Red Rainboots Help a Little

The dream is almost exactly the same every night. Even if the setting varies. Even if the faces change. Even if my new pet bunny somehow works her way into the dream scape, like she did last night. For the last three weeks or so, I’ve had the same dream:

I’m wandering through a crowded (house, dorm, compound, apartment building, banquet hall). I’m not sure whether I was invited to the (party, event, wedding, frosh week, meeting) or if maybe I just happened upon it, but there is some purpose for my presence there. I feel as though I belong there in some way. Except no matter how hard I look, how many rooms I pass through or people I brush past, I can’t find a single familiar face. I’m searching with some anxiety because there are supposed to be people there that I know. Nobody will make eye contact. There are no helpful, friendly faces. Nobody greets me or even seems to notice me. I am trying to belong, but instead seem to just be watching everyone without being seen. Even though I am now able to pause within the dream and recognize that I am dreaming, I keep waking feeling quite lost and alone.

Something huge is happening here. Deep, deep layers are being uncovered and it’s terrifying. I’m face-to-face everyday with all of the things, good and bad, that have shaped me over these thirty-something years. I’m trying to make peace within my heart, and trying to dig deeper to stick my roots way down deep.

These new moments of self-reflection, taking ownership, facing things head on are just about the most terrifying steps I’ve ever taken. I am afraid of the work I’m about to do on me, and for me. I’m afraid of the things inside me. Things that have been inside me for a long, long time. Who will I be when I let go? Where will I be if I can let go? Can I let go?

I carried Ella the Bunny in my arms last night, cradling her and sheltering her from the loud noise and music at the house party of my dreams. I carried her to safety, but I couldn’t find what I needed. Who I needed. I wake up each morning feeling exhausted. I think I need simple, gentle steps. Mindful moments of taking care of my heart. Early nights and lots of sleep until my dreams return to a depth that once again renders them impossible to remember in the morning.

The Wild Geese

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
Mary Oliver

This week in Schnooville

We adopted a six-month-old bunny. After conclusively deciding that my man is only mildly allergic to rabbits (a very hilarious trip to the Menagerie Pet Store involving a rabbit face-rub was our scientific study) our tribe decided it was time for our first pet. Floppy was the first rabbit I discovered with my lady on Kiji, after the kids had been tucked into bed. Her family was near by, and had made the sad decision to give her up because she was terrified of their terrier. Terriers were bred to hunt small game and rodents. Sigh. They described her as gentle, fun-loving, eager to be pet and stroked, mostly litter trained and adorable. Their photos supported the adorable theory, and she came with her massive cage and all of the goods for a very reasonable price. A steal, really. I sent a note and the next day we went to gather her up. The children decided to call her Ella because she is a lovely mottled grey, and elephants are also grey. She is as affectionate as described – perhaps too much. She keeps making chortles, giving me little nips and peeing on me. Based on my bunny research, she is trying to do what rabbits like better than carrots. Ella will be spayed on Friday which should help with her marking and garlic-smelling poo. So not okay. Nothing I read told me her crapola would smell like cooking. Feeding her more parsley only made it smell like French cooking. Hmmm…rabbit stew. Just kidding, I’m already quite in love.

I have the weirdest cold. One day I’m just a tad sniffly, the next I can’t talk, am hacking up a lung, and wondering whether I might be expelling brain matter from my nose. The cold arrived before the rabbit, so I’ve dispelled the possibility of my own allergies. I’ve cleared my social calendar completely and am behaving like what my friend Natalie would call a “nana” – like a contented old lady who takes naps and sips tea by the fire.

I discovered the amazing poet Mary Oliver through the lovely Liz Green – thank you Liz! I’m hungry for her words like I haven’t been in a long time, and look forward to reading more of her work.

One of my ‘Besties’ (a title reserved for my very closest friends) is relocating to Los Angeles. He’d already moved far away to Montreal, but his lovely Toronto girlfriend kept luring him back for visits. Now they’re shacking up and heading off for new adventures. I’m thrilled for them, but he will be missed. I can only hope that they will follow through on their plans to settle in Toronto permanently.  Spring has me thinking of babies, and I’d like to rear all of my young with my friends who I love so dearly close by.

I’m trying to do good and right by the ones I love. I’m taking big steps, reaching out, and reaching in. This week I came to realize how profound one of my big-time low moments in life has affected my present tense. When you have royally fucked up, there are always consequences. My former tendency was to run, under the guise of sparing others from the misery that I decide that I’ve caused them. Grown-up Schnoo is willing to stand and face the music and do whatever it takes to make things as amazing as they can be. It’s abso-freakin-lutely terrifying to stare down the barrel at your own weakness and stupidity. I want to crawl out of my skin or disappear in some moments, but there is such immense power and tremendous love in humility. I wish to foster humility in my girls, because I was only able to embrace it after smashing my head repeatedly in the same spot over and over again. I’m still learning how to really embrace the humble openness that seems to consistently make magic. Nothing is scarier than being that open for a Schnoo like me. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. I’ve been whispering my feelings into the Internet for several years now. Naming them to real-live people is another matter entirely.

With that, off I go to my head shrinker. We’ll have lots to discuss today. I’ve fueled up on a giant maple flavoured coffee while I’ve been typing here. I hope your Hump Day is happy. Tell someone you love something brave and beautiful that is deep inside your heart, and then congratulate yourself for being so bold.


Terra Not-So-Firma

I am squishy as the rapidly thawing soil that makes the most delightful sucking and smacking sounds beneath my Kenneth Cole rain boots today. My rain boots are red. My heart is golden.

We are starved for community, us North American humans. Our marriages and relationships are failing because we have isolated ourselves from family and community. We used to be familial tribes, active neighbours, and friendly acquaintances with everyone we met, but now we have “busy” lives and try to get the kind of love and support we would receive from a village from one or perhaps two people.

I need community now more than ever before.

Some of you reading this understand what I mean when I say we are pioneers. Many searches on the Internet have taught me that the closest thing I can find to community is a patchwork because the many people in this world who have chosen a similar path are too afraid to speak out.

I was born a suffragette, an advocate, and a persona. I have grown into this role as an adult, and have always tried to pin point my cause. Now I am living my cause, one of the only causes I can imagine fighting for, but I am a silent advocate because I’m too afraid to call undue attention to myself and those I love.

I can’t live in secrecy either. Each day becomes an exercise in balance – living truthfully, managing my public profile gracefully, and simply demonstrating through living well and loving well that the choices we have made are right and good.  I pray our lives will remain full of love, that the support of our family and friends will continue to grow, that our community at large will continue to remain open and positive to our choices, and that I will never have to step into the big shoes of the Advocate with a capital ‘A’.

I am frustrated and saddened that my orientation is not afforded the same civil liberties that so many take for granted. I am dismayed that infidelity and divorce are more socially acceptable than the path I tread.  I am cringing on the inside every time Disney tells my daughters that the only way they can be saved is by finding a Prince to sweep them away to “happily ever after”.

I am the Prince of my heart’s own country. All I want to do is govern my kingdom with love. Without the support of the citizenry, I am a raving idealist in a shiny tower.

Springy Steps

This past weekend, at a bridal shower, I bumped into an acquaintance who almost immediately told me she was upset that I haven’t been writing. I was flattered and surprised as I had no idea she read this blog. She’s an “avid reader”. Humbling, really.

I’ve been made to feel like perhaps it is inappropriate to share so much of myself in such a public format. I’ve been second-guessing the need for this blog in the first place, and wondering if it’s something I really need. For me, it has been primarily self-indulgent. A way of speaking into the universe and feeling a little less alone with the things that tumble around in my head. A way of chronicling my experience in the hopes that somewhere out there are other people who can relate.

I’ve missed this space, and I really don’t think I want to give it up.

The late winter brought some radical changes to my world. Our Owen Sound gig has heralded in a new era for Les Coquettes, with a future bright with performances at significant theatre venues across the province. I’m hard at work trying to shape this collective and book new opportunities for us.

I also lost two valuable friends, colleagues and collaborators along the way. I learned a heart-wrenching lesson in carefully mixing friendship and business and am reflecting now on how to better manage my working relationships.

My love and my baby each had a birthday and much celebrating and merriment was had. We throw amazing parties around here, and I’m thinking of sharing some of our party-planning secrets and recipes and perhaps making this more of a lifestyle blog than a journal. Maybe it could be both…

Last night I reconnected with some old friends who have just embarked on their own journey building a family. It was wonderful to spend time with them, and even more wonderful to see my little family in action. We all share a love of company and making new friends. The girls were dazzling in their energy and charm.

I’m so in love with the people in my home. We have a real abundance of opportunity and blessing, despite the challenges we face, and so much love. There’s a family at school who are dealing with one of the parents’ very, very serious illness. Their little ones are seven and four and we’re helping with childcare because our kids are all very close, and we’re lucky to be close to the school. The realities of their situation are hitting me very close. I find myself painfully regretting each grumpy moment, and wishing with all my heart that every second of my day could reflect the tremendous love I feel.

We haven’t been perfect. We’re far from it, but embracing that and understanding that and most of all accepting that seems to be our saving grace. We have our own limitations and struggles, but the challenges are minimal in the face of all that’s good here.

I want my family to share in the amazing love of my friends. I want us all to be really active parts of each others’ lives. I want my daughters to have a real connection to the people who are so important in my life.

We get busy. We get consumed by work and our own personal dramas, but I don’t really know what else there is beyond family and friendships when it boils down to what actually matters.

We have a guest room. We have a big kitchen. I’d like those rooms to be full as much as possible.