Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

learning from the peas.

i noticed a similarity between myself and the peas growing.
i was trying to gently untangle them from each other and attach their tendrils to the netting
allowing each one to grow tall and strong.
it was slow, fragile work and i sighed as the plants just waned to lie down with the others
rather than stretch up individually.
their leaves are big and heavy, yet the fragile looking
but very strong tendrils will hold the plant tall when attached firmly to the net i provided for them long before the seedlings even emerged.

this is me, i thought.
this might be you too.
i need to trust that i too am strong enough to climb as tall and as big as i am meant to and my safety net is well in place, having been there, repaired often, but there, since before i too came to be.
it is easier to stay where i am. it is easier to lie down but i need to be willing to continually stretch and reattach to the net so i can continue to grow.

this is just one of the reasons i love gardening so. i learn so much.

the peas above are from mom stearn-smith's garden. i love the individual cans protecting each fragile bloom.
mine are not so neat and orderly.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

and she freaks out...

i hold pretty dear to my heart the fact
and it is a true fact,
that i am a very calm mother.
it takes alot to rattle me-at least on the outside.
i specialize in staying calm in a crisis, having the ability to not enforce my agenda on others and being patient.
patient as a saint some days.
( i wonder about that saying)

but this morning
i didn't exactly keep calm
i didn't even keep calm and carry on.
i stewed and muttered and swore and raised my voice
and closed the door quite loudly.
true story.

and looking back at the morning meltdown
which i have apologized for and restated my needs using "i" words so that i feel heard,
i am aware again that it's all about balance.
i was feeling used. feeling the pressure of being constantly available to others all the time
and not having an out of house job to go to,
or for that matter a job at all, other than the one called parenting,
it is super easy to get the lines blurry.

i am available all the time and this is both a privilige and a problem.
delaying gratification or wants or even needs being met is not happening here at my house
for anyone
 except me.
 i am delaying and not even considering my needs because i am very dedicated and busy considering theirs.

which is fine.
except i don't need to be always considering the wants and the instant desires. those are not needs. they are nothing more than that whims of adolescence
and i'm pretty sure i'm not doing anyone any favours by jumping each time a request is made.

i need to figure this out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oh Victor.

yup. this was penned for me.
i love
that the constant sream of photos i take and post and clog up my instagram and my facebook with give me a reminder of the gloriousness of my life.
i love that i can capture the colours, the "feel" of the moments, the time spent.
i wish i could capture the fragrances for you and myself...
bottling them up to open on a dark and dreary winter day.
a sudden infusion of lemon and spicy chives
or the fruit loop scent of the lilacs after the rain.
 i can imagine a row of beautiful jars labeled and just waiting to share their aroma with us.

i feel as though i am creating a visual diary of my days
and along with my journaling and blogging
i will be able to look back and remember and see where i have been and how far i have come.
and i will be able to counter those negative voices and remind them that actually,
my life was and is beautiful and important and full of the values i hold dear.
the photos prove it to be so,
 even when the negative gremlins try to convince me otherwise.

that said,
i don't ever want to represent my life as one that is filled only with garden adventures and beach fires and balloon filled evenings with my girl.

life is hard.
and the photos don't capture the reality of what happens when the phone is down and the tears are flowing and the late night calls are coming and the pain is too much and life seems dreary and flat.
i would actually like to figure out a way to capture glimpses of that story because those are the moments that really call for gratitude and deep love and commitment
. those are the moments when real life is taking place.

the beauty of my life is balanced with the struggle
and the harder the struggle the more beauty i seek out and find.
the more wild flowers i pick, the more i can pour a balm over the exhaustion and sorrow of the darker places we walk through together as a family.

i just need to be real.
 to remember that the images i share tell one story.
but not the whole story.
not yet.

Friday, May 18, 2012

what i'm doing about it...

after writing this post i have felt a shift.
an understanding and acceptance and perhaps more gentleness with myself.
i can be pretty hard on myself and my expectations of me are often bordering on the ridiculous.
even these past three years when i have had moments that would logically have sent me to bed for a day or three i would determine that i must carry on and carry on i would.

this i am learning stems from a deep need to please others and gain acceptance, and therefore gain pernamency in other people's lives.
i have abandonment issues. not suprising. but that is another day's story.

so, since accepting that i am carrying the burden of depression i have been much nicer to myself.
this is a good thing.
this "label" also allows me to understand  and therefore accept  the range of emotions or more often, the lack of emotions that i have been feeling.
the world became a pretty flat shade of gray for a few weeks there and that is not at all like me.

i tend to see in technicolour. all the time.

also, reilizing that this is only been going on for a short time gives me a certain amount of hope.
i feel that by noticing and recognizing and giving voice to the depression i will be able to manage and walk out of it sooner.

this may be wishful thinking. that's okay. i am a big believer in believing the positive.
it took this whole 3 years before i finally accepted that i might not be better in the morning and that attitude got me out of bed for alot of those days.
i am utilizing the same strategy this time,
only with more self kindness.

so here is what i am doing-

i am going outside every day again.
i noticed that i had stopped.
i am very affected by the weather and the sunshine is helping tremendously.
when i was leading my outdoor daycare we were outside every single day and i forgot just how great that made me feel.

i am practicing my gratitude every day.
 all day.
 i don't wait till the end of my day to record my thanks-it's an ongoing thing and that is one of the reasons i have so many notebooks on the go at one time.
there are lists everywhere.

i am reaching out.
trying to stop being so introverted and allowing moments of others into my day.
i think that i am naturally an extrovert but this time of sickness has required me to cocoon a bit.
 my true nature is to be with others, to be in community. and i am trying to return to that.
this isn't easy.
 it requires me to carefully feel my way back into all that comes with relationship building.

i am utilizing the brilliant advice of my instagram friend Teresa
and breaking my day into  what she calls
15 minute dailies
i set the timer and pick the task that needs to be done and do it
for 15 minutes.
it is amazing how that simple act shifts the perspective from
"there is so much to do and i am too tired, sick, unmotivated, sore.."
so there is no point even starting:
"wow...so much can get done in 15 minutes!...let's do that again"
and before i know it,
 there are to-do's checked off the list.

and finally,

i am trying to understand better the relationship between my medication and my reactions.
this is the first time in my life that i have ever been on any sort of medication long term 
i know that everyone responds differently to what we put in our bodies and what is right for me is not right for you and vice versa.

my body has a daily reaction to the medication i am on and the medications i have been on these past few years.
the side effects have been intense and unrelenting.
part of those side effects is depression.
 i just ignored that one for a long time- it was easy to be distracted by the others.
i am continually having to weigh the benefits and the side effects.
it feels impossible to me to make the best decision in this area.
there is so much unrest within me about how to manage my condition and this is something that i need to make peace with.

the weather is changing today and i can feel myself closing in a bit.
this was a hard post to write and usually the words just jump onto the keyboard
so i will make tea, and settle in on being kind to myself.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

i want to remember evenings like these...

evenings where the light is golden in more ways that one.
evenings where there is laughter and the leaning into one another that comes from time spent close.
evenings that make you forget about the nights that are so difficult to walk through.
evenings where the faces made are surrounded by laughter and a connection with the child in us.
evenings that don't last forever. even when we want them to.
and that is why i want to remember.

and the bottom photo..that's Gary.
We've always had extra's to love in our home and as part of our family. 
 Gary is one of those.
We're pretty fond of him.
He fits right in don't you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

when i stop noticing the world shrunk a little

about 3 weeks ago i stopped recording my gratitudes.
and i think i stopped noticing a little bit.
my world became smaller and less abundant
and much flatter.
i have practiced gratitude recording for long enough to be solidly
deep down in my heart convinced that it is a powerful practice that makes a difference.

i've started again.
3 lists in 3 days
there is a shift that comes when i  am deliberate in my thanks.
my eyes can see again!

and there is no time to waste in chastising myself because i stopped.
i am just delighted that i have begun again.
that's the gift of all these daily practices we try to incorporate.
there is always the opportunity to begin again.
so there is no need for discouragment or judgement.

just. start. now. today.
i love living the belief that everyday is a new day.
there is freedom there.

oh, and for those of you who got the salad eating update via my facebook yesterday...
i felt the collective rejoicing and felt so loved and supported
thank you!

it ended up kicking my intestines hard...so no raw veggies yet i suppose.
perhaps i will try fruit instead.

Monday, May 14, 2012


backyard fire pitting, gardening, colour noticing, flower loving,
mother's day celebrating, sunshining blue sky days, dinner with friends.
it was a weekend that felt like a giant exhale.

Friday, May 11, 2012

the truth about lunch and the humility highway

owen invited me to meet him for lunch yesterday.
it was an unusual event being he works all over town,
is very busy and as far i know takes a lunch every morning with him.
i never know for sure as i am still lazy in bed when he is getting out the door.

i met him in the parking lot and noticed he was sizing me up,
and it wasn't because of what i was wearing..that i promise you!
i leaned in for a kiss and laughed at him.
i knew what he was up to.

you see, i've just recently, in the past 24 hours,
 broken the news to him that i have diagnosed myself
as being depressed.
this is a diagnosis i have been refusing my entire life, and for good reason.
i have not been depressed before.
i have been sad. i have been down. i have struggled. i have been sick. i have been very, very sick.
i have had my share of kicks and i have survived a few hard situations in my life.

but with  notable differences. those hurdles were all managed with optimism and the ablity to see them as temporary.

i know now, for a fact that i was correct in never accepting or even considering the depression diagnosis because man,
this sucks.
and just like that, i understand what i empathized with but never really "got" until now.
i am pretty sure that this current place i am in is harder than the other places i have once been.
here i am.
accepting that for now. for today. and  tomorrow  and certainly for the past month or so,
i am and have been not just sick and tired and worried out of my mind for the curly haired girl,
 but also depressed.

like the clinical kind.
 the "check off these boxes if you are feeling this way so we can give a name to your despair so that you can understand that you are legitimate in how you are feeling" kind.

but enough about that. 
back to lunch.
owen laughed, having been "caught" so quickly  and i told  him that i was aware that he was sizing up his newly depressed wife and he confessed that yes, he was indeed trying to read "my face" in order to know how to proceed.
we laughed again and i promised him that i wasn't intending on changing my look much and i was certainly not going to turn different shades of "blue" to make it more convenient for him.
we settled into a mediocre lunch
on a windy patio with a tippy table.
this drove me to distraction
which is a symptom of my current condition.
very. low. tolerance.
 i'm so done with being okay with everything that happens to me.
so done with it people!
(and this is just a tippy table. my entire house should be shuddering in fear)

please don't be offended by my glib approach to my current state.
i am aware of how serious and how life changing and how much work it is for those who battle
(and yes, battle is the right word i now reilize)
i am aware, all too aware of the different opinions and options and reasons, and judgements and well, just all the "stuff" that looms over the word.
i am no stranger to medical controversy and the natural vs. medical debates that rage about every condition out there.
i have my work cut out for me as i construct a "plan."
and i am indeed constructing a plan as fast as this turtle slow body and mind will let me.

i am continuing down this humility highway at breakneck speeds and i need to and want to be able to somedays have a sense of humour about this.
we need to laugh.
so there you have it.
depression and a lunch date all in one afternoon.
pretty successful day i think.

May has been full of confessions here at the blog.
 starts of conversations and processes i am working through.
 this concerns me-
 all this starting of conversations that seem to have no end. 
 i am a girl who appreciates closing doors that i open, or at least walking all the way through them once i've opened them up wide for all to see. 
i intend to keep you, my beloved readers up to date on the stories as they progress. i promise not to leave you wondering what happened to the "tania space" or how it is going with my birth story work. it's all being worked on, very slowly mind you. but the stories will have more to share.
 i promise.
 Thanks for joining in my life with me here in this space.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

i'm having a visit today

i'm having a visit with my wise self today.
i am curious to know what she will say.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

finding myself in the pages

i'm reading Brene Brown and finding myself in the pages
i'm reading Hafiz
and for those of you who think he wrote those words for you,
i have to tell you differently.
 his poems are written
i'm reading a doctoral paper on adoption trauma
and i am pretty sure i was who she was speaking about,
 i know she didn't interview me, yet her quoted inteview sentences are the very words i have whispered into my journals.
i'm reading the backs of seed packages for the specifics about care
and thinking
"yup, i also need sunlight and space" to thrive.

my yogi tea messages are reminding me that
"your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give"
and i stop and think
well, i don't really want to be great, and actually i need to stop giving so freakin much all the time
(but thanks anyhow)

so while  i don't necesarily accept everything i read
 i do believe that everything i read has a message for me.

a secret message envelope i recieved this week in the mail has a cutout that says
"richness is the place i call home"
and i am reminded that i need to work on creating that space for me.
but first there is the fridge to clean out and the floor to wash and the grass to cut.

i am finding myself in the pages of others because while my story has unique elements to it
it is not at all uncommon.
there is great comfort in knowing that these very paths i am plodding along have been discovered already. not every bump of course, not every wandering trail to the left or right but the main path is well flattened by constant use
and i am grateful to the ones who took the time to jot down their thoughts and wisdom along the way to serve as a guide for me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

this is an observation, not a complaint.

i was sitting in the car
this morning outside of the library and i noticed
that i didn't want to go home.

this is an observation that has been growing in my slowly these past few months.
it's not about who is at home.
it's about me.
i am not feeling "at home" in my home.

our house is a busy one. a place of caring and acceptance
the door is always opening and someone will walk in and stay a short while, or a long while.
and this is something that we are deliberate about and i love.
our home is a place where i have learned to accept people in regardless of the mess and the chaos.
this has been deliberate and taken work
but it supports my belief that vulnerability is the way i want to live my life right now.
honestly sharing our lives with others translates into others seeing that i don't always do the dishes,
i haven't vaccumed in the last few days and yes, there is still a hole in the wall from many years ago.
usually covered up by something, but recently laid bare.
this is a very vulnerable act.
(the hole tells all sorts of stories that may or may not be accurate just by being there)

if i were to guess, and that is pretty much what i do most days,
i would say my home is lacking a place for me.
a spot that says
"this is for you Tania. come here to refuel. to recharge. to be"

our home is our haven.
our home is our safe place.
i just need a little corner for me.
i am curious how other women make this work.
it feels as if being a mother of teenagers is so much like being a mother of toddlers.
trying to carve out some "mommy time"
i remember it so well. waiting till they were all in bed and then retreating to my creative space.
for a few years it didn't feel necessary because life was easy and we all coexisted together during those golden middle years.
now, i feel myself being absorbed fully by my role of a parent and losing the other parts of me.
that is actually what i am looking for
a little corner will help.

Friday, May 4, 2012

random thoughts...

there was a gigantic cat, perhaps even a racoon in our backyard today checking out the chicken.
the chickens, curious girls that they are all crowed up to the wire so they could get a better look at their visitor.
i decided that i needed to trust that Owen built a very sturdy chicken run and didn't go out to "rescue" or "intervene"...
just let it play out.
the chickens are all still there.
curious as ever.

today Gideon finished his first year of schooling for Plumbing.
i am incredibly proud of him and also slightly puzzled by his calm and orderly progression through the teenage years.
he is now accomplishing what most  early20 years olds are working through yet he is still 17.
i am grateful for this boy.
or perhaps i should say man-child.
so grateful.

i had tea yesterday with my dear friend Judi and we spent alot of time talking about birth stories and how they make up the fabric of our lives as women.
story telling is an important part of our lives and the shaping of our current identities.
i am still working on mine.

the big garden is planted full of lovely spring offerings but without some sun and warm weather
the seedings are destined to stay just that.
seedlings. teeny tiny ones.
i may need to revise my basket program to start in June instead.
i laugh at my yearly optimism over gardening.
i have been planting for so many years and i know every year that May is cold and damp,
yet April tricks me.
those warm days that come and feel so permanent.
obviously not.
it is rainy and cold and damp and very west coast.

it has been a slow week for me.
i am coming to terms with my new abilities and they don't feel very big, strong or important.
it is a shift from the old way to the new way.
i noticed last night as i was talking to owen just before he fell asleep that i no longer end my day with the belief that i will be well in the morning.

every night for, well, 3 years now, i would say to him
"it's okay babe, i'm going to be better tomorrow"
and i truly believed it.
i guess i stopped saying that about a month ago.

i am choosing to see this as growth. acceptance. progress.
not as discouragement and the giving up of hope.
which is what is sounds like,
and on the darkest days,
actually is.
but by reframing those words i can choose to see acceptance of who i am right now
and learn to live with that reality.
there can be freedom in that.
(but hot tears still form when i type the words)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Living in the Quiet Zone.

making my choices carefully
resting alot and learning to accept my limitations
remembering the adaptations that make life easier.
noticing the gray and finding them beautiful.
accepting the gifts that come with rainy days.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

staying true to the plan

the plan was to take a year right?
to give myself, my body, and my family
time to rest and recover
and to get this colitis into remission.

it was an agonizing decision and one that came slowly and then fell into place quickly
and before I knew it the daycare was packed up, I no longer saw Maria twice a week
and the little ones were relocated and settled in nicely.

my family has enjoyed having me home. there was a clean house, dinners, time for tea dates and homemade break and endless tv marathons.
i started my remicade treatments, had time to do nothing. and began to heal.
began to feel balanced.

but i am wavering.
 feeling lost a wee bit. tempted by outside offers,
 feeling the struggle to find my self worth in myself, not in what i offer the world.
i find the lack of structure necessary for my body and soul but tricky to navigate some days.
there needs to be a balance right?
but how does one plan when the body has a mind of it's own and turns traitor on me withought even asking if this is a good time to shut down?

there is a humility that comes when plans need to be cancelled last minute,
opportunities considered and then denied.
an emptiness and sorrow that is hard to explain even to myself
but a necessary one.

i am four months in and that leaves eight to go.
i can't even imagine the angst come September when i don't return to "work" in some formal capacity.
i am gently adding some structure to my days and the few hours I get that are pain free
are spend very carefully on chosen activites that feed my soul and my creativity.
i garden. i create art with small ones.
it is a choice.
i choose one activity over another because most days i don't get the luxury of doing two.
this is the reality of living with an auto immune disease.
 and for a girl who has always prided herself on doing more than necessary,
on always saying yes, and on finding her self worth in her service to others,
this new life is so different.
and so challenging but so full of gifts and blessings and growth and discovery.

i am pretty proud of myself for sticking to the plan.
it's tough. and i almost didn't listen to the intuitive voice reminding me.
owen helped. so did praying. and reflecting. and remembering.
but mostly, honouring myself by saying no, when i really, really thought saying yes would be the right thing to do.