Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ugly Girl In Photos Magically Becomes Beautiful

I was looking at the last of the family pictures on Facebook. The last ones with Scott.  I got rid of many of our lovey dovey photos because they hurt, they felt like a lie.  These photos I am tagged in, and that night I met a lovely woman and her husband and I actually had the guts to sing in front of others, so I left them alone. I remember looking at those photos when I was first tagged in them.  I thought about how bad I looked in them,  how heavy I had become, how could I possibly be attractive to my partner? I had such low self esteem.  Today I took a good look at them again and I was stunned by how pretty I looked.  How could I have ever thought I looked bad?   They are exactly the same photos, I even went through them several times to see if maybe I missed the "ugly" ones I had seen before.

I really didn't love myself back then.

I can see how body image issues can arise in dysfunctional families.  When your self worth drops, your brain will focus on your flaws; intellectual, emotional and physical.

But here I am, every morning brushing my teeth and noticing how blue/grey my eyes are and that I like my cheek bones.  I'm smiling at a reflection with little to no make up on.  I walk by a large mirror in my hallway and think, wow what a beautiful woman I've become.  I hope my daughter sees this.  I want her to see that beauty comes from within. It' doesn't come from having a good heart, it comes from knowing you have a good heart.  It's all about perception.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The heart of the house

Today I did my banking, paid my rent and went grocery shopping with my kids.  When we got home, I lit a candle in my kitchen, I asked the kids to play upstairs and I prepared our meal.  I chopped carrots and cucumbers and put them in containers for future snacks.  I cut cheese into cubes for easy eating.  I made broccoli soup, pasta and pea meal bacon (I prepared it like a roast in the oven).  My kids came downstairs, they sat at the table and chatted while I poured their soup.  I leaned down and pulled out the roasting pan and felt this warmth spread over me.  It felt like Christmas, it felt like family, it felt like home.  I felt amazing and whole. I began to cry, I was so overwhelmed by this feeling. For years stress and conflict surrounded the kitchen, surrounded food preparation and cleaning.  I forgot how satisfying cooking a meal for your family can be, how food can be translated into love.  My children understood, they saw my tears and my smile and My daughter said: "Happy Thanksgiving mommy, thank you for making us this meal."  We all knew it wasn't our thanksgiving, but she felt it too.  We cleaned up together and ate forgotten gelato for dessert.   Another piece of me healed today,  we healed together today as a family.  We are going to be alright.  We are going to be just fine.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

More friends

Running behind, looks like we'll be home late on the 8th.  Met a man who has been travelling for the last year through working for room and food.  Great for someone without kids, but until my kids can pitch in, not really an option for me, but cool idea none the less.

Two hour long conversation with Ben, who's wife is a midwife.  Touching onFrank Breech, writing epiphanies, being in-lone with yourself.   I have really been enjoying conversation and connections with males in which there is no possibility of a sexual relationship.  The conversation continues simply out of the enjoyment of itself, of sharing ideas and experiences. Why in most instances did I assume that the males to which I am speaking main reasons for continuing conversations with me is sexual interest?  Why can't I attribute it to the fact that they may really be enjoying the conversation?  Were these thoughts because I'm trying to protect myself from being hurt and feeling fooled?  Are they because I no longer feel that I am an interesting enough person to hold a conversation with, without the possibility of a sexual relationship building?  Perhaps a bit of both.  We'll see when I leave my train bubble, whether or not this assumption creeps back over me during my next few conversations with males who are not sexually available.



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Peace

On the ferry back.  I like to torture myself with adventure and uncertainty said the man behind me.  There's still so much I want to see and do in this province.  Maybe next year we will plan a several stop trip.  It doesn't look like Edmonton Mall is in the cards this one.

The view of the mountain range is amazing.  How small everything will seem in Muskoka when I get back.  Also, how cold.  It hasn't been below 12 degrees while we have been outside during this entire trip.  I lost my jacket too.  Had to buy a new one, so I purchased a less sexy but warmer one for the trip home.

I woke up to an eerie fog surrounding the train. I never thought of fog as eerie before, but perhaps that's because I always knew what lay beyond it.  There were sandbanks that served as driftwood graveyards and a green river flowed around them.  Bald eagles perched on the grave markers watching the water for signs of life.  It was beautiful, the scene struck me with the same sense of awe as the mountains, and I couldn't tear my eyes away.  Factory ghost towns line this once prosperous section of the railway.  This trip has shown me the frailty of our economy, like watching dominos in slow motion, the warehouses in the process of being torn down, parking lots empty for all but two or three cars...each company along the line just one step behind the other,  our creeky old train serving as a death rattle along the way.  So many opportunities for green energy and renewable resources to breath life back into these rural communities, why isn't our government wooing these industries?  Where are these hemp farms?  Why couldn't that pulp processing plant get an economic grant to become a hemp processing plant?  Our next pm should ride this railway and get a play by play of every crumbling community along the way.  There is no work, their houses are worth nothing, these families are packing up their most precious possessions and moving to cities to get minimum wage jobs.

6 Bald eagles

Met a family travelling from China to Halifax, the father was from Canada originally.  They believed Canada was going down the tubes, that China, though communist was a better place to live.  They told me that there are no supports there, that there was no victim mentality.  I never really thought about Canada's victim mentality.  Our system seems to be built in a way to keep those on social assistance, on social assistance.  Only certain programs actually encourage and even allow a person to upgrade their skills in order to obtain more permanent or higher paying employment.  Personal growth is highly discouraged except in the case of a student looking to get a loan that is.

Looking out the window at the mountains, looking down at the river, forgetting that The train I am on is on a mountain itself.  Don't become so far obsessed  with looking out at other miraculous views, that you forget the miracle of what is right underfoot.

I love how the my whole world changes according to my soundtrack.  My mountainous surroundings suddenly became bad-ass as so whatcha want blasts into my ears, I love travelling with Simon and Garfunkle, the Lumineers, Shaky Graves... but beastie boys adds a whole other level.  I've been tempted to skip the love songs, because naturally my brain wants to associate with my last example of love.  I will not run, I tell myself.  I will let my memories flow through my mind, I will not judge them.

The trip home is timed in a way that is allowing us to see the landscape we slept through on the way here.

Adult conversation, children playing cards.  Mountains shifting, turning, growing.

Thinking about where to go when the kids go to their dad's.  A night in Kingston? Ottawa?  Should I ask someone to come on my adventure?  Would anyone I know be up for something like that?

Is this something I should be doing on my own?  Maybe.

They are blasting the roots of the mountains here...

The landscape inspires me to write, but when I do I miss the landscape.  What a cruel thing a muse can be. It's hard to type not looking down when you can't feel the keys descend under your finger tips.

The only red in the mountains are dead conifers.

I like to picture the jagged mountain tops to be collapsing stone castles.  Bucket list addition: see Britain's castles.

Wise ladies sing to me through my earphones: Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world... I was a long time coming and I'll be a longtime gone, you've got your whole life to do something and that's not very long.  So preoccupied with my emotional bullshit I forgot that I got a world to improve.  I forgot how powerful I was, I focused all of my healing energy on a small unit.  That is not my purpose.  I see that again.  I remember that shift happening, I remember the energy focusing into my womb, into my home, into my arms, into my lap, Into my breasts, into my hands, into my lullabies, into my bedtime stories, into my family no matter what that looked like at the time. I forgot how to expand joy, how to exhale joy, how to let it swirl off me like mist as I walk down the street.  I forgot how to ACCEPT joy, I forgot that I do not have to work for it, I do not have to look for it in good deeds, in beautiful landscapes, in lovers, in children, in friends, in ritual, in talismans, in adventure.  Joy is there, patiently waiting behind these things from which I catch glances, she waves cheerfully at me.  I kept putting conditions on my joy, I will feel Joy when I have done _________, I will feel joy when I stop _________, I will feel joy when I start __________.  There are no conditions on feeling Joy. None.  You are always worthy of joy, at all times, in all situations, joy is there, it is okay to feel it, it is okay to express it.  Joy is possible in loss, it is possible in fear, it is possible in anger, for these are passing emotions, a joy based in wonder and the miraculous existence of self: this is eternal, this cannot be tapped out, for as long as you exist your life is miraculous, period.  You are animated stardust capable of consciously and unconsciously affecting the world around you, an inexhaustible source of joy and wonder right there. I accept joy, fully, completely and unconditionally.

Missed a Facebook message from James Gray while in Jasper, seems like we just missed each other in our travels.  He just crossed into BC as we came upon Jasper.  I wonder if he saw our train?  Many of his songs were in my travel soundtrack.

Well how do you follow something like that?
 
The Baker, The Free Hug guy, The looks like Neisha  Coleman girl, friend met in Vancouver that I forget the name of.... Jig saw puzzles, food additives, self sufficiency, swans vs Canada geese, via can rail passes.  If you go out and do things you think are cool, you will meet other people who enjoy doing the same things.  Easy concept to say, cool concept to experience.  What a great group that jumped on in Saskatoon.  I love the train.

Things I learned about train travel:

You'd be amazed at how large your carry-on can be: if you think you might need it bring it in your carry on.
Bring blankets it's bloody cold at night.
Grocery shop whenever you can at the stops.
Breakfast is affordable, all other meals are best purchased at the super market then brought on board.
Say "hi" to everyone.
People who think they may never see you again will share very personal things with you and vice versa.
Train time is confusing when traveling east to west and west to east: tally mark smudges on your window maybe necessary.
Wifi and cellphones will not work for most of the trip.
Most stations are in the middle of nowhere and have nothing to offer in necessities, buy what you need while you can, do not put it off until the next stop.
Always have your camera ready.
Put down your camera.

Dilapidated farmhouses, fascinating and sad.  Tall barns with little houses on top. Coyotes, eagles, hawks.  I don't know why people refer to the prairies as boring... The sporadic glassy ponds are crystal blue and the foliage that encircle them complementary oranges and yellows.  Prairie sunsets, the word panoramic falls horribly short of the mark.  It's the imax of sunset enjoyment up here in the dome car.

Live music, I spotted the musician earlier today in conversation.  There needs to be a better term than musiciandar.  Guitardar?




Saturday, October 3, 2015

Recovery

So there are gaps in this blog, filled by randowm Facebook posts, and even more gaps left between them.  The most common questions I have been asked are: When did they diagnose you?  What sort of treatments are you on? What happened? You look great! Where's your cane?

Here's some answers:  they didn't diagnose me.  I'm on no treatments beyond an iron pill and magnesium pill every three days or so, in fact I am off all fibromyalgia meds.  What happened?  Well,  I began to feel better and be able to do more within three days of moving to the women's shelter.  My days between needing the wheelchair lengthened.  Within two weeks I didn't need my wheelchair at all.  I completely ended my relationship with my ex and within a week was cane free (looked back at the dates, a month after the split I was cane-free I stopped using my cane on a regular basis within a week of the relationship being completely over.  Then due to weak ankles from being inactive, I fell down steps and tore a ligament and had to use my cane again for 10 days. I was swimming during this time (an activity I could only dream of last Summer). I have only improved since.  I am hiking, running, jumping and climbing.  My hormones have evened out, my thyroid is shrinking back to a healthy size. The only relapses I have had have been directly related to stress involving my ex, for example: the day he texted me to tell me that my ex husband was willing to let him see the kids on his visitation days despite the kids and I requesting no contact... I lost the feeling in my right leg while texting him back, then had trouble with my gait for about an hour afterwards.  So what happened?  In my opinion, my relationship was causing me so much stress that my immune system couldn't cope.  My adrenal glands were constantly firing in a fight or flight response to my living situation that caused an imbalance in my thyroid activity, which in turn affected my hormones, which lead to heavy periods, which lead to low iron.  Emotionally, I did not feel safe expressing my feelings, I buried them until they expressed themselves in fibromyalgia-like pain, exhaustion and literal immobilization.  I believe that either  I cured myself by leaving my relationship, or the lowering of stress in my life by leaving that relationship gave me a reprieve from chronic fibromyalgia.  Finally, where is my cane?  It is back in Ontario, with my wheelchair. :)

Last Day on the Island

I belong on the ocean, walking in the surf, finding shells and hopping over jellies.  So many "we're hiring" signs... If the children were old enough to ride the train alone to visit their father perhaps...but not yet.  There are wave hazard signs here like we have burning signs.  There are tsunami evacuation route signs along the west coast of the island.  We weaved through valleys as mountains rose up around us.  Ocean on one side, freshwater rivers on the other.  There were a few spots that reminded me of Muskoka in the Summer, but never for long.

At the beach, I kept wondering if I would run into someone from my past, many people seemed to have one or two features in common with my friend Alan, I suppose though, you see what you want to see.  I imagined greeting him with a hug, but realized I was desiring something that was not in my reality, and my reality at the moment was freakin' awesome as is.

Tacofino.

Love songs made-up on the spot by my kiddos as they dance around me.  "I love you mommy, I love you mommy, you are awesomeness"

Sunsets on secluded lakes brimmed with jagged hills.

Avalanche discussions.  Road farts (rumble strips).

Longer rides home then there.  Sibling stories.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Piper's Lagoon; tide pools,baby crabs, slimy smooth rocks, jagged climbing paths and beautiful barnacle scarred drift wood. Little fingers collecting crabs in empty shells, squeals and giggles as they get loose and scuttle away. Little people holding grimy hands, dirt streaked faces, wet pant cuffs and pockets full of treasures.

Scrub Jays and Peaceful Ways

Scrub Jays.  Today I saw Scrub Jays (actually Steller's Jays scrub Jay being my childhood nick name for them) Since I was Jack's age, I would open my National Geographic North American wildlife book, open it to the "Jay" pages and read.  I would draw them incessantly, promising myself I would see all three.  I grew up around Blue Jays, my first Grey Jay I saw with Scott and the kids on a hike.  Today, in Nanaimo, I saw my first Scrub Jays.  Another bucket wish list checked.

Walked downtown Nanaimo, probably in the most round about way possible.  The snacks I packed were left behind by Jack, so saving money like I planned, is not happening.  We found Lois Lane, and ventured into a comic shop there.  That is where they spent Nana Hill's souvenir money :).  Waiting to eat is not going to stop the fact that I need to spend money on eating. We just got to a park that Jooniper has renamed the Awesomeness Park, and I'm totally hungry.  It's amazing how things can suddenly look up after getting a few carbs and protein into you.  We shared a single fish and chip basket.  Yep, I had fish.  I craved it, I was on the seaside and I needed quick protein.  It was great, and the perfect amount of fries.  My kids finished them and felt full.  All three of us fed for $11.00.  Not bad.

I held a sea star in my hand.  It was deep red with white speckles.  We counted them clinging to the rocks and docks.  A 3 inch jelly fish undulated by, the first live one we've seen so far.

The neighbours were arguing last night, it brought back many awful memories and moments I am not proud of.  Why did I stay and fight?  Why did I argue for hours to prove that my feelings were valid and important?  Why did I base my self worth on his opinion?  So many hours I spent trying to make up with him that I should have been spending with my children... I can't go back, so now is the time to model compassion and understanding for my children, to prove to them that their feelings are important.  We can live a peaceful life again.

My cousin is home today, I wonder what adventure we will embark on together?