Tag Archives: success

Getting it Wrong Means Knowing How to Get it Right

The older I get, the more I see the adage of “darkest before dawn” being a truism.

A certain Zen-master sensibility takes over as I age whenever the fit really hits the shan.

“Oh, wow. A gnarly wave of suckage cresting on the right. Head down, hang on, and pray, woman.”

When I had that almost-a-major-setback with my back the other day, I went to some pretty fucking dark places. It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster week for me, and I’m done, man.

Done on a few levels, that is. I think I’ve hit a major turning point with my back. The almost-major-setback, it turns out, was that I had been doing a very important stretch wrong. Ever so slightly wrong, too.

There was a miscommunication in having the stretch explained/digested, and as a result I was extending backwards instead of forwards, causing a minor  compressing of the spine — but after a week or so of the compression, kaboom. Yowch. Something slipped as I started to pedal my bike and I went to That Dark Place.

And this stretch, the difference in placement of my tailbone is all of, say, 1 horizontal inch. It’s really not a lot, but that angle changes shoulder-level by about 30-degrees, just enough to fuck a girl up.

For me, this incident is a reminder on a number of levels.

  • Close often isn’t good enough. Which is, you know, not good enough.
  • When you’re doing yourself harm, it’s not always apparent until it’s too late.
  • Know the result you want, and how to recognise it.
  • Attention to detail is time well spent.
  • Attempt to undo damage all you like, but if you ain’t gettin’ it right, then you’re makin’ it wronger.*
  • Solutions tend to reverse tides in a hurry. Step 1. Act. Step 2. Worry only if it motivates you to do Step 1.
  • I am a tough bitch.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t working for wellness. I was. Daily rehab and stretching.

I was just doing it wrong. One small part of it. No good deed goes unpunished, as the cynical old bastards always say.

And this too shall pass, say others. With stretching apparently down, it seems like the mix is right and it will settle.

Life comes with interruptions and setbacks. If we can’t take them for what they are, an opportunity to adjust our thinking and try another tack, then we’re destined for a pretty bumpy journey.

What solves other lives ain’t gonna solve mine. It’s not a one-size-fits-all dealio, so there’s a lot of bump-in-the-night that we each need to do to get there.

I’m coming up on three years with this back injury, and it’s the first time I’ve ever nailed this particular stretch that releases this particular combination of muscles. That other old truism, never too late to change, appears to be indicative of my rehabilitation, too.

Believe? Why not. Sure, I believe.**

It’s fitting there’s sunshine today. I could use a little basking in the light.

*If you’re a grammar dork who wants to point out that “wronger” isn’t a word, well, duh. Go back to satire school.
**By the way, not for nothin’, hockey fans, but I hope Vancouver’s Canucks can learn a little of what I’ve learned this week, that a lack of success doesn’t mean failure, it means it’s time to adjust strategy. Getting outcoached is a shitty way to lose a series.

The Struggle to Identify Your Struggle

I had an interesting Twitter debate this morning after someone spoke of a Starbucks kid who screwed his store over by twice not showing up as the “keyholder” to open the shop.

The debate came from completely different perspectives — I’m getting on in my 30s, spent 15 years in retail, dreamed of a better day working in “real” jobs, but eventually realized my job never solved any of my problems in my life; meanwhile, the other debater’s in her early 20s, dreaming of a better time in a real job, and probably believes the same as I used to, that life really gets better with a different job.

Trouble is, one day you wake up and you realize that all you did was put on different clothes and cash a bigger cheque.

You dreamed of the trappings of success, but never realized it was really just a trap till it really had hold of you.

Deep down inside, the smarter-older you realizes the job has fuck all to do with your true happiness — it just gives you better means to avoid the issue and hide from the truth.

Anyone blaming their job for unhappiness probably needs to think twice.

I can’t tell you the hell I put myself through believing it was my job that was costing me any happiness in life.

I thought, “Oh, it’s a do-nothing, go-nowhere job. It’s why I feel so held back in life. I don’t make enough, I don’t do enough, I’m not special enough. I know — I’ll quit! I’LL SHOW EVERYONE!”

After two years of trying to get by in an endless parade of bad-fitting jobs, part-time work, and self-employment, I realized the job was never the problem.

No matter what I did, that current of discontent still ran through me. I was my problem.

Let’s face it, not everyone’s going to have a job that speaks to who they are. Not everyone gets to work in a career that radiates their true nature. We need labourers and waitresses too, you know.

There comes a point where the job just doesn’t matter.

If you think a career’s all you’ve got going in your life, then, yeah, okay, I can see how you might be in for a world of suck.

But that’s your choice. You’re the fucking idiot that’s decided some dude with a wad of cash has that much power over who and what you are. God help you if you ever lose that job, y’know? Be MORE. Expect MORE. Live MORE than just your job.

I’m not my job and I’m not my bank account.

I’m the chick with a way with words who really digs thinking and living a contemplative life of slowness and relative quiet. I’m the chick who can find god on a riverbank and think there’s nowhere else I should be, and no one who should be with me. That’s me. When I leave work, I contribute to my end-of-life legacy with things that speak to me and who I am. Not as much as I could… that troubles me. I want to do more. But I’m further than I was, and do more than I did, and these are good things. And I know the things that call to me, that I should do, and that I know are going to be done. My time, my way.

My advice?

Don’t look at your relationship or your job as your source of unhappiness. I betcha dollars to donuts that the source is inside you. Things you’re likely not doing or facing, and it’s easier to use life situations as “obvious” blames than it is to do the hard emotional work of realizing a lot of answers lay within.

Running’s easy. Standing and fighting? Then you get a cookie. And some bruises.

Good luck with that. It’s so not the 2010 way — avoidance is an artform. We got yer pills, your cars, your portfolios, your adventure vacation packages, yer smart phones, yer funky gadgets… shit, we even got Lady Gaga. Is she a chick?

Is that ALL there is? Isn’t there more? We’re the wealthiest the world’s EVER been — so why the fuck are we all so empty?

Rip the fucking scab off. Prod your wounds. Do all the things that scare you. Find more to satisfy YOU in life, and stop blaming your inability to do so on your spouse or your job. It’s a choice and a matter of values. Make it happen. It’s quality, not quantity, so think about it.

Hiding behind time demands as an excuse for a life half-lived is a sissy 2010 thing. MAKE CHOICES. You can’t BE everything or DO everything, so CHOOSE. Offend people and don’t go to a few engagements. Big fucking deal. CHOOSE.

Seriously, if I could sit every 20-something down and say, “All this angst and sadness you have? Your shitty retail job isn’t the problem — your reaction to it is. Everything you need to know about life, you can learn here and now. If you want.”

And if I could sit every 40-something down and say the same thing about their office jobs? I would.

Because you’ll never learn about people better than in the workforce — their capacity for evil or infinite goodness, their irresponsibility and unexpected nature are all unavoidable, daily.

Don’t cop out and blame your job for unhappiness unless you really know you’re happy everywhere else in your life. If you quit and get the rude shock at another job that you’re still going home empty inside and, gee, that place has assholes there, too, then you’re in for a really crushing emotional defeat.

Trust me, I know! Been there, done that, the t-shirt didn’t fit.

Stay with the devil you know. Try a new sport, find hobbies, do things you love. Remember to take time to do things that make you a better version of you. When you feel you’re on the way there, then you can make other changes.

Otherwise, you’re likely just doing more harm than good.

Changing should always be done on the inside before you attempt the outside. If you’d like to see it take hold, that is.

Pfft. I don’t know, I’m still on my journey. But what I DO know is, I’m happier here, “on my way,” than I’ve ever been — and I don’t have a job or savings or security. I have more inside me, though, than I ever have, and I credit that to the really hard choices I’ve made to learn about myself and all my damage, over the last 3 – 5 years. I made some mistakes along the way and I’d rather others learn from that.

Fix you, and the universe will follow, seems to be the lesson things have been teaching me. Jobless? Moneyless? What I got you don’t buy, you don’t get given, and you don’t take. You earn it, slowly. Self-knowledge, faith, belief, and you learn it by going crutch-less and not dishing out blame.

Yep. Fix you. The universe will follow. It’s a fucking amazing thing.

PS: Sometimes your job really is a steaming pile of shit and you should run for the hills. But, you know, just make sure of that.

Of Insomniacs and Night Owls

It’s 4 in the morning and I’m thinking in my head.*

I fell asleep on my couch a little after 9, tired of the whole “stay up till midnight sleep till 7” routine of the working life. Now, I’ll sleep when the thought occurs to me.

Where do I have to go? What do I have to do? None of it is on schedule beyond the odd appointment or shop hours. Sleep, sleep I can afford. At any time, day or night.

So, it’s 4am and I’ve been sitting in a chair, in silence, thinking.

No TV or music, no droning of traffic on the nearby highway that never stops, no worry this’ll affect my sleep pattern and make work difficult later in the week.

Just silence. And all the time in the world.

So, I just sat there, me and the pinging and creaking of my 1952 radiators to keep me company as the fridge groaned and adjusted itself from time to time.

I was thinking a lot of the time I’ll be needing to talk to a crowd about at Northern Voice 2010 — when, for a moment, everything exploded and I was a pretty talked-about little blogger girl after I wrote a rant that got quoted and linked to all over the web, in sex-blogger circles anyhow.

Then everything came apart in my private life and all blogging momentum stopped. I made some other stupid mistakes that began driving nails in the blogging-success coffin before that, but that’s all another topic for another time…

Like for the folks paying a hundred bucks to hear a bunch of us speak at Northern Voice, for starters.

But what I was really thinking about is how I sort of have very little regrets about fucking all that up.

What if it’d been the other way? What if momentum really exploded? I’m pretty sure I’d have really fucked that up.

Oh, don’t give me “believe in yourself!” speeches. It ain’t that. I DO believe in myself and wish most people had the quiet inner knowledge I have about myself.

Then? I’d have fucked it all up.

Had I never lost the plot and gotten successful then and there?

I’d never have lost 70 pounds without a trainer or dietitian. I’d never have gotten into sports like I did. I’d never have blown my back out like I did and have to survive that fucking year of hell. I’d NEVER have proven all these things to myself in such a short time.

I fucked it up because I had a lot more to learn.

I’m glad. Life’s been a right bitch since 2006, but I’ve never been so smug and satisfied with myself as I am now — even if I’ve just become unemployed. Why? Because of everything I’ve been through in the last seven years, particularly the last 5. When it comes to getting by, I know I get it done now.

I’ve needed no man, no parents, no helping hands beyond small generosities of spirit and time from friends. I got through it all. Sure, uncertainty looms as I sit here in my silent clacking, but… it loomed before, and darker. Then it went away. I did that.

I guess I was just sitting there and thinking of the madcap events that dot the timeline between then and now, and how surreal life feels when you just sit back in silence at 4 in the morning with a single thought:

“So that happened.”

And now I’m off to bed. Thought, thought, and more thought.

Here’s one of my favourite insomniac tracks.

Recording a Moment(ish)

I had a moment tonight.

My best friend GayBoy (@mr_tits_pervert on Twitter) was over tonight and we were drinking, doing the Silly Thing, and I was off in the bathroom.

I looked in the mirror and I just remembered my mother and how I always thought she was so beautiful. You know, when she wasn’t wearing her black-&-hot pink industrially-thick socks with too-short pants on “lazy days”, that is. Continue reading

Fat Girl No More: How I Lost 50 Pounds

Two piles of “fat” clothes sit in garbage bags by my front door, waiting to get donated, like the two bags I ditched last week. It’s the end of an era.

I’ve been buying clothes lately, the last two weeks. It’s been emotional hell. I’m about a size 15 now (down from 22/24), and that makes me almost too big for most “normal” stores, and too small for “fat girl” stores. It’s been a bit of a chore.

It’s been hard, because getting to know your body when it’s not your body anymore, well, it’s a journey. I decided my judgment was shit, ultimately, as I found myself shopping emotionally and not critically, so I made the choice that anything I bought I’d put on ice until I went to a half-dozen or more stores, and then I would Assess and decide then what should be kept of all my purchases.

Well, today was assessment day. Several shirts are going back, as well as a beautiful fire-red winter coat, because they’re all too large.

At last weigh-in, three or four weeks ago, I was down 50 pounds. I’ve probably not lost anything since, or not much, and don’t care, because I continue to improve and change my ways, my clothes keep getting looser, and that’s my REAL goal, not a “number”. The real weight I think I’m down, though, is probably closer to about 85 pounds over the last 5 or so years. It’s 50+ this year alone. Continue reading

The Bi-Monthly Friday-Night Bottle-of-Red Requisite Posting

In vino veritas.

The price of truth, it seems, runs $9.99 per 750 mils. Yum.

I’ve recently cut out my crack-like addiction to the tasty, chewy, buttery, vanilla-y Rice Krispie squares from the market down the street. That, coupled with yoga and a few more veggies in my diet as well as weight-lifting, and I’m noticing (just as of tonight) some new toning in my midsection. Like, what? I have rib bones? Who knew? Continue reading