Thursday, June 30, 2016


Last weekend, in the midst of a rainstorm, I dropped my phone in the lake. I had purposely bought a water resistant phone because I tend to be outside quite a bit, in all kinds of weather. And we spend as much of our free time as possible cruising the lake in our boat, exploring every nook and cranny of our lake. The phone salesman made sure to explain that if the tab that covers the charging port was damaged the phone would no longer be water proof. Said tab broke off about 6 weeks ago, and while I kept meaning to repair it, I never did.

My phone is still safely tucked in a canister of rice and it's fate remains unknown. Whatever happens, it's sure to cost me money that I really don't want to spend. So for now I am using my old phone which wouldn't be so bad, except that I am missing the camera on my damaged phone. It had a great camera in it and I had gotten good at manipulating it to capture some pretty special shots. Thankfully, the photos were stored on the phone's SD card and I should be able to retrieve them. I'm more disappointed that, for now, I have to use my crappy old iPhone camera. It's peak wildflower season and that is one of my favourite hobbies. I love searching for them, photographing them and finally identifying them. Certainly I'll continue, but was really enjoying learning how to photograph them differently with the extra features available.

Perhaps worst of all is how disappointed I am in myself. Not only did I fail to repair it, I also failed to properly stow my phone when standing in ankle deep water. I am my own worst critic and immediately I was upset with myself. We try to live as frugally as possible and this will be an expensive screw up. It makes me feel sour inside. And I still hadn't told my husband, whose inevitable displeasure would make me feel worse than I already did. He only brought up the five dollar part that should have prevented this and let the issue rest.

I'm trying to be kinder to myself so when I hear my inner critic start to chastise me, I cut her off. Everyone makes mistakes and we aren't destitute. It's hard work silencing that part of me, it's been a constant my whole life.  But this is the new me and I am better than that and I am going to be happy- water logged phone be damned! So this long weekend I will be certain to spend plenty of time traipsing through the woods with my dog and my shitty camera!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fighting the War Within

I haven't been writing at all lately. I have been so deep in my head that putting words onto the page seems impossible. It's too painful, too honest and also too hard to do concisely. In my head I've run through the unanswered questions thousands of times.  I've been ruminating for weeks; asking myself the unanswerable all hours of the day and night.

How did I get left alone with a mother who was so mired in depression and co-dependency that she was often unable to parent me? Why did no one speak up for me? By the time I was 14 I had been molested or assaulted by three different people. Why did no one insist that I receive therapy for all the traumas I endured?

I have few memories from my childhood, and of the ones I do have the majority of them are bad. Large chunks of time are missing, was it just a way of self-preservation? To block the pain, to pretend  things were okay? I don't know; I wish I did. I wish I had more happy memories, more clear cut images of an actual childhood.

I remember watching my mother's second husband try to kill her. I remember she and I leaving in the middle of the night to escape and run to her sister's house. I remember sleeping with a knife under my pillow "just in case."  I remember the cops knocking on the door "Is everything okay, ma'am?" I remember saving up enough money to buy a greyhound ticket to run away, but never leaving because my mother told me she would kill herself if I left. I remember my mother driving across the Bear Mountain Bridge and saying that she wished she could just drive off the bridge and end it all.

Why didn't anyone protect me? Why didn't anyone step in and speak up for me? Somehow I survived. I was lucky, I had a few safe people who did their best to love me and encourage me. But none who put an end to the madness.

Things got better when my mother finally decided that she had had enough of her second husband and moved us far enough away that I could breathe. But our clashes continued; so when I graduated high school I left and never went back. While in university I put myself into therapy and continued the process through the better part of my (very) tumultuous twenties and thirties. Still I struggled.

Meeting my husband was a turning point for me. He has been such a source of comfort for me, he's my anchor and my lighthouse. In his own unique way he's been a role model for me. And along the way little lights were being lit. Pieces were clicking into place and now I stand in a place of strength and peace - mostly.

It's been a long road to get to where I am now. I've been working hard, reading, meditating, being mindful. But in order to fully heal I know I need to put the past behind me. I need to walk away from it, once and for all, but the questions haunt me. The 3am brain train still shows up. I still have night terrors. I still have trust issues. My hope is that by finally purging this onto the page I can let go. I know I'll never get the answers I want, there are no answers to be had. I need the war in my head to be over. I am not that damaged little girl anymore. I am approaching 50 and I am determined to be free, to be loved and loving and to soar.

Just last week a letter from my father showed up in the mail. He was writing to apologize for leaving me when I was a child and to let me know how much he has always loved me. It was buoying for my soul and  just what the little girl in me needed to hear. I have never doubted his love for me and I'm sure he did the best he could, but the same can be said of my mother. It was a fitting denouement to a period of introspection I am determined to put behind me.

Me, age two

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Carry On

Thinking about this morning and nothing makes sense. We were out for our morning walk, it was a stunning morning. We were enjoying the sun and the flowers along the way. I had gotten up a bit early and was able to take my time, snap a few photos and then everything changed.
I can see it frame by frame. One minute the dog was coming towards us and the next the owner was standing there and I'm saying "they're just barking, they're okay".  For a brief second I got the girls into a sit, but then what?

And like a photograph I can see that dog - stock still, tail erect, haunches up and leaning in towards the girls. Next I'm turned 180° and Georgie is in his mouth all four of her feet off the ground. I don't know what happened next, all I can remember is kneeling on the ground and checking her for wounds.

The owner kept asking is he okay? is he okay? Yes. Yes, she's okay.

I just wanted to hold her and baby her, but I pushed her off, stood tall, and said "let's go!" There was nothing to be gained by histrionics and Georgie would gauge her reaction on my own. So cool, calm and collected we headed back; I needed to carry on as if all was well. And maybe all was well, we were all together and safe. Everyday I am presented with opportunities to carry on and I do.