Communication without connection

Am I becoming a curmudgeon?  Is this a sign that I am getting ‘old’?  Let’s talk for a moment about ‘social’ media and today’s communication.

Want to completely miscommunicate an idea or feeling?  Want to dot your ‘Ts’ and cross your ‘Is’?  Then, by all means, text.  Text everyone.  Text every idea and every conversation that should be had in person.  I feel more and more lately that I want to text less and either actually pick up the phone or see someone in person.  Sit with me, talk, cry, laugh, for gods sake be angry and scream and yell, but do it to my face.

Don’t get me wrong.  Text is great, for a quick conversation.  For something that takes very little feed back.  “Want to hang out?”, “I’m doing X on Y day.. want to come?”, “Saw this ** the other day.. lol.. thought of you”…. Great!  A quick little text that tells me that you thought of me is amazing.  Possibly makes me whole day.  Continue on for my issue:

My brain works in a million directions at all times.  I’m everywhere and nowhere all at once.  I could text you to hang out or make plans and also text someone else about something or .. gasp.. be on the phone having a chat… which is going to take my tiny brain into another direction completely.  By the time you get to answering me, I could have had other thoughts relevant to you that I need to get out.. so I send them too… And there is no tone, inflection, anything that tells you how that thought is coming out. You just see it as all one conversation.. then you get mad.

No one says no in a text.  They just avoid that message all together.  You cannot avoid something when you are on the phone or in someones face.  It’s ok to tell people no, it’s ok to break plans, but commit to telling the other person what is going on.

This brings me to my next ‘issue’ Facebook.  Again, as a concept I love it.  I get to see what my friends and family are doing from not just across the country, but around the world.  It connects me with the people that I care about who I can’t just jump in the car and have tea with.  For that it’s great.

It has also removed me from everyone else.  I currently have 175 ‘friends’ on Facebook.  I can assure you this is the most people I have ever left on the account.  It was a bit of an experiment.

At one time I removed people that were not either related to me or directly involved in my life.  And I mean ‘directly’ in the most loose of it’s forms.  If you even ‘liked’ or commented on any of my Facebook photos or posts, you were left on as a ‘friend’.  The removal was taken personally.  But how?  I wonder how long it even took for people to notice they had been removed.  Why do we see Facebook as the be all end all of friendship?

I can tell you that with the most people on my Facebook account ever, at this moment in my life I have never been lonelier.  Just this morning I wondered if I moved out of the city and didn’t post it on Facebook or change my phone # how long would it take for people to notice I wasn’t in the city anymore?

This isn’t a woe is me post.  This is me trying to get you to look at how you interact with the people who matter to you.  Do they know they matter?  Do you know what is going on with them?  Are you basing these answers on what you have seen on Facebook?

 

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Happy (?) Holidays

I went AWOL.  I know;  But here I am again, on my little soapbox, spewing out everything I’ve been holding inside, wondering if anyone reads this, hoping the answer is no.

Its Christmas time.  12 days away, in fact.  My tree is up, decorations are out, but that’s as far as it has gone this year.  Haven’t watched my holiday movies, no Christmas tunes playing, no lights outside even.  Not a present wrapped and most of them not even purchased.

Why is this year different?  I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s the fact that I worked 200 hours last month (Okay, 196.4 hours).  Maybe it’s because I work in the mall and Christmas has been shoved down my throat since early November.  Maybe it’s because I have a lot going on, maybe it’s because this year I find myself lonelier than I have been before.   Maybe it’s the lack of snow or even cold weather.  Whatever it is, it’s missing.  That Christmas magic that I have always seemed to be able to find.

I’ll tell you what I know.  I have always known that sometimes just hearing someones voice can make a world of difference, and I got a phone call the other night that completely confirmed that for me.  I know that sometimes hearing a sweet southern drawl answer with a “Hey Love”; Or my cousins quirky, smirky “I know, right” is all I need to pull the pieces of my heart back together, even just for a little bit.

I know that there are a few people that I would give anything to wrap my arms around for the longest most awkward hug ever, but I need it.  I ache for it.

I know that I used to have big family holidays.  We used to pack up the car and travel to two different places and have dinner with huge amounts of loud, laughing family.  Now it’s just me, my parents and my brother.  I know that I am always welcome with my family, but the truth is that I would have to choose extended family over parents and I can’t do that.

I know that with a recent unexpected health issue, with the health issues of friends and family, the search for Christmas magic has fallen to the way side and it’s harder to find it when you are trying to do everything alone.

Maybe I’ll still find it.  Maybe I’ll get some Christmas cards in the mailbox instead of bills, and I’ll feel that much more connected to the people I love and miss terribly at this time of year.  Other than that, if anyone has any suggestions on how I can possibly find that magic feeling again, please feel free to pass that along.

Some Things are Timeless

There are parts of your memory that are ageless.

Lets look at memories like rocks.  As we get older some of those rocks get polished, and they change or become clearer based on our new perception of things.  There are also some rocks that remain unchanged.  Sometimes they lose their context, sometimes they lose bits and pieces of themselves, but all in all, they are the exact same rock fragments that they were when you were 7.

Let’s look at some of my rocks.

I remember that the walls to my grandfathers cottage were blue.  I remember a curtain in the bedroom.  But that’s all.  I remember the way that things smelled, or made me think of.  I remember the boogeyman doll and being afraid of my grandmothers basement, and in awe of it, all at the same time.  I remember what it felt like to be standing outside of my Grandmas house with my lip frozen to the lamp because I thought it was the warmth of my hand that turned it on (It was light sensitive) so I tried to blow on it to make it come on one afternoon.

Sometime you look back at these feelings and know that they were “kid things” other times they have just become truths and they are the best part of how you know someone.

This is how I know my Uncle Treavor, who, to a 7 year old, is cooler than Steve McQueen.  He had me the moment he put a lit pipe in his pocket.  No joke.  In the basement at my Aunt Jane’s house, playing pool with I couldn’t even tell you who, this taller than everyone else man, put a lit pipe in his pocket.  SO COOL.

The coolness was only solidified when we were at breakfast once and he did the creamer trick.  One handed opening of a creamer.  He held the edge of the little creamer cup in his coffee for a couple of seconds and then just gave it a little “pop” and out comes the cream.  I know, it’s a nothing event, but it was the craziest thing I had seen.  I mean, how cool do you have to be to even need to do that?!  Amazing.

It’s the kind of coolness that lasts.  I’m 35 years old now, and I still think of him with that level of coolness surrounding him.  I have also tried to master the creamer thing, it just explodes everywhere.  I’d like to say they have changed the packaging so it’s no longer possible, but I’m sure it’s just that this is not the case, seeing as the packaging probably hasn’t changed since creamers came into existence.

These memories have come to mind lately for numerous reasons.  One of them was that I have been thinking of how Rory is going to see me when she gets older.  What if I move away?  I have to do big things with her now so she remembers them, right?  Wrong.  It’s not the big things, it’s not the birthday presents, or the outings or the grand gestures that she will remember.  It will be the little things that I do without even thinking about it that shape who I am in her mind.

Think back about the people you love, take a look at the rocks they have left you.  Think about the ones that you are leaving for the people who love you.  Someone once told me “Take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”  It’s true.

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.

Dark clouds breed determined people.

I’ve become an unhappy person.  I am not sure if it happened over time, or all at once.  I couldn’t pin point it to one event in life either.  However it occurred, it did and I’m not happy about it.  Is that redundant?

I don’t like my weight or my body.  I don’t like that I have no one to hang out with.  I don’t like how broke I am.  All in all, it’s just a generally unhappy situation.

Out of my dark, Eeoyre like cloud, I have discovered something.  It’s not a silver lining, it’s more a decision.  A decision to be determined.

I cannot change that the people that I used to spend all of my time with seem to have moved on without me.  People change, situations change and life happens.  I can decide not to dwell on it.  I am learning to go to movies by myself, go to dinner, or the pub or window shop in the small towns that I love to wander through, alone.  It’s not the end of the world.

I am hell bent on being healthy.  I normally eat fairly well.  I stay away from food that really make me feel ill (such as wheat or anything deep fried) and try to be mindful of the things that I put in my body.  My issue came when I had a bad day, especially at work.  I would get frustrated and turn to a muffin, or a cookie.  I would not pack a lunch the night before (and not leave enough time in the morning) because I work at the mall and it’s easy to just get something there.  I would intend on a salad, then something would happen and I would turn to fries, or Jimmy the Greek, or even worse, A&W.  I would feel like death for the rest of the day, not sleep that night, be exhausted, and then it would become a vicious circle.  No more.  I will not eat from the food court.  I will not stop for a muffin on the way to work.  I am perfectly capable of making a smoothie for breakfast, or precook some oatmeal and pack a lunch the night before.  No more stopping for chips on the way home because I’m starving and eating the bag for dinner.  I won’t get where I want to be by telling myself “just this once”.

I am going to start taking all of those “work out at home” tips that I pin on Pinterest, or that I follow on Instagram, and I am going to use them.  I feel like I am trapped somewhere between “I haven’t been out of my bed in years” and not swimsuit model, but definitely trimmer than I am.  I need to change it and tip the scale in my favour.  I don’t need to work for Victoria’s Secret, lord knows I like food way too much for that.  But I need to be happier in my clothes and out of them.

Now comes the super hard one:  Changing how broke you are.  I need certification in something to get a really good career, but I can’t afford to go to school, then comes in the whole what do you take to maximize your employment potential.  I had always thought that I would have a husband and we would both have incomes and we would make things work.  I never expected to be paying everything on my own.  It’s hard.  I’m not bad with money.  Quite frankly, I don’t have money to be bad with.  Just making ends meet is difficult and having spare money ontop of it is next to impossible.  Please don’t tell me to “save your money”.  There isn’t anything left to save.  I have a plan, I’m not sharing it, but I’m hoping that it will work out in my favour.  That’s all I have to say about that.

In short.  This is my declaration post.  My “someone can hold me accountable” post.  If I put this out there, someone can come back to me and say.. “How’s that work out going” or “Are you actually leaving your apartment and doing things”?  I have decided that the only way that I can hope to be happier, is to make it that way.  No one is going to help me.  If I want someone to “look out for #1”  I need to make myself #1.

I think that sometimes people hit a dark spot.  It feels a lot like sinking.  It’s hard to keep your head above water.  Sometimes things happen when people stay hopeful and those things help them out of the dark place.  Sometimes, nothing happens unless you change how you face the world every day.

I will probably still cry more than I should.  I will probably hesitate to leave my apartment and opt to stay in the safety of secret cookies and rented movies over taking myself to the theatre (although I love the theatre).  But hopefully, over time, I will be able to push myself and really face the world head on.  “You can’t push me down forever, I will fight back, and you, world, will be sorry”.

The difference between having an opinion and being an asshole

It’s that time again kids.  Enter Rant mode:

I think Facebook can be a great tool.  I also think it’s become a great way for people to stalk others, and feed their own egos.

I’m all for having an opinion, don’t get me wrong.  I have a hard time keeping mine to myself, most of the time.  However, forcing your opinion on someone is an entirely different matter.  Let’s look a some case studies.

My friend Cathy posts on her Facebook… Dur… it’s sort of the point.  Cathy happens to be one of the lucky ones to have water frontage, including a dock, on her property.  Imagine the views.  Pure bliss.   Lately, there have been some fisher-people enjoying their ‘sport’ directly off the end of Cathy’s dock.  Now, legally, they have every right to be there.  Having said that, I grew up on the water, and there are unspoken boating ‘rules’.  You wave when you pass another boat, you slow down going by cottages even if there isn’t a ‘no wake zone’ sign up, and you don’t fish (or anchor) off the end of someones property.  I mean, to be fair, legally I can photograph you in your home, with or without clothes, as long as I can see you while I am standing on public property.  But I don’t.  Because that makes me a creep.  See the point?

The point is not even these people and their rude fishing habits that has gotten my goat.   Honestly.

Cathy has posted some photos of them (they are far enough away that you would never know how they are, before anyone gets into a huff about it), tagged them as #bassholes (dear lord, gets me every time) and made some commentary about them being so close to her dock/ property.  Then come the comments.  Todays set me off the edge.  One ‘friend’ of Cathy’s posted: “i’m sure you do not own the water and you made the choice to live on the water. so just sit and have a drink”.

Okay people:  It’s one thing to make a comment about someone else’s post.  It’s another to be a completely condescending C- word about it.  Oh, You bet I said it.  C-WORD.

Cathy recently made a comment about a screaming child in one of our largest “big box” stores.  One of those stores that sells everything in jumbo size and has way too many people and way to much crap that you didn’t know you needed until you saw it on the shelves at the low cost of:  whatever.   You know it.  She may or may not have said something about slapping the child.  Anyone who knows Cathy knows a few things;  She doesn’t really like children, she would never hit anyone (EVER) and she doesn’t like Christmas (this comes into play later, and no, she is not the anti-Christ).

This distaste for screaming children caused a comment thread, not unlike many I have seen on Cathy’s page, but unlike anything that happens on anyone else’s page.   People stuck up for the child and blames the mother, making me think that they are in fact, defending the poor behaviour of their children in public, and in fact just blaming themselves?  Regardless.  This is when Cathy did it.  She made the comment ‘apologizing’ for her comment.

Enter my two cents:  My Facebook is just that, MINE.  You have either asked me to be privy to what happens on it, or you have accepted my request, and knowingly opened yourself to whatever thoughts I want to share.  Sure, have an opinion, on your own damn page.  Sure, if you have something to say about a comment I make, say it.  Just don’t make me out to be the villain on my own page because I am expressing my feelings.  Make me a villain on your page, where I can promptly delete you.

Here’s how my system works.  Cathy makes super sour posts around Christmas time (making the anniversary of when she lost her Mom), so I block her (sorry Cat).  I love Cathy, I know why she dislikes the season, I completely understand that.  She can express her opinion until she is blue in the face, I just don’t want to see her grinchiness all the time, so I block it.  I check in with her page and see what’s up sometimes, and once the holidays are over… Cathy’s back in the news feed!  Easy peasy.  Don’t look at me like that, my own cousin blocked me because he doesn’t like how much I post about Tallulah.  That’s his call.

In conclusion,  don’t ever apologize for expressing your own opinion.  Absolutely comment on your friends posts, but don’t chastise them in their own space for the opinions they express.  There is a time and place for your self expression.  Freedom of speech is one thing, being a snarky biatch is another.

 

Words Left Unsaid

Dear Matty;

I don’t think you realize what an amazing person you are, and just what a role you have played in my life.  I feel like these are things that every person needs to know.  Someone should tell you what you mean to them, even if you hear it all the time, it’s good for your soul.

You were all out my first love.  You showed me how someone should treat me, and how I should treat others.  Although it didn’t work out, you found your absolute other half, and thats when you taught me that sometimes you need to step back and look at WHO you are and sometimes those two people mesh as amazing friends, but not as forever.  And that’s ok.  In this case, an old boyfriend made the greatest friend I could have.

You have always been my biggest cheerleader and voice of reason.  You always tell me how great I am, how beautiful I am, how some guy is going to be so lucky to have me.  You are so convinced that I can conquer the world.  That I will be some great, whatever it is that I want to be.  That I will be world renowned, I can take on anything and come out the other side shining.  Maybe I know these things, maybe I don’t.  Sometimes I’m not sure and you have this magical way to tell me and I just believe it.  I never sounds like you are trying to “make me feel better”, you just believe it, and you make me do the same.

YOU are wonderful.  You have this infectious laugh, and when you laugh I can’t help but laugh too.  I love that you laugh at your own jokes, because even if they aren’t funny, it makes me laugh too.  You are my kindred dorky soul.  I know that I can tell you anything that I think is amazingly cool, and no matter how ridiculous it is, you will be excited too.  I’m not even sure if you think it’s cool, if you are acting, you’re convincing.  And your smile.  Dear God that smile.  I don’t know anyone else who smiles and means it like you do.  It’s like you are just so happy about something it has to pour out in your face and everyone around you can’t help but feel your kind of happy, right there with you.

You are truly magnetic.  People are drawn to you.  Your larger than life personality, your laugh, your energy.  You walk into a room and draw them in, every time.  Of course you rose to the top of your class at RMC, you are a natural leader.  It’s easy to look up to you, and you make it look easy to be on the top.

I will never forget that day.  I had to work, my alarm hadn’t gone off yet, but Mandy had called me twice; what the hell was so important so early?

The click of my alarm always woke me up before the radio actually came on.

Click.  “The names of the victims are: Captain Matthew J Dawe of Kingston….”

My mind went numb.  My world spun.  Thats why Mandy called.  No.  It’s someone else.  It’s not you.  It can’t be.  So I call my Dad.  Dad: “hello?”  me:  “Hi”  Dad: “I just got the paper, are you okay?” me: “I have to go”….. Oh my god.  It’s true.  It was you.

But we are only 27, Lucas is only two… isn’t today his birthday?  But you just emailed me and told me that this was your last tour, you were days away from coming home and never going back..  You were moving home and hoping to teach at RMC.  You were days away from coming home and never going away again.

Matty, I’m sorry.  I didn’t go to your funeral.  I haven’t been to your grave.  I avoided the whole thing.  There were too many people and it became such a media circus, your family didn’t need that.  They didn’t need to have their grief forced out there for everyone to see.

Matty, I’m sorry.  I didn’t call you like I said I would.  I just kept emailing.  I figured I’d call more when you were home, when I could just meet up with you guys somewhere and have a coffee or BBQ or a drink on a patio.  I was a bad friend.  I contacted you when I needed you, and not just to “shoot the shit”.

Matty, I’m sorry.  I miss you so much it hurts.  Seven years and eight days.  My heart still breaks.  I can’t hear your voice so easily anymore.  I don’t remember what you used to tell me all the time.  I can’t watch The Princess Bride anymore, it’s not the same without you reciting it, it’s not funny anymore, it just makes me miss you more.

Matty, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I didn’t tell you all of this when I had the chance.  I was so sure we had time.  I was so sure that we had the rest of our lives, and I would tell you sometime when I saw you and we were feeling nostalgic.  I didn’t think the rest of your life would stop so soon.  I should have just told you.

Matty, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that Tara became a widow so young.  I’m sorry Lucas will grow up without you.  You were an amazing father.  I hope he has some of your joy.  I’m sorry your parents out lived you, and that your brothers have lost you so early.  It isn’t fair.  (I know, “Life is pain highness,  anyone who says differently is selling something.”)  But still, good people don’t deserve this kind of pain.  No one does.

You know, I look for you everyday.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of someone who looks like you driving in a car beside me on the way to work.  Sometimes, when I need to talk to you, The Princess Bride comes on TV.  Sometimes I see a passage from the book of Matthew on Pinterest or a Matt and Nat bag out shopping.

My niece was born on your Birthday.  She’s an April Fools baby too.  She has your dance moves and terrible jokes.  But, she too laughs at them, and you can’t help but laugh with her.

The truth is I miss you.  I need you.  Some of my biggest regrets are that I didn’t tell you how much you mean to me when I had the chance.  I hope you are at peace.  I hope I find a way to remember your voice.  I hope that some day we can have that BBQ.

Always,

Ratalie.

 

Finding role models in the most unexpected places.

It should be no surprise to anyone that I am addicted to Pinterest.  Wether it be decorating my dream house, collecting ideas for a dream wedding or finding sayings that soothe my soul; it seems that if I am awake, I’m pinning.

Recently, I have seen a few pins that say “You become like the five people you spend the most time with, so chose wisely”.  It’s not a new sentiment, I know I have heard it before.  But lately, it’s really making me think.  I have taken a step back and really looked at some of the people that I hold dear, and how they make me feel.  This really hit home for me on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, I had a friend over for breakfast.  She has moved to Toronto and it has been way longer since I had seen her than I would like to admit.  However, even though years have past and lifetimes have happened since I saw her last, we sat on my balcony and talked for hours, as if I had just seen her last week.  When she left, I felt as though a small piece of my self had returned.  It also makes me think that people need to understand how lucky I am to have met the incredible people I get to call my friends.

Let’s start briefly with the ones I am related to by blood.  And I mean brief because I am sure that, very shortly, they will get an entire post of their own.

I have four cousins I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Now, in total I actually have 12 cousins (and that doesn’t count the 10 second cousins that are still close family), but these four really stand out for me.  There is my second half, who thinks the exact same and I do, and is completely the white to my black.  The warden, who always keeps me straight and will always “mother” me and let me know when she thinks I’m being ridiculous (but I need that).  My friendly abuser, who always makes fun of me and calls me names, and I to him, but at the same time, I know will always have my back.  And last but not least, my hero.  The kid who has been through hell and back, and will always be an inspiration to me to look my fears and obstacles in the eye and then spit in their face.  I am so very thankful that I was graced with these people in my family, it only means that they have to put up with me and there is no escape for them.

The following will be spoke of in short paragraphs, only so you, the reader, doesn’t get insanely bored.

The “Selfie Queen”.  This girls takes the greatest looking selfies I have ever seen, but it’s so much more than that.  It’s so much more than her infectious laugh and ever smiling face.  It’s so much more than her constant encouragement and love.  It’s what I see in those selfies.  It’s the fact that she is never shy or embarrassed by the way she looks.  Now, disclaimer, she is really gorgeous.  Honetsly beautiful, in a paper bag or an evening gown, doesn’t matter, she is just a natural beauty.  But for me it’s those photos.  Wouldn’t matter if she were 100 pounds of 300 pounds, no makeup, professionally done makeup or just woke up with the worst hangover and racoon eyes known to man.  There will be a selfie and she will be smiling and she will not hesitate to post it online for all the world to see.  It’s her total confidence and light that I adore and envy.

The “Southern Belle”.  Oh yes.  Always laughing, always singing, it’s like knowing the fairy that lives in your garden and there is something about her that is pure magic.  She makes me see that people can not only have joy, but can really be joy.  I really can’t say enough about her, and yet here I sit, with no words.  She is a force, she lights not only the room, but the whole building and I am so fortunate that our paths have crossed.

The “Cupcake Diva”.  Not only am I in complete awe of where she has gotten herself, fought tooth and nail and worked her hiney off to build an empire of cupcakes and whoopy cakes; but she was the one person who single handedly let me know it was okay for me to be me.  No matter what that looked like.  She introduced me to punk rock music, purple hair, and tattoos.  She shows me daily that it doesn’t matter how many tattoos you have, what music you listen to, what you eat, what clothes you wear or music you listen to, you are okay as you.  Even better, you are great, and there will always be someone who loves you.  She is an absolute force to be reckoned with and I am so incredibly proud to call her my friend.

The “Mother”.  She scolds me, doesn’t like anyone I date and won’t give me an inch.  She also brings me cans of peas (because she knows I love them) and worries herself sick over me.  She can make it to Kingston from the GTA in about 45 minutes and would be here in the blink of an eye if I ever really needed her to be.  Usually a phone call where she tells me how ridiculous I am being solves the issue.

Last, but not least, “The Sister Friend”.  We all have one, that “friend” who is so much more.  So much more than a friend, so much more than family.  That one person who really sets your soul straight.  Who completely understands where you are coming from all the time, even if the things you say would sound horrible to other people.  If I had to chose one person to emulate myself after, it would be her.  She is creative and loving, gentle and kind.  She is the girl that would give you her last dollar without even thinking of it and never expects anything in return.  She is one of those truly beautiful people, inside and out.  She has so much love to give and spreads it so freely, it’s really a gift.

These are not the only people I hold close to my heart, I could write pages and pages about the incredible people I know.  The women who keep my connection to my childhood self and love the 80’s as much as I do.  The ones who had children surrounded by tragedy just out of high school and have over come it all to become unbelievably strong, successful woman and mothers that I could only hope to be like one day.  The women who had horrible childhoods that they fight with daily, and still manage to give love and wear smiles that I know at times are a struggle.  I have bonds with them all, a love of old movies, or Michael Jackson and the muppets.  There is a part of my heart that connects me to the people who have crossed my path and I am grateful that I have met them.

I am glad to envy these people.  I am  blessed to be able to look up to them.  I am fortunate that these are the people that have been given to me to show me the way and that I might be able to model myself after.

 

 

I deleted all my “friends”

I have moments of clear as mud (in)sanity and do a massive clear out of Facebook.  I can go from 180 friends to 80 in the blink of an eye.  People have commented that they wish they could be as cold and calculated as I am about clearing out their lists.  What no one seems to understand is why/how I get to that point.

If you have ever fallen victim to one of my clear outs, please do not feel it’s because of some cold, sinister plot and you just “didn’t make the cut”.  If you have seen the status update about me cleaning house and made some comment about how you “made the cut again”, please know how close I was to deleting Facebook completely.

By the end of this post I hope that you will understand what is actually happening when I seemingly delete people out of my life.  Let us begin.

Recently, I have run into some people that I used to ‘know’.  They used to be on my Facebook, but at some point have been deleted.  I used to work with them, or went to school with them, or at some point saw them fairly regularly in a social setting.  Then my life fell apart and everything changed.

I was drowning and lonely.  I had 200 ‘friends’ and was never more alone.  My heart was broken in so many ways, by so many people and I decided to do something about it.  I removed everyone from my Facebook that I felt wasn’t there for me.  I removed everyone that made me feel like they didn’t really want me around in the first place.  I urge you to not be offended, and to continue reading.  This is not what you think, I promise.

I really was at the point where I would have deleted my account completely.  It felt like everyone was too busy to include me, or just didn’t want to.  I started to feel like there were all of these people who had access to my life, my photos, to me, and only used it for entertainment purposes.  Now, having said that.  I couldn’t delete my account.  Not because I am addicted to Facebook, but because it keeps me in touch with family and friends that live across Canada.  I love to see their photos and know what’s going on in their lives.  It was also the only connection that I felt like I had with other people.

Recently, a few things have occurred to me.  People are busy.  Maybe it’s not that they don’t want me around, but it’s not always easy to fit people in when you work, have families and other friends.  It’s hard to fit in your 34 year old single friend.  There’s no kids to play with your kids, no significant other to keep your significant other entertained.  It’s an awkward pair off.  This is not a woe is me, this is a realization.  People lead really busy lives, and once you have fallen out of the regular routine with them, it’s incredibly difficult to get back into it.

I have started to add people back.  Maybe I don’t see them all the time, that’s ok.  I can wait.  I’m just thankful to have people in my life that are happy to see me when they do bump into me, and are willing to add me back as a ‘friend’ and not begrudge me for deleting them in the first place.

All I ask is that when you have a little time and are heading down to market, out to a patio or just want to have a cup of tea at home.  Remember me.  I am happy to run errands, hang out at the park with your kids, or anything that you might want a tag-along for.  I know that I have failed as a friend, but I am making amends and working on a better me.  Some things just take time.

 

 

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.