Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Well happy anniversary to me! What am I celebrating? Well, it's officially been over a year ago (I meant to write on Monday the official day, but the plague had other ideas) that my then husband told me it was splitzville between us. Now I'm not happy in an neener neener sort of way, but I am happy to have this milestone under me. It's been a hell of a year, but I've survived, or as a friend put it, "you did a lot more than just survive!" And looking back I have and I'm pretty happy. I'm sure I'll be happier in the days to come, along with aggrevated...I do have three kids after all, but I can kind of strut around thinking to myself, I've done natural childbirth, I live with three insane boys, I've taken on a TTC vehicle with my awesome van of doom and lived to tell the tale and I survived a divorce, bring it on!

When this first happened, one of my besties told me that in a year I won't recognize myself, I'll be a totally different person. Now being one of my besties, I didn't want to punch her in the face, but anyone who was telling me that life would be dramatically different in a year, I had that urge. I just didn't want to hear it, but I'm eating crow, lots of it. I never would have thought I would smile, love, laugh or enjoy life again. I wish I could tell any woman who is going through what I've been through to hold on, it will get better, but it seems so cliche and really, when you're reeling through such pain and confusion, its hard to see that silver lining. I think during the midst of the madness, to use the analogy of hills and valleys, I would count every time I genuinely smiled or felt a little bit stronger as climbing a hill. There would be a valley coming, but it wouldn't be as deep and I was a little bit more ready to climb out of it again as I had just practiced on the last one. Get enough of those under your belt, and you feel a bit more capable of handling what comes your way. I really should apply that to exercise in real life...anyhow!

In the meantime, being gentle with yourself is also a pretty good idea. Imagine you're also carrying a hell of a heavy pack up these hills and down valleys, empty all non essentials, rest when you need to, allow a friend to push you up some of the way. One of the hardest things for me to admit was that I needed help, whether it was with childcare, a shoulder to lean on, someone to fix something and lots of folks are like that, but if you have people who are there in your court, don't be a martyr. If you have a Capricorn telling you this, its really sound advice as we typically are of the variety of "I CAN DO EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME!!!"

Any other words of wisdom? Nothing profound, but you will get through this. You don't really have a choice to be honest. How you get through it is up to you. Personally, I like meeting things head on and getting the brutal part over as soon as possible. Looking back, I'd like to think that I've survived this year pretty well, however, again, none of it would be possible without all the love and support from my friends and family. I'm sure some people are sick of reading how much I love them...too bad, it's my blog! Don't worry, I don't plan on reading out a thank you list, we've already had the Oscars, I just know that I wouldn't be here and wouldn't be smiling if not for everyone who forced me to be kind to myself, offered help, held me, listened to one of my millions of rants and encouraged me every step of the way. If you're going through a divorce and you are lucky enough to have a great community of friends and family, perhaps my best advice would be to use them, they are there for you and you probably need them more now than ever.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What the hell is THAT feeling?

I had an opportunity yesterday where I felt a feeling that I hadn't felt in a long time. I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt it. It took me by surprise.

I'm thinking "Oh...what the hell is that? hmmmmm, kinda feels good, really good. Okay, but its too good, something is going to happen and it's going to fall apart. Oh for God's sake Joy, just shut up and enjoy it, pretend its food or shopping or something, how come you can let go for THAT and not this? Good question! Well, I'll show you, letting go in 3...2...1! HA!" and then it just kind of overtook me.

I felt contentment.

If you haven't gathered from the insane conversation I have with myself...and they're all like that, I was actually quite alarmed because it was so foreign. But I decided to let go and ride it out. I was warm (I'm like a cat, I relish being toasty), I was sitting still, I was happy, it was peaceful, it was QUIET and I was in good company. I relaxed and just drank it in.

Now to understand the significance for me, you have to understand that I am constantly on the go. It takes me a good 30-40 minutes to fully fall asleep, I fidget...a lot, I am always thinking of things I should be doing, making mental lists and analyzing every last detail to death. It's just what I do. I've been trying to let go of some of it, but I also accept that a lot of it is just insane personality quirks and try to find ways to make it manageable. That said, this year its been at an all time high because I've had major anxiety and stress, so there have been points that I just sat shaking like an Italian Greyhound or a neurotic Chihuahua. I pace, I chew on hangnails, I twirl my hair, you name it. Somehow I don't manage to chase people away...kinda scratching my head on that one.

Back to the contentment, it's actually a been on my mind all day. It's a place I've revisited a lot, it's a place I will revisit a lot. Almost like my insatiable need for chocolate, shoes and purses, I want more. I realize on my part, I have to work on shutting that inner paranoid dialogue down with serious draconian brutality and since I've had a taste, I can feel the draconian forces, gearing up to beat the paranoid into submission.

 It's a place I'd like to get to again, because it has all those nice cozy feelings everyone loves and wants, who wouldn't want to be there. I of course want to be there again because it's been so long since I've felt that way. It's strange because I feel like it was an accomplishment. After being so guarded and so alert and hyper-vigilant, I let my guard down and I felt secure and at peace. I surprised myself. It's a feeling I've sorely missed and I feel so relieved that I can still feel that way, and lucky that I've had the opportunity and hopefully many more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My kid on religion...World take note

So I'm driving the oldest home and he starts in on me about why we celebrate Christmas the same way every year. I'm like, I dunno, it's tradition, its what we're supposed to do, it's freaking turkey man!

Ninja: "Why don't we celebrate Christmas like 'Onica'?"

Me: "Um (trying to figure out what he's talking about and negotiating Toronto rush hour traffic), because they're two separate holidays, celebrated by two separate religions. We're Christian, people who celebrate Hanukkah are Jewish"

Ninja:" So if we're ever invited to go celebrate to celebrate Hannukah, does that mean we can't go?"

Me: (suppressing a Hell no!) "No, honey, of course we can go, we can go to any religious celebration our friends invite us to (friends, take note...I'm expecting some invites this year!) it's a great honour to do so." (in my head I'm thinking, and the food is freaking awesome-we know where my priorities lie)

Ninja: "Even though we don't celebrate them?"

Me:" Right. Did you guys discuss religion at school?" (I really have no problems with my kid's school, discussing religion, I just wish they'd send me a heads up so I'm not caught in traffic trying to think of anything else other than avoiding busses and getting us maimed)

Ninja: "I think every religion is right"

Me:" I think so too, I think whatever higher power is up there has given us the tools to find a way we best connect with them" (I realize I'm probably offending a hell of a lot of more conservative religious people, or at least sending them to the fainting chair, but ah well!) "For mommy, I best connect with God through the teachings of Jesus."

Ninja: "Did you know that people fight over religion?"

Me: "Yep"

Ninja: "Some people won't even be friends with people of other religions!"

Me: "I know, and that makes God sad, and really, it's truly their loss because think of all the great friends we have who worship differently."

Ninja: "Do Christians fight over religions?"

Me:" Yep, they even kill people who are different religions"

Ninja: "Well that's just crazy! God tells us not to kill or hate!"

Me: "Yep, they seem to have lost that message."

Ninja: "Its like when I play with my friend V, he is a different religion, but we don't even bother with that, we're just friends!"

Me: "Well that's the way its supposed to be."

Ninja: "Yeah, anyone who fights or kills over religion is freaking crazy!"

Me: "Amen!"

It's always a good moment in parenting when you see that all that programming has actually took.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Keeping the faith...or fighting like hell for it

This is a rambly and wandering post, you've been warned.

Lets face it, it's been a hell of a year for me, and I think I'd be seriously justified if I flushed my faith down the toilet. I know at the start of the year, I was just reeling, I couldn't even think about faith, but when the reeling stopped, I started to get angry. I did the questioning of why me, and then I just closed the door. I couldn't even bear the thought of a higher power, even though I generally believe that they are pretty hands off on how we deal with each other.

Slowly though, it started seeping back. Not because of any large aha moment or anything, but I started reflecting on people who have been entering my life and rallying around me. It's been a really tough lesson to learn, but a door was closed and it was like opening a window the first day of spring when you can smell the plants growing and the warmth returning. And so many of these people have brought to me lessons and examples from their own lives that I really need to apply to my own. I think the way the higher power does interact with us is sending us messages, usually through people, and I started receiving the message loud and clear. I'm still in his/her sights and this is what I need to focus on.

Where my faith is lacking is in people and myself. I keep thinking that with all these wonderful people in my life, the floor is suddenly going to drop from under me. It's a very big fear of mine, even though logically I know that my friends and family would never hurt me so badly just out of their own principles, and I do believe that with all my heart, but it's like I have trouble keeping the faith. Which reflects on the faith in myself, because I'm not at the point where I feel like I am worthy to be treated well. I'm hoping at some point that changes and I'll be the force to be reckoned with Queen of the World that resides inside me.

I have to wonder if this is one big cosmic test to see how strong my faith is in people, to have it destroyed so badly, but to rebuild it. I'd like to think it can be rebuilt, because as much as it is shaky, I have this fierce desire to get it back. I feel like it was stolen from me and if I don't keep that in check it makes me very angry because it meant so much to me, it still does.

I think it ties back into my spirituality because having faith in people is probably something the higher power would like me to have. It's Lent, so in addition to giving up my Starcrack, I think it would be a good idea for me to reflect on the importance to have faith in people in my life, since they are truly blessings and should be regarded as such.

I don't know how to get it back. My mom (yes, I talk to my mommy, she even called the minute I typed my mom *queue creepy music*) assures me that it will come back with time. Being the *cough im *cough* patient, that is a really hard answer to accept, but maybe that is part of faith too, since I figure that something as valuable as that has to be fought for, guarded, tested and grown. As I was typing this post, a meme came to me on facebook, its a bit saccharine, but it does get to the point.

I was the type of person who'd watch a movie about war crimes, and while be horrified by the brutality of the criminals, I'd be more moved by the kindness of the few brave people who stood up and did their best to retain that kindness and help others. I had hope and was able to see that potential everywhere and in everyone. I truly hope I can get to that place again. One thing I know, you, me and everyone can bank on the fact that I will fight like hell to get there.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Aging Gracefully...or not!

Okay, for all the ranting and raving I do on having a positive self image around one's body, I do not have one. Do many women? It's ridiculous when you think of it really, that so many of us do not see the good qualities about ourselves, and I am the Queen of the Ridiculous, except where it concerns my hair, my hair is amazing.

My body on the other hand, well me and my body have had issues since the arrival of first child. Mainly, that post pregnancy pouch that so many of us get after our offspring has twisted and warped our abdomens into something NONE of the pregnancy books warn you about. Now since last year, I've been working hard on taking better care of myself, I lost close to 70 pounds, began drinking more water, eating my vitamins, saying my prayers (sorry, stupid pop culture reference, I'm curious to see who gets it) but all in all, it's been a work in progress.All except that damn pouch. After doing 50 sit ups a day for close to 6 months and not a sign of any change, I started thinking of that option the crazy raging "I am woman, hear me roar" Joy is not supposed to ever consider.

In November, I made an appointment to see a plastic surgeon.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself lying on a surgery table, my arms spread out like Christ (not very comforting) terrified, but also wildly excited. I also had the rude awakening that my surgeon was my age. See, I've lived in this fantasy world, where surgeons are all people older than me because it take so much time to get that level of expertise...that world was shattered about 3 minutes before the anesthetic kicked in. When I first woke up, I was thrilled that I was alive, then I was thrilled that I had gone through with it. Then I begged for some more morphine and a drink of water. Morphine came, water did not, they were afraid of me throwing up, and despite my assurances that anesthetic does not have that affect on me, they erred on the side of being diligent, but shutting me up and gave me some ice chips.

Somehow I managed to get dressed with the help of my mom and got home, thankfully the hospital is less than 5 minutes away. I lay in bed for a few days, being well taken care of by my loved ones. It was an effort to get to the washroom, which is an ensuite, but by Sunday, I was feeling pretty freaking good. By Monday, I had taken myself off the really heavy painkillers and by Wednesday I was down to a couple of Advil as needed. So, by this I conclude I have mutant healing powers. Anyhow, I'm back up and running largely. I'm not allowed to lift heavy objects, have a bath or have sex, so I've been taking cold showers and eating copious amounts of chocolate.

So why? That's the million dollar question. Because I hated my body. I didn't hate the curves, I didn't hate the stretch marks or the flappy arms or even the two new lines in my forehead (though I'm not overly fond of them either). I hated that damn pouch. It felt like it wasn't a part of me. When I went into the plastic surgeon, I told her that the goal wasn't to lose weight, I was fine with the 186lbs of Joy that I was, I just needed to stop looking like a kangaroo. It's a drastic measure and for someone who is always railing about how the media pushes forward an unrealistic image of women, I sure drank the Kool Aid. That said, I've so far lost a grand total of 3lbs. I took a look at myself in pants today, which has been the first time I've been able to wear anything other than oversized PJs or stretchy tights and I smiled, I was thrilled. I fit an image that I wanted, which I have to say is still far off from that size 2, perky tits and perfect ass. I still sag, I still flap, I still have my lines and greys, but all those signs of aging I can live with, I accept them. The one part of my body that felt insanely out of place was gone and I had (as a friend who is handling far more significant body issues like a woman with ovaries of steel, once told me) "my body on my terms". So while I did fall into that trap, I like to keep a shred of "I am woman hear me roar Joy" in thinking that I did it to become a 180lb woman who is still fat, but pouchless, and I'm completely fine with that.