calm your tits

I’m in a good place as I write this. Normally I’m angsty or crying or fed up and miserable which is what people like to read from me. I share the same mentality in that misery LOVES company, I jump on board to wallow in someone else’s pain too. It makes my life feel better for the moment and I enjoy that camaraderie immensely.

I woke up early this morning, not by choice mind you, my husband felt it important to jolt me awake to tell me that the song birds are migrating and that it’s not raining too much and also that he is reformatting my computer at 6am with the kitchen is blaring CBC radio. I guess he is in long weekend mode so I let him ramble and kiss me good bye as he ran out the door leaving the house whirling in his wake.

I lumbered up but decided to sit with a coffee and write even though I really had nothing to say. Maybe I should write about that? I mean, most people think I am a raging lunatic most of the time, maybe I should write from a place of calm? As I reflected, I noted that calm is a relative term these days isn’t it? We aspire for it, but would we even notice if we achieved it? A moment of calm might be spent on the computer trolling insta, or binging netflix, or my husbands addiction to strange sub-reddits. But is this really a state of relaxation?

Do we even know how to chill out anymore? We have been forced inside, told to relax through this mess but have any of us really been ‘calm’ through it? Have any of us really sat back and thought, cool, I’m going to commit to this imposed restrictive life and soak in the vibes. I’m going to go all hippie and be one with the family, love everyone and sip herbal tea in my jams all day.

Not a fucking chance.

Most are worried about something, or multiple things. Whether it’s working from home, lack of money, fear of the disease, the dreaded home schooling, essential workers are worried about going IN to work, toilet paper, zoom meetings, HOME SCHOOLING, face masks, hand sanitizers, when Homesense is going to open, HOME SCHOOLING. There is so much to dread.

I don’t think I have been calm for any of it, maybe 6%. If I wasn’t in a state of depression, panic, stress, madness, then I was on my phone scrolling twitter, or cursing Facebook posts from people lying about how they are loving this time (they are not actually calm at all), or trying to do my actual work, or finishing the books I have on the go, or writing, or drawing, or cross stitching or managing my daughters slime addiction. I’ve realized as I sit here (still doing something) that calm wouldn’t be a word I am familiar with anymore. 

I’ve filled my days with so much ‘doing’ that I’m not sure I would know calm if it came from the earth in the form of a large alien snake and bit me in the ass…yes we recently watched Tremors.

Days blend in, routines are made, broken, made again, tensions rise, then they fall – it’s been an erratic flow chart of ups and downs for 60 or 8000 days – who counts anymore? That calm we seek is shrouded in things we feel we need to be DOING to be calm and chill or ‘taking advantage of the situation’ to be insanely productive. 

I used to booze to be calm. It gave me an excuse to sit, have a cocktail (or 20) and talk and laugh and that would be my night. I would sit on my ass for hours not really doing anything but ‘being’. I can’t do that anymore (and I don’t want to) but what have I replaced that with? Some friends shared a beer the other weekend and I sat from a distance very antsy and thinking I should be doing, building my brain, reading, I felt like I couldn’t sit and chill like I used to and that was unsettling.

I feel good today but I’m also still DOING. My brain is constantly running through the days activities: when should I clean the house (because it is in lord of the flies mode), when will I work, when should I post this blog, what will I make for dinner, how will I ever get this oobleck slime smear off my dining table, when I will get to A and then B and then C, D, E? The list continues…

So while we are all doing our best, hanging by a thread, take a moment to think about what the repercussions of this are going to be on our mental health. In 6 months will we have some sort of PTSD from covid? Will we fill the void with retail therapy? Will we crumble in the real world once we can socialize again? Will we function awesomely or will going to an office with real people spiral our mental state into blackness?

I’m not sure I can even be calm, but perhaps mindfulness of the layers of immense stress and it’s effect on our mental health is a baby step in the right direction. We all need to calm our tits and take 5 seconds to stare at those fucking song birds that are coming to town. Enjoy the long weekend friends, you’re doing amazing :)

xoxo

The Hamster Wheel of Corona Delirium

I’ve had this conversation with many people this week…the current phase of quarantine that has us spinning the wheels, going effectively nowhere, the never ending daily nothing.

The covid novelty has worn off, weeks have passed, some have gone back to work, some are still stuck home, but we are all tired of the groundhog day life we have succumb to.

I know we have to stay home, stay focused on the end goal, but it’s getting HARD. The wake up, lather, rinse, repeat of the days are leaving us unsettled and squirrelly. We know we need to cut ourselves some slack, we have to be gentle, but the thought that every single event of 2020 being effectively cancelled is weighing on our mental capacity for positivity.

I’ve watched enough Netflix and I’ve baked enough dessert. My kids now groan at the idea of another ‘family stroll’. Our ability to look at the situation as a bonding agent for us has started to wane. I don’t want to eat shitty anymore, I don’t want to listen to the news, I don’t want to shop online. I want to put on some god damn high heels and sit in a room FULL of my friends. I want to reminisce with equal horror and laughter about that crappy weird time that corona had us holed up in a state of unrest, ordering fashion forward PPE masks by the boatload.

I want to get to the conversations that start with ‘hey remember when people went nuts and bought all the toilet paper?’ and then we laugh and tell our own stories with equal fondness and horror that thank god it has ended.

I dream of a time when I won’t worry that hanging out in a friends backyard might land them with a fat social distance fine. I also don’t want to hear the words social distance EVER FECKING AGAIN. I don’t want to be scared to walk into the wrong entrance at the grocery store. I want to hug and euro kiss my friends anytime I want to.

I don’t want to think about ways to turn my life into something meaningful during ‘this time of reflection’. I want to experience that mundane boring life of walking to get a coffee, not avoiding fellow pedestrians with a wide 6 ft berth or maybe just jumping in the car to eat outside of our own house – gasp – the luxury with which we now view those things.

We are turning on each other, kids to parents, partner to partner, it’s becoming a thing and sadly I think it’s unavoidable. I woke up today thinking I would start a Wacky Wednesday tradition in which we do something we don’t normally do each week but I’m lacking the creativity to come up with an idea.

Maybe something will hit me, maybe I will continue to sit and stare at my online shopping cart wasting another hour of the day. Who knows. I do know that in a couple hours I will go to bed and have to get up and do it all over again. I lift a non-alcoholic glass to all of you who are still thriving in quarantine, but also to tell you to stop posting it on social media, NO ONE wants to see your fancy bread anymore. NO ONE.

Xoxo

am I really a piece of garbage? all signs point to yes.

Let me elaborate.

Finn had a homework assignment: Ask your parents how they helped someone with bullying or in general when they were his age – so like 11-14 years of age.

Well I had to think.

A lot.

So did Troy.

Like I thought for almost an hour and came up utterly blank.

As parents we ingrain in our kids so many life affirmations with such strong conviction to be the best version of themselves. We preach:

No bullying! 
Be inclusive! 
Wear pink! 
Volunteer! 
Give blood! 
Be better, do better!

But when was the last time we looked back from when we were their age and how we acted?

At Finn’s age I was bullied all the time so I kept my fucking head down and went about my day. Now, when my kids come home from school and tell me someone was a jerk my first reaction is yup, kids suck, get used to it. Then I sort of come around and tell them to make sure you help out other kids who are bullied or to get involved if you see something not quite right. But when I was a kid, did I do that? Fuck no. I kept my head down, I went to class, I got teased, told I was the ugliest human in the world, my clothes were ridiculed, my obsession with boy bands was pathetic ( I mean, fair ) but my parents never were involved, at least I don’t think so, and nothing in school was EVER done. You ignored it and carried on.

Then Finn asks again: Did I help anyone else out who was bullied? Truth be told I have no idea. I mean, maybe I did but I can’t think of a single instance in which I intervened or remembered someone being bullied in front of me.

Did I do anything essentially good like volunteering? And I’m like uh nope, sorry Finn, turns out I was a piece of shit. I couldn’t think of one selfless thing I did as a kid. I volunteered once for the Canada Games, but only because my friend forced me to. My one act of service was to parade around the mall as the mascot but I was the WORST at it and they made me take the suit off in like 2 minutes. Basically I was fired from volunteer duty.

Troy retold his charitable experience of doing a bottle drive for his soccer team, but under his breath he also told me that the day after he donated the money, him and his friends did an extra bottle drive for a fake chairty to buy beer. So while we laughed hysterically to our piece of shit stories, it rang a bell in me how much we expect our kids to be better, be smarter, be more helpful, be the best version of themselves.

And while I agree with this in theory, I feel like an utter hypocrite. Maybe it was my narcissistic generation but everyone sort of did their own thing and moved on. I transferred schools every 3 years so being bullied was second nature to me. I was either too fat, too ugly, terribly boring, or simply NOT considered. I was exponentially shy but was also not encouraged by my parents or teachers to be better or do more. I was told to get my ass to school, get good grades, do homework and watch tv. 

So no fecking wonder our kids are suffering terrible mental health, poor self esteem and the trillion other emotions they get thrown in their faces 24 hours a day. We are giving them the world to pop on their wee shoulders and brave it selflessly, with conviction and also while helping everyone out along the way. 

That’s a lot.

I have no real solutions to this issue other than my own self reflection and realization that I was a piece of garbage kid which is fine because a. I can’t do anything about it now and b. I think most of my peers were also pieces of shit. 

But I want to sign off with an addendum to Finn’s failed school question… perhaps next time we should weave a heartwarming life experience from our vast knowledge of 80’s movies he will never watch. Maybe next time when asked whether Troy was bullied we will say, YES he was, by a gang of guys called the Cobra Kai, but he never gave up, he befriended an unlikely elderly neighbour who taught him the value of hard work and perseverance and ended up defeating those bullies at the world championship Karate competition.

And me, well, I was so selfless, I once spent my entire vacation slaving away to learn the Mambo with an underprivileged tough guy so that I could fill in for my good friend Penny so she could get an abortion and have a chance in this world. I mean, SELFLESS.

What 40 Days Sober Looks Like

I passed the 40 day mark the other day with little to no fanfare. I still track my daily progress on my trusty app, but if I mention it to my kids or husband it’s sort of lost it’s newness and they are like so that’s cool I guess, so number one to anyone doing this, you have to be your own advocate, YOU are doing AMAZING!

I broke it down into 4 main changes thus far, I’m still waiting for the gorgeous skin and trim waistline but I digress…

THE FEELS

This is super jarring to deal with (and I totally did not expect it) but when you are sober YOU FEEL EVERYTHING. 

Now, let me clarify. 

Imagine a Friday night, work was shit that week, kids are tired from their own playground woes, your husband shows up haggard from his week from hell…what do you do? You want to fucking escape, that’s what. Grab that bottle of red, head to the bunkie, have a few laughs, feel warm and fuzzy and then kick it to bed with your problems miraculously numbed over.

That isn’t the case with sobriety. There is no escape. There is no happy hour. There is no easy fix for your problems. You have to suck it up, find a new happy, figure out a way to de-stress that doesn’t involve selling your children. You have to feel those feels and figure your shit out.

This sounds awful doesn’t it? The first time I experienced it was indeed utterly awful. It was about 2 weeks in and Wren had a ballistic nightmare freakout on a Friday night that left me shaking. But I got through it, I didn’t rely on 2 bottles of cab sauv to solve my problems and it was ok. I felt almost euphoric in the aftermath and understood one of my greatest triggers to drink was family stress (AKA Wren freak outs).

HANGOVER FREE WEEKENDS (AND WEEKDAYS IF I’M HONEST) ARE DA BEST

There is no greater motivator for someone like me than knowing I will never feel that ‘shitty gross, laying in bed, tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth, nausea sweat soaked waves, dry skin, hunched over, unable to walk vertical, crawl to the couch, nibble on scraps of crackers for hours just so you can feel remotely normal’ HANGOVER AGAIN

I don’t have to plan my weekend around my miserable mornings. I don’t have to worry about the belly bloat and the way I would hate to parent my kids until I downed a lovely mimosa at 11am.

Sure, booze would get me hazy and feel better for the first drink, and then the second I was rolling along, but by then I was on the fast track to needing more. More booze, more laughs, more good times until my Saturday and Sunday was totally screwed and I hated myself in an anxiety ridden cloud. I have since learned that it takes DAYS to rid yourself from the alcohol you drink and thus no wonder I felt like shit until mid week when I would forget how much I felt like shit and look forward to the next happy hour. Endless cycle of yuck.

So the feelings, yes, they are intense and sometimes they suck but no anxiety hangovers – BONUS.

ISOLATION/LACK OF CAMARADERIE

Sharing a pint (or 12) with your friends brings you close, it forms a bond in your drunken haze that you continuously strive to upkeep. You feel a part of the group and it feels GOOD. This is the biggest bummer that sucks for me. I think about all the activities I used to do and how it’s probably not wise for me to partake anymore. I don’t want to say no to an activity but when you are in a group of heavy drinkers and the sole objective is to booze excessively which I so loved to do, then you find yourself quite lost. When you sit with your friends as they share a drink at a bar, and you are sipping an iced tea, you can’t help but feel left out, even if you are engaging with your friends and them with you.

I get mostly support from my friends but when you are feeling all those feels, it can be a very lonely place being the only one sober, that awful isolation even in a crowded room.

They say to get some sober friends, build a new tribe, but my whole life I viewed people who never drank as boring or dull which was a complete fabrication on my part because I didn’t want to be faced with my own issues with booze and seeing anyone sober only made me feel worse about my own choices so I surrounded myself with heavy drinkers. Now I see sobriety in a completely new light. I won’t get into the health side of things, although the things I have learned made my ability to stop drinking somewhat easy. 

But there’s the feeling of loss sitting around the dinner table unable to share a glass of vino, having a laugh while you get giddy with your mates and that sucks. I read somewhere that you almost have to mourn that person you once were. That part of your life is separate from the now and it’s ok to feel such sadness from that loss. I know what I am doing is right. I only have to ask the one question I posed to myself when I decided to quit and it was ‘Will I be happier sober?

MARRIAGE IS NEW & DIFFERENT

My relationship has been pretty great for over 2 decades or maybe more, I can’t do the math anymore, it makes me feel old, but it has never been sober. We LOVED to drink together. Many a Saturday would end up with us dancing in the kitchen having worked through a couple bottles of red. Now the dynamic has shifted and I struggle with what the future looks like when one of us still wants to get loaded and the other does not. I’ve read so much on this topic because it honestly scares me. I don’t think we aren’t strong enough to overcome it, but it shifts so much of how we live our life, what our weekends look like, so like a GIGANTIC adjustment.

The plus of it all is that I am not depressed. I’m not anxious. I am 100% present and loving our Netflix binges, the nighttime chats and morning giggles that I have missed so much of because of my lingering depressive state and anxiety fuelled arduous low periods. For years our main communication line was sitting up with a bottle once a week, catching up, yes, but Thursday hangovers…yuck. Now it seems so much easier, more frequent and fun and I think it is going to be a-ok but you will have to ask Troy how he feels :)

So after all this you are thinking holy shit Kelly, good on you for quitting, you are obviously an alcoholic who needed to quit. The kicker is that I’m actually not an alcoholic. I didn’t hit rock bottom. I didn’t quit boozing because I was re-morgaging myself into a broke hole. There was no absolute ultimatum. I was functioning as an adult most days but I just wasn’t happy, and when I think about my life 40 days ago and that statement, will I be happier sober? So far the answer is 1 million times over YES.

Now if I could only find a decent restaurant in town that makes fancy mocktails, then life would be that much sweeter :)

Quote Schmote

Shitballs, not another facebook quote

I saw a pic today with a quote on it. I know. Gagging a little but hear me out.

I am the one who cringes the moment I open facebook and see 7,000 quotes in my timeline. Quotes about parenting, eating cake for dinner, pumpkin spiced lattes being like air or some chick exclaiming in glee that sweater weather is here! And I’m like I’ve been wearing a sweater all summer so fuck off. So while some might be lovely, or funny, or relevant or whatever the crap you’re feeling, it comes across like facebook is yelling at me to get my life together and frankly I don’t need the reminder.

But yesterday was a bad day. I could barely drag myself around the house. I took a nap and felt like I should just stay in bed for the next 4 months. I felt worthless in my job, shitty as a parent, fat for eating all the left over cream cheese bake, I had a terrible hair day and looked in the mirror thinking what the feck are you contributing to this world.

I was also like SO angry about the chatelaine article claiming that 86% of female MPs have experienced sexism in politics (read it, you will want to barf too but it’s important so read it).

So then I started to just hate men in general.

Which is a bit of a blanket statement but when I open twitter, it’s just bad shitty gross guys getting AWAY WITH EVERYTHING. Like they are competing to be the worst human being on the planet. It felt bleak and yuck and I wasn’t sure if I was slipping back into another terrible depression or whether it was a one off but those days scare me.

This morning didn’t start great. Wren was sick which means the hellmouth has erupted underneath our house and we couldn’t do anything but tip toe around her and make bets on who was going to get yelled at next. I bet on Finn FOR SURE. 

But once I corralled (pushed) them onto the bus I saw a little sunlight. It can be that literal when you have a mental illness you struggle with. I threw out the rest of the cream cheese bake (YAY), I signed up for a writers group which is so FAR OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE, and I took a walk. I went to the library and then I signed up for a cross stitch class in which I will be learning to cross stitch a beer can. I know…WINNING.

I also brought over Piper from next door. Dogs are key right? Dogs are perfect specimens on this earth and they will bring forth my happiness and squash all my evil man thoughts for another day because Piper is a girl and we’ve got to stick together.

So while I am indeed feeling better, I did just have a wasp fly into my head as I typed this indicating what every September brings which is a fecking nest in my walls. Maybe it was a one off, maybe it will signal the next hornet-apocalypse. We shall see.

So in all my ramblings I go back to the quote I saw today that resonated with me and perhaps won’t make you barf either. Happy Wednesday folks :)