moments. 
I pass a stranger with a cool t-shirt while crossing the street and I give them a high five.  We connect and light up for that moment and it is beautiful.

Though right now, don't think I am capable of the same connection with someone as I felt (feel?) with my ex...  I have this ingrained belief that you can't feel romantically about two people the same way  at the same time.  There's this deep shame about that, it seems to block my ability to connect with another person of the opposite sex in the same way. 
Like: sorry, I can't really like you or have a meaningful sexual experience with you because I still have feelings for my ex.  
Is it my feelings for my ex (knowing full well we can't be together) really what is stopping me? Or is it just self-inflicted guilt and shame?  I tell myself that I'm a thirty five year old single woman who wants and deserves a decent sex life and to go out there and get it.  Who knows? I may even find a meaningful connection along the way... I tell myself it's societal conditioning that stops me.  But I am lying. 

When another man touches me I remember him touching me and the emotional contrast between the two... it hurts. It's as simple as that.  There's no patriarchal conditioning to blame, no complex slut shaming cultural bullshit.  Being with someone else makes me miss him more. 

My ovaries tell me to just keep trying new guys and it will get emotionally easier each time. 
My heart... she flashes a glimpse of that woman I met in front of mac's and tells me not to fuck that up.
And a voice, a voice that has been getting quieter as each day passes says to me: He might want to get back together... don't ruin that just because you want to get laid.  I compassionately explain why that is not going to happen, it can be hard being compassionate with the vulnerable part of myself.  The part I'd rather just call foolish and dismiss as ridiculous.  How embarrassing that a part of me is putting itself out there to be rejected... again.

This crazy world of dating and relationships, it takes it's toll on a woman who scares as easily as she falls in love.  



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Options

My mornings in St.John's look like this:  wake up, get kids dressed, head to Coffee Matters, drink a cafe mocha and have Joon map out our walking journey that day.  One day my sister took the kids and I went for a walk on my own.  Something said to me, "try that little cafe on the steps you saw the other day."  So I did.  Though I couldn't remember exactly where it was I figured I would just walk wherever I felt like and I would find it.  I did.

I tried to sit outside, but the tables were sticky. I looked for a napkin to wash the table off, but I couldn't find them in the cafe. I was getting frustrated.  Looked like I would be sitting inside during this beautiful day.  So I chose a seat in the back of the cafe.  There were 50's style Jesus paintings on the walls, such a strange feeling of nostalgia I had while looking at them...

Then he walked in.  Laptop in hand, eyes searching the walls.  My headphones were on and music was blasting. But I caught his attention and motioned to the hanging extension cord at the next table.
I had all the recent albums I purchased spread across my table, my journal was filled with scribbles about the show I had seen the night before.  I immersed myself in my writing again.  Then a tap on my shoulder, he's offering me a bite of his chocolate something or other.  I kindly turn him down with a shake of my head and a smile.  Refusing to take off my headphones and break this amazing creative space I am in.  So 15 minutes later and I am finished my first draft of my blog post.  That's when I come back to reality and realize, he  probably was the reason I was told to come here.

So I started up a conversation to see where it goes.  Turns out he's a digital nomad.  Someone who does his work via the internet and travels wherever he wants supporting himself all the while.  This is exactly what I want to do.  I want to find work that will allow me to travel freely.  Not only is he a digital nomad, but he also hosts a meetup group to help other digital nomads share information and tips on how to do this successfully.  I told him that I need a skill that travels and makes money (I can write, but there hasn't been much money coming in from that). So he asks me: what do you like?
I told him that I love human rights, particularily when it comes to medical situations.  I describe to him my doula work.  Then he says: I'm sorry but I have to interupt you, I just had a flash and I need to show you this:

It was one of his client's websites.  They sell TENS machines and they are looking for sales reps.  You choose your target market, you choose where to sell them.  I could travel anywhere there are healthcare facilities and sell them... And yes that is right up my alley.

After another hour of conversation I had to go, I thanked him for the exchange.  He gave me his email address to keep him informed on how it was going for me.  I haven't emailed him yet, nor have I looked into the TENS sales opportunity.  I feel like I need a year to sort things out, maybe during this year I will begin to look into those options.  I try not to think of obstacles, but there is a fairly large one when it comes to me travelling with my kids.  Making sure they get time with their father.  They are not old enough to fly on their own yet and that only would come into play if their father was willing to change up his schedule with them.  So instead, I am planning a 3-4 week vacation next fall and perhaps a few small excursions in the meantime, just to lightly scratch my travelling itch while my kids get older.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Diamonds In The Rock

Okay, back to the wild and wonderful world of self-exploration via travel.  In the immortal words of Ani Difranco "I just got kinda....distracted."

So for months before I left, my desire was to immerse myself in the St.John's music culture.  I wanted to see a new band every night, I wanted to converse in order to understand how this musical community thrived on an island so harsh and barren it is known as The Rock.

Apparently the answer was in the question.  Almost every musician/artist I talked to had the same theory, which I am going to paraphrase using a Dylan Thomas quote:
 "Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
They described the colourful homes as a way to counter the thick St.John's fog.  
The music to drown out the gale, and to forget the drowned.
The dancing to prove that their bodies were not still...yet.
Harsh conditions can create such beauty...
And resilience.

It's no secret that Newfoundland is having some serious economical challenges.  With oil prices so low and the over spending by the government during the short lived "boom"; there is much unrest.  Posters are everywhere in the city, calling the Premier to resign.  Unemployment is rising and those with jobs often need more than one.  Darnell, a thickly accented musical theatre actor, explained to me over a pint of Quidi Vidi's 1892 that he (aside from his theatre work) needs two jobs.  He's a chef at a restaurant down the street during the day and a bouncer at a pub at night. "I know you can't tell looking at me, but I get punched 3-4 times a night... Guess eventually the bruises stop showing up." 
A lack of resources is the best way to become resourceful.  That is the grit that you can sense in a Newfoundlander.  We are soft and reserved here, in our comfortable food-only-a-few-hours-away towns.  They are hard and wild and beautiful in their expression of rebellion.  They rage like the ocean and unapologetically dance on their watery graves.  Listen to the music of the Newfoundlanders and you will hear the sorrow and the never ending fight.  I give to you this beautiful example from The Fortunate Ones, introduced to me by Alexi, the Coffee Matters Barista who came out and shared a beer, his musical knowledge and other musings... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xj8IlanhTQE 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Shouldn't it be Harder than This?

If you imediately thought, "that's what she said..." Then you are awesome.

Now back to my serious musings:

Really though, it should have been a more painful experience, according to my memories of past break ups.  I went to go see my ex about a project we are working on together for the radio station.  We had a discussion about the inevitable awkwardness ahead of time on messenger. We agreed to high five at the end of said awkward discussion.  Because that is how fucking awesome "we" are...

Okay, anyways... I get there and it's not painful at all.  In fact I'm so excited about the project that I hardly notice any discomfort.  This may sound strange but (aside from when we were in bed)  this is the most at ease I felt around him since we got together.  It was like the pressure was off.  When we were involved I always felt like I didn't know where I stood with him.  Now it's quite clear exactly where I stand and we can just be awesome "us" again.

When I was walking toward the station, I focused on the trees around me.  I told myself to come from a place of love for him, not of the love I wished to feel from him.  I wanted him to feel happy, I wanted him to feel comfortable, I realized that what I was feeling was unconditional love.  When I stopped making it about me, it stopped hurting.

So, disaster averted and a strong sense of relief has come over me.  Not bad for the first relationship after a serious one.  Though, I think that I'm only going to seek friendships with men for awhile.  While I decide what exactly it is that I am looking for.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Throat

My throat hurts.  Usually this stems from exhaustion and not saying what I mean. A lack of communication.  But how can one communicate what they feel or want if they don't know?  I hate making decisions out of the need to avoid pain and discomfort, but I'm in a spot where either way, it's not going to be easy...

Then something beautiful happens and I am reminded this too shall pass, and for a moment it feels like it already has.  My hands are relaxing more and more, the dread of something slipping through my fingers is being replaced with the relief from my tight muscles and fingernail-imprinted palms.

My friends near and far are randomly arriving via messages and car to be with me.  I spend the majority of my day content, even joyful.  I am meeting other creative people and making plans. I am beginning to see how my extra shifts are going to make way for my next travelling adventure and I am stoked.

I'm putting together a radio show and hoping to have it done ASAP, while my memories are still intact.  They say that you just keep working on your own joy and the rest will fall into place.  So I have decided to come from a perspective of pure faith.

I look back at where I was last year at this time and shake my head at my unfounded fear of heartache. I have come from so far; I have kicked fear and grief's ass, all while broke and disabled and without the help of alcohol or sex.  I got this.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Goodbye Canes

It is with a strange bitter sweetness that I give away my canes.  I remember when I reluctantly began to use one, I had so much pride, I was so insecure about being seen with it.  The day that I made it all the way up my hill from downtown, I learned that pride had held me back from so much.  What I had originally saw as a symbol of confinement was actually my access to freedom.

Though my legs and vertigo seemed to only get worse and eventually a wheelchair became necessary for many out of home tasks, they paved the way for my acceptance of the wheelchair, or at least for not being embarrassed to be seen in it.  

All trials are teachers, this I believe.  So if I could be candid with those I love, I'd really like to share some first hand knowledge with you:

I don't wish to speak for everyone with an assistive device, but I think it is safe to say this:
We are generally tired and in pain when we are out, that is why we have the assistive device.  It is draining to explain our medical situation to people who sees us, it is also draining to find ways to politely not tell you our medical situation, mostly because we know you are coming from a good place and we do not wish to hurt your feelings.  A simple: Hey how are you? Will suffice.  If we feel like talking about why we suddenly have a cane or wheelchair we will.  Otherwise, please carry on as if nothing is different.  For my part, I was acutely aware of how different things were for me and I really appreciated any sort of normality I could get at that time.

I am so grateful for the lessons I recieved during my time of disability.  I know it's time to let go of my fear of ever needing to hold my canes again.  Faith.  I'm crying right now because I truly have faith in my body to be healthy and strong, and I feel for that woman who was me who thought she may never walk unassisted again.  

I am a miracle.  I forget that some days, but not today.