Sassy, Smoldering and Social Distanced

So today I set fire to my bangs.  I had been standing in the bathroom staring forlornly at my hair and thinking it was beginning to resemble a horses tail that hadn’t been brushed in a decade and wondering how best to fix this. If I have learned one thing over the years it’s to never put it out there to the universe that something might need to go. I wandered out to the balcony and lit a cigarette with the BBQ lighter. 

Here’s the disclaimer part:

In no way do my musings represent a lack of understanding of the gravity of our current world situation. I continue to daily send my best energy and love to all that are directly and indirectly affected by this nasty virus.  My heart hurts with all those that have lost their lives to this or have a loved one struggling to breath.  What I have learned is that often times our best way forward is to find the human parts to this, the “first world” problems that exist in this for us all and I try to create an atmosphere a little lighter than the one we see each hour over social media.  Humor is the antidote to the fear and the anxiety.  If I can make you laugh for a moment it is a moment not feeding the monster that is holding us hostage.  Virus’s are intuitively based, just as we are.  They naturally gravitate to fear energy because in fear we become less strong . So by laughing in the face of it can change its direction.  So let’s find the lighter side of the dark today.  And lets remember to thank our front line workers please. Our coffee servers, our delivery drivers, our bus drivers, our essential customer service workers, our emergency services, our nurses, our social workers and mental health workers, our doctors and every single damn person that is working hard in our hospitals right now.

 

I don’t know about the rest of you but this introvert is actually slowly losing her mind.  If I am not soon permitted to touch another human being I might just go mad. I mean touch in the non weirdest of ways,  but you have been warned that I may become overly excited like a new puppy and just leap on anyone that happens to pass by once quarantine is lifted. Please refrain from calling security.  They already have me penciled in for line tipping. Kinda like cow tipping without the cow.

So let’s talk about that first.

I want to talk about the red lines that now separate me from the shopper ahead and behind me.  Firstly, I have vertigo in every moment of every day, so trying to keep my size 12 canoes on my side of said red line is becoming a challenge. And quite frankly I am starting to take offence to being loudly admonished by the security who suddenly beams up from God knows where when I tip forward and have to move a big toe to stop from taking a header into the gum display.

`Dear Security personnel..I do appreciate your being there by the way. Your finding your way into my blog is strictly for the humor portion. Thank you for keeping us safe.` 

Secondly, can someone please help me to understand this six feet apart theory when the lady still shopping  just came up the aisle behind me and now must cross directly in front of me and directly behind the person ahead of me.  I don’t see security diving on her do I?  I suppose this suggests that scientifically speaking moving targets don’t count in the distance criteria. I can hear the virus now.  “I don’t have the energy to chase that one, go for the one that just tipped over the red line. Security just terrified her into hold pose until the bagging area is clear.”

So today I set fire to my bangs.  I had been standing in the bathroom staring forlornly at my hair and thinking it was beginning to resemble a horses tail that hadn’t been brushed in a decade and wondering how best to fix this. If I have learned one thing over the years it’s to never put it out there to the universe that something might need to go. I wandered out to the balcony and lit a cigarette with the BBQ lighter.

Don’t judge and yes I know about the coronavirus and smoking…I have heard it a thousand times now, and let me assure you the threat of smoking is no match for the threat of me not smoking for my beloved husband. Lets focus on keeping him safe too OK? 

It didn’t occur to me that my horses tail wasn’t secured and poof…took care of the bangs pretty darned fast. Smelled awful but on the bright side, I think I might actually be responsible for a new hair craze                                                                                                  ~It’s sassy, it’s smoldering, it’s the new “Singed Fringe”~

You read it here first folks. Coming to a salon near you soon. Or not soon. Maybe June. Maybe October. No one knows for sure.

Now let’s talk about the first world problems of this forced isolation.  I am three weeks late for the eyelash fill.  After the singe fringe affair I ran to the bathroom once again to douse the flames under the bathroom sink. That’s hard by the way. I don’t know who designed this but it’s incredibly difficult to get your head sideways under that tap. We should consider this if my new hair craze takes hold. (Before someone says it..my kitchen sink was full of yesterdays dishes because well, whose gonna visit and who cares?)  As I wrangled my face out of the water stream I stood up and pushed back the remainder of the bangs and noticed the lashes. On the left eye  exists approximately 20 lush and long. On the right exists maybe four thin and barren and it’s a confusing look to be certain.  Only now do I start to panic about burning my bangs off. Thank the good Lord above for sunglasses, because I just cannot imagine the looks should I purchase magnetic ones in this current climate of essentials only.

“OMG there was a women today at Shoppers purchasing eyelashes!! I am sure she’s the same one that line tips, I’ve heard security talk about her. Hmmph.  And I’ve heard that she also goes out for walks in the park and that’s not social distancing!” 

OK so lets talk about that.  If memory serves me correct there was not any mention by our PM here in Canada of enacting martial law just yet.  A child that belongs to me personally was recently taken to task for publicly announcing a stroll through a graveyard for heaven sake.  A graveyard that housed the dead from like three centuries ago so the chances of them getting bus loads of living visitors are certainly slim at best. She allowed her children the opportunity to run in a spot that was free of any danger of being subject to the virus, yet was belittled of her parenting skills and her “choice” to put others in danger.  You’ll forgive me but I doubt the dead have concern about this danger.  How about we stop that sort of silliness and stop it soon.  Giving ourselves and our kids fresh air in these trying times is not irresponsible if we are alert and aware of our surroundings and those that are taking in the air with us.  I have seen parents with small kids moving around the grocery stores and no one says a word about that.  Why? Because it’s essential?  So is fresh air and sunshine.  And running and laughing. And being a kid in times that are difficult for them to understand.  If the time comes that we must be in forced quarantine it will be much harder. So lets stop policing parents who are just trying to give their kids that tiny bit of space allowed in this new world of distance.  OK that was the serious try to be a good neighbor paragraph.  Onward….

Let’s talk about the anxiety of this.  Every day we are subject to new and conflicting information.  Stopped taking your Ibuprofen and now you can’t get out of bed without a forklift?  After four days of being subject to no less than 70 inbox warnings about my muscle and joint choice of drugs I was overjoyed to discover ( because I went looking) that these claims are unfounded. Surprise!! I hope you all realize that I may have noticed my eyelash dilemma sooner had I actually been able to turn my head instead of it being caught in a torticollis  ( google that)  because I had finally been convinced that my Advil would take me out.  It feels good to move my head again, eyelashes or not.

And the symptoms keep changing on us. If that doesn’t send your anxiety skyrocketing I don’t know what will. First it was plugged nose with no running, now its running nose with no plugging. Sore throat, maybe not a sore throat.  Then it was high fever now intermittent fever,  mild headache to your head might blast off migraine style. And a dry cough.  Good God…small wonder we are terrified to walk in a cemetery with 1400 dead people in case they catch it.  This week alone I have diagnosed myself twelve times because I have a drippy allergy nose, a headache from an unnecessary torticollis ( google it)  a sore throat from talking for 8 hours a day ( yes work goes on via phone), a dry cough from the sore throat from talking for 8 hours ( and smoking but we’re not judging) and hot-flashes from menopause.  Everything that is normal is a symptom and it’s scary.  And I get it, trust me I do get it.  We truly are all in this together and it helps to understand that especially now.  The wording from some health networks to “act like you have the virus” while logical is also making us crazy.   But my losing my ever loving mind mid hot flash today only to discover it would pass with the removal of all clothing really wasn’t good for the mental health after all. Or the mental health of the unfortunate people in the parking lot just outside of my open window.   I truly wonder how many women of my age have considered calling or have called the fine nurses of Tele-Health  over a typical hormone surge.

Oh..to catch you all up on the saga of Molly the drama dog, her surgery recovery went well but the 3 am drama howls continued from the couch of which she can now jump onto with no issue but the drama ensued on attempting to get down.  So I fixed that problem by laying the vacuum cleaner on the couch.  She hates it. No 3 am whining.  I may go into pet therapy next. Call me. For anyone wondering who Molly the drama dog is refer to the blog previous to this one.

Wash your hands. Stay off the playground equipment. The dead are dead, they can’t catch it or give it to you so don’t be ridiculous and go for a walk giving wide berth to any other living beings that are taking in the same air.  Try not to take every child you birthed into the grocery store if you can. First of all you aren’t all gonna fit behind the red line. Secondly, they run more risk of this virus from touching and feeling and running than they do on a nice stroll with the dead people.  Logic people. Logic.  No judging here, sometimes you have no other choice, but if a choice exists make it the choice to leave them at home instead of trying to keep little fingers that have picked up every sugary cereal option out of little faces.  Because if you are a parent you know it doesn’t matter how many eyes you think you have in the back of your head, one of them is going to stick a finger up their nose and then brush it on a sibling.

Stay safe, stay calm, keep laughing, sing loudly, wash your hands ( said it again) thank those that are working for us right now, stop beating each other up for being human, and remember that you are human too and subject to the same judgement.

We don’t “got this” unless we “get this” together.

I think I have forgotten how to put makeup on. Or pants. I haven’t seen my bra in two weeks. It’s likely in the pile of laundry marked “Who cares, where am I going that needs clothes anyway?”

Or eyelashes…..

Or bangs…

In love, in light, in isolation.

Tania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles Of The Isolated Introvert

“I am leaning on the wall staring at her and in my mind I have grabbed her paper respiratory mask that she is wearing and snapped it back onto her face just to silence her.  I think I might actually have followed through on this impulse had it not been for the voice in my head reminding me of the 6 foot distance rule…”

Are you all losing it yet?  I am and I am not afraid to say that out loud. While I am fully cognitive of the need to stay put and to be a responsible member of society I have no issue with telling you that I am slowly losing my marbles. I expect that you are too so I am not going to wander off into the ether of love n light for this one but instead try to find the humor in this moment in time.  While this microscopic little SOB is wreaking havoc across nations we can do little but wait for the day that it chokes on itself.  In the interim we must do our best to sit still and ride this out so that we don’t put others at risk. This is our gift to each other so to say. I love and value you so I will wait it out with you and for you.

But it’s hard. We can be honest about that. This is hard. And it will get harder in the days and weeks to come.  We will eventually come to the realization that toilet paper is not our biggest loss but our sanity is.

I am sitting here at 2 am heading into day 4 of “social isolation”. Joining me in this new and unexpected adventure is my spouse, our two dogs and the cat.  The only one that might survive this is the cat because he’s small enough to slip through the bars on the balcony and run like hell.

If I could morph into a feline like slither I can assure you I’d follow him. Unfortunately, my soul is shoved into a rather curvaceous and mature human so my only means of escape would be to lunge one leg over the rail and we all know how that is going to end.  It would take time away from our emergency services that they can ill spare in this current climate, so, I am doing my best to behave in this imposed isolate state.

It’s not easy and I know you know that too.  I am an introvert but I am also a control freak and I prefer to choose my introversion, not be forced to it. The second someone tells me I must do something my immediate instinct is to do the opposite.  Hence my current struggle with being caught between four walls with the spouse, two dogs and the cat.

The spouse has ants up his underwear and has gotten up a dozen times in the last two hours in his curiosity over what I am furiously typing about.  With each meander he makes over my left shoulder my typing grows more aggressive. I live with the constant presence of someone’s loved one hovering nearby so this movement by this human is making me cranky and liable to snap at any moment. He knows this yet clearly he is bored and looking to fill his Virgo need to get his adrenaline going.  After 35 years in my oh so gentle presence one might think he would know better than to make me the object of that rush because the risk of getting stabbed by a fork is rather high at this point.

Molly our older dog is behaving like the Queen of The Nile right now. She is four or five days (or weeks..who knows..I have lost track of all time) post op from a surgical procedure.  If I whisper the word “cookie” she has the ability to drag herself from her horizontal position on her furry rug, get to the kitchen in no more than 3.5 seconds and produce a clear loud bark for her treat.  The minute I get into bed however she is suddenly in “drama dog” mode that sounds very like a coyote just got shot and is slowly dying in the field next door.  It is a godforsaken sound that she is clearly perfecting because she has learned that it does gain my attention.  The reason behind this satanic howl? The pillows are on her couch, the same way they have always been yet now she wishes to have her concierge remove them because suddenly she has forgotten how.  She hasn’t forgotten how to leap onto said couch however so I am catching on to this game.  Old dogs can learn new tricks folks.  I am rarely home so now I am trapped and she is enjoying this.

Our younger dog Scooby is on the fast track to a tranquilizer dart. Can we buy those over the counter?  If my other half so much as moves toward the door Scooby is in flight and lands like a 40 pound budgie on the back of the couch. This would be less of a problem if I wasn’t seated on that couch when he does it but he seems completely oblivious to that fact. I have had a leg shoved up my right nostril several times this week as he attempts and almost fails to sit his perch without tipping off of it backwards. Thank God my nose is there to avoid that tragedy.  He has taken to joining Molly in her 3 am singsong so now it sounds like one dying coyote and an off key soprano who has absolutely zero perception that he is tone deaf.

Our shared laundry facilities are in over time use this week so it’s taken me seven hours today to do three loads.  The woman stomping about ( I have no idea who she is, she doesn’t live here) has taken up every washer and is nattering on because someone hasn’t emptied their dryer in time for her to change hers out. I am leaning on the wall staring at her and in my mind I have grabbed her paper respiratory mask that she is wearing and snapped it back onto her face just to silence her.  I think I might actually have followed through on this impulse had it not been for the voice in my head reminding me of the 6 foot distance rule. Oh, and maybe I considered that arrest might follow.  Can they handcuff from 6 feet away?

Two of my adorable grandchildren went breaking bad tonight and showed up for ice cream and chocolate milk. I let them in only because I know their germs and I know their mother has recently annihilated a lice infestation (school gift) from every crevice of hair and home so anything that might have tried to live through that has failed. Other than the kids of course. And their mother. Barely, the poor girl.

My grandson all three feet of him, admonished me loudly for using the word “stupid” to describe my 40 pound budgie ( “You do not use that word around children!”). Well OK then. Clearly I need to get with the program.

As they were preparing to leave the building I ran ahead to ensure that no other human was present. No sooner had they stepped into the hall than the door to my left cracked open to reveal the sweet face of our senior neighbor peeking out.  She is out and about and talking to everyone constantly so I had no fear of her concern for her own safety with the two moppets that I was trying to usher down the hallway.  And then she started. She is Italian or Portuguese and heavily accented. I still don’t know which one and I have lived next door for five years.  Regardless, she speaks quickly and it can be difficult to hang onto each word.

Until tonight that was.

As she cooed and ooohed at the kids she glanced up at my daughter and said how nice it was to see the little ones and that it brought her such joy.  She then went into a slight vent about our microscopic little SOB and how it was making it so hard for everyone to be family.  Her final words with my grandkids hanging on to each one?

“Is bullchit you know. Is bullchit! But what can ya do. You can do nutting. But is bullchit”

My grandson said not a word.

But I can’t say stupid.

 

It is now 3:15 am. The song of the dying coyote is in full swing.  From the bathroom this time because I put the lid down on the ONLY existing fresh water supply in the world.

 

Laugh or you’ll cry as my grandmother would say…

Lets laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smashing Glass Slippers

“In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy”   

~Andy Stanley~

“In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy”

~Andy Stanley~

I am not sure I am comfortable with the word enemy in the quote above, but in keeping with the original wording I must allow it to remain.  I really don’t consider anyone to be an enemy.  In any situation where I might happen upon someone with whom I have suffered a disconnect, I can and will behave in a cordial albeit aloof manner, but I would never consider them to be an enemy.  More so a lesson in what to avoid, I suppose.

I am terribly imperfect. This blog represents a vulnerability that is uncommon for me because I am much more comfortable in healing your discomforts than my own. From yours I have an ability to disconnect.  Perhaps this is why I am so good at what I have been led to do. It’s worked for me so far, yet recently it has become evident to me that I have missed a step along the way somewhere, and my ability to go forward and provide the best of myself  was reliant on some soul searching and contemplation.

For those that know me quite well, they know of my inability to comprehend or extend forgiveness. This is in complete opposition to my empathetic nature, a learned human behavior not a true characteristic of who I am.  It is not uncommon to hear me tell people to reserve the act of forgiveness for themselves alone.  To heal their hurts without giving opportunity to those that created them to feel that they are abolished of their wrong doing.  As the quote above states I have always lived by the belief that forgiveness does little more than reward the behavior that created discomfort.

So, in keeping with the fairy tale, I will, more often than not, don the proverbial glass slippers and exit stage left. I rarely to never leave a shoe behind either.  Gone. Little trace exists that we spent time in each other’s journey short of a few crystals you might find that have broken off in my escape.

I am no Cinderella by any stretch. She was much kinder than I when it came to the dealings of those that distressed her. At least she provided them jobs in which to support themselves once her Prince Charming appeared. I don’t even allow that much.  I cut you out entirely, my support in your journey forward is over.

It’s just always been my way.  I will not forgive you but I will forget you. I guess the premise behind that logic (somewhere in my mind) is that you won’t forget me because I leave no opportunity for you to feel that you found closure in my departure.

Well that’s not screwed up at all is it?

Someone recently asked me to consider forgiveness and my first instinct was my natural instinct. Find a big box to put that in. Nail it down firmly and bury it.  Dig out my glass slippers, rush off to my hearth, pack them away and then sit and forgive myself for allowing something or someone to cause me pain.  And it often goes a little like this.

“I forgive myself for allowing myself to be harmed by the actions of another. “I forgive myself for my inability to control the events that led to my discomfort”. I forgive myself for being misguided” “I forgive myself for giving too much of my good energy”  “I forgive myself for the expectations I put on others”

I could go on forever here because I can find a litany of reasons to forgive myself in any and all situations.  I could forgive myself for burning the pasta last week.

But I digress.

I recently pulled out the glass slippers. I haven’t done that in a long time now. Maybe the passage of time caused me to hesitate before I slid them to my feet. Maybe I was too tired of trying to run in them.  Or maybe…..just maybe….

I was tired of putting the blame on myself and soothing myself with a ritual of self forgiveness for my own sincerity of action.

I still strongly believe in the power of self forgiving. Once this blog is public I will forgive myself for not discovering this lesson sooner.  I will forgive myself for perhaps offering up advice to others based solely on what I thought was true for me. Early into this spiritual journey I was reminded several times to not permit my own prejudice to color the souls that I encounter along the way.  And I believe I have allowed that to happen.  Forgive me.

So something today I never thought I would do…..

A plot twist perhaps…

Forgive.

Forgiveness does not mean that you will accept further discomforts. It does not mean that you are a pushover. It does not mean that you announce open season for those to take aim once again. Forgiveness means that you are loving yourself enough now to include boundaries that will not permit discomforts in the future.

Forgiveness is not weakness. Forgiveness is strength.

Forgive. If your forgiveness comes with an apology accept that and forgive because in doing so the responsibility for your pain is shared. As it should be. It is not solely your discomfort to carry and feel you created. Sharing it is much less uncomfortable and far less self injuring.

Forgive. If your forgiveness must come with no apology attached, forgive anyway.  Because no one suffers in this but yourself. Spending decades waiting to hear I am sorry takes the beauty out of life because there is no pain such as the pain of waiting for words that never arrive.  And if it has taken you decades to reach this part, then forgive yourself only for not doing it sooner. You are a beautiful creation and you deserved so much more than that. You deserve so much more going forward from today.

Forgive. Because forgiveness is self love in its most unconditional manner. And there is no one more deserving of that love than yourself.  It does not require that you maintain a connection to those that you have forgiven  but it does require that you understand that until you forgive you do not attach responsibility to anyone else but yourself. And that’s a heavy load to carry alone.

 

So take a moment and repeat this with me if you are so inclined.

I forgive you if you caused me discomfort intentionally, unintentionally, with malice or with lack of consideration.  I forgive you because it is my right to live a life unfettered by the weight of pain. I forgive you because I deserve to live a life that is free of self blame.  I forgive you because I love myself.

And if I have caused you discomfort I ask that you forgive me also. Because you deserve nothing less than I deserve.  We will share our discomforts and love ourselves through it.

You’ll excuse me now……

I have glass slippers to smash

With love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghosts, Goats & Giggles – Making Heaven

My life takes me to some pretty interesting places. Last week it was a farm in rural PEI. As I brought loved ones through, audience members cuddled baby goats and baby rabbits on their laps. It was surreal and fascinating at the same time. Goats don’t sit still often, so to see these little creatures curled up quietly while we worked with spirit was truly quite amazing for me; in fact it confirmed for me that those gone before us have a settling effect on all living things.  How beautiful and not something I ever expected I might be involved in.

That’s my grandaughter in the picture by the way.  Her only concern that day was goats and giggles. And combined it created the perfect photo op. Goats are naturally curious and fun loving. They climb, they nudge, they head butt and they smile if you can imagine. It’s like they just intuitively know how to cheer us up.

As I watched them bounce around last week they reminded me of those that we’ve lost. Always present, peering around doorways and always trying to get our attention. Or, curled up peacefully in the arms of those seeking comfort. Not so unlike the ones we love at all.  I never thought a goat would become a metaphor for spiritual connection but there it is.

The world is a tad bit bananas of late if you hadn’t noticed. I could choose to discuss the pain of this past week, the questions of why bad things happen to good and innocent souls but I chose instead to talk about ghosts, goats and giggles. Because sometimes the weight of the world beyond that is too heavy for us to bear. It doesn’t mean that I am ignorant of the turmoil; in fact I did exact a fairly lengthy narrative on it but have decided instead that I am choosing to share some light and hoping it finds the dark corners.

When life is bananas make bread right?

We got this.

When life starts to get you down, feel the feels for the moments that you feel them and then search for a giggle. Balance is the key to existing on a planet hell bent on knocking us all off.  And it’s OK to seek the balance. It’s OK to not feel guilty for laughing, for enjoying life and for turning off the news.  It’s OK to not be informed at every waking moment.

Take moments to breath and to feel life on each inhalation. If those on the spirit side could tell us to do one thing, it’s to keep on keeping on without them. Because when we keep on, they keep on right beside us.

Those you’ve lost and love exist vicariously through how you live. We bring them to beautiful places on each laugh, on each kindess and on each breath that we take.  We create their heaven for them in each waking moment.

Why not create a heaven that includes goats n giggles?  There’s nothing wrong with that and everything right in that.

Can’t find a goat to chase around? Find a butterfly. Run with your dog. Find a splashpad and rush through the waterfall in your clothes. Dance to the elevator music. Stop and listen to the buskers and clap for them. Go to the fair. Ride something huge and terrifying and exhilerating.  Eat what you shouldn’t eat. Giggle too loud in a library and giggle harder when you are shushed.

Heaven today is heavy. It is welcoming souls who had different plans this week. It is sorting and shaping new enviornments for those that are now part of that world.  And it will need our help to make these spaces as bright and wonderous and joyful as possible.  We couldn’t help them here, but we can help them there.  So send them bubbles and sunshine and laughter to light the way forward.  Not only do we help them we help us.  We need to learn to lift the enviornment we live in. Only then can we lift the world.  And that will change it. Not today. Not tomorrow. But soon.

The goats don’t know the state of the world. They simply know that they are happy. And that somehow that happiness makes us right again.

Grieve for a moment. Pause to acknowledge those gone forward. And then give them the gift of a life well lived.

They deserve that.

Oh…by the way…if you are in the neighbourhood drop by Island Hill Farm

#cutestplaceonearth

 

 

 

 

 

Gently Bruised

`I can clearly recall thinking that if I had tried harder that she may have remembered my kindness `

Today’s blog is part cathartic and part an attempt to ease the gentle hearts that I encounter every day. In a world that can be tragically uncomfortable I wanted to take a moment to recognize those that try to soothe it. Bless your soft and tender souls for trying to light the many dark corners.

`I can clearly recall thinking that if I had tried harder that she may have remembered my kindness `  Tania

She’d always be the last one to get to her desk; the impatient students would shove past her, the condescending would glance at her as if she were an inconvenience; an obstacle in their path.  She wore thick glasses and carried an odor of stale urine as firmly attached to her body as the steel crutches that were attached like bracelets to her wrists. I think it may have been polio perhaps, but will never know for certain I suppose.  I found her one day, not so long ago now and upon reaching out in my excitement of seeing her grown and a seemingly happy adult; felt slightly wounded as she brushed me off like a piece of lint on her sweater.  I can clearly recall thinking that if I had tried harder that she may have remembered my kindness.

I would run ahead of her as she tried to reach the bathroom before her bladder released into the telltale darkened stain on the back of her jeans.  Her best efforts at speed were only slowed by the non compliance of two feet that would be dragged behind the frantic clicking of the crutches that hung from both forearms. She rarely to never would make it and the remaining hours of the school day would be spent sitting in the dampness that shared its pungency with a room full of student nostrils.  They would pick on her while I did my best to make her feel that she was not unusual.  And I remember wondering if I could have done better back then… that perhaps she may have recalled that I tried to be gentle.

Or perhaps the insults and the cruelty of others overshadowed the softness.  And if that is true, then my heart still wants to fix it despite the passage of decades.

It’s my natural way to be gentle. I struggle to understand anything less than a desire to be kind.  I cannot comprehend cruelty, or intentions that may be less than loving.  I will never find comfort in stepping on other humans to get to my destination. I would much rather join those on the ground to help ease the burden of the weight of those that do so.

Certainly I am no saint and have followed selfish paths in the moments that I feel unsupported. We are human of course, and not one of us balanced perfectly. I can dive into bursts of anger as quickly as I can dissolve into tears.  I can hide the bag of Oreo’s just as well as the next person simply because I believe I deserve the sweetness. We have all shared of the discomforts that can manifest into human nature.

However…when all is said and done…my defining nature is to be gentle. To not step on others to gain my rewards.

It is this characteristic that will find me continuing to want to soothe the way forward despite having felt the weight of such feet press into my spine time and time again.  I say this without complaint but a simple yet new understanding that in this gentleness is my greatest strength.  Empathy is an unforgiving journey and not for the faint of heart. Empathy requires an ability to unbend a spine that is bruised, sometimes broken and unfurl it to standing without sharing the pain.

I wondered for a moment if I was practicing true empathy in questioning why this woman did not remember my kindness.  It burned ever so slightly for a minute or two to feel that I hadn’t done something good enough to be remembered.  And I had to stop and wonder if I was battling the EGO or punishing my heart for not being enough when she needed it.

Or if, perhaps, I was understanding her from the value of being different than most. And in doing so I could feel how the discomforts might overshadow the kindness; and better understand my overwhelming desire to make it go away for her.

Which leads me to question something very obvious.

Are the gentle trying to heal the world because in doing so they heal themselves?

Life offers no easy answers. But it does offer us the opportunity to ask the questions.

And I love questions.

And softness.

Don’t stop that. Your gentleness. One day it will be remembered first.

Love love and more love.

Be soft to you first. And then share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grieving Promise

Grief is hemorrhagic.

It shares no umbrella of the same color or shape. You can’t expect someone to stay dry using yours because it worked for you.

I promise you will grieve.  And there is nothing I can do to prepare you.

I can share literature and lead by my example but there is nothing I can do to help you understand.  Like birth and like death, the journey to your  certain discomfort will only be known by yourself.  There will be nothing to catch you, nothing that can console you and nothing to fill the shatters in your soul.  A deeply painful and personal unraveling of all the words you could have said and all the moments you had the opportunity to say them.  Of all the chances you missed and the chances you took.  You will find discomfort in every choice you created and every choice you allowed.

I promise you will grieve. And there is nothing I can do to prepare you.

What I can prepare you for  is that no one will understand the depth of your pain. They will try to understand, attempt to console, try to catch you when your knees burst and you fall to the depths. But I can promise you they will not know how deeply you will drop because you are falling through your own waters and bringing your own beliefs, thoughts and regrets as your swimming companions.

I promise no one will understand your pain.

Your pain is as individual as your fingertips, your DNA and your thoughts. While many will commiserate and understand the experience of loss, they can never truly seek to understand your ownership to the individuality of your story.

If we are to help one another through grief, we must be aware that not one process is like another.  We cannot seek to know the physical and emotional results of a heart that is punctured; whether once or a thousand times over.  The choice of injurious results lies with each individual story.  Over time hearts will heal, some more quickly; while others will leave nothing more than sinew to toughen the holes and to make them impenetrable to the possibility of further bleeding.  In both there is strength. And in both we have no right in our opinion of the process.

I’ve heard it enough now in my lifetime and my career. The judgements on how the grieving can grieve.

“He’s already moved onward to a new spouse. Her body is barely cold”

We have no right.

“She’s pregnant again, so soon. She hasn’t grieved the child she lost”

We have no right.

“You are angry and not what I knew. I cannot work with what I don’t recognize”

We have no right.

“Get up from the couch. Uncurl your hands from the teddy bear. You have to keep going”

We have no right.

Until the moment that the sharp pins explode  into our own hearts, our own souls and our own understanding of what that looks like…

We have no right.

And even after that moment…

The only right we are afforded…

Is the right to finally understand that we can offer nothing to change the experience.

Nothing that is…

Except to love them through it.  Whether we disagree, we wouldn’t have done it the same way, or we think our way is better.

Their way is the only way.

Love them through it.

Love them through what they need to do in order to survive.

Surviving might be angry, risk taking or silence. Surviving might be running forward to something new. Surviving may be terror in allowing anything or anyone to come close again. Surviving might be bottled or prescribed. Surviving may be tolerable only in introversion or in dancing through the streets.  Surviving may be in dying and breathing concurrently.

Love them through it anyway.

Grief is hemorrhagic.

It shares no umbrella of the same color or shape. You can’t expect someone to stay dry using yours because it worked for you.

Love them through it.

Let them bleed.

Only they can stop the flow because only they know where the punctures exist.

Love them through it.

Love you through it.

 

Be kinder. Be more compassionate. Don’t push. Don’t force.  Be gentle. Be tolerable because understanding will be obscure.

Just love them through it.

 

Loving you through it

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Strong Soul: If Anyone Can Handle This It’s You

“I couldn’t find my words this past several months because I was out of words you expected me to say. I was out of what might feel comfortable. Comfortable for you to hear and more importantly comfortable for me to say…”

I have been struggling for months now to find my words because I thought I’d shared all that I could share to help with the process of loss. Last night I found them again. Life is all about timing. Painful yes. But a much needed lesson in allowing others to hurt authentically.

We made my best friend cry last night. Her dead sister and I. Unashamedly. Unabashedly. Uncontrollably.

It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, and that’s saying a lot from someone whose job it is to bring you to tears.  As I watched her little face crumble into her chest I shoved my tongue hard into the roof of my mouth to distract from the heat of my own tears that were threatening to pour over my cheeks. I found myself looking upward and to the left to avoid being pulled into her discomfort. I was working and as such that demands a different part of me that cannot be taken off balance.

In one fell swoop her deceased sister had moved the conversation from laughter to profound discomfort. I was completely unprepared although I should know this energy well enough by now to have been ready for just about anything.  Over this past year since her death she has provoked me to issue ridiculous and often off color comments via text to her older sibling.

“Tell her she forgot to shave her belly button” among other things that should likely never be shared publicly.  My friend wouldn’t care what I shared here but that’s really not the purpose of my thoughts today.

I had no idea that she was in such profound pain.  She is so forthcoming about her journey through loss in her own blogs that I missed it somehow?  Maybe because we are too close to recognize it? Maybe because she is a lot like myself, she counsels the grief of others? Maybe because I hold her up as my example of how to be strong.

That’s it.

I hold all five feet of her as my idea of strength.  In fact, if I am honest about this, I can well recall the moment that her text arrived to me on the morning of her sisters tragic death. “She’s gone. My sister is gone” and the first thought that swept over me was….

“You got this girl. You got this. If anyone can handle this, its you”

I never told her that but I think she knew that’s what I was expecting.

So she did. She handled it. She swept through what had to happen in the days to follow. She got up, she brushed her teeth, she put on her eyeliner and she took charge. Exactly what I expected is exactly what she did.  I never saw her break. Not even as she stood in front of the colorful flowers and the urn at the funeral home and recited her own version of her sisters life and how she might expect others to handle her death.  And my friend handled it the way she thought her sister might expect.

She handled it the way I might expect. The way her mom might expect. The way her friends might expect. Her clients might expect.

She simply handled it.

And then last night as her sisters words about sex on the dining room table faded off into the inevitable giggles, she turned that table and took me to the truth. The room suddenly emptied of those that were physically present as I watched this little sister pull her broken older sister into her arms and rock her like a child.

And that’s not what I was expecting.  And I don’t think that’s what my five foot Wonder Woman was expecting either as her eyes darted quickly and then somehow slid down her face like wet paint and splashed into her broken heart.

In fact just this morning she recounted to me that it had all caught her off guard. Not that I needed that confirmation because it was written all over her brown eyes as she struggled to hide the fact that she knew…that I knew….

That she had been handling it because she was expected to handle it.

I knew the look.

Intimately.

And I will expect that many of you do too.

It caught me off guard too. A scene swelling in my mind of my caped crusader curled up into a ball that made her no bigger than the pillows on her couch.  With her sister in her awful polyester navy pants and bright red blouse wrapped tightly around her trying to console her pain. Not what I thought I would see. Not what my friend thought I would see either.

But something I needed to see. And something she needed to share with someone other than the little bear that was made of her sisters clothing. The little bear that was hidden under her chest as she curled up like her throw pillow.

I couldn’t find my words this past several months because I was out of words you expected me to say.  I was out of what might feel comfortable. Comfortable for you to hear and more importantly comfortable for me to say.

I’d like to thank Kerri. The little sister that died because she couldn’t hit a possum. Because her heart was too big to cause pain. Because she talked about bleaching her backside. And sex on the kitchen table.

And because she showed me what real strength looks like. It looks like a throw pillow wet with tears wrapped around a small bear. A wee Wonder Woman that breaks apart in the early hours and then unravels herself to her full five feet as the sun comes up. Brushes her teeth. Puts on her eyeliner.  And handles it the way she’s expected to.

The way I do. The way you do. The way all that feel so deeply do. Every single day.

And now I am left wondering why something so incredibly beautiful and courageous is something we don’t talk about.

Because it opens our own discomforts? Our own what’s “not expected” of us?

Perhaps.

Lets change that.  Because my intention going forward is a whole lot of….

“Well I didn’t expect that”

Of course not. Because you are doing what’s expected. In grieving, in losses, in love.

Stop it.

Show me. Show others. Show them the truth. Because they might be hiding their own.

Show us what we don’t expect you to do.  And then we can heal together.

Sending love to those that are curled up and crying before you stand up and do what’s expected.  I got ya. xo

 

Tania