Do the work.

Do the fucking work truthbomb

(Image @ Danielle LaPorte)

I so wanted to hop on here and bitch about last year.

But.

Fuck that.

Last year is done. Things happened, beautiful and awful. But they happened. They’re done. (For the most part.)

It’s truly time to move forward.

While I was thinking about all of the “I want to [write, gym, have more sex, read more books, finish doula certification, blahblahblah]” items on my resolutions list it occurred to me that I really need to stop.

Okay. So this is really, really rudimentary, but stick with me, it’s been well over a year since I last blogged, I’m goddamn out of practice.

It’s about showing up and doing the work.

I want to write. I’ve wanted to write for years. The problem is that I put it out into the vast abyss of the universe and do fuck all with it after that.

Dear Kim,

That’s not how this works.

– yours truly. 

I want life to be magical. I want good intentions to manifest beautiful results. The truth of it is that it just ain’t gonna happen.

So that big, shiny list of things that will make my year better if achieved? Awesome. The common denominator? Me. All that shit can happen. I can write, I can gym, I can have all the great sex, I can read books, I can become a [birth, bereavement, and death] doula. Abso-fucking-lutely I can. I just have to show up.

So.

Here’s the word phrase of the year, kids.

Show up and do the [fucking] work.

Let’s see how we do.

Britney Spears – Work Bitch

UNT.

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss

dr-jesica-zucker-i-might

(Image via drjessicazucker.com*)

I have said some truly insensitive things to people. In all walks of life, in all situations. Most notably (right now), to people I love who have suffered a miscarriage. It is only in the last few years that I have even begun to understand the weight of my words and thoughts.

Before now, if I have not actually spoken asinine bullshit platitudes like “it happened for a reason” (with a follow-up of “it probably means there was something wrong with the baby”), or “at least it happened early,” or “at least you can get pregnant,” I can tell you that I have thought them.

But, instead of spiraling into an abyss of guilt and shame, I’m going to tell you that I’ve learned. I know better. I truly had no idea. It’s not an excuse, I agree. It has taken me years of life and experience to get where I am and be who I am now. Not all of that life or that experience is shiny. Some of it is tarnished and stained and ugly. It has to be.

What I am going to say is that I’m sorry. I know you’ve forgiven me. I know you love me. I know you understand that my intentions were good and I just fell into the societal norm of discomfort. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I just knew that you were hurt and I did not understand even the lick of the waves on the sand of the ocean of the depth of your devastation and loss.

I still don’t. That story is always different. But I do understand what it is to be a parent. I understand what it is to be a pregnant woman. I understand what it is to fear for the safety and comfort of your child every damn day.

I love you. I love you and I honour you and I respect you. Your children matter to me. The ones I can hug and the ones I can’t. They matter to me and I love and respect them. I always have, I just didn’t know how to express that. I’ve learned that, as with so many things, honesty is the best policy.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is also, coincidentally, the month when I started studying to become a bereavement doula. These stories are important to me. The lives of the families who face these stories are important to me. You need support. You need shoulders to cry on, arms to lean into, chests to sob against. You need ears to moan, scream, cry, whisper, or be silent into. You need space to be held and silence to be comfortable. You need for the names of your children to be spoken with love and joy and admiration. You need to be recognized as parents, now and forever. You need someone to know. You need someone to hear you and to see you, all of you.

You need exactly what you need.

I love you. I love your family. I love your children. I love your love. I love that, while it hurts you to hear or read, you forgive us our platitude blunders because you know that we’re trying, we just haven’t quite made it to where we ought to be yet. I love what you accept and what you don’t. I love where you put your passion. I love you when you’re strong and I love you when you’re at the end of your rope on your very worst day. I love your beautiful, joyful, optimistic days, and I love your dark, dreary, soul-crushing days. I love you. Straight up.

Thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your story. Thank you for trusting me with the names of the children you lost. Thank you for sharing their pictures and their stories. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and their lives. Thank you for your humble, beautiful, gentle patience and understanding. We’re learning together. Thank you for letting me learn from you and with you – about life and love.

Disturbed – The Sound of Silence

UNT.

*Dr. Zucker is outstanding. Visit her shop (here: http://shop.drjessicazucker.com/). Buy the things. All of them. (I have.)

Goodnight sweetheart, rest well.

buttercups

My friend died last night.

She was a thoroughly beautiful person. Generous, thoughtful, kind, sassy, considerate, bright, cheerful, patient, graceful, charming, creative, talented, loving, supportive, encouraging. The kind of person who makes you want to be a better you.

A tragic, senseless accident took her life (and the lives of two others – I am so sorry for your families and loved ones. So, so sorry) while she was en route to a community function (with a van full of children, who, blessedly, walked away from the scene with minor abrasions and wounds).

She left a loving husband and three stunning children behind.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to lay tribute to her and her family. Not properly. Not adequately.

I never actually met Rhoda. Not in person. I was never that lucky. I have known her for years though, more than a decade. We met on a message board for a fantasy author whose works we both enjoyed. Somewhere along the way, in one thread or another, we crossed paths. Through a few of those threads and posts, we became acquainted. After several shared private messages, and then years and years and years of instant messages, texts, Facebook updates, tweets, Instagram photos, and hand written letters, we grew really very close.

We also drifted. Life happens and I understand. I have grown and changed in ways I had not anticipated. Rhoda grew and changed in ways I had not anticipated, too. She moved away from what I had known of her and that was difficult for me, at first. But to look at her now, to see where life had taken her. Folks, it is exquisite. Here is a woman living her joy and her passion. She found a path, her proper, perfect, magnificent path, and she walked it with confidence. She was so calmly, quietly, bravely sure of herself and her family and their community.

I regret not pestering her more often. I regret not knowing her now the way I knew her then. I regret not knowing more about her beautiful children and her life with her husband. I regret letting so much time pass before beginning to get to know her all over again. And I deeply regret not stalking, and, subsequently, hugging her.

I can’t change that, but I can learn from it. I have to learn from it. I have to learn from it, because I am absolutely one of those “that which doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” people. I have to be. If I wasn’t, this would be meaningless. This can’t be meaningless, it just really simply can’t be. Rhoda was too big to be meaningless. Too important. Her loss is too monumental to not mean something. To not leave something behind. So I’m going to hold onto it this way: I’m going to live. I’m going to remember, because my friend lost her life far too soon, that I have no idea when I’m going to die. No idea. So all of those plans I have that I push forward for one more day? They need to start becoming my today. It’s not always going to be realistic, I understand that, but I need to start trusting myself and not being afraid to step forward and actually live.

I need to look to Rhoda and her beautiful life and remember how much faith she had every day. I need to remember how fiercely she loved her family, her community, and her life. I need to remember how important life was to her. Not just hers, but the lives of others, too. I need to remember how gracefully she walked through life. I just always need to remember her.

A friend of ours, another beautiful soul, summed all of this up so much more succinctly than I can:

mj-sept-10-16-edit

(Names have been edited for privacy)

So. There’s really only one thing left that needs to be said here….

Rhoda,

You’re going to get to hug him first. Make it a good one. Then hug him again for me.

I love you, Beautiful. To the edges of forever, I truly love you.

Rest well.

 

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

UNT.

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

 

 

A bump in the road?

We all feel a little fucked up

I’m a little bit heartbroken.

I completed my birth doula training workshop (for certification with DONA International) this week last year. That is, in theory, the official first step on the doula journey (with DONA, anyway). I did take a second step and attended a beautiful (recognized) prenatal course at the end of last year. That was a truly wonderful experience and I am thankful for it. Beyond those events though, I’ve accomplished nothing. I haven’t even been able to finish any of the readings, nevermind the writing (essays) that go with them. I haven’t been able to because I haven’t made the time.

That’s telling, isn’t it? I haven’t made the time to do something that I’m allegedly passionate about.

A few weeks ago, I backed out of my local doula group. This decision followed a beautiful post about community privacy and that non-practicing doulas should probably not have access to information about prospective doula clients. (Our doulas work marvelously together. They understand that doulas must be interviewed and that not everyone gets along with everyone, so you can’t just pick a birth attendant from a photo and bio on a website. They share resources and connect with prospective clients wonderfully.) The post hit home. It was absolutely on point. I know that it was not directed at me (and I’ve had a great conversation with one of the administering doulas about it), but privacy is really, really important to me and to my family. I absolutely should not have access to that information if I’m not going to do anything about it. I can, and will, help with local doula promotion from in front of the curtain. I really don’t need to know the inner workings for that.

I want to do this. I know I want to do this. And I can do this. Mentally and physically, I can absolutely do this. I just don’t know how to fit it in. I don’t know what it looks like with a marriage and two young children. I don’t know where doulaing meshes with a full-time professional gig. I don’t know where it fits with a writing schedule.

That’s the real reason I pulled out of the doula group. I should not have access to private information about residents, but I also can’t be a doula right now. It’s a puzzle piece that’s been misplaced in the wrong box. It just won’t fit, no matter what I do. Not right now.

I just read a post (right here: Your Daydream is a Part of You. Don’t Give That Up.) about daydreams and keeping them and chasing them and honouring their importance, and I agree with it. I truly do. But this one? Can I keep this one? Should I shelve it for now? Read all of the things I need to read and write the essays I need to write, attend the odd birth if it ever fits in, and hope for the best? Should I take the bereavement doula training (via stillbirthday) and enter life this way, which also marries so very well with a big life idea I have and the possible next level education I’m considering?

I know I will continue to write, because that’s actually been going well. I have been here semi-regularly (to those of you who have commented and not received a reply: I’m in a time vortex. I’m so sorry, I’ll get there. I promise), I’ve broken ground (for the nth time) on a big project, and I’ve started a new gig (here: HYPG blog. Specifically, about Zoe’s so far. More to come). This daydream works really well into all aspects of my life. It comes when I have moments to spare. I can make time for this, five minutes at a time if I need to. It’s not a marathon 72-hour labour possibility. A novel can be written in ten minutes a day.

Oh dreams. Passions. Life goals. They can be so wonderful, energizing and motivating. …and they can also sure bring you back to real life fast.

I think I’ll keep at it. If nothing else, I love to read and I love to learn and I love to write, so doing all of those things in regard to birth, a huge passion of mine, should be smooth. If it’s going to fit, it will fit. I don’t think I’ll give up on it, but I think I’ll try not to worry about it. I’ll be here if I’m needed. I’ll move the mountains I can move when I can move them, even if it’s just to help practicing doulas with their businesses* or friends and family with pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum information (when asked. I don’t foist myself on folks).

Maybe that’s the difference between daydreams and goals. The daydream is just that, a dream. Something to fantasize about, a smile that I can access when I need it. Something to keep in mind, but not something concrete. It could become concrete, but for now it waits. It collects details and breath and it waits, until it can become a goal. The goal is tangible. The goal is something accessible that I can work toward. There’s a path here. It can change, but there’s a path. So doula work is the daydream and writing is the goal. First the goal, then the daydream.

Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams (I live the cliché. Baller.)

UNT.

*Dear everyone, I build websites and promote businesses. Call me.

 

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

UNT.

 

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).

P1030218a

Chris Daughtry – In The Air Tonight (Cover)

UNT.