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Thank you to Zoolander for the answers to life's oddities.

You can imagine how the first day's lesson goes:

Mrs. Crane: Welcome children to Honk Your Socks Off 101.  In today's lesson, we're going to learn about honking etiquette.  It is not ok to honk AT humans, but it is ok to honk FOR them.

Goose 1: But what if the human runs out of bread crumbs?  Don't they deserve a good honking?

Mrs. Crane: Ah Goose 1.  Good point, however, if the human has already shared bread crumbs with you or your friends, then it's unfair to chastise them.  In order to ensure you get a second opportunity at bread with that human, you're going to have to give a little.  Remember this, just swim away in a circle, honking once you're a safe distance from them.

Goose 1: Yes, Mrs. Crane.

Goose 2: But what if they're only sharing their bread with another goose?  That's totally not fair.  I'm hungry too!

Mrs. Crane: Another good point.  But if you want any bread at all, you'll be wise to remember that making a big stink and scaring one may in fact result in you getting some bread, but it is also more likely that you'll scare them away, and no one will get any.

Goose 2: Yes Mrs. Crane.

Mrs. Crane: Are their any other questions before we get on with today's lesson?

Goose 3: I have one Mrs. Crane.  If we can't honk at them for not giving us bread, can we crap on their cars?  

A Honking Good Time


So one of the benefits to living in the city is it's access to rotating insanity and quirkiness.  There's no end of weird shit downtown, all of which are prime opportunities for inspiration, and great conversation starters.

But part of the charm in the country is the constant access you have to pockets of understated wackiness that bespokes the quiet humour of every day life.  We have pockets like this in our new town.  The most vivid one is a home on the main road coming into town.  Lord only knows who lives in this house, but you have to imagine that it's a retired couple, and the wife is all about keeping the husband out of her hair inside, and so she has challenged him with finding his own source of entertainment outside the house.  Fearful of venturing too far from the kitchen where a seriously kick ass apple pie might be produced, he sticks to what he knows.  He cuts his grass once a week and when he does, he takes advantage of all those Canada Goose decoys his wife has been hounding him about for 30 years.  He creates a tableau with these geese, using all his other found crap from the shed that his wife's been trying to get rid of, just so she'll keep off his back about none of his shit being useful anymore!
quacker
And the result is something that you can't help but admire.  It becomes a land mark.  A mile marker for people coming to visit you, so that they know they're still going the right direction.  It becomes a momentary smile of distraction after an other wise harrowing day in the city.  When you see this tableau, you look precisely to see what's different, what's changed, and instantly you know you're 2 minutes and 30 seconds away from walking through your door into solace and comfort: home.

This race took a week for these geese to run across the full width of this person's property.  All of them on children's rocking and bouncy horses.  It honestly gobsmacks me to wonder where in the world this person find 12 rocking horses, and 2 dozen geese.  It's hard to see it in the photo above, but there are at least a dozen geese perched on children's plastic lawn chairs, watching the race.  Presumably they've bet their best goose food on the winner!

And not to be outdone - all these geese in their various poses, there are adult geese, and several goslings.  Check out the teeniest tiniest ones on their little infant rocking horses keeping pace.  
not on duck
Aside from rocking horse races, these geese have been admiring the Stanley Cup, playing golf, croquet, baseball, and hockey.  They are always fully outfitted, and if I am indeed right, and there is an elderly retired couple living here, I am in awe that they are still married...and I am in awe of the fact that they have made such an awesome creative work out of being happily retired.

I am making a ton of assumptions here, but I can't imagine a life where this is your weekly mission in life, could not bring you so much joy!

Updating the bucket list!


So, I haven't updated in a while - it's time to update my bucket list.  We're striking through Be paid to write.  It happened a few months ago, and I've honestly been too busy to keep it up and make a solid go of it more repeatedly, but I got paid to write and that was the goal.  You can find my post on how to go green with your wedding invitations:
Couple things being teed up are taking Mike to Asia and decorating a professional cake.  I don't think I'm doing half bad and scratching things off my list this year!

  • Show Maggie Aurora Borealis
  • Take Mike to Asia
  • Take Mike to the Rocky Mountains
  • Write a book
  • Be paid to write
  • Have another baby
  • Retire early
  • Own a cottage
  • Weekend in Paris
  • Vacation in Italy
  • Vacation in London, Eng.
  • Travel all over Europe
  • Weekend in New York City
  • Eat at the Russian Tea Room
  • Shop at FAO Schwartz
  • Shop in Greenwich village
  • Learn to cook like a chef
  • Visit a town called Rebecca
  • Diners, Drive Ins and Dives Road Trip
  • Host a fabulous cocktail and dinner party catered by professional chefs and wait staff
  • Custom build my own house
  • Decorate a professional looking tiered cake
  • Got to the ballet or the opera
  • Watch Maggie graduate university
  • Give Maggie away with her dad at her wedding
  • Watch my first grandchild be born

What a week - March 5-9, 2012


So much has happened this week.  I feel ragged and worn out and completely overstimulated enough to launch into a 4 day restful coma.  It makes it hard to know exactly where to begin with my commentary, which means I should also apologize - this post may be quite a long one.

1st - Maggie started daycare.  Talk about turning me inside out, shaking me about and telling ME to put myself back together again.  I figure the person who turns you inside out and shakes you out has the obligation to at least try to put you back together.  But in situations like this I guess there's no one else to blame.  And blame is kind of a hard word.  Maggie is doing great at daycare, and she has really quite enjoyed it.  I bawled so much on Monday, there were no tears left on Tuesday.  And then I got 5 straight showers in a row without an audience, two workouts and a bit of house cleaning done on my breaks and that "sort of" made up for feeling like the world's worst mommy on Monday.  Make no mistake, it's not about Maggie being at daycare and not being with me.  It's about asking strangers to do my job, and violating every natural instinct we have about protecting our young from predators.  And I'll be frank, it's all about feeling like a failure because my number one job is supposed to be looking after my child.  I love working, and I think I may actually work forever, but I hate that it comes at the expense of being my child's primary caregiver.

Anywho, on to topic number 2.  The politics of the US seems to be pervasively more and more regressive, and if I'm honest, I'm appalled that these idiots still have a podium from which to speak.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago, about how I wish Oprah Winfrey would run that country.  It would make a hell of a lot more sense.  Assuming Oprah has no desire to dive into a political life, then I pray to God that Hillary makes another run for it some day.  That country needs to put white bread rich American men with a penchant for putting everyone else around them in a position of deplorable servitude, on the fringe once and for all.  It's high time, that these pricks (yes, I said it because that's exactly what they are), learned what it was really like to be in a place where they are completely disrespected, poor and openly gay.  And honestly, until that time comes, and everyone in the country has fair and equitable treatment at hospitals, and until they don't lose everything they own just because they got ill one day, there are unfortunately some people who will continue to fight for the idiots.  Please, if you live in the US, listen to the rest of the world when they tell you to fight for your rights to human decency, and to stop putting the rich guys in power.  They aren't making your lives better, they are making them a thousand times worse.  And stop, stop, stop praying to God for your political answers.  God has no place in politics, he never did.  That's why your constitution separates church from state.  Confusing the two makes you good little sheep, but leaves the evil doers room to be your leaders.  Why is this important to the rest of the world?  Because when all is said and done, there are countries to your north and your south that are directly impacted daily by your politics and your government.  We are far less "international" than even we sometimes wish to be.  And more than that, it's quite honestly clear to the rest of the world that the state of America today, is not that different than the state of some 3rd world countries "over there".  Where the US has touted that women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Lybia, Iran, Iraq and well, probably a hundred other countries in that region of our world are mistreated, here in North America, we have rather loud voices virtually putting our women in a much more conflicted position than even they are.  Taking women's liberation back to the state it was in pre-1965 isn't progressive.  It doesn't demonstrate a respect for women's rights, women's health, or any other woman related issue on the table. Just once I want to hear one of these pricks talk about birth control using the phrase "keep your pecker in your pants" rather than speaking about how women's contraceptives are the evils of our society, and that it's all women's fault!  Show me one politician who can verify that he's only ever been with his wife in a carnal way, and then come speak to me.  And even then, let that discussion be about education, NOT about fingerpointing the ills of society on something so completely irrational you need an unregistered gun to settle the dispute.

And then on to topic number 3.  International women's day came and went, deplorably, with little notice in the world at large.  Several reasons for this, not the least of which would be topic number 2, but sadly, women need to toot their horns a hell of a lot more loudly than we have been.  So here, I'm going to toot my horn for a second.  Here are the 6 things I would tell a younger version of myself:

        1. You are beautiful  You are perfect and thin and don't change a hair on your head.

        2. You don't need a man in your life to be rich and settled and happy.
        3. Keep your eye on the prize of motherhood, but relax about it.  It's going to take time to happen, and it will be awesome,      
           and you will never know another love like it.  It will be so worth the wait.

        4. Sacrifice isn't really sacrifice at all.  When you give one thing up to accomplish something else, it's just about evolution and
          moving on.  You've learned the lesson you needed to learn on the last thing, don't beat yourself up for putting it back down. 
        5. You will have the opportunity to be supermom.  It feels great, but it is also overwhelming. 
        6. A broken heart never heals completely, but it's always worth venturing out and taking the chance that it might get hurt.

Topic number 4 for this week is all about the StopKony campaign.  I'll be honest, my life is busy, and I haven't seen all the articles, or jumped right into researching all the conflicting ads on both sides of the campaign, but I did want to say this.  Something has to be said to stop the kinds of atrocities this warlord is responsible for, and has been responsible for for over a quarter century.  BUT, there are more than just Kony out there doing this horrific and terrible things.  I don't see the same level of attention being paid to the freaks in North Korea, in other parts of Africa, or Central America where these very same acts are a way of life, and a thing that people local to those places are trying to deal with every day.  Facebook and Social Media are powerful communication outlets, but it seems to me that the groups that are targeting their use for communication, no matter how good and on point the message is, are missing the point that these tools can't actually solve the problems, and that the call to action has to be smarter.  In no way does a warlord in any country reign for a quarter century without having a significant stake in the government's politics.  You have political leaders who, regardless of how they have assumed their power, are responsible for the well being of their citizens and compatriots.  If a warlord is let loose for a quarter century, the guy at the top of the food chain on the "good side" is in on it.  You can't solve half the problem (ie. kill Kony), and expect the problem to be solved.  Those leaders and warlords do succession planning, and they do it extremely well, just like any other Fortune 500 company does (hmmmm - anyone else making the same mental connections I am?) and that means that you need to look at the problem more holistically.  And well, then there's the whole issue of the campaign being targeted to other world leaders who have allowed this to carry on for a quarter century, turning blind eyes because the fact of the matter is, there are equally devastating problems happening domestically that aren't being solved.  But I'm afraid that the counter ads of the stopkony campaign, that are focused on the message above might be detracting from some very important awareness and goodness that the invisible children organization really was right to generate.  The counter ads have as much steam as the original campaign, and while it's proof positive that the message is resonating in all corners of the world, I hope it doesn't do the campaign a disservice.  The word of the day is always be skeptical, studious and do your research.  Support what you feel compelled to support, but look at issues like these with as much pragmatism as you do optimism and compassion.  No one deserves to suffer, least of all the way Kony's victims have suffered.  But trying to solve half this problem can make the other half of it so much worse.  Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is let people help themselves.  I know there are several organizations on the ground, and local people who are diligently working within the confines they have to, to make a difference.  This is a war that cannot be won outside of that country.  

The problem with foreign aid from any country, is that it prioritizes the well being of others over the well being of one's self.  And the availability of those foreign aid funds is a pittance in comparison to what is needed.  In order to solve the world's economic, health , and human rights crises everywhere, doesn't it make sense to look inward and fix what's broken at home first?  We have homeless sleeping in our own streets, and the message you hear in large part is that this is a life they have chosen.  Follow that with the fact that there are many more families who choose to spend money on shelter over food or electricity, and many more who scrape by just enough to have a basic roof, and food stamp food, and who are rolling the dice on childcare or supplemental health insurance and other basic necessities.  Instead of reaching out and solving those problems in our own countries once and for all, we're being bombarded with facebook and youtube campaigns to solve crises with better tag lines and marketing viability.  And the sad truth is, while they need global attention and a singularly global action to truly address the issues, they will never achieve that until the aiding nations are healthy enough to lend that hand.  The campaign uses an effective communication device to reach people who are already equally disadvantaged.

Which brings me to a quiet resurgence I've noticed in the Occupy movement.  I'm pleased to see that it's more targeted and thoughtful the way they are organizing themselves this time around.  The message has to hit the right ears, at the right time and in the right way.  The ears of wallstreet are in pocket books.  If that one percent redistributed even half of their wealth into domestic employment and domestic innovation, you'd have a completely different economic landscape.  You'd solve the western world's problems with homelessness, hunger and health care.  You'd be healthy enough to aid foreign countries in a meaningful and impactful way.  You'd be less disrespected for criticizing the way the rest of the world chooses to live, when you've demonstrated that you live by your own principles.  I wish the Occupiers great success with this next move.  Be smart with it, and stay true.

Which finally brings me back full circle.  Women are strong, compassionate, smart and accomplished.  Women have a perspective that heals and includes and treats everyone with value (as a general rule).  Women make good leaders.  They are tough when they need to be, but wiser when they pull out their big stick.  It's time to put more women in a position of power in the western world.  Women, moreover the right women, in positions of power in the western world are going to change the landscape of this global economy and they will change our ability to protect and promote the well being of the innocent.  My philosophical view for the day is, allow these two things to happen, and the other ills of society will heal too. 

Oprah Winfrey for President


I had an epiphany while I resisted the temptation to check on my daughter this morning at 4am.  And that was that Oprah Winfrey is the only logical option for the office of President of the United States.  My other epiphany was that if (God forbid) a republican wins the presidency in this next election, living in Canada may not be far enough away from the insanity.

Here's how the thought process went while I tossed and turned in bed this morning:

Don't go in there.  Never risk waking a sleeping baby you big boob. 

Put on your big girl panties and go back to sleep you silly twit.

Wasn't it you who spent the whole day rubbing scratchy eyes - you nincompoop - go back to sleep.

Speaking of idiots - holy crap - even with my limited access to news I can tell that Santorum crap won't land in the right place...and I'm not sure Romney's any better, having done more flip flopping and belly dancing on the issues that affect the majority of the population than anyone would hope for.  Any party who stands on a platform that belittles everyone in the country is crazy and isn't going to act in the better interest of the people who vote for them.

I've never wanted a woman president more in my lifetime. 

It's a shame Hillary lost to Obama.  She would have been a fantastic president.

And that man's first mistake was appointing that Joe whatshisname as his VP. 

hmmmm

Notice how silent he's been since the last gaffe.  He's nary been heard of since last fall.  Who the heck appoints an idiot for a VP?  Oh yeah.  Maclean thought he'd win with the biggest idiot of them all.

Never mind that, notice how silent his wife's been since she blurted out that Joe had his choice of office on Oprah's show.

hmmmm

Good job though.  Hillary's saved that freaking country - and she's got the toughest damn job of all of them.  It's showing on your face dear, but good on ya.  Lord knows what kind of cluster they'd be in if you weren't managing foreign relations.

hmmmm

Why do I care?  Well duh, the whole world cares.  Every other country in the world is dependent on the greedy corporate schmucks in the US who build their companies in other outside of the US and who have visions of independent world domination.  The next winner of world war three isn't going to be a country.  It's going to be a CEO.

hmmmm

You know who has more money than God, knows how to manage it well?  Who has a life policy that's inclusive and charitable, who has earned every penny, is internationally recognized and heavily involved in many varieties of foreign aid and has more pull than any president in the last 2 centuries?  Who is the most influential CEO in the world on social issues and the world at large?

Oprah Winfrey.

hmmmm

You know all those idiots who vote republican because of their racist, and bigoted idiot ways of looking at life - they all flee in droves to try and see Oprah Winfrey.  I think they all think they'll get a free car from the dumb black woman with all the money, but hey, anything free is awesome.

hmmmm

I'll bet you those same dullards would make every pilgrimage in the world to hit the polling stations with pencils and punches bought especially to make sure that generous woman gets in the white house and buys everyone a new car, maybe some health care...maybe even improved schools with actual teaching supplies.

hmmmm

All that woman has to do is sneeze into a tissue, and that brand of tissue practically walks off store shelves right into the baskets of household shoppers the world over.

hmmmm

Sure it might piss off a bunch of men, but it would really only piss off those men who've been belittling the rest of society since, well, forever.  Who gives a holy hell about them?

And I can bet you dollars to donuts my friend, they'd enjoy that easy peasy health care plan when they have their next heart attack and don't have to remortgage their house to be get taken proper care of.

OK.  If Oprah runs for President I'll stay in Canada.  Wonder who we could convince to run for Prime Minister...

Rick Mercer?

"Hi sweetie pie.  What are you doing up?  It's only 5am." 

Toddler's Eye View


The world seems like such a pesky, small, insanely frustrating place sometimes, until you look at it through the eyes of your toddler.  Then it all seems to monstrously huge and wonderful, and magical.  Even garbage is infinitesimally interesting when you're looking at it close up and can easily inspect each granule of coffee.

As parents it's easy to get exasperated.  You can only say "no" so many times before it invades your dreams and takes over your every waking thought.  It's easy to get a sore back from bending over or sore knees from playing on the floor.  And when you find a moment of exhileration because your daughter carried herself out of her bed and came all the way down the stairs on her own to surprise you after her nap, it's easy to overlook how frustrating it was when you were trying to get her to stay in bed in the first place.

We moved our Maggie to her big girl bed this weekend.  At first I was all about waiting until she was trying to climb over the crib rails to get out, but I soon realized that this may be too late for our little one.  She begins daycare in just a week's time, and when she goes, she'll be expected to sleep in a cot next to other children during nap time.  Moving her to a big girl bed is really meant to align with her learning how to sleep in a wide open space on her own at daycare.  I'll be honest and give my husband his due here.  After our first failed attempt at napping, I did ask him to put the crib rail back on - but he held firm or just plain refused out of laziness.  Whatever the case, we tried again Saturday night, and now I think there's no going back.

I struggle just like every mom does, with the whole not wanting her baby to grow up, and really getting excited over the smallest of milestones.  And this one is no different.  I for one had hoped that we wouldn't be taking down that crib at all, and that the only difference would have been that by now a little baby brother or sister would be sleeping in it, and that Miss Maggie would be moved to a really big big girl bed.  This hasn't been how life evolved for us, so the crib is now a toddler bed, and I'm experiencing the wonders of being able to dance in your parents room when they're asleep, or watch your mommy sleeping silently for the very first time ever, whilst also being freaked out with that ominous feeling that someone is watching you while you sleep.

The point I guess I'm getting to is that, this must be what they say about enjoying the fact that you can see the world through your children's eyes.  I always understood it, but it's honestly never hit me so proudly until this past weekend.  Yes we have taught her big things, and she's learned how to talk, she's learned how to roll over, crawl, walk, run, climb, sing, dance, play hide and seek, make jokes, tickle...the list goes on and on, and it's been truly incredible teaching them to her and I've been so proud seeing her success with them all.  But watching her exert this little tidbit of independence has been well, exhilerating.  I'm a proud mommy over here, and I imagine it's radiating as much as my pregnant cheeks radiated the first 5 weeks after we found out we were finally having a baby.  

The first morning she realized she could just get out of bed on her own, she did just that, and she came into our room and danced in circles, abundantly happy and proud of herself.  She didn't make a sound, she tried not to wake us.  But her pitter patter of running in circles woke mommy up, and when I craned my neck in the direction of the noise that had woken me I was greeted by a smile even my blind eyes couldn't miss, and a very loud "HI!".  

This is an awesome life I have!  This morning wasn't very different, albeit much much earlier than it should have been.  I have no idea how long she had been watching me sleep, but when our alarm went off and I reached out to hit the snooze button I was greeted by that same huge smile, and a very loud "What happened?"  
How in the world could you have a bad day when this is how you wake up in the morning?  I know that in a month or so I'll be posting about how gosh darn frustrating it is to be stalked bedside every morning, but for now, I am really loving my child and her love of life, and I'm so proud that it's a life we have given her.  If she loves it so much, there's not a part of it, I can dislike either.  Man, I love this kid!!!

Not ready for this


OK so I'm the one who has attachment issues.  It's not so much my child.  I'm not ready for this whole move to daycare.  Well, I am, but I'm so totally not at the same time.

I'm beside myself thinking about what it will be like not having her little voice and her slow but steady sound of her climbing the stairs for a snuggle all day long.  I'm distraught over not hearing 3 little sing songy words every day around noon telling me "lunch is ready", or "I wuv you" as she trots off for her nap.

And I'm not ready to make that career limiting move of calling in sick because my kids picked up every flu virus, skin disease and other malady that thrives in a daycare setting.  OK, granted this is the easier choice of all of them but still.  

And if I'm not ready for this, how in the world will I ever be ready for the bigger stuff?  My child should be home here with me.  She's not big enough for the world out there.  It's not fair.  

I've said it often, I'm so glad I don't live in the states.  Heck even Cuba has better maternity benefits than they offer new parents in the USA).  And I'm extremely fortunate for the time I've had and the opportunity I got to work full time, and still feel like I was able to be mostly a full time mom.  But still, it doesn't seem to be enough.  I wish there were a way to actually make it work...keep the job I have now, the salary I make, and not feel like raising my daughter was a distraction from my job, or that it took a lower priority for the majority of her waking hours.  I also wish that the only alternative wasn't to be awake 24 hours each day to fit things in separately.  

I know millions of women do it every day.  Take their kids to daycare so that they can earn a living.  And I'm no different or better than anyone.  I also know that most of them feel the same way, that although working provides satisfaction and a break from parenting, that it's still a struggle handing your child off to strangers.  I know I'm maybe whining more than most of those women who just suck it up buttercup and do it cuz it must be done.  

All this is to say, that I'm not ready for Maggie to grow up.  I want her to be this perfect forever.  I don't want her to face the ugliness in this world, and I don't want her to do it alone already.  She's so little.  I think there are many tears that will be shed over here in the next week.  I don't want to shed them, but I believe they will be inevitable.  I even know she will do better than I could possibly imagine.  But will mommy?

And lo, suddenly there is wailing.  ahhh.  That was short lived.  Who's ready to go to daycare?

Updating the bucket list


Time to start scratching things off my bucket list.  I wrote this in November, and here it is only February, and I've been able to tick off several items already.  Bucket lists are great things.  Especially if they give you focus, and drive to keep your life interesting.
I said I wanted to learn how to cook like a chef.  Well, we've had one lesson already, and number two is scheduled for April.  I realize this doesn't amount to formal training as a chef, but I never said I wanted to be licensed and professional.  I just wanted to be able to do it like they do.  I'm scratching that one off.  This was a two bird one stone kinda item, and so I'm going to scratch off the dinner party with a professional chef.  Truth is, it was just for the two of us, but a professional chef cooked in my kitchen, taught me how to make it, served it to us, and then he even cleaned up after himself.  Talk about feeling like a rock star for just one night.  It was freaking awesome!

The Diners, Drive Ins and Dives roadtrip is scheduled for May.  So I'm scratching that one off too.

I've actually written a few books, and just never been paid for them (well, yet).  So I'm scratching that one off too.  

And I'm teed up to write blog articles for money.  I'll have it more firmly locked down within a week I think.  But for the moment, it looks extremely promising.  It won't be much, but it will be something.  And for the moment, I'm liking this feeling of excitement.  It's an awful lot like finding out you could be Al Pacino's butt double!

There's still obviously plenty left to accomplish.  I'm just scratching the surface of my list.  But really, what a kick butt way to get this project started.  Yay me!

  • Show Maggie Aurora Borealis
  • Take Mike to Asia
  • Take Mike to the Rocky Mountains
  • Write a book
  • Be paid to write
  • Have another baby
  • Retire early
  • Own a cottage
  • Weekend in Paris
  • Vacation in Italy
  • Vacation in London, Eng.
  • Travel all over Europe
  • Weekend in New York City
  • Eat at the Russian Tea Room
  • Shop at FAO Schwartz
  • Shop in Greenwich village
  • Learn to cook like a chef
  • Visit a town called Rebecca
  • Diners, Drive Ins and Dives Road Trip
  • Host a fabulous cocktail and dinner party catered by professional chefs and wait staff
  • Custom build my own house
  • Decorate a professional looking tiered cake
  • Got to the ballet or the opera
  • Watch Maggie graduate university
  • Give Maggie away with her dad at her wedding
  • Watch my first grandchild be born

I wrote this in an old blog a few years ago.  I just re-read it, and found myself in tears remembering how it all felt, and realizing that I still fight this battle every single day.  Some days are worse than others, but the one thing that stays the same is my will to survive this and hold on to myself.  For my friends who are suffering with depression, and for the loved ones who have saved my life time and again,  I love you for all that you are to me.
------------------------------------------------------------
Published originally at http://navigatingdepression.blogspot.com/ (July 27, 2009) under an original title The affect of Depression on your loved ones.

It would seem crazy to say this – but I guess I’m lucky now that the shoe has been on both feet for me. In my early twenties, I spent most of my time being the primary caregiver for my mother who suffered with the exact same disease. Then, fast forwarding to my mid thirties, when my new husband took on the responsibility of caring for me (although, much as I love him and much as he did a phenomenal job with me) I did much, much more as a single caregiver. I know how it feels to be the patient, but I know too, how it feels to be the caregiver and I find that makes me able to truly empathize with my loved ones, and truly appreciate their places in my life, their efforts to save me, and my own ability to recover.

My new husband had the benefit of sharing that responsibility with my mother and my grandmother – these two women and the love of my husband are the three crutches on which I stood, while pulling myself out of my own hole. They were there for every tear, every side affect, and they delivered every warm hug and kick in the butt I needed to get back on track. But I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if I hadn’t had them in behind me, propping me up, every single hand squarely on my back resisting my desire to fall further into the darkness.

The whole time though, I worried about this situation that I placed my new husband in. We weren’t married a full year when I had my final breakdown and went on leave. I kept telling myself (though I knew I was completely wrong to think it) that this wasn’t what he signed up for. I will forever appreciate that he didn’t hightail it out of this house, and run for the hills, taking our brand new big screen tv and the good car with him. After all it was rather like, “BANG”, and right out of the gate, I was on my downhill slide. I know of many men who would have abruptly excused themselves from the marriage and found a lawyer pretty damn quick. My marriage was tested time and again in its first two years, and it’s still going strong. I’m a very lucky woman.

Among all three of them, I could see the pain and hurt in their faces when they looked at me. I felt like hell, and I looked ten times worse. And all they wanted to do was take that pain away, and nothing, absolutely nothing, could make me feel better. They quickly had to figure out when to tread lightly, and when to deliver the harsh realities. I put them on pins and needles – and for a year they had to navigate my maze as delicately as they could, leading me blindfolded every step of the way.

Ultimately, the only way I could fight this beast, was to find the right medical cocktail, and really, the big key was, finding me again. I could look in the mirror on any given day, and not be able to tell you who was looking back at me. I couldn’t remember what I used to look like, and I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be happy, or completely whole. I could tell you that I used to be audacious, gregarious, determined, and good hearted – and now I barely cared if I brushed my hair. I never missed brushing my teeth though – and I still took a shower every day – sometimes OCD can be your friend, LOL.

Now imagine that you’re not the one looking in the mirror. Imagine you are the person to the right or left of you, who loves you, and has cared for you all of their life. I can’t even begin to tell you how devastating it is to feel that helpless, unable to change the situation, unable to put a smile on your loved one’s face, unable to hear their laughter, unable to wipe their tears away, unable to feel whole yourself because the place they occupy in your heart is being left to rot due to their lack of interest in tending to it. In fact, it never really hit me until writing that last sentence that we are as responsible for the place we hold in another’s heart, as we are to our own hearts and minds. When you are affected by this disease, part of your recovery has to come from some degree of selfishness. Without it, you’ll never recover – you must tend to yourself, before you tend to others, or you’ll never survive this world. The trick is, once you’ve tended to yourself (the selfish part), you are obligated to tend to those you love, and who love you in return.

It takes nerves of steel and a heart full of the world’s riches and more, to be the caregiver to someone who is suffering with depression and anxiety disorder. Not to compare it with how it feels to care for loved ones suffering with all different kinds of afflictions, this disease is not something that is born from a lack of self control – it is something that grabs you when you least expect it to. It’s not a dependency, it’s a consumption of the truest kind – it overwhelms you, picks you at your weakest moment, and creates the gateway to a plethora of other problems.

What is holding me back?


I swear the day I figure out my own mind, we should mark it on the calendar.  I am endlessly frustrated with my own second guessing and the little voice in my head that tells me all too frequently that I'm a loser, a quantum failure, and dull as door nails.

I want nothing more (career wise) than to be a full time writer with the flexibility to work my own hours, around being the more important person (mom) to Monkeypie.  This means ultimately, I'd like to be able to turn my writing into something that actually generates enough income to continue supporting my family.  I don't need to be another J.K. Rowling.  That is a rare enough phenomenon indeed.  But to be able to make enough money writing anything is well, historically unattainable until you're long dead.

And maybe this is what is hanging me up.  I need to supplement our income for a while.  I'm looking for part time work proofreading, editing, and yes, writing.  There are tons of jobs out there, but there are also tons of hopefuls.  And oh by the way, the people who are looking to hire writers are trying to pay them nothing.  That's just lunacy, but they get away with it, so why not?  But I can do this.  Once I get started, I know I'll be in a sweet groove, and I'll love it.  But I can't bring myself to take many of these applications over the line.  It's a mental block that I have, as soon as I'm about to hit the "submit" button, I freeze up.  Get cold feet.  Stage fright like none I've ever experienced before in my life.

What in the world could I be afraid of?  Failing?  huh...I already have a full time job and I make good money at it, because I'm good at it.  Why would I be a failure here, and even if I were, what's the big deal if I am?  Am I actually afraid of succeeding then?  Maybe.  Just maybe that's my problem.  If I succeed, what in the world will happen to this little life I've carved out for myself.  uggh.  

Now why in God's name am I still dealing with teenage angst?!?!  I'm nearly 40 years old!  For the love of Pete!  

I wish I could just shut these voices up once and for all.  I really really really wish I could.

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