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Feelings are not Facts

On this sunny Saturday, I am thinking about some recent events in my life. Most don’t know this but I decided to apply to school to study a Masters in Public Health. After waiting 3 long months for a response, I discovered that I was not admitted into the program.

Talk about a bust to the Ego. It felt like the ‘right’ step to take with the direction I envisioned my career to be moving. I was crushed when I found out it wasn’t the outcome I had been hoping for. After talking it over with some very special people in my world, I’ve come to realize a few things:

1. Following my intuition for big decisions can be risky. When something ‘feels right’, it doesn’t always mean it’s what is right for me. The feelings I have are not always credible and it’s okay for things to fall through. New doors will open. 

2. I am not a logical person. As a fully emotional being, this has shown to be a double edged sword. Only listening to my heart and not my head can lead to taking some back-steps. It can also help remind me to take a deep breath and approach the next chapter of my life with a little more clarity.

3. When I Let Go and Let God in, I’ve noticed, on occasion, that I’m freed from the strong controlling tendencies I have been blessed (cursed?!) with! Why on earth did I ever think I could control every single detail in my life!? Although this quality may have served me well earlier in my life, it is a hinderance now. 

4. Somethings just aren’t meant to be! The simple fact that I have taken this courageous step onto a new path has also helped to pave the way for new opportunities to present themselves! My calling is still out there and I will discover it when I am open and willing. 

Sharing this with you all is vulnerable but vulnerability is the birth place of where growth happens. I wanted to keep this little moment of grief to myself but I quickly realized that isn’t going to serve me! So, I thought it may be helpful to just one other to tell this little story of rejection. 

When we are faced with rejection, sometimes it is in that very moment we needed to be open to brand new experiences and ideas. It doesn’t feel good to hear ‘No’ but even as adults, it’s all part of ‘growing up’. “Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places”. -Unknown author

Photo credit: Image courtesy of anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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How I Have Lived Alcohol-Free for 2 Years

  

Today is my 2 year anniversary since giving up alcohol. I can vividly remember the last moment I drank. It was Easter Sunday & our family was gathered around the dinner table. 

After our meal, there was some chat around alcoholism. While I casually sipped from my wine glass, I can recall a family member putting me in my place when he said “if you experience black-outs, you’re an alcoholic”. You can imagine I wasn’t overly joyful following this particur comment. That was the last time I enjoyed a glass of Shiraz. 

For 2 years, I’ve struggled with the label ‘Alcoholic’. It has been one of my biggest hurdles since living a sober life. I felt(feel) pressured to identify this way. To be completely honest: I still do struggle with accepting it almost everyday. Yet, putting the label aside, I am forever grateful I made the decision to rid my life of alcohol. 

Starting when I was 13, I heavily drank almost every single weekend as a teenager. I’ve been afraid/embarrassed/mortified to admit this aloud for most of my adult life. I now see that I believed it was the ‘cool’ thing to do, and the pressures to fit in back then were excruciating. However, I rarely considered the risks+dangers I was taking – how could I while living with childhood depression?

When I ventured out on my own as a young ‘adult’, it took some time to really recognize alcohol as problematic. Although there were several examples I can pin-point now, hindsight is seldom helpful in the heat of the moment! Thankfully, my man stuck by my side despite the difficult times we went through together. 

The year before I decided to give up alcohol, my life turned completely upside down. The realities of my unhappiness started to set in and I lost myself in the process. Deciding to seek help was an easy decision, but it was the opening-up that took a little longer than I planned. I attended a personal development workshop called Choices that helped to unveil the Big issues in my life. 

The first Open AA meeting I attended completely stunned me. I was confused by the idea that ‘I could be an Alcoholic’. It simply didn’t resonate with me. It took me 3 months to come to some sort of terms that I might be a better person if I give up alcohol. It was not an easy time in my life but certainly, it was essential for growth to become possible. 

Here I am, 2 years later: a new mother, a loving spouse & soon-to-be bride, a half-ass homemaker, a better friend, a distant sister, a forgiving daughter, and a stronger Me. I am by no means healed, as you may tell by some of my previous posts: I struggle daily. Though, I feel as if I’m right where I’m supposed to be in my life. It can be a lonely road choosing to live sober and I’m strong enough now to spend my time far away from those social pressures I used to be desperate to cling to before. 

For the first time in my life, I wake up each day knowing that I am a whole person. I am Valuable and Worthy. My opinion matters. My voice is heard. When I have a tough day, I can approach it with a clear head. I have more good days than bad. The gross feelings of a hangover are never suffered anymore. I don’t black out. I am proud of the person I have become. The work I do on myself benefits not only me but my entire family. I am even at a place in my life where I can talk about my faults and not be afraid of what people think about me anymore. I am a work in progress. I’m perfectly imperfect.   

My daughter will never see me lose myself the way I did with alcohol. She will always recognize Me. Her safety is my #1 priority, for the rest of my life. She will always know how committed I am to being her Mum. Even when times are tough, she will always know that Mommy Is Here. Way back in our College days, Joshua & I made an agreement to give up alcohol when we decided to become parents. Here we both are, honouring that agreement. 

Here is to 2 more years of sober living. I’m looking forward to where it will take me and my family along the way.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Maxim Weise at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A Silent Sufferer

  

Good morning, world. 

My beautiful baby is resting right now, and the only way that ever happens is if I lay with her. So, to still feel ‘productive’, here I am writing to you. 

Moments ago, I watched a powerful video that’s going viral. The topic: depression. This Irish fellow speaks from the most heart-centered place as he courageously tells his silent story. To view it, visit Mind Body Green.

He bravely asks others to speak up if they are silently suffering too. To support him in his journey, this is my brief moment of true vulnerability for the day. Standing together to speak up about this silent illness. 

Since I was a young child, I’ve been a Silent Sufferer. Few people in my life have really known the depth of my suffering. Growing in a home with everything a child should never have to see, I quickly learned to suck-it-up, Princess. 

Not a day in my life has gone by that I haven’t struggled in someway with depression. Whether it be on a day of deep sorrow or a day of self pity or even a day of celebration when I simply have felt like I wasn’t worthy of such a beautiful moment. Unless you live with depression, you really couldn’t fully understand. 

Becoming a mother has helped to surface many of these emotions. It hasn’t removed them, just brought them into the light. My pregnancy with my daughter was the healthiest moment of my entire life. I can’t even explain how wonderful I felt, emotionally. So many people  told me that I was glowing and I’m telling you, I was. In every single sense of the word. 

Meeting Jovie has changed me. I’m still struggling, every day. But not like I used to. I’m not as silent and that is a huge break-through for me. I’ve joined a small Mommy’s Support Group on-line. I’m talking to my friends+family about my feelings. Hell, I’m even blogging about it for all of you to read. 

Raising awareness & talking about injustices is part of my reason for being on this planet: for whatever reason, Someone thought I could handle the task. It’s not been easy and I don’t suspect it will become any more comfortable. Yet, it just feels like the Right thing to do. And for that very reason, I want to stand tall with anyone who feels alone in this world. 

Becoming a mama has given me the backbone that I believe always existed in me; somehow it’s just become strengthened. My job now is to live for my daughter; for my family. When Jovie is sad, I will never, not for one minute, silence her worries. When she is scared, you can damn well guarantee that I will be the one crying with her – not causing her fears. 

If you know of anyone suffering, or if you suspect it, please do them the gentleness and reach out. Most of us are silently carrying-on because we haven’t the courage yet to Ask For Help. Be the reason they don’t need to Suffer Silently anymore. 

xo

Photo credit: Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Playing Catch-Up

  

Last week, I made a big commitment to living like a Minimalist. Since then, only 8 days ago, here’s 3 ah-ha’s I have learned so far:

1. When you have a new baby, all those glorious plans you make get thrown out the window. Who knew my daughter would suffer her very first ear infection when I’m trying to get our house in perfect order!? Turns out, I’m learning now more than ever that my priorities have to shift every day, every hour, every minute! If she’s feeling unwell, that is where my energy goes. The uncluttering may have to wait another day or 3…

2. I really am struggling to look at all my things as just things. Everything seems to hold some strange sentimental value right now! Those house+home magazines? I could use them for inspiration to beautify our living room! Those tattered/ripped sheer curtains? I’m going to rehang them until I can order new custom fit blinds. That mountain of bricks in the basement that was intended for the second fireplace 30+ years ago, well before either Joshua or I were born? Maybe I’ll use them in the non-existent garden this year & paint them like vintage books. Damn you, Pinterest!! 

3. This is damn hard work. On Day 3 or 4 (I’m already losing track), I hurt my lower back while spending close to 2 hours collapsing cardboard for recycling. The problem is that it was a collection since before Christmas that included all of the gift boxes we received as well as every single toilet paper roll we’ve finished in months!!! Why on earth did we put this off ’till now?! Could it be the fact that we’re both chronically exhausted or just purely lazy? I’m going to vulnerably say it’s somwhere in the middle. 

Well, today is day 8 of 30 of the Minimalism Game & I plan to get my head back in it. Our sweet daughter has just slept (still sleeping, I might add) for about 10 hours (with minimal wake-ups in the night for her dream feeds) & I’m surprisingly rested too!

It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day! I’m thinking I’ll tackle the bathroom today. Wish me luck!

xo

Photo credit: Image courtesy of varandah at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Why I Love Cosleeping with Our Daughter

 

There is something so special about sleeping next to your baby. It isn’t that I don’t miss deep sleep – because boy do I ever! It’s also not that I love having little room to get comfortable; I’ve learned to permanently stay in a side-lying position all night long for months-on-end!

Beyond these temporary ‘sacrifices’, it’s the pure bliss I feel when I hear our Sweetheart breathing easy that makes it so special. Or when she relatches in the middle of a dream without any assistance from me. It’s also the fact that it allows us to bond closer each and every night through skin to skin contact and on demand breastfeeding.

As a new infant, Jovie wouldn’t sleep well in her bassinet. It took me 6 weeks into her new life to even think of cosleeping as an option and to be completely honest, it was a desperate measure from a place of total exhaustion that I’ve never known before. 

My Nursing training had really ingrained in my mind that cosleeping was wrong and completely unsafe. So, of course when I decided to bed share with our newborn, I was mortified with myself. However, after I read many articles (some including this, that & the other), I realized that a mother’s own intuition is the best advice for her to follow. 

Since that moment I decided to snuggle her close to sleep for the first time those many months ago, I am absolutely grateful I listened to my own heart. Sleep is a stressful topic for new parents (well, for any parent with young children for that matter!). There are many answers out there and for each family, they may each look very different. What works for one mother-baby dyad may not work for the next. 

When the day comes that I return to my Nursing practice, I promise to extend only empathy and compassion to cosleeping families. I will, of course, continue to promote health & help to prevent illness+injury by sharing nonjudgmental information, including how to bed share as safely as possible. 

I also commit to never pass harsh judgements on an exhausted mother again (not that I ever purposely did this before becoming a mother, but I sincerely apologize to any mom who may have felt this way by my care before!). 

Here’s to a good nights sleep, as I keep my baby comforted all night long, while she bravely fights her first infection. 

xo

Peer Support is Key

As you may have read yesterday, I was having a moment of struggle when I decided to part with two items that I have zero emotional attachment to. It was only when I turned to a small group of supportive women that these feelings quickly subsided. 

The Minimalists recommended playing the Minimalism Game with friends or family. I can now understand why! When I announced my plan to tackle ‘Spring cleaning’ in this way, there was eagerness amongst other young moms to join the Game. 

A closed Facebook group was started for us to communicate our ideas and support one another over the next 30 days. I’m amazed (but not surprised) at the benefits this group has offered me already. 

We’ve completed day 3 of 30 and I’m relieved we’re in this together. Thank you ladies for seeing this through with me! 

xo

Emotional Attachment to ‘Things’

We all know our things do not make us who we are. So why are we so attached to them? This is my first dilemma of the Minimalism Game. 

I’m struggling this morning to part with the items I’ve selected for Day 2. Two vintage mirrors have lived in our basement since we bought our house 4 years ago. On several occasions, I’ve thought about updating & using them for our home decor. I’ve just never gotten around to it.

Now that they are posted on a local buy & sell group for ‘free’ giveaway, I’m feeling an odd sense of regret. As if I’m missing out by giving them away. Why?! I’ve never felt this passionate to use them, until now. 

Somehow this month, I need to learn to accept that I am going to be just fine without my things. If I’m having this type of emotional response on Day 2, I can only imagine what the rest of the month may bring.

Here’s to learning detachment, in all areas of our lives!