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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

MONTH #45 - RAINY DAYS AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN

It is my day off and I find myself sitting in the window of a cafe on Yonge St in Toronto feeling very contemplative.  Maybe it's the rain.  Maybe it is the paino lesson that was frustrating but good.  Maybe it's the young couple that ducked into the bus stop to make out right in front of me.  Maybe it's the rain.

It has been quite some time since I last posted here.  It has been a busy and fulfilling time, full of excitement and adventure, but less about quiet reflection.  It is nice to steal a few minutes away from the world to check in.

On December 12, 2016, I had my last session with my therapist.  It has been nearly six months since I last had any contact with her.  It is strange.  Therapy was so much of my life for the last four years, and now... well, it's a new world.  Our last session was a beautiful trip down memory lane.  We laughed, we cried, we exchanged gifts.  We held a little ceremony where we smudged with sage and I went on my way into the world at large, ready to take my place in it.  That first step out her door was surreal.  After four very intense years, I was captain of my own ship, as I never had been before.

I went out on New Year's Eve for the first time since 2012.  I wanted to celebrate, despite the fatigue I felt from working two contracts.  It marked the end of one journey and the start of another.

During autumn of 2016, I came to a realization that my life was barely half over.  I had spent so much time lamenting all the things I had missed out on doing because I hadn't done them when I was younger.  Then, in October, I did the math.  If I relived every single day of my life I would be nearly sixty-nine years old - four years after normal retirement age.  Barely a senior.  After that, barring any calamity, I could still reasonably expect to live another fifteen to twenty years.  I wasn't even half way through life and already mourning the things that would never be.  I still had time to redo everything I had done up until that day, and then some.

I look back over the past ten years and am dumbfounded at the number of things that have happened.  I don't even feel like the same person.  I can hardly fathom what the next thirty-five will hold.  Though time does seem to fly by these days, seventy has always felt closer to thrity-five than twenty.  It wasn't until I actually counted it out, that I was able to realize I have a lot of years left and that nothing had been missed.  I was, as I typically do, just following my own path.  That was when I decided to fill the time I spent in therapy with piano lessons.  In ten years, I want to be a pianist.

On my first day, my teacher asked if I could find middle C on the piano.  I couldn't.  Turns out, it is the key in the middle of the keyboard.  Aptly named.  A few weeks ago, I was playing Ode to Joy, quite proficiently, may I add.  I had come a long way in a matter of months.  Today, I was back to feeling like everything I played sounded similar to a cat walking across a keyboard, but my teacher was encouraging and wouldn't let me sit in my defeat.  She urged me on and sure enough, things began to sound like some form of music again.  I just need to practice.

This has become my motivational motto these days: It just takes practice.  I apply it to everything I do.  Dealing with conflict: practice.  Playing the piano: practice.  Writing: practice.  I'm writing my practice novel.  I've never written a novel, so I decided to try.  Just to go through the motions.  The first draft is almost complete.  I'm not sure what will happen with it, but at least I know how to go about doing it.  That's what this motto is about.  It is not about the success or failure of an endeavour, it is about the learning that comes with trying something.  Sometimes things work, but, as I've learned from playing the piano, when you first get started, most often they fail, but each time, it gets a little easier.  And you often see pay off in places you wouldn't expect.  I was shocked how much the three months of piano lessons were already paying off at work.

When you're starting a journey up a mountain, you can walk for hours and feel like you have not made any progress towards the summit.  It's not until you look back and see how far the ground seems that you really see how far you've come.  I think I've been spending too much time looking up the mountiain and not enough looking back on where I was, just a short time ago.  It feels especially disheartening when you've just summited one mountain and now find yourself at the bottom of a new peak.  I guess life is just a series of mountains.  We can choose to climb or we can be content circling the base.  I've always been a climber.

Monday, 24 April 2017

1000 DAYS

So, I've been away writing a novel for the past few months and have not checked in here with updates about how I'm doing.  After chatting with a friend I recently reconnected with this evening, I decided to check out where I last left reader on this blog.  I read "Get Over It" and then noticed my counter along the side that said today is 1000 days since the end of My Year Without Sex.  I just wanted to say in the three minutes before midnight, that life grand and all is well.  Updates to come soon! xoxoxo

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

MONTH #39 - GET OVER IT

My ex got engaged.  This is the last axe that needed to fall to sever all attachment.  It’s strange, because he has been in my dreams lately, which I know signifies a release or letting go of attachment.  I must have felt this coming, so I was already in a state of release when this news hit.

Some people might say, “It’s been six years, how are you still not over this.”  But that is the thing with emotions and relationships, you don’t just “get over them.”  Sometimes emotions coming flooding back unexpectedly, and you need to process them, otherwise there is no release and they will lie in the shadows waiting to strike at any time.  There is no statute of limitations on how long it take to process emotion.  You just have to let it run its course.

I read the news on Facebook last night and it struck me.  It took a while to process what I was feeling.  I went into shock.  I felt numb and electric all at the same time.  My first response was to email my therapist.  I needed to be witnessed in this.  It was late and I knew she wouldn’t receive it until the morning, but I needed to send out a white flag – I need extra support and my therapist tends to be my first responder.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

MONTH #38 - ALL ABOARD AT THE MANIFEST-STATION!

Everything is good right now.  Really good.  I am really working hard right now on staying focused in the present and manifesting positive energy.  That sounds so wrong coming from me.  I can hear past versions of myself laughing at the hippie nonsense I’m spewing, but I’m on the manifesting ship!  Toot! Toot!

And I don’t mean only thinking positive.  I mean taking away the negative self-doubt that often leads to self-sabotage before you even try.  I am spending a lot of time on self-care and prioritizing self-care.  Eating right, meditating, ritual, writing, exercising.  Who am I?!  A big part of self-care is looking out for all aspects of self: mind, body, heart, & soul.  It takes a lot of time.  Making time for it seems hard at first.  In fact, I failed a lot.  It has taken me nearly a year to actually realize the importance of making these things a priority.  Yet, it seems to yield positive results.  Life has been pretty sweet and everything is on an upswing.

This makes me nervous.  When life gets too good, I get anxious, as if I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  My big focus now is to steer the conversation in my head away from that part that catastrophizes every scenario, especially my love life.  When I feel myself start up that spiral, I need to exercise particular care.  I need to concentrate on grounding all the other aspects of myself to bring my mind back in check.  When there is balance, there is clarity… and peace. 

I’ll use this time to ground my meditation and writing practices.  To organize my time so that my self-care times become sacred.  We have lost the importance of honouring rituals.  We pay them no mind because they don’t fit well into our busy lives, but they are the things that hold us on this Earth.  Without them, we drift away.  Making those few moments sacred to yourself, gives you worth.  When you see your own worth, others can’t ignore it.  It ripples through the world. 

This is what I mean by manifesting positive energy.  You are a mirror and reflect whatever you give.  Therefore, when you make yourself important to you, you become important to others.  What I have learned repeatedly through my therapy process is that the path that you can see, is rarely the one that leads you to the outcome you desire.  As the fox says, “One sees clearly only with the heart.  Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Saturday, 30 July 2016

WEEK #156 - FOXES & UNAVAILABLE MEN

Faithful readers will recall that I have a habit of falling for emotionally unavailable men (The Ex, Kryptonite, anyone that I have gone out with more than 3 times…).  Since the new year, I have had a lot of time to ponder and explore the reasons for this.  In Feb/March, it dawned on me that perhaps I am the one who is emotionally unavailable.  Those who know me well said, “well, duh!”  But to me, this was a revelation.  It had never occurred to me that maybe it was me.  So, I decided to try an experiment.  I rejoined the online dating world (as I do every 3 months or so, with no success).  This time I laid it all on the line:
Strong, confident woman with commitment issues seeking friends-with-benefits-type relationship with intelligent, attractive man with a sense of humour.  Apply within. 
I got a pretty good response, but to my surprise every single one of my dates cancelled at the last minute – there were 6 in one week.  I had no idea what was happening.  That is what triggered all my abandonment issues and brought my feelings towards my mother to light, but that is a different post.

Now, I see what happened.  I wasn’t ready to commit, so I came across as someone easily dismissed.  Also, my goal wasn’t to have a bunch of random dudes that I slept with.  I wanted one person that I slept with regularly with no pressure to develop things into anything more than a close friendship.  It has not been until my most recent bout of online dating that I have finally been able to answer the question of “what do I want?”

What do I want?  This is a question that has been plaguing me for quite some time.  My friends, family, coworkers and therapist keep asking it, to the point where I get immediately defensive when I hear it.  My response has always been “I don’t know!”  But, as part of my therapy work (and a relationship with a friend that uses that phrase for every question you ask him), I have made a commitment to remove it from my vocabulary when referring to emotions.  At this point in my process, I do know what I want.  The words may not come easily, or be easy to say, but I know. 

I want a relationship that has the space to develop at the pace I need it to (aka molasses in winter). This is when the tattoos on my wrists came back to haunt me.  The longer I have them, the more meaning they seem to hold.  I have trust issues.  This is why I have to have it permanently etched on my body in a place where I can see it all the time.  To remind me that it is okay to trust; people, the universe, life.  It takes a long time for me to trust and when I start to feel myself becoming vulnerable to another person (or feel that person allowing themselves to become vulnerable to me), my flight mechanism takes control and I want to run for the hills (and usually do).  The best example of this was with the only successful online dating experience I have had.  It was with a guy I shall call, Irish.  (Side Note: We are still good friends and for two years he has lamented that he has never been mentioned in this blog, so he will be happy to finally have his story told.)  Irish and I hit it off like wildfire.  Everything was going really well, but he had just moved to the country and didn’t know many people and I could see that he was beginning to invest quickly in our relationship.  I was into it, but I had to move slowly.  Everything inside was telling me to run, so it took all I had to just stay where we were.  This caused “issues”.  It all culminated one night at a concert where we got into a big fight which ended in tears and him leaving.  Ultimately, I was crying because I couldn’t understand where I took the wrong turn that resulted in being 32 years old and crying over a boy at an emo concert for a band named Issues (I had taken my niece and her friend to the concert).  The main “issue” was he wanted to be more involved and I said I needed more time.  Not really sure how that resulted in breaking up, but it did.  We laugh about it now.

This is, at heart, the same story for all the “nice” boys I’ve dated.  They fall fast and I run.  Hence, the appeal of the emotionally unavailable man.  That is a relationship where I am in control.  They don’t fall fast, so I can take as long as I please to become invested.  The trouble is that they stay uncommitted.  So, what is it I want?

My other tattoo answered my question.  I want to be tamed.  I’m scared.  The idea of a relationship, though, in theory, is appealing, mainly fills me with anxiety.  I can feel the stress rising even typing about it.  The tattoo on my right wrist is the fox from Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  When the Little Prince meets the fox, the fox asks the Little Prince to tame him.  He explains, “You have to be very patient. First you’ll sit down a little ways away from me, over there, in the grass.  I’ll watch you out of the corner of my eye, and you won’t say anything.  Language is the source of misundestandings.  But day by day, you’ll be able to sit a little closer…”  That pretty much sums it up.  As much as I heal, there is a part of me that will always be that abused little girl, afraid to let anyone close.  The only way to overcome that is through quiet patience.  Ultimately, it would be nice to find someone who is just as scared as I am, so we can move slowly closer, together.  That way we would understand when the other gets a little spooked. 

So, that’s that.  After 34 years, I am finally able to put words to what I want.  It’s not fairy tales, it’s not a prince, it’s not big wild romance.  It’s quiet, it’s simple and it is slow.  Now, to find my fox… maybe he’ll be silver.  *wink*

Thursday, 28 July 2016

TWO YEARS POST

As I repeatedly try to write this, all my words seem false.  I keep coming back to the question taped to my keyboard “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY?”  The answer is, I want to say that I’m okay.  I’m doing alright.  I finally feel whole, grounded and confident… most of the time.  And the times when I don’t, I know how to bring myself back to that place of grounding.  I don’t spend much time lost anymore.  I know my way through the woods and with each passing year, I know my way a little better.  Even as paths change, I can find those landmarks that will lead me back home. 

I want to say that I did it!  I fought all the demons and won.  That I am not alone.  That I will survive.  That I know love and have it in my life.  That I am worthy and worthwhile.  That I feel, deeply.  That after all that I have faced, I stand tall.  I did it.  I did it all.

It has been two years since this great experiment ended, yet my journey had barely begun.  I had only faced minor demons, despite feeling they were monstrous at the time.  This year has left me battle-worn.  The ultimate challenge was confronting my anger towards my mother.  I hadn’t realized that I had not possessed the strength to actually feel its weight until this year.  Despite being stronger and more grounded than ever, the emotions overwhelmed me and shook me to the core, manifesting in all aspects of my life until I broke down and couldn’t help but face it.  The Universe seems to like doing that to me.  It never lets me shy away from the things I need.  It will beat me over the head until I face the things I run from. (And heaven knows, I’m a runner!)

Monday, 8 February 2016

WEEK #132 - WAITING SUCKS!

Recently, I have been feeling particularly sorrowful at night.  I have spent a lot of time trying to find what it is, to limited avail.  Today, after some self-love, a thought came to mind, “I miss Kryptonite.”  (Faithful readers will remember Kryptonite was the person I was seeing just prior to the start of My Year Without Sex in 2013.)  I went back through old pictures to see if it was him that I was missing or what he represents.  Happily, it was what he represented.  I miss real physical intimacy with a partner. 

Kryptonite and I met while we were working together in 2007 and had an instant connection.  We maintained a distant friendship over the years, and in 2013 reconnected after both coming out of long-term relationships.  Our connection was magic and we quickly entered into a sexual relationship.  It is only now that I realize, he was the only person since The Ex that I have been able to be both physically and emotionally intimate with.  It is that relationship I miss.

The tough part of is that those type of relationships don’t come along every day.  They take time and energy to build.  So, even if the right person were to walk into my life today, I am still months (even years) away from the connection I’m seeking.  It’s a wee bit disheartening.  And, here comes my pessimist for a moment, every day that passes that I don’t meet that person, is one day further away from what I’m seeking. 

I know, I know, it could be that I’m one day closer to my match, but honestly, sometimes I just need to revel in the sadness for a bit, so please keep your happy, optimistic comments at bay.  The truth is, not compromising yourself is lonely.  Intimately lonely.  I have many deep, personal connections with people, but it’s different.  When I go to bed at night, I want it to be in the arms of someone I love.  I know that love is worth waiting for, but until then, it’s lonely.  So, sometimes I cry.  Sometimes I sob.  Sometimes I get frustrated with the world and scream.  But, eventually, I sleep.  I face a new day.  And I wait.  I have yet to be able to predict any of the magic that has happened in my life.  It could be today.  It could be never.  I wait.  I sit in the loneliness.  It sucks.