Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tears over Melba toast

It's 4:30am and I've been wide awake for the past two hours keeping my current 'no sleep' streak alive and well. Actually I did sleep great one night, which is probably better than most young mothers, however I'm not overly impressed as I am not yet a young mother. At this rate I'll be lucky ever to be a mother, let alone a young one.

I've tried distracting myself on the computer, I accidentally shut it down (along with all of my tabs for house hunting and my research into personal training certification). I then tried going back to bed only to toss and turn and be reminded of my yesterday.

Which then lead me to tears over Melba toast. Not just any Melba toast, but a pre opened package from a few days ago that was on my night table. (Seriously, is there such a thing as stale Melba toast?).

Now I sit here already having had a few good sobs over 4 pieces of something I will never understand why it was made purposefully but enjoyed as much as my 73 year old grandfather did years ago.

Tears over Melba toast. Good times.

Yesterday was long but not overall terrible. I actually was feeling pretty good about the day until a conversation I had with a co worker (which I have to say I really hesitate bringing up as I know some co-workers who read, I trust they know my heart doesn't have ill intentions).

I had endured and enjoyed an hour with the loudest woman on the planet whom drives me crazy and makes me want to put her in my pocket to experience all day long all at the same time.

I took another person I support to the Snoezelan room (a therapeutic place stimulating the senses) for the third time to be dazzled by the progress she's making each time we go. A new piece of her personality is revealed with every visit. It is so cool to see.

I also got to help a co worker fix a significant med problem during the same shift with little time to spare - but it got done. It felt good to be a tiny help in finding the solution.

Then I had a conversation that knocked the wind out of my sails.

I was chatting with another co worker about one of the places/people I support as they asked how it was going. Following the question there was a quick lifting of the eyebrows in anticipation, yet subtle at the same time.

I began to answer safely then got the hint that there was understanding in her question. So I followed my answer with a question ... 'why do you ask?'

Something I probably should've left unexamined.

This trusted co worker went on to share that the person I was supporting's home provider had been speaking to their neighbor (who is also involved in home providing with our agency) and neither of them could figure out what 'the staff' (being myself) did all day with.... well, the person I support.

I nearly fell off of my feet. Not because it isn't a valid question. But more because, to me, my integrity was being questioned - as I in fact am accountable for all I do, all we do, in the progress notes.

Apparently they were concerned and questioning the fact that I brought the person to my home. Other staff were referred to as 'lazy' and so on because of doing leisure activities while yet other staff did the leg work. Over the last couple of months I have been the only staff for this person leaving me with more responsibility than time for fun, but I have really enjoyed the challenge.

The hard part was, though I have indeed brought this person to me house, in the past couple of months it has only been to print forms out on the computer or to do doing nice for the home provider. We definitely were not sitting around. Even if we were it wouldn't be a crime where I work to do that. Leisure is as important for those we support as work, or any other daily activity of living. Of course it should come more times than not after the other stuff is accomplished but it generally does anyways.

I guess the part that bothers me so deeply is how hard I have been trying to work with this person to make sure everything is done well. Appointments upon appointments, phone calls upon phone calls, government forms and attempts upon attempts. There has actually been very little time for anything fun. Something I used to do much more of with this person (and I am sure will in the future).

I know you could say 'Don't assume the conversation, look at the trouble it has caused you before' but I trust this staff, her intent and the context she gave to the conversation (which is further than I can explain).


Nothing hits me to the core more than someone questioning my integrity, especially in my work. I'm far from perfect. I am, more times than not, without the answer. I will openly admit that I am fully aware I am not the best DSW in the land and this frustrates me, which is why when I can at least get the work that needs to be done completed I try my darndest to make it happen. Having someone question my work ethic is a big deal to me.

I did my best to get this out of my head, it was more than a challenge. It got a bit easier when I entered one of my weekly nursing home visits with Dolly (remember she has Alzheimers?).

It was then I got to be reminded about how truly cruel human services can be.

There's too much to write to help you understand the whole situation but I can say this: my heart was broken more than once during my brief time with her. As I watched her go from tired, crying Dolly, to happy, lovey Dolly, moments later to angry, yelling Dolly, yet a few seconds later to 'Thank you so much! You spoil me!' Dolly (that's what she will say if she thinks you gave her her current colouring book for her birthday - which by the way is everyday, my kind of lady!).

The one that hurt the most was when she said out of nowhere in the most cheerful of voices 'Hi, my name is Dolly!' then shook my hand as if it was the first time ever. Then she politely asked how my day was going.

This was the most diverse conversation (those two lines) we've had in a long time and they were quickly over moments later when she forgot we were having a conversation and then went back to yelling and being upset.

Because of new protocols where she is there is little I am allowed to do with her anymore, hopefully that will change soon. Early on I disconnected myself with her hoping that the fact I had to be a near stone in my actions would help my heart be numb to what she was going through.

It didn't work.

As we sat in the t.v room without the t.v being on (not allowed) I disengaged from her the best I could but quickly felt my nose turn hot and the tears well up.

I just watched her.

I watched her go from one emotion to the next, with not one interaction between herself and another person, she switched on and off all on her own, seemingly without control.

I had done so well disconnecting that by the time I left she hadn't even noticed (and I had to walk right in front of her). I was secretly grateful as it would've been hard on both of us.

As I left feeling empty and heartbroken over Dolly I was quickly reminded of my earlier disappointment of the day that sunk further down in my heart.

I know it doesn't always matter what others assume or think.

I know I can't change Dolly's situation.

But I do wish there was a dose of something we could take (that wasn't alcohol) that could cure these sad days.

Something better than Melba toast.

I completely realize I am just doing a job. I am paid to care. I do get to go home at the end of the day (whenever that might be). But it still changes the state of my heart the same as if I didn't.

I am human.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So I'm REALLLLLLLLY good at this. If one could get paid for doing this well - I'd be right up there at the top making the big bucks.

Unfortunately 'pre-worrying' isn't really a positive quality to have. Pre-planning is, pre-worrying isn't.

My problem is that I get the two confused all of the time. Maybe I should figure out what the difference is ....

A few definitions on worrying (Taken from the Nelson Canadian Dictionary of the English Language - you know in case you all wanted me arrested for plagiarism) :

* To feel uneasy or concerned about something, to be troubled.

* To cause to feel anxious, distressed, or troubled

* Persistent mental uneasiness

* To proceed doggedly in the face of difficulty or hardship, to struggle

I feel wound up in a ball just reading these things.

Now what is planning?

* A scheme, program, or method worked out beforehand to accomplish an objective

* A tentative project or course of action

* To have a specific aim or purpose

Hmmmmm ... sounds much less stressful.

The first half of our marriage Wally and I (probably more I than Wally) had a plan. We did our best to make that plan come to fruition. I did my best not to wrestle with worry about the plan along the way. For the most part I am happy with how I handled the plan in regards to worrying.

All of the parts of my plan that I had control over I fulfilled, we fulfilled. Unfortunately the parts of the plan that relied on ... well I'm not sure who or what to blame ... let's say life, did not get fulfilled in anyway that fit into my plan.

In facing Life's decidedly different plan than my own, I/we had choices. We did our best to avoid worry and be realistic, thoughtful and smart about the options Life offered. I am happy to say that worry only crept into our lives temporarily and never to a point of affecting our decisions too much. This made living Life more fun and enjoyable.

Wally and I are now at another crossroads. We have begun the process of house hunting, something that over the past two years I have secretly dreaded (and not so secretly). I have enjoyed the freedom of renting and the little commitment to stay in one place. I have also enjoyed the financial freedom that does come with no signed monetary agreements past 'yes I'll pay the rent on time'. I have feared the idea of owning a home again, and I realize that it's not mandatory that we do. However it seem right for us in this moment and it's something I think that the I part of us almost needs to do.

In case you haven't noticed I love challenge. I love new things. I love new places. I love meeting new people. I love seeing development. I love growing.

My downfall is that I love all these things a lot and often.

I was on the phone with a College recruiter yesterday as I inquired about a possible course I may be interested in (more on that later). I hadn't realized that it was actually a Diploma and a year's worth of night school. She was asking me what I did for a living now and how long I'd been at it. I chuckled out loud and said 'I'm a DSW and have been working in the field for not quite 2 years'.

She paused and was obviously speechless. I recognized her hesitation. You get familiar with it from people when you are someone like me. It's somewhat embarrassing and sort of fun all at the same time. (I did clarify that I loved my job but not a fan of it in a full time context).

Anyways, I guess my point is that sometimes I get a little out of control with whipping around with new ideas all of the time. I want to see things happen yesterday and when I have to wait I nearly go crazy and either want to give up or, after a lot of fighting with myself) embrace the mental challenge that it is for me and continue to work on it baby step by baby step.

I guess this is one thing that my training and change in eating has really stretched me with. Your body does not change overnight and if you want to ever see or feel a change you HAVE to accept that baby steps is what will take you there.

I know that 'settling down' physically by grounding ourselves somewhere (for however long we feel called to be there) is a healthy step for me to take but definitely a challenging one on the worrying front for me.

You see, Wally and I hope to become parents within the next year or two, some way or another. And since our dramatic (for us) leap of faith in selling our home and moving to the city and going back to school, we have tried to view 'planning' for our lives differently. I have found with the thoughts of buying a house the urge to fall back into pre-planning our lives has come upon me. Something I now sort of despise as I see how great Life can be when you just take one day at a time, one challenge at time, and keep yourself open to what Life often has to offer.

You see when we get too heavily involved in pre-planning, it quickly becomes pre-worrying and then you stop really just living and seeing Life around you. How sad.

I don't want my mortgage to decide my life or how much faith I live with. I want my heart to do that. I want my heart to be full to the brim and overflowing with the excitement that comes with having a home to share, children to fill it, and the love for Life willing to not let physical things snuff out unseen dreams.

So as I wrestle over the idea that I may HAVE to work part time to make things work and wonder if our kids can handle a working mommy, if their working mommy can handle a working mommy, if I'll need to work for my own sanity, how I will accomplish my new dreams while having children, if I can handle children and a job, if I will have time to dream, if I will have energy to pursue my drams, or if I'm selfish for wanting all of it.


Wait a second ....

I just realized something .... one step at a time.


If I just live today and be my smartest, most thoughtful, loving Life me today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. That's all I need to do.

And ... I may just realize that my husband, my kids, my job, the things I challenge myself to do are all indeed a part of my dreams. And with them, I am Living.

One baby step at a time.

Baby steps.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Focus. Balance. Breathing. Doing. Feeling. Listening.

Knowing when to act. Knowing when to stop. Knowing when to run. Knowing when to rest.

I've learned a lot about these things in terms of my time at the gym these days. Respecting each of their roles in the process of bettering my physical body.

However ... I am still learning how to use these valuable tools in my daily life.

Last week I had the privilege of having my PATH done. This is something the agency I work at has began to implement for people we support and now even for the staff. What you do is gather around you people that you care about and that care about you and your dreams. They are people that will help you achieve the things that you dream up.

You get together and sit and the person getting their PATH done, with the facilitators help, puts themselves in a 'dream world' where money is no object and they think of what they would like to do, be and have.

For anyone this can be a challenge. For anyone this can be exciting. For those we support often it is the first time in their lives they get to enter the realm of the impossible, or what seems impossible to them. It can be difficult to put themselves in a place to think of doing ANYTHING when they have only known being limited by their bodies, their minds, those around them, their financial status, just to name a few. It is a beautiful chance for them to put ideas to paper then have others help them achieve these things, or at least perhaps the feeling of these things. (For example their dream may be to become an airline pilot, and due to obvious reasons that may be impossible, however taking them up in an airplane where maybe they could, with some help, control a plane or just fly in the sky, they are given the chance to at least feel those feelings and the freedom that comes with it).

Once you get your dreams out on paper the facilitator helps you go through and see where you will be with them in a year, then 6 months, and what you can do now. This helps breakdown the big goal into smaller steps to hopefully help you see how achievable it is. Then those you've invited can give input on what they can do and where they can help with you achieving these things.

I will admit I had little trouble entering my 'dream world'. I pretty much already knew what my dreams and goals were for this year to come a a wee bit beyond. It was still fun to do. By the end of the evening I was pumping with adrenaline and excitement causing me not to settle down and sleep. The next day the excitement had turned into despair as I had gotten barely any sleep which seemed to make my weekend coming look overwhelming and unbearable. Clearly sleep is an asset.

The past few days have overcome people and left my dreams feeling like weights. I know that's the opposite of the point.

As I've been thinking about my 'issues' I have realized that focus for me is a challenge.

When I worked out with Dee I generally did well because he told me what to do, I never doubted him, I did it and went about my business. Often times a joke was cracked while I was in the middle of performing a set of something or other and it would break my focus and my body would give out. For a good cause but one that interrupted what I was supposed to be doing - I would inevitably get after him to joke during my breaks (though I could absolutely break the rules at anytime).

When I began working out alone I prepped my MP3 player so that I could enjoy music while I was torturing myself alone. However I quickly realized that I need to use everything in me to focus on the task at hand in a workout. I learned that I can workout as hard and some days harder than I did with Dee. this surprised me as I thought Dee was the key to my challenging workouts. I've learned that FOCUS is my most necessary ingredient.

Now coming back to my PATH. After having a rough few days following having my PATH done I have realized that my focus can be a negative thing too.

I have tried to accomplish a years worth of work into the past three days wondering how it will get done, what I should do first, doubting myself, wanting to give up on certain things, stressing about if I can work and accomplish everything, and I could go on and on.

This morning as I have had to choose to skip the gym for my sanity (balance, balance, balance) so that I could stop and reign in my overly jumpy mind that refuses right now to focus on one step at a time.

I hope to be able to slow down my head a bit and just break these goals down a bit more into more bite sized pieces so that I don't overwhelm myself so much.

Hmmmmmmm ... I just had a thought. We'll see if it goes any where.

I think I really miss blogging a lot. Because I've been teased alot about it being narcissistic I think I subconsciously decided that I should let it go because it was unhealthy. I think I over analyzed things and I may just have to make it a priority, if for nothing else, for myself.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Too excited to sleep!!

I'm way too excited to sleep.

Even though I barely slept lastnight and I will hear an alarm going off in ... oh 5.5 hours.

I'm excited because of something I don't have the energy to explain right now but is indeed going to be life changing.

I expect that I will soon be inspired to share more and write more and once again be stretched more. I trust that my urge to write will be ignited again and that it won't be in vain.

Cannot wait til I can sleep, so I can share :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Doggie Poop Bags

Great title eh? Got you intrigued?

A little over 2 years ago when Wally and I moved from our cute little house with our quaint little yard from our quiet little town with our two adorable little dogs to our little apartment in the big city we had some adjusting to do. On many fronts.

Not only did I need to get over the fact that I wouldn't need to plan for the extra 20 minutes in the grocery store for a last minute milk run because we didn't know a single soul here (let alone every other soul related to that soul). We also had to get used to the idea that we did have to plan for the extra twenty minutes it would take to drive a block in a half through traffic during rush hour.

Something else we had to 'come to terms with' was the fact that we no longer had a convenient fenced in yard to house and employ our dog duties. This meant a minimum of three trips a day down 7 flights in an annoying old elevator that moved at the matched snail pace of 95% those who used it.

I remember a couple of weeks into newly established daily doggie outing schedule (which by the way, we never ever had before) thinking 'Oh my goodness. 3 walks a day times 365 days a year for at least 2 years equals 2190 (ok so I didn't exactly do that math in my head but you get the idea) walks while we live here! How am I ever going to do this?!'

It overwhelmed me to think about the fact that I would have to pick up their poop that many times before ever getting the luxury of just opening up the back door and letting them run freely to a tree or spot of their choosing (in the dark cold morning might I add). I know it sounds silly but this tidbit of reality gave me a bit of panic.

Would I be able to pull myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to do this? What about in the winter time when the snow is above their little heads and there's no where to scamper to ... you know, move things along? What about when one of them came down with the dreaded doggie poo flu? Yikes how would I deal with that in the middle of the night seven stories up?

Well two years later I have learned that you do what you need to do in situations you just have no choice about.

It only took a few months before I completely forgot about the looming 2190 poop pick ups that would have to be done (which is good considering that number will likely turn out to be closer to 3285). We got into a new rhythm in our lives and all of the 'fun' of no backyard became the norm at our place (along with the 75 layers of ridiculously mismatched winter wear that rears it's ugly head late every fall).

My silent hopes that our dogs would be flu free while living closer to the sky have been dashed, more than once. I have found myself outside of our building at 3am in my pjs trying to encourage a sick dog to get everything cleared out before returning to fits of vomiting ... or worse inside.

Through it all I have wished on more than one occasion that we didn't have carpeting everywhere and have definitely dreaded the elevator wait in times of desperate need (doggie bladder infections aren't cool, nor are plugged anal glands - gotta hate when that happens). But I have learned it can be done. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

I'm not exactly sure when I stopped counting the poop bags. Maybe when I accepted that this was our reality for now and the only other choice would be to get rid of these furry little creatures, which for us wasn't (and isn't) an option.

Sometimes not having choices is the best thing for us.

Why do I bring this little story up?

Yesterday was my first workout alone and with the realization that's how it would be for ... ever.

My immediate thoughts while I was in the middle of my rather intense self torture went to wondering how many more times I would have to do this before it was over. Unfortunately the answer didn't bring relief.

I remember when I first started doing cardio twice a week, as prescribed by Dee, and sitting on the bike (which by the way I abhorred and think I may still when I put it at a workout level) thinking 'Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to do this forever! I hate this. *pant pant* How am I ever going to get through it? I hate this. *pant pant* How am I not going to quit? I hate this. *pant pant* What if it doesn't make me lose weight? (Clearly I cared deeply about my health then). I hate this. *pant pant* How many more times do I have to do this? I hate this. *pant pant*'

I won't lie, I still have days when I wonder if I'll be able to stick with it and wish it wasn't a part of taking care of the health I've been blessed with. Overall though I look forward to getting my heart pumping (even though I still hate the bike I force myself to do it because it makes me work hard and sweat lots). In fact after doing weight training I look forward to mindless stuff like cardo on a machine and oddly now consider it the dessert after a healthy meal (sick I know).

My hope is that I will soon forget thinking about how many more I have to go and begin to crave it as a necessary part of feeling good.

The one thing that has kept me in the gym through moments of wanting to absolutely give up and never return has been neglecting the worry of 'next time' and focusing on just getting through 'this time'. I can't tell you how many times this strategy has helped me succeed through a tough time.

I've mentioned this before but in the past I've approached diet and exercise as 'all or nothings'. I had to do something perfectly or I would give up. This time around I have been able to approach things more in the moment and it's been an awesome discovery.

People often joke that if you knew what was going to happen in the future you'd never get out of bed to face it because you'd be worried and scared all of the time. But life does happen when we least expect it and challenges come our way that we overcome or at least learn how to live with (often not without a good scrappy fight along the way). We get bumped and bruised, and don't always feel so hot about what we have to do and often resent the fact that we have to do it. In the end though most of us do it. We survive and some of us even thrive through it.

Some of us eventually stop counting the poop bags and just look forward to the walk.

I want to look forward to the walk and enjoy the one I'm already on.

It's ok to sit down once in a while and rest, that's what benches are for. As long as we eventually get back up and keep walking, right?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Buzz, buzz, buzz

I'm not sure why my itch to write as of late has been non existent but it has and I won't lie, it kind of concerns me. For quite a while I thought 'I could totally do this for a living' but as the past couple of months have flown by with little thought or urge to do so I wonder if the satisfaction of it was only temporary and yet another one of my 'phases'. If so, it saddens me, as I gain so much relief and satisfaction from it.

There is part of me that wonders if it's the imbalance I've been feeling as of late is the real cause.

I really feel like a broken record harping on and on about not being even keel so much with work and personal life, this time I think the imbalance lies in a different area of my life...

I am the type of person who is not particularly a fan of confrontation. However in light of the breakdown of what I would consider to be a very important relationship in my life over the past 6 months (I can't believe it's been that long! I now understand how time escapes people who are involved in a disagreement and they end up losing 25 years to resentment and hurt before they realize it), I will say I am an even less of a fan of watching conflict idling without confronting the cause.

Unfortunately I feel that there has been a breakdown to some degree in both my personal life and professional life that I have struggled greatly to address.

In my relationship personally I have done all that I can do (aside from excusing the hurt I experienced and behaviour shown to me) to try and fix it. I know that the expectation of many of those around me has been to once again let go of the internal injury and move on. To be honest I want to be able to do that, and in I way I think I have. However the memory of what keeps happening, the established pattern, haunts me and has caused me to be shy of re-entering that pattern. Not to mention there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that I can seem to do right in this person's eyes so I'm at the point I don't want to try anymore. However, as I mentioned earlier, I cannot stand the discord or 'unkept' relationship, especially when I know there is great potential for things to be so much better than they are.

In this case I clearly have a choice to make, I just don't know what that is.

The part of me of me that clings to peace and fullness desires nothing but to let go and move on. Yet an equal part of me, that has received constant criticism about everything I say and do and so much of who I am, is aching for a break from the 'air' of judgment that never seems to end. I just want to be shielded from it.

Many people have told me story after story of their experiences and have stated that leaving such a situation would be better and easier on all fronts. As I sit in the position I'm in right now I can't help but want to do this so very badly, just leave, walk out and never look back. However doing so would affect the most important relationship that I have and I don't want to do that (even though at this point it's all I can do to NOT do this).

It's times like this that I want the lessons of the fragility and incredible giftedness that is life to get lost. I want to forget that I am doing my damnedest to live life to it's fullness without regret or misgiving in my relationships. Whenever I get into a situation as this I always use life and death as a baseline for my decisions. I actually tried this very early on when trying to bring the situation to a close but it wasn't received as anything worth giving a second glance at. It's usually then that I figure if someone can't see how important it is to give and receive forgiveness when reminded of this, it is my hint to move on and not give anymore of myself (here I am assuming myself is worth the time of day).

For some reason this little test has failed and I still find myself wondering what to do. The memory of potential death looms in my head and I want all to be at peace. (Sounds morbid I know, but I think it's important to do our best to be at our best as much as we can with those that are significant in our lives).

That's my personal dilemma.

Then there's my work dilemma ... which really could be described very much alike.

Where I work there seems to have developed a breakdown between the relationship of staff and management, not unheard of for any workplace. In fact most people would not see a workplace as healthy unless this breakdown (or 'respect'/fear) existed.

I have always been under the impression that the agency I work for is different. And though I've seen otherwise over the past several months I believe it is different, in a good way. I just wonder if recent rapid growth has changed things rather quickly and the first thing to go was the affection between staff and management. And unfortunately along with staff and their jobs. That's just my best guess.

You may be wondering what my dilemma is here. I mean what really can someone who is still in their infancy of a new career do in an agency that has spanned over her lifetime right? Well inside I know a lot. Once again my incessant need for peace, fullness and life override everyone's logic (even my own) and challenge me to find resolution. Yet I still ask myself 'Who am I in a group of 120 other people?' Well, I am one big fat annoying voice. Come on, we all know how annoying a buzzing little fly can be whether you are in a small room or large. All you really want to do is kill the annoying little bastard.

Maybe that's my fear, that I'll get the boot. However, if I'm not fulfilled, along with dozens of other people who used to LOVE their jobs and where they worked, then what really is the loss?

I've tried to feel out the crowd and see if it was just me and my 'weaknesses' that kept me from satisfaction but quickly learned that the only thing holding people back form doing anything was fear. I've heard over and over that people fear being looked at as a 'black sheep' and worry that they will establish a bad reputation and get the ramifications of it later.

Something I hate about myself: though I am often fearful, it rarely stops me from doing what I know is best. This does not make me a hero, this pushes me to points of frustration that are beyond sanity and I hate it. Yet I feel as though I have no choice.

When I think about it, I kind of wonder if balance isn't the issue I am struggling with here but just the frustration of responsibility of who I am (not that I'm all that special, I just mean we all are put here to do something and have a responsibility to do it).

I can't tell you how many times in the past few months I have wanted to speak on behalf of my burned out, misused and fearful co workers. Most of whom are not my friends, just fellow humans whom have yet to discover their voice, or moreover are scared to death to use it.

It's funny, in school we were actually taught how to advocate for those we support but never for ourselves. As I think more and more about the stress levels and discontent of my co workers I am realizing this cannot NOT affect those we support. Reminding me right now how important it is to speak up.

*taking a breath*

Well, after getting this out I think I have solved at least one of my conundrums. The first one I still have no clue about. The second is easy: I have to speak for those who don't have a voice, whether I'm only heard as the annoying fly or not.

It's funny how we spend so much time trying to get a job done yet we are totally missing the point of what we are actually aiming to complete. In my field we spend our entire day trying to understand someone's method of communication and then doing our best to give what is needed. How odd that we try and do this for others yet have no clue how to do it for ourselves.

It's time to learn.

Buzz, buzz, buzz!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thank you

I smiled :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I have thoughts.

What's new?

My new thoughts.

I hope to share them soon.

So I won't forget, the topic is: selfishness.

So there.

I miss writing. And thinking. And ... well ... other stuff.

I'm feeling a wee bit sad right now. I'll get over it. There are bigger crisis' in the world.

Hopefully I can write soon.


If you have a minute (which is unlikely) share something that will make me smile. You know, if you have a minute :)

I just need a little one.
In the mean time

Friday, September 10, 2010

Graduation #2

Ok so it's 2:40am and though I complained non stop yesterday of feeling one long wink away from a nap, I am awake and kicking right now thinking only of one thing (well, actually two): Dee and my graduation day.

Yes, yesterday I graduated. At least that's what it felt like to me.

I was nervous before my last of 52 sessions over the past 6 months came to a close. I wondered what my final day would feel like. Would it be harder than usual or the same? Would I burst into tears at the end and cry at Dee's feet and plead him not to let me go? Would I joyously throw him a high five and skip out of that gym with glee? (I almost typed that word with a capital - ha ha!!) What would happen?

As I met the hour with great anticipation I soon learned my fate...

For the most part it was the same intense workout as usual, except the part where I talked Dee's ear off with questions, and for some reason only had a few pokes at his ego to give.

Part of me was scared to speak much so I didn't, as in the previous few sessions, nearly cry during some hard sets just at the thought of trying to go at this huge task on my own. I couldn't stop thinking of the fact that I'd been at this for 6 months, and despite hearing him tell me that my results were incredible and that he was full of pride at my life changing attitude, was yet convinced.

Instead I had guilt feelings over the fact that I hadn't achieved my lifelong goal .... yet. I scolded myself for not taking advantage every second of my life of the fact that I had the opportunity that was Dee to shed all of the challenge that has haunted me most of my days. I really used to (I'm trying to change) think that if I didn't achieve perfect fitness in 3-6 months I was a failure. I know in my head that's not true but winning the fight in my heart is a different story.

Of course there is the fact that I have built a friendship with an unlikely subject that has played with my emotions as well. I can't say that I ever thought I would share my deepest insecurities and struggles with a buff, wrestler type, well ... ever.

So instead of risking the spillage of my tears I decided to guard my mouth (for once) and stay relatively quiet (I didn't want to go too wild and be silent).

I later got a text from Dee asking about my less chatty nature. I had to share with him that I was just processing in my head what this day meant.

During our time together yesterday he assured me once again he would be there for me for anything I needed which is reassuring but not the same as going at it without him. At the end he said 'Ok come over here and give me a hug' to which I replied 'Are you serious?' and gave him a 'Do I have?' look.

Of course rarely does one yet to be muscle filled win against one of the opposite stature when something is up for debate. I got off my butt and shared an embrace that was surprisingly real. He spoke into my ear one last time 'I'm so proud of you darling, you've done great.' (Don't be alarmed, he uses darling here in there when he can get away with it).

In that moment I used every bit of strength to not cry, as we were in the main part of the gym right in front of the entrance doors and counter where people sit to have their overpriced smoothies at the end of their workouts. He had clarified with me at the beginning of the workout 'You're not going to cry today are you?' To which I curtly said 'Of course not'. I had to hold up my not so confident declaration.

But it was difficult. My voice broke and I just did my best to hold in the tears that would soon follow and the bright red nose that would make it's debut at any time.

I was slightly thankful that I didn't have time for cardio that day because once I got to my car my throat burned and my nose went aflame. It was now ... over. No more Dee. Or at least no more Dee as a trainer.

I waited briefly for my tears to blur my vision and my throat to feel relief from all the emotion with a good cry, but it never came. I'm not sure why, I was indeed grieving the loss of my trainer and one of my biggest encouragers, but something held me back.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that deep down I know that I'm ready to be on my own, or that I have confidence that Dee will keep up his end of the bargain and keep his promise to remain friends (which apparently includes an invite to his wedding, a shopping trip to give me help with my clear lack of fashion, or the promised bikini beach trip he plans to take me on next summer to show off my achieved body - which for clarification has yet to be achieved). Whatever it was, it held me back from releasing all of my mixed emotions and kept reminding me that this whole journey had indeed just begun, and that this was just the next logical step in me achieving my greater goal.

I was a bit irritated at my inward wisdom. I mean I just wanted to feel sad and scared, and get it all out of my system, but my system didn't agree with my desire and forced me to keep it together.

As I tossed and turned even just an hour or so ago I couldn't help but notice the literal pain my butt was feeling from my workout yesterday and think of Dee (this statement really is hilarious right now) and all that lies ahead.

I have learned to welcome (a certain amount) of physical pain that comes after some of my workouts. It is a reminder to me that I am reshaping and rebuilding my body into something strong, beautiful and healthy for myself.

I have yet to welcome the pain that develops in my heart following the departure of yet another person who has entered and will soon exit from a certain role in my life.

One thing I noticed a lot since moving to the city and starting over is how many people I have become deeply connected with whom I later learn only have a brief part to play in my life. Life back home was so far from this. You would know who you knew from childhood until death pretty much and the characters in your play (or life) were much more there out of necessity than choice. which overall seems more appealing than having a monologue of a life.

I just recently said to Wally after the news that one of our former 'Monday night gang' shared with us they got a job an hour and half away, how much I've noticed the departure of so many that had become so dear to us through out our short time here. The change is constant yet still powerful enough to leave a dull ache in your soul.

At first I want to cry (and often do) and plead (and I often do) for the person to stay. I cling to that relationship and try my darndest to keep it what it was. As I get used to this common theme of relationship change in our lives here, I am learning to let go of certain relationships easier and embrace the new ones that may develop as a result.

This doesn't mean necessarily not being friends (or it may), it just means allowing for growth for myself to be ok with how things will change. That may mean more traveling, a change in the role that person plays (perhaps a stronger role or a lighter one), or it may mean it's time to let them go. The good news is things generally happen gradually and over time without you realizing it.

In Dee's case I will miss our banter, his pushing, the sexually inappropriate humour I am only really able to make around him. But after pondering over the past couple of weeks thinking of this up coming change I am reassured by the fact that the ache in my heart is a growth ache. One much like my muscle ache, that will strengthen my spirit and build it into a beautiful (hopefully) thing. Overall I must focus on the positive side of things and be reminded of the fact that I have connected with another person (even if only for a time), I have learned so much about myself and changed a ton in the process, I have sparked a new passion inside of myself and hold onto the belief that I will achieve what I have always seen as 'the impossible' in the past.

At this point I know that if I held onto Dee as my trainer for longer I'd be ruining my chance to continue to learn and grow on my own and achieve only what I can achieve (at this point in my journey) on my own. Knowing this gives me strength and allowance to embrace these changes.

There is so much ahead for me and I look forward to seeing what happens ...

However right now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to give myself a few moments to feel the pain of this healthy step forward.

(My throat hurts).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Journey

Have you ever began a journey to a place you had every intention of going and yet ended up somewhere completely different? Somewhere, in fact, you did not even know existed?

I have, actually, I am. It may not surprise you that once again I am speaking of my ... hmmmm, I don't even know what to call it anymore because I'm learning more and more that it's not about weight loss, well let's just say the journey of acceptance in regards to my body.

When I started this particular trip it was not at all much different than those I've headed out on probably hundreds of times before (no kidding - hundreds).

I had no idea whether or not I would succeed, or what success would really look like. I was not sure how my body would change or if my spirit would transform a whole lot. I had no serious goals or aspirations but to do what I was told in the moment. I had no intentions of changing my lifestyle all that much or seeing myself any differently.

One thing I did know (or thought) was that when you begin a journey it has an end. In my mind the 'journey' would end when I reached my goal and that would be the end of it. I would get to go back to my old life only with a new body and perhaps if I was lucky a muscle or two in tow.

Most of all I believed that 6 months would have been more than enough to for me to get my crap together and figure everything out. Everything. My 'issues', the logistics of weight loss, how to love myself, how to enjoy my body. And of course I would automatically love and adore my new fit self.

I sit here exactly 6 months after my first of 50 sessions with Dee having learned so many things and at the same time still having to learn so very much.

I've already talked about the basic lessons in nutrition and physical fitness I have learned. I do believe they are the easy parts because, for the most part, they have concrete answers and guidelines people can follow.

Aside from those topics everything else has seemed to be shown to me in a completely unexpected and new way.

Here are some of the things I learned (and forgive me if they are repeats I've already mentioned in the past):

* Our journeys don't end officially until we die.

Even if we give up on them for a while or seemingly indefinitely, unless we are dead they are never over and we always, ALWAYS have a chance to keep going, learning and growing through them. I thought this whole thing would be like going to school and taking a class with a start date and a finish test. The strange thing is that it's ongoing, almost like everyday is THE test. Will I get up and workout today? Will I choose to put living food into my body this meal (no I don't mean a squawking chicken)? Will I see myself as beautiful in the mirror and beyond? Just like writing an essay, there are no write or wrong answers really, you're just always trying to do better to master your craft, and every day is a chance to do better at something. You never reach a finish. You may reach a goal but it's then you must create a new one otherwise you will sit down and go nowhere. We may need a little rest every once in a while but in the end we must always keep traveling.

* No matter how healthy I get I will always have the potential to fall back into my old lifestyle.

This one I learned from Dee who I will tell you is in peak condition. Or he was when I met him. About half way through he shared with me that he had fallen away from his strict nutrition and workouts and within a month he had increased his body fat from 7% to like 12%, it may have been more. Anyways it was a big deal for him (though I couldn't say I noticed) and he said he had just gotten used to being fit and eating whatever and letting go a bit. HE quickly realized that he couldn't have his cake and eat it too. He's back on his program and is fine. IT was a wake up call for me to hear this. Not because I plan on being a wrestler, whipping around a ring half naked, but seeing someone who's job it is to be fit and in control fall out of that so easily it can definitely happen to me. This doesn't mean I can't enjoy some super yummy chocolate cake now and then, it just means I have to constantly be aware (no matter how fit I am) that this could and may always be struggle for me so I need to watch myself.

* No matter how much your body changes if your self image doesn't change too, it's all for nothing.

I have focused a lot of my efforts on learning and trying to apply practically the information I have absorbed. I have had some good success. The strange thing is if it weren't for a certain pair of pants that I recently got into for the first time comfortably (I have had them for a few years and have never worn them), I would honestly not notice much of a difference in my body, visually at least. I'm not sure if I've shared this before but I used to joke with Wally that if it wasn't for having to wear clothes I would not really have a huge issue with my body (this was before I lost some weight). I know this is odd but when I looked in the mirror I thought my body was ok, it was when I had to put tight, restrictive clothing on I had issues. The unfortunate part is that even now as I look in the mirror I see the same exact body as before. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either and that, I know, is a problem and a shame.

My self image is definitely something I want to work on in the next six months as I continue this unexpected journey. I know that I need to stop abhorring my hips and back fat and start appreciating how incredibly blessed I am to have a body that works, functions and gives so very much to me. I hope that I can begin to do the REAL work that is needed to accept the part of me that has no business defining me: my body.

I'm a little ashamed that I have not worked on this aspect more as I am quite sure it is likely the most important one to accept and understand. I guess this highlights something else I have learned along the way...

* It's ok to learn things entirely in your own time (and don't beat yourself up if it has taken you longer!!!)

I cannot count how many times I have said to Dee 'But those other people got to their goal weight in 12 weeks' which was always an interlude to one of his 'Oh my goodness!!! You've come so far already and you've only started!!' lectures. I have found it far too easy to focus on where I'm not rather than focusing on where I am that I often trip myself up. Yes, I am my own worst enemy at times. I am only beginning to accept MY timing and MY learning curve. I do celebrate the fact that I no longer feel anxious when time goes by and I haven't reached a set goal because 9 times out of 10 I have made a detour and learned something else very important along the way. I now try to allow myself time to figure things out on my own and I try not to rush it because I want to be real, I want this journey to be real. When I shared with Dee my worries about being done my training and feeling fearful of being an impostor at the gym, someone who comes in and looks like they know what they are doing but really haven't a clue. His response was 'You're as real as it gets' which helped me realize I am indeed my harshest critic and though it may take me longer than others to figure things out, when I do, it will be for real.

There you go, a little insight to what I've been dealing with over the past several months. I have a long way to go, more so in my head than anywhere else. When Dee asked me the other day how I felt about coming so far and doing so well. I replied 'When I am still working out here in 6 months, then 2 years, then after that, I will know I have succeeded.' He said in that moment I had made him really proud. I hope so because overall my thoughts have changed a lot. When I started my goals were about looking better and getting to a certain point, and I now realize that your main goals shouldn't be all about numbers really, they should be about taking care of yourself. In every way.

I want to do that now because I am still alive and I can.

I'll let you know how the self image thing goes.

And the next leg of the journey.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Long term stuff

As usual it never rains but when it pours with my blogging and well I think it's pouring right now...

There are a few things whirling about in my mind right now and not I just need to pick what thing I watch to catch and get it out. Give me a second ...

*snatches a thought*

Hmmmm, definitely appropriate for today. Ok so this I would or should be putting on my other blog but seeing as I've abandoned it for now it's going to end up here.

Today I am going to my third last training session with Dee. I have to say how surprised I am about how ready (in most ways) I feel about going at this alone.

I mean don't get me wrong I will miss him tons and tons. However he has ensured me that he will be around anytime I need him to answer any questions I have and help me out. That is definitely good to know and I believe him when he says this 100%.

More recently I have hurled myself from becoming educated about eating clean into the world of learning about different exercise, weight training, stretching, core strength and anything else I can get my hands onto.

I know, you'd think after 6 months with a trainer I should know everything I need to know. Dee would say I do, I would say I know the basics. I know that the basics are a good foundation but I have a very inquisitive mind that has a need to know why and how, how much and where things needs to be done. I have been watching a tv show incessantly that is keeping me sharp and alert to what I want and how I can get it.

It's amazing how much more you absorb when you are forced to figure things out on your own, and how much more of the 'why' that gets answered when you do this.

When I started out I did what I was told because I trusted Dee knew what he was doing. I never really questioned him or cared about why we did anything the way we did. Now that I know I will soon be by myself I cannot get enough answers. My research has proven very helpful (Dee was definitely a great source and has embraced my millions of questions the past several sessions).

This researching has certainly sparked an interest in the realm of fitness that I've always known was there. In fact I remember years ago telling one of my closest friends (whom I knew wouldn't laugh at me) that I felt deep inside there was an athlete inside of me. Someone who craved health and activity and who could be great at it. I actually told her that I honestly felt that I would love doing all the things I was too scared to try but that I didn't know how.

I realized the other day ... I know how. I am finally becoming what I knew was always buried deep inside.

Unfortunately it took my years to take a risk ad be vulnerable with someone to learn. And while learning over the past several moths it has taken me the entire time to realize that my focus about weight loss and fitness has been flawed all along. (I am thankful I realized this at 30 years of age and not 60!).

I used to look at exercise as a means to an end. For me that was always weight loss and smaller clothes. Now I look at exercise in many other ways...

The obvious is to enhance my health, to be fit, and take care of what I've been given. So many people I work with, due to brain damage, cannot make their bodies do what mine can do without a problem (theoretically at least). I get reminded of this everyday and I plan and hope to take advantage of this gift as often as I can.

When I began working out with Dee often to get through the workouts I'd just think of Vivvie and how she couldn't dance, feel the feeling of a good walk, run up the stairs or even go into half the stores at the mall because let me tell you they are anything but wheelchair accessible.

In my studies I've also learned about muscle memory and how if I was in a car accident tomorrow and was laid up in bed for a long time and lost what I have gained it is much easier to get back than if I'd never weight trained at all. Now I consider my training like an insurance policy.

Another thing I know is how great working out is for me mentally and emotionally. It is such a great stress reliever! (Especially box class).

Now, I won't lie to you I still stand in front of the mirror and check out my exceptionally (at least in my head) wide hips and wonder why I bother. The great part is I am getting to the point where I almost don't care about the aesthetic benefits (I said almost).

My focus has shifted dramatically from looking at a scale (I actually stopped weighing myself weeks ago) and my reflection, to seeing what challenge I can overcome at the gym or with my clean eating (and no I don't mean starving myself).

I asked Dee to give me a challenge to work on by myself. He did. Right now it seems impossible but I know I can do it and while I'm doing it and focusing on the right things the rest will come.

I'm actually thinking about someday becoming a trainer (well getting the paperwork, I really don't care if I ever do the job at this point). It would be a challenge to get in great physical condition (although, once again I know they aren't all in great shape, even though they look like it). And this is something I have learned happens over the long term not the short term.

I need long term goals, my short term list seems to be completely filled up!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Early retirement

Today I had one of those days that makes you wonder why you do what you do. The funny thing it wasn't what I was doing that made me wonder, it was the 'business' that goes along with it.

I briefly contemplated early retirement, then reminded myself to be careful what I wish for. I then took a few minutes to miss being self employed answering really only to myself. Of course this too has it's own set of challenges.

Recently I've noticed the great divide between many in management positions (I'm assuming in general) and those who spend their time primarily doing frontline work.

Days like today make me have to use every fiber of my being not to shout out in the middle of the office 'Seriously? Can you not read?' as I gazed at my highlighted, scribbled on mileage form that was placed back into my mailbox. It apparently had not held the all of the info that it was supposed to.

I was unusually frustrated at the dozen little notes written to me with obvious confusion and frustration on the judges part. Enough I nearly cried. Luckily I reminded myself that I was tired as it was my final day of work in my week and I had just finished an overnight a few hours prior.

I did not respond out loud as I did in my head ... this time. I instead bubbled and boiled to myself as I gazed over my sheet. From what I know it got approved ('this time').

I'm not sure why this incident bothered me so much. I'm not sure if it's because I have had my limit of encounters with management obsessing over crossed t's and dotted i's in select circumstances while seemingly missing the entire meaning behind what the i's and t's are spelling out in others. Or the fact that I wonder if they have indeed forgotten what all we do as support workers.

Whatever it is I am beginning to wonder how long I will be able to passionately embrace this field. It is so incredibly draining on so many levels.

There's the physical level of lifting, wiping, washing, sometimes hitting, hair pulling, along with the regular go, go , go schedule.

There's the emotional level of relating, empathizing, advocating, communicating, understanding, being patient, genuinely caring, and constantly drawing on energy from deep within to help you get through a stubborn situation of someone who really seems to be in another place.

The intellectual level of problem solving, being creative, teaching, understanding the flawed system of government and formal supports to make your way around, and dealing with the all important mileage sheets (that give you a tenth of a centimeter to write a novels worth of information in - yeah I'm still ticked off about that).

I was complaining to Wally tonight about how I worked so many hours. He asked how many. I said 'between 35-45 a week'. He replied 'You're working normal hours that everyone works!'

By no means do I think my job is the hardest in the world, or the most difficult, nor does it take the most brain power.

I do think that the best support workers limit their time doing frontline support work - for the good of all. By no means am I saying those that only work 35 hrs and under are the best at their job, just that to be the best you have to carefully and thoughtfully take care of yourself and recognize what's best for all involved.

I have quickly learned that there is very little money to be earned in human services really. And we get caught in the whirlwind of needing to survive that balloons into feeling entitled to the things we want. and why wouldn't we? Anyone that works hard deserves to enjoy the benefits of their labour. Unfortunately if you are a single and living on your own in this field this leaves you busting your butt day and night and getting over worked and under valued.

As I was driving home from a shift tonight I was thinking about how I really no longer desire to trade in my happiness and joy for a few more dollars. I briefly remembered how lucky I am to have a partner with a job to help pay the bills. Then I thought to myself 'What would I do without him?'

Monetarily speaking .... I knew the answer right away. I would own little and love it. I would not kill myself to own a house, or have a big apartment. In fact I would likely be living in an old couples' basement or sharing an apartment with some sketchy roommate. Who knows really? I just know that I have come to value my joy above my stuff and don't think I could go back. It's so not worth it.

I love the essence of my job.

I'm not fond of the neighborhood and the company the essence keeps. (Or should I say the company that surrounds the essence).

For now I will do my best to reign in my thoughts from coming out of my mouth often enough so that the higher ups aren't constantly considering coming down on me. And continue to look for ways to find a smile, a laugh and the joy in the time I spend with the people I support.

I'm in this field for a reason right now and while I'm here I might as well enjoy the scenery and learn everything I can because soon enough life changes and you miss what you once had.

(No I have no plans on another job anytime soon, however the best plans are thwarted often in a great story).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My new project

Ok so I only have a handful of minutes here it is ...

I have contacted the organization in Thai Thai and they have welcomed us to come and visit without any troubles.

Though there is much more planning to be done wally and I are tentatively planning on going to Thai Thai in January or February of next year (only 4-5 months away!!!).

I contacted Compasio a couple of weeks ago about visiting and about some sort of project I could post on my blog and facebook to work on while waiting for our trip. Something that could connect us a bit more to what they do so that when we arrive it won't seem so unfamiliar (what they do - I'll post more on that later).

Anyways I was given a short list of a couple of things I could work to fund raise for. Things that they really need and a few things that would just be nice to have.

As I got thinking of the projects to fund raise for I had the realization that most people doing service work abroad in this context have to raise their funds to go. Since Wally and I decided long ago that we wouldn't be doing that I had another thought: Why not raise the amount of money we would have for our trip over there only use it towards the needs they shared with us!! The amount we would need to raise would cover EVERYTHING they mentioned to me (like, their WHOLE list!!!).

I have already shared my thoughts with the organization and am now looking into how to connect up a system for collecting funds for these specific projects (I'm sure it's not that difficult, I'm just not tech savvy) on this blog and my facebook page.

My goal: $4000.00. Half of which I want to raise before we go (ideally it would be great to raise all of it but I do want to be prepared for the possibility it being a challenge).

I am confident that with the help of those around me and perhaps some creative fund raisers this can be done. It is something I believe it and plan to share.

*big sigh released*

What have I gotten myself into?

Something very ... worthwhile!!