When I’m Most Susceptible To Idiots

“Never argue with an idiot; he will bring you down to his level and win from experience.” ― Brad Slipiec

I think I’ve figured something out.  Sometimes it takes me a while, but I know I’ll eventually get there, and things will change.  In other words, I had a huge light bulb moment today.

Christmas was good, I had a nice time with family.  The day after was ok.  We had a pj day and I tried to make the most of it with my daughter.  My butt was planted firmly on the couch while I tried so hard not to whine and complain about my high fever, aching body and splitting head ache.  I seriously felt like I was hit by a huge truck.  My daughter was a trooper even though we had to cancel our plans for the day.  In fact, she kind of took care of me, making sure that I rested, checked my temperature and drank fluids.  It was nice to be looked after for a change.

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But today was different.  Today I worked from home while my daughter was in tow.  She played in the backyard in the snow, while I sat at the kitchen table.  It was nice to see the kids through the garden doors, hear them playing while I worked away on my Mac.  I was still sick with a high fever, but I felt somewhat better hearing them, and getting cool, fresh air when they would throw the door open to tell me some exciting news.

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Then the chaos started.  I began getting text messages that were demanding, argumentative and unreasonable.  I found myself getting wound up while I tried to deal with this.  I was ready to set my phone on fire.  It was getting late so I called my daughter in for lunch, and found myself snapping at her, not being able to handle normal things such as her normal complaints about eating her fruit.  And I felt myself getting anxious, irritable and frustrated with everything around me.  The afternoon wasn’t turning out well and I was spiralling downward – fast.

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The text messages continued, and the more I tried to reason with this individual, the more outrageous the conversation would become, to the point when I was told that this would be handled in person, rather than text.  Fine by me, I thought.  I’m a firm believer that things should be resolved either in person or by telephone (voice).  Plus, I would then be able to share the evidence to support my point.

Well the ‘calm’ discussion I anticipated didn’t work out that way.  The in-person meeting was high-tension and high-conflict.  Something that I didn’t want to expose my daughter to, and luckily she was in the other room, out of ear-shot, or so I thought.  It was absolutely impossible to reason with this person, and when this person left, I found myself tied up in a tight knot.  What the heck was going on?

I went back to the living room and sat down next to my daughter.  She wanted to do something together so we painted a kit that Santa got us for Christmas.  Strangely enough, I found it extremely cathartic and felt my mood suddenly change.  I was thinking to myself about what had transpired, why I was so uptight, and then, almost as if an answer to my questions, my daughter says to me “Mommy, it’s only clothes.  Who cares.  Just let it go.” I was stunned.  I turned to her and said “Honey, you’re right.  It’s only clothes and not worth all the arguing.” And she said “Exactly.  There are other things that are more important – such as painting!”  What wisdom from a seven-year old.  God I love her.

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And so while I continued to paint I thought about why this incident had gotten to me so much, and I figured out that when I’m tired, run down and sick, I’m more susceptible to the antics of idiots.  I am more likely to engage in the stupidity game that they try to get me to play into.  They get the better of me, but not anymore.  I’ve learned their method of attack – hit them while they’re still down.  Does this happen to anyone else but me?

Then I read a friend’s status on Facebook “woke up feeling stressed, then I decided to count all the ways I am blessed. Then the reality hit me – I need to chill and let my worries be.”

Damn straight.  I do need to let my worries be.  I do need to focus on what I’ve been blessed with, and not get distracted by all the nonsense that gets brought to me by idiots.  Clearly this happens to everyone, especially when you’re not able to function at your fullest.  The way around that is to focus on what good there is in your life, on your blessings.

So I have figured out that at the end of the day I can hold my head up high.  I’m able to walk away from today’s incident knowing that in my heart I’ve been truthful and honest, and I’ve been loving and caring.  I have done no wrong to anyone, and I have not been hurtful.  As my daughter said “it’s only clothes.” There are way more important things that need my attention and it’s better to spend my precious time and energy on something life-giving, not life draining.  And idiots can be life draining if you let them be.

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You’re Never Alone

“Hold me close / Let Your love surround me / Bring me near / Draw me to Your side.” – Hillsongs, Power of Your Love

Today began just like any other regular day.  I woke up, showered, had my coffee, prepped the lunch bags, woke up my daughter and got her ready for school.  This morning I gave her a kiss.  I always make sure to give her a kiss.  I also make sure to tell her that I love her.  I know that she knows I do because when I say to her “I have something to tell you” she responds with “I know, you love me.”  It’s a little game that we play, and I’m comforted by it.

It’s Daddy weekend this weekend.  Fortunately, I was able to see my daughter after school long enough to give her a big hug.  And this time I held onto her a bit longer than I normally would.  I didn’t want to let her go and tonight I miss her heaps more than usual.

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And that’s because today wasn’t any regular day after all.  I’m located about 600 kilometers away from the devastating massacre of the innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut, and I’m having a hard time coping with what happened.  I don’t know these people, never met them in my life, and I’m never going to understand what they are going through.  But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried today just thinking about those poor families who have lost their children, wifes, husbands and parents.  And I’ll never understand what drives a person to do such thing.  I don’t know.  I’ll never know.

But I do know that their lives will never be the same.  They will feel an emptiness inside for the rest of their lives.  They will question God about what happened, and why their loved one had to die, be taken away from them.  They will likely fall into a deep depression, not wanting anyone around, feeling all alone.  They will hit rock bottom.

And today when I heard the news, I immediately thought of my daughter, and imagined her in that school and ice-cold fear travelled through my entire body like a lightening bolt.  I thought about all the times I kissed her goodbye on a Friday morning on Daddy weekends, and how my heart rips out of my chest every single time because I don’t get to see her again until the following Monday.  I thought about how many times I wanted to hold her during those weekends and couldn’t and how I’ve had to settle for phone calls.  And then I thought about these poor parents who won’t ever be able to hold their children again, and how they don’t get to have a phone call. They will never hear their voice ever again.

I wish there was something that I could do.  I feel helpless.  My heart goes out to them, and they are in my prayers.  And while they are in their darkest hour, I pray that they never forget that they are not alone. There is someone holding them, loving them and caring for them.

And while I was in my darkest hour, this reminded me that I was never alone.  This is what helped me through those long, dark nights:

Sit Still and Rest, Already!

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”  – Maya Angelou

I’m overwhelmed with the amount of people who have contacted me, concerned for my wellbeing and have suggested that I just take a break and essentially enjoy the moment.  My heart is so full because of this.  They’ve pointed out that I’m constantly trying to grow, push forward and that I need to is just sit still for a while.  I thought I knew what that meant, that I could easily do it but when I tried to sit still, I quickly realized that I just don’t know how.  Seriously, I don’t.

As I continued to try, I felt more and more anxious and I felt I was starting to spin out of control.  So it was a good thing that I was scheduled to see my therapist.  We deconstructed what was going on, why I couldn’t do this, and what was going on in my mind to figure things out.  Let me tell you what I processed.  You already know that I’ve been feeling stuck and the reality is: I am.  I am stuck right here, right now.  I am in limbo.  The life I used to lead is almost coming to an end, and the life I’m trying to start hasn’t quite started yet so I’m stuck in between.  Add to that the anniversary of my marriage falling apart, and on top of that a heap of other things, needless to say, these past few days have been emotionally charged, or should I say, over-charged.

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So how do you sit with all of this?  How do you let things just play out and not try to interfere?  It’s friggin hard.  Especially when you’re used to having to do something all the time.  So I tried distracting myself with other things but that didn’t work.  I felt my mind wander and I caught myself getting frustrated with the way things were, and how I could push it ahead.  I tried to write about it but my mind was so cluttered that I couldn’t get my thoughts sorted enough to write, which made me even more anxious and frustrated.

The only choice I had was to feel it all.  E v e r y   s i n g l e    t h i n g  and that was brutal.  Every since feeling I had in me I had to feel in order to release myself from all of this.  Do you have any idea how painful that is? It was absolutely crazy.  I had to name every single thing that I was trying to avoid, was frustrated with, was feeling anxious about and was angry and sad at.  I felt as if I was being torn apart into hundred million pieces.  I found myself crying a lot, which is odd because I didn’t think I needed to cry.  After I cried, I felt better.  And then I cried some more, and then I felt better again.  This just kept going on and on, until I felt better, became centered once again.  I healed.

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It is interesting to find out that for me, sitting still is about listing to what my body and spirit are trying to tell me.  I’m learning about how the my body remembers things, even when my mind doesn’t, and that this could be the source to my anxiety, which is the case here.  The other night was Daddy night so I was planning to get my Christmas shopping done but I felt a heaviness in my chest, and my mind was foggy.  I felt my pulse racing.  The same symptoms I was feeling earlier on in the week.  So instead of shopping, I decided to go home.  I changed right into my jammies, had a light dinner and parked myself on the couch.  This far from normal for me.  I never get a chance to park myself on the couch, let alone watch tv. But I did it anyway.  I pushed away the feelings of guilt and selfishness, I listened and gave my body and spirit the break they needed. And it felt wonderful.  Absolutely amazing.

Have I been living up to this?  Am I continuing to sit still? I’m sure as heck trying.

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What Do You Do?

“The only difference between a wish and a prayer is that you’re at the mercy of the universe for the first, and you’ve got some help with the second.”  – Jodi Picoult

Imagine that you’re stuck.  You want to move, you can see the place where you want to be.  It’s nice there.  You can see that the atmosphere is better, clearer, and you can just imagine how things will be.

But you’re stuck.  Your feet are in cement, and no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get out.

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What do you do?

People keep saying to you “You really need to do something about this,” and you know that already, and you’re trying with all your might to get your feet out of the cement but they just won’t move.  Nada.  Zip. Zilch.  They just won’t budge.

Now some days, you feel like you’re making progress.  You can wiggle your toes, and even slightly move your leg.  That’s great and all.  It even looks promising but have you really made any progress?  Your feet are still stuck in the cement.

So seriously, what do you do?

This is how I’m feeling right now.  I feel like my feet are in cement blocks.  The life I have planned for me and my daughter, the one that I’m working towards is within reach, but I just can’t grasp it.  I can’t stretch quite enough to get a hold because my feet are stuck in the cement, and it just might be getting away.  I’m questioned all the time about what I’m doing, what’s going on and I’m at the point that I honestly don’t know how to answer.  I’m trying to keep the flame burning, I’m trying to steam ahead, but what happens when the flame burns out and the steam fades?  Then what?

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Right now, I’m doing the only thing that I’ve recently learned to do.  I’m praying to God.  I’m praying for help.  I’m praying for a miracle.  And I’m praying for others to pray for us too.

Please say a little prayer.

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Thank you.

I’ve Been Gagged

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  – Ernest Hemingway

He’s right. There is nothing to writing. It’s about bleeding all of what you’re holding onto out onto paper.  But figuring what you’re holding onto is the key.

To my dear readers,

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been writing much lately.  Actually, I was shocked to hear that its been quite a few weeks, as a few of my darling readers have pointed out. I honestly didn’t think it has been that long. Time does fly, and this truth is actually stinging quite a bit.

I hate to admit to this, but I’ve been gagged.

I’ve been wrapped up into myself lately – into my mind actually.  I’m not sure what has been going on and I’m trying to figure it out.  I just haven’t been able to write.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, I’ve had plenty, but for some reason I haven’t been able to put pen to paper.  Writing is cathartic for me, it’s soothing.   It helps me process my thoughts, especially the stuff that weighs me down, but lately I have been struggling to get even something small out to you.  Nothing would transfer onto the screen, and as a result I’ve felt very heavy, very drained.

I think this is what they call writer’s block.  But I really don’t know.  I’ve never experienced it before.

One thing I have observed these past few weeks is that writing is hard, but for me, not writing is even harder.  By not being able to write, these thoughts get really crammed into this brain of mine with nowhere to go, and they get squashed. There begins to not be enough room to hold all of these thoughts in and so I then get overwhelmed and more drained and tired.  And because I’m even more drained, then I have trouble to find the energy to write.  The vicious cycle begins and it’s difficult to stop.

To top it all off, then my faithful friends have turned on me – my words won’t come.  I so want to share the amazing things that I’m thinking of with you, but it’s like my mouth just can’t keep up with what is going on in my head.  And when I try to share them, it’s almost as if I’m speaking a drunken slur.  It’s hopeless.  I just want my beautiful words to come back.

I’ve tried different techniques to help me.  I’ve tried to walk away from the computer for a bit.  I’ve distracted myself with different tasks such as drawing, reading, listening to music, but nada.  I’ve tried exercising, meditating, speaking to my therapist, but no luck.

I have so many things I want to share with you.  As Maya Angelou said “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  So now I’m just going to try writing about not being able to write.  It’s torturing me not being able to write, and so with this I’m hoping to ignite that spark again.  I feel like a small piece of me is dying when I don’t write and I need to revive it.  I hate this hollow feeling I have inside of me, which I know is the part of me that thrives when I write that is missing.

I’m hoping that you will see more of me over then next few weeks.  But if you don’t, it’s not because I’ve forgotten you, or I’ve given up.  That’s far from the truth.

With love,
Smartie

You Ok Down There?

“Most important thing in life is learning how to fall.” – Jeannette Walls

I was pushed to the floor and beaten down to a pulp the other day. I was knocked down to my knees, and I felt like I was kicked in the stomach a million times.  I was left breathless. I was beaten down so badly that I was making involuntary noises as I was trying to breathe.  Tears escaped my eyes as I tried desperately to hold them back.  They trickled slowly to the sides of face, as I tried to hide them with my hair. No way was I going to show the other person how what they were doing was affecting me.  I wasn’t about to give in.  I fell into a hole and just lay there hoping that I couldn’t be seen.

I wasn’t physically beaten, even though it felt that way.  But my ego took a beating, and it deserved it.  I was laying on the ground, gasping for air and surprisingly it felt good.

Let me back up a bit and explain WHY I deserved this beating. I have been going through a lot of crap, and I think I have every right to b*tch and complain about it.  These last two years of my life have been absolute hell and quite frankly, I think I’m entitled to let off a bit of steam every once in a while.  To wallow in self-pity and be angry with the world.

But it hadn’t become once in a while.  It became always.  Yes, I had suffered a lot, I went through a lot, but I was hanging onto those memories for my dear life.  Those memories were producing fears in me, and every time I clutched one of them a little more, they fed that fear inside of me a bit more and it was starting to grow into an awful monster, starting to take over my life.

So that day when I was taken aside and “spoken to.” I was forced to hear things about myself that were very hard to hear.  This was one of those “life lessons” that we all have to learn every once in a while and I wasn’t ready to hear was being said and I definitely was not ready to learn this life lesson. I wanted to run the other way.  Fast and hard.  But that’s the funny thing about life. It sends to you people to teach you lessons during times when you’re not ready to learn them.

You see, I was thinking that my life was crummy, and I felt very much alone.  I felt as if my life sucked and that anything that could go possibly wrong would do so with me.  I was walking around with a black cloud over my head.  I couldn’t see the good in anything, and I was spiraling downward fast and hard.  As a result I became reclusive.  I wanted to feel loved, yet I was pushing everyone away from me – except for my daughter who I was clutching to for my dear life.  All this was not good.  To me, everything was doom and gloom.  And I wanted everyone to know about it.  I would complain to anyone who would just turn in my direction.  And someone listened.  That’s when I got the crap beaten out of me.

During the talk, the words which stung the most for me was to hear that I was being selfish and thought that everything was about me.  I felt my back go stiff and immediately thought “How dare you say that?!!  Look at what my life has been like and what I have gone through?!!”  How could someone say such things?  Sure, I do have to deal with this crap, and I have to look after myself and my daughter at the same time.  But, that isn’t what was meant by that comment, it was what I WANTED to hear.  I had to take a step and really pay attention to what I was being told.  And when I did, when I really listened, really let the words sink in, that’s when I knew that  wasn’t being attacked, but rather I was being loved.  Someone was looking out for me.  I was being pushed out of the dark cloud I was in, and onto solid ground.  However, I didn’t land on my feet. I landed flat on my face.

When I got up, I walked away from our talk with what I consider a great lesson learned.  Next time I feel like my world is turning dark and grey, I don’t have to worry about it being a permanent state.  What I am having is a bad time – whether it be a day, a month or even a year.  This will eventually pass, it’s not a feeling that I will feel forever.  And with any sadness, or sorrow, comes the opportunity to feel great joy.  There is always an opposite side to everything.  I was choosing to look at the negatives sides, the losses, the sadness, the things I’m lacking, the things missing.

For example, I was experiencing a huge heartache knowing that I had to go back to work, and not be able to build my business/career the way I had wanted to.  I was complaining that my daughter was going with her father that evening, that I wouldn’t get to see her until the next day after school. And that the tedious, expensive and stressful divorce I’m going through is killing me, and I just want to end the fighting, and get on with my life and how I’ve been feeling stressed because of the people on my back complaining about me. How could there possibly be a good side to this?  Well there is.  There are plenty of positives, and lessons.  Such as the gift of a new job to ease my financial worries, the gift of a loving daughter, and to know how much we care for each other, and the gift of patience and tolerance with the divorce, and all the people reaching out to me because they care.  Are these the only lessons to be learned?

Who knows?  I don’t, that’s for sure.  Maybe this is the way life, or God, or the Universe or whoever it is that’s sending this message, is telling me that something needs to change, that I need to change.  The bad things and situations won’t end, they’ll keep coming.  The only thing that can change is me, and I need to change the way I look at them.  There are the many thing to be grateful for me to be grateful for: the experience of living in this beautiful house, being able to spend two summers home with my daughter, meeting magnificent people, opportunities to grow and find myself.

I have found that there is always a point in life where you reach that there is no possible way to return to where you have come from.  But I have also learned that there is also point to where you reach where you can’t go any further based on the way you’ve been doing things either.  And I think that’s where I’m at.  I haven’t been grateful for many things lately, and the risk of continuing on this way is just too great for me.  The pain I have been feeling is normal.  Pain is part of being human, but it’s also a reminder that I’m alive and there is always good things to being alive, and for which I’m grateful for.

The Big Day

“It’s always been my feeling that God lends you your children until they’re about eighteen years old. If you haven’t made your points with them by then, it’s too late.” –Betty Ford

Tomorrow – Wednesday, September 12, 2012 is the big day.  My stomach is tingly, I’m excited and scared all at the same time. I guess this is how my daughter felt on her first day of school this year.

Tomorrow is my first day of work.  And I’m nervous.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this way.  It’s not like I’ve never started a new job before, I have but this time it’s different.  It probably is because I wasn’t expecting to find one so fast.  And also the disappointment that my plans of writing for a living had to take a spot on the back burner for a while and all the stuff that goes along with working from home, the flexibility to be there with my daughter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to go back to work.  The company is great, and the staff are awesome.  I think I need a change of scenery, interact with people and a normal routine.  I think it would be good for me.  And not to mention the money will definitely help the financial situation I’m in because of this divorce.

But I’m also sad.  Going back to work also means that I won’t be able to bring my daughter to school in the mornings and sneak in a kiss before she joins her friends in the line up at the door.  No more seeing her peek through the door to see if I’m there to pick her up after school. She’s awesome and I just love being with her.  Growing up I always wanted to be home with my children – work from home, be there on the trips, the mornings, afterschool, bring them to activities.

I know it will get better with time.  I know that I’ll be fine.  It’s the same feeling in my stomach every new school year, but this time it’s me going out there into the big, humungous world this time.

So with that, tonight I got our lunch bags and water bottles ready on the countertop for tomorrow morning.

I have prepped my breakfast, lunch and smoothie as well.

The bags are by the door.

All that is left is our clothes for the morning, and planning dinner for tomorrow night!

We’ll be off to bed soon for an early start in the morning.  Wish me luck!