Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sayonara 2011!

I can't really sum up this year much better than it sucked in so many ways. With my 17 year relationship imploding, it's pretty much dominated most of my head space for much of the year. I've had to deal with heartbreak, hurt, anger, rejection, self name it, pretty much every negative emotion out there, I've felt it this year. I've also had to grieve the life I had planned for myself, growing old with my loved one, watching our grandchildren play together. I've had to get used to doing things on my own, such as caring for three kids, dealing with them in the middle of the night when they're throwing up and I'm not far behind. I've had to negotiate tasks that my husband usually did, get used to going to parent and couple events alone, endure the looks and gossip and slowly get used to the idea of being replaced.

Yeah... this year has sucked big time.

However it has also really really rocked in so many ways. I learned that I have the best of friends near and far. From a group of girlfriends that you only hear tell in movies or novels, to online buddies who have listened to my many rants and cries, to my old friends and family back home who welcomed me with open arms and a whole new group of friends who have loved me to bits. Really, other than my children, my friends and family are my reason for survival.

I've had to negotiate so many new things relying on my own strength and without the support of my spouse. From being afraid to fly (and believe me, I clutched those arm rests like no one's business, but I did it!) to going to the dentist, lawyer, accountant, stock broker. To simply driving in places that I'd rely on my spouse's expertise. In that, I've learned that I'm pretty damned capable of these things myself! Go me!!!

I've had to adapt as a parent, which has been the hardest. I've had to go nuts in carving out time for me to do things with the guys when I'm not running amok taking care of the mundane things. I thankfully have awesome support in getting to do so. I've had to alter my relationship with them since I'm the primary parent 5 days out of 7. I've also had to let go of some things. Instead of trying to be the perfect parent in someone else's eyes, I've had to redefine what the perfect parent is for me and my guys and that is still a work in progress, but one I'm starting to clue into and that is bringing a lot of relief to me.

This year has been very rough emotionally, but I've survived and that in itself is an accomplishment. It's been 10 months since my ex spouse ended our relationship. I barely remember how I got through the first month, what I do remember, I look back in amazement to see how far I've come emotionally because I was a living, breathing wreck! I sometimes go into meltdown mode, and the anxiety is my biggest problem now, but I am smiling again, a lot. I feel lucky, I feel loved, I feel beautiful and I'm looking forward to the future, whatever it may bring, because i know I can handle it, some way, some how!

My ego took a serious beating this year. I mean, what can you do after someone who've loved for 17 years and who you thought loved you, decides to move on quite suddenly without warning. You feel pretty freaking inadequate. LOL Superficially, I thought about what was on the outside and what made it so awful, less superficially, I thought about the inside and internalized a lot of ugly things about myself. However with all that I've had to accomplish this year and all that I have, I'm not feeling so bad in the smarts department. More and more, I catch a look in the mirror and am surprised that there is a pretty good looking gal looking back at me. I've learned that I do not have to look a certain way to be beautiful. I've embraced and will continue to embrace that inner diva, and judging by all the diva-esque birthday gifts I got this year, I'd say I'm doing a good job. Most importantly though, I am judging a part of myself by the company I keep. I've got to say, I keep some damn fine company, and if they can embrace and love me the way that they do, I can't be all that bad.

I received some pretty awful news a few hours ago. After my initial sob, it made me reflect on how fast and precious life is and how it can change in the blink of an eye. Sorry, for the cliche, but everyone has those wake up moments, we all need them. It's made me focus on all that I do have rather than what I do not. I've had a huge loss this year, I will feel it forever and it will take a while to recover, but I have gained sooooo much this year too. Most of all, my new and improved parenting relationship with my boys, the amazing friends old and new, here and away that I have, and the growing sense of self worth I am working on. I hope by this time next year, I'll start showing signs of that force to be reckoned with that I'm aiming to grow into. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is it Pick on a Muslim week or something?

This is a rant, I warn you.

I've been inundated with stories of people doing stupid things because they fear the big bad Muslim. I mean, I know that there is a serious problem with bigotry going on, but it seems this week has been selected for a couple of big boners.

First, there is the story of Lowes under pressure from some right wing Christian fundamentalist group removing its advertising from a show on TLC which follows an American family around who happens to be Muslim. The group Florida Family Association whines that the show "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.."

Damn you for appearing to be ordinary! We all know that behind closed doors Muslims kick puppies and eat Christian babies. And how dare that show actually show ordinary Muslims! Oh my goodness, because there isn't nearly enough coverage on the media about the crazies who claim to be of the same religion...oh wait, yeah, I forgot, Fox News. Heaven forbid that all that media frenzy and madness about psychopaths hurting people in the name of religion be countered with people, I dunno, actually living lives more in line with that religion, and those lives are actually pretty similar to those of zealots...except a lot less bigoted and a lot more educated. I understand, it's pretty scary when you're trying to promote "good Christian values" in a very wrong way, that the media actually shows one of the enemy not being very enemy-ish and way smarter, peaceful and loving than you. But there it is.

As for Lowes...seriously? Seriously? Maybe you decided that not enough Muslims were shopping so you could afford to alienate the bunch, but can you afford to alienate those Christians who take the Greatest Commandment seriously. *waiting as the fundamentalists look that one up because CLEARLY they don't know what it is*.

Get this world, as much as there are folks out there who are going to demonize Muslims and try to negate the possibility that like us, most of them are pretty fond of peace and just living their lives, there are folks like me who are getting pretty pissed off with your attitudes. Frankly, those Christian fundamentalists scare the crap out of me far more than any Muslim extremist ever could. And I've got news for you fundies, there's a good chunk of the Christian world who think you're not all right in the head and loathe the day you ever get into power of any nation, because we know that the minute you do, the body count will go up. You're no more interested in peace than terrorists and you've taken the acts of a few very disturbed individuals and used it to declare war on millions of others. 

Anyhow, next target of my rant is closer to home, tell me if you're surprised...the Harper government. I know, you're dying in shock that *I* would have a beef of them right? lol The last election night was greeted with such elation as my beloved NDP party soared to new heights, it was then greeted with dread as we learned that the Tories got the majority vote. I would be groaning enough if these were just fiscal Conservatives, but they're social conservatives, no matter how much they try to sell otherwise and that scares the life out of me.

So, if you're not living under a rock, Muslim women who wear the niqab have been told to take it off or be denied citizenship when it comes time to say the oath. Jason Kenney yammering about how it goes against Canadian values in supposedly treating women as equals. Now let me get this straight, the Harper government who has yanked funding from so many causes meant to ensure that us gals are treated as equals, who have told us to "shut the fuck up" about protecting our rights to choose are NOW coming in as the knights on horseback to save all these heathen women from the oppression they face by telling them how they should be dressing.

Lets just say in the extreme case that that woman is being forced to wear the veil by her family, how the hell is denying her citizenship going to protect her? If us Canadians, defenders of women's rights are so great, maybe we should be ensuring they get into the fold? And how about those women who choose to wear the veil, I know they're all considered backwards, stupid, poor little lambs ready for the Muslim slaughter, but assume for a second they are educated women who freely chose to veil themselves, how is telling them how they should dress any better than those men you claim to be protecting them from?

I don't want to be told how to dress by the Conservatives, I might end up in some God awful sweater or stuck with hair like Harper himself. Me, as a Canadian born woman, who's relatives have served in the world wars for king/queen and country, who has a long heritage on this continent, I am not happy with this sudden move to tell women how they should dress to be Canadian. I'll wear whatever the hell I please thank you very much, and so should any other woman!

The excuses of judges not being able to see if they are actually taking the oath, come on! My 6 year old comes up with better excuses...truly, he does. Anyone and their mother can say the words, but unless you mean them, they count for nothing. If it's THAT serious, how brutal would it be to have a girls only swearing in? Not very I'm assuming.

Don't like it? Well guess what? If you think for a second that when your ancestors came and colonized this part of the world they blended in seamlessly with the people who were already living here, I've got some news for you. The world is getting smaller, people who have been separated forever are now sharing communities together. The name of the game isn't assimilation, it's evolution, which means we all have to change a little if we're to progress into brand new shinier and better higher beings. It doesn't take much really, I think of all my Muslim friends, the biggest difference of opinion I have with any of them is choice in hockey teams. I know, shocking huh? What a gap, who knows if it can ever be bridged. ITS LEAFS VS THE HABS PEOPLE! While a war hasn't been started over it, any person in these two huge rocks of provinces know its only a matter of time.

Anyhow, time to wind this rant down since it's all over the place.

1. Christian Fundamentalists, get the plank out of your eyes. You're behaving like a bunch of bigoted barbarians and it's high time you actually sit, think and reflect on that book you profess to put so much stock into it. You're pissing the rest of us Christians off, and I don't know if you've checked facebook recently, but the groups for progressive Christians are growing exponentially daily.

2. Lowes, you're not getting my business ever again. Learn how not to bow to pressure of clearly insane bigoted groups of people and we might talk.

3. Muslims=Not scary puppy kickers. Pretty normal people who believe in a religion which is no more scary than any of the other ones kicking out there, least of all Christianity. Some have questionable taste in hockey know who you are.

4. Jason Kenney, don't tell Canadian women how they should be dressing and claim you are protecting the rights of women. Your government's track record of doing that is abysmal, and most of us are smart enough to see you lying through your teeth. Jason, see point number 3, lather, rinse, repeat til it sinks in, since if you're really honest with us and yourself, this is the real issue at hand.

5. Christians...fundies out there. When you have the choice to be kind and loving to your fellow man vs being willingly in the dark, frightened and lashing out, which choice do you think Jesus would rather you make? Something tells me it's the former. There isn't a war on Christianity. There has been so much blood spilled in the name of religion, and at the rate you're going fundies, you're going to spill even more. I've never been told not to say Merry Christmas in my ENTIRE life of living in a very multicultural city. My values have never been threatened nor has my way of life. Reality check, as far as Canada and the US goes, we're still in control of this horse and buggy. So stop being frightened and start learning how to foster loving communities, we have so much to gain from being stronger and united with those different than us and it is a remarkable opportunity.

Let me close by adding a quote by Desmond Tutu, I can only aspire to have as much eloquence and grace.

"The 9/11 attackers were labelled “Muslim terrorists” and evil personified was given a Muslim face. We were told that these Muslim terrorists were aided and abetted by Muslim countries. Clearly, this logic went, Muslims were not to be trusted. The West developed special security procedures and sophisticated software to identify and track Muslims. Adherents of the Muslim faith were harassed and humiliated across the world. It was the computer-age equivalent of the Nazis daubing yellow Stars of David on the doors of Jewish homes.

If these were “Muslim terrorists,” why did we not label the Oklahoma bomber a Christian Terrorist? Why did we not label members of the Irish Republican Army Christian Terrorists? The people responsible for the genocide of Bosnian Muslims were not labelled Christian fundamentalists, and nor are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The simple truth that we all know is that there are many good Jews out there and some bad ones, many good Christians and some bad ones, good Hindus and bad Hindus, good Buddhists and bad Buddhists, good Muslims and bad Muslims. That’s the human condition. All of us have our fair share of frailties and imperfections.

There is no religion I am aware of that propagates violence, yet many are they who commit violent acts in the name of religion – and who falsely justify cruelty as something that is sanctioned by God. As Kofi Annan so eloquently put it, the problem is not with the faith but with the faithful.

We may be differently pigmented, have different facial features, speak different languages and worship in different temples. But we know that we can successfully transplant the heart of a member of the Christian faith into the body of a Hindu patient, or a Jewish accident victim’s kidney into a Muslim.

We failed the biggest test posed by the 9/11 outrage: In our anger and dismay we failed to recognize our common humanity, that we are made for love and that acts such as those committed on that day are an aberration.

When we looked at the terrorists we did not see ourselves, we did not consider how our actions and posturing in the world may have contributed to the crime. No. We saw “others,” and we demonized them."

Monday, December 12, 2011

He's six! I need an answer book!

Ninja has been hammering me with all sorts of questions lately, questions and statements. Seems less and less he is a little boy and more and more a growing boy trying to understand the world he is in.

Starting with the basics, he's asking for a definition of every word he doesn't understand. As I stood in his martial arts studio trying to define sensitive to him and doing a poor job at it, I picked on a friend and left him to it. I do normally try to explain words, but I was floundering with this one. Anyhow, karma came to bite me in the ass with that one because on the way home I got several questions and proclamations.

First of all, he told me I was going to marry one of his martial arts instructors and he's going to help. So my 6 year old has decided to be my matchmaker.  I assured him that it was okay, I don't need his services.

"But why?"
"Why? Why? I dunno, I'm not planning on getting married for a very long time."
"Why?" Crap, seriously???
"Ummm, because Mommy is going to be busy with school."
"But Mommy, if you get married, he can help you with school, he can take care of Adele and teach us martial arts and make breakfast." Why oh why did I name my kid after a lawyer?
"Marriage is a lot of work, and Mommy is busy with you guys and school hopefully, so no, definitely no."
Thankfully he seemed to accept this.

Driving, driving, driving, listening to Christmas carols.
"Mommy, how does Jesus AND Santa exist?"
Aw Christ!
"Well, Jesus lived a long time ago and we celebrate his birthday at this time of year. Then not as long ago, a man named Kris Kringle was so moved by giving and caring, he decided to become Santa Claus"
"Yes! Magic, isn't it awesome!!!" I cannot stress how much I emphasized the magic part.
"Is Jesus magic?" Somewhere God is laughing at me.
"In a way, he is, in a way we all are." I start panicking about having to explain resurection and heaven and the like. It's 6:30, I'm tired, I'm cold, I'm hungry, I'm trying to get us home and want nothing more than a nice hot bath and hot chocolate. I'm barely capable of higher thought, let alone theological discussions that will either stick with my child his entire life, or land him on the couch of a shrink.

"I think elves are really good little boys and girls who decide to go work with Santa"
"Honey, I think that is a great theory, I like it!" I'm so glad this is the new topic. "Would you want to be an elf?"
"No, I want to stay with my family and my Ninjago, if you're an elf, you won't be able to play as much."

A couple minutes later we pull into the driveway.

"Mommy, I'm going to tell my martial arts teacher that you guys should be friends"


Thursday, December 8, 2011

My kid is brilliant!

I was pulling into the parking lot today to take Ninja to martial arts. I pulled in gingerly next to this big white truckosaurus type truck. Ninja remarks that the truck belongs to his teacher, to him is part superhero, part deity. For me and every other woman in striking range, he's just all eye candy.

Anyhow, Ninja says "You don't want to hit his car mommy, he's a black belt!"

Very good son, I have taught you well.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas is pretty tough

I've been struggling for a week in getting this post out, trying to put a positive spin on it, looking at it from a larger cooler perspective, but it's not happening. I'm bummed and this post is've been warned.

They say that first events are the toughest, God they're right. Christmas so far has been brutal, I have no feelings of joy or anticipation. It's one big Hallmark holiday and Hallmark doesn't make a card for divorcing single mothers. lol

We put up the tree, which included the gabillions of handmade decorations made to signify the important events of our years together. A great tradition so long as you stay married. It was all I could do to keep myself from crying. Then Ninja wanted to put up a few ornaments that were clearly of Mommy and Daddy together and I told him that I didn't think it was a good idea, then he started crying...then I did. In retrospect it sounds funny, but it was pretty brutal at the time. He then started pressing me about whether or not I loved Daddy. Hallmark definitely does not make a card for this! I stumbled through an answer, which was pretty much every divorce cliche in the book, largely because I had no idea of what to say. After talking with a professional, I let Ninja put up those ornaments that were important to him, explaining to him why I was doing so. But every time I look at my tree, which is really, the only sign of Christmas in my house, I feel depressed.

Shopping? Normally I'm game no matter what mood I'm in. I don't want to shop, I haven't started. It's overwhelming and really, I'd like to just avoid this Christmas, birthday, New Years by hiding in my bed. I'm going to the US to pick up some presents for the guys hopefully at decent prices, a trip I'd normally be salivating about, but it's something I'm dreading a bit more for some reason.

Then of course there are all those parties, concerts, events where you have to be together and fake a smile, all the while pretending that this isn't ripping your heart out. Ninja begged me to come to his grandparent's tree trimming party. Admittedly, part of me wants to go, because I don't want to be erased from the important events of my kids lives, nor do I fancy the idea of eventually being replaced in those events. The other part of me is dreading it, because it's another reminder of my former life and my new one is so unknown and scary.

I have to slap on a smile, pretend I'm happy and be strong for the kids, I get that, but in reality I'm hurting, I'm tired, worn and I really question some days how I'm going to keep on manufacturing strength as if it were some renewable resource. Guess that's the good thing about blogging, it's a space where I don't have to worry about my kids reading, at least for the next few years and I can be depressed as I want.