Tag Archives: journal

A “Hello, How Are You?” Kind of Day

I feel like the change I’ve sought is finally starting to happen. The gears are shifting, things are falling nicely into place, money is sorting out, my body’s pain is settling down, and I’m even starting to feel like a “local” here.

It’s a big week for me, always is. Mother’s Day. It always approaches with a sense of dread. It’s different this year. I’ve upped and moved to a place I think my mom would’ve loved to live in. We came here on a “girl’s weekend” when I was in fourth grade, so, that’s odd for me in a way this week.

One of the first things I did here as a new resident was wind up having dinner with my two aunts, both visiting suddenly, who raised a glass of wine, toasted my mom, and said “Who would’ve thought we’d all meet here, now?”

That was back in March and I already feel a million miles away from who I was that week.

I’ve tried to keep my bitching to a minimum in all that time, but my body reacted horribly to the stress of moving, the sudden shift to a “walking” lifestyle, and working from home. Oh, and the small matter of riding my bike straight into a roadsign and getting whiplash. That was helpful. Suffice to say, in the coming weeks, there was a lot of pain, and a lot of worry.

But I kept my chin up and now, this week, finally, everything is settling down and I’m not so sore, and I’m more active, and it’s a good, good thing.

I’m glad I had that unexpected adversity, though. I think it needed to get worse before I would really appreciate it getting better.

Sometimes we can be very stupid humans that way. I know I can be a very stupid human. Sometimes, getting beat upside the head with lessons is the way to grow.

Sometimes, we forget how resilient we are. That too is a great thing to be reminded of.

I think all the little griefs and frustrations that sprung up in my first eight weeks here have served to remind me of why I needed this move in the first place.

I’m 10 weeks in, I have no life, I’ve only seen minimal parts of the city because I’ve been limited to days I feel good, and YET I don’t feel homesick for Vancouver.

Despite that, I have a trip home next month. I’m speaking at the 2012 Northern Voice Blogger’s Conference. I’ll be on a panel talking about how to write with authenticity. I’m speaking Saturday if you want to grab a ticket for the day, $40.

I’ll be in town for a few days, crashing at a couple different friends’ places. A foreigner in my hometown. A couchsurfer returns. That’ll be weird. And cool. Mostly weird.

Great blue heron fishing. Shot by me.

And I’ll probably cry on the ferry back to Victoria, and homesickness will likely hit me for the first time then. Because, honestly, Vancouver in the summer? Heaven on earth, man. That’s how ya do it. (But Victoria’s gonna be pretty killer too.)

The impending, inevitable bout of homesickness doesn’t matter in the long run, though, because I know this is the right place for me. It’s that gut-check level of intuition. I can’t explain it in words, how it feels, but I wake up and this place just feels right, for right now. And that’s all I need to know.

Monday, I got up, excited to see a big to-do on the beach road, but that was a bust, so, instead, I took a walk along the beach and spotted a great blue heron fishing. I stood there sinking into shoreline wet sand, snapping photos for an hour. It was fantastic. Then, I came home and worked.

Tuesday, I got up, worked for a couple hours, hopped on my bike for a great eggs Benedict breakfast in town, then cycled around to four different food shops (Chinatown and beyond) for all my favourite cooking stuff, and headed home for more work.

That’s two days in a row with the kind of balance I moved here looking for.

This is the first week where I’ve felt like I’ve had any of that going on. It’s something to aspire for. It’s where I’m headed. If I can have 2-3 workdays a week like that, it’ll be a great lifestyle over here, and I know it.

So, change. It’s like that snowball on the hill. Getting it going is ridiculously frustrating and labourious sometimes, but once you get the foundations, once you start moving it and pushing it, it slowly amasses more, and more, and then it has a momentum of its own. If you’re not from a colder region, here’s a video of making a snowman. All true.

And that’s what I’m imagining for my own change: The Snowball Grows. Now gravity is pitching in and my ball of change has begun to roll with a whole lot less of the grunt-work from yours truly.

It’s an exciting time.

Well, this wasn’t what I’d intended to write about but it’s a great snapshot of my headspace right now, I guess. I’d intended to tell you about my jade plant and how well it’s doing and how much it’s got me being pensive. But that’ll be for another day.

In the meantime, I’m doing well. Living life, working a lot, feeling better, getting my groove on, and thinking I’m getting closer to where I need to be.

That’s your update, kids. And, hey, it’s almost Friday! Happy weekend.

A Journally Thing: Of Clean Houses and Sore Backs

So, things are in new places and places are in new things. Whoa. Feeling a little Seuss-y there for a moment.

Mornin’, kids.

I had me a long weekend, and it was good. I’ve had so many weekends of trying to get somewhere new around my home, and it’s never really worked, despite getting the place reasonably organized. Every week, boom, another cleaning disaster unfolds.

Recently, I’d written about cleaning a cupboard with an approach of “from where does the mess begin?” Then I wondered, why can’t I do that with my home?

So, on a complete whim, Saturday, I got up, moved a couple things, and then I had reoriented my whole living room, with greater space for workout and a cleaner path through my place, with less clutter.

I sat down with my wine Saturday night and kept looking around the apartment, all “Oooh.” I still wasn’t done and I made some changes Sunday, but my space feels lighter to me now.

My continuing progression of self is going well this fall.

Massive edit here. I wrote about 5 paragraphs explaining how I was an emotional Ugly Cry Mess for a week last week, partly due to PMS, but mostly, I think, due to a rib being out of place in my back. The same spot is considered by Chinese medicine to be a meridian for our Chi, which is life energy, and the flipside, over the heart area, is considered an acupressure/acupuncture point for happiness. I had the rib fixed by my chiro Friday, right after getting my “more happier button” reset, as my acupuncture doctor says, and I haven’t come close to being emotional or sad since.

It’s funny how the body works.

So, when we’re “out of alignment,” we really are.

It’s been months that I’ve been recuperating from this stupid injury, so I wonder what that does to the headspace.

Well, my mood’s been fucking great since Friday.

I’ve been keeping to myself, doing the things I’ve longed to do, and finally have gotten my space up to speed. I like what I’ve done this weekend. On top of that, I’ve had 8-10 hours a night of sleep for three nights — which is on par with being a religious experience after the restless September I had and the months of sporadic sleep preceding that.

Friday was sort of my hitting-bottom of my back injury. No, the back’s not BAD these days, but it’s not what I’d hoped it’d be. Hell, I thought I’d be over this shit by June, but it’s turning into 2/3rds of a year in a couple weeks. That’s a long time for things to be awry.

The trouble with an injury like the back is not just that it puts you in severe pain for weeks on end — about seven excruciating weeks for me, and three months of low-grade pain after that — but how much it incapacitates you in the long run.

I’ve been running at 50-75% capacity for months now. I have to STOP when I hear things in my body saying “this is too much.” Whether I’m cleaning, out with friends, whatever. When your back says stop, you better fucking listen.

These days, though, it says stop less frequently. By making the choice to spend most weekends at home slowly getting my life back on track, and recuperating as needed, I’ve done exactly what I’d hoped to do.

I’m also starting with a new physiotherapist this week.

People don’t get how much of a financial burden it is to get injured. If you can’t work 100%, and you’re constantly putting out money on care, and you’re occasionally taking the easy route with takeout or delivery because SOMETHING has to give, well, it’s a pretty draining existence financially. I’ve been in that boat immediately after about seven months of unemployment. It’s like that Simply Red song, Money’s Too Tight To Mention. Every back appointment is another $50-100. And you wonder why I have no life.

So, my money goes out on my back, constantly. Literally a few thousand this year. So, finally there’s room for a new physiotherapy routine, which will be wonderful. That starts this Friday. I’m very excited. If it doesn’t work, there’s another I want to try.

It’s that I’m finally able to work a little more that I can do a little more for myself. So, it’s a good thing.

I wish I’d journalled on the pain throughout my injury, though. There were some dark, dark days from March to May this year.

It’s amazing how resilient we can be. Sometimes no one else really knows. But we do. I’m trying to remember now those black fucking days, so I can contrast this casual feeling of liking my living room as my coffee cup hits bottom and buttery sunlight streams through the curtain cracks.

THIS moment, this, right here — this is something I’ve not enjoyed often in the last year… simple contentment within a moment. Not stressed, scared, or panicked. Just… casual.

They call back injuries “invisible” because no one really sees it. They think you’re moody or depressed because there’s a weary look in the eye, bags under them, and a constantly strained face. What they don’t know is that it’s because you can’t sleep more than two or three hours at a time, if that, and you’re never comfortable enough for that edginess to soften.

Back injuries aren’t an inconvenience — they become a way of life.

So, my way of life is still compromised, but it’s improving to the point where I have actual moments of feeling human again. That’s nice.

Everything solved? No. Over the money struggles? Nah. Smooth sailing ahead? Likely not.

And that’s okay. Because at least there’s the possibility of awesome.