>We were driving along this road, my girl and I, and suddenly this huge gust of cotton blew up over the windshield. It totally felt like a dream. It was beautiful. I wanted to cry. Oh wait, I did cry.
The duration of a typical work day for me includes issuing a least one time-out to one of several mischievous little ones at preschool. Every so often we get through a class without name-calling, budging, hair-pulling and selective hearing, but these little guys are curious and very young and sometimes need to just sit down, chill out, and think about their actions. We have a red chair against a wall of our classroom which is the “time-out chair”. Every one of them knows what the chair is for, and no one voluntarily sits in it, even thought it is more like a little couch and quite comfortable. To the repeat offenders, all we have to do is point to the red chair and they go sit down and wait quietly for us to come and have a chat with them about why they had to sit there.
Every so often, though, we run into problems with kids we never expected to. They don’t sit in the red chair peacefully; it is as if the world will end if we make them sit down in it. They cry and plead and beg and apologize. The angry ones make me laugh (um, but not to their faces, of course!) because they almost always say, “YOU go have a time-out!”.
Oh, the irony.
“YES, PLEASE!” I want to reply.
There is truth behind those angry little remarks from stubborn 3 year olds. Sometimes I SHOULD go have a time-out. We should all go have time-outs.
Count to 10. Breathe in and out. Think about what I did wrong and think about what I am going to do to fix it. Come to terms with my bad decisions and get over it.
Don’t you love how when you were little and really ticked off your parents, they got all up in your face and yelled at you to go to your room? I love how that was a punishment. Gone are the days when I would cry and pout and be angry about having to hang out in my room and be quiet.
Now I welcome those moments.
I am going to start being intentional about time-outs. I am going to issue them to myself on a regular basis. I am going to enjoy them and even learn to love them. And around 10pm each night, I will look at my reflection in the mirror and say, “Go to your room, young lady!”. Not at 12am, 1am, or 2am. I will go to bed at a decent hour and maybe not be so grumpy and maybe not race the clock in the mornings.
Go have a time-out, and especially enjoy your weekend, folks. You deserve it.
I have been thinking a lot about roots lately. Literally and figuratively.
Remember that post where I talked about my land? Well, for the first time ever (sans watching my Lama puttering around in our backyard) I have become a gardener.
I like to think of of it as my own little Garden of Eden. Um, except for the sinning and eating of forbidden fruit and serpents and nakedness and all that stuff. It’s the Garden of Eden because I am growing vegetables and strawberries for my little bunny Eden. She has quickly taken up residence in my heart, and I want to nourish her. I want to provide good things for her.
So yesterday, I got my hands dirty. I dug and pulled weeds and shoveled and rested and shoveled some more. It was awesome.
(I didn’t do it alone, though. Here is a shout-out to TL and CH for all their help! Thanks for the herbs and veggies, T!)
There is something totally therapeutic and satisfying about dig dig digging, coming to the bottom of a deeply rooted plant or weed, and pulling it right out of the ground. You hear a ripping sound. You feel your muscles relax as that weed succumbs to your strength. You hold it in your hands in awe of its size and weight. You realize that you did it. You uprooted something.
But somehow I think that feels better in real life rather than in theory. Because when you think of how deep our emotions, like roots, run, how much more painful is it to dig to the bottom and rip those weeds out? Pretty stinking painful, I think. Ahem…I know, actually. It hurts. But I think in some ways it is even more satisfying than plants. Because it is healing.
A few weeks ago I started an anthropology course called First Nations of British Columbia-Traditional Cultures. Uh, have I mentioned to you guys yet that I am aboriginal? Some of you have seen it in my slanted eyes or ridiculously thick, coarse hair. Some of you have seen my eyes shift downward when I have told you about my heritage. It is typically not something I have nurtured in myself or been all that proud of. I have talked briefly about my dad to you guys, and for the record, he is the one from which my native background stems from. He kind of bailed on me, so that is why I haven’t tried very hard to learn about my paternal roots. He never seemed proud of it, so I didn’t either.
When I started the course, I felt a little overwhelmed, knowing that all kinds of stuff would start coming up for me, being someone who cares deeply about my past and “baggage”. So I followed my instinct and I emailed my big sister Marcy. I really love her and have looked up to her my whole life, but sadly we don’t know each other as well as I wish we did. Emailing her about our history and background was the right thing to do though, because she was really helpful in explaining to me about these things. She told me our dad was (is?) a registered Metis, and that I could be registered, too. From what I have read about in my text book thus far, Metis are not a dominant band in BC, and somehow that makes me want to learn about them (us) all the more.
Suddenly, a spark of interest has come over me. This is part of who I am. It is in my genes. It is part of my make-up. I have relatives I have never thought about in my life. I think I may have turned over a new leaf here.
My back is sore from gardening today, but this is all just a part of the next chapter for me. Sore back today, yes, but I am prepared for sore emotions in the coming months as I dig deeper in my life AND in the garden, and learn even more about who I am. Isn’t that exciting?
Remember the shout-out my brother received a while back?
Well, I want to now honor my sister Marcy and let her know in a public forum that she is totally loved and adored by me, her little sister. Thank you for your help, Marc. : )
Stay tuned as I uproot more of who I am, and plant more of what Eden the Bunny will be eating this summer. Because trust me, you will be hearing aaaallll about it!
Life is grand! : )
as a side note, this will hopefully be my last internet-less week and I can be a bit more consistent with the posting…I miss talking to you guys as often as I have in the past!
Eyebrows. Do you ever try to picture people without them? I am not entirely sure that eyebrows have a specific purpose or whatever, but without them I think that we would look really, really weird. Some people hate their eyebrows, and some people love them.
I am indifferent about mine, but they annoy the heck out of me because they get really, really long and curly and have a mind of their own. So every once in awhile I attempt to tame them, and it is never really pretty. I had them waxed for the first time at Christmas. It was all good until the next day when I got the strangest breakout right between my eyes because of the oily wax they used. Not cool. Other times I have gone on a tweezing frenzy and gotten a little carried away. Can you relate??
In my constant strive to be totally real and candid, I will tell you a story that will hopefully make you smile…
On Tuesday night my friends and I got together for our traditional Glee night, and as usual the conversation carried on long after the credits rolled. Somewhere around 10:30pm we got into talking about our eyebrows, and many a horror story was shared. I specifically remember thinking to myself, ‘Whew, I am sure glad my eyebrows are in tact!’.
Later that night we piled in the car and made it home around midnight. I walked into my humble abode and began preparing for bed. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I decided that it would be a good time to pay a little bit of attention to my eyebrows, since we had talked so much about them that night. I got out my little facial hair trimmer thing (electric, by the way), intending to just get rid of the wispy blond uni-brow. As the hairs started falling into my eyes, I casually wiped them away…with the hand holding the electric trimmer…
I shaved off my eyebrow.
I stared in horror at my hairless brow, while a million snipits of our conversation flashed through my head…snipits about how retarded we were back in the day when we went tweezer happy and ended up with lopsided, crazy, bare eyebrows. Only this wasn’t “back in the day”. It was simply “in the day”.
I set the alarm to wake me up half an hour early so I could have a shower. For almost 26 years my hair has been parting itself on the left, but I had to blow-dry it to part on the right so that I could use my bangs to cover the hairless brow. It didn’t work very well. Have you ever tried to change your part? It hurts. I never knew that. My bangs are stubborn and despite the blow-dryer, straightener, and moose, they kept falling back the other way.
So I tried filling in that eyebrow with the closest thing I had to an eyebrow pencil…
Eyeliner. Black eyeliner.
It didn’t work.
Finally I put on a cute headband, bobby-pinned my bangs into place and hoped for the best.
Now I have learned my lesson, and the moral of the story is, most people don’t mess with their eyebrows in the middle of the night, and definitely shouldn’t.
I also learned that a lot of people laugh at other peoples misfortune, and I don’t mind if you laugh at mine! So I shaved my eyebrow off. So what? If you can smile and laugh about it, so can I.
It will grow back, right? Right guys? Please tell me it will!
Oh and another lesson? I like my eyebrows and probably won’t mess with them again.
Ah, who am I kidding? I probably will…
If I hadn’t been named Christina, my parents were going to call me Mercedes. Yes, like Mercedes Benz. It’s a lovely name, but my older sister is named Marcy (oops, let another real name slide!), so I guess Marcy and Mercedes would have been a bit of a stretch. So they went with Christina. I like my name, but I hadn’t heard of any other Mercedes in my 25 years of life until a certain chart-topping new show hit Global last September…can anybody guess what I might be talking about?
You got it. Glee! My obsession; my guilty pleasure. Why didn’t they think of that show sooner? It’s fabulous! One of best parts about Glee (BESIDES the singing and dancing!) is that each episode deals with real life issues. Real. Life. Like handicaps, both physical and social, pregnancy, bullying, you name it. I think all of us out there can relate with a few of the characters. My job here today is not to depict each character for you—if you haven’t already gotten to know them, do it! My job here today is to talk about a character named???? MERCEDES!
But before I do, I was wondering if you have ever heard of Mika? He is fun. If you have the volume on your computer turned on right now, you are probably listening to a weird song, hey? It’s called Big Girl, You Are Beautiful. When I first heard it, I couldn’t stop laughing. Who writes a song like that? True, the lyrics are a bit degrading (“diet coke and pizza please! diet coke and I’m on my knees screaming, ‘big girl, you are beautiful!’”). But it is true. We ARE beautiful. If you don’t have volume on your computer or whatever, see if you can listen to that song at some point in time. You just might smile.
Coming back now to Mercedes, she represents the big girls in our culture. She stands loud and proud alongside Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Sara Rue, Oprah, Gabourey Sidibe, and um…Rosie O’Donnell? While at some point, Hollywood might strive to change Mercedes, persuading her to be the spokesperson for Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, Glee celebrates her size, diversity, and representation. In real life, her name is Amber Riley.
I think she is beautiful. Beautiful smile. Beautiful body. Beautiful face. Beautiful voice. Beautiful heart. Beautiful. Do you ever look in the mirror and think the same thing about yourself?? If you are anything like me, those moments of sheer appreciation for your/our beauty are few and far between. More likely, you look in the mirror and see the opposite.
A few months ago, I can’t remember exactly when, I was walking through the gym at work on my way to lower the gym curtain, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the window. Do you know what my first thought was? “Oh geez…it’s worse than I thought.” That startled me, because honest to goodness, the thought was audible. I could literally replay that moment in my head over and over and over. How ridiculously sad! How heartbreaking! It’s always these times that send me into a frenzy of diets and exercise. But why? That is such a huge, enormous question. Why? Health aside, why is my/our figure(s) so important to me/us?
When I lived in Africa, especially Kenya, I experienced a rather interesting turn of events. I went from being overweight in Canada to fitting right in with the Kenyan ladies. Not all of them, of course, but what I learned in Africa is that having excess baggage is a sign of beauty and even wealth over there. People accepted me, more-so than the people here at home. It took me awhile, but I slowly eased into that acceptance and learned to deal with it. Now, I know that back in my Kenya post I talked about how bulimia chased me there, too, but it was different. It wasn’t about my shape at that point. Bulimia was about coping. I think for me that was an important time in my life, one where I didn’t have to worry about being pointed at or looked down upon because of my weight. I only had to deal with the pointing because of the fact that I am a mzungu! It was nice.
Once I got home from Kenya I struggled to be okay with my body, but I just wasn’t. That was in 2005 and I am still working on it. But the truth is, it has gotten easier. Because I do feel beautiful. Not every day, not all the time, but the times when I do, I cherish them. I am learning to look at those around me in every day life and appreciate their bodies, too. No more judging or jealousy for me. Well, at least that is the goal!
I think the question we all wonder about, though is…is it okay to want to be thin? I think it’s okay to want to be healthy. To want to be your best. But maybe the point where we start obsessing over something that is unattainable is where it becomes a problem. I was totally that girl, working my ass off to be a size I will never, ever be no matter how hard I try. But then I went and talked to a professional who taught me about my body shape and bone structure and told me what weight would be healthy for me, and it turns out I am not far off. Imagine that. All that sweating and crying for nothing, hey? Maybe one day I will head back to the gym for a little toning or whatever, but right now I think I would be in danger of overdoing it or slipping back into that place where I buy clothes one size too small and then nearly kill myself trying to lose enough weight to fit into them. I just need to be gentle with myself. Actually, I think we all need to be gentle with ourselves. Yes, we only get one body and we need to care for it, but we don’t need to sell our souls to do it. Eat fruit. Walk in the rain. Enjoy those lazy morning stretches. Smile more. Drink water. That should be good. Oh yeah, and take your vitamins.
And maybe look at girls like Amber Riley and see how beautiful they are. Ignore Hollywood and Bollywood and NYC. We are all beautiful. The big, the small, the short and the tall. Even if you don’t feel like it. You are. You are you are you are.
>I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the majority of my readers are female. Once in a blue moon a guy will comment on a post, but not too often. Based on that assumption (which is only that—an assumption), I will cater to that female following today and dive right in.
I am so, so, so silly.
I got my period when I was 13 1/2 years old. That was approximately 144 periods ago. ONE HUNDRED and FOURTY-FOUR. So why, ladies, oh why does it creep up on me and “SURPRISE” me every single month?
Today it all came together. Yesterday’s desperate plea for help regarding the anti-depressants saga was a low-low-low for me. But it was real. I was truly down in the dumps. More so than I usually am when I PMS. But did it ever occur to me that it might be just that—PMS? Nope. Silly!
Once a month I cry for no reason, get head aches and crampies, mood swings and munchies. And I always, without failing, wonder why. My bestie and I were discussing this today over lunch, how we should totally know, after 144 periods, that this is why we are struggling, but we don’t.
Now that my ovaries are being relieved of some pent-up tension (hmm, too much information??) I feel much better. Not perfect (oopsie! I owe 5 cents to the Perfect Jar!) but better. Today I smiled without being forced to and I didn’t sweat the small stuff. My Secret Pal at work surprised me with a house warming gift—an Aloe Vera plant!—which was delightful. (thanks, secret pal!). My coworker totally came through for me and helped me plan my L’il Gardeners class. I got to have lunch with one of my bestest friends. And I have some pretty amazing memories of last nights Party-on-a-Monday with that dear friend from work I have mentioned.
The climb is on! No more downhill tumbling.
Now, I owe a few of you BIG time. If you replied to yesterday’s blog, you know who you are. And in keeping with anonymity I won’t mention any names, but I am going to share a few snippets of wisdom that were given to me. Like I have said a thousand times, we’re all in this together…
I closed the comments option on my blog a few months ago. I don’t have an exact reason for doing it, but I guess I just didn’t want to rely on those comments to motivate me to blog. I always said I would write eventually, even if only 1 person read what I had to say. Thankfully, more than 1 person will read this, but I still felt the need to close the comments option.
However, today I am re-opening it for a little while. It’s because I want to throw something out there that is really controversial and scary: Anti-depressants. I have never taken them personally. Have they been suggested to me? Yes, and on more than one occasion, too. And I have considered them in the past, especially in my early 20’s. It’s not that I am suicidal or manically depressed or anything…it’s just that a few times a year I DO get feelings of depression. I am sad and irritable, exhausted and unmotivated. I feel like that these days. Okay, so I’m smiling on the outside, but I am dragging my feet and fighting tears. I get clingy and needy, and start grasping onto those around me for comfort and attention and…I dunno…salvation almost. It’s not good.
I feel really fat these days. I think I actually am gaining weight. Nothing seems to fit. I am snacking and snacking and nothing seems to satisfy my hunger. I try to get enough sleep and yet I could curl into a ball at 2pm and sleep for 24 hours. My hair doesn’t do what I want it to do. I look in the mirror and sigh. Who is this girl??
Hello honesty… I told you I would be real with you, and I think this is as real as it gets.
Why am I spilling my guts?? It’s because I think some of you out there might actually relate to this. Maybe not everyone, but I know that I am not alone here. I know we all go through seasons of drought and sadness. I know that bawling in my car listening to sad songs on purpose is not something I invented. I’m not the first girl to put on 10 different outfits in the morning trying to decide which one best hides the muffin-top. Right? Right guys? If I could stay in my yoga pants and hoodie all day and hide I would be happy.
Remember when I went to the doctor last month and was scared to tell her about my struggle with bulimia? Well, it’s kind of like that for me again. I understand that for some people anti-depressants really do the trick. They are kinder to others, they accomplish more work, they enjoy life more thoroughly, they cope better with the bumps, they feel healthier and stronger. Those are all things I strive for. I am just scared to be labelled forevermore as “depressed”. Because I actually do really enjoy life. I do. It’s just that I need a leg up right now. After the Big Move and all my struggles at the moment (finances at the top of the list) I just need a boost. But once again, what if one day I actually finish my degree and go into a field where it is all about dealing with depressed people, and I get turned down from the job of my dreams because I took/take anti-depressants? Or are these little pills actually just like candy out there? Does everyone take them at some point in their lives? Once you start, are you able to stop?
Can I just throw something out there for you guys? I said I go through this a few times a year, right? Well, this is the first time these feelings have hit since I stopped throwing up. Can you even for a second imagine how much worse it was when I was throwing up every single day? Oh my word…what a gong show. I can’t believe that was once my life. I would be feeling so, so, so fat and ugly, and then to make matters worse, I would eat anything possible, even stale bread or cereal I didn’t even like, and then I would wait an hour and puke it all up. And that was how I dealt with these feelings. Did I feel better? Um, no. Maybe for 20 or 30 minutes or so after the fact. Then it all got bad again. I am so thankful that that part of my life is behind me. I guess I am still learning how to cope with my sad feelings in a healthy way. I don’t know what that looks like yet.
In my last post I wrote a list of things we could do to feel better. Hmm..well, I have taken my vitamins but I haven’t gone for a walk yet. Maybe I will do that now as I contemplate all I just wrote.
Am I considering anti-depressants? Not seriously, not yet. But the reason I allowed the comments option for this post is because I would like to hear your opinion, if you have one. Have you ever taken them? Do you know someone who has? Did it help? Did it make things worse? Do you think I would be wasting my time, since chances are I will come out of this fog eventually? Do you think that all the rain has brought this on and not some chronic illness?
The Big Move kind of messed things up, I think. But actually, if I hear back from you that this sadness is just part of life, I might be able to look past it. And going back to the post on perfection, well, life just isn’t perfect, is it? It certainly isn’t right now, but I can still be filled with joy.
I am going to embrace this state I am in. It’s not fun, and it hurts like hell and is uncomfortable. But maybe somewhere down the road all this hurt I am feeling will manifest itself as great compassion and empathy.
After all, my friends, as those wonderful Weepies say…
The world spins madly on…