I used to write so much.

Why did I stop?  And why, despite intentions I list every year in my NY resolutions, have I been reluctant to begin again?

I guess I have made some attempts – scribbled in various new notebooks hoping the smell of the clean crisp pages and the idea of a fresh start would inspire me.  It has not.

I write, and stop.  I try, and fail.

There is so much clutter and confusion in my head. There are thoughts I don’t want to confront and feelings I deny.  There is a scream I silence.  But sometimes it gets so loud and I hear it so clearly, and I’m so afraid that soon others will, too.

I am not living my preferred life.  It is not a story I feel proud to write, much less center, in.  It is not a story that I think reflects my heart or my values.

But I have spent little time reflecting on my heart and my values.  Come to think of it now, I am not so sure what I mean except that I think both have been neglected for too long.

I value independence and autonomy, team work and partnership.

I value friendship.

I value love. compassion. and honesty.  I value purity.

My heart was once full of care, hopes, and dreams.

But I feel so hushed.  I feel so small. I feel like a child whose wonder and innocence was stripped away.  What is left?  Feelings of incompetence, powerlessness, helplessness, and loneliness.

Will I ever shine again?

What happened?

March 7, 2017

E sent me a few photos of myself via text this evening–“selfies” that I had once sent her.  There were three snapshots: my grumpy unimpressed face as I studied in a tank top at the UVIC library; my naked back side when I was in the Garibaldi Lake; and me dressed up as a school girl for Halloween in 2014.

“I used to feel sexy”, I told her.

I barely remember the feeling.

I don’t know where it went.

I don’t know where many feelings and sentiments went–joy, passion, desire, enthusiasm, contentment, fulfillment, motivation, drive, purpose and meaning.

I look around me and it’s dark.  cold.  hard.  How deep is this barrel?  Or is it a well?  Like in the Sixth Sense.  Do I crawl out as a dead version of myself?  Do I crawl out or make it out, at all, ever?  Is there saving?  I can’t see the way out and I’m half afraid of what is out there.  What is next for me?

It’s the first weekend of the year and although I am feeling sluggish, pessimistic, and anxious today, I can’t say the year has not started off well.

Yesterday I managed to fly into Vancouver for dinner with my closest friends and luckily enough also spent quality time with V in the morning  and at night before bedtime.  It was the best of both of my worlds.

During my 5 hours in Vancouver, E and I stole a few minutes of alone time here and there.  Our conversations, however brief, always underscore for me the very powerful connection we share–even if we sometimes go many days or weeks without checking in and long months without face to face time.  Even when we don’t agree, I leave conversations with her feeling emotionally validated, understood, and incredibly cared for.  Yesterday, above all, I was reminded of how fulfilling our friendship can be when I am fully present and open to our experience together.  So often, with many people including E, I find myself entering interactions with my guard up and both mentally and emotionally distracted.  Yesterday was different and I am so grateful.  I hope to strengthen these connections with my loved ones and intentionally have more of these meaningful experiences with them in the upcoming year.

I also want to remind myself of the beauty of having started and ended the day with V …my husband…not just yesterday but many days.  I am not sure I’ve ever referred to him as my husband on this blog, now that I think about it.  Even though I have been relishing my alone time this year since getting married, I know very well that our time together is so precious and can be taken away at any moment.  Some of life’s most precious moments are when I get to crawl into bed into his embrace, or when I get to wrap my legs around him as he continues to snooze into the later morning.   I love our hugs and kisses, mostly early in the morning and just before I sleep.  And I so appreciate the rituals we’ve developed–exchanging gratitude lists every night, him tucking me in nice and tight, and things like grocery shopping trips together on the weekends.  As much as I accustom to feeling lonely so much so that it feels comfortable many days, the mundane feels less dreary with him by my side.  I know it is easy to lose sight of the love between us when we’re caught in routines and schedules and trying to keep life together each day; I hope I can remember every day this year that there is no relationship more important in my life than this one and continue to learn how to treat it as such.

I suppose I could comment on my goals for my career development and other aspects of my socioemotional and personal growth this new year.  But it may need to wait for another time.  I have a list of 25+ new years resolutions around all of this, but in truth, the most important ones do concern my attention and appreciation for my friends and my family, both of which I have spoken to in some way tonight.  I will expand another night.

“Stronger Everyday”

September 29, 2016

One of the blogs I read before taking off on the West Coast Trail warned hikers about the sheer grit and mental stamina required to successfully complete the trail.  This was perhaps the best piece of preparatory advice I could have read–more useful and helpful during my experience than the blogs I read detailing how to pack the lightest backpack, what food and clothes to bring, how to hang food away from bears, what best gear to buy, and how to train for the trek.

In my experience, regardless of how well prepared I was in some aspects and how terribly ill prepared I was in other aspects, completing the trail came down to merely grit and stamina–the will to persevere physically and mentally in the face of unpredictable challenges of varying degrees (whether that was impassable headlands, hazardous river crossings, knee-deep mud, or one of many many sets of slippery as fuck 30 feet ladders); one foot in front of the other, or in some cases one foot above the other, on and on and on.

In trying to access whatever grit and stamina I had in me while I was hiking, I found myself rehearsing in my head what Robin often repeats during class: “stronger everyday”.  I had to convince myself that, contrary to feeling increasingly exhausted and weak, I was actually getting stronger  with every step and every day; I told myself I was stronger than I was yesterday, stronger than I was in the first 10 kilometers, stronger than I was when I climbed the first ladder….the second ladder…and so on.

Step by step, I witnessed the true power of “mind over matter”.   We can do more than we physically feel we can if only we believe in our minds that we can.

Secondly, I also learned during this hike–in addition to the above–that having a hand to hold along the way helps to reduce the size of a scary situation.  I keep thinking of the moment M offered me his hand to help me cross the 6 feet gap between two cliffs about 20 feet above water.  I remember thinking I would fall, that there was no way I could balance myself and my 40 pound pack well enough to walk across this 6 inch wide wooden plank to get to the other side.  I froze.  I just stood there.  If M hadn’t offered me his hand to hold as I walked across, I am quite convinced I would still be there or back at the start line.  Thank the Universe for Friends.  Thank the Universe that I have such True Friends.  I have friends who will hold my hiking poles as I clumsily climb up ladders, descend ladders, and cross various suspended bridges and boardwalks; friends who will offer me a kleenex when my nose is runny and my eyes are teary without judgement; friends who will help me boil water from the stream as I sit and watch; friends who will not only offer to share their tent with me, but whom I can count on to set up and take down said tent when I was clueless how to do either.  I have friends who even packed me a Lindt Lava Cake chocolate bar to celebrate my birthday because hey, there are no dehydrated hike-appropriate cakes and after all, Lindt is my favourite chocolate brand.  So while maybe these friends did not wait for me every step of the way, and while maybe they got my sleeping pad wet and sandy some nights, and while maybe they would ask for me to help with random tasks when my hands were full–at the very end of the day, I knew I was safe with them, I knew I could depend on them, and I knew they were lifetime friends.

I am a lucky lady to find lifetime friends.  I realized through the challenges of the West Coast Trail that as much as I like being alone and take pride in being able to do things on my own, “two is better than one”, if only for company and support.

We finished our half of the trail in almost exactly 3 days.  We could’ve likely completed 33km in less time than that.  My friends certainly could have, I know that for sure.  But one final key learning for me is that slow and steady is a-okay.  The hike, much like life with its uncertainties, challenges, and rewards, is not a race.  Each of our experiences along the same walk will differ; our strengths will differ along with our weaknesses.  I personally would rather enjoy the trek as much as possible, attend to my steps and the sights along the way, and limit my bumps and bruises.

Hiking the West Coast Trail was the worst of times and the best of times.  Only when I could fully accept the worst–the unyielding mud at every turn, the slippery riverbeds, the plethora of wet and slimy ladders (I keep talking about ladders….), and all the broken boardwalks, for example–could I then embrace the best: the friends who talked me through my fears, the magical view of the milky way, and all the unique sights we traversed through, across, and atop.

What is Love?

August 3, 2016

This speech is seriously so mind-blowing and the greatest truth I’ve heard in a long time.

Marriage some days feel like a hard, hard struggle.  And there is no where to run.  We committed to this for life.  And that’s it.

So we need to make it work somehow, in some way–whether we like it or not.  That’s how I see it.  There is no option–only learning to be done and compromises to be made.

I think the hardest part for me is this: it is so scary being with someone who holds your heart and soul in their palm…someone who knows the inner pieces of your life so intimately and whom will only continue to do so more over time.

I’m finding myself resisting being known.  I see my flaws and I don’t want him to know it any better than he already does.  I don’t trust that he will hold the vulnerable pieces of my inner being gently and lovingly.  I know in a way that this is normal, but I have always been so self protective that I have so many urges to fight in order to continue growing closer.

I feel stuck in my own inner workings.  Does that make sense?  I feel lonely and yet sometimes I want to be alone so that I can be myself without being watched, evaluated, judged.

If I keep typing, I will find some sort of peace.  That’s what I tell students.  That’s what they practice.  Just write.  Just be with the discomfort.  Watch it.  Feel it.  Maybe even embrace it.

On togetherness.

July 9, 2016

When I created this blog, I intended to close it when I became attached–like, seriously attached, in a “long term” relationship–a steady and stable long-term relationship.

Well, here I am.  Married.  To VF.  For over a month now.

I feel both afraid and hesitant to shut down this site though.  I think it’s because I don’t feel like days “on my own” are over yet…especially with his ongoing clerkship year and his upcoming fourth year of rural rotations, possibly in (very) very remote far-away places. Add to this–who knows where residency will take him.

Or perhaps “on my own” days will never come to an end.  Perhaps it never does for anyone.  I don’t mean in an existential crisis kind of way; rather, I mean, maybe states of isolation/solitude go hand-in-hand with periods of togetherness.  I think Rilke got it right:

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“I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other” – Rainer Maria Rilke

It is, in part, because of this, that I think I will always feel the need to keep a part of myself “on my own”.  I will always want to claim some Friday nights home by myself while he is out with friends; I will sometimes prefer to skip boat rides to cook at home in the kitchen uninterrupted and unaccompanied, just as I did this afternoon.  I don’t feel that I am doing life on my own all the time, and sometimes when I do I resent it; however, I do value aspects of aloneness and I reckon it is important–for both V and myself, that parts of ourselves still have freedom to come and go, fluidly, lovingly, always.

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvellous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Fuck.

January 7, 2016

That is all.

Inspire me.

December 18, 2015

I’ve been looking for inspiration lately.  It’s not on Pinterest.  It’s missing something on Instagram.  And I know Facebook is empty.

I googled the Union Gospel Mission this morning.
And Covenant House.
And the Salvation Army.

But I was afraid, a bit nervous maybe, to dig deep into their websites.

I’ve been hesitant to dig deep into anything, for that matter.

I want to do.  I want to give.  I want to learn.  But I am held back.

Am I running on the spot?

Today I ponder this.

December 1, 2015

Whedondemons

 

Here I am again.

November 30, 2015

I write when times are challenging, when my resources are stretched, my mind feels chaotic and my heart is heavy.

The time is now.

I know V loves me very much and I know our relationship is very important to him.  I know right now he’s feeling unhappy and stressed out about the money he’s spent and the amount of studying he has left to do in the month ahead; and I know, above all, that it’s really easy to associate me with both the money and the time that’s lost.  I am, after all, a part of almost every experience and I have come to accept that these experiences, to him, can be wholly incredible or wholly regrettable depending on the perspective he chooses to take on any given day.

I remember when this happened in the past, as it has surely happened time and again, I would feel personally insulted and extremely hurt that he would see me as such a costly factor in his life, as if I contributed no value.  I would feel so sad–and so resentful– that he would undermine all the positive contributions I was sure I made–tangibly, emotionally, and in services.  I won’t lie, of course, I still feel somewhat insulted, hurt, and sad when this occurs.  I still feel anxious thinking about how this period will affect our relationship.

But at the same time, a wiser part of me knows that I need to have faith in what we’ve built.  I need to trust that he will work through the darker emotions himself, without my coaxing, in order to come back to me–to us.  And I need to be strong, be still as a rock and graceful as a dove.  Find the peace that’s somewhere in the deep recesses of my heart and hold on to it, nourish it, help it grow.

Don’t be bitter, D.  Don’t answer pain with anger.  Don’t run for shelter. Do not be shaken.  This is precisely when love must push through.