The Bigger Picture

Back in the fall, I went to a corn maze with some people from work, just for fun. It was a perfect night: cold and crisp and clear, the air smelling of bon fire and grass that had been cut one last time for the season. It was still light out when we got there, but soon after, as we stood huddling around a fire in a metal bin, the sun went down, taking with it the last warmth of the day.

Every time I go to the corn maze, I feel a little bit like Sarah from Labyrinth…anyone remember that movie…Dance Magic? No?

So anyways, life right now feels like a corn maze. Every morning I feel like I am walking knowingly and willingly into a twisty, turney, confusing, muddy maze. It’s not all bad. Not at all. I had a great time at the corn maze that night. But it did start to feel a little frustrating when there were so many people talking at once with all their opinions on which direction is the right direction, and when the mud started to freeze and our boots were getting stuck.

The best part of the maze were these look-outs; big raised platforms where you could stand higher than the corn and regain a sense of direction and control.

I stood up there on that platform for a long time, just thinking things through and enjoying the view and the cold breeze. It was fun watching the people below, winding their way naively through the corn. It helped.

I could see the bigger picture from up there.


I really need to find a theoretical platform right now, but I don’t know how or where to start looking for one. It would be awesome right now to stand up above everything that is going on around me and see the bigger picture.

The bigger picture has to be love. If I could see clearly, I know I would see security and a great future…

And together with my girls, my sisters, my dearest friends, we are making our way one step at a time out of and away from a sometimes scary maze, and we are enjoying the journey together every step of the way.

~C

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Quadragesima

It’s that time of year again…already. Seems (in some ways) like just yesterday I was writing about giving up fast food and facebook. Well, if you read back on last year’s Lent post, you’ll recall that I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. But I came to terms with it, and this year is a brand new start. It’s only the second year in my life that I am giving something up for Lent, but I do think it’s a good practice and good idea, even if I am not Catholic.

This year is simple. Not simple in the sense that it will be easy, because I’m sure it won’t be. But it is simple nevertheless.

This year, starting on this very Ash Wednesday, I am committing to quitting negative self-talk, cold turkey. No more little stabs about myself. No more false humility. No more insults directed at this girl in the mirror.

It’s been Lent for less than 18 hours, and I already almost failed. A parent of one of my preschoolers gave Pamela and me a bag of homemade cookies, and instead of saying a simple “thank you!” I almost let the words “do I LOOK like I need these?!” slip out of my mouth. Sigh…it’s gonna be a long 40 days. But here we go.

When I told my friend this afternoon that this is what I want to do, she said something about how I need to stop thinking bad things about myself as well. But I gonna take this slow. And I need your help. Most of you see me on a fairly regular basis and I need the accountability. Help me stop tearing myself down verbally.

I saw a quote once that said, “Don’t feel your way into changing. Change your way into feeling”. I thought that was great. That’s where I am at mentally right now. By cutting out negative self-talk, I am going to change my way into feeling better about myself. I’m not even going to go into the whole “but I am human and not perfect” thing because that’s not what this is about. Of course I’m not perfect. But I still don’t deserve to let words come out of my mouth in a hurtful way. No one does.

Here we go!

~C

Red Light, Green Light

I’m sitting in Starbucks with a luke-warm hot chocolate that I brought from home in hopes to disguise the fact that I can’t afford a coffee, yet still need to use the free wi-fi here. In light of the past 12 years of my love-affair with this place, though, I think they practically owe it to me to give me a free visit.

It’s been a hard day. A frustrating day. A spill-your-cereal, late-for-work, no-patience-for-anyone kind of day. Throw in the fact that I hit every.single.red.light on the way home from Mission today, and you can imagine my mood.

I’m not kidding you. Every single red light. It made me want to swear like a truck driver SCREAM.

Do you ever feel like, when you look down the road at your hypothetical future, all you can see are red lights? Sometimes I feel that, especially now. I see red lights for tomorrow, for next week, next month, next year. Block after city block of red lights.

Sometimes when Pamela and I take our kids to the gym, we play Red Light, Green Light with them. And even though it’s totally irrational, I actually feel bad having to call out red light…they have such fun pretending to be speedy cars driving around. And I don’t like the way they stumble and struggle to find their balance when their little bodies have to abruptly stop mid-pretend-driving. But that’s part of the game…otherwise it would be called Green Light, and we would be setting them up for some major disappointment in life. Because it’s not about green lights…it’s about learning that yellow light means slow down, and sometimes we have no choice but to stop.

Part of life, I suppose, is learning how to wait out these red lights. I don’t know how, but I’m learning. And I know that stopping is for the best. It’s the law and we are made to stop for a reason. And I suppose God is the same way…we can’t do this alone. We need someone smart figuring out when it’s safe to go, when we should be slowing down, and when we need to stop. For our safety, for our future.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” *
Here is to the green lights, and to learning to just slow down.
~C
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* Jeremiah 29:11

Let’s Talk

Today is a special day, especially for customers of Bell Mobility.

It’s Let’s Talk day, an occasion dedicated to raising awareness and decreasing stigma attached to mental illness, namely, depression.

Depression.

What a sad word.

Even saying depression, even thinking it or writing it out, seems sad. I can’t speak for all you readers out there and your experiences with it, but I can speak for myself. You’ve heard it before from me, but you’re gonna hear it again, because someone needs to speak out: depression is something I have struggled with in my life, and it.sucks.ass. It’s not fun, it’s not pretty, and it’s not healthy.

But it does not define me.

This past weekend I opened up to a dear friend about something that I have been struggling with, and for some reason I got super defensive and I repeated over and over, “please don’t think of me as a victim“.

Is that why we are afraid to be honest about our mental health? Are we so worried about what people will think of us?

I know that for me, I was worried about coming out in terms of my struggle with bulimia because I didn’t ever want it to hold me back. I was afraid that somewhere along the way, a potential employer would find out and refuse to hire me (or something along those lines). I was afraid that my honesty would end up limiting me, haunting me for the rest of my life. And I was also scared that people would feel awkward around me and try to somehow shelter me from bad things. I didn’t want that to happen at all.

But it didn’t. My goodness, there is SO much grace in this world, my friends. It’s not always easy to see, especially if you watch the 5 o’clock news, but in our own lives, in our own relationships and circles, there is grace. Amazing grace. (Most) people want to listen, they want to help, they want to reach out and they will.

There is a song called Love Alone by Caedmon’s Call that I used to so easily relate to.

No one would love me
If they knew all the things I hide
My words fall to the floor
As tears drip through the telephone line

And the hands I’ve seen raised to the sky
Not waving but drowning all this time
I’ll try to build the ark that they need
To float to you upon the crystal sea

Give me your hand to hold
‘Cause I can’t stand to love alone

Not waving but drowning all this time…holy smokes. That just kills me. I’ve been there. That’s been my life. And I have compassion for myself…and I have compassion for anyone who has suffered silently through this, for however long, for whatever reason.

And I’m willing to bet that is most of you; that at some time and place in your life you have been that person…with hands raised to the sky.

So let’s talk about depression, friends. Let’s give it a voice. Stop saying you’re “fine” when you’re not fine. Stop acting like battered women and war veterans are the only ones who are allowed to struggle with depression. It’s a big deal. And I don’t have the answers. But I do know it’s safe to talk about it to my friends and family who love me unconditionally.

If you’re a Bell Canada customer, today is a good day. For every text that you send and long distance call you make today, Bell will donate 5 cents to programs dedicated to mental health. 5 cents is not much, but it will add up. Fast.

And I know that personally, it would be awesome to have more resources available to turn to…I don’t know exactly what that would look like, but it would be good. For me, I would LOVE to have access to free or less expensive counseling. It’s just a luxury I cannot possibly afford right now, but it would be nice. I think everyone should be in counseling at some point in their lives. It’s an amazingly introspective and eye-opening experience, not to mention liberating.

Give me your hand to hold,

’cause I can’t stand to love alone.

Here me now: You are NOT alone. If you’re sad, it’s okay. Sometimes I am sad, too. We can talk about it.

Happy Let’s Talk day, friends

~C

Tell Me How

This isn’t gonna be a long post. Just a rant-y one.

As you know, last week I was in the hospital, taken down by the flu. And after they gave me shots of stuff and I slept until 2:30pm the next day, I figured I was gonna get better. But I didn’t, and in some ways I got worse. Yesterday I went to the doctor with nausea and a sore, sore, sore throat, and he told me I have a strep infection.

REALLY?!

(oh, before I forget to mention it, I had to see the doctor who called me fat and this time he didn’t say a word!) 🙂

Anyways, in the way of a small confession I should mention that 98% of the prescriptions for antibiotics that he has given me since I became a patient at this clinic have been thrown out…he is VERY quick to prescribe a quick-fix and maybe it’s illegal to throw them out but I don’t care. I don’t want to take antibiotics. But this time, fed up and swallowing razor blades, I actually got the medicine. And I hate to admit it, but it seems to be working.

When I called my mom to tell her what the doctor said, she sighed deeply and began her you’re-too-stressed-out speech. I have heard it before, and I will hear it again. People telling me I have to say no more often, have to take vitamins, have to exercise, have to sleep more, have to eat better, shouldn’t spend so much time with multitudes of small children, etc etc etc. I get it. I really do. And I’m trying.

I’m trying to say no more often, I AM taking vitamins, I AM exercising, I AM eating better, I AM sleeping (TONS actually), and as for spending time with small children, that I don’t have much of a choice about, we all know.

But it’s not helping. And yes I have an auto-immune disorder and yes this is typical for someone who does. But I feel like crap and just want to stomp my feet and jump up and down and cry loudly and obnoxiously about it. That’s right, people, I’m raining on my own frickin’ parade!

And if you feel so inclined, tell me how to go about feeling less stressed out when I keep getting sick and therefore stressed out? Did that sentence even make any sense? It’s a terrible cycle, and I don’t like missing work and seeing my paycheque go down (okay, who does?)

The BEAUTIFUL sunshine today sure helped my mood. I opened all the windows and de-germified my cottage. Tonight I get to sleep on fresh, clean sheets, which is always such a nice experience, isn’t it?

xoxo’s from a safe distance,

~C