I’m an exceptional quitter.

Aug 26.16

My @reallyactuallyapoet friend sent me information this evening. Information I was excited about. Jazzed. Really. I was pumped to spend my evening (with cake and ice cream and tea – because I can’t self medicate with liquor just yet) going through old flash fiction to find something to work with for a lit mag looking for submissions.

Then I sat down, tea and sugar close at hand, to survey and I became increasingly more uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point of considering retreat, of damn near turning the laptop off and going to bed.

Why?

Is it that I truly hate re-reading and editing old pieces, or is it that I would prefer to listen to the husky drawl of my Inner Critic? I kind of think it’s the latter. I don’t love editing, and, to be honest, I’m not really very good at it (and never have been). But that’s a shit excuse not to try, isn’t it?

I think the reason I want to tuck tail and run is because I’m afraid I might actually succeed some day. I’m completely prepared for rejection, because that’s a song and dance I know by heart. I’m okay to be told no. I want to be told no. If I’m told no, I can breathe a sigh of “I told you so” relief and just quit.

I’m an exceptional quitter.

But what if that voice is wrong? What if what I’ve been told my whole life is wrong? What if what I’ve been telling myself my whole life is wrong?

What if I did it? What if I picked something, worked it up, submitted it and was accepted for publication? Shit, what if I picked something, worked it up, submitted it and was rejected? At least I would have tried. Even assuming that I’d fail, at least I would have tried.

I don’t try. I’ve never tried. I just sit here, fidget nervously with this goal of writing, and do sweet fuck all with it. I blog here, I blog there, and I’m trying to break ground on a big project, but I take exactly none of it seriously. I was sourced out and asked to blog there due wholly because of what I’ve written here, but I still can’t call myself a writer. (Shit folks, I have a paid gig writing promotional material for a local indie and I can’t call myself a writer.)

I think I need to try. I need to stop with this whiny, self-deprecating “I can’t write” shit and try. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’ll fail miserably. Maybe I’m wrong and they’re right, maybe I’ll get a yes or two. Can’t know until I’ve put myself out there, right.

Fuck. I may have just talked myself into editing.

Goddammit @reallyactuallyapoet. Look at the time I’ve wasted trying to figure it out via blogging. If ever there was a day* I needed a rye/rum/gin….

Lupe Fiasco – Superstar

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*Seriously though. You should have seen the tantrums I witnessed today. Epic. Like, biblical shit. I’m exhausted having watched that.

 

 

A minor rant.

Anne Lamott

I don’t have a Masters degree. (Yet.) You wouldn’t think this would make me less of a human. Apparently it does.

Why do we choose to attempt to maintain relationships we shouldn’t? Why do I choose to do this? Even fucking nostalgia isn’t worth this shit.

It has gone from my (goddamn management) job being sniffed at haughtily – …because I don’t work in health care or education? (Except I do work in education…. ) – to being informed that my Masters degree of choice (yup) won’t land me a lucrative position of employment (a thing that has never been my driving force).

The icing was added to this decadent layer cake last week though, when it was patronizingly insinuated that I can’t write. That any non-fiction project I would ever work on would be an anecdotal farce. That because I don’t have education beyond a bachelor’s degree (which is still pretty fucking skookum, imo), I can’t research and build a network of contacts. That I don’t know shit about shit.

Please note: research and contact building are integral parts of most post-secondary degree programs. I don’t actually have a “BA in BS.” I have a BA in “lots of reading, lots of citation, lots of consulting people who know things about things, lots of putting my own goddamn ego aside, and lots of ‘I actually do know how throw a few sentences together’.”

Fuck sakes. I just can’t. Not anymore. These are “friends,” people. This is how I see myself. I think I am worth this bullshit. Fuck that. I’m done. You can look down on my job, you can assume that money is my driving force, and you can pro tip my educational choices, but you damn well cannot tell me that I can’t write.

Go fuck yourselves.

In other news: I have a beautiful human sending me writing contests and advertisements for publications accepting submissions on a weekly basis, I have been presented with a completely baller (writing) opportunity I hope to be able to gush about soon, and it was very recently suggested that I open a café in my neighbourhood. So it’s not all douchbaggary. Mostly it’s seriously wonderful people and events. But sometimes you just need to vent and drop $0.05 words in a glorious string.

Pantera – Fucking Hostile

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On Relationships: canine update.

So I wrote about my relationship with The Hellhound last week. (If you haven’t read it, you can find it here: On Relationships: not my best friend. In short: my dog and I need work.)

Oddly, I already have something of an update. It’s a good/bad update. Bittersweet.

We had a vet visit this morning. A regular check-up with a kennel cough vaccination and a de-worming (because the aforecalled asshole likes to eat compost at my in-laws’ house and who knows what she’s eating with it) thrown in for good measure. At the beginning of this appointment, as is customary, The Hellhound was weighed. It’s not polite to disclose her weight publicly, but it was discussed that she could stand to lose 7-10 of the pounds she currently carries. This isn’t so she looks prettier and accepts her body more graciously. She’s a dog, and a German Shepherd at that, it’s because if we don’t get this under control she could meet with any number of a laundry list of canine afflictions. (You wouldn’t think German Shepherds would be so at risk, they look – to me – like your standard dog’s dog, but they really are. Ugh.)

So! I have some pregnancy weight I’d like to shed. (You’re not allowed to comment, because it’s not your body, but this really is because I think I’ll look prettier and I will absolutely accept my body more graciously. This is something to discuss, at length, in another piece though.) Now we have even more of a reason to get our shit together and get out and moving.

This is going to be good. Nothing makes a person/dog more inclined to acquiesce to your suggestions quite like burning off their excess energy. It cuts out the bullshit and brings rationality back into play. …sometimes….

There you have it. My dog is overweight and I have some getting-into-shape that I’d like to do. Thank you, Universe.

And just because I think she’s pretty, here’s another photo of her (doing what she loves to do).

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Chris Daughtry – In The Air Tonight (Cover)

UNT.

On Relationships: not my best friend.

I have grown a number of really important relationships recently. After I became more myself, I began to take stock of my life and the relationships in it. I found new passions, I met new people, and I realized the importance of old people. Key people. I have been working on these relationships and have been blessedly successful.

That written, I do have a terrible plague of a relationship in my house.

My dog and I are not friends. We co-exist. She doesn’t listen to me and I tend to resent her.

When we brought her home, The Hellhound was my pup. She tailed me, wanted my cuddles and love, and wanted to please me. Not too long after that, as she grew into canine adolescence, she shifted her affections to my husband. That’s okay, he’s a pretty special person and I can see where she’s coming from. He also has a notoriously great relationship with dogs (German Shepherds, specifically). I didn’t resent that.

Bitter sweetly, The Hellhound is an exceptionally intelligent animal. She’s a pure bred German Shepherd from working lines with schutzhund champion blood. Even in her personality, she’s a working dog, not (ever) a family/lap dog.

Our problem, The Hellhound and I, is that she needs to be working and I don’t give her jobs. (I should note that no one does. We made promises of greatness, but after initial obedience and tracking training, we fell off the bandwagon. Hard. So while this is a group failure, I’m not going to speak for anyone else. And truth be told, Husband still has a good relationship with her. She still listens to him. …because she’s an asshole.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this, but it is the first time I’ve had a different schedule that may allow for some training/re-training and relationship re-booting, and it’s the first time that I’ve been really motivated to give this a(nother) go.

So.

I’m going to try to rebuild my relationship with my dog. I’m not sure what that’s going to look like just yet, not wholly, but I am enjoying the insights I’m reading in The Dog Listener (Fennell)*. This book, more of less, describes some of the psychology of dogs (especially as it pertains to their feral wolf counterparts and their group dynamics) and how that ought to fit into our (human) lives. That is, we (again, humans) may want to stop trying to humanize dogs. They just don’t work the way we do. They have a different structure, different priorities, and a different way of communicating. I think, once I get a handle on some of that, things might start to go better.

Along with that, we’re working on walking/hiking regularly. My dog needs more exercise (and so do I). I would also like to work in some agility, as she really dug that in obedience classes and it would help to work her brain as well as her body. With that, she’s a great swimmer, enjoys the water, and also needs to think hard when she’s neck deep in, so I’d like to bring her to rivers and lakes (of which we have many in my area). I am also planning to get back into tracking, another brain and body work out (which, just like my toddler, is the most tired-making option). Shit, she might even make a liar out of me and inspire me to start running.

What I need is twofold: a) encouragement, support and to be kept honest – help keep me on track, please. And b) help. I need ideas. I need ideas for jobs, for exercise, for ways to bond with her and gain her trust and affection back. I want this to work. She’s a beautiful, motivated, intelligent creature and I don’t want to keep letting her down. And, let’s face it, it’s going to help me to be a better me. This is a great relationship to build and maintain, I need the exercise as well, and it’s great for my brain, too.

20160712_122116a

Queen – You’re My Best Friend

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*I’m a fucking hippy in my advance age. Good grief.

A room of my own.

A room of my own.

I has one.

Okay, I don’t love Woolf (I’m willing to give her another chance, largely because she’s a baller feminist icon…and I’ve grown since I decided that she’s not my home girl), but I really like the idea of a space to work. To write, to schedule, to plan. To work. A space of my own.

For the record, Natalie Goldberg (of Writing Down the Bones), who I do love, doesn’t agree: if you want to write, you have to cut through and write.  There is no perfect atmosphere, notebook, pen, or desk, so train yourself to be flexible.

I think the two viewpoints coincide. A person needs somewhere to work, somewhere they can work. What that looks like varies. While I agree that flexibility is important and it’s great to be able to work wherever you find yourself with time to work, I think it’s nice to have a home base. So, the flexibility of coffee shop, hotel room, waiting room at the doc’s office, or in your car while the light’s red, and then you come home to your quaint little whatever-works-for-you place of your own.

Last time I considered this, I lived in an apartment. (Some six years ago, or so.) It was a two bedroom apartment, but I didn’t have my own space (the nature of that beast). I felt creatively stunted – mostly because I was not in love with our living space. When we moved into this house, I had an earmarked room. A small not-bedroom/den-ish (because it has no closet) room. An office.

It worked well enough. My desk was there, my computer was there, we put in a few shelves and set some books on them. But I didn’t use it. Not enough. On one hand, I took it for granted. On the other, I wasn’t ready.

Now? I’m not sure I’m ready, but I understand the importance of the space more now. See, I lost it. For three years. Not to anyone, but to things. To boxes and to clutter. After TLM was born, everything else moved in. (Because this: right here.) Unused things, things we didn’t need anymore, transient things that didn’t have a permanent home. The door to the office was closed for a long time, because boxes attract spiders and fuck spiders.

No more.

Now my desk faces the window, the surrounding furniture is sparse, and the spider attracting clutter and boxes have been recycled, donated, and thrown out. There’s light, there are pens and pencils and markers (oh my!), there is only one shelf (for writing and doula books – because this is an office and writing and doulaing are my business).

There is baller chi in here now. It feels cleaner, brighter, more alive. I feel cleaner, brighter…more alive…. (I’m writing this from inside said space of my own.)

Wanna see?

Office 2016

(Why yes, that IS my doula bug-out bag on the back of the door. And the yellow framed paper is a Pinterest inspired DIY white board – that used to live in my at-work office – that says: Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly. – Neil Gaiman)

How about you? Do YOU have a space of your own? Do you need a place of your own, or do you do better in coffee shops, pubs, and park benches? Are you a bit of both? (I’m a bit of both. This office is going to be great, at least that’s how I feel this week, but I still thrive in local coffee shops. A change of scene is a wonderful thing.)

Barns Courtney – Glitter and Gold

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(I wish I had a before picture to show you guys. It was a fucking mess. Dust and boxes and disorganization and spiders. OMG. Spiders. Alive spiders, dead spiders, abandoned sticky messes of old spider houses. It’s a wonder I re-organized and didn’t burn that mother down.)

Depression Lies Vol. 3

Or. Depression Lies: The postpartum edition.

WARNING: This is incoherent. I COULD go back and change things, but I’m not going to. This is for me anyway. You just get to choose to read my rambles, or not. #sorrynotsorry

Ugh.

I thought it wouldn’t happen this time. I thought I could avoid this. Things were going so well, this time. I was seeing the sunlight, I was basking in joy, I was celebrating that things were different this time.

Things really were different.

They still are. This won’t last forever and I know what it is, so I know that I need to start trying to ignore the whispers and see reality.

But still. It fucking sucks. It fucking sucks more when Depression comes after Baby. It mars the beautiful, innocent, wonderful delight of a magnificent new person and their small, squidgy cuddles.

Here are the lies this time:

  • I can’t do this.
  • I shouldn’t do this.
  • I don’t want to do this.

Here is the biggest, most painful lie:

  • I’m only special when I’m in labour. My only power is in birth.

Okay, this lie deserves more writing, because it’s really bothering me. See, for me, birth is transformative. My first birth, and the circumstances around it, opened me up to find a strength within myself I couldn’t possibly have known existed. It helped me to find passion, to dig deeper in myself and my relationships, and it helped me to understand that I am important. My second (very recent) birth was amazing. It was the healing birth I never knew I needed and it has furthered my transition

I know that, and I know that it’s all just cobblestones on the same Kim path. All the same, I feel like I peaked. I feel like I left myself in labour and delivery. I was able to arrive there as Kim, the lioness, full of power and strength and fortitude. I rocked that baby out. I surrendered to my body and together, my body and I owned that story. I was really and truly me in those moments. And I was special. I radiated awesome.

My fear, before birthing this time around, wasn’t that I was going to be a mother of two – though that did, and still does, intimidate me. My fear was that I was going to lose myself. That I was going to become a wife and a mother and let that consume me. My fear is that I’m going to allow my Self to slip away (again). Or, that I’m going to push her away, not only because I feel I should (martyr), but because I want to (because it’s easier to bitch and whine than to work and pwn).

So, after this birth ended, when we were tucked at home, I became a mom again. This is a beautiful thing, I am truly blessed with an amazing, supportive husband and two beautiful, brilliant, healthy boys. I know this and I am thankful. I’m still at odds, though.

I want that feeling back. I want that ownership of my Self back, the feeling that I am me and that I am enough and that I am a fucking phenom. Writing this is helping, because I have been so dry in terms of writing for so long. Having new, better ideas for the fleshing of a story is helping, because I think that it will be therapeutic to write.  Walking with the Littlest and the Hellhound is also helping, because sunshine and sweat and fresh air and productivity.

(Fucking labyrinth of birth, anyway. …she writes with a grin, because it’s true and important. I’m going to digress for a second, settle in. Maybe it’s mourning? Maybe I know that The Kim that came before, like the maiden Kim before her, is dead. She’s gone and she’s not coming back. Maybe it’s that I’m new and I don’t know what that looks like yet. Maybe I’m only realizing as I write this that I have a hand in defining her, that I get to write my own story.)

And hey, as a bonus, here is the worry that sits as a sub-heading under the last lie:

  • What if I’m only interested in doulaing because I’m trying to hold on to pregnancy and birth? That my interest isn’t real and I’m not truly driven to serve women. I just want to hold on to what I think is my only real place in life. I don’t want that to be my reason. I want the passion to help women find their strength and voice to be my motivation.

A caveat to those out there who worry and love me and want to talk: don’t. I can’t talk about it right now. I can write, but I can’t talk. I won’t. I know too many buzz words and I know how to make myself sound absolutely okay. I will do that. I want you not to worry more than I want to be truly okay. Don’t make me lie. (I am okay. I’m not at my peak, but I know what’s going on and I’m doing what I can do to deal with it. I know these are lies and I’m trying to write truths over top of them. …I also know that there is a huge amount of hormonal re-organization at play here.)

And, as I edit and add to this, I’m actually more okay. Writing really helps me, so does remembering what I learned in a recent (for doula certification) prenatal class. That labyrinth of birth, and the story of Inanna and her descent into the Underworld.

Bif Naked – I Love Myself Today

UNT.

More fun (if you’re curious and haven’t read the other installments):

Depression Lies
Depression Lies Vol. 2

 

Advice to Past Me

94X Q

My favourite local radio station (#rockradiorules) asked a question this week. It got me to thinking. Because it was inspired by the high school (and post secondary, conceivably) graduations of 2016, it got me to thinking about my own high school (and post secondary, actually) graduation and who I was. The answer came easily.

If you could give “past you” one piece of advice, what would it be?

You are enough.

I’ve never thought very much of myself. Have we discussed this? Probably, I’m not really shy about it.

At any rate….

You are enough. Those are the words I would whisper in my own ear.

See, I like to live for other people. I like to make other people happy. I like to think about life and decide what would impress other people, what would gain me the acceptance of other people. Other people. Other people. Other mother fucking people. It’s bullshit, folks. Utter and complete bullshit.

You do you, honey.

I don’t know what life would have looked like for me if I had disregarded the bullshit of other people and marched to the beat of my own drum, but it would be different. I don’t know why I listened to and believed whole-heartedly in “you are ordinary, just like everyone else. Don’t shoot too high, you’ll just fall,” but I did.

If you’re listening to that bullshit, stop. You’re not ordinary, just like everyone else. You’re you. You’re the one and only ever you. Shoot high. So you might fall, it is what it is, but you ought to shoot for what you want. (imo.) If you fall, you learn. When you fall, you tend not to step in the exact same places again. Next time you walk that path, you have a better idea of how to get where you’re going while staying on your feet. That, or you find a new path, one you may not have seen before (had it not been for the fall). At the end of the day, you’ll honour you and you’ll honour your life. That’s worth a lot.

Foreigner – Cold As Ice

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