relationships

Turning a page and starting a new chapter…

Stagnation is just a plateau, a place to rest and plan. I don’t necessarily see being in that puddle as a bad thing. But if you get comfy there, you drown. Sinking down into the mud that was originally holding you up and providing the ability to breathe.

I’m at that point. One of my long-term office mates left the office at the beginning of the year. She spent time contemplating and things just opened up for her. Now I’m there with her. I’m starting to work with a business coach, mainly because I have so many ideas in my head about how to merge everything I do. Right now they’re all split into different jobs and it’s pulling me in so many different directions that I could be considered an archaeological dig.

On top of that, I’m hitting that age where I need to start paying more attention to myself. That realization that I have been ignoring myself, my health, and just my general sanity. Weeks go by where I fail to institute basic self care, because I’m constantly running around – too much. Mainly because I sit and talk about setting boundaries, then I fail to do so. I manifest what I want, then walk it back. Acting like I’m feeling guilty about receiving something I worked for and deserve.

The story of my life? Or the story of my conditioning? I always talk about what our society does to us, telling us we’re not enough because we don’t make enough money, we’re not swindlers, money-makers, or anything that would put us in a position where we’re not always running in all directions with our pants on fire.

The fact is, we’re all being conned and we buy into it. Every day. We follow so-called influencers for the next big thing, or place to go and be seen. We chase around that opportunity that’s going to bring us that big pay day. But at what cost? Spending no time with our families until there’s no time to spend? Wasting our best days on an office and looking at pictures of places that are disappearing in our own lifetimes? What difference are we making with that? None, and when we make the decision to walk away we seek to monetize our “good deeds”.

It’s mindblowing what our culture is doing to us, as if we didn’t grow up on those Sci-Fi novels that we’re using as blueprints instead of cautions.

Seems life is getting away…

Apparently, I write, then forget to publish. Hence the multiple posts this last week. Oops. Most of that is due to the fact that I’m being flooded with spring-inspired ideas, both personally and professionally. So I pretty much dove into that pool and have been busy with that. So I guess some of you will get 2-fer-1 deals. 😀

At the moment, I’m trying to get my life in order by trying to get my house in order. It’s amazing how the inside of one’s house is a pretty good indicator of one’s internal order. As a severe introvert who works in fields where I’m required to be highly extroverted, self care has not included cleaning. It’s mostly been sitting around and allowing my brain to just zen out. I’m getting better – one room at a time.

My husband did a deep clean up of the squirrel room, put all the wood and tree branches she had to eat and climb around on outside. The room looks good and is ready for us to start looking at the renovations. I made sense of our kitchen table, since I tend to bring all the outside table things in during winter. Slowly, slowly.

The mind has been occupied with some of the things I want to do, and some of the things I have to do. Taxes has taken a large chunk, trying to find the money for my new certifications while weathering the changes at the office that put me on a short-term bind doesn’t help. But I think I’ll get through it. I’ve had a lot of signs come my way, discussing work/life balance, whether it exists and what the future brings for folks in the US. I am concerned. But I also see where I need to go and I’m working towards that end. Down to trying to figure out a week, here soon, where I can take time off of my office and focus on myself and the things I need to get done outside of there. But it is looking good, I’ll say that much. Hoping that effort will resonate out and back in.

I also need to get back into the habit of scheduling my days. I’ve been slacking on that, hence my posting getting a little erratic. But I won’t promise, yet. Just know that I’m working on it.

A little over a year ago I rescued a Southern Flying Squirrel. My cats started bringing them in 2 Februarys ago, in their baby stages. The first one came in on the back of its momma and only lived a couple of days. I didn’t know much then, but I learned quickly.

Our next one was Tiny One. She was old enough to have fur, but wasn’t quite old enough to be romping around without mom. So we kept her warm, fed her, and soon she was tormenting the cats thinking they were playmates.

As she grew we eventually gave her one of the spare rooms in our house. Her and her sister (another that the cats brought in, but was intended to be released once the hard freeze was over) were constantly heard jumping around the obstacle course we created for them. Eventually, Little escaped, finding some space between the drywall in the closet to the attic. From there she chewed a hole and out she went.

Tiny stayed and moved back into her bachelorette pad that consisted of a towel folded over a clothes hanging rod filled with pillow stuffing. She loved June bugs and thought cicadas were the most prized delicacy when we were able to catch them for her.

In Little’s escape, another squirrel showed up and was caught up in the live trap we put up. Since there was a hole, there was a good chance she was going to come back, so into the room she went. Call placed to have the hole blocked and in that time, we suddenly had 4 babies join the family. So momma and kids stayed. Tiny eventually became the awesome aunt until it was time for them to go outside.

A couple of weeks ago, I started repeatedly catching another squirrel in the trap. So, same thing occurs. Call placed, waiting on the person to come patch the hole. But this time Tiny didn’t get to play the awesome aunt. We don’t know what exactly happened, but I found her unresponsive and I’m choosing to believe it was natural and not from a fight between them. I’m overwhelmed with grief, as during the short lifespan she was an anchor as I lost 2 cats that I’ve had for the last 20 years. Her squirreliness and love of climbing all over me, hiding nuts in my hair and all over my clothes, brought some kind of peace to what I was feeling.

Watching her learn to fly was even more awesome. Her and Little used to chase each other up my legs and onto my shoulders where they would jump and fly off to a shelf or the floor, then turn around and run back up. Just like kids who discover sledding or the most awesome slide in the world. The same went when I brought in her favourite bugs or nuts. You could see the absolute joy in her being when she realized what was in front of her.

I’m trying to come to terms with everything. Part of me is saying that this is just nature cycling, as the other squirrel has yet to return to my attic, despite the hole still being somewhere. The fact that it was on Imbolc when I found her and our running joke was that she put out in squirrel mail that we were awesome folks who were willing to take care of them during winter resulted in additional guests during the cold snaps.

But you never know what’s going to worm its way into your heart. And it’s hard to think I can’t walk into her room and have a face hugger coming at my head from the closet anymore (it was her favourite thing to do to us when we walked in). Or holding one of my cats and watching her jump on the cat’s face and sniff her then bound away.

I take solace in the fact that my cats no longer kill them and bring them in. My oldest brings me the baby babies (last one had just gotten its fur, but only lasted a couple of hours). But since Little, they haven’t brought any in that were harmed.

As winter arrives…

The weather is finally starting to commit to winter around here. As I’ve lived here for the last 20ish years, winter has been an elusive beast that tempts you into thinking that the season exists right as it morphs directly into spring.

But that seems to be shifting, as more and more winter comes out of its hiding place and firmly displays the 20 degree temperatures and the copious precipitation that comes with it.

It starts with the rains, they come heavy for days. Then the temperature drops, and the water begins to crystalize and the scent of outside begins to give off that pure scent that says “snow is here”. This is how we renew, casting off the things that die and no longer serve us, so they can become the nourishment for the new things allowed to grow in the space where death once roamed.

I think this is one issue we have in our society. We no longer have an acceptance of death. It’s more of something we either seek to hide away in hospitals or communities of elder care facilities and cemeteries. We look to modern medicine and “fountain of youth” treatments to avoid the natural progression of life. In our great progress to treat our disease of self, we’ve created a new bug. Not one created from a virus or bacterium but one that is in our heads and our social structures.

It makes us immune to the effects our words and conduct have towards others. The “sticks and stones” rhyme made real. Failing to see the consequences of our thoughts made real. And if we do, see those consequences, they’re shrugged off with simple dismissal that it’s someone else’s problem.

Evolution…

Things have been getting pretty hectic here since the beginning of the year. But in a good way. It’s been giving me time to reconnect with my roots, clear out the old junk that has been holding me back from jumping off the cliff, and make room for all the really awesome stuff that has been percolating in the background.

It’s been a good clearing, as I’m finding the ideas that I’ve been waiting for are finally starting to bubble to the surface. How I want the back yard to look, what I want the house to look like, what my office should be and finally….what my job will be! That part is the most exciting, because it finally allows me to bring every thing I do in life together into this one little bundle.

I’ve always known that I’m that person who will always be a step behind, but it’s never really bothered me that much because I’ve found that I always arrive when I need to do so. Guess that makes me a little wizard in the Tolkien vein. 😀

As things progress, I might talk about it more here, even though I do want to keep things a bit separate. Maybe I’ll hit a stride where I finally don’t care again and can fully open up. But it’s hard to explain how awesome it is, when that part that you thought was dead inside – buried in thick concrete and hidden for all time – to crackle back to life. To hear the muse that you had pushed aside, to become something that someone else wanted you to be, to forgive you enough and trust enough that she’d begin talking to you. And to finally hear the gods of old start to sing their songs with you. The awakening that we all search for, cry out for, and seek every single day.

But then begin to realize that it’s a process of a lot of small circumstances and details that add up.

In light of the #yesallwomen…

I wanted to make a list of habits I've developed or red flags that set off personal alarms because of situations I've been in with, or because of, men. So here we go:

When driving, if there is a car pacing next to me for a length of time, I avoid looking to see who it is because of a time when I was driving home. The guy in the SUV next to me had his rear view mirror angled so that I could see him masturbating (and doing a very poor job of it).

If I go on trips involving a team I'm on, I either room with guys I can trust, or I room alone (assuming there are no women to room with). Because a teammate made sure I got no sleep one night.

I have trouble accepting compliments on how I look, because a friend thought I was dressing up for him, and tried to force himself on me. And, when I went to a gala after I got out of an abusive relationship, my bf at the time leered at me and said, "I can't wait for you to get home so I can molest you."

When I go to concerts alone, or in strange places, I sneak my spiked wrist bracelet in with me. I wrap it around my fist so I can interest people to move away from me. Because someone at a concert thought my being near him was reason to put his hands in places they shouldn't be.

On a trip to my favourite swim spot on the river, I made the mistake of taking a teammate who I wasn't comfortable in being around (I chalked it up to cultural differences). He tried to force himself on me. When I told him no and decided we were going home, he went and told the inner circle of the team that I had sex with him.

I learned BJJ because an ex used leg locks and choke holds to "keep me in line". Learning it led to the one above, along with learning that someone I respected wasn't worth the respect.

I locked myself up both emotionally and sexually, because I was told by an ex that I was too emotional and I needed to get control of it (I'm still trying to unlock all of that).

I'm fearful of overly affectionate drunks both because of the demon I call my grandfather, and because I'm fearful of having to hurt someone because they won't listen to the word no).

I have bolted away from what might have been first dates, because the guy was just trying to be nice, or paid for something I didn't expect, because I was getting the wrong signals. I'm pretty sure they were both just nice guys, but it set off alarms from "nice guys" who were expecting repayment.

A guy who decided I had wronged him, put my unlisted home number up in a gas station bathroom, with the note "for great anal sex call *my name misspelled*". I got so many phone calls between the hours of midnight and 4AM that I almost had to quit my corporate job because I wasn't getting any sleep. I called the cops, they took my statement, and I never heard from the detective on my case. I ultimately had to change my number and move. This is why I don't answer calls from numbers I don't know.

In college, a guy called me – wrong number. Apparently, he had a female friend who would let him talk to her while masturbating. He did it to me quite a few times. I hung up on him, a lot. The only way it stopped, was when it turned out a friend of his fiancee was on the hockey team with me. He told her. I started making sure my dorm number was unlisted. As an RA, it was only available if you were a student in my building.

I won't get into the catcalls I've gotten, walking down the road. I also make sure that, if I'm on the bus or the train, I'm sitting or standing with my back against a wall and my bag between me and other people. I also walk with headphones on, normally – not necessarily listening to anything. I used to walk with my keys in my fist, now I only do that in places I'm not familiar with, or when I'm alone. I'm always looking at my surroundings and sizing up everything and everyone.

None of this is fair to the really nice people who don't deserve this. But it is because of a few – because I don't know who they are and they are good at hiding. I differentiate between the "nice guys" and the Nice Guys. I love the Nice Guys because I'm like their sister, and they protect me like their sister. And I have their back like a little sister and will beat the crap out of anyone who messes with them. I just wish there were more of them, so everyone can have a little sister.

Edits:

The other day, while I was waiting on the train. A stranger walked up to me and asked if I could use his phone. I stood there frozen, not willing to let my phone go because I had been witness to how phones get stolen, and conflicted on that. I was very hesitant on calling the number because I felt sorry for the excuse he gave me (and his phone really was dead), and afterwards I kicked myself because he now had my phone number. How messed up is it, that those thoughts go through my head in trying to be nice and help someone out.

So…this last weekend…

I went to the mountains and surrounded myself with women. Strange for me, I know. But it was actually a good thing. I've been thinking about my hip and shoulder issues over the last couple of days and I can't remember if my therapist attributed the right-side issues with my lack of femininity or with my over-usual masculinity. But the thing that got me was the amount of hip opening I had, not necessarily from sharing (because we all know that I'm willing to write more than talk), but just from being around and listening to the stories of those who were willing to share. I admit, the heart center has pretty much been shut down and humiliated into quiet submission – again – and if I think back, that's about when the hip and shoulder really started to act up. Like an internal struggle to force me into opening back up and letting all the emotion and energy that I used to have pour out. In a manner of speaking, I guess that need to round kick and undercut/haymaker someone was directed at myself.

One of the activities we did was a trust exercise (at least, that was my interpretation of it). We had to walk around the room shoulder to shoulder with our focus first on ourselves, then on our partner, then split between the two of us (total of 6 times). My partner and I had a somewhat rough start, but by the end we were walking about like we were strolling in the park. One of my takeaways was that yes, I can be selfish (as the first round was focused on ourselves). I hesitate to do that because I've known too many selfish people. But the reminder with focusing on someone else, is that it can be done in moderation. I've known I've needed to put a focus on taking care of myself, as in a manner of speaking, I am a caretaker. I've spent the last couple of years with this huge, not glorious burden from the business. I'm also still coming down from this expectation of who and what I am supposed to be, how I present myself, and what attention I'm supposed to give to others and when. It's a mess. Some real, some imagined, but all true to my experience.

This was also the first time I realized that I need to stick my hand out. I've always lurked in the shadows. I've been happy with that. But at the same time, I do want to spend more time with my friends and meet other people. Going back to the expectation above, I've always waited for them to have time for me, instead of asking for their time. Yes, I will always make time for my friends, if they ask – and they know I will. But I need to ask them for time, too. And, for better or worse, I've also failed in getting past one remainder of the dark years – I'm not stupid, I'm not an idiot. The wisdom in my head is not what most people want to discuss, but there I felt completely at home. Still hesitant to crack open my skull and let this stuff come out, but the first blow has been dealt and at some point I will feel comfortable in sharing it. And I have to, because if one has wisdom, it is their duty to share it with those who wish to learn from it. If I don't, I have failed one of the tenants of my spirituality, though, I just think that my problem has been the how. My experiences and what is up there has worth, contrary to what some have successfully convinced me of thinking.

One more step.