Tonight’s Self-Care Routine:

  • Pick up lovely fresh groceries and cheap gas (87.9, y’all!). Pat self on back for bypassing ice cream section without so much as a wistful glance.
  • Put away lovely fresh groceries – meaning, do not shove items into any available crack but place items neatly in their proper place.
  • Update to-do list, checking off items completed and adding helpful reminders for things you will otherwise almost certainly forget to do.
  • Provide Elsie with food in exchange for cuddles.
  • Place today’s clothes NOT in a pile on papasan chair but actually in appropriate laundry bag.
  • Take luxurious hot shower, using nice body wash and the ‘good’ conditioner.
  • Put hair in a sexy bun and then moisturize.
  • Blog, allowing self to simply type whatever comes to mind, and keeping editing to a minimum.
  • Go to bed at reasonable hour, and fall asleep reflecting on an ordinary but wonderful day.

Smell Ya Later! (RideSharer’s Lament)

This is a true story, absolutely 100% free of exaggeration, embellishment or embroidery.

 

“This morning, a young man requested a ride.

When I picked him up, I just couldn’t decide:

Was his sense of smell deadened from years of abuse?

Or did he think cologne was a valid excuse

To forgo all societal bathing conventions;

I hope that seduction was not his intention,

As women aren’t usually too enthusiastic

When the scent of a man makes their bronchioles go spastic!

 

I wanted to tell him ‘Get out of my car!’;

I honestly doubted I’d make it as far

As the corner engulfed in that odious stench;

But I sucked up my misery, cuz I am a mensch.

I drove him uptown, each minute an hour!

No unit of time could diminish the power

Of that foul perfume, as it dug in its claws –

Surely this bastard is breaking some laws?

 

I tried to engage in some light conversation

But found that I couldn’t ignore the sensation

Of icy-hot knives stabbing into my nose;

Such was the force of the scent that he chose.

My eyes watered freely to try to assuage

That odious odor’s relentless barrage

But I suffered in silence, counting each second

While outside my window sweet SWEET fresh air beckoned!

 

After what felt like days, at last – we arrived!

I honestly couldn’t believe I’d survived.

He set out from my car with a smile and a wave,

Not seeing the under-dash finger I gave.

I wish that I’d mustered the courage to tell him

That even folks living in China could smell him!

I hate that his scent trailed me all the way home,

But at least this ordeal spawned a half-decent poem!”

Say It, Don’t F-G-H-J It!

Can I just tell you all how much I love speech recognition software?

Seriously, it has been a complete revelation for me in terms of blogging. As anyone who knows me IRL knows, communication is my strongest skill. I love to talk and I’m very good at it: finding the right word to express an idea or image, tailoring the language I use to my audience, and capturing and keeping the interest of that audience. When it comes to recording my words on paper, though, I find that my mind often works a little faster than my chicken-peck typing skills can keep up with. When I can see what I’ve written, the urge to go back and edit instead of writing more is overwhelming. I’m also easily distracted by things like a lumpy couch or a too-hard chair or Instagram ❤️ notifications. Sprawling on my bed with my eyes closed and letting my ideas come tumbling out makes for more vital, fluid writing.

If something in your life isn’t working right now, don’t just live with it – come at it from a different angle! It might take a few tries, but I promise you, there’s ALWAYS a solution.

With a Capital A

In honour of National Stress Awareness Day, I want to talk to you about Anxiety. Not anxiety – Anxiety. If you’re one of the 12% of Canadians who suffer from an Anxiety disorder, you probably understand why I feel the capitalization is necessary.

Oh, by the way – in case the fact that I’m writing this hadn’t clued you in, it appears that I am part of that 12%.

The first time I ever experienced anxiety with a capital A, I was 24 years old and having the time of my life working at this amazing summer arts camp in the States. And of course, as in all summer camp stories, I was in love. We bonded over our mutual obsession with an obscure web comic, and shared our first kiss by the shore of a starlit lake in the Adirondacks. It was a pretty magical summer all around. I won’t pretend I was never anxious about our relationship, but I feel like that’s just part and parcel of dating in an environment where all of your coworkers are young, cool and single.

I did find, though, that midway through the summer I started to feel a little off. I chalked it up to love-sickness and the rapidly waning quality of the camp salad bar, and made sure that I was always well-supplied with Tums. And then one day during a game of Cups with my campers in the dining hall, I was engulfed by what I can only describe as a wave of utter panic. I cast a desperate look at my (thankfully very intuitive) co-counsellor and dashed for the nurse’s office. I couldn’t explain what was happening, but bless that woman’s heart, she tucked me into one of the clinic beds mama-style and let me cry it out.

To this day I’m not sure what provoked the attack. I mean, we were past the halfway point in the summer and the boyfriend lived in Connecticut, so our relationship’s expiration date was on the horizon. But we still had a few weeks left, there was absolutely no reason for a meltdown on that particular day.

My second bout with Anxiety occurred a few years later, when I was out at a pub downtown celebrating a friend’s birthday during Nuit Blanche. I only knew a few people at the party, but I ended up clicking with the others as well and a couple of us decided to check out a few exhibits after the party broke up. As we were walking toward the event hub, I started to feel a strange tightness in my chest. My heartbeat began to speed up until it felt like it was trying to bust through my rib cage, and I could feel the pounding of my pulse even in my eyeballs. My breath was coming in short gasps. The sidewalks were crowded, but I managed to stagger through the crowd to an empty stretch of cold wet pavement. My new friend (no doubt reconsidering her taste in pals at this point) sat with me while I debated calling an ambulance, but after a few minutes my symptoms started to subside, and within 20 minutes it was like it had never happened. I spent the night on a friend’s couch as a precaution, but the feeling didn’t recur so I dismissed it and moved on.

My most recent bout occurred in late June of this year. After a few years of increasingly precarious employment in a new field, I decided to take on a couple of contracts in an old field, event management. Both of these contracts required a lot of self-motivation, which is just not my strong suit at all. I was obviously doing my job as required, but things were not going along as I had initially hoped, and so – naturally – I started to get a little anxious. And then a lot anxious. It came to a head on the second night of the event weekend. We’d been having some problems with volunteer retention (through no fault of mine), and the schedule for the next day was looking particularly barren. Now, I’m well aware that these things always work out with good leadership (which, despite my pre-event organizational issues, I always provide), but I think that by this point my body had already started the downward slide and there was just no talking myself out of it.

My heart felt too big for my chest. All my worries for the next day were engaged in a high-speed car chase around and around in my head. I lay down in my bed and practiced rhythmic breathing, stretching, YouTube guided meditations — hell, I even drank a glass of warm milk! — but nothing helped. I think I slept 20 minutes that night.

These are just the big events, of course; the dramatic stories you collect and carefully catalogue to help you make your case, because of course no one believes anything is wrong unless something is capital W Wrong.

I’ve not officially been diagnosed with an Anxiety disorder yet. I’ve tried, but as anyone who’s ever tried to seek assistance for an emotional or mental health issue can tell you, it is a fucking uphill battle. I will of course continue to seek help and support, but in the meantime, just giving myself permission to call it what I know it is has been the most incredible relief.

I’m tired and it’s 11:57. More on this, and my many other personal issues, in another post.

Happy National Blog Posting Month!

For those of you unfamiliar with NaBloPoMo, I will be posting one blog entry per day for the month of November, along with thousands of other bloggers from all over the world.

Everyone’s got their own reasons for participating; I’ve spent the last 4 hours trying to articulate exactly why I’m doing it again this year.  Who knew it’d be more than a single night’s work to sum up everything that’s gone down with me in the 11 months since my last blog post?

For tonight, I’ll leave you with this. It takes courage to tell your story. I’ve benefited greatly from other people’s stories, particularly over the last year, and I think it’s high time that I start paying it forward.

See you tomorrow!

❤ tK

 

 

“If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Kate DiCamillo book cover

I just finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  In one sitting.  Practically drowning in my own tears.
 

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Kate DiCamillo book cover
 

What a beautiful, beautiful book.  I have a particular weakness for stories with rabbit protagonists, of course, but it’s more than that. Edward’s story of love and loss, how they shape and destroy and rebuild you, made me ache in a quiet, deep-down, permanent sort of way.
 
Reading it today, the last day of NaBloPoMo, is fitting. It’s helped to crystallize all of the little things I’ve learned about myself in the last 30 days into one solid lesson:

 

Open your heart.

 
 

Edward’s unexpected journey begins because he does not know how to love.  As his travels take him from place to place and person to person, he learns what it is to need someone, to keep part of them with you when they go away — and after they’ve gone, how desperately important it is to let yourself need someone again.
 
What I need more than anything right now is to accept more love into my life.  I’ve got lots of friends and family that I love very much, but I feel as though I’ve been keeping them at arm’s length, so they won’t see those parts of me that are vulnerable or sad or ridiculous; loving them so hard but finding it impossible to believe that they return the feeling — and how could they, really, if I’m not open to receiving it?
 
 
“If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”

-The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane


 
Writing every day has helped me to work on this a little bit. My friends and family have shared so much of themselves with me, and while I don’t plan to turn this blog into one long thank-you card, I do hope that by putting a little more of myself out there every day I can return the favour in a small way.  I will try to accept the vulnerable, sad, ridiculous parts of me as I do for my loved ones, and I will give them the chance to accept me too.
 
Thank you for taking this NaBloPoMo journey with me, dear readers, and I hope you’ll keep coming back for more.  I intend to love you, and I hope you’ll return the favour!

 
<3tK
 

 

 

 

This is where I Write (with a capital W)

Where's YOUR writing Spot? This is where I write

It’s so important to find a good writing spot, don’t you think?
 

It’s certainly not impossible to write without one, of course. You can put pen-to-paper or fingertips-to-keyboard pretty much anywhere. Even the cavefolks managed it way back when it was hammer-to-chisel-to-cave-wall. If you want to communicate something badly enough, you’ll find some way to do it.
 

But if you really want to write from your guts, you need a good spot to do it in.
 

Not just your physical location. A good chair is helpful, of course (mine is a papasan with a fat teal cushion and a rabbit pillow), and you can’t go wrong with a view that inspires you in some way (out of the little bay window in my bedroom that overlooks my busy, odd little street).
 

The atmosphere’s got to be right, too.  There’s no perfect formula for that; for me, it’s the rush of cars on the street below, the hum and bubble of my humidifer, the tick of Elsie’s nails on the hardwood. Maybe a swirl of dust motes as I sink into the chair if I’ve been lax on my cleaning this week. My roommate belting out a tune upstairs in the shower.
 

But more than any of that, you’ve got to actually recognize it as your spot.  Think of it in capital letters: “My Writing Spot.” Make it sacred to turning thoughts into words, train yourself that when you sit in this Spot a Pavlovian writing response will kick in and
 

You.

 

Will.

 

Write.

 
 

And so, I’m writing.  Woof!

 

Where's YOUR writing Spot?

 

Where’s your Spot?