I woke up. The coffee smells delicious.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine wondering how we got where we are.

I made a lot of assumptions when I was younger, now, at 37, the harsh light of reality is becoming blinding.

I thought that everyone gets married and has kids (the ones who want to anyhow).  I thought that if you just applied yourself you would do well in life.  I thought that at 37, I would be married, have kids, a house and go about my happy, not overly extravagant life and that would be it.  I was wrong.

My reality became that I am 37, single and live in an apartment.  I never really figured out what I wanted to “do” with my life, or at least never fell in love with anything that I would be able to make decent money doing.  I made some choices that have left me broke and alone.  I have a little over 100 “friends” on Facebook and yet have had to learn to do things by myself and be okay with it.

I don’t know what happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I love coming home to my Tallulah, she is always so happy to see me.  Wagging tail, a ton of excitement and more kisses than any one person deserves.  She is amazing.

I love that I come home to the mess that I left.  It was my decision not to wash the dishes or vacuum or to leave my sweater hanging over the back of the chair.  I used to leave a clean house and come home to a disaster, it was terrible.  Felt like a never ending work day.  I was so tired all the time and it made me a miserable person.

I have stepped back over the past couple of years and taken a good look at myself.  My life.  How things have turned out.  I have made decisions.  I will not be that miserable person.  I cannot let life get to me.  I am better than this person who so easily sinks into the dark cloud and hides away.

The idea that every day that you wake up is a great one, is a lie.  They aren’t all great.  The point to this whole messy game of life is to frequently step back.  Look at what you have.  I mean really LOOK at it.  It’s not all great.  It’s not all the dream life that you thought you’d have.  But it’s yours, and it’s only as good as you make it.   Step outside.  Take a deep breath.  Soak in the smiles of the people you love, their laughter, their happy.

It’s a wild ride, this life, and it sure as hell isn’t over yet.

These Truths I Hold to Be Self Evident.

I woke up this morning to a world crystallized in ice.

As many of you know, I am not a huge fan of winter, yet, the sight of this silver, twinkling world made my heart light.  I continued to make my coffee and sit down in front of the tv for a moment to enjoy the first bit of my cup, which is my normal routine.

When I flicked the tv on, I was compelled to watch a movie.  Not just any movie, but because this particular movie was on, I found myself stuck to the couch, enjoying all of the smiles and tears that came with watching this particular story (the name of the movie is not the point, so no, stop wondering, I am not going to mention it.)

Somewhere between the bottom of a cup of coffee, the sound of a still sleepy puppy’s breath and the spotted window pane that separates me from the icy world outside, the following things occurred to me.

I am almost 35 years old.  My heart, on the other hand, is hovering somewhere around 6.

I believe in fairy tales.  Maybe not the fairy tale ending so much, but definitely all the magic.  I know that love is work.  I know that prince charming doesn’t actually come in on his white horse and sweep you off your feet and then you live happily ever after.  I know that there is no fairy god mother that brings some handsome, romantic prince to your door, and it’s not all candle light and roses.  I’m not delusional.  But as long as people continue to write fairy tale romances, I think that in their hearts, it exists, the potential is there and people still have the ability to deeply and entirely love another person, and that gives me hope.

I believe in mermaids, magic, and all of the wonder and excitement that comes with them.  I believe in glitter, red lipstick, beautiful shoes and all the glamour of the 40s and 50s.

I want to live in a big farm house, with a wrap around porch.  Because I think it’s romantic.  I think about how I could decorate it for Christmas, or sitting on the porch swing in the summer and feeling the breeze.  I love the idea of barn board floors that creak when you walk on them, but only when you are trying to be quiet.  I love the idea of big windows in big rooms, that hold years and years of family dinners.  Rooms full of laughter and smiles, and memories that fill a lifetime.

I still believe that some people still have the ability to see the beauty in simple things, and that one day someone will see me, and think I’m beautiful, just for who I am and not who they think they can make me.

I still cry during movies, in moments of great joy or sadness.  I always thought that these things would change.  That I would “grow up” and that I would lose these beliefs for more “adult” ideals.  I know now that I won’t.  I will always feel this way, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Because it’s who I am, and there are worse things to believe in than a little magic.

These things I have learned

I lost who I was.

I became who I thought someone else wanted and needed me to be.  I became who I thought I needed to be for that person.  And somehow ‘Nat’ got lost in the shuffle.  It’s no ones fault, sometimes you just lose yourself in the chaos of daily life.  Sometimes you lose yourself in being madly in love with another person.

Now that I have spent so much time with myself, there are things that I have (re)learned.  Like them or not, they are who I am.

I’m awkward.  I know this, it’s not news to me.  I’m sure it’s not news to anyone who knows me either.  I can’t explain it, I don’t know why I’m so odd.  Trust me, if I knew, I would change it, or at least tone it down a little.  I feel like part of it is that I wear my emotions like a cartoon character.  There is never any question as to what I am feeling, you can see it clearly in my expression.  This also ties into that if you tell me something that I don’t know how to react to, I just don’t react.  At all.  I apologize, it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved.

I will do anything I can to make the people I care about happy.  I really don’t like it when people are sad, especially the people who mean the world to me.  I may not try to ‘fix’ the unpleasant situation, I know that I am not superwoman.  I know that I cannot make this not happen, and I cannot take away what has made people unhappy.  But I can make you your favourite cookies, or do something that I know will make you laugh, or just sit and listen and constantly remind you how beautiful, special, wonderful and loved you are.  That’s my job.  I am a friend.  I have a big heart and I will hand it to you on a platter.

I love road trips.  I really don’t even care where we are going.  Although if we end up in some little town somewhere, with neat shops and some great pub for lunch, I will be one of the best days ever.  I really just love to be in the car, music cranked, coffee available and on the road.  The trip is sometimes the best part of the adventure.

Coffee mugs.  Yep.  I have what I am realizing is quite the collection.  My mood in the morning or whenever I open the cupboard, determines what mug I use.  They are not just mugs, they are mood enhancers.  And yes, I have a couple of mugs that no one is allowed to use but me.

I have curly hair.  This may seem fairly obvious, but I feel like it’s an ‘issue’.  I hear so often how much people (especially guys) like my hair straight.  Great.  Curly hair is what you get with me, as much as I say that I cannot change that, I know I can.  I could permanently straighten my hair.  The truth is that, while it’s great to have straight hair for a couple of days, and I feel so beautiful when it is straight, after a while I start to not feel like me anymore.  Straight hair is not ‘Nat’, curly hair is.  Wild, unpredictable and romantic.

Now the ugly truths.  I was bullied in school.  Told that I was too ugly to be friends with the ‘cool’ girls.  Words stick.  They scar and those scars are deep.  Yes, I still feel like that kid that no one likes.  The ‘uncool’ kid that has nothing to offer, she’s still here.

I feel like I am suffocating in this life.  I can’t explain it.  I’m spinning my tires and can’t seem to move forward.  I need to move, but where?  Everywhere else seems so expensive and it’s just me a my dog.  My fear is not being able to care for her and being stuck somewhere that I have no help.  But something needs to change.

IMG_1295I like my house clean.  Really clean.  I take pride in where I live and want it to be inviting.  I love when my friends ‘pop in’, and try to have my house ready for it all the time.  I have been told in the past that people didn’t like coming over because my house was too clean and it made them uncomfortable.  I used to have anxiety about leaving my house with dirty dishes in the sink or a floor that needed to me mopped or vacuumed.  I have gotten over these things.  However, if my house is so clean that you are uncomfortable, you need to get over that.

These things are all summed up fairly easily.  Being in the car on a nice day belting out some of my favourite tunes will always make me smile.  I love my friends and family above all else.  Their happiness makes me happy and I will do everything I can to contribute to that.  I love my dog like she is a child.  She has a ton of personality and has done more for my heart and emotional state than any human ever could.  She is not “just a dog”.  I work everyday to be a happier, better person, and day by day I am coming closer to being her again.

 

 

Natalie VS the Ball

I don’t have kids.  I have a dog.  Her name is Tallulah (Lu for short) and she has literally saved my life.  She is amazing and I love her.  She’s quiet, I could count on one hand how many times I have heard her bark.  She’s got a LOAD of personality, and I think she’s adorable.

I have friends with kids, in fact, being days away from 34 years old, most of my friends are parents.  I have bought toy after toy for their children, believing in karma, I NEVER buy those annoying noisy toys that make parents want to drop their children off at WalMart and never look back.  Merely for the reason that, if I ever have children, I don’t want the payback.

Enter the ball.

My parents take my dog to the park for me sometimes during the day, so she gets some extra play time and is out of the crate a little more often. I appreciate the help, and it makes me feel not so bad about Lu being alone while I am at work.

One fine day, I come home and there is an orange ball in my house.  It’s a chuckit ball.  Chuckit is a great toy, helps you hurtle a ball a million times for your dog to chase and even picks the ball up for you so you don’t have to touch it when it gets slimy.  Genius.

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Apparently Lu picked up the ball at the park, played with it, then carried it home.  Dad asked around, no one claimed the ball, so Lu did.  Fine, whatever, I’m happy she has a toy that she loves this much.  For days all she would do is play with the ball.  She is obsessed with it.  This ball has become the equivalent of every noisy, annoying toy I never bought the kids in my life.  Karma, you are sorely mistaken.

Lu will pounce on the ball and throw it for herself.  She will chew on it until her spit has filled the ball and it makes gurgling squishing noises.  She especially likes to chew it in the middle of the night.  Her favourite chewing spot?  Directly beside the sofa.  So most of my days home are spent pulling the stupid ball out from under the sofa, only to have her launch it there five seconds later.

“Just stop getting the ball” you say?  Come on, I’m not that stupid.  I’ve tried just leaving it there.  This action results in Lu laying on the floor, her face jammed under the sofa, crying and talking until I get the ball out.

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Taking the ball away just seems cruel, like removing the soother from your child before they are ready to give it up, or throwing away their favourite toy.  Heck, I’ve even replaced the stupid ball when it got to be over chewed and had a hole in it.

My parents, who started this whole ball business in the first place, have even requested for the ball not to accompany LU out for stays at their house anymore.  Apparently it makes Dad crazy… go figure.

Ball: 200, Natalie: 0