Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You get what you seek

Are you getting treated like dirt everywhere you go? Is there always some idiot annoying you? Are you having difficulties stepping out of your house without being assaulted by someone trying to cause you offense? Flypaper for freaks? Beacon for bitchiness?

Well, you're either one seriously unlucky individual, or you need to look at the common denominator in this case...which is, you.

That is the hard thing, looking at oneself in the mirror when it comes to trying to figure out why things are so crummy, because it means we've got to take some accountability.

I can tell when I'm in a bad mood, I go out and every little thing people in the grocery store/mall/gas station annoys the hell out of me. I was shopping last night and I swear I was looking to be offended. Normally I'm a live and let live kind of gal. I wasn't always that way. I'd get into snarkfests with random strangers because they were doing something that was a little annoying, but I'd take it up to DEFCON 1 (according to wiki, the accurate use of DEFCON is that it's a countdown, so DEFCON 1 is the most serious. So the movies are all wrong...or wiki-debate anyone?) Anyhow, the point being is, if you are consistently in a shitty or vulnerable or looking to be wounded type of mood, chances are, it's going to happen.

Why are we that way? I think everyone has a period in their life where they are that way. Well, we are feeling vulnerable. We're having a shitty go of it. We're dealing with systematic unfairness. It sucks, I know! However, by being annoyed and hurt by every.single.small.offense. we are drawing our strength from being angry at the small things, instead of finding that inner strength we need to get through what is actually being the hard stuff we have to deal with. Being angry can be useful, it gives us that fire, it draws attention so people can give you a pat on the back for standing up for yourself, but anger is a sprinter, not a long distance runner. Most of the challenges we face in life are marathons and if we spend all our energy up front, we're not going to make it to the finish line in good shape.

Life is not fair, I know, BELIEVE ME, I know. My life has been marked by hard times. Up until this year, the past 5 have been relatively easy. After my seperation hit, I was not only despondent by the events, but I was wondering and angry about the spiritual side of things. I mean "Why me? Haven't I already had a shitload of bad things in my life?" I was in that state a couple of months, til I mentioned it to my therapist, who is very keen on the spiritual side of things. She suggested that as the first part of my life was so hard, the second part of my life with my ex and family was a calming down recovery period from that Godawful hard part, but now it was time to get my butt out of recovery (okay, I'm paraphrasing) and it's time to start with my life. Basically...instead of seeing the bad in this, why not see the opportunity. It's hard seeing opportunity, when you're going through a hard slog, feeling tired, beat up on, or see a big challenge for the next umpteen years, but I do think it's important to start looking for the good things, however small in life EVERYWHERE!

The thing is, if you're constantly going to let life piss you off, beat you up, wound you in every little step, you're not a survivor, you're a victim. A survivor will put their foot down when needed, but will not waste energy on something that might make them wince a little. If you keep adding all the little hurts to your baggage, that's going to be a mighty big load to bear.

I'm not saying don't complain, don't bitch, don't vent. Most of the folks reading are women I suspect, we'd explode if we didn't have our bitching sessions, that said, most of us can also shrug it off too and focus on the gabillion more important things in our lives, and most of us are capable of leaving the house without being hurt by everyone and their mothers. In the words of Great Big Sea:

In this beautiful life, but there's always some sorrow
It's a double-edged knife, but there's always tomorrow
It's up to you now if you sink or swim,
Keep the faith and your ship will come in.
It's not so bad

The responsibility of how happy you are in life is your own. We don't have to be Pollyannish and be a rock, but relatively, compared to about 4 billion other people in this world, we have it pretty good. Sometimes we need to step back and look at the bigger picture and let that inspire us to start looking for the good in life as opposed to the annoying, petty, small offenses that try to wriggle in.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shared history

It's funny how you mourn the loss of that. I'm grieving the loss of the relationship for many things, but this week it seems like shared history, or just intimate knowledge is the topic.

A couple of nights ago, I hit a dog. He was lying on the highway seriously injured, there was no way I could have dodged him without killing me, my passenger and possibly others. I saw his tail wagging right before I killed him. I couldn't believe it for a moment, I had to ask my passenger what was it, and she confirmed it was a dog, to which I promptly wigged out. She was an awesome friend and likely in fear of her life in talking me down and to a place where I could pull over and I really started bawling. It was the type of cry that just comes out of your chest and leaves it sore for a while. My friend rocks, she hugged me, reassured me that there was nothing I could do, and logically I know she's right. I managed to get her and myself home safely, downed a couple of shots of tequila and cried myself to sleep.

Where the shared history comes in is, that I love dogs....I mean I really love them. I still mark the anniversary of my late dog Banzai's death. I used to show dogs, I used to work for the Canadian Kennel Club, I used to live, breathe, sleep dogs, no one knows this more than my ex who was dragged through living, breathing, sleeping dogs...mind you, when we split, we only squabbled over the custody of one item, and that was Banzai's urn. I won. Anyhow, ex did come over knowing how broken up I'd be about this to chat and console me. It was good, because we have been trying to get along, and nice gestures go a long way.

So as I finished this last paragraph it dawned on me that I needed to do the same (I'm quick like that). As most Canadians who pay attention to the news knows, NDP leader Jack Layton is stepping down (temporarily, because we all know Jack will kick cancer's ass!) due to the illness. What you don't know is that Jack has been a good friend of ex's for the past 20 years. He was one of the ex's professors back in university and they hit it off. Since, they've worked on oodles of projects together and Jack would check in twice a year trying to get ex to move to Ottawa. So I knew that this news was going to hit ex hard. Now believe me, there is still a whole mess of hurt feelings, sadness and even crustiness that I'm feeling, but sometimes that has to be put aside and I have to remember that I'm hurt because I do genuinely care about the guy and he's hurting, so I have to suck it up and give him a call, see how he's doing. He remarked...now remember this is mid post, that only I would know exactly how this would impact him. Kinda creepy huh?

Looks like we both had our "shared history" type moment. It's hard because even with the most awesome-est friends in the world (and I have them) you cannot replace that person with whom you've spent the past 17 years of your life. And in a way, we're even lucky that we're still talking to each other and can share a few words of support. I think ultimately our kids are big winners in that department, in that mommy and daddy aren't trying to kill each other. However it's pretty different now. It's not that we cannot support each other, but the scope with what we do is pretty diminished. That said, I guess the challenge in going forward is creating new histories with friends, family (including ex) and my new husband Alexander Skarsgaard (he just doesn't know it yet) and filling that gap.

And on a very important and serious note, I'd like to offer my thoughts and positive prayers to Jack Layton in getting better. You are an amazing and inspiring man. Your energy, tenacity and optimism has seen you motivate millions of Canadians to build a party to speak for the people and values taking care of each other which I also hold dear. I pray that those qualities in you, will see you through this and you'll be back leading the way in no time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New life part 1.

It's been a long time since I've posted. I wish I could say it was because I'm a flake and nothing more has happened, but a major life change happened on February 27. It was the day that marked my seperation from my husband. The blow was tremendous as the love of my life, the only adult relationship I've ever had didn't want to be with me.

The next few weeks were a haze, a blur. The only thing I can definitively remember, was directly after he told me and I calmly told him to take the kids out. I emailed my best friends, went out to get some chocolate peanut butter ice cream and calmly sat on the couch watching TV and fielding calls. Talk about shock. Shock was good though, it protected me, of course it didn't last and I spent the next few months piecing myself back together again, trying to keep it together for my kids and relying heavily on my friends to help me get through easily the worst period of my life.

Somewhere in April, I realized that I wasn't going to save this marriage and my ego kicked in that I wasn't necessarily worthless, that this might indeed just as much a loss for him as it were for me. In May, I started smiling again, genuine smiles and laughs, it took some effort getting into the right frame of mind to smile, but once there, I started to resemble myself again. I also realized that yes, I was going to make it through, it was going to be Hell for the next three years, but I'll survive and God willing, be a better, stronger person.

Its now nearing the end of July. There have been so many peaks and valleys I've lost count. Its been very difficult to write this post as 1. I feel like a fraud having given so much talk and commentary on relationships and 2. How to discuss a very painful part of your life without lashing out, sharing too much or throwing myself into a valley again. I don't want to use this blog to give all the gory details or run down my ex, I'd like to be honest, but diplomatic and use it as a vehicle for reflection and reaching out to others who might be going through the same thing.

So, that said, I do need to write, and I want to share this part of my life as I get through the next few very tough years ahead. My first reflection came at me from the moment I received the first of many calls from my friends. (Though I didn't know it at the time) I am very lucky. Insanely lucky. So lucky that it hurts when it comes to the friends department. They have held me as I cried, bailed me out as I put my van into a bus (long story, I'll share it some time), they have force fed me food, they have force fed me alcohol. They have given me support, places to sleep, husbands to borrow, babysitting and an amount and the kind of love that you see in the movies.

Truly, I never thought that I'd ever be so lucky as to have friends like this. EVER! I remember I think the second time I met with the mediator, she asked me if I could see a silver lining in this. I couldn't, not for a lack of trying, I just truly wasn't in the head space to think of anything remotely good (maybe except for getting to claim the bathroom all for myself...pink and girly products took over like two days later). That said, once I was capable of smiling, I saw my community who rallied to pick me up. Not just my friends and mother, but my mothers friends, my friends husbands, my inlaws, some of my extended inlaws, nieces and nephews, brothers, sisters, school teachers and principals, therapists, my hairdresser. Every cloud has a silver lining, but my lining was diamonds because when I think back today, I am still overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from everyone. In fact it was a couple of friends who pressed me last night to write about this and to start blogging again. This isn't an easy blog post, it's very hard, very embarassing, very emotional, but I do know that if it weren't because of my friends, I wouldn't be capable of standing on my own two feet from time to time, let alone write a blog post about surviving this heartbreak.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Why I've been MIA and what I've been doing for the past 5 months. I can't promise my writing from now on will all be lollipops and rainbows, or even terribly consistent, but it will be honest and genuine.