So at first, all I could hear was ‘Yanny’ now all I hear every time is Laurel. I hope everyone else can hear it too.
So at first, all I could hear was ‘Yanny’ now all I hear every time is Laurel. I hope everyone else can hear it too.
It’s not as bad as it looks but against my own advice & judgement, I washed the inside of the glass (which obviously was cracked, tho I hadn’t noticed) with my hand instead of a brush. One side got a couple stitches, the other just a long gash. It stings a little but I think I’ll survive. On the cool side, I got to watch, and didn’t faint. So yeah. Normally I do dr visits for kids. This was a change. Pretty eh.
Anyways. This means I’m off dish duty for a few days. Folding laundry isn’t so easy either. Or working out. Or knitting, tho I am an English style right handed, left handed taught knitter, lol, in other words, I knit with over exaggeration using my right hand mostly. So maybe I can finish up my sweater. Tho I’m going to keep away from most stuff for a couple days and let this get a good jump on healing since it’s right on my pinky joint. The skin tore twice when they were putting them in, so I really don’t want them tearing out over the first few days accidentally. It could happen easily enough.
So, 12 weeks ago today I started going to the gym; it all started with Barre class. I haven’t missed a week of Barre yet. But, beyond that, I also started weight lifting on Thursdays and now, go to the gym gym, like the part where people lift weights, use all sorts of strange contraptions & I, am one of them. I find this one of the strangest changes I’ve ever made. I have only a vague idea of where my weight was when I began this, and no current idea of how much I weigh & so certainly cannot tell you if or what I’ve lost. But my aim was never weight related. It was aging and pain related. Slowly it has become personal challenge related, where I think, I’m scared of this new thing, hm, maybe I can do it if I just try. But mostly, it still is just about basic health & the goal of having strong enough knees that I can hike real mountains & such. My left kneecap seems to still be having trouble tracking properly most days, my right hip still likes to click in & out depending on what I’m doing. I’ve started finding a happy routine despite these issues and hope that as things continue to strengthen these two issues will ease a fair bit and I’m actually really thankful I found the gym since winter really doesn’t seem to feel it is done with us. I miss the lake walks, but I also have no desire to be out in the cold anymore. I’m sick to death of winter. We all are. The general malaise of our entire city is palpable. Everyone is just barely hanging in there. Seriously. All anyone talks about is the exhaustion with this never ending winter. First snowfall last fall was September 19. That is over six months ago. We are going on seven months of winter. Seven months without green, or grass or flowers. Seven months of primarily indoor air and existence. It’s terrible. How can you feel grounded when your feet literally never touch the ground?
I notice my skin tone, and most everyone’s, is a slight grey. If ethnically we are white, we are beyond white verging onto corpsy paste white. I go work out and my face becomes bright red, that’s the kind of flush I have when I’m hot, and then, it fades back down to this most tired shade of exhausted white. I have started to pick the guitar up again, and I’m almost done my sweater for California, because, it is chilly there in April usually, I have knit several pairs of mittens, two hats, a shawl, finished a blanket, and have another shawl about half way complete. I am dying to spring clean, wash entrance ways, windows, doors, walls, open windows…it seems simple, but just to put away the coats and boots and winter paraphernalia would be so nice. To sit on the deck and sip coffee and listen to the birds, oh what heaven that would be. People who live other places don’t even realize—I seriously set the elliptical on the lake run setting, and love the virtual run through tree shadows & imagine myself there. My imagination may literally be keeping me from caving inward into a terrible giant black hole right now.
Anyways, twelve weeks and am I ever thankful I decided I needed to challenge myself and become healthier. I’m sure I’d be full blown insane by now. Instead I’m only semi insane. 🤪
My highlight of this week, a rare double date night, and I’m so looking forward to it. Going to go see A Quiet Place because nothing eases malaise like a horror movie. It looks scary without being supernatural or slasher, a rare find. The synopsis compares it to Alien & Jurassic Park for tension, two of my favourites ever, and is supposed to be one of the best horror flicks in a long while, so I’m so excited to go and get a good scare. Good scares are rare. It better be good. I hate predictable movies. Hate them. Watched The Visit for the first time the other day, as most M. Night Shyamalan movies I’ve seen are quirky scary unpredicatable but, I called it. And frankly, it threw in creepy just for creepy sake, which is not genuine. Anyways, didn’t really care for it. I love when tension is written in properly and not just lazily. So, I’m sure I’ll have an opinion of this movie and maybe I’ll have discovered a new director worth watching.
Anyways, off to the excitement of fourth winter…
…and I’m ridiculously boring. I’m looking forward to ‘spring’ tho I’m sure winter is not done with us. So. First things first. I did finish my Kveta scarf/shawl. I blocked it. And have been wearing it nearly every waking hour. I love it. I suppose the kindest compliment was my family thought I bought a new scarf. Nope. I made it!
Its a lovely offset to my winter white glow I’d say.
Next, my Scania Shawl is about half way. I LOVE knitting this piece. The marled yarns, the textures of the pattern—what an enjoyable project. I truly enjoy my time with this piece. But, I’m balancing it among my other projects so I don’t burn through it too quickly and so that I am finishing my other stuff too.
My Sunset Sweater: well, now I’m to the boring part where I just sit and knit in the round. I’m about half way done the body before beginning the short row shaping at the bottom. I’ve second guessed my colours a few times but, upon going the yarn store again, I remember why I came to the decisions I did and in hind sight, an online order may have given me closer to what I originally wanted, but I think I’ll love it when it’s completed. It really does need blocking for that yoke to sit smoothly and I may even block the yoke before I finish just because I’m a little anxious to see it closer to its final look. But all in all, I am on schedule with this piece. The plan is to be able to wear it in a month from now while I beach comb. Oh I’m so excited!
And now, for my latest cast on cast off and last minute projects, two Tread hats & a pair of Thrummed Mittens for Paula (second matching hat for River) this is the first hat I’ve knit. Crazy I’ve knit three sweaters and never a hat. Anyways. They are QUICK! Which is so unexpected. I cast on Paula’s hat yesterday, and cast it off yesterday. So this morning I cast on River’s and I’m hoping to start Paula’s matching mittens today or tomorrow and get them finished by Sunday. Worst case scenario, I finish them up for next fall since she may not need mittens again this season based on the warmer weather in Fernie BC.
Anyways. That’s all I do. Laundry. Dishes. Vacuum. Gym. Knit. Cook. Clean. Yell at kids & dogs. Watch the snow fall, then melt, fall, melt, fall, melt.
I have started new phases, be it middle age, time to focus on myself for the first time in twenty years, both, but I am growing into myself.
I still bicker when I feel I must speak up, but I feel I don’t actually care. Not usually. I muster some semblance of non-passivity but more & more, I just don’t care. Having come from a long line of the strongly opinionated, this is new. I like to pretend I care, but frankly, I don’t feel this pressing need to have my opinion validated, or to argue yours, or theirs. I’m still trying to care, because I was some how once taught my opinion mattered, and must be heard. But, I don’t feel that way these days. I feel like I force myself to express in certain instances but mostly, my opinion is becoming just that, another random unimportant thought that passes by and no one cares for it other than myself. So, who cares. Why share it. I can’t think of one reason to share it usually. I don’t feel defensive. I don’t feel there is some war of ideas that must be fought. Nope. It’s all pointless. I have my views and beliefs as strongly as ever, don’t get me wrong, perhaps stronger than ever. I continue to add and form new ones. I believe I am correct in them. I’m not really able to form uneducated opinions. I research. I am severely introspective. Always was. I have a high, truthfully too high, degree of empathy. I literally experience pain when other people show me their wounds or tell me their tales of injury. Literal pain. Emotionally, I’ve had to learn to turn this down several notches out of pure survival. It’s been a very excruciating thing all my life and now, finally I’m becoming more able to regulate empathy quite intentionally. To hand it out a little more discretionally. Not very many people earn or deserve your empathy. Many people do not feel pain when I speak of mine, tho I confess, I choose not to speak of it, and so, I’ve become an empathy miser. Seriously, years upon years of shutting this side of myself down and hardening my actual internal self so as to not experience this to that overwhelming degree is a self discipline. It effected everything—my health, my moods, my ability to not be over anxious. It was shutting me down and worrying me unnecessarily. Guaranteed, other people were not losing sleep thinking of me. So it was a silly over drive issue that needed to be geared down. I feel it is more balanced now for the first time ever.
I feel I have the right to not be everyone’s perfect idea of what is, a mom; a wife; a sister; a sister in law; a daughter; a woman. I have the right to stop worrying that I’m not a great cook, or housekeeper. I’m just me. I’m not a slob. I try but I will not sacrifice who I am to be ‘your’ ideal of a good woman, whoever you are.
I am slowly awakening after years of very thick murky trenches of motherhood. People think they understand this; most don’t. Most have not just emerged from nearly twenty years of preschooler parenting. Preschooler stay at home parenting is isolation. I could go many weeks without leaving my house. Sometimes days without talking to adults for more than a few moments. Blips of basic adult human interaction. My life literally for years was servitude. I did not have the luxury of leaving it behind and having a break until five years ago, I took my first ever four day break from my kids. Since then, I’ve squeezed in five more breaks from my kids. None more than a week. In twenty years of parenting. For some people that might be a ton. But for me, I am someone who always needed alone time to get my head straight, this has taken a toll. Kids are beyond demanding and exhausting and I’ve always believed you need to give it all you’ve got. Especially before the school years take hold. I love them like crazy and once they are at school they aren’t quite as much yours. Anyways. These days, I feel a different human emerging out of my mothershell (read that as you will).
Once upon a time I did cross country running. I was strong and farm wiry. I was bold, talkative & social, imaginative, inquisitive, confident, in down times, independent, alone, introspective, pensive. I never had issues with either solo or group activity. I loved being with my friends, loved it. But I also often went to afternoon matinees by myself, comfortably. It was one of my favourite things to do. I suppose that was before Netflix. But I enjoyed time in a group and alone equally.
When you parent in the stay at home capacity, you are never alone but it is crushingly lonely. Truthfully. It is grueling. Some of my kids didn’t sleep through the night until they were four. It was years of painful emotional and mental fatigue. My brain felt like it had become like my body, a mushy piece of bread that was ready to fall apart. My emotions felt raw and neglected. My internal everything was sapped beyond sapping. Everything I once was, was lost and had been sacrificed for the care of my children. Everything beyond ‘mom’ was gone. Truly gone.
These few months since my youngest has started gr 1 have been a slow emergence of myself. I still do a ton for my older kids and actually really look forward to the two oldest growing even more independent of my help. They are getting there. Tho they are 18 & 19, they are young in many ways. I’ve over parented I suppose. Plus they get the advantage of my cooking and whatnot that the younger ones may not get as much of by that age. Anyone with a large family gets what I mean. You have to do certain things for the younger ones, so the older ones are still, even if residually, gleaning excessive parenting, and you’re pushing them out of the nest a little but not too forcefully because you’re still full blown parent to the littler ones. Anyways. With so many kids, parenting is still very much a full time job.
One thing I’ve learned I’ve really needed for my mental and emotional health has been the working out. It has exponentially helped my physical self, my whole self is so much stronger I am blown away in unexpected moments by it. The other day, Costco shopping, for seven, it’s a full cart, trust me—and it was a breeze physically. My body is coming back alive. I don’t think I realized how dead it was. I’ve never been a really chunky build but I was getting pretty squishy for me. Lately tho, I’m not so squishy, and I’m not prone to showing myself off at all, but seriously, I have muscles! This is actually super exciting for me after feeling so weak, especially since my fourth. They do say after age forty your body begins to lose muscle mass quite drastically too. So I felt so weak.
I’m still continuing with Barre class, have begun a weight lifting class, doing running/ walking on the track & as of today am beginning one more lower body workout class, all three have a strong lower body components. I really have needed the strengthening for my hip health but I’m enjoying just feeling strong and flexible for the things I do everyday—honestly, everything in daily life is less difficult, even laundry, but certainly, just walking, stairs, bending down, lifting stuff, all of it.
But the mental benefit too and how feeling stronger makes me feel happier; less pain in the hips too means less snappiness, I’m like an old dog some days; plus the ‘alone’ time on the track, why do I love that so much—me, my music, my footfalls, my breath—it isn’t quiet or alone but it is so alone & so zoned out of the things around me, it is so internally quiet. I need that.
I am asking: who is this person, every time I get into my workout clothes and excitedly head to the gym. I can’t believe I’m sweating and pushing my body to do one more shaky rep. I can’t believe I’m smiling and out of breath and exhausted and pushing more. Every time I step out of an argument because I realize i just don’t care I wonder who I’m becoming. Every time I tell my kids to get it themselves, do it themselves, or I just refuse to be too attentive to them, because it isn’t helping them anymore, I am asking, who is this person? Don’t get me wrong, I feel guilty for letting them take over when I could be doing it (whatever of the many ‘its’ this may be) but I’m forcing myself to be stronger and then to be stronger. Why the guilt of motherhood. Why?!
But yes. I’m trying very hard to focus on me. Selfish as that even feels to type. I’m trying, for them and myself, to focus on me. They will hopefully have me around longer, healthier, stronger, more even tempered. It’s a win/win. I have the time now to establish new habits and work towards new goals and get set towards new and different things. I still have no idea where this all is actually going, but I have faith that time answers most questions.
For now, getting healthier emotionally, mentally, & physically is necessary to tackle the next phase of my life, whatever that may be.
There, courage lay at my scarred feet, hope had faded into a husk of sadness, my body a wreck over a shipwrecked soul.
There, I cooled against the ice, the tip of my tongue sliced, my teeth bloodied, my bruises aching—this is the treachery of life as I’ve known it.
What is the remedy for life, this one, where children have become murderers, and mothers have abandoned, and fathers feel helpless, and bitterness has become the only emotion. This husk lays so still, I’ve felt the paralyzation of fear urging not even a breath to pass my lips.
Hope, you battered agony dead in me, how I’ve yearned for you to come alive again, how I’ve searched the ends of this life for you. Have you not heard my call?
What has tragedy done to me?
I lay still and cold and numb so long—the summers faded; the winters warmed; the birds flew this way then that; flowers peeled open then collapsed; apples ripened then rotted—how the weakness grew great, strong, fearsome, monstrous.
I heard faint things, quaint things, things I didn’t dare to hold in my heart, for surely the beast would devour them. But there they stayed, sweet and quiet and seeded.
Then I felt the tug of the bloom.
I felt that pushing of a seedling, round about rising, every so gently dancing in the thin blades of light. Do you know it—the narrowness of light in those last lovely moments in February, when the sun begins to be felt again—it almost hurts. It is exquisite, how light can feel so lovely, how it can rise hope from its dark death & I can actually feel breath in my lungs and skin and heart again.
Courage comes bursting up.
I am not alone. Lonely is a feeling regardless the company. I am not afraid. Fear is a feeling regardless the peace. I am not abandoned.
I hold, right here. Where tranquility is a mist and an emotion. I watch sunrise upon sunrise and you’re there, against the scars of my feet and the ache of my heart. You breathe courage back into me, and I feel all this world—it’s guns it’s guilt it’s dark it’s death it’s tragedy it’s agonizing agonies—slipping off of it, off me. Hope pushes hard. It holds onto this tiny strength, it wobbles, it shakes, but it grows. Smooth leaves of faith break out—double, heart-like.
Away, runs the despair. Away. (A truth, or a command, a demand?) It flees from the solace of my bones, where the marrow, is spongy, sweet, and churning. My blood runs like sap, thinning and racing quickly, warming in this once tepid but now rising light.
I gift myself to you, as a child to a father, undyingly enamored by the greatness and gentleness of you. I am beyond flawed. I am a tattered gift. I feel these scars and this wound’s ache and that’s; I’m a mess. I’ve no money. I’ve no value beyond a weakness. I am so small. I have an agony about me. But there is a smallness inside that surely, a father loves, tho you know, I know nothing of the love of a father for his child, I’ve never felt that. But I can imagine. It is clean. It is whole. It is kind. It is deathly loyal. It is soft and warm and full. It is sacrificial. I can imagine.
…and out breaks the day, warm, bold, bright…I am folded against this hope, this courage, this faith, resting, strengthening, emboldening.
I hear the heartbeat of hope, I have listened for it, night and day. It is whispering to me, with urgency, “be courageous,” and now, I can feel you holding my hand, and with your hand, I am so strong.
So. Since I had solo selfie time this morning, I’m getting this out of the way. I’ve tried to take a selfie around my birthday since I turned forty. I’ve switched phones & lost pictures along the way, but this is my year of selfies in review, which suddenly popped up as an option to make and so I did. It’s kinda cheesy & I can’t seem to edit it properly. I’m technically challenged it seems.
So now I have slightly chopped hair and I actually don’t miss my long hair. I have started to work out for the first time ever, which feels great. I am noticing more wrinkles these days but still no grey that I’ve seen. And frankly, if I can get my body to a strong & healthy place, I couldn’t care less about wrinkles or grey.
I can’t believe I’ve been on this planet 43 years. Sometimes it feels like it should be more, sometimes I forget I’m that old now. Aging will always be a strange thing. Suddenly time has become a mystery of sorts. When I was young, ‘thirty years ago,’ seemed forever ago. Like say, in 1975 when I was born, the Second World War had ended, ‘thirty years ago.’ That was before my parents had even been born! Now, thirty years ago seems like the recent past in moments of nostalgia. 1988, well heck, I remember song lyrics somewhat easily from then. Twenty five years ago is very close feeling in my memory. And yet, forever ago. Time has become a very peculiar thing indeed, where at moments I can’t believe my oldest will be TWENTY this year! TWENTY!
Oh my. My youngest will be seven! This fills me with a rather soupy combination of anxiety & relief. Anxious that life has been stripped out of my bones as I formed these other beings and they too are aging. Relief, that they need me less and less, just as I begin to know, I will need them more and more—back to anxiousness. Life is full of quizzical ironies & fascinating conundrums.
Aging is more than the physical being.
I was assigned a talk last night, the Bible Study part, an invite to the meeting was to be included, and I was working on use visual aids. It went fine, but the school instructor, after commending me, proceeded to say, “as a kid you didn’t colour in the lines did you,” more as statement than question.
Nope. I didn’t. Actually. I did try to colour in the lines. But I don’t care too much for coloring books at all. I prefer blank paper. But, this reference to me as a child self—hahahaha. I forget most days I ever was one. I don’t think much on childhood anymore. I don’t miss it anymore. I don’t crave youth anymore. I am completely fine with middle age. Not the aching body part of it, but certainly the other parts are reasonably good.
I’m tired of being forced to feel I must be what I am not. I’m tired of failure. I’m happy to learn anything and everything I can. I fixate almost never on things said to me, about me, or what I’ve said to others. I mean, I try to be nice. I try to apologize when I should. But man, I’m tired of the gritty stuff. The stuff that I can’t fix or change or make better—nope, don’t care anymore. I love people. I give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, but I also am razor sharp at cutting them out of my life when & where I must for my own preservation. I’m becoming a swifter judge of character. I trust less. I have learned to trust my gut above anyone’s opinion. That’s hard. But, I’ve discovered, I’m so rarely wrong that it’s best I listen to my instincts & apologize later if I’m wrong.
I’ve stopped drinking morning coffee in favour of green tea. I’ve learned, I will never be good enough at guitar to worry about it, but to just play when I feel I want to. I’ve learned I can learn most anything reasonably well enough if I had all the time in the world, but, I don’t, so I need to focus on a few favourites and thoroughly enjoy them.
I like being a little ‘out there.’ I do not fit in and I’m so happy for this. I like just being that quirky woman that only a few know well. I like singing & dancing & exercise. I like painting & writing & I don’t read nearly as much as I should and I don’t care. I like cats better than dogs but in certain moments I love my dogs more than I ever loved a cat. I love my kids. Holy moly I love my kids. I don’t just love them, I like them. They are my favourite people to spend time with even tho I often need a break from them too. I love my husband, not unselfishly, he puts up with me & takes care of me & he makes me feel needed and secure, and I need him. We are reciprocal in each our own way. I love my mom & my stepdad like crazy, and they are crazy. I don’t need my dad. I never did. He was a biological truth. That, is not my fault. My brothers and their wives and kids are literally my own. I love them unconditionally. My in-laws on my husband’s side are mine too. They are coo-coo crazy coco puffs & this is what makes life full of fun & love & amazing. You get to explore a completely different way of everything via other people’s minds and moods. I actually miss all these people when we’ve been out of touch for a while, but make no mistake, distance will always make the heart fonder.
I have learned, I love the snow, but the cold I love a little less, and the dark, is not my friend. I love the sun, and summer—but heat, a little less. I love the ocean & the mountains & lakes & trees, sunset, but sunrise I love a little less. Everything is gradient & spirals & spherical in the most beautiful of ways. Pain is always pain. Love is always love. These things don’t fade they just age. Time is so strange to me these days. It truly is.
and so that intense quiet of snow upon snow has consumed
both light & sound, already, the world in all its greenery
has become some fictitious memory boasted about by strange bullies & beasts
I am washed down, with this tin taste of blood in my lungs, the cold only biting with small teeth
how often have I run, lungs bursting, drowning, here in the cold
what wild consumptions of ice & black & how peculiar this sky, singing strange horrors in the night
all things are whimpering at the door, humming, or howling…or screaming
slowly light attempted its feeble rise, only to fall, in breaths of blood & flicker
Ask me what I know? How does the North keep me alive inside it’s deathly embrace?
How much blood has it frozen, blued, crusted in the veins of my fingers & toes & most definitely my heart?
How lovely is the frozen face & the water eyes of winter as they realize…
I once heard, rumours of soft sand & high held sun & ocean waves & leaves that never fall; of trees that do not stand, thin stark & white, glimmering rig immortally in the night
But here, this sway of stiff limbs & creaking bows & strange songs slithering along the snow, this, this is all I know. It is hum-drumming through these frozen wastelands—where my body barely breathes, only puffs, clouds of haze & glow.
I said I’d finish it today, & tho I can’t always complete things when I think I can, I took the two hours it needed and sewed up the last seam and stitched the back support into the neckline. I still need to block it so it relaxes a bit, but all in all, this baby is finally done. My second ever sweater just in time for a gorgeous autumn weekend. Yay!
…not to be forgotten, Benedicta below