A Dance In The Hurricane

The other day I was cleaning out our closet.  It was time to do some much needed purging.   I decided to gut out everything and go from there.  I ended up finding some old cards from a few years ago when my mother passed away.  I opened each one and read them again, this time with five years behind me.  They were sweet and sympathetic.  My Aunt had sent one reminiscing about when she and my mother were teens and very close.  Some I kept and others I didn’t.  So much for the big purge.    In among the cards I found a letter that was written by a childhood friend of the family.  Her kids were friends with us when we lived in the old neighbourhood.  She and her husband were friends with my parents.  We used to visit them at their house after they moved away into a new house.  She wrote to say how dismayed she was of my mother’s passing and that she hadn’t realized my mother continued to reside in Chatham.  She assumed she had moved in either my brother or myself.  She was disappointed she had not made the effort to reconnect.  I think she was disappointed neither had my mother.  I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that they got disconnected.  It was just life.

Kids grow up, graduate, move on to university or not, tragic events unfold, weddings and new houses, new babies, new lives.  It’s everything that happens over a lifetime. We get disconnected. We get disjointed and enmeshed in the everyday we forget the connections that were made years ago on a summer’s day when the children were small, who later walked to the bus stop hand-in-hand on frosty fall mornings, caught “all things squirmy and squishy” (her words) and played basketball until nightfall.

letter

Those days get lost in band practices, packed lunches, hockey games and baseball tryouts.  People get older, move to other streets or to other towns.  They work, they make new friends, they move on to other hobbies, other occupations and other past times without the old acquaintances that have become a part of their past.  The present is different.  Its fluid and changes with the seasons and the ever-speeding passage of time.  We don’t notice the children becoming adults until they are there.  We don’t notice our hair changing colour until our hairstylist points it out (while saying loudly WHY ARE YOU NOT COMING HERE MORE OFTEN?!  )  we don’t notice the deeper cracks in the sidewalks outside the house,  how the maple tree has grown exponentially or how few little children are out playing street hockey these days, until all of that suddenly seeps into our consciousness and we take a look around us with open eyes.  And older eyes.  How did this happen?  When did we get HERE?

I understand her disappointment and dismay.  It seems like a sudden about-face of one minute she’s there, the next she’s gone, but really it wasn’t like that.  It was a lifetime of being, of living of surviving.  The disconnection of relationships is unfortunately, an everyday occurrence that can be prevented if we take the time.  Aye there’s the rub.  TIME.  We never have enough. It flies away so fleetingly.  If only we had more time to connect, to say ‘hey’, to reminisce, to support, to actually stop and watch everything grow and change without having to be awoken to its transformation.  It’s a difficult dance.  Maybe we don’t want to watch because if we do, then we’ll have to admit that we are getting older, life is flying by without us even moving or flinching in this hurricane.   Maybe we don’t really want to see the children getting older or the sidewalk cracking or the maple tree growing so big we can’t see across the street, anymore.  We’d rather hold on to today, to live in the present, just let me have one more day!

Connections are our lifelines.  We crave them, seek them out and some hold dear for a lifetime.  Our intentions are for connections to last as long as we take a breath, to be eternal and constant, but sometimes those bonds get weaker and grow more distant, then are suddenly lost in the gale force wind.  It’s not wrong.  It’s life.

I’m thinking after all of this time, to send her a letter of reply.  To let her know I did receive her letter and I did read it and I still have it.  That I remember everything she said was true.

Maybe, that could be one little dance in the hurricane.

An Open Letter To Humanity

Dear Fellow Human Beings,
I know the past week has been a shithole of nonsense, lies and outrageous tweets. I know that most of us are sitting here questioning the future of the human race. I know that the new leader of one of the biggest nations in the free world is a royal butthole and insistent on remaining narcissistic, misogynistic and racist. I know. I see it too. Let’s all just take a deep breath and ponder the other side.

Yes, the other side. The other side of negative-hate-spewing-nonsense. The side that is clinging to righteousness, decency, compassion and kindness. The side that still champions the underdog, encourages forward thinking and values intelligent dialogue. The side that recognizes the value of a diverse culture, freedom of thought and expression, and the ability to accept the worthy differences in other human beings. This is the side of which I’m choosing to remain a big part, because this is the side that will always win.

I know it doesn’t seem like it now. I know that dark days are ahead of us and the knee-jerk reaction is to duck under the covers and hide until it’s over, but we can’t do that. We need to be the light. We need to guide the way. We need to be the strong ones. We need to take back the human race for the next generation.  

All the light people, stand up. If you can’t stand up, that’s okay. Raise up something…a hand, a foot, a finger an eyebrow, anything. Do it. Remain the positive force that I know you all are. Smile at people. Remind them we are all in this together and one asshole does not have the right to make our lives become a shitty existence. Show some compassion when you can, help a neighbour when he needs it and be there for a friend when she calls. Human decency and kindness is all around us, we just need to take a closer look and shout it for the world to see.

The other night, I was in the line-up at Walmart. I didn’t have a cart thinking I only needed a few things, but overloaded myself with stuff. I didn’t mind. It wasn’t that heavy. I was number ten in a long line, but just ahead of me was a woman in a wheelchair. I knew this woman since I worked with her when I first moved to St. John’s. I was her PCA. She would curse and swear at me. Throw food at my face. Call me down for hurting her and all the while, I would smile and say ‘sorry’, not because I did anything wrong, but because she had so much more going on and she was bitter about it. I got that. So that night as I stood in line at Walmart and watched the cashier help her with her groceries, load them in bags and attach them gently to her chair, assist her with her debit card and make sure she had the correct cash back she needed, and make sure she is okay, I remember the bitter woman and smiled at the cashier. She was calm and courteous and respectful. She didn’t rush her or roll her eyes. She didn’t make her feel any less of a person for being in a wheelchair. She treated her the same as everyone else…A HUMAN BEING.  

No matter what some orange guy with a personality disorder spews over Twitter or says in a news conference, we are all valuable worthy human beings and deserve respect and decency. We are all capable of spreading a little compassion and kindness instead of revelling in dark hate mongering. We need to be the bigger force, the better people the stronger team for those who can’t; for those whose voices get drowned out by all the yelling and hateful speech. Take a breath, remember the light and concentrate on battling the dark side with humour, kindness and warmth. It’s a little thing, but in the bigger picture will make a difference to someone and that’s what we’re here for.  

Stay positive. Smile. Laugh. Walk your damn dog. Buy your kid a cookie. Carry someone’s groceries. Tell someone you love him. It’s all enough, even if it doesn’t feel like it.  

I’ll be over here in the light with the rest of the human beings if you need me…

Thanks for reading and listening and smiling. Carry on, Light People.  

Carry. The Fuck. On.

KJ xo 

  

 

 

Positively Positive

I’m not graceful or light on my feet.  I’m not agile or athletic.  I’m not able to spin or balance elegantly.  I’m lucky I can walk a straight line.  Hell, I’m lucky to be upright, most days.  There is documented proof….unfortunately.    Moving in any direction is awkward to me.  One morning at bootcamp, one exercise involved walking like a duck carrying a kettle bell…that is, squat down as low as possible and walk.   I couldn’t do that. My knees were not cooperating and I don’t think I have enough strength in my quads to pull that shit off.  Oh, I tried, but failed miserably at it. Instead of a duck walk it was more like an old-lady-with-bad-knees-stumble.  (New exercise! ) That’s okay.  I crushed it at the split squats and the deadlift.

There are a lot of things I don’t do well.  There are also a lot of things I do well.  I’m also mediocre at some things and totally suck at others.  I can’t do everything well and I don’t tear myself up about it.  I attempt it, try to get better and move on.  Days are too short to spend wallowing in any self-pity or self-deprecating shit.  I have decided to kick the habit of putting myself down, and get in the habit of lifting myself up.

We all have those days where shit happens and whatever we seem to do, it just invariably goes wrong.  We try to avoid running out of gas, but life gets in the way and we forget.  We try to get to that deadline, but so many people needed us to do a million other things so that deadline came and went like yesterday’s lunch.  Did we forget to eat that, too?

As women, we tend to think about everybody else instead of us.  We put a million others and their needs in front of our own.  It’s instinct.  We are nurturers and we just put ourselves into the line of fire every fucking time.  Ugh.  We can’t help it.  That’s how awesome we are.

Phoebe and Rachel running

It’s all about attitude…

Social media is a cesspool of body-shaming, name-calling anti-everything kind of shit-show that just needs a little bit of uplifting positivity now and then.  We tend to take some things to heart, but we have to learn to ignore the bad and dwell on the good.   When I see my FB feed and its inundated with negative crap about Trump and Hillary, or the latest celebrity divorce or how we NEED to be something other than who or what we are, I tend to retaliate with cute animal baby pics.  It’s my go-to kind of cuteness that overrides any possible negative put-down one can throw.  How can anybody hate a cute animal baby?!

bunny

There are ways to combat the ugly negatives and I suggest banning together and lifting each other up.  Be a cheerleader.  Be a motivator of wonderfulness…so awesome in the positive, that you repel the dark side and naturally attract light to you like moths to a flame, like metal to a magnet, like fingerprints to every damned wall in my house.  (Ugh)

We get beaten down enough.  Let’s lift each other up.  Smile and be positive.  Tell somebody she is awesome today…you may make someone’s day, week or year.  You don’t know everybody’s story.  Give them a smile and something to keep in their mind for the day, so when somebody tries to tear them down, they can go back to that smile or that positive remark and dwell on that for a while.  It helps.  Believe me.  Even the smallest of remarks can make a difference.  One night, I was returning to my house after a bit o’wine with friends. A neighbour happened to spot me on my way and commented on my new car.  I said I was now ‘cool’.  He said ‘You’ve always been cool.  Don’t sell yourself short’.  THAT was a small itty bitty remark that I keep.  It made me smile.  I also thought maybe he was a bit drunk, but take a compliment when one comes along!  AND, it was valuable advice.  Too many of us ‘sell ourselves short’.  Stop that.  Somebody around the corner might just think you’re ‘cool’, too.

No matter how off the cuff a remark is, it can be a big do-over for somebody.

Take care, stay positive and say something nice, will ‘ya?

woman worker

 

Why I Don’t Like You and Other Truths

It’s true. There are some people in this world that are just hard to like. You know the ones. The obnoxious guy who always tries to make puns out of ridiculous things; the girl who incessantly judges all the other girls; the sarcastic narcissistic boss who decides you are not worthy of his time and/or discussion hence he ignores your pleas for a meeting and constantly schedules you to clean out the photocopy machine during lunch; the highly OCD/Religious lady who declares you Hell-bound lest you fall on your knees and immediately repent for the wine you drank last night and the garden gnomes you stole off her lawn during your drunken escapade… You know. THOSE people.
I’ve decided I should write down all the things I DON’T like about people, so I can discover all the things I DO like and compare. It’s a shit-list, but well worth my time…since the photocopier is a lame-duck anyway. WHO NEEDS LUNCH, EMMIRITE???!!! Ugh…
Since we all love a good list, here’s a list of characters I don’t like:
The “I-don’t-drink-cause-it’s-bad-for-you-and-not-because-I’m-a-recovering-alcoholic-which-would-be-way-more-understanding-if-I-was” person – WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?! I know, I used to be in your crowd, and as the saying goes, the rehabilitated are the worst…so that would be me. Instead of being the rehabilitated alcoholic, I’ve reinvented the program and did it backwards. I’m the rehabilitated non-drinker…tea-totaler gone alckie if there ever was one. I’m the worse…I love a good glass of wine…alcohol and I are good pals…in moderation. BUT REALLY? Nothing? Nadda? Cocktail? No? I just don’t see how we could go on being friends. Hand in your friendship rewards card. I just can’t deal right now…

MAGOO TOAST
Bad drivers – Ugh. I think everybody admits to knowing a bad driver, but never admits to BEING a bad driver. With so many of BD’s out there, you would think SOMEBODY would cop to being the one and only asshole who takes pleasure in cutting you off, or speeds up as you are about to pass, or texts and drives then is surprised by rear-ending someone…I’m actually a pretty decent driver…seriously, I’m an excellent driver…just don’t talk to Hubby… no, don’t do that.

Diaz Bad teacher
The Narcissistic “I’m- fucking-awesome-and-you’re-the-lamest-lamo-evah” dude – GET OVER YOURSELF. YOU SMELL. WE ALL FIND YOU HIGHLY OFFENSIVE AND AWFUL TO BE AROUND. GET OVER YOUR MOMMY ISSUES AND GET SOME MANNERS…AND STOP BEING AN EMOTIONAL FUCKWIT. I think that covers it.
Competitive, much? – Seriously. I can only handle the ‘you vs me’ thing so long before it gets old. I’m done. If we just come to a mutual understanding of cohesiveness and team work, all will be good. There is no need for this competitive bullshit that takes up way too much time and effort. It’s too hard…let’s move on. By the way…I WIN.
The Russian Judge just gave you a -10. – Judgey people are the worst, right? They decide who is right and who is wrong, who is ‘in’ and who is not, who wore it best, who wore it like a burlap sack, who has too much eyeliner on today, who is an idiot, who doesn’t belong because she has the wrong colour of hair, the mommy who looks down her nose at you after you had that glass of wine at breakfast lunch…seriously. If you can do better, than do it. Otherwise, be supportive…be objective…be open minded. Oh, Goddammit, just be Oprah.

That's right!  I'm awesome!

That’s right! I’m awesome!

The “You’re-going-to-Hell-and-I’m-not” person– okay. Jesus turned water into wine, right? He saved Mary Magdalene from being stoned to death, right? He told people not to judge others unless they want to be judged, right? Hmmm….

My Jesus toast says 'Be non-judgey'

My Jesus toast says ‘Be non-judgey’

The Whiner/Constant Complainer – OH MY GAWD STOP IT ALREADY. It’s not going to get better by incessant whining…DO SOMETHING. If it’s not the way you want it, CHANGE IT YOURSELF. Otherwise, leave me the hell alone. I’m busy making lists…Ugh..

That should be a pretty exhaustive run-down of all that is annoying in this world. The awesomeness is below…
Givers
Considerate drivers
Tolerant
Positive
Good Sense of humour. Imperative.
Social people who make unsocial people less awkward and more social-ish. It’s a talent. They can draw people in and make them feel at ease, instead of reminding them of their usual awkward and self-conscious selves. It’s a rare gift.
Happy

So, the truth in assigning what’s wrong with people vs what’s right with people is as individual as the person. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to judge, its human nature to complain and its human nature to drive badly…so I’m told. I guess the human condition requires us to be more supportive and less rigid in our expectations, to be more tolerant and to be accepting of everyone as they are…as annoying and as difficult as that may be. We are all in this together…so putting up with each other’s idiosyncrasies is imperative if we are to have some check marks on the ‘awesome’ side of the list. Tolerant, giving, positive…words to define humanity at its best. We all have people we don’t like and think we could go on without, but if we did that, we would lose three quarters of the population! Who wants a world of ‘perfect’ people?

Wait…I’m thinking….
Sorry. ‘Perfect’ is an unreal ideal.
We are all human, afterall….

I'm not Human...I'm a Sloth.  But I'm still cool...

I’m not Human…I’m a Sloth. But I’m still cool…