It’s time…..

Went into work today with my return to work note. I feel that returning to work 4 hours a day 5 times a week is the best for me. It is what is healthiest for both my mental and emotional well being. I also do not want to jump back in with both feet. I am quite content to work in customer service or cashiering. Reassess after I have been back for awhile.
I was scared to go in and talk to my boss. Very scared. At first I sent off a message to a friend who I discuss everything with.  Than I told the girls. Also explaining to them that I had snarled at T this morning. Than I talked to V.  Told her that despite all my bravery that I was scared shitless to talk to him. I was afraid that he was going to want to talk about what happened and I did not want to revisit it. That was a bad place for me. And that I was worried that I might cry.
First V assures me that losing it on T was totally normal. Kids do not listen to us and it is damn frustrating. And she is right. I had to ask him three or four times to get in the bathroom and brush his teeth. As a matter of fact, I grabbed him by his arm and pushed him into the bathroom. This after snarling at him about the shower this morning. He stank. Badly. But he was annoyed that I did not wake him up at 6. He tried to push back. I pounded on the bed that he was going to shower because he stunk. We went back and forth. He ended up showering.
V reminded me that we were the parents. We made the choices and rules. They had to listen and follow them. She said the right thing at the right time. Now instead of using ‘because I said so’ I am going to pull out the choice and rule law. Way to go V. Coming up with a great way to explain to my child and all children why they must listen to their parents.
Than she addressed my fear about crying. Assured me that it was okay. And to remember that our boss is human too.
I felt so good after talking to her. Calm. There were some twinges in my stomach but nothing overwhelming to me.
Now fast forward to arriving at work. I was terrified to walk in there. I sat in the car and said my affirmations. I shot off a few quick messages of and got out of the car. First I had to drop my prescription  off at the pharmacy and than I went to the front and had boss paged. Gave him the note and he read it. We were going upstairs to discuss my return.
I waited outside his office. Flicked through my phone. And than he came up and I followed him in.
I did it though. I was calm. The butterflies in my stomach disappeared. I looked him the eye and maintained eye contact. I had been wanting to come back slowly and had been going to suggest customer service or cashiering shifts. So it was very easy to agree when he made the suggestion. He wants to observe me. I need to regain his trust. The trust of the other supervisors and staff.
I told him that by far, my well being, emotionally and mentally are what is important to me. That I no longer was going to look down the road but will remain in the present. And than he suggested that I may decide that I did not want to remain as the lead supervisor. At first, I think my reaction was knee jerk when I said to him that I could still do it.
This is food for thought. I have learned a lot about myself in the last three months. And like the butterfly breaking free from the cocoon I am spreading my wings in the sunshine. Ready to soar.
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Waves

How do you describe a wave?
Water pushing and pulling. Dancing upon itself.  Folding.  Grasping the dappling sun, pulling it beneath the teal waters. Twisting and turning. Capturing and releasing. At its peak it rolls, curling under, ready to submit to itself.
I am having problems with my fiction writing. While it was flowing before now it seems to have dried up. So I thought that I would begin to write. Let the words flow from my mind to my fingers. It did not matter what I was writing, I needed to be writing.
I keep picturing the wave in my mind. Seeing it build and peak and crash back down. Or smooth out softly hitting the shore with barely a ripple.
When I was younger, I would go to the cabin with my amma. The dogs.  It was at Beaver Creek, now known as Beaver Creek Provincial Park. It is on Lake Winnipeg. I loved swimming when it was rough. Wading in, diving through the waves. Laying back and letting the water hold me, keeping me safe. I would ride the waves. Letting the water lift and lower me. The water was my friend, warm even if the day was gloomy and overcast. I have always loved the water, feeling protected and secure.
I miss being a little girl. I miss my amma. I miss my grandma and grandpa. I want a chance to do it all over again. I want the chance to make different choices. I want to fly. I want to dream. I want to live as though tomorrow has no consequences.
I know that this is not realistic. I am an adult, I have responsibilities. I have a life. A son. So going back is not an option for me. And besides all my choices have lead to me being here.
I have always felt strong emotions. Sadness. Fear. Love. Pain. Joy. Happiness. Anger. And I really never knew how to deal with them. I was unable to see that eventually they would pass and I would go back to it being alright. I did not know how to let go of those emotions. I hoarded them. All the hurt and pain, I shut it out. I never learned to navigate those emotional waters. How much has time changed. Now my main goal is making sure that T is able to do so.
That he is going to know that not everything is going to go the way that he wants it to. He will learn to weather the disappointments and let downs, knowing that they are not going to last forever. T will ride the wave better than I have.
Going forward when things get a little much for me, I will ride the waves. The anxiety, pain, fear, disappointment whatever it maybe, I will go up and crest. Than slowly come down the other side. Landing upon the shoreline. I will ride each wave. Secure in the knowledge that the waves can be swum, I no longer need to fear being submerged and drowned.

Good Enough Woman

Friday I was talking with M. She was not feeling well and had decided to go home. I cheered this decision. Because as I have learned ignoring your own needs and those of your body is detrimental to your mental and physical well-being.
At first she attempted to downplay how she was feeling. Her heart was doing some funky things. She was not sick sick. Not contagious. I was a little ticked off and told her that whether mentally, physically or emotionally ill, you have to take time for yourself. That being stupid like that is greatly overrated. To which she asked if I had never worked when I was sick.
Yes, I have. I often feel guilty that I am calling in sick. I pushed myself through at least two months of depression before I finally hit my rock bottom. I have been made to feel that I should work through any illness that I might have. That if my child is sick I am required to make other arrangements. I must be there. Well hell guess what? I no longer choose to allow someone else to decide whether I am healthy enough to work or not.  I will no longer not be with T when he is ill. Children need you. I still want my mom when I am sick. So she can tuck me in and make things all better. It doesn’t really but I can pretend.
My response may have been a little extreme. I mean we were texting and I could have edited but my text went to her as though she was sitting in the room with me.
“I have and where the fuck did that get me? Emotionally and mentally ill. Breaking down because I thought I had to be superwoman.’
And there is the crux of it. I thought I could burn my candle at both ends and get away with it. It is not possible. It is not healthy,  I thought that if I was superwoman, if I was perfect that everything would fall into place and my world would begin to make sense. But it didn’t. Again, Superwoman is overrated. Being her requires a lot of personal sacrafice and being there for everyone but yourself.
Personally I prefer to be ‘The Good Enough Woman’.
The Good Enough Woman:
My son thinks that I am an amazing person. He believes in me. He believes in my writing.
I have learned who my supporters and friends truely are.
I have found myself again. The real me. Not the one who used alcohol and drugs to escape her pain.
I have found strength.
I have reprioritized my wants and desires.
I am reaching for the stars.
I wake each morning feeling satisfied and wonderful.
I am settling the past and living in the today.
I am learning, each and every day, new things about myself.
I am able to own my feelings.
I am able to now see when I allow others to affect my mindset and self. (They whoever they may be do not have the right to make me feel as though my best is not good enough) And I will calmly explain that this is how I feel and I do not appreciate it.
I am good enough for myself. I am good enough for T. I am good enough for the people that orbit in my life.
No one is perfect. I don’t care what you believe. No amount of striving and reaching will ever be enough. You are always going to fall short.
And when you fall short the recriminations, the disgust, the need to push beyond your limits will fell you like the mighty oak. And perfection is overrated. We all have flaws. We all have imperfections. And that is what makes this beautiful world of ours so magnificent.

Conquering Queen

Yesterday I received a text from the Ex indicating that his S.O. (significant other) was not working and that T could stay the night there. At first I was annoyed. I think I erased my text two before coming up with ‘Whatever T would like is fine with me.’ The reason that I put the choice in T’s hands is that this is his dad’s week with him. So he would see him before work last night and before school this morning. The first time in a long time. And I already knew what the answer would be. I did not hear back so text the Ex after awhile to check on T’s response.  And he said yes, he wanted to stay at his dad’s.
When I saw that single word response to my text my heart ached and I stifled a sob.
Even though the Ex and me share custody of T I have become use to having him here every night. We have a routine. And I get to see him every single day. So not seeing him last night was a kick in the pants. I had planned to see him. I was waiting to hear about his day. Now I had to reorganize my thoughts. Tears welled in my eyes, and there was pain. I decided that I would do the dishes thinking that if I had something to concentrate on it would not pain me so much.
As I stood at the sink, tears overcame me. My eyesight blurred and I gave into the sadness for a minute. And than I did what I do best now I talked to myself.
‘Jay you can feel sad but you need to get use to this. You need to get use to having one week where you are not going to have T. You won’t see him. This is normal. You have become greedy given that you are seeing him every day. Obviously he is going to want to stay at his dad’s, after all it is his week with him.’
I am not saying that I was feeling 100% better but I calmed down. And by the time that I was done the dishes and back on the couch, I had settled. I had come to peace with myself. Or so I thought.
Today as I am exercising I am looking at myself and critically. I am not liking what I see. There are small tweaks here and there that I could make. Where I was a year ago to where I am today is a huge difference. I am not drinking. I am not taking pills. I am working out. I am writing. But today I was not being nice to myself. I looked the wrong way at myself and decided that that was it, no more pizza. No more sweets. I text a friend and said over and over that I knew my thoughts were insane.
And as we text I realize I was being hypercritical of myself. Subconsciously something was at work and I think that I have figured it out.
I was sad yesterday and even though I did not consciously think it, I wondered what I had done wrong. Why did T not want to come spend the night here? Where had I failed that he would stay at his dad’s even when his dad is not home?  I had no control in that situation at all because I had given it all over to T and his decsion.
And my feelings were hurt. I really had thought that T was going to want to come and spend the night here with me. And because I could not admit that to myself the highly critical freak me rose to the occassion. I pushed down what I was feeling. I had cried but I did not say outloud  that I was hurt. Because that was wrong. I should not feel that way.
I am allowed to have feelings. In acknowledging this the critic in me, who was trying to skew my thinking and pull me back into an obsession with my body image, has been kicked to the curb.
This is a huge step for me. Admitting I am allowed to have feelings. Admitting that yes, I was hurt that T chose to stay at his dad’s last night but I understand why he made that choice. T is going to hurt me over and over again. That is what children do. The broader world at large does not exist for them. They are the center of their world and the immediate family is in their orbit. I will never tell T about how much it hurt. I did feel like he was picking his dad over me.
And he was because it is his dad’s week with him.  Just like he would chose to come home to me if this was my week.
Once more T has taught me a lesson. And in doing so he has helped me. I have a body image problem that I am acknowledging for the first time ever. I realized this because I stuffed the emotions down and than looked at myself for little things that I could criticize and than concentrate on fixing. That I could control. Perfect. Nothing is perfect, least of all me. And slowly but surely, all those parts of me, the ones that are not healthy, are becoming absorbed within me.
I saw very quickly what I was doing. This did not take me a week to figure out, a month, hell it did not even take me 24 hours to realize what I was doing and put an end to it. Each time I catch myself exhibiting behaviour that can trip me up I conquer it. That is not to say that it will not appear elsewhere but it is the catching it that is important here. Once caught I can change the way that I think and slowly but surely eliminate the behaviours that can harm me.

All signs point to…..

I had to run out this morning to grab a few items. Went to Canadian Tire. I have a spot removal machine and have been searching high and low for the cleaning liquid and Oxy boost liquid. Canadian Tire was my last resort. I needed a few other things too. Laundry detergent. A key cut. I headed off to the Automotive department to have the key cut where they no longer do this. I need to go to the Paint department. Needless to say each department is a store length apart. I was juggling the two liquid containers and the pack of Tide pods.
I am left handed. Being left handed means that I cannot draw a straight line. Now before all the left handers of the world revolt and start pitching the wronghanded scissors at me this is not a phenomenon that all left handers share. But it was the only excuse that my shop teacher was willing to accept when he could not figure out why, even with a T ruler, my lines were still crooked. Slanted. Which means that all the pictures in my house when hung together, are not artistically positioned that way, I am as inept at that as well.
I admire people whose homes are put together with color schemes. The cushions tieing into the drapery to the who knows what else. The ones who could paint murals on their walls. Free hand cute sayings on the walls. Me, I am not sure what you would call my style. I mean I only got a real bed frame the summer of 2016. For several months my mattress was on the floor. Got an actual comforter set, matching, for my birthday this year. That is it though. I am a comfort person. Clothes. How I live. What I eat. I am ecclectic I guess one would say. Both with my style and my personality.
That being said let’s get back to Canadian Tire. I am heading towards the Paint deparment when suddenly right there, in my path is a roundy round display stand with sayings on it. Usually I would breeze by. These are the type of things that are going to be the individual letters and like hell I can make them straight on the wall. But than I glanced down and ‘If you can dream it you can do it’ pops up at me. Hmmmmmmmm okay so like the candle telling me that I am worthy of my dreams here is another nudge. I pick up the package and flip it over, figuring that I could make it work somehow. Imagine how delighted I was to discover they are peel and stick. And only $2. Grabbed it and stepped back.
My eyes fell on the next one. ‘Change your thoughts and you Change your World’. Wow, that was all I could think. Of course I had to pick that one up as well.
When I got home, the first thing I did was peel and stick. The Dream is on the bathroom mirror. So that every time I am in there I will see it and read it. It is a mantra for me to follow. And I am in the bathroom often, our washer and dryer are also in there. Change is above the computer. I sit facing it on the couch. Every time I lift my eyes I see it and read it. And cry.
I don’t know why I am crying. I am happy. I am slowly getting myself ready to go back to work. T and me, we are working at building our relationship stronger and closer. I myself am getting stronger.  My mental health is good and I know what I must do to maintain it.
The universe is obviously trying its damndest to tell me something. And I am going to listen.20180312_1106061684248282.jpg

Afraid to Fall

As I was showering this morning I began to have a small anxiety attack. As I am right now. I am thinking about returning to work. I need to figure out how not to start this. I am fretting. I should not be because I have worked really hard to imbue the thought of ‘Do not worry about what you cannot control. Do not think that you can perdict what others are going to say or do. Stop worrying Jay-lyn.’ And I try. I am hoping that writing this out is going to help me.
The same thing happened yesterday. I began thinking, predicting what was going to happen when I return to work. And when I was driving T to M’s for a weekend sleep over. I am not sure really which one caused me more anxiety. Work or the cloverleafs on and off the perimeter.  I do know that I need to stop doing this. I will be fine when I return. I will be able to impose my new reality on the world at large. Maybe that is what it is. I am fearing that I am not going to be strong enough.
Lately there has been a lot of little nudges in the brain about buying wine. I have been able to shut them down. But I fear that when I am out working and dealing with the public that I will fail. That I will end up listening to that voice, rather than the one that says to me:
Jay you are a beautiful strong woman who has her shit together. You no longer need to hide behind alcohol and drugs. You have faced a larger fear than returning to work will be. You have faced what asshole has done to you. You accept that your brain is protecting you and with the withdrawal of the self-medicating it is letting the good memories back. You have come a long way. You wrote a letter and sent it. Content just to have sent it. Nothing more. That was a huge fear. You submitted one of your poems. You are writing again. Jay you do not need to be afraid to return to work. Calm. Breathe. It is okay to accept that there is fear. Your job has really been about 40% of yourself and you are pushing it down to 10%. You will continue to do a good job at whatever job they have you doing. T. Mom. Bro and Family. Your girlfriends. Those are the important things. Being present in your life. Not willing it away. Stop aging T and enjoy him as he is. You are a wonderful woman Jay-lyn Anne and you do not have to be afraid alone any longer.’
I just made myself cry. I am going to print that out and tape it to my bathroom mirror so that I see that every day. That is the voice that is reasonable. That makes sense.  The one that I have to learn is the one who protects me and guides me in the right direction. The scared one, the fear monger is the one that is being ousted. I imagine that if this were a fantasy novel this is the one last stab made by evil to triumph. But good will come to being and grow into the paladins required.
I have saved myself. I need to remember that. And every once in awhile I need to give myself a small pep talk. To reopen my eyes to the woman I am becoming. Not the one who is being sloughed off like the skin of a snake. And that is kinda like the evil concept. Old me, the one who hid rather than face her problems is fading. Leaving behind a raw new me. Who is afraid that she still yet may fall.

Mask Be Gone

Today will be another 2 post day but I will leave the second one for later on. It is a fun filled one about T and me last night.
I need to give credit where credit is due with regards to the posts where I have a lightening strikes moment and insight happens.  All of them, at the very least 99.9% of the time they evolve out of conversations that I am having with friends. They will make a statement or ask a question and suddenly boom there it is. And I talk it out with whomever I am talking to at the moment. The vast majority of them are broken down between two people of whom K is one of.
Today she is going to make cold calls for the company that she is working for. Dropping off flyers/information packets at the business around the area. When in the office for the most part she can go casual. Today though, she was not sure if it would be okay to wear casual or make a better impression if she dressed up. What did I think. And I thought about it.
Sales Person=Professional look=suits/slacks w/dress shirt for men. Pantyhose/skirt/slip/blouse/dress pants/blazer/dress/heels/flats/purse
for women. Damn uncomfortable being dressed up like that all the time. I have done it in the past and best place I have ever worked was for a company that was in production. I was in Customer Service but could handle this because I dealt with the salesmen not actual customers and I  could wear jeans and sweatshrits to work. I was in my glory. (To be honest the first day I started I wore dress pants in and was told I was dressed up too much.)
I explained that that was my definition of a sales person’s dressware and K agreed. She is going to throw her flair into it though and come out looking awesome. I began to think though as we are talking about what facades we put on. We are programmed to think and feel about certain people and careers solely based on how they are dressed.
Ex: A meeting is taking place between 2 competitors with a company. Person A arrives for the meeting casually dressed because he/she knows that the product they are selling is exactly what the companny requires and at a fraction of the cost even with a few bells and whistles thrown in of their competitor. Person B arrives for the meeting in business attire. Their product essentially the same as Person A’s but with extras that the company does not need nor will they ever use. And it costs triple the price. In the end despite the fact that Person A’s product is what they need for a great cost the company choses to go with Person B.
We immediately disregard people if they do not fulfill our preconcieved notions of how they should look. How does one know that the lawyer who wears jeans and tee shirts to the office did not graduate at the top of his law class while the lawyer in the $1000 suits who charges hourly did not? We give so much creedence to how we present ourselves to the world, that we forget who we are.
At work I have a facade. Chipper. Always happy. Smile on my face. Flying around here there and everywhere. Stopping to talk to people. Helping customers find what they need. This is the face that I wear day in and day out, 40 hours a week whether or not I feel like it.
Before Dec. 23rd, my entire being was a facade. I smiled and pretended I was happy. I laughed and talked and tried to be the world’s best problem solver. As I type this I recalled a moment just before that saturday which made me realize how much my facade was me.
I had been helping a customer and chatting away with them. When done I went over to another till to bag for one of my cashiers and her customer. All of us are chatting away and both of them mention that I am always happy. My mask slipped for a brief moment when I admitted that I was not really 100% me. And both of them told me that they never would have known. That I certainly did not show that things were not quite right.
Maybe if I had not been so intent on presenting myself as a strong and capable woman who required no assistance someone might have noticed a little earlier as the cracks began to appear. Maybe if I had been willing to be truthful with myself, I could have, no there is no could have. My facade had become me. I had become my facade.
Now I can look in the mirror and see me. This morning after I put cream on my face and set my glasses on my nose I took a really good look at myself in the mirror. And I saw me. The real me. The one who’s eyes are sparkling, clear, not fogged and drug numbed. I no longer look haggard and tired. I am still sleeping the same but again, there are no drugs at play deadening my sleep. I feel good. My hair is not looking brittle and ready to crack. Nor is it falling out in handfuls any longer. My skin is clearer and smoother as well.
There is another part of me that fell beneath the illusion of my facade and the role I was playing. That was my brain. My brain has been fooled and stupified and drug numbed for so many years I am damn surprised that it still functions. But it is there. With ideas and knowledge and truths that I fought to hide from for so long. I am open to the changes that are tearing down the ugliness that I wore to fool the world and replacing it with me. The real me.
I began thinking this was going to be a random reflection based on what K and me were talking about. Instead it opened my eyes further to the changes that I have wrought both inside and out. I am not going to wear masks any longer. What you see is who I am. I want to be accepted for the person that I am, not the person that society expects me to present to the world at large.