On keeping my mouth shut.

12 05 2020

For as long as I can remember, I have been known to speak before thinking. Coupled with a bit of a temper, a dash of impatience and a sprinkle of intolerance, my reputation of having a big mouth has preceded me for years. I’ve put up with teasing from my friends, I’ve laid awake at night kicking myself for being unnecessarily outspoken. I’ve tried and tried to bite my tongue. I’ve counted to ten before saying what I felt I needed to say and many times, I have pressed my lips together, and swallowed my thoughts entirely, where they churned in discontent in my stomach. I have hated this part of me for so long, that I often waiver in my resoluteness of my point of view and am fearful of alienating others by voicing how I feel.

Indeed, I know there is a time and place for speaking up. There are also invaluable lessons in staying silent and listening. Listening is hard, you guys. I feel too many of us are too busy planning on what we are going to say next instead of actually hearing what is being said. I have no claim on innocence in this little part of being human.

Lately, though, I have started to question my distaste for this part of me. Why should I dislike my ability to speak up? Is it an ingrained patriarchal throwback that girls must be sweet and demure and quiet? Have I overstepped the boundaries of social etiquette too often or have I tossed the archaic ideal of female acquiescence and challenged the status quo? Well, no, and maybe yes. I’m not absolving my litany of verbal faux-pas in any attempt to leverage my feminism. I’m no Gloria Steinem. But. BUT. As I look back on my many many incidences of speaking my truths, the ones that I am most proud of were in the face of unfairness, bias and discriminatory stances. I can’t crow about changing anyone’s mind, but I sure as hell can be proud of coming to the defense of something I firmly believe in.

Things have drastically shifted in my life, and I have been gifted time. Time to reflect, question, ponder, think. I putter in my gardens, or I walk my dog, all the while watching my thoughts flow through me like water. Sometimes it’s a burbly creek, happy and cute and indulgent, one where I can sit on the banks and cool my feet in, but at other times, it’s a raging river, icy with freshet and dangerous with it’s ability to whisk me away and drag me under. Both are important. Both need listening to. I can observe without engaging, if I am lucky enough to be in a good mindset. Other times, the desire to fling myself from the safety of the bank and risk the rapids is too much and I get lost in the turbulence of self-deprecation.

I wrote about clarity earlier this year, as we began a new decade. It was my chosen word to live by in 2020. As the recent turn of events unfolded, I wondered if I was wrong. But I now believe the planet is shaking us all up. Throwing the scales from our eyes. Wake up, Mother Earth is telling us. It’s okay to use your voice to demand fairness or call out lies or challenge inequity. To stand up strong in the clarity of our own volition.

There have been repercussions to speaking up. If there weren’t any, then I wouldn’t be writing this right now. I know I’ve angered and alienated people, I know that my voice might have hurt others. When I have stood up and spoke my truth with my fist raised, it has led to some relationships crumbling away to ghosts of their former selves. Guilt has eaten away at me, nibbling like a mouse. I mourn these losses, I ache to make amends but I know I can’t do this without being detrimental to my own beliefs. I cannot any longer hold the blame all on my own. It is who I am. I won’t apologize for this anymore, because it would be akin to apologizing for me. I owe this much to myself. I can only move forward with my own clarity, my own willingness to listen and honouring my own strength with no apologies.



27 03 2014

Oh March.

You silly little month. Sometimes you gift us unbelievably warm days where our cheeks and noses pink up from the sun and bare arms are warm and tingly. Days where a cold cider or beer tastes so good, sipped on the deck while that sunshine warms up everything. You’ve pruned, raked, burned, plucked, mucked everything, and then you reward yourself in the late afternoon on your dusted-off deck furniture you’ve finally rescued from storage.

Days that are the promise of what is to come. Hot days, sun, beers with your best friends. Sitting on the deck in midsummer, the sounds of sprinklers and motorcycles hum in the distance. God, summertime is just the best isn’t it??? I mean, I love every season for its own distinct beauty, (you all know me + winter = skiing/heaven. I love my winters SO much)  but nothing and I mean NOTHING beats summer time.

So, this brings me back to March. You tease us with warm days, delightful foreshadowing, and then you drop the bomb on us: freezing rain, sleet, 8 cms of snow, wind. It just SUCKS. You know what March is? TRANSITION, my friends. Where we all have to dig deep and bear with it. BREATHE IN AND OUT. Just like birth, those last 2 centimeters of dilation where you think you’re going to lose your freakin’ mind…. Take each day with whimsy and humour. Hahah, Mother Nature, fuck you and that muddy slop out there, crusted over with a sliver of ice… I am wearing a skirt with no leggings and I DON’T CARE.

One day soon it will be April and tulips everywhere will be standing proud, chock full of Hallmark Easter colours. Sun will shine and bike rides will be new again. Baseballs and soccer balls litter the deck. Those damn birds wake us up at 4 am with their incessant and delightful chatter. (It’s kind of okay to waken that early; the light and breath of air is alarming in its pleasant vigour) Chocolate eggs and coffee in the morning? Yes please.

May is soft rains and the full moon over the “Swooping Swallow” across the lake behind Procter. Mosquitoes squeal incessantly in your ears and hummingbirds remember their feeder in your yard. Windows wide open! If you’re lucky, you’ve been wearing shorts for a few days and your legs are no longer blindingly white.

June can be a bit of a dirty whore around these parts. She brings epic rains, closed soccer fields and floods down Baker Street, where ski bums hoist their kayaks out and paddle around the main drag while people laugh and take pictures to post to Instagram. Everything is lush. Trees are drunk with spring rain, the green is almost gaudy.

Finally, the heat arrives with July. When it’s warm at 6 am and HOT by 9. Gardens act like leggy teenagers, growing inches overnight. The water in our lake no longer bites, but envelopes us. Light lingers late into the evening allowing lazy swims just before bed.

This is when my soul exhales, even though I haven’t even been aware she was holding her breath. We made it another year, summer is finally all around us. We can relax, paint our toenails and laugh more freely.

It is all in front of us, every single delicious moment. Take a look around and savour it, this wanton anticipation. The reward is almost here.

Reconnected and it feels so good….

11 11 2013

There has been some emptiness in my life lately and I have been struggling to define it, to discover the source and to fill it all back up.

Life, this crazy chaotic thing that has this ability to toss us about in a storm of kids soccer games, work, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, working out, somehow trying to  make time for everything. Everything! The source of all our ability to at least try to keep up with life is within us. And we know all too well that if we do not give to ourselves then we cannot give to others.

We all get lost in our way of what we feel we need to give ourselves. I started to work out a lot the last couple years, indulging in high intensity interval training and dabbling in Crossfit. And whoa, did I (and do I) ever love it. I love that muscle soreness the next day, I love the end of a workout and being amazed at what my body just did. I loved seeing muscle definition where there was none before. I feel so good about my health and how I look and feel. It’s really an addiction, a very healthy one. Unfortunately for me I have been struggling with a lower back issue for the last four to five weeks that has brought a full screeching stop to my intense workouts. Frustrating to no end, let me tell you. I felt disconnected with my body and my old nemesis of depressive traits that have haunted me for years began whispering in my ears again. I found myself treading into the territory of self-doubt and soul-crushing sadness. I felt ready to cry at the drop of a hat. Stress built up in me: I had days of migraines and my stomach issues flared again. I marched on, missing my old happy self, missing something I could not define. But then one day, I realized that I had truly not been on my yoga mat for months.

Oh, right, I remember now, I said to myself. I unrolled my mat and lit a candle. I sat cross-legged, folded my hands in prayer in front of my heart. I closed my eyes and then I breathed. Long drawn-in breaths and exhales that began to calm me. It was like I hadn’t breathed in weeks. Every cell in my body was shriveled up, but in this feast of oxygen and awareness, they plumped up again. My breath became an ocean of waves, each one bringing a taste of awareness and each outgoing current taking my worries away. I don’t know how long I sat there, breathing. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. When I let my eyes open and allowed the world to saturate back into my mind, I felt lighter. I moved on to a deep yoga practice that left me feeling limber and elongated and completely whole again.

In all my life I have never known a love like I have for this practice of yoga. It makes me a better woman, when I give myself ME. In turn, I am more loving to my husband and my children. I reach out to my friends more readily without judgement. I am more patient at work and in the world. I see more beauty, I laugh more. I am more me when I give myself time on my mat. And I felt so terribly sad that I had let this slip by the wayside. Yoga was like a forgotten friend, patiently waiting for me to pick up the phone and call.

This is not to say I won’t continue to work out as I do. (Hell no…that’s far too much a part of me as well.)  But I deeply believe that we all need to give ourselves some form of quiet reconnection to ourselves, where we can listen to what our soul needs to say. Where we can be quiet and humble and satiated in our breath. Whether it’s a hot bath, a walk in the woods or a yoga practice with meditation, it really doesn’t matter. As long as we give our selves what we truly need. A connection with our own body, mind and soul.