I’m Not My Mom

I’m not my mom. That seems quite the obvious statement, but it has taken me years to realize this. When she passed I had this strong sense to step in and fill all the rolls she once had. I desperately grasped onto how things were before she died, and tried to do that by doing all the things she did. Masking them as ways for me to feel connected to her. But I was really just not letting go of her yet.

Tears are falling as I write this. Because it’s excruciatingly sad to let someone go whom you loved with your entire being. But if I continued to hold on, I would stay in that moment of her death until I too passed.

After she died, it became more apparent of the many “people” she was to her friends and family. Shelterer, Counsellor, Mentor, Listener, Organizer, Centre. And I struggled trying to become each of those things. It was exhausting. I so desperately didn’t want things to change. But now I realize that they need to change. Wouldn’t it be worse had she died and we all carried on in the exact same manner as we had when she was alive? It would mean that she didn’t affect us at all.

So I am stating now, not just to myself, but to you all, that I’m Not My Mom. Please don’t take this as a hidden meaning to anything of you whom I am now closer with since her passing. That is not my intent. It makes my heart so very happy to hear of how similar I am to her. In the way I speak and my mannerisms and my outlook on so many different things. That is different. I am how I am, because of her. And that I am forever grateful for. And I cherish our new friendships.

Instead I am stating this to be held accountable and declare that I no longer take on the previous responsibilities or role of my mom. She did things for our family that I cannot try to do anymore. And won’t do. Because that’s not my burden to take on. Our dynamics have changed, and so should they. Our mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin died. It’s not going to be the same anymore. And I am done trying to keep it so.

This isn’t ideal, but neither was my mom dying. And I am at a place where I truly believe that she understands my view on this and hold no guilt onto no longer trying to be her for others.

I Am Me. And my mom wouldn’t want me to be anyone else.

Started & Stopped

On Friday night I started to do something I knew I shouldn’t. Probably about 5 times throughout the night I started the process, then stopped myself. Until I made that final decision to not start again. In the moment I knew why I was wanting to choose a detrimental path – I was tired, and had just been through a really draining day at work and I was hormonal. And my inner thoughts tried to justify my decision, but I knew that it was just excuses.

And I know I couldn’t have made this change if I didn’t have the true inner love and acceptance of myself. And I have gotten to this place though a lot of heartache and tears and finally words – reading ideas and concepts that I connect with and give me the strength to find the strength that already exists inside.

You can get here too. It’s lovely here. Comfort, peace, calmness, joy…

Are you ready yet? Your Wild Woman is waiting for you…

Blue Satin Stocking

Christmas traditions have begun in our household. Here is a post from my latest Facebook status:

“Well, I knew I was a lot like my mom, but tonight I confirmed it. She was notorious for wrapping Christmas gifts, and then tucking them away, forgetting to actually give them. And months later she would find them hidden around her house. Tonight I frantically searched the house for a large shopping bag of gifts I knew I had wrapped already (I did find them). And now I have completely forgotten where I placed another bag of unwrapped gifts. Oi vey.
I really need to start making lists of everything!!”

But the best was this morning when Arrine and I were decorating the tree. I put on the Boney M, as mom would always do, and we began to trim that tree. Once it was perfect, I got out the bag of stockings. Because the last couple (few??) years we have spent Christmas Eve with Nick’s family, Arrine was expecting her pink stocking that Grandma Karen has for her. But I showed her the gold and red one that I sewed her for her first Christmas, from the pattern of the stockings that my mom had sewed for us. It has beautiful gold trim a the top and big, gold shiny bell at the toe. But the smaller, blue satin stocking with white trim and a teeny silver bell caught her attention. “Whose is THIS stocking??” She asked with big eyes. “That was Grandma Anne-Marie’s stocking.” And she held it to her chest and said, “Can I have it now?” And with tears in my eyes, I replied, “Yes, that would make me very happy if you used her stocking.”

So then she said, “Ok! Now we need to hang them on the fireplace…wait. We don’t have a fireplace.” So instead, she hung mine and hers on the knobs of the old sewing machine drawers at the front door, and Grandpa Charlie’s on the pantry door in the kitchen.

Ta da! All decorated for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Audra Dacity – Tears Make Your Burlesque Make-up Run

I am WAY ahead of schedule. I was already planning that one of my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions would be to take a burlesque class. Turns out, I got into a real life performing burlesque troupe mid-October. 2015 is gonna be a breeze!!

So, how did this happen? Well, for the last few years, I have been really interested in learning more about burlesque. And at any opportunity, going to see the performances of various companies around the city. I was following my fav troupe in the city, Capital City Burlesque on Twitter, when I saw their open call for auditions back in October. And that’s when I thought, “Well, this is a sign.” Fast forward 6 weeks and I was on stage these past two nights for their Holiday Extravaganza at the Roxy Theatre. I will openly admit I love to be on stage and perform, so that opportunity, added with cute costumes and glitter, it’s the perfect scenario for me.

And, with most things in my life, there are connections to my mom somehow. My mom wanted to name me “Audra”. My dad won with “Kirsten”. I used to tease my mom about that name when I was younger and not believing she actually liked it. But now I really enjoy the name. And I really liked the idea of using Audra as my burlesque name. I needed help though, and a friend offered the suggestion of “Audra Dacity” and I loved it right away.

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun
1.
the willingness to take bold risks.
“her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”
synonyms: boldness, daring, fearlessness, intrepidity, bravery, courage, heroism, pluck, grit;

I have written before about the time it took for me to get back on stage after my mom died. I had struggled with being on stage and her not being in the audience. As I questioned, “Who am I performing for anymore?” But I worked through that and was able to get under those lights again a few years back.

But in the days leading up to the show, that thought never crossed my mind. And it wasn’t until after the show on Friday night, when I thought to myself, “I didn’t think once about my mom not being able to be at this show.” And that surprised me and then it made me really sad…

I performed much better on the Saturday night. After the show I was in the lobby and I saw a mother of one of the dancers at the merchandise table, wanting to buy a picture of her daughter. And it warmed my heart, and I knew that my mom would have done the same. And when I was leaving the theatre, a photographer who was capturing us on stage throughout the show stopped me and told me she really enjoyed my performance and had some other beautiful things to tell me. And I told her how much I appreciated the feedback. And while I walked out of that almost empty theatre, through the lobby that has such creative history, I started to cry. Because that’s when it really hit me for my mom not being in the audience. I know she would have told me similar things. And she would have loved watching me. And I would have loved to be able to tell her what the photographer said to me.

I cried the entire drive home. Good, hard tears. For missing my mom. And for what she is missing. And for realizing I felt so very alone in a theatre filled with over 200 people.

Kid Lit

How many times do I have to say that I effing love this book that I am reading. Yes, you know the one. Women Who Run With the Wolves.

And here is a perfect example of why I love it so. Remember the post I wrote yesterday, about finding the balance between parenting and time away from your children? Tonight I read this passage from the book.

“But there are other reasons for the divided woman. She may be a practitioner of “kid lit” which is a litany that goes like this: “But my kids need this, my kids need that, etc.” She does not realize that by sacrificing her need for return, she teaches her children to make the very same sacrifices once they are grown.

Some women are afraid that those around them may not understand their need for return. And not all may. But the woman must understand this herself: When a woman goes home according to her own cycles, others around her are given their own individuation work, their own vital issues to deal with. Her return to home allows others growth and development too.”

This. Is. Me.

I know because I have had close friends tell me this.

This book is freaking me out. In a good way. I’m pretty sure it’s my mom.

“Okay, Mama…”

Finding a balance between motherhood and the rest of your life is challenging. But I have always been one to ensure I have “me time”. It’s that outlet that I need in my life for my inner happiness, whether it be my dance classes or getting together with my friends for a night out, or that time before bed when the house is quiet and I can read or write.

I know that not only do I need these times of recharge to be a better parent, but I feel it is good for Arrine to see me do this as well. Not only am I setting an example of making your health a priority and having a close support circle of friends, it also gives her the opportunity to be with someone besides me! Like Grandpa Charlie or her fav babysitter.

But even all these positive reasons for time apart from her, it doesn’t make the separation any easier. Especially when she is such a good girl about it all. When both Nick and I have plans in the evening, and we know it’s going to be later than about 11pm, we ask Grandpa Charlie to host a sleepover. And since his condo has a pool and bedtime snacks include black jelly beans, the time there is always loved. But getting there can be a challenge sometimes. There are days when she just doesn’t want to go. Like any other adult who doesn’t feel like doing what they already committed to or were told to do. Like this weekend. Arrine and I spent all Friday and Saturday together and then it was time for the sleepover at supper time. She knew the plan but in her sweetest voice, she said, “But I wanna stay with you.” Not to diss Grandpa, just because she wanted to be with me. And I know in a weird way this is another reason why time apart is good. But it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s harder.

Because even though I knew in that moment she would rather stay with me than go, I had to say, “Oh Love. But it’s time to go with Grandpa. I need you to put on your boots and coat.” And she just looked at me and said so sweetly and softly, “Ok, Mama…”. And she did. And off that little doll went with Grandpa out the front door. And I stood at the window and blew her kisses and didn’t let her see me cry.

Because I love her so much it hurts.

Project BOOM!

So, as we all know, I always need to have a project. And my mom would always remind me of that. Well, wouldn’t she just love my latest undertaking?

Older home that needs some updating – check!
Father who offers to help every single day, with me accepting his help and being very appreciative, even though we drive each other bonkers – check!
Summer and life put on hold for months to deal with the house and moving and renovations – check!
Friends helping out when they can – check!
Me being forced out of my comfort zone to do a lot of things on my own that I would rather not do – check!
One potential legal battle – check!
Nick who would feel sorry for me and still help me when he felt in a generous mood – check!

Then ta da!!! Dream home created. Easy as that…

Check out these pics on the FB public link.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153405844230016.1073741851.524890015&type=1&l=55afe06d8b

PS This is a significant reason why I haven’t had time to write lately either!!

Scotch in hand. Glasses on.

As I got into bed tonight, I realized that I am continuing to become more and more like my mother, without even trying. And it effing rocks.

Here I am. In bed. Glasses on. PJs are a t-shirt and undies. Getting ready to write. Scotch on the bedside table. Now, the only difference compared to my mom, is she would have had rye whiskey in her tumbler. But she was known to enjoy a good scotch too.

Night after night, I would come home to this scene. Dad would either still be watching his sports or in bed beside her reading. And I would sit next to her on the bed and we would have a chat about our day. And now as I write this, I can imagine that before I know it, I will still be in this position – in bed, glasses on, writing or reading, scotch on the nightstand, and Arrine will come home and sit next to me. And probably tease me about drinking straight alcohol or my ratty t-shirt pi’s. And I will cherish each teasing moment we share, me in bed and her beside me, because I know how much I long for those moments again with my mom.

Secret “I Love You”

My mom and I had a secret – well, I know we had many secrets – but this is one I am going to share with you. My mom and I could tell each other “I love you” without speaking a word. We could do it amongst a crowd and no one would know. I can’t even remember the first time my mom taught me how. I just always remembered it to be this way, back to my first memories.

We would hold hands and she would squeeze my hand three times, and that meant, “I love you.” (Pause for me to go get a Kleenex because the tears are now flowing.) And then I would squeeze back three times, telling her, “I love you.” And that was it. Something so small shared between us that meant so much.

And I have now taught Arrine this. I told her how Grandma Anne-Marie and I would hold hands and squeeze our special messages to each other. She caught on right away, squeezing my hand after I squeezed hers. Now, if someone saw the two of us, they could probably tell something was going on, as she hasn’t quite mastered the non-conspicuity of the idea yet. She usually stops walking, looks me in the eye and nods her head slightly with each squeeze. Which just makes me love her more.

But the best part of the Secret “I Love You”? Was when she initiated it herself for the first time the other week. I had a little inside cry while I squeezed her hand back, three times, “I love you”.

Where Did I Lose Her?

So, my Wild Woman. I lost her a while ago. (If you are just joining me, I’ll bring you up to speed. My Wild Woman is my female psyche, coined by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD. It’s a way to describe our inner female strength and how she is needed for us to truly be happy and content with life. And how so easily, we lose her, for whatever reason, and now, how to get her back.)

It’s hard to write when most of you don’t have the context. But this is so significant to me, I need to write about it. Because the other night, while reading to the kidlet before bed, I had this thought. You know those thoughts that hit ya? It was like that.

I lost my Wild Woman in 1997. It was when I made the decision to not move to Lloydminster and teach dance after high school. Instead I took a year off and then moved to Edmonton to start my schooling to be an engineer. Why? Because I didn’t want to be a financial burden to my parents. I wanted to have a have a job after uni. I wanted to be financially stable. And in my youth, I felt those reasons all outweighed my need for my Wild Woman. Granted, I didn’t know it was her then…

And ever since then, I have been trying to find her…I just didn’t know it then either! I still took dance classes (and still do), I performed in a couple of local musical theatre productions, I have taught dance on and off over the years, I started DanceHer Pole Parties and again, I am looking for more dance outlets.

And it’s a struggle. Because I have a mortgage and a dependent and need to make a good living to pay for these things. But how can I do this, plus allow my Wild Woman her outlet to dance. And teach dance. And be truly immersed in the dance world? That I am still working on…

If I had no financial pressures? I would just find a way to dance and write. But maybe I am just making excuses for myself…

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