Weathering the Shitstorm

Five great reasons to get my act together.

Five great reasons to get my act together.

Calorie counting, which I am mostly diligent about, but have taken a break from because my father-in-love is in town and he equals FOOD, has helped me shed about fifteen pounds since I last wrote here. I’ve limited myself to 1600 calories each day because I’m breastfeeding, and I’m generally staying away from complex carbs and refined sugar. Right now I’m about ten pounds away from my target, and I’m now seriously contemplating exercise each day. Note that I haven’t said I’m going to start exercising each day. That’s more commitment than I can handle, and the careful food choices seem to be working well. Score one for me.

I’m back to work (part time, I guess), and back on stage with the Coquettes, and about to head to Alberta with them for our first out-of-province shows. My experience with becoming a mother, birthing a baby, and watching my body turn inside out and upside down has created this insane confidence on stage. More than ever, I feel like I’m there to have fun, help the audience have fun and I really don’t give a shit about what might come out of my mouth in the process. This has made for some great shows as far as I’m concerned. That edit button is gone it seems, and hilarity ensues. Score two for me, I guess.

Noah is thriving, and smiling like a maniac nearly all of the time. The little monster is only four months old but fitting comfortably into nine month clothing, all while exclusively breastfeeding! He’s so long, I think he may end up a giant like my 6’7 brother. His sisters are wonderful too. I just had the absolute pleasure of two glowing parent/ teacher interviews where both teachers sang the praises of our wonderful children and our wonderful family. Score three?

I’m giving myself this cyber pep-talk because in therapy I’m experiencing what you might call the eye of the storm. The work I’m doing there feels like complete and utter shit. It feels like teenage days all over again. I sort of hated high school, so on Sunday nights I would feel absolutely sick with dread knowing that I had to return there on Monday. This is the same feeling I get now on my pre-therapy days. What’s going on there? Well, the simple answer is when I’m faced with difficulty, criticism and my own short comings, guess what I do? I go stony, I detach, I shut down. I do this because I  feel like I’m a terrible person and everyone around me is better off without me. I want to crawl in a hole and run away. That’s what happens inside. Outside I look like a cold-hearted bitch who doesn’t care about anything.

When there is a problem in your relationship, you want your partner there with you. You want them emotionally present to help work through difficulty. I can’t do this, or at least I haven’t been able to do this. I hate this about myself  and now I’m taking a very critical and thorough look at where this comes from and how I can stop it. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and it hurts like hell.

So, how does a Schnoo deal with such a difficult emotional place?

1. Binge eating. Yes, I allow myself to completely and totally pig out, but only for one day. I know I can get back on track quickly, so I just go for it. Emotional eating is never a great idea, but sometimes only chocolate and popcorn can make the pain go away.

2. Maid mode. Today, after gorging myself last night, I have been a cleaning maniac. Cleaning through stress is the best thing. It’s a physical opportunity to scrub away all of the ugly, and it feels so good to take care of it while my partners are hard at work earning our bread. This morning marked the best on-my-hands-and-knees-in-front-of-the-toilet catharsis yet.

3. Makeup. If I feel like shit on the inside, I can’t stand to look like shit on the outside. I try to take extra time to focus on the things I can control, like glowing skin and bright eyes. I love makeup, I love the art of makeup application, and I love how this simple act picks me up.

4. Writing. It’s like puking the contents of my head onto paper, and I swear it’s the greatest gift I was born with. No other physical act makes me feel better.

5. Fresh air. I need to leave my physical space when I feel like crap. I used to take my iPad to the cafe near by, but with the little Noodle as my constant companion, I can’t indulge in out-of-the-house writing excursions these days. Instead he and I are going to drag daddy out to the new diner around the corner for lunch where I will sport my fresh and dewy face, indulge in a milkshake, and try to not feel like such an asshole.

If I have these wonderful people in my life who say they love me, and who are trying to build a world with me in it I can’t be so horrible, right? Is it shame that I feel in the face of making them hurt or feel frustrated and disappointed in me? Why can’t I let myself make mistakes and be a ‘work in progress’? Why can’t I just say “Yeah, that IS shitty, let’s fix it” instead of wanting to run away and hide?

I used to question the logic of  my friends who would start therapy and then quit, but now that we’ve scraped well beyond the surface and am digging into the meat of my psyche I can totally understand the impulse to stop the process. I won’t though. Somewhere beyond all of this crap-ass feeling is the realization that I (and all of those I love) will be better for it. Somewhere my mind knows that crying like a maniac is actually better for me than going all stony and hard so I don’t have to feel things. Therapy is best approached like a very sticky bandaid – get in there, rip it off, and deal with the pain rather than gingerly peel it back, or see if it will eventually fall off in the shower. That last one always ends up a dirty, stinky mess, doesn’t it?

Spring time goal: getting rid of the hard candy shell to enjoy the gooey centre.

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Preparing for Landing

I was going to begin this post by apologizing for not writing for a while. I feel like I’m apologizing all of the time lately – for being anti-social, for not keeping in touch, for being too quiet or a bit cranky in the mornings, for feeling stressed out or sometimes anxious. You know what? I’ve decided all of those things are okay because there’s a lot happening in my life right now.

The new house is beautiful. We’re settling in well, and now I’m charged with the task of packing up my life. Today is a big day in Schnooville, (I can’t get in to the particulars), and somehow I find myself all alone, faced with what was once my Fortress of Solitude. This place just feels like a big mess now.

Some days, I’m better off holing up with the roiling contents of my skull. This is absolutely one of those days. I can be most effective, and best serve the greater good by taking today to pour through old journals, part forever with old mementos, smile at silly things I’ve been hanging on to for so long, cry a little over china teacups gifted to me by the dearly departed (teacups that I just don’t have space for in the new home, sadly) and remember who I have been.

The Schnoo who I’ve been feels like a very different person than the Schnoo I am now.

There is something about finding love that challenges your confidence and self worth to the very deepest level one can imagine. Sometimes love feels like the most delicate filament that can be torn away into the wind with the mildest gust, and hanging onto something so fragile is far more terrifying than giving over to the elements as they rip through our lives.

Most days I feel full to my brim with joy and peace and pure contentment, but there are always those days where I feel I am a stranger wherever I go. These are the days that test us, that challenge us to recognize that we are worthy of the happiness in our lives, despite the doubt and fear that surrounds us – from without and from within.

Today my solace and comfort will come from threadbare stuffed animals, tiny ballet slippers, and bad teenage poetry. I predict few boxes will get packed, and that this Schnoo will end up in the cafe around the corner working on my new writing project, admiring my coral toes, and sipping an iced latte.

We all deserve to take care of our hearts and heads, don’t we?

Oh for a muse of fire…

I can’t write anymore. I’ve been reduced to the cliche of the writer who writes about not being able to write.

I’ve stared longingly at the dashboard of this blog for hours, for days, wishing I had something to say, but the things I want to share I can’t write here.

Is anyone still reading?

What if we make a pact? I will post every day for a week, just for the sake of posting. Perhaps it will be dry, and tedious, but at least there will be something to chew on. Brain jerky. It will be like one of those photo blogs with snapshots of the contents of my head.

Work is all-consuming right now, which is good. It filters the worry usually reserved for the rest of my life. It makes my general anxiety make more sense. Currently I’m asking myself why I do this at all, but I know ten minutes after show time I’ll remember.

Therapy yesterday felt clear, and positive. I know what I want. That’s good. Not sure I’ll get it, but none of us really knows, do we?

I’m particularly interested in seeing how the next three months of my life shake out. No big decisions, no grand conclusions, no final deductions can be made at present. So I remain suspended in time, meditating on patience and faith.

Then I need to know, to absolutely know where I’m headed.

I’m convinced that there is a reason for all this waiting. A reason that I’m vaguely aware of, but unable to articulate. Spidey sense whispers secrets in my ear, especially when I’m dreaming, and I’m listening all of the time.

Last night I dreamt that I was in Paris with an old friend from high school named Julie. She and I were in the Metro, and she was seeing me off as I headed to the airport, destined for home. The news in the city of lights was consumed with tales of a homicidal maniac who had been attacking people with a razor, but I had barely paid any heed because of the language barrier and because I was enjoying my vacation.

As Julie kissed me goodbye, we were approached by this lanky, gaunt man wearing dirty, tattered clothes. He had dark hair, and hollow, glassy eyes. He grabbed my hand suddenly, and forcefully, and pressed something into it, using his own hand to force my grip. His lips parted and he whispered “Merci” as he swiftly used my hand to drag a flashing blade across his throat. I must have pulled back, because he wasn’t satisfied with the cut, so he did it again, this time hitting his jugular. Julie and I watched him bleed to death in my arms.

The authorities came. There were enough eye witnesses to realize that I was in no way at fault. I was traumatized, and fortunately a very kind female investigator was able to arrange my questioning for later.

I took solace at the home of my friend Lenni, who shared a lovely Paris apartment with her partner Simon and their wee baby. As the investigator was packing me into the taxi, I woke up, and needed to take several deep breaths.

My dreams are vivid, and disturbing, and in every single one I’m either looking for something or trying to get somewhere.

Meh, quoth I.

Nine Lives

I’m a lion, I’m a cat, and I’m a fire dragon. I credit these things for my ability to mostly bounce back from whatever life might toss in my direction. I’m good with things like hope, most of the time.

Today, I feel like I’m on the precipice again. Looking up, and looking way, way down. If I step off, I’m sure to plummet, but there’s always the possibility that somewhere down there, through the fog and haze, is a fluffy clearing where I will land softly and beautifully, and triumphant.

How does one gather the nerve to step off the ledge, over and over again? Even with a perfect record of brilliantly executed landings, or just a few minor bumps and scrapes, there is always the possibility that the next plunge might be your last. It’s possible that the fall will be so bad, there’s no bouncing back, and you’ll never again get the chance to consider pushing off with your toes.

I’m so tired. Deeply tired, down to my very core. I look into the mirror, into the eyes of a woman I know very well, and neither one of us can tell me how much strength is left there.

Ask my mom – if I am not good at something, I get overwhelmed with frustration and anger. I didn’t know this, but as a child, she’d have to intercept and cease activities so that I wouldn’t spiral into the pit of despair. All this time I’d thought she was just really impatient with me. Now, as an adult, if I can’t do something well I lose interest, shut down, or just get angry with myself. I’m eyeballing affairs of the heart right now with the same wary look I give to mathematical equations.

This time I’ve given it my all. I’ve emptied all my pockets and laid everything out on the table. I’ve opened up my heart wider than I even imagined it’s rusty hinges would allow. I’ve loved with every cell in my body.

The desire to jump off the cliff is not enough. Love is not enough. You need trust, and faith, and communication, and security. I need to know that if I’m going to jump, there’s a safe landing at the bottom. That there will always be a safe landing. My helmet and my knee pads are completely useless if there is not.

In fact, it’s probably smarter to just walk away from the ledge if you have no idea what’s at the bottom.

Will all these hands catch me?

Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain

Despite this clear, sunny, temperate day I feel very small and very uncertain.

Yes, I look forward to starting rehearsals tonight for our Valentine’s day extravaganza. True I have lots of exciting professional stuff going on. Overall, I have lots to feel humble about.

Brain and gut are tapping me on the shoulder though. When I turn to address them, brain has her arms crossed and she’s shaking her head at me. Gut has his eyes down cast and is shuffling his feet. When he can’t look me in the eye, I get very uneasy indeed.

It’s the kind of day that merits coffee, and an extended sit-down with my journal. List making kinds of activities are on the horizon, starting with the “what I need” list.

Perhaps I’ve been a little idealistic. Some might even say delusional. I believe that all the choices I have made have been based on remarkable, compelling evidence in favour of these decisions.

Now, I will sift carefully through the zip-locked bags of Exhibit A’s and Exhibit B’s and re-examine the case. These periodic evaluations are essential, I think, especially when we’re talking about a possible life-sentence.

The best outcome, of course, is to realize that there is no trial, or investigation required. To realize that peace and prosperity prevail, and everything I’ve dreamed of is not only possible, but probable.

Perhaps tomorrow will feel just like that.

The Life Aquatic

ocean-temperature

There is an ocean inside you.
I can hear it between your words
as clearly as the yawning roar
from the pearly slit of the seashell at my ear.

You have held these tides at bay
and have quelled the undulation of the waves
with the steady power of your gaze,
but the fathoms are so strange and deep
that they wake you, feverish from your slumber.

Who will you become if you surrender?
If you abandon the exhausting tread
to sink slowly, and steadily
into the velvet green of unknowable fathoms,
will you be dangerously far from the all-illuminating glow of the sun?

Or will the ancient, secret levithan
fold you carefully to her scaly breast
and sift her golden treasures
from the silt and sediment that has settled
upon a trove so vast and bountiful
that the solar glare suddenly seems so garish and so strange.

medaw7cjyp

Sunday Poem (Freestyle)

Paperback Writer

Paperback Writer

Stop asking for feedback.
Stop speaking of loneliness.
Stop inviting us to engage in discourse,
Share our ideas,
Hear your voice.
Stop sharing snippets of your world.
Stop referencing your single status

If you are going to be
So cool
So aloof
So detached
So disinterested
So abrupt
So completely ambivalent

When someone who is amazing decides they want to poke you.