My Salome Nature

Somewhere along the way you realize the desire to be perfect is not the accomplishment of that feat. Either that paralyzes you, or you make your peace with it. This is my attempt at peace.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My friend Kathryn has taken her two little children to Africa. To. Africa. Though I've only dreamed about such a journey, and in doing so, facing the biggest fear I have left remaining (now that I have already survived the one about cancer), she is actually walking, awake, into it. I tremble as I think about it, for the same reasons that I have always backed out when I've considered it myself. But when I think about big North American saviour-types heading into Africa for a little experience, a little philanthropy, a little placation against the great sad ordeal of Africa, I feel sick to my stomach. It feels like an example of self-satisfied rich men giving big donations to the synagogue. But Kathryn is like the wido with two mites. This is everything. This is the most generous gift she has.

I have prayed much. I have prayed while walking, while painting my kitchen, while lying in my bed... I've prayed the way I think Paul was describing when he said to pray without ceasing. I have taught my son to pray for them also. Yesterday he said, "Thank you God that Anna and Joseph can go to Africa. Please help them to help all the people there." Then he said to me, "Mom, sometimes children die, right?" and I realized how truly far away we are from it. It's not enough to feel badly about the plight of the poor, dirty, orphaned children in Africa... then go back to our magazines or internet. I remember falling on my knees once, sobbing, watching an African woman on tv trying to nurse her baby. I suddenly considered what it would be like to struggle to feed Josh and the pain of listening to him cry in hunger. I could not bear it.

It's not them and us. We are all us. We are all mothers and children.

We are all desperate; In North America, we just don't know how to name our desperation.

God, make light their path. Make their journey safe. Protect their bodies and their hearts even moreso.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's a picture of me on the front page of this blog. In it, I am young and beautiful and thin and maybe even a bit smug about the whole thing. Today, my friend sent a photo from the weekend, with Josh on my lap and me leaning in to snuggle him. I am smiling, to be sure, but the smugness is gone. In that smile, I can see also the awareness that I have allowed things to get out of hand. I look like a swollen version of myself. I am padded and round; I am returning to the girl I was in highschool.

Why, after so many years of having this under control, am I now facing this breakdown of discipline and careful attention to my eating and exercising habits? What started out as a "treat" on occassion has become the status quo, and I don't even consider points any longer when I'm stuffing my face with whatever is in front of me. I had become so accustomed to eating the correct amounts of food that I never even counted anymore - I just knew how much to take, and I almost never over-indulged. I want to go back to that time. That 27 year old me, that 29 year old me, that 31 year old me... all better versions than this one. I keep saying I want to go back, but somehow, when the time comes to exercise some control and reserve, I excuse myself and become permissible. I don't even consider the consequences of wild abandon and now I'm paying for it. I'm paying for it with a photo that I want to keep nearby, to remind me of how bad it's become and to encourage me to stop before I go back to the same place I was before - the place where I cried so much and hated myself.

Having a child on my own is not easy. Whereas I would go to the gym at the end of the work day, now I have to go to the daycare and then return home. The only time for working out is after he's gone to bed (and we've done the back and forth - "Mama, can I have another story?" "No. Go to sleep." "Mama, can I sleep in your bed?" "No. Go to sleep." "Mama, I have to go pee pee!" "Okay, hurry up, and then get back into bed and go to sleep!!!" What happened to those perfect evenings when I'd put him down in his room and not hear another peep out of him until morning?) Anyway, by the time I'm able to exercise, it's usually after 9 p.m. and that feels late to be getting all worked up. Still, some exercise is better than no exercise and I really, really don't want to go back. I started a yoga class at work, and it was kyboshed for liability reasons, so there goes that option. I want to walk on my lunch breaks, all through snooty Rosedale, but the weather is so cold that the motivation to get outside is pretty low. Really, it comes down to self-control. Weight Watchers isn't working this time, and I have no anti-depressant pills to induce anorexia, and I'm not nursing to burn off those calories making milk... I have nothing in my arsenal except my weak and dying discipline. (So many things could benefit from more discipline in my life, e.g., effective use of my work day!) So now, how to breathe life and energy into this discipline and make the changes necessary? The trick with me is, they have to be incorporated without much pomp & circumstance, or that fire burns too hot and fast and it's out before it's done any good. Slow and steady, careful steps, small changes, lots more "no's". I can get there. I can get there. I can get there. I can get there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I keep fighting the waves that rise up and wash over me, threatening to take me down under with them as they fall. It's hard. They always take me by surprise, the voices that remind me constantly that I'm not good enough, not efficient enough, not smart enough, not thorough enough, not competent enough, not producing enough... failing, failing, failing, failing. And then I come in to work and get reminded again, but it's no longer the voices in my head talking. They're real voices and their criticism is constant. I don't blame them because they're right -- I constantly screw up. The email, the photocopying, the computer, the responses to people. It's always the wrong thing and I can't help but wonder if I'm missing (or ignoring) the message here -- are all these things happening so I'll leave? So I'll go to Africa? Or somewhere else? I'm scared though. How can I do that? I have a 2 year old child... Yesterday, I was gently asked by my immediate supervisor if I had considered that maybe God wanted me to be in service elsewhere. I know he desperately wants a better assistant and cannot legally ask me to leave, but he's offered me the option of finding other things to do often enough now that I can't pretend like it's all a coincidence. I feel so defeated. How did my life become the sum total of my failures? When did I become such a disappointment? What can I do about it? No matter how hard I try, it's still spiralling downward. I keep flopping myself into God's arms but I don't see what I'm supposed to do. Lord, my life is a mess.

This morning, I was standing drying Josh off after a shower, and he was laughing and wiggling and asking me to cuddle him, and I added to my depression and sense of failure a heavy dose of guilt. Here is this perfect little untouched person, and he is going to be saddled with all of my neuroses and messed up because of all of my instability and GOD! God!!! Please protect him! The voice quickly switched over -- why can't you get it together for your son? At least don't fail him... but everything I touch turns to shit. How can I not destroy him as well?

I'm so self-pitying. I make myself sick. Further failure.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I used to say things. I came here and wrote and somehow, interesting things seeped out. Sometimes.

It's been a such an up and down ride. I feel sad, and wonder if I should. I read my last post, in November, and wonder where that went. When and why did I give up so much of myself? And I keep looking ahead thinking, someday, I'm going to be past all this and I will be so glad and grateful. But somehow, I'm not moving past it. I'm staying stuck and allowing it to happen. I feel like a drug user who doesn't know how to get clean but wishes for it desperately. I look to an imaginary future, I guess. The one I imagine is so lovely compared to the one I actually see coming.

Oh well. I forgot to take my stupid Celexa three days in a row. Maybe that's it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Life Seeps In

Something in me is restored. I just keep feeling better and better. Sad memories are being pushed out by exciting thoughts of the future. I feel like someone turned on the light, and now that my eyes have adjusted, I can see things again.

For the first time in over a month, I want to go grocery shopping.

I want to prepare delicious meals for me and Josh.

I want to bake cookies to give as Christmas presents.

I want to put up decorations.

I want to hang out with my amazing friends.

I want to exercise and rebuild my body.

I want to take baths and read books and brush my hair and SMILE.

Hallelujah, I'm back!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What I've Been Meaning To Say All Along...

Fuck you, I'm awesome. And so is my kid.

I'm sorry I almost let you make me forget and subvert that. I've got my truth back, and hallelujah, you didn't stick.

It's so nice to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say, "I like who I am, and I've got nothing to hide".

And YOU miss out.

Now I'm done letting you have even one second of my brain space any longer. Reap what you sow, PL.

Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Grateful. Grateful. Grateful. Find something to be grateful about. If you can live in gratitude, it will affect how you live, how you're perceived, and how you perceive things around you.

I'm trying, Lord.

I'm grateful that Josh isn't sick anymore. Last week was a disaster. He was so sick I ended up taking him to Sick Kids hospital. THAT night was a nightmare unto itself, and I discovered that someone I once thought so sound and solid and helpful wasn't any of those things... just selfish, uncaring, unkind. I ended up begging around until I could find a ride home.

I try not to be miserable about the prospect of raising Josh alone forever. But secretly, I'm scared. I think on how much I enjoyed having a partnership, a companion to help, and it makes me feel like there's not much to look forward to in the future. It makes me feel defeated and complacent. I know I need to get it together and snap out of it, but it's not coming so easily, you know?

Okay. That's enough of that. I'm grateful for my limbs, for my eyesight, for my job, my home, my daycare, my daycare subsidy, and most importantly, I'm grateful for my son. There are lots of positives, if I'll just choose to focus on them instead of what I lack.

And what I lack wasn't that great anyway.