Tag Archives: adapting

Easing Into the New

I’m still bogged by crap as I transition into my new life here in Victoria, but it’s slowly coming together for me.

When I moved, I’d been sick for more than a month previous, and the “sickness” turned into six weeks. At the end I finally realized I have a dust allergy, bought a Neti pot, and now doing it a couple times a week seems life-changing.

Now I’m finally getting caught up with work, getting my home to make sense, and see a vague form of a light at the end of the tunnel. (Woohoo!)

The beacon on Ogden Point's Breakwater, after rains and before the storm. By me.

As I start catching my breath, I’m trying to come up with things I want to do differently now. Like incorporating some meditation in my day, exercising, eating better, and taking more time for myself.

I’m not yet at the point where I have any semblance of real CONTROL over my life, because everywhere I turn there’s some little project around the house that’s yet undone, and my ADD self obsesses on the undone. But, come Easter, I see that all changing for real, since, well, it should be done!

My body has been rebelling against me, with too much walking too soon after too much moving and othe stupidity, so my plan is to really get firing on all self-indulgent cylinders — eating properly, taking “me” time daily, doing the rehab workout daily, and just creating a new kind of balance in my world, and slowly increasing the walking.

Balance has never been something I’ve attained. Why, I used to wonder. I’m beginning to think balance is pretty impossible to attain unless a) you work from home and b) you set limitations on your time.

Remembering to be awesome to ourselves is like shopping for unicorns — WHO DOES THAT?

But that’s the whole point of moving here. But making the choice to move here doesn’t magically mean I’ve figured that shit out. No, it will be a learning process, Grasshopper.

Victoria’s still pretty expensive. Less expensive than Vancouver, but it ain’t no bargain bin life here, my friends. If it were cheaper, then it’d be perfect. There’s still some financial stress, but the life balance possible here makes it worth it.

What Victoria has that Vancouver doesn’t, is great accessibility, if you choose the right neighbourhood. I’m lucky. I’m walking distance to great beaches, downtown, and one of Canada’s top 10 public spaces, Beacon Hill Park. I’m surrounded by character homes from the 1880s and turn of the century, lots of trees, and places to just be. Here’s the place I’ll become the walker I always thought I’d never be.

There are a lot of new-agey types in Victoria, and I’m hoping to learn from some of the less frou-frou ones on how to get out of my head a little more, and get into the moment. I’ve been so caught up in worry for so many years that I’ve forgotten how to just absorb the world around me for an hour.

Yesterday, I finally escaped for a bit to take in the ocean, and for the first time just sat down and looked, put my camera down and stopped “focusing” the camera in order to just focus me. It was pretty blissful.

I’m a sucker for movies with great teachers and students who overcome, like The Great Debaters, and there’s a line where Forest Whitaker says to his son, “We do what we have to do, so we can do what we want to do.”

I've been thinking about balance since I saw these dudes balancing driftwood on end, at Holland Point. By me, yesterday.

Well, I’m doing what I have to do now, then I’ll be able to do what I want to do.

My goal, ever since I chose to move last November, was to get completely moved in before Spring began in earnest. I’ve been telling myself since day one that I’d be done by Easter, with time off (four days!) for good behaviour.

That gives me 12 days and I’m optimistic I can do it.

I’m leaving my bookshelf until Easter Weekend. That’ll be my final project. I’ll be picking out books to read in the next few months, and organizing by genres, and making some notes on writing dreams. It’s going to be a very, very indulgent night of literary obsessions, and a good bottle of wine will be required.

Yes. We’re getting to the turning point here. Soon, I’ll have fewer distractions. I’m very excited to see how that unfolds. I’m trying to imagine it and it seems ridiculously fanciful. Like who has THAT life, where they can roll out of bed at 6, get half their workday done by 10, get dressed, enjoy a break, and finish the workday entirely by 2 or so, and enjoy the rest of the day?

Soon, maybe me. :)

For now, it’s not quite so simple. But, soon.

Hanging Up on Hang-ups

Funny how we get so hung up on our hang-ups we sometimes don’t even notice when they’ve disappeared.*

I was fucking floored Thursday night when I realized the varicose veins I’d been loathing for the last year had suddenly vanished in the last couple months, thanks to my awesome new fitness regime. Poof, gone.

Ironically, I’d already bought some spring clothes last month — and no shorts shorter than knee-length. For what mighta been something that didn’t even need hiding. Silly, silly.

It makes me wonder how often we get stuck in our insecurities, fears, loathings, all out of habit, rather than reality. Is it as bad as we fear? Are we merely choosing to dwell in shadows rather than turn the light on and see what we’re really judging? Continue reading

In Praise of Pink Slips

What a difference a day makes. 24 hours ago, I was sitting there sullenly at my desk, kind of loathing my existence. Today, I’ve got a paid day off, and tomorrow I return to the only job I’ve ever known that made me feel like I was part of a family.

It has been 12-13 years since I had a job with an asshole employer. This was the first time since that I’d had an employer that I felt was, well, unfair. I’m not going into specifics. It is what it is, and I have too developed a readership to go slagging anyone.

But let’s face it, not everyone knows how to manage. There are people who have such great personalities that they get overlooked for how they sometimes treat others, and they can be hell to work for.

I’m a big believer in learning from life as it happens. You can just dismiss things and say “shit happens,” or you can ask “why does shit happen?” Everything I ever needed to know I learned from Philosophy 101. Why?

For me it makes life so much better when I assign value to all the things that go down in my life. For every failure, I try to learn something. And whether I want to accept it or not, I was fired. I failed in some capacity, and while I consider myself fortunate to have been uninvited from that particular party, there’s a part of me that knows what rejection feels like again.

Do you ever sit back in your comfy arm chair, watching some talk show, on which is some woman telling of all the abuse she endured through her many years of marriage, and sit there, thinking, “Jesus, honey! Why didn’t you leave?! At what point do you finally clue the fuck in and say, ‘Gee, I think this might be a bad situation?’ Fuck!”

Yet how many of us work every day in jobs we hate? Jobs where you know it’s just a paycheque, baby? How many of us tolerate rude, belligerent employers who don’t know how to sit the fuck down and trust us to do the jobs we’re supposed to be hired to do? It’s psychological abuse, really, when you work in a situation like that. But because they sign our paycheques and keep the roofs above our heads, we somehow feel like they’ve got permission to treat us like they do.

And I don’t give a fuck what kind of job it is, what kind of pressure it is, it’s not too goddamned much to ask that employees everywhere get treated in a reasonably professional manner. I’m not so sure that’s how I was treated of late. Two people there were good, though. Pity about the unbalance.

So, uninvited from the party, I have to tell you that today’s the first time since about… February of this year that I’ve woken up without this palpable fear of whether all the bills are going to be paid and whether I’m gonna have my integrity intact at the end of the day. In the spring I was just financially insecure. Of late, I was underpaid and treated somewhat questionably. Different scenarios, but similar results.

I feel like a fucking mammoth weight has come off my shoulders, is what I’m trying to say. And I’m also trying to suggest that, if you’re one of those people working a job you hate, you really need to start asking yourself if the cost benefit ratio of going through THAT every single day is worth it. I mean, shit. I feel like I’ve just broken the water’s surface and am finally breathing again. I had no idea those many months were taking the toll they’ve now so obviously been taking.

I always said I was lucky to never have really had to work in a bad situation. Now I have. I’m one of those freaks that likes having difficult experiences because then I always grow. It’s my choice to gain from the situation, ain’t it? So I’m having a good day. Friday’s coming and so’s that 33rd birthday. Older? Wiser? Fucking right I am.

I wouldn’t have had the guts to quit without another job to go to. Getting fired was the only way that situation was gonna get resolved, unless one of the headhunter positions worked out. So my perfect record gets smeared. Whatever. I’m glad I’m moving on to potentially better times.

It’s one of those times where you, the reader, gets to sit back and ponder your own life’s satisfaction. Is it really going the way you want? Is it worth it to keep compromising? Think about it. Then remember one of my favourite sayings: Life’s too fucking short.

Hallelujah. I got fired. Uninvited. Ha. And look, it’s sunny out. Go fuckin’ figger.

Good news! I got fired!

Heh. Yep, you read right. I’m happy I just got fired.

I hated the job, or more accurately, one of the bosses. Worse yet: It sucked the will to write right out of me.

Putting words on a screen’s pretty fucking easy most days and I can do it in my sleep, but the GOOD writing, well, that comes from places that machines can’t mine. When the mix is off, it’s really, really difficult to get things gelling again. And, honestly, something about that job just killed my creativity.

And, being such an affable and good chick as I am, the folks I worked the last six years for are taking me back without even thinking twice. Not permanently, but “for a while” at the very least, and “for a while” is what I need.

And the moral of this story, boys and girls, is that when adversity happens, don’t think about the fucking adversity. Think about overcoming it. Within 10 minutes I went from losing a job to getting another one, in essence, and that comes from acting, not fretting.

I’m a happy camper. I lost a job I hated. I’m going back to one that had me, for some weird reason, writing better than I’ve ever written before. Methinks I’ve come out ahead.

But the good news for you is, soon I’ll be back to writing well. Don’t think I don’t know this blog’s been off-kilter for some time. I know it all too well. I already have a couple fun things planned for postings.

I’d kill to hear “Ding, dong, the witch is dead” right now, ‘cos it sums up how I’m feeling pretty nicely.

The Relationship Ride

When I was a little girl, I liked the “nice” rides at amusement parks. The Tilt-a-Whirl was a favourite. There’d be those moments when you’d spin wildly and you’d verge on nausea, and then it’d slow on down, and you’d settle back into an easy pace. It was unpredictable, but never dangerous, and never scary. The perfect combination, I always thought.

When I was eight, I went to Ontario to visit family, and my Evil Vixen cousin decided I needed to try a scarier experience. I was just tall enough to ride, and this was one of those big wheel-type thingies where everyone walks in, gets strapped against the wall, and the thing spins madly at wild speeds, first on a horizontal plane, but then it starts angling and elevating, until you hit absolute vertical – with every rotation, you go from facing skyward to staring at the ground from a height of a hundred feet or more. For an eight-year-old Steff, it was hellishly frightening. Throw in the blasting music and the screams and taunts of others, and there I was, out of control.

I was screaming, crying, and absolutely horrified. Tears poured down my face and I couldn’t stop wailing. They had to stop the ride and let me off. I was heaving and sobbing and needed my mommy, who was thousands of kilometers away.

To this day, there are times when I wish I could do the same with life. Stop the ride, man, let me off. Give me a blankie and a quiet night with reruns, I’m done like dinner.

The beginning of relationships, for me, are one of the most terrifying things I can experience. I’d like to jump in head-first, absolute abandon, and know it’s okay, it’s all right, I can do it. But I can’t. I start to, I throw my pennies in the wishing well and pray it’s all going to be all right, but then the evil What If? Monster starts whispering in my head.

What if I’m wrong? What if he comes to his senses? What if there’s some external factor I can’t control? What if I’m missing out on something better? What if the timing’s wrong?

And I fucking hate the What If? Monster. I hate the ambivalence and apprehension that finds me when the only thing I should be finding is trust. I’m in that rare situation with a guy who’s opening all the trust doors first, so the fear’s a little less than it might normally be, but it’s still there, and I really, fucking hate that it is. I wish it wasn’t. This time, I really wish it wasn’t.

But it’s strange and weird because he has this, this massive decoder ring of mine. Not only do I have this blog, with more than 200 postings, but I have my other blog, with more than 500. I don’t know if I’m your standard blogger, because I try to really peel back my layers. Not for you, not for him, not for anyone but for myself.

Unfortunately, though, he gets to peel back my layers on his own time, by himself, without me seeing his reaction, and I’m left wondering, “What’s he really thinking?” Fortunately, he’s good enough at expressing himself that he often clues me in without my needing to ask. Still, I’m over-analytical, timid, worried, and scared. That’s just me, and it works better when I’m flying solo, because then I can sit around and ask all these grand questions that my readers can relate to. Now, though, I’m not flying solo, so I go and I air these fears, and he’s gonna know. Maybe a good thing, maybe not.

In my life, fear is the great component that I can never, ever shake. All this self-examination and illumination is generally done in the attempt to get past the fear of hurt and pain that has greatly coloured my life over these years. I’ve had, unquestionably, a hard life. I’ve been hurt six ways to Sunday in every arena of my life, no matter what walls I’ve put up or taken down. I’ve had adversity piled upon adversity, and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to learn is a) to love myself in the face of it all, and b) to allow others to love me.

And I’m nowhere near ready on the front of B. I’m having a hard, hard time getting past this fear and apprehension that comes with the beginning of a new relationship, but specifically, this one. There’s the reality that this relationship has begun with more abandon and less restraint than any I’ve ever had. It’s freaking the shit out of me, honestly. That was hard enough at the beginning, but then my bone-breaker had the misfortune of badly breaking his leg and needing surgery for the insertion of a metal plate and several screws. I feel so horribly for him, and because I’ve already come to care a good deal for the man, I really want to be there to be of assistance and comfort for him.

So I have. And today, oh, my GOD. I’ve woken up with The Fear. I hate The Fear. On the one hand, I’m screaming “Stop the ride, lemme off!” On the other, I’m thinking I like this feeling. I love how I feel when I’m around him, but when I’m not… all the niggling doubts squirm to the surface of my psyche and the Questioning begins anew, and quite needlessly, I suspect, given the time we’ve shared and the openness we seem to already have.

During one of our first nights together, we were lying on the bed, comparing notes about what we thought the other would be like versus what they had turned out to really be. He commented that he thought I’d be “more cerebral… no, more pensive.” I told him that I am, but that moods like pensiveness have no place in front of another person. (It’s rude, methinks.) I’m very, very pensive – always, really – but moreso when I’m alone. I do get very quiet, though, in those makeout sessions, lying there, occasionally holding each other’s gaze, and in those moments, it’s true, I’m not really thinking about anything in particular. But the wheel’s turning, and soon, the thoughts strike. Like now, the next morning.

And my question today is, am I my own worst enemy? Is my fear my great undoing? It probably is. But at least I confront it, I give it a voice, and maybe that’s the first step in moving past it. I know I feel this way, and I’ve tried to explain to The Guy that, for now, my actions need to speak much louder than my words, ‘cos baby, I ain’t got the words. Not yet. I try. But I can’t do.

I’m a good woman, a good lover, and a great friend. I know it, and I try to be each of those, but deep down inside, I’m also a scared little girl that wants the safety of the Tilt-a-Whirl. Too bad I’ve met the height requirement for the big fucking roller-coaster, and it’s the only ride operating.