Monday, November 16, 2015

BEST SURPRISE EVER

I woke up and decided to start a ritual where I list in writing or typing things that I am grateful for.  One of which was that my snot was no longer dark green, which means I'm getting over this cold.  Other list items included my kiddos, getting a new job and friends who help me clear out my storage compartment.

Now filling my storage compartment, I was full of anxiety, fear, guilt and I rushed through it as quickly as possible.  I since have noticed that moving boxes or going through them had give me anxiety, flashing back to trying to pack the house while keeping it spotless, taking care of two kids, trying to figure out how to move boxes around with one arm that kept going limp and vertigo that sent me crashing into walls.  Eventually I gave up, emotionally it became too painful to keep packing my stuff,  there were often arguments with my ex after each packing session, so I figured I'd leave whatever was in the house in the house, if he wanted to pack it and get rid of it he would, if he wanted to pack it and give it to me he would.  Either way, being in that house packing up the last bits of my stuff was too hard to bear.  My mental health was more important than "things".

Flash forward to my roommate moving in, I had so many flashbacks to the anxiety of moving out of my house with Scott, that I hid in my room the majority of the time (I'm sure the fact I was 3 days from my period had something to do with that as well).

So this morning I centered myself.  I breathed deep, did a full body scan, and gave myself permission to feel anything I was going to feel without judgement.  It seemed to work.  Though I was a bit absent minded at first, I did very well.

Now, that said, my meditation is just a small part of this.  Mostly it was the support of the women around me that kept my spirit light.  Two awesome people, nonjudgmental, caring and strong were by my side.  We even took a side trip to see one friend's home.  Which was peaceful and inspiring.  Just what I needed.

I carried over 15 containers and boxes up a flight of twisted stairs.  The least weighing 10 pounds, some weighing 35-40 (I do love my books). I did it joyfully and told my body "I love you" repeatedly and laughed sat the ease of it.  We'll see who's laughing in the morning though.

I went through a few of these containers and one had quite the surprise.  Every year after Christmas Scott and I would go into Christmas Thyme and I would buy some of next year's gifts. I had forgotten this.  So, inside was a Christmas Thyme bag with 3 gifts for each of my kids in it.  I started to cry so hard, I actually fell on my knees and bawled right there on the kitchen floor.  Though we are so much happier living where we are without my ex, there's no denying that we have had to tighten our belts financially.  I was worried that this Solstice they would feel the loss of him more, like the visible decrease in gifts would make them feel sadness about leaving, that I alone could not provide the same joy as I could with him.   Now, with my spending budget, There will be close to the same amount of gifts as they have always had.  I didn't ruin Solstice by leaving.

So to add to my list of what I am grateful for, I am grateful for finding those gifts today.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thanks A lot

One of our family rituals was to sing "thanks a lot" before the kids went to sleep.  As I became increasingly ill, the kids came and sat on my bed to sing it and sometimes I would fall asleep before their bedtime and they would sing it with Scott.

Thanks a lot, is based on Raffi's song, but we'd make up our own lyrics about what we were thankful for that day.  On our journey to finding a home, that ritual all but disappeared.  But tonight, we started again and it was beautiful.  There was no hesitation anymore, the kids gratitude slipped easily from their lips with huge smiles on their faces.  Hugs were had while we sang it.

We have daily love rituals; snuggles in my bed in the morning, making dinner together, reading a chapter of a book at night, playing a game and now reintroducing "thanks a lot".  Part of recieveing love is learning how to give it again.  Though I loved my children during this entire process, it felt like we were just getting by for a while. I often felt like all my energy was used up teaching, feeding and cleaning up after them.  The extras, they were just a bonus if I could fit them in.  Now I see how necessary they are, these bonding moments that help to give you that boost, the boost that makes lice laundry not seem so daunting.  The bonding that allows you to respond with more compassion rather than reacting with frustration when they are not listening.

Here's to love rituals and the sense of warmth they provide.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Holy Shit

Getting back on track as we settle into our daily math classes.  Independent learning projects take on lives of their own.  Originally the kids were suppose to study their favourite natural disasters, show me on the globe where they are most likely to happen, explain to me what causes them, then write a fiction short story about someone in that natural disaster and include safety steps.  Jack asked if he could show me in a play instead.  I said "Okay, as long as you write out your play."  They spent an hour this afternoon creating props(Joon has agreed to be in the play as well).

I figured out my credit card issue yesterday, got a job today.  Part time so that I can still homeschool but save some money as well.  I found a friend to be creative with, I'm going to see one of my favourite artists play in December. I'm working on a new fundraiser. My friends are awesome, supportive people.

I'm doing it.  I am living how I want to live.   I think I may have pulled it off.  Holy shit.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Money Can't Buy This Kind of Happiness

So, this month, is always the toughest financially.  Because the Family Responsibility office takes my child support off every other pay check.  Three pay check months means my child support payments are delayed. One payment only this month and of course $50.00 in lice treatments.  So yeah, we are visiting the Food bank.  But, rent will be made,  the kids have winter jackets, boots, mitts and snow pants. I'm looking for part time work at the moment, we'll see what comes up.  

None the less, even with my tightened budget,  I am happy.  I feel loved, accepted and wanted. I  finally understand friendship.  For so long I had so few friends,  and I couldn't see them very often.  

I was feeling bad about not being able to afford all the activities the children wanted to be in.  I asked my kiddos, if they were still happy that we moved, even if we don't have as much money.  They both emphatically nodded "Yes."  
I was feeling a little sorry for myself a few days ago...then a friend asked on Facebook about chronic pain and how it affects emotions.  Then as I listed all of the horrible things I was feeling during my illness; the guilt of not being able to keep up with housework, the hopelessness of no diagnosis/treatment and the feeling of being a complete burden on my partner.  It reminded me of how far I have come emotionally, of how many days I cried while I ran my bath so my children couldn't hear me.

Yep, Money's tight.  There isn't someone warming my bed at night.  But I have laughter, and conversation.  I have understanding and support.  I love these people who are in my life,  they are kind and fun, I feel like they really want to be there, like they are not hanging out with me because of some sense of duty.  They could at any point leave my life, but they don't.  They send me messages of love and encouragement, they do not judge me.  

I don't know how I would have done this without them.  I feel incredibly blessed to have these people in my life.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Power of Forgiveness

I forgive myself.  I forgive myself for getting lost in the end.  I forgive myself for breaking. I forgive myself for becoming so angry and so frustrated that I acted completely out of character.  I forgive myself for everything I did to try to keep the peace, even if meant being dishonest.  I forgive myself for yelling back.  I forgive myself for being jealous and insecure when I was sick.  I forgive myself for using food as an anxiety coping technique.  I forgive myself for becoming financially dependent on someone else putting myself into a vulnerable position.  I forgive myself for not listening to my friend Danno, who saw this coming a mile away.

Guess what? Once you forgive yourself, no one can use guilt against you.  Yep, I wasn't perfect.  Yep, I lost my shit after a while. Yep, I set up a scenario that put me at risk for an unhealthy relationship.  Yep, I left. Yep, I set boundaries. Yep, I got better. Yep, I got support.  Yep, I'm able and looking for work again.

I love and forgive myself.  I'm beginning to realize most of my pain after we broke up wasn't about him, it was about the shame I felt for what I perceived was my part in it.

No more shame, no more guilt.  Jogging with my head held high tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I Had an Ultrasound, Congratulations are in Order.

Today I went for an ultrasound.  I've been having ripping sensations in my lower abdomen when I sneeze or cough lying down for years.  However, lately the bumps under my cesarean scar have become larger, so I thought I'd better get it checked out.  Could be built up scar tissue/adhesions, could be my intestines squeezing through a scar that is reopening.  Whatever, that is not the point of this post.  The point is I went to this ultrasound alone.

Big deal right?  Well yes, it is a big deal.  I had a horribly botched procedure done at the hospital, a few years ago. It re traumatized me.  I have been suffering from flashbacks and anxiety surrounding medical procedures ever since.   Scott took me to my procedures.  He would book time off work to be there to hold my hand.  Though we often fought soon after the procedures, during them he comforted me.

I hadn't even thought about my anxiety around procedures.  I was too busy setting up things with my kid's father to make sure they were taken care of, for that to cross my mind.  Then suddenly in the ultrasound waiting room it hit me.  The anxiety attack.  I began to gasp for air and then cry.  I put my head between my legs and focussed on slowing my breathing.  The tech called me in.  I stood up breathed deep, shook out my arms and wiped my tears.  When I got into the room, she said something to me.  I had no idea what it was.
"I'm having an anxiety attack right now." I told her through a very tight throat. "Just give me a moment."  Then I stood up tall gathered myself and said: "Okay, what do you need me to do?"

I often disassociate during medical procedures.  My body kind of freezes and I go somewhere else.  Personally this is my favourite coping technique, though it's not really in my control.  It's sort of like I'm not there, I'm not anywhere, then the tech talks to me and I'm on the bed again and time has passed.  I know she's trying to help, watching someone disassociate can't be easy.  But I'd rather just be gone.  When she pulls me back the fear is waiting for me.

Soon enough the ultrasound is over.  She leaves the room.  Then I burst into tears, bent over and gasping.  Then it is done.  I wipe my eyes and walk out, head held high.

I did it without him.  I did it without anyone.  Once during one of his visits with the kids after we split up, my ex told me I would never get better without him.  He yelled at me as I called the taxi to get us out of there: "You need me! Your putting your health at risk by not letting me help you!"

And though obviously, considering my near miraculous recovery following our break-up, I could and did get better without him, I always held this fear of freaking out during my tests and procedures.  Maybe I did need him for that still. How can I do this without him holding my hand?  I'll tell you how.  I just did it.  I freaked out a little, sucked it up, released my emotions right after, and walked out of diagnostic imaging like a Boss.

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Believe.

I can believe now.

For a while, I simply couldn't see myself ever being in love again.  I could see fun relationships, a mutual respect and enjoyment.  But love? You can lose yourself in it.  You make allowances that you never would for someone else you weren't in love with.  You may trade your self respect for the adoration and affection of someone else.  Love is dangerous.  Love was the chemical bonding to help the species survive gone haywire.  Love was the excuse that I made to myself every time I went back.  Love was some fairytale built to keep women with men and men with women despite their obviously unhealthy relationships.  "But I love him/her," I have heard from the lips of continuously heartbroken and miserable friends.

Fuck Love.  I thought.  I armed myself against it.  I viewed it as suspect.  I saw love as something that I would be in constant struggle with: a man with a rope waiting just around the corner to strangle me until I became blind and breathless.

I have had only two relationships with confident "whole" men. By whole I mean they were happy both in and out of relationships, they could and would be single for long periods of time, they had no addictions, no poor lifestyle choices.

I was completely in love with one of them.  It was a good relationship.  Great communication and lots of fireworks. If it happened once before...

I believe that love with a whole person is possible for me.  A healthy relationship with love is possible for me.  In the future.

Right now however, is not a good time for anything serious.  It is a good time for coffee dates. It is a good time to remember how to socialize with people that I am not having sex with.  It's a good time to set my boundaries, and watch for those who do and do not respect them.  It is a good time for me to say "No." To myself.  Self control when it comes to sexual desire is not one of my strong suits.  This often gets me too attached too quickly and draws me into unhealthy relationships.  Mostly it's a good time for me to observe how "whole" I have become.

My last relationship I was warned, do not jump into another one right away.  But I'm in love, I thought.  This person and I were meant to be.  I was in love, but I was not whole.

I don't want to bring my insecurities from my last relationship into a new one.  I don't want to settle for anything less then total respect for one another. I know I still need time to figure everything out and heal, so that I don't simply find and use someone else to fill that hole. I know that I cannot leave an unhealthy relationship without needing serious self reflection time, to do so is to walk right back into another codependent partnership in which I base my happiness on someone else.  I am on this journey, who knows how long it will be before I can love again?  For the first time since the break up I believe that I can love again, and it won't mean giving up a part of myself to do it.