Too many times we imagine barriers that prevent us from following our passion. We erroneously think we need permission from others to follow our path when all we really need is to give ourselves permission to be who we need to be. I became a writer because I write. I became an author because I wrote books and self-published them. I decided to write them the way I wanted. I decided to publish them instead of waiting for anyone to tell me I was good enough to publish. If it fails, it’s on me. But if it succeeds…also, me.
Have a great week and believe in yourself enough to follow your passion. Whatever that may be…
Last night, I dreamed I was sitting in my mother’s chair. The one in which she sat during the day and drank her coffee and smoked her cigarettes. The wooden chair at the kitchen table where she could look out the window at the goings on of the neighbourhood. I dreamed I was sitting in that chair, seeing from her eyes.
It was an odd dream. I remember the kitchen well. Small with a cube freezer sitting in the corner by the wall telephone. She would put knick-knacks on top for a bit of decoration. The table sat in the centre of the window and the refrigerator and stove sat to the left, the sink and counter across from the appliances. It was small but big enough.
I had lived there all my life. The little townhouse in the back of the row of townhouses, hidden from plain view of the parking lot. The window sat facing a brick wall from the adjacent row, but if she sat diagonally to the window, she could see up the small sidewalk. She could see who was walking towards our door as we were the last row house on the end. One couldn’t go any further. There was a fence that blocked foot traffic from treading past our place to the side of our townhouse where there was a green space. It led to another parking area for the duplex units situated there. That’s where we would play tag and red rover until well after dark.
The dream was as dreams usually go. Brief, milky and hauntingly real. I was sitting in the chair, looking out the window at the grey sky. I could see the parking lot and the cars idly parked. I looked around the empty kitchen and remember seeing the small curtains on the window. At one point I got up and went to the sink. There was water in it with dishes floating around waiting to be washed. Instead of getting at them, I just looked and decided to go back and sit in the chair. Even dreaming, I’m too lazy to do up a few dishes.
It was unsettling sitting in my mother’s chair. She’s been gone eight years now and I can still hear her in my ear. Especially when I’m talking to one of my not-so-much-a-kid-anymore kids. Funny how now, I go back to that old town house to look out the window. I sit at the old kitchen table in the precarious wooden chair. I see what she may have seen. A neighbourhood full of families and children. Green grass in the summer with her marigolds sprouting from the garden. The old fence a good backdrop for her tomatoes and morning glories. The sprinklers spraying in the searing summer sun. The lamp post on the corner beaten by hands of kids using it as a base for hide and seek. I wonder what she may have thought as she sat drinking her coffee and smoking her cigarettes. Would she have thought we would have made it out into the big bad world to have kids of our own and sit in chairs that belong to us? Would we be sitting drinking our coffee looking out at our neighbourhoods wishing the same for our kids?
Maybe. My life is very different than my mother’s. My chair is a little sturdier and my behind a little larger (hence the sturdier chair), but I think we share the same hope for our children; that they will have a chair in which to sit, a cup to drink their coffee and a window for which to look out at their neighbourhoods to hear the children, see the flowers and wonder about the future.
The Blizzard of the Century. The storm to end all storms. We’ve never seen anything like this. The mountains and walls of snow that enveloped the city are as tall as small houses. The banks overflow into the streets. Plows and snow-blowing machines are having a difficult time trying to keep up. A state of emergency has been put in place and remains for seven straight days. People are getting impatient and want out. Grocery store lines are arduous and people have to endure long waits just to get inside. No Tim Horton’s coffee? What?? No restaurants nor bars are open. Small businesses are suffering. People are trapped in their homes. The military arrives to shovel folks out and to give some reassurances that we will be okay. Power outages were rampant at the onset of the storm, but have since been restored. If people haven’t begun wondering why they live on an Island seemingly so destitute and removed from the rest of the world, this storm will certainly have them thinking, what are we doing here? The downtown area was buried in a mass of snow but is seeing some restoration. The narrow streets and hills were impassible, dangerous and overwhelmed with snow. A snowboarder’s paradise that has now begun to look more pedestrian-friendly, dare I say?
Based on everything that has happened over the past week, one would think complaints would be widespread; that people would be sick and tired of the state of emergency to the point of protests and rioting; that there would be more looting of businesses and crime would be on the upswing. Boredom breeds malevolence, bad-temperament, and unbridled nastiness; the urge to remain aloof and uncaring; the inclination for ego-centric acts of ‘every person for him/herself’. I’ve not witnessed any of this.
The stories that have emerged over Facebook tell tales of acts of selflessness. People helping to buy groceries for those who can’t. Neighbours shoveling out neighbours and digging out buried vehicles. Others creating tunneled paths to lead from a door to the street. Food being bartered and shared. Snow forts being erected and decorated with lights and bonfires being lit. A drink here, a barbeque there. Everyone making the best of an almost impossible situation. And then, the sun arrived.
I strolled my neighbourhood a couple of days after the storm. The sun came out for three straight days. People were out walking their dogs, taking sleds and pulling their children along the streets, digging out the snowshoes and traversing the trails. Having a laugh at the big bad storm that tried to break the spirit of a province that couldn’t be broken. It’s been a rough week but we survived it all in Newfoundland style. We made light of the monstrous snowbanks and decorated them with snarky phrases instead of cursing their existence. We posted signs and made snow-people instead of complaining we would never see our lawns. We assured the downtowners we would visit when they opened, that their pleas have not fallen on deaf ears. Who doesn’t want a beer and a meal after all of that shoveling?
In a country where winter defines us, we have set an example for other provinces and other cities that will no doubt be faced with its own version of Snowmageddon. The world stood still and watched as people treated others with humanity and compassion. People offered food, strained muscles, worked tireless hours without complaint, offered free rides, gave without the expectation of anything in return all in the name of helping each other endure an impossible circumstance. Not only did we survive, but we also demonstrated what a lot of heart, an indelible sense of humour and a few helping hands from our military can do when faced with ‘a bit of snow’.
If another snowstorm the size and ferociousness of this blizzard happens to darken our doorway again, I imagine we would react much the same. “Get out the shovels, b’ys she’s blowin’ a gale. Youngsters, put your hoods up, we goes.”
Like anything worth doing,it’s worth doing well. And doing something ‘well’ is quite relative a term. And I hate starting sentences with ‘and’. Ugh.
As I’m feverishly writing my next entry into the anthology of ‘Books People Will ReadAfterI’m Dead’ I’ve been missing events and goings on to which I really should have been paying more attention. As I was downing my glass of wine the other night, someone mentioned something aboutTikTok. I’m thinking Nanny’s noisy clock that is currently hanging in her kitchen and dings every BLESSED HOUR ON THE HOUR, but no. TikTokis an app for lip-syncing and karaoke-gone-awry. It’s asocial media app that lets a person download a video of someone singingbadly toN’Syncor the Backstreet Boys or maybe amore currentmusicianlike theBiebs. I’m thinking of doing ‘Bye-Bye’ ala JT with the curls and the baggy jeans and the fancy-dancymoves.
I could joinTikTokand connect with the peeps who arejammin’ to NKOTB andIT’SBRITTANY, BITCH. Maybe somebodysingin’ some Alanis…Yeah. “Isn’t it Ironic? Don’tyathink?” I could so NOT do that. Well. Not well. At all.
Maybe I’ll doa video of Mags when sheborksat the ‘hood dogs. She couldbe the next big thing! Add some music and BAM she’s the four-legged Madonna of the doggo-world. Maybe she could do a whole rap-thing.Instead of ‘Lose Yourself’ she could do ‘PooYo’self’. EPIC.
I’ll keep brain-storming some ideas whilst desperately trying to stay on-trend. Do we still say ‘whilst’? Ugh.
The other morning when leaving Bootcamp, I heard a woman exclaim how mundane her life had become with making lunches and gathering kids to the bus for school. I remember those days. Frankly, I’m glad they’re over. It’s challenging being a mom and working and shuffling after-school activities, homework, discipline and then you still have to feed these people. It’s exhausting. And then, it seems a few days later, they’re driving cars and shuffling themselves to after-school activities. They’re going to parties and getting part-time jobs. They buy their own lunches and get busy with friends. Pretty soon, she’s going to college or university and taking classes we’ve never heard of and dating people we don’t know. Who owns you?
Then you find yourself sitting at her convocation
and celebrating her achievement (which is really yours, as well) and then she’s
stressed because she has to find a job.
Then you turn around and she’s moved out into her own apartment because she
has actual employment, her own vehicle and a life. And here you are Mommy, with her lunch in
your hand saying, ‘but I made you peanut butter, your favourite.’ She shrugs and says she has her own food and
will see you later. Like next week. When she has the time and is not on
shift. And she needs food for her
The mundane is how you go from ‘Mommy,
I need you’ to ‘Mom, I’ll see you later.’
It’s all the crap you have to endure in order to see that snotty-nosed
kid become an adult. One capable of
making her own lunches and paying her own bills and taking care of somebody else’s
sick baby. But then she comes home and
opens the fridge to see what’s to eat and she wants to watch Arthur’s Perfect
Christmas with you and everything is right with the world, until she has to go
back to work and become an adult and someone else’s caregiver.
You did that, Mommy. Because you made her lunches and you got her
shuffled to the bus and you read her stories at night for the one-hundredth
millionth time and you did it because you knew, someday, it would all be worth
it. I know, right now it’s tiring and
challenging. I know you have no time for
yourself and you wish she would just be a bit more independent, but don’t rush
it. She’ll get there. In her own time.
Hang in there, Mommy. You are doing a great job. Make those damned lunches, take her to the
bus stop and read the bed-time stories. You’ll
blink and you’ll be hanging art in her new apartment and wondering if she has
enough toilet paper for next week.
The mundane stuff is what she
relies on. You are her safety net. Keep going.