Sunday, 18 December 2011

Holidays are hard

Holidays are hard when you've seperated or divorced. I hope, like every other part of this process, it gets easier over time.

Last week was really rough, and I was on the verge of tears constantly. I just wanted to fall apart, have a good cry and nap. Eventually that's what I did. I'm sure it's part of the stress that others also feel during the holidays with finances, social engagements and travel arrangements. But I've also felt so lonely; the lonely when you're heartaches and stomach is nauseous. I felt the same around Thanksgiving. I do have him at Christmas and we will be spending it with my family, which I am so grateful for. I also knew I was going to visit some friends I haven't seen for awhile before Christmas. But I still felt blue. If I have friends and family, why did it feel so sad and like I was all alone?

I think I miss having that other person to share the joy and stress of things with; holiday parties, turkey dinner, shopping for inlaws, putting up lights and arguing over the tree. It's the 'happy family' around holidays that I miss. I know my son and I are now our own wonderful little family and we are creating our own holiday tradition. This is a difficult transition though, and perhaps what makes holidays still hard.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The best gift for moms, seriously

As I melted what seemed like my 200th stick of butter and snacked on my third open mega bag of chocolate chips from Costco, I began to wonder, do people really want more 'Gifts from the Kitchen'?   I love home baked goods as much as the next person, but I would also like to keep wearing these same jeans and ward off diabetes for another year.

Most of us don't have money to burn, buying everyone a little something that most likely, although thoughtful, is not needed. Like many others, I thought again this year that I'll make something. I do love baking and want others to know I care, but perhaps there's something better than giving my friends cavities and fat asses. I've already given up on the greeting cards. Hmmm what to do?

Then it came to me this morning.

My mother offered to take my son for a couple hours so I could get stuff down. Now she helps me out tremendously, but today it seemed like the most special gift in the world. I didn't go to work. I didn't excercise or go grocery shopping. I just did stuff at home and had a long shower. I couldn't believe how great it felt and how much I accomplished. It was beautiful. Then I thought, there isn't a mom in the world that doesn't want, need or deserve a couple hours to do whatever she wants.

I know many of us have though and talked about this, but never actually followed through with it. So the gift I want to give this year to the fabulous mamas I know is to take their kids and give them the GIFT of TIME to do whatever they want. Go for a walk, go shopping, have a long shower, hump your husband or just take a nap. If you're really effiecient, maybe all of the above. :)

Think of the mamas in your life, and I dare you to just call and tell them you will watch the kids for them while they take some much deserved time away. They will love it! You'll feel good and probably the gesture will be returned.

Now I've already made some candy, so some of you mamas are getting it anyway, but I'll watch your kids too!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Surviving through Crisis

When I think back to how I felt a year ago, I can't believe I'm the same person, living this same (meaning this birth to death) life, for I feel it's completely transformed. A year ago I was in crisis.

After a year of limbo about the future of my marriage it was decided we would divorce. I had tried for a year to save it, without any success. That same month a dear friend and first boy I ever loved, took his own life. This was without a doubt the worst month of my entire 34 year old life. I was in crisis.

Crisis is suffocating. Crisis is paralyizing. Crisis fucking sucks! It's being in a very dark and scary place with no idea how to get out, or the belief that you can. The emotions are raw overwhelming, and unescapable. Time passes slowly.

Every morning I made myself get out of bed, because I had a young son to care for. Most days I just went through the motions. I also started to read though as my nights were lonely. I found a few gems along the way which I have on the side of this page under Recommended Reads. One book I came across was, The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn. It is an easy read, even if you only have or want to spend a few moments a day. Every page is filled with a tip to help you change your thinking and get through the crisis that you are in. It includes inspiring quotes and scientific research. The words are encouraging and insightful. The activities are simple and powerful. One activity that I tried that was incredibly effective was called 3 deadlines and 3 events. It was easy to start and stick with.

Write down 3 deadlines you will complete in the week. These can be as simple as opening the mail on the counter, or making a Dr.'s appointment. For people who haven't experienced crisis before this may seem silly, or too simple, but it's not. Next you write down 3 events that you will arrange for the week. These could be a walk with a friend or seeing a new movie. This is what you will look forward to. Writing them down and checking them off is very important! I did this for months and I think it's a large reason why I am feeling the way I do today.

As described above, it is very hard to get out of crisis mentally, physically and emotionally.
Prompted by feelings of shame, loneliness, and exhaustion, I retreated from friends, physically and emotionally. I know others react in the opposite way, needing friends around them at all times and needing to discuss their feeling constantly. Either way I think that crisis paralizes us in a way that the simplest tasks or joys seem impossible. That is why I think this activity is so powerful. It gets you out of this place.

My crisis was the end of my marriage and sudden death of someone I had cared deeply for, all in the same month. For others it could be a physical trauma, act of violence, or a devestating financial situation. Whatever the crisis is in your life, you can and will survive it! It takes time, positive energy and action to reset your mind and ultimatley your life. I wish you peace and healing.