teen years, Uncategorized

Waiting

I lay on the patch of grass trying to breathe. To keep my happy facade firmly in place. I’d found a little spot of green with shade amidst the hard cement and cold uninviting buildings of the downtown.

 

The clouds twisted and danced as their shapes continually changed. I wished I was an artist. I wished a photo would show what I saw. And I waited.

It was the third day. The bus depot was ready to kick my loitering butt to the curb. They wouldn’t let me sleep on the cold plastic bench another night. The money I’d earned picking cherries was almost gone. The public washroom couldn’t wash the stink off me. I had been waiting for what seemed forever.

The bus system had a safety net for youth. They would give you a ticket home if you needed to get home. As long as someone was willing to claim you and say they were your home. There was no safety net for me. Deep down I knew this. I knew I had no safety net. Yet I had tried. Dared to hope a little bit.

My mother was technically home. They would give me a bus ticket there. Trouble was, I wasn’t allowed to live with her. There was no point in going further from where I planned to settle down. My family where I was trying to go wouldn’t acknowledge me. Wouldn’t say they would be my family home even to get me safe travel passage.

I would have to hitchhike the highway of tears if I was to get where I was going. It wasn’t called that yet. That would come in another few years. My waiting was over. I just had to pull up my big girl panties. Put on my happy face. And build my own life. Starting with hitchhiking almost a thousand kilometers.

The waiting was over.

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childhood, Uncategorized

Hanging on to stuff

I remember dad got me these really cool sunglasses after I burnt my eyes. They were completely red matching my red high top sneakers that I wore till they were in shreds. The frames had red leather blinders so no light could get in from the sides. My eyes were safe and wouldn’t burn again. I didn’t know a person could burn their eyes. Yet I burnt mine on a hiking excursion. The glare off of the white snow crust, the bright reflection off of the glaciers. That glare is evil. I suffered from a painful blinding ache for days. Trust me, that isn’t something you ever want to experience.

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Later I lost them. Put them somewhere safe or left them somewhere and they were gone. I felt horrible. Sick to my stomach horrible that I lost them. I knew they were expensive, important. Dad’s old school reaction didn’t help my gut ache. That I should be more responsible, careful with my things. That they were expensive. Didn’t he think I knew that? Every time that my parents were in the bathroom together with the tap on I knew they were fighting. Fighting about money. I hadn’t meant to lose them. I loved them. They were red. They matched my shoes. They were gone.

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We keep things in case we need them, as mementos, for that one time we might need it. As a tangible piece after losing someone. Keepsakes, memories, things. I’m like that with photos. Thousands of photo’s to jog my memory of the wonderful adventures I’ve had.

Our stuff our collections of mementos don’t mean anything to others. We cart it around and display it. When we are gone it goes too. It’s just stuff. Even our photo’s don’t mean as much to others.

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Hanging on to things. Hanging on to the past. Feeling guilty when losing things. Becoming a hoarder when you feel you have no control over your life or income. When life becomes so scary so hard that all there is, is stuff. The connection between emotional tumult and things becomes blurred. It doesn’t have to be that way but for many it is.

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On a side note. I keep feeling shocked over how much stuff, junk actually is created. Every dollar store, Wal-Mart, knock-off brand, a cheap version that ends up in the landfill. Let’s face it, two minutes after using cheap replicas they break assuming they worked in the first place! The constant redecorating, redoing, replacing of things that aren’t even broken is such a common occurrence nowadays. That gives me a tummy ache for entirely different reasons than the one I had over losing my sunglasses.

memories, Uncategorized

What do you put in your stocking?

It’s that time of year again. Shopping, baking, planning, rushing, visiting, creating. Something different to each of us. I am finally becoming at peace with this time of year. Depression doesn’t rear it’s ugly head as badly. In fact, I might even be looking forward to it a little. Since becoming a mother I was the first one up. Waking the kids in my excitement to see them open their gifts. To spend the day making a delicious meal. To visit with my siblings.

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When I was little we had different ways to celebrate over the years. We camped in a teepee in the forest. We used a long spider plant for a tree. We had a real tree decorated with strings of popcorn and yarn. We again camped in a teepee in the forest. ( see photos from the last Christmas campout )We even spent it in a hotel while we shopped for our years’ supply of clothing from a Thrift store. Knives, Pear soap, and wool socks were sure gifts we knew were coming. Nothing extravagant. No cookies for Santa as he was make-believe since I was born.

One year we had stockings. Dad had a stocking bigger than I was. Since he joked about everyone getting coal it was decided he deserved coal for being greedy with a stocking big enough for a  person. A dozen boxes were wrapped and placed inside one another until the last little box which contained a nice lump of coal. That was a fun Christmas morning.

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After fourteen I don’t really recall Christmas. Not that I recall previous ones. I think I went home to mother for a couple, another with a family who took me in, a few I was alone. The ever-present underlying depression and discomfort of the season as I didn’t really belong to anyone. I hope I have managed to hide that from my children giving them a warm sense of family, of love. Time spent together. Time to think of, to help others if we can.

I don’t recall stockings. I think an orange, a giant stick of a candy cane, was stuffed in a sock. I can’t really be sure. Even that is a glimmer of a thought, not a memory. I have no one to ask if it’s true. If we even had stockings.

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So now I prepare for the season. The house all colorful and bright. A welcoming holiday feeling inside and out. The tree, tall and erect minus the usual side lilt is topped with an angel. Santa hits the roof so he has been demoted to a table ornament. To tell the truth when I bought the Santa’s and Angel all I had no idea they were to be on top of a tree. I didn’t know that hollow dunce cap shaped ornaments meant tree toppers.  I have a few to choose from thanks to that information being unknown. Just like how I didn’t know the plastic is to come off the lampshade once you bring it home! There are decorations on each available space. The jolly singing and dancing stuffies that made my children laugh. Now my grandson laughs and pushes their buttons. The cupboards and freezer stuffed with food.

 

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My little elf setting up the tree

 

I think I may finally have figured the stocking stuffing out. It has haunted me for many a season. Specialty soap, deodorant, girlie face stuff or hair things, magazine or book, chocolate and or candy. Then I heard a brilliant way to stuff them. With nuts that need cracking, oranges, chocolates, and a penny novel. You are set to nibble and snack with a book while waiting for dinner or bedtime. Maybe next year the stockings will be full of nuts!

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What do you put in your stockings? Does your family have a favorite tradition?

 

 

Uncategorized

Still a controversial​ subject

When I was little I was given my immunizations. Well, at least the infant ones. My siblings eight-ten years later, however, did not get theirs. I remember when my brother and sister came to live with me that was one of the things I had done. There was a lot of changes for them. We were orphans. They chose to live with me, their big sister who was big as a houseboat with her first pregnancy. Yes me I was giant. Actually, I just felt like I was giant even at eight months I looked maybe six or seven months along when I was actually nine months.

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I  knew that my parents had joined into the belief that we didn’t need all our immunizations. Maybe it was due to the scare tactics some use blaming unfortunate gene pool or DNA problems that cause defects physical or mental. Or maybe they just didn’t believe in the need for being immunized. Maybe because we rarely went into the general population. Maybe because the belief is that you trust in God and what happens is his will.  Whatever the reason they didn’t get them and I had an unbiased fear of having my children be immunized. Really it made no sense. Our family had witnessed first hand what some of these illnesses can do. My uncle had mumps as a child and due to that terrible fever, he was sterile never able to have children.

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I got my siblings immunized and enrolled in school. I immunized my children but missed a couple because I bought into the fear. I had read the article how during the 70’s many Europeans decided against immunization and as a result, a terrible Polio outbreak occurred. I still let my fear stand in the way without ever actually researching anything. Social media would on occasion have field days spouting fear and scare tactic information without ever having legitimate documentation.

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Recently there was an outbreak in our community and neighboring towns of Meningitis. I was unsure if I should have my children vaccinated.  A couple of youth died as a result and more were hospitalized. Clinics were held to immunize those that needed it. I didn’t want my children to get sick and die. They had been in contact with those that had been exposed, most likely to the one that passed away. So I finally did research. I went onto the gov’t website for information. I googled and read other articles. Noticed the difference between the ones that talked without real links or information to back up their claims opposed to the ones that did.

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I chose to immunize my children. I was grateful that I had that choice. I know some countries are opposed. Their religion opposes it. The funding isn’t there. The education isn’t there. I am grateful to live where I have the choice. Where I can learn and make the decision. I can only imagine how Immigrants feel when they come to Canada and have the choice. So they don’t have to see their children suffer from Polio, potential die from Meningitis, become sterile or deformed from other diseases easily avoided by a couple immunizations. I am grateful like many Canadians to have the choice and the information to help make that choice.

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my family, Uncategorized

When they were little

Thankfully when my children were barely ending their toddler stage and starting elementary I got a divorce. It was the best thing to happen to me, to us and I am grateful every day that he threw us away.  An odd sentence I know.

 

As I struggled to build a life for the kids and I life became busy. Work, daycare, school, soccer, gymnastics, work some more,  night school. The list was never-ending. I thrived from the hectic schedule. I persevered and pushed through it fighting to build a life where I was independent and able to provide for our basic needs on my own. During that time I faced many choices. One choice I had to make was working multiple jobs and jobs that might pay more but would keep me away from the kids most hours of the evening and weekends.  Or I could work for much less but be able to get the kids from school, take them to soccer and cheer them on, tuck them in at night. I had spent a couple years clawing and scratching my way to get to that choice. Working up to 5 jobs day and night while attending night school. I had cleared us from the mess that the ending of my marriage left. Now I could almost breathe.

So what to do? One day I asked the kids as we drove to school. What do you want? Mommy home with you but we have less stuff, fewer toys and shopping, can’t go on big trips but I’ll be able to be home more. My son’s answer still melts my heart. It wasn’t a short answer. His answer lasted almost until we pulled into the school parking lot. He wanted me home. Who would give him kisses when he needed them. Who would make cookies with them, help them read their books, answer their questions, show them how to do their homework, play in the park with them, kiss they’re boo-boos, teach him to tie his shoes, the list went on and on the entire drive. His adorable chubby body I loved to squish and hug settled in the back seat. His blue eyes so clear and trusting. He just wanted me there. My daughter ever the serious and silent one just nodded and agreed with all that he said.

So it was decided.  I took the low paying going nowhere job that let me drive them to school and pick them up. We camped, hiked, flew kites, played games, rolled in the leaves, played in the rain, tried fishing, went canoeing, went sledding in the dark, built fires, set off fireworks, saved unwanted dogs and found them homes, went exploring thrift shopping, made crafts, cooked together, slept in the back of the car when I forgot the tent poles camping, we did it all together. Priceless memories that hopefully gave them the courage to be themselves. The confidence to stand on their own. The unquestionable knowledge that they are amazing and can do anything they choose to. That was and is my main goal as their mother.

 

I will probably always look back and wish I had done more. I think that about the teens I raised when I was too young to know what they needed. I now wish I had done more with them. They are happy and have good lives not wishing I had done more. So I must learn to be as well. Hopefully, when my children are grown they feel the same way. I think it is the way of growing older. Looking back with the earned knowledge only time gives. Seeing what more could have been done. I am ever so grateful to have had the ability to make the memories I have. I sure miss those little snuggly children I had. I adore them no matter the age, size, or stage: but I sure miss the snuggles from when they needed me so.

Free thinking, Uncategorized

Terrified to have faith and terrified not to

When I was little I used to love to tell exaggerated stories. I hated to be put on the spot with a question and would be inventible I’d fib. It was a second nature. I would start with something simple like a boy kissed a girl and then next you know Jack and Jill did it greek on top of the hill and I didn’t even know what that was.

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Maybe this habit formed out of boredom. I didn’t attend school or daycare. Had no cousins or family outings. There was no television or radio. Once I could read my escape was found. I could go anywhere a nonfiction book could take me. I adored books and still do. I used to fill my suitcase with more books than clothes.

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When it’s up to the book or storytelling for entertainment you learn to elaborate. Especially once you learn how to get a reaction! We weren’t supposed to be joking and silly. Being solemn is deemed the Christian way. As a child though that’s what comes naturally. Being silly. Having fun. Laughing goofing around, being silly. We just had to do it in secret so as not to get into trouble. Don’t get me wrong, we had swings, toys, paints, and colors. No board games, sports, or other competitive or frivolous things but we did have fun. However reading was my favorite as I didn’t need a friend to escape and have a great adventure.

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The trouble with the nonfiction Christian books I recall having access to is that they were filled with torture, end of times before Christ second coming. Horrible pain and suffering before a life of bliss in heaven could happen. Needless to say, I was terrified into religious belief. I also learned that your closest friends and family are the ones to watch for. They will turn you in to be tortured to death to save themselves. Burning at the stake, stretched on the rack, drowned to death. So many ways the wrong religious believers were tortured and killed. Books like The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Book, Pilgrims Progress, Paula the Waldensian , novelized history of the churches persecution to bring all to the accepted faith. Terrifying stuff let me tell you. Those were some of the books I  read as a child growing up. One book I never forgot was They’re All Dead Aren’t They by Joy Swift. I read that after the loss of my father and it wrenched my pain beyond what it was to excruciating levels. I could feel what she felt on top of what I felt. The pain twisted inside sucking out all air.

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Thankfully I also had Laura Ingalls Wilder in my life and fell in love with her series. I was ten when I got my first Little House on the Praire – to give you an idea how old I was reading some of the other books.

Probably not the best way to spend your formative years. Leaves a lot of distrust in general. Needless to say, it was terryifying to have faith and terryifying not to have faith. You were damned either way.

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teen years, Uncategorized

What I have always missed

You might surmise I missed my mother. Or my father. Maybe even my little brothers and sisters. Or my friends. No those things I became used to not having.  What I have always missed is the sense of community, the sense of belonging. Of not being alone. The deep-rooted piece that leaves me sad and lonely is the lack of belonging of community.

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Growing up with the entire community living as one has left me with an overwhelming sense of aloneness in this world. I could blame technology but this feeling came not long after ‘coming to the world’ as I call it. That was before technology as we know it. The realization that ultimately I was alone hit hard. Knowing the families in the neighborhood, being friends with the kids my age, eating and playing together ended. The sense of belonging was gone. Even walking into a church didn’t help. And I tried. Either members knew ‘my story’. The story that was being spread throughout the SDA grape-vine. Or no one knew me or tried to reach out to the slip of a girl hiding in the back.

I realize now that I needed to reach out. I needed to talk to people to interact. I didn’t know how. I didn’t want the avid interest. The offers of help that comes with a price or an expiry date. I was so hurt inside I only could manage to push people away. If I was abandoned by my own mother – well really there was no sense in offering anyone else that opportunity now was there.

Now I know that I needed to become active in life. To join groups ( aside from church! ). I see now that a sense of community is built around being doing things together, memberships, clubs, hobbies. But it isn’t the same. I think many of us want to feel as though we belong. Whether is’s to our family we are born into or to the one we choose. This is part of why cults, churches, organizations, teams, are all so popular. They accept us and welcome us in. The unloved, the misunderstood, the different. We all want to belong.

It’s almost like Mr. Rogers had something with his line ‘won’t you be my neighbor’.

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Free thinking, Uncategorized

It could be worse

Man do I hate that sentence. It takes away from what you are feeling. As though you don’t have a right to how you feel. Just because someone else may have it worse. Sort of like how we ought to be grateful to have a plate of Brussel sprouts because the kids are starving in Ethiopia and they would love to have our Brussel sprouts! Cough bullshit cough 

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As the years have gone by I find myself looking for the silver lining for the good out of any situation. It makes it easier to be happy when I look for the good, the positive. I still catch myself thinking along the lines that it could be worse. It irks me because I have a right to feel whatever I may be feeling without having to give up those emotions for someone who is worse off.

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We all have to right to our feeling regardless of other less fortunate. Yes, we shouldn’t wallow. Yes, we should hold a hand out to help others. But we have the right to a cry day. To a big workout venting our anger or whatever else may be going on inside us.

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We have the right to our feelings and emotions regardless of what others are going through. Telling children, anyone that it could be worse shows you don’t recognize and value their right to their feelings. Don’t get me wrong there is a huge difference between feeling your emotions and living in an unhealthy rut crying the same song and dance routine over and over without learning from the experience. Those make me want to slap the cryer in the face with a chair. So don’t diminish your feelings just because someone else has it worse. Acknowledge yourself and take from it what you can at the moment.

Uncategorized

No regrets

I was asked once what I regret. It was a new question for me. Not a new thought as I try hard not to live in the past wishing I’d done things differently. Made different choices.

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Don’t get me wrong there are so many stupid things I’ve done. Bad choices in hindsight. My life could have had so many different turns. But then couldn’t all of ours. There are millions of different lives we all could have based on decisions and sequences of events.

There are so many alternate lives that could have been. The idea must be a popular one for there are television shows and movies about it. The Butterfly Effect with young Ashton Kutcher or Stargate SG1 season 3 episode 6.

I choose to love today. To be happy for all that is good in my current life. Not to think of what could make it better. What I should or shouldn’t have done. Today. This moment, this breath, this life is a gift.

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Oh, the decisions! Which rocks do I choose to bring home? 

I choose not to squander it on I wish or I should haves.

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The older I get the harder that is. So many memories. The choices add up. I remind myself where I have come from. I do something as simple and pleasurable as a walk or kayak or housework. Okay, or a nice shot of fireball and a walk if it’s a really hard moment to smile. The thing is I do. In the current moment. I look for the good in my life and take a step forward.

I will not give in to regrets or sadness for in my life:

I made the best choice for me at that time in my life. I did the best I could knowing what I did at that time.

childhood, Uncategorized

Idle hands idle minds

Growing up our time was scheduled. All of it. What we ate, what time we ate, how long we had to eat. The same with reading, praying, sleeping, study. It was all scheduled right down when and for how long.

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Ever read how to do mind control? How to make someone malleable to your ideals. It has some similarities. Once I was in the world, in a real school with access to a real library I read a lot. About cults, Satanism, mind control, sociology, psychology, and of course romance. I loved the worlds I visited in books. I still do.

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Back to the scheduled time and being busy. Once I was on my own and starting to get the hang of functioning as a responsible (adult) in the world. I began making money, paying rent, trying to cook for myself and learn how to be around people. I found out that they (the ones I knew) spent a lot of time sitting, watching TV. I didn’t understand it. I had difficulty following the humor as most show’s make references to things in life everyone knows as common knowledge. Unless you grow up locked away with no radio, newspapers, television, news or outside contact. A few years ago I was listening to a comic and got so excited because I GOT his jokes. I had been in the world long enough to understand the references. Seems like a small thing but it isn’t.

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I tried so hard to learn to sit and do nothing. To sit and watch television, to lay at the beach, to sit around talking. It was difficult and I’m still not very good at sitting still for long. I did have a few years where I was actually good at it. Although in hindsight that may have been due to stress and depression. That’s a story for a different time.

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Back to scheduled time … I always felt guilty if I wasn’t doing something. I still do – makes it very difficult to paint my nails! I fear missing out on life. FOMO they call it nowadays.  I don’t’ want to miss the warm weather, the cold weather, the snowflakes, the giant droplets of rain to dance in,  the sky, the clouds shapes. I just want to do and play in every moment until I need a rest. All those moments that should be spent doing not resting. I’m now starting to think that’s because I grew up with my time scheduled. Taught to be busy. That idle hands cause idle minds which then begets trouble.

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