Just what I needed to read tonight.
Sometimes I seriously want to punch people right in the face.
Everyone has problems, everyone has a story to tell. I get that, trust me, I have lots! So I really don’t want to spend my days hearing you natter on about yours.
I’m not talking about having discussions with friends or family here, those are moments that build relationships and save sanity, a life necessity really. I am talking about those people that we work with or casually see who never have anything good to say. They are never happy and life is never good enough. They have the woe is me attitude and a million reasons to support that. At first you may get sucked into these stories, you identify with people and offer your sympathies. Then you find out that they have taken 8 Caribbean vacations in the last year and you begin to wonder what the hell they are talking about.
I wonder if they have ever stopped to wonder how they are affecting their lives and the lives of everyone around them with their constant negativity. Its always been amazing to me to see how someones frame of mind can completely alter how they view their own circumstances and those of others. I have always tried to be a person who has focused on the positive side of things, a natural optimist. I truly believe that this is the only reason that I haven’t been committed to some kind of institution. Life has thrown me many challenges, that for the most part I have kept very quiet about and dealt with in my own way. I have been able to always see the light at the end of the tunnel and look at things with a decent amount of perspective. I ache for those who struggle with that, I have many loved ones who have struggled with depression and I cannot even begin to imagine how that must affect every moment of their day.
But for those who have simply elected a negative attitude, or one of impenetrable ungratefulness, I have no time. Take your complaints elsewhere.
So I got shingles. Again.
No, I did not get my roof redone. I am currently experiencing an outbreak of herpes zoster. No, not THAT herpes. Essentially its the cousin of the chicken pox, who likes to remind you when your life has become unduly stressful by having you break out in a blistering painful rash. I’m not really here to talk about that though.
The last couple of weeks have offered up quite the cornucopia of stressors…
My almost 4 year old apparently decided that being toilet trained wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and gave up. He had about 53 accidents over the course of the week and I got to the point where I was no longer upset, but rather just sad and desperate to understand what was going on and hoped with all my heart that this wasn’t in delayed reaction to his dad and I’s separation.
A departmental meeting at my workplace brought to our attention the implementation of a safety plan for one our of our employees whose personal safety had been affected by their spouse. A million thoughts and scenarios run through your mind when you hear those words. We were provided no situational details, only the protocols to be followed and the response to any conflict that may arise. All I could think about afterward was how lucky I was to be able to call my ex-spouse a friend rather than an enemy. I took some time to digest the information and then I took the elevator upstairs to see my ex-husband. I told him I needed a hug and he, reluctantly at first, gave me one. He asked what was wrong and was concerned about my family, worrying that something had happened to someone. I told him that it was a work situation that I was not allowed to discuss and he understood. I thanked him for being such a great dad and for being a partner in this with me. Divorce can bring out the worst in people, we have tried to look at things differently and have focused on becoming co-parents instead of ex-spouses.
Then Friday afternoon came around. Working in a hospital, I hear the all too common overhead announcement for a Code Blue, the universal indicator for healthcare workers that someones life is in distress and it calls the appropriate responders to the location. I am not one of those people. I work quietly in my department and am usually shielded from the gruesome and devastating side of the healthcare world. But on this day, I was requested to bring some additional supplies to the doctors attending a code in the ICU. I am trained in CPR and First Aid, I have performed abdominal thrusts on a visitor in the cafeteria to stop him from choking, but nothing could have prepared me for the moment I walked into that room. I always thought that being there and seeing people in action during this process would be incredibly interesting, it wasn’t. It was awful. I felt like an intruder into someones intensely private moments, moments where families weren’t allowed and wouldn’t have wanted to be. This isn’t Hollywood, this is real CPR being performed on a real human being, this is a person whose life is in the most delicate balance and there were more people in that room using every fibre of their being to keep him alive than I could have ever imagined. It was a scene that I hope I never have to experience again.
Did I mention that I turned 30 somewhere in there? Didn’t think I cared, pretty sure I lied to myself. Life isn’t what I expected it to look like at 30. I am supposed to be this confident, happy, well-adjusted mother who has her whole life and career figured out. I have NOTHING figured out. Seriously, nothing.
Add in a couple of complicated life/relationship issues and we have cooked up a perfect recipe for a little Shingles relapse. Awesomesauce. Got to spend part of my Thanskgiving in the ER awaiting an Rx for antiviral meds.
No where but up, right?
Litmus, Litmus on the Wall
If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met,
What would it be? What would the right answer be?
I have had plenty of failed friendships and relationships, ones where I should have asked many a question prior to engaging with the other person. Its incredibly hard to judge what a person will be like when you need them the most, what their reaction will be when you tell them something unsavoury about yourself or what they will say in response to a life changing moment.
But lets be serious here, what I really need to know is whether or not they have ever watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians (I had to look up the spelling for that!).
The only acceptable answer is FUCK NO! Anyone who watches that, or any any of the shows that are of the same ridiculous “reality tv” standard, obviously has a very different lifestyle/IQ/understanding of reality than I do.
When I went back to school in 2007 I thought I had found the career that would take me to retirement and would provide me with the type of fulfillment that I was looking for. I was right, kind of. Being a Pharmacy Technician is certainly something that I am proud of and I could absolutely continue working where I am and have the pensioned retirement that I had planned on. What I hadn’t planned on though, was being introduced to something that would set my mind on fire and pique my interest so much that I would spend the next 7 years reading and researching and wishing for a different career path.
I remember the first time I ever watched the show Intervention, it was a game changer. I couldn’t stop watching, episode after episode, all the facts and information was filling my mind and I couldn’t get enough. I bought Addicted, a book based on the HBO series by the same name. It was full of personal stories, but more importantly with facts and information with regards to the neurological and physiological side of addiction. Teaching me the changes in brain function and chemistry with the use of different substances. It had a chapter in it that had some inclusions by a man named Gabor Maté, a Canadian physician working in Downtown Lower Eastside of Vancouver, a well known area for its drug use and homelessness “problem”. I went to the bookstore and bought his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. It introduced me to the concept of dependance vs. addiction, to the societal consequences of addiction and the fallout from that, including disease and poverty, homelessness and the sex trade, crime and punishment. I learned about inSite, a safe injection site in Vancouver that allows active drug users a safe and supportive environment for them to use as well as access to healthcare providers and addiction support staff.
Over the next few years I did some more reading and research, but focused more on raising my family and on building my career. Never though, did the yearning or passion wane. Sometimes, I felt guilty about the fact that I had already gone back to school for what was supposed to be my career, but I knew that this was not something that was just going to go away.
So here I am, filling out my application for the McMaster University Addiction Careworker Diploma program. I never imagined at this point that I would be able to “go back” to university, but McMaster offers this program which is mostly or all online (depending on the electives that you choose) and it is going to allow me to continue to work and raise my son and follow my dream. I am ecstatic. McMaster University holds a special place in my heart. I have relatives who taught here and when I was younger my plan had been to become a doctor and attend Med School here myself. While that plan obvious has gone by the wayside, this seems to be a serendipitous chance in my life to make my wish of being an Addiction Treatment worker a reality.
I could easily apply to a hundred different programs at career colleges or online schools, but none of those programs seemed right. I want to learn and reciprocate my knowledge at a University level. I want to be among others who are thinking and functioning at my level or beyond. I want to be able to succeed at this career and be a resource for other people. I want my colleagues to value my input, not that they wouldn’t if I didn’t attend University, but I feel like the people with a PhD are going to appreciate and look at staff member with a university level education differently. And lets be honest, having that on a resume certainly isn’t anything but an advantage.
So, let another new chapter begin! (As long as they will have me, of course!)
When I asked for the separation, he wanted it over and done with right away. Over 7 months later, I finally moved into my own place. After the initial emotions were discharged, we came to terms with the fact that separating our home and lives was going to take time and that it was never going to be possible to not be in each others lives due to our son. So, we made the conscious decision to move forward as a team, as co-parents and as friends. I told him that no matter what, we had to put in the effort to either love each other or hate each other and so why not go with love? Its better for everyone and especially for our son.
THIS WAS NOT AN EASY ROAD!
It took a lot of patience and counseling and talking to get to where we are today. The place where we can talk and have lunch together, go to each others homes or see each others families and not have it be awkward or upsetting. But it has been so worth it. When you invest so much of yourself into a marriage, its devastating to think about having to give all of that up – the friends and family, the stability, the partnership and the memories. So we have elected to embrace them.
My new place has maternity photos and wedding photos adorning the walls. It has memories from our home and our times together. They are things that I will never give up thinking about and cherishing. They gave me a wonderful life and brought me my son, I don’t ever want to forget them or resent them. He has come over to help me with my computer and to share dinner as a family, he is a person that I can vent to about my noisy neighbours or to confide in when I am having a tough time with things. I can do this, because he is sharing in all of these changes with me, he is the other side of the equation and I don’t ever forget that.
It takes two people to actively make the choice every day to have a positive relationship and I am incredibly lucky that I have this person who is willing to make that commitment to me and our family every day. Its not been easy for him and we haven’t always received the best response. Its amazing to us to hear people be so negative about it or to tell us to “just wait”, that it will get bad and tempers will flare and its all downhill from there. Its frustrating to have people ask why, if we are able to tolerate each other so well, why we didn’t just stay married.
Marriage isn’t a convenience, its not meant to act as a placeholder. We are no longer the best partners for each other, and that is all. We are allowing each other to find someone who is. But we are also allowing ourselves to embrace a new found appreciation and love for one another, one of family and as parents to this amazing little boy that we call ours. That is what keeps us going every day, the fact that he sees us as his parents, engaged with each other in a happy and healthy relationship and showing him the love and support and encouragement that he deserves. We are a family, they come in many shapes and sizes and this is ours.
Life has been full of, at times, overwhelming changes in the past few months.
New Legal Marital Status
oh, and my tiny little amazing human is going to school.
So I’m sure a lot of people will think that this means that I would have had plenty to talk about, and there was, but I wasn’t ready to share my inner struggles and outward changes with everyone. I knew that life was going to be an interesting journey this year, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll it was going to take on me or how much I was going to second guess myself.
But here I am, on the other side. I recently (as in, its still peeling and making me itch like I am some kind of crazy person) started another tattoo project to commemorate these changes.
It was perfectly described by my artist as a bird of light and infinite energy. She is in full flight, graceful, beautiful, loved and powerful. Those are all things that I never accepted as being a part of myself, but this past year has forced me to rethink not only my life, but myself. Its been a year of spectacular growth for me, one that has made me shed more tears, smile more times and grant myself more forgiveness than I have ever allowed myself.
What this really means it that I have lots to say and I am now ready to say it.
Wow, that felt good.