Temper tantrums.

23 11 2010

I am a hot-head.

I have been known to fly off the handle, lose my cool and let my inner-redneck lash out at any given opportunity. Opinions have been know to fly without regard, out of my mouth, like hornets intent on the sting.

From the time I can remember from when I was young, I said what I wanted to say, consequences be damned.  It generally never ended well for me. Arguments, hurt feelings, disagreements, awkward silences….. bitter icing on the bitter cake.  And just for fun, whenever I added booze to the mix, well, then, let’s just say the entertainment for the evening was set.  My friends would all laugh at me, would tease me about my temper, would sit back and enjoy the shenanigans that would inevitably come from my loud, abrasive and sometimes unkind mouth.

I hated that about me. I still do.

I think that, in a way, sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.  Many an opinionated person has changed the course of history. I would NEVER be audacious enough to include myself in this realm, but still. Sometimes you gotta stick up for what you believe in.  But when I look back, I have usually regretted my outbursts. I would sometimes wish that I was more easy-going. Perhaps more laid back and chilled out. I would chronically beat myself up for days about what I said…. how I said it… why I said it….

Forgiveness did not come easily, if at all.

Then a little thing called yoga entered my life. I discovered a path of self-forgiveness. I realized that who I am right at this moment in time, regardless of the past or future, is perfect in its imperfections. That it is totally okay to be who I was, who I am and who I will be.

Um. Wow… talk about ENLIGHTENMENT, dude. Doesn’t that make you wanna light a spliff, man?

So, over the last decade, through my relationship with yoga, I have come to terms with my faults and even started to love them a little bit. My temper? PASSION. My opinions? A DESIRE FOR CHANGE. My (mostly unintentional) rudeness? Well, um, I’m kind of working on that.

I have made dedicated decisions to disengage from some things. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things if someone pisses me off, for me to tell that person to eff off. All it serves is to hurt that person. And ultimately bringing it back to my own worrisome self-hate. Maybe that person was just having a really shitty day, and I made it even shittier by being an asshole.  When I choose to disengange from conflict, I feel lighter. When I choose to extend compassion and kindness instead of rudeness and conflict, it might be the difference between someone having a crappy day to someone having a good day. That makes me happy.

But then, there are sometimes when all the yoga in the world will not keep me from speaking my mind.

It generally involves my kids.

Hell hath no fury like a Mama-Bear scorned.

There’s an asshat someone who lives in the area, a young man who thinks it is his God-given right to drive like a maniac through our little country community. My neighbour asked him to slow down the other day, and the young man informed my neigbour to “Fuck Off”.

The next day, I was in the local store and I saw him walk in. It took about .0002 seconds for me to decide to abandon the disengagement for a minute and confront him about his idiotic and dangerous driving habits.

I really was kind and introduced myself as a Mom of two kids. I asked him to slow down on our road and look out for my kids and pets. I said all this with a smile and (HONESTLY!!) a nice tone in my voice.

He told me he wasn’t speeding. That it was his loud muffler that made it look like he was driving too fast.


Anyway, I think the message got through to him, as I have seen him driving much slower on the road.

So, baby steps for me, learning to right way to solve conflict.

I still step in it from time to time, though. The difference is that now, I can forgive myself, and honestly ask for forgiveness from the one I hurt. Most times I receive forgiveness. And when I don’t, I am learning to be okay with that too.

So when you’re feeling down in the dumps…

17 11 2010

Didn’t we all go through an awkward stage in life? I certainly did. Unlike others, whose awkward stages lasted a year or two, mine stretched out for what seemed like forever…..

Grade 6. My body decided to switch into that high gear known as Puberty. Or, as I would like to think, the ultimate torture device that mankind didn’t invent, but would have if given the chance since IT SUCKS DONKEY BALLS.

There were two boys in my class that I would dreamily stare at through my gigantic tinted eyeglasses during school. Mike and Jeff. *Sigh*. Did they ever look my way? Naw. Well, only to pass me notes that would ask me if “Jenny D. liked me, check YES or NO.” WHAT THE????? Oh how my little heart broke…. Jenny Freakin’ D., that little slut, with her weird dog that used to lick Jennie’s legs. Yet, like a good friend and devoted pal, I’d pass them the notes back with the correct answer. I’d check the YES box, after conferring with Jenny at recess. Their mini-romances were hell for me.

Why would those boys not look at me?

Well, remember how I mentioned the onslaught of puberty at an early age? Let’s just say Mother Nature, in her twisted sense of humour, gave me only one “girl” to grow for a few months. The other eventually caught up, but not before I learned that tissue stuffed in the cup of my new training bra does NOT look like a boob. At all. I am pretty sure that I fooled NO ONE.

Well, yes, I attempted to mask my deformity as well as I could. I hunched my shoulders and crossed my arms whenever possible. Baggy shirts were my best friends.

But you guys. YOU GUYS…. Not only was I the one-boob-wonder, I was also having major orthodontic work done and due to all sorts of fucked up shit in my mouth, I only had one front tooth. Yeah. My one front tooth was missing. FOR TWO YEARS. Until the headgear (am I turning you on yet???) that I was forced to wear finally kicked in and that fucking tooth finally grew in, somewhere around the middle of that hellish year, I was completely defined by my inability to look “normal”.

I was never “popular”. I was never that “hot chick” that boys chased and pined over, even after the other “girl” finally got the message and caught up and grew into a great rack. A wee teeny bit of me is still that odd little girl, whose only wish is to be cool and look pretty.

I can look back and laugh, because, well…. It’s really really funny.

And these hard and strange and difficult times can help define us as who we are as adults. And for me, can help remember for my own kids. That, when they are going through tough times, no matter how insignificant it seems to me, it is HUGE for them….

It makes me a better and more compassionate parent.

With a great sense of humour.

Oh Oprah.

15 11 2010

Every once in a while, amidst cramps or the flu or just general laziness, I might find time during the day to flip on the television for a rare indulgence in daytime TV. Out of habit, more or less, I’ll check out what’s on Oprah.

Her topics range from helping starving Africans, to weight-loss techniques, to gift-fest giveaways that make the average 40-year-old white housewife orgasm in her easy-chair.

And it never EVER fails to make me want to punch myself in the face.

First off, she constantly interrupts her guests. It drives me crazy. Someone who has suffered years of abuse or horrific trauma will be telling their story, only to have Almighty Oprah bust in to re-tell the circumstance or better yet, explain for the masses what is really going on. I wonder if some of the guests don’t want to haul off and slap her face sometimes. Yes Oprah, you HAVE indeed heard it all… That doesn’t mean you need to always commandeer the conversation. Here’s a radical thought for you: Most people have minds of their own and don’t need you to explain to them what is going on. You’re like that annoying beotch in the theatre that is explaining the plot of the movie to her friend next to you. Guess what Oprah? EVERYONE HATES THAT PERSON. Oh, and one time when I was watching a show of hers, she made the comment (paraphrased) that “Only in America can someone come from destitution and rise to greatness.” Uh, yeah. Hate to break it to you, honey, but Americans don’t have the stronghold of dreams coming true….. My eyes damn near rolled out of my head when I heard that one.

Secondly, your disregard for the simple things in life is astounding. I get that you’re richer than Jesus. But flabbing your gums about your favorite moisturizer or 8 bajillion thread-count sheets made from some rare Egyptian llama that cost more that I make in seven years doesn’t make me want to rush out to buy them… it only make me wonder where your priorities are. You are a greedy consumer who doesn’t think about the consequence of your actions, OR the environmental backlash.

Thirdly and lastly…. Actually, I don’t really have a third point. The first two sum it up just fine.

I for one, won’t miss you one bit after your last show next year. I won’t be signing on for your new network, which I am sure will be rife with self-adulation and pompous self-righteous back-patting.

I realize that I sound mighty cynical. And after the last round of “Oh God, Why Did I Turn On Oprah” makes me re-think picking up that remote when I’m laying on the couch. She DOES make millions of people happy. She fulfills lives, offers hope, inspires and gets people to read.

Yet I can’t shake the feeling that her ratings are what matter, and not really the message.

Why I remember.

11 11 2010

Today is Remembrance Day. I brought my kids over to the local cenotaph to observe this somber day, like we have done for several years. The ceremony was beautiful, as always, and never fails to evoke a deep sense of pride and patriotism in me, as well as sadness and also a tiny bit of hope.

I have heard and seen protesters at theses ceremonies before. I have listened to some, who say they wouldn’t bring their children to the cenotaph, as it sends a message of a sort of pro-war sentiment. That for some, it glorifies war.

Others though, are much like me. They bring their kids to these ceremonies to reflect and remember. We need to pass this down to our children, without promoting the ideal of war, but rather to practice gratitude for the soldiers who sacrificed so very much.

I like to think of it as a reminder. A reminder that I can wear what I want, pray how I want, live the way I want, and raise my children as equal citizens in a country based on freedom.

And that, at this very moment, someone is fighting over in Afghanistan for this very thing, for people they don’t know. They are fighting for the simple and fundamental rights of women, children and all human beings. To be able to live without fear, and I hope someday, in peace.

I don’t like war. I fucking hate hearing about all the mess-ups with Iraq, about Canadians being blown up in Kandahar. Yeah, I’m anti-war. But I am also pro-freedom. It really sucks that sometimes war happens. It would be so wonderful to live in a world where peace is normal. But the human race, with all its glory and beauty is also a race of nasty savagery. Who am I to say that the fighting should not happen? Who will fight for those children’s future? If we choose to adhere to never being engaged in conflict, then what would happen to the countless people succumbing to dictatorships, militia and religious fundamentalists? When you fear for your life and the lives of your children, would you not appreciate the efforts of someone coming to your aid and fighting for you?

Yet, I still wish that the world could change. I live each day with gratitude, and I try to extend kindness as much as I can. I raise my children to be aware and empathetic. If everyone would choose to just “live and let live”, and apply simple kindness in every day life, indeed this place would be entirely different.

Until this happens, I will always Remember.

For those who requested it…♥

2 11 2010

This is what I wrote that was chosen, among many other beautiful pieces, to be published in Seasonings. I hope you like it.

What you reap is what you sow.

It is a soft evening in the latter part of May, and there’s a crescent moon dangling behind the misty veil of high cloud towards the east. I come out to sit in the dusk of this evening, in my back yard, by my gardens, to breathe in all the joys of spring that we are offered time and time again.

Gardening in its entire spectrum gives peace and fulfillment to so many. Just think. Take some dirt, add some seeds and water and sun, and this elixir produces beauty and bounty for anyone willing to take the time. To many who ask “why bother?”, perhaps it is quite simply reaping what you have sown.

Reaping, harvesting and gathering any matter of treasures from your garden is the handheld fruition of labour. It is the proof of what you can do. An edible essay from the ground. It might be a delicate salad of spring greens picked right before you eat, drizzled with a subtle blend of oil and spices, some zingy radishes on the side. Or a bouquet of proud tulips, with their audacity of primary colours or sleepy hues of pinks, slowly leaning backwards over the lip of the vase, all too soon dropping their petals one by one like forgotten dreams. The harvest might just be a sensual delight, like the wind rushing past the tops of the trees that stand guard around us. Perhaps it is seeing a Rufous hummingbird, showing up at the feeder at dusk for a quick snack before bed, the muted glint of ruby at his throat still visible in the waning light.

I’m still a bit of a novice gardener. My know-how is just starting to amass. Already, though, I have learned the simple joy of pulling a carrot from the earth. Reaching out and plucking a sweet plum off the tree and letting the juice of it drip down your chin. Or serving up a mound of just-picked green beans smothered in butter, and hearing them squeak between your teeth. This is the ultimate local diet; one of your own doing. It is a gift of quiet prosperity. Riches, not in material things, but of goodness delved from your own earth.

The choice is always up to you. Whether you grow a few flowers or plant a massive vegetable garden, it doesn’t really matter. It is the unpretentious bliss, the soil beneath your nails, the rhythmic tick of a sprinkler. Big or small, extravagant or austere, it is simply put, yours.

The moon has disappeared now, behind a dark cloud, the wind foretelling of a Kootenay spring storm that is coming our way. It’s not so easy to see anymore, either. The dusk is giving way to night. I get up reluctantly, relishing the last kiss of the night air on my skin and go inside.