The Low Support Sports Bra

I’m lacking support. Over the years I have tucked myself into a highly woven cocoon of friendship and wisdom and giggles and understanding. And it has always been there for me when I need it the most. And these last few weeks, I have defo needed it the most, but my cocoon has unraveled at the moment.

Three of my closest friends are all going through such exhausting times themselves right now. Loss. Hard decisions. Career changes. And for me to be a good friend, I need to allow them the time and space to focus on themselves, even though I am longing for us to be “normal” again. It’s to the point that we aren’t even sharing our normally goofy, daily texts about embarrassing moments and guys with beards and natural living. We are each respecting one another’s privacy and the space they need right now.

So this has given me a lot of time to ponder this. How come the world has brought us together and nurtured our friendship, for us to only now, in our greatest times of need, not have one another to rely on? Doesn’t that seem cruel?

But I quickly answered that for myself. It’s because the universe wants to show us that we can do it. Each of the tasks we are individually faced with are going to be accomplished on our own and it’s just a way for us to learn more about ourselves and grow and become stronger Wild Women.

So I feel like I am wearing a sports bra with no support. It’s there. It exists. Just right now, I have on the low support option…and when the full support is in stock, I can exchange it (not that I need a full support sport bra in real life anyways).

The Control Freak Not Controlling

One of the recent things I have been working on letting go of, is control. I admit to playing out different scenarios and analyzing how to handle them in present day, so that things work out “perfectly” in the future. And then this leads to disappointment and being hurt, because the majority of the time, these situations involve the people in my life. And because I have certain expectations of people, when they don’t live up to this or the situations I have planned out don’t happen as I thought they would, I am let down.

A couple of weeks ago I was presented with a choice. Spend time and effort to possibly alter how things may happen with an upcoming schedule OR don’t do anything. I chose to not to anything. And it was hard. But it felt right. And I was letting go of trying to control the future.

And my Current Self is so happy with my Past Self. Because things did not happen as I was expecting them to – not even directly connected to my previous choice. It was something I was completely blind-sided by. I am still hurt, but when I talked to Tee about it, I said, “Even though I am sad about this, imagine how I would feel if I had tried to control this situation?”

And then she reminded me that, “Fear is also a massive driver of control. Because as long as we can control, we have nothing to fear. Until we realize that we can’t control.”

My career as a PM is all about control. Determining how decisions today will affect the project in a week, month, year. Determining risk. Mitigating risk. Planning. Controlling. And I am so good at it, because it comes natural to me. So now that I have had this realization, I can work on keeping the control contained to my career, and not let it infiltrate my personal life.

And working on determining on what I fear that leads to control. And then not controlling that fear. ;)

This Is Home, I Guess

When my dad sold our house in NB, I felt like I had lost my childhood home. But at the same time, I was ok with never going back to that place that held the memories for those last three months I was with my mom. When Arrine was two, I had come back to the lake for a girls weekend, and decided to stop by the house to show her. I wish I hadn’t. It wasn’t the same. Mom’s flower garden was gone. So was the love I remembered being there. And I know I will never deliberately return.

It was hard to let go of the home you grew up in and your mom at the same time…but I did. And then I sort of considered myself home-less, because even though I have lived in Edmonton for years and years, I had nowhere to go back to. But I do now…

I have only spent two days here in Regina, and I am actually quite disappointed with myself for not recognizing this as a place to consider home. I spent so much of my childhood within these walls, that this is where a lot of my memories live. The pottery studio, the basement where us kids spent hours and hours (now realizing that our parents were upstairs enjoying beverages), the pinball machine, the backyard, the trees. And even though I see Marlene and Claire only once every couple of years, it was like I had just been here.

There are so many things I love about this trip. How Marlene introduced me as “her friend” to one of her customers, and I thought, “Yes, I guess we are friends. I’m not just the daughter of her best friend anymore.” The food, oh the food. Marlene is an amazing hostess in that regard. How much Marlene and Claire focused on Arrine as she was their own grand-daughter. Me sharing with Marlene about whatever, and being ok to just let the tears fall. When Marlene shared with me how much she now realizes that my voice is so similar to my moms. How Marlene showed me all her new kitchen gadgets, and I was super intrigued by them all, because she knew my mom would have wanted to see them too. And finally, tonight, when I sat on the couch to do my nails and Marlene said, “Well, this trip is now complete. Your mom would have done the exact same thing, although she would have been sitting at the table.”

Marlene and I joked how we were Facebooking each other when we were just in different rooms of the house. And how people these days seems to share their feelings over social media, rather than in person. So I’ve decided to do just that.

Marlene? Thank-you for being my mom.

Image

I Think We Will Still Be Friends

So. I have this friend. Her name is Tee (Trisha). I may have mentioned her once or twice before. I like her. For various reasons. And our friendship has been through many tests. Not bad tests though, good tests. And we always seem to remain friends through it all.

A big test of friendship I always find, is travelling together. We have travelled a couple of times with a larger group of girls before, not everyone necessarily being close with one another. Just the two of us spent a week in Oxford and London. Four of us have spent time in Vegas. Tee and I have done little trips to Calgary. And all of these were successful tests, with the outcome being our friendship remained in tact. But we hadn’t done the hardest type of travel together…until last weekend. We traveled with our kids….du du duuuuuuhhhhh. AND WE ARE STILL FRIENDS!!

Yup, we loaded up her three kidlets with my one kidlet, and headed off to Fort McMurray to visit our dear friend Sarah. There were some tears, but nothing we couldn’t handle. And some loud singing and playing, but once we got to the city, we bought a case of beer and we were fine!!

Our very successful trip made me reflect back on why we did so well. First of all, I think it really helps that Tee and I are such close friends, which allows us to be brutally honest with each other. Secondly, I feel we parent similarly. I know Nick and I have asked Tee and her hubby for a lot of parenting advice, especially when Arrine was younger. And we both like to get the kids to bed and then have a beer. Or seven. And I love seeing how she handles situations so I can learn from her.

There is also a level of comfort between us. I don’t want to say that I have ever “disciplined” her kids. But I have “stepped in”. Now, I haven’t spoken to Tee about this yet, but this is a good way to open the dialogue. She has three kids. And can’t see them all at once sometimes. So if she is with another kidlet and I am with one who is going to slam their fingers in a screen door that opens fast, I am going to intervene and ask them to stop opening and closing the door without help. Or if I have heard Tee ask them to brush their teeth and they keep getting distracted with play, because that happens, I am going to ask them to join me and Arrine while we brush our teeth. I like to view it that we are open and honest enough with one another, that this is acceptable…I’ll guess I’ll wait to see what Tee says.

And maybe I am ok with this approach, because I would want her to do the same for me. If Arrine needed some guidance to get back on track, and Tee saw it but I didn’t, I would want her to step in. And I think she would.

I’m not about to give one of her children a time out, but I guess I treat them how I treat Arrine – without the “discipline”. And consider that a good thing…but maybe this is crossing the friend/kid line?

Thoughts?

I’m Going Back

Before I even knew it, I had planned a trip back. My flights have been booked for a couple months, plans were made and it wasn’t until yesterday when I first though, “I’m going back.”

Back is to Regina. Because of my mom’s illness, only one crematorium in the province could perform the process for us, and it was in Regina. So after she passed away, off we went to Regina. It actually worked out quite well, because mom’s best friend lives there, and our one cousin (yes, one cousin total) has a beautiful property just outside the city. It’s been over 5 years since I have been back. Which is sad, just because it’s taken me this long to get back to my loved ones, but life happened. And I find it interesting how I always connected hard emotions with North Battleford and Batoche, but never Regina before. Now I am faced with them.

Reflecting back on those days, here are the memories that stand out.

  • There were four of us ladies at the crematorium for the service. Me, Marlene, Lise and Julie. While standing outside, in the strong sunshine, waiting to be called in, Marlene presented us each with a silver, butterfly earring. She bought two matching pairs so each of us got one. Immediately, I poked mine through the grey cashmere Club Monaco scarf I had received from Nick. And that scarf still has the butterfly tucked away in its folds. 5 years later. At one point Julie had hers on the sun visor in her SUV and she told me it was so that Anne-Marie was always watching her while she was driving. I wonder where those butterflies are now.
  • My mom was in a cardboard box. Once we were called inside, there was a little viewing room where we all took a seat. At the front was my mom, covered with a sheet. The service director removed the sheet to reveal a cardboard box with markers on top. He explained that we were all welcome to take turns going up to the front, and writing a message on the box. I found this hilarious, and I leaned over to Lise and whispered, “Lise? Is my mom really in a cardboard box?” And we giggled.
  • We had lunch in a tree house. After the service, we all went to this wonderful restaurant that was built in the trees, somewhere in downtown Regina. And I loved it. But can’t remember what I ate. But I do know that we talked about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
  • Nick put together patio furniture for Lise and Jason.
  • I loved the dune buggies. Lise took me for a ride (while Nick was putting together the patio furniture). And it felt so calm and connecting to feel the prairie. I loved the breeze against my face, making my eyes water. And at one point I thought, “Huh. My mom is really dead.” And then I looked over and saw that a bird was flying along beside us. And it kept up with our pace. And I said out loud, “Hi Mom.” And then it veered off on its own direction.

And now I am back, making new memories.

Potty Talk

This conversation happened today in a bathroom.

Arrine: If I eat poop and pee, will I die?

Kirsten: No, but it might make you sick. (Side note: Tee later reminded me that you really can die from ingesting faces, which I later corrected with Arrine.)

A: Why did Grandma Anne-Marie get sick?

K: I don’t know, Love. Sadly there are some types of sicknesses and diseases, that the doctors don’t know why you get sick. And Grandma Anne-Marie had one of those diseases.

A: How was she sick?

K: Her brain got really sick. So sick that it couldn’t keep her alive.

A: And then she died?

K: Yes.

A: Can we still see her?

K: No, we can’t still see her, but we can feel her with us still.

A: Where was she?

K: She was in a hospital and laying in her hospital bed.

A: Is she still in her bed?

K: No, Love. She’s not there anymore.

A: She disappeared?

K: When people die, there are different things you can do with the person who died. With Grandma Anne-Marie, we heated her up really, really hot, and her body turned to ashes.

A: What are ashes?

K: It’s like dust and dirt. And then we put her ashes in a field in the prairies.

A: Is it the most beautiful spot ever?

K: Yes, Arrine. It is the most beautiful spot ever.

A: Why are you crying, momma?

K: Because you are so sweet and ask the most lovely questions about Grandma Anne-Marie. And because I am sad and miss her.

A: I miss her too. What did she look like?

K: You know, we have pictures of her at our house.

A: Yah, I want to see them again.

K: We’ll look at them when we get home.

A: Can I have a hot chocolate?

And that’s when I gave her the biggest hug and kiss and carried on with life.

Poet – I Have Written You Down Now

There are currently two albums that I am connecting with. Bad Blood by Bastille and Supermodel by Foster the People. I am sure future blogs will capture other songs from these albums, as I keep being drawn to them.

For tonight, I will focus on Poet by Bastille. I saw Bastille a couple of months ago, and it was truly one of the best shows I have ever seen. It was unreal.

Reading the lyrics to Poet, at first glance, it can be interpreted as a romantic love song. But for me, it’s a love song between mother and daughter. I have done just this – capturing my mom with words. My obsession with her death. Her hospital sheets. But I have written her down. And now she will last forever. Listen. Hear. Feel.

Poet

Obsession it takes control,
Obsession it eats me whole.
I can’t say the words out loud,
So in a rhyme I wrote you down.
Now you’ll live through the ages,
I can feel your pulse in the pages.

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
And all the world will read you
And you will live forever
In eyes not yet created
On tongues that are not born
I have written you down
Now you will live forever

Your body lies upon the sheet,
Of paper and words so sweet.
I can’t say the words,
so I wrote you into my verse.
Now you’ll live through the ages,
I can feel your pulse in the pages.

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
And all the world will read you,
And you will live forever
In eyes not yet created
On tongues that are not born
I have written you down
Now you will live forever

I have read her with these eyes,
I’ve read her with these eyes,
I have held her in these hands.

I have written you down,
Now you will live forever.
The virtues in the verse,
And you will live forever.

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
And all the world will read you
And you will live forever
In eyes not yet created
On tongues that are not born
I have written you down
Now you will live forever

Eff You Bluebeard!! (My Last Date With Bluebeard.)

Women Who Run With the Wolves teaches us through story telling. Each lesson is highlighted by a particular story which is then analyzed and compared to today’s woman. The story of Bluebeard is about man who weds women and in the end, murders them and keeps their corpses in a hidden room in his castle. Sounds gruesome. But the lesson is that we women are faced with decisions, and many of the choices we make are made, knowing we are not making the best choice, but we still make it. So is the marriage with Bluebeard. A young girl knows she should not marry him, due to the instinct of herself and her sisters, but she pushes aside her reservations and agrees to marry him, as she longs to be married. There is more to the story, but in the end she learns the truth about Bluebeard and then defeats him with the help of her family.

The other day, Trisha sent me an excerpt of the book where it was describing Bluebeard. And she cautioned that she didn’t mean to offend me, but that she thought of me with this story. And I agreed. Bluebeard doesn’t have to represent us choosing certain men in our life, as the story is told, it can be about not being able to say “no” to work requests, or letting a certain family member take advantage of you, or not choosing the healthiest lifestyle because of excuses you make for yourself. It’s any situation you find yourself in, where you know you are making the wrong decision for yourself, and for whatever reason, you still make it.

Since Friday, I have been faced with three Bluebeard scenarios. And each time, it would have been easier and selfish and validating had I chosen to marry Bluebeard. But each time I chose to carry on alone, instead of in bed with Bluebeard. And it was hard. And challenging. But more satisfying knowing I made the right decisions for myself. And didn’t come up with excuses as to why I made the poor choice.

Although with one decision, I texted Tee and looked for confirmation that I was making the right choice. But she replied that I needed to make this decision for myself and I knew what was right.

To which I texted back, “Eff you Bluebeard!”

Chaos, Then Peace

I’ve been absent from my writing. It’s not for a lack of topics. It’s due to a lack of time. I’ll get to organizing my thoughts to keyboard eventually, but for now, I really don’t have the time. It’s nice that I am over the “need to write for validation”, otherwise this lack of time to write would be stressing me out even more so.  But it’s a double-edged sword. Without the urgency to compel me to write, I am not writing when I really want to, because I am choosing sleep instead.

But this post isn’t about all “that”. That will come later. This post is about chaos.

I texted Tee last week that I felt my current world was chaos – easily the worst I have ever felt about it before. And how it seems that all my life I have found myself saying, “I just need to get through _____, and life will be easier.” And then I get through it and another thing comes up that becomes my _______. But this time it’s different. I really do feel that once the summer heat is at its highest and the days start to become shorter again, I really will find my peace. And comfort. And feel grounded.

For now, life is a big mess. But in a good way. It’s good stress. I have a super stressful and fast paced career, with a significant team that depends on me. I have taken on a project where I keep asking myself and Nick, “Am I crazy?” (more about that whenever I can find the time to write about it). And I have fabulous friends who support me unconditionally and I try reciprocate. It’s all chaos from being blessed with these positive things in my life.

So. Chaos. The Christian (Tee) and the pagan (Kae). I love how we teach each other through our varied spirituality. Here was her response to my text.

Do you know what I learned in church? That if you want peace, you will get chaos. Because in order to learn and understand and be in peace, you need to be amongst chaos. If you want self-control, you’re going to be put in situations where there is no control. To test you. To grow that muscle. You can’t grow your peace muscles if you’re always in peaceful situations. If you want patience, you’re not going to strengthen that muscle when you’re not pushed. So, think about this as the muscle exercise. You can find peace even in this.”

Want more words of wisdom from her? She writes too. http://trishadisha.blogspot.ca. And she’s hot. 

Today Was A Good Day

Today was a good day. It started a little rough when Arrine was a super grump head when she woke up, but it soon got better. Here is my day in somewhat point form, for an easier read.

  • I told Arrine was the anniversary of Grandma Anne-Marie passing, and that she should wear a red dress because Grandma Anne-Marie loved red. She agreed. Then later when dropping her off at daycare she chose her pink indoor shoes to wear because, “Pink is close to red. And Grandma Anne-Marie loved red.”
  • My friend Haley and I headed off into the rain on Hwy 2 to Calgary. The plan was shoe shopping at Arnold Churgin. Along the way I asked her if she was excited for the shoes (she had never been before) and she replied, “Oh, I’m not going to get any shoes. I am just along for the ride.” And I shockingly replied, “Oh, you are GOING to buy shoes.”
  • When we stopped in Red Deer for a quick break, we were talking about how neither of us had a good breakfast and Haley said, reaching into her purse, “Well I have a gigantic Fruit & Nut bar!” And I started crying, right in the Tim Hortons and said, “That was my mom’s favourite chocolate bar…” And then proceeded to tell her how I used to always bug my mom about her chocolate bar choice, because it really seems so gross.
  • We saw a cow on the loose in the ditch and it was wearing a red and blue hat.
  • Arnold Churgin was amazing. Haley bought three pairs!! So I had to buy three pairs too, of course. We kept giggling at how our feet felt like they were in clouds and how soft the leather was. And the gentleman helping us schooled Haley on heels, being a girl and her colour palette.
  • I had Taco Time for lunch. I am just realizing now that my mom loved Taco Time.
  • Then we rushed back to the city and I dropped H off and took Arrine to her haircut.
  • Once we got home, I found a beautiful flower that our realtor left on the kitchen counter. It was a single gerbera daisy in a short container…it was orange. So not red…but close! Does anyone remember the flower settings we had at the Anne-Marie Merle Wear Your Red Celebration?? Ummm, yah. Same thing.
  • Then Arrine and I had corn on the cob for supper and got some great news that an offer was made on our duplex. So after Arrine was out of the bath, our realtor came back over for us to sign the paperwork. And then I told her I had to tell her the connection to the flower. And I cried. And then she cried a bit and we hugged. And Nick just stood there. But he was part of the moment.
  •  Once Arrine was in bed, I whipped out my sewing machine for a quick mend. And then painted my nails. And then started to write.

So besides all these fan-frickin-tastic bullet points, I received lovely texts and emails and FB comments and messages. And one of my former teachers told me that she was at a baby shower at my old house in NB today and she was thinking of my mom. And another former teacher messaged me with such kind words as well. Makes my heart happy.

I felt very different on past anniversaries. Darker. I wish I had let her death defining me go YEARS ago. :) Today was a good day, thinking of my mom. Past years my thought process was that I had to do things because my mom did them. But this year, I did things that I love doing, and they are things that my mom did too, because she is a part of me. I shoe shopped. I painted my nails. I did some mending/sewing. I hugged and kissed Arrine extra. And all my tears were good tears.

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