On my Ongoing Journey to Dismantle my Own Racism

I just finished reading a book called White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism when all hell broke loose last week. I was reading this as part of an Indigenous Reads book club at work, where each month I get together with some of my colleagues and try to deconstruct our own privilege and move forward on our own journeys of reconciliation by reading the stories and listening to the voices of Indigenous writers that have gone so long unheard. It is uncomfortable but necessary inner work.

I have been trying to write about this journey for a while now mostly in the context of forgiveness and reconciliation, but I am having a hard time putting it into words. Mostly I struggle with the fear that I am going to say something wrong and offend someone. That I am going to inadvertently expose some hidden biases I didn’t even know I had and be called out on them.

In these tumultuous times, I do not want to showcase my own privilege but actively work to dismantle it. I don’t want to be adding my own voice to maintain the status quo; I want to offer it up in service as an ally.

I know my voice is not the important one right now. But I also can’t just say nothing. Because that’s the exact problem—liberal thinking, polite white people like me are too afraid to talk about their privilege and thus end up perpetuating it.

I don’t want to perpetuate my own privilege. I am not okay with a world where I can walk safely down the streets without harassment but another person can’t. Where I am taking seriously simply because of the colour of my skin and another person is not simply because the colour of theirs. I don’t want this privilege. The first step in dismantling it is to acknowledge that it exists and permeates my whole life.

As cities in America burn and justifiably angry people take to the streets and risk their lives (both due to police violence and an actual fucking pandemic which makes gathering even that much more dangerous), I want to do the one thing that is the most important thing to do which is acknowledge my own privilege and actively seek to deconstruct it. Here is what I have learned so far on this ongoing, lifelong journey to actively, consciously educate myself so I am not causing more harm than good in this world.

  1. I am a racist. I really don’t want to be one, I hate that I am, but I am. We all are, because we have grown up in a racist society. The more we admit this to ourselves, the more we can unearth our hidden biases and dismantle them.
  2. We live in a white supremacist state. I am a white person in a world ruled by white people. I have power and privilege just by being white that people of colour simply do not have. Though I may not have personally enslaved people or stolen people’s lands, I am the direct beneficiary of a system set up by those who did. This is unacceptable to me.
  3. It is up to me to dismantle this privilege. I can do this by actively seeking to deprogram myself by exposing myself to other voices, to alternative views than the one I grew up with where Indigenous peoples and people of colour were only a footnote in our white colonist history.

I have so much more to learn about my own biases, about how I can dismantle my own privilege. If I have said something that was offensive or wrong, I would be grateful for feedback. When I get it, I promise to not burst into tears (at least not in front of the person giving the critique), get defensive, or make it in anyway about me. I will thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me uncover my own biases and work to incorporate that new found knowledge into everything I do.

In the face of all that is going on in the world, I just wanted to do my very small part by acknowledging my own racism and own inadvertent complicity in a system that has for centuries only benefitted white people. And for whatever it is worth, loudly and for the record profess my wish to be an ally in building a more equitable world.

 

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Why all the Bloody Selfies? An Explanation

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Age 46: Day 34 Selfie of me writing about taking selfies

 

Some of you may have noticed that I have been bombarding my social media with daily pictures of myself, after many years of rarely posting anything, let alone my own face. Why? Why am I doing this deeply uncomfortable thing?

Here is my best attempt at an explanation. On a whim—seriously, the thought popped into my head and the next moment day 1 was posted on Instagram—I decided that I needed to get more comfortable with the camera and the way I would do it was by posting one photo a day for my 46th year.

It has been 33 days and I have regretted my decision for about 30 of them.

I’ve hated getting my photo taken my whole life. I am very, very bad at it. I am awkward.  I make faces that apparently do not resemble my normal face. For that reason, there are times in my life where I have very little photos of me. A glaring example is my own wedding, where there was one—count them— one of me in my wedding dress (not that it matters anymore, but still).

It comes down to my complicated relationship with visibility. I have mostly felt like I am invisible my whole life, that people do not see me. Invisibility has been a great excuse to not join clubs, sports teams, conversations—if nobody is going to see me, why join? It also gave me a license to think that my actions did not matter, that because I was invisible and unimportant, I could not hurt anybody.

But cameras and getting my picture taken exposes the lie. I can’t get away from the fact that not only is someone seeing me, they are focussed on me. That makes me deeply, deeply uncomfortable. It means I am not as invisible as I thought, that perhaps I do matter.

The complicated part is this: though I feel invisible, there is a part of my that wishes to feel visible, for people to see me. And as uncomfortable as I am with getting my photo taken, I am even less comfortable with this need. You see, invisibility (or at least pretending I am invisible and do not matter) has been my greatest protection mechanism. It is what has allowed me to try new things and go forward. Conceived by my young brain in order to allow me to go out in the world with less fear of fucking up, the idea that people did not see me meant freedom to make mistakes, to try new things, to be me without anybody caring.

Fully owning my own visibility means giving up this rusty old protection mechanism and embracing that I do indeed exist, my actions have consequences and, yes, for better or worse, that is indeed my face. Taking selfies means not only am I owning my own visibility, I am thrusting it willy nilly on the world. See? I am taking a photo of my face and making you look at it! I exist, bitches!

And man, I can’t tell you the existential dread that comes from seeing my face. Is that really me? Do I really look like that? What does that face even mean? I wonder if this dread is the reason why artists make self-portraits? This questioning of one’s own face?

So. My challenge to myself: 365 days of one selfie a day. Hopefully by the end of it I will be able to smile in a way that doesn’t make me look perpetually mildly concerned or constipated. Wish me luck.

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Honouring: An Exploration in Five Parts

I

During my morning commute in Montreal, a homeless man regularly stood sentry at the bottom of the escalators in the metro station. Technically I guess he was begging, but he had such a genteel air about him, it felt more like he was graciously inviting us to donate. Whether I had change or not, every morning we would make eye contact and he would nod to me in the manner of a gentleman tipping his hat to a lady of his acquaintance and murmur a greeting that was not words exactly, more like the musical humming of a bird.

Then one day he was not there. Weeks went by before I saw him again. When he did finally re-appear, his face was distorted with bruises and swellings. He leaned precariously on a crutch while he stretched out one of his hands, like a branch whose weight was too heavy for its trunk. Alcohol and fecal fumes emanating from him were heartbreaking. Still he stood and managed a twisted smile and nod for every commuter.

He did not hum though.

When it was my turn to pass him, he met my eyes. He was a little unsteady, his eyes glazed from pain and alcohol, yet still he managed his Dalai lama smile and graceful bow. I paused against the surge of distracted, time-challenged bodies to bow back, regretting I had no change in my pocket.

The next morning, I made my commute with pockets jangling. But he was not at the bottom of the escalator, nor the next day or the next. I never saw him again.

II

When my nephew died, my daughters were inconsolable. I did not try to console them.

III

Going for a run during the pandemic is like being in a video game. Or a metaphor for moral living—how do I navigate all these people while trying my best to not be an asshole?  How do I serve my needs while remaining ever vigilant of others? Because let’s face it, I am a viral sprinkler when I run, my drops spraying out of me, heedless of others.

I run on the streets when I can. Cede the right of way always. Plan my means of egress from the sidewalk for blocks ahead. Even if there is little to no chance I have the virus, I do not want to be a Typhoid Mary. I do not want to be that asshole.

Some people nod to me and thank me for moving. Some take it as their due. Some do not make it easy to not be an asshole, and stake out their route in the middle of the sidewalk as if the sidewalk was their property and the rest of us were squatting.

The other day, an older couple saw me coming and shifted to the side to wait on the grass. As I passed, they made eye contact, smiled. The lady said, “It is much easier for us to move than you. Running is easier on the pavement.” I smiled back and said thank you.

It is nice to know others are trying not to be assholes too.

IV

Sometimes I honour myself with a glass of wine. Sometimes I dishonour myself with four.

V

The hardest decision I’ve ever had to make was moving to Victoria. Not because it meant leaving my job, my home, my friends and community, though those things were very hard too. It was hard because I had to make the decision against my former identity as a “we”, the “we” that had just been shattered into a million irreconcilable shards. The “we” identity had been in place for twenty years. Decisions were to be made in consideration of everyone who made up that we—my husband, my daughters and last and definitely least, me.

The “we” had changed when my husband amputated himself from us. He was making decisions about his life that did not take into us consideration. I had to do the same if I was to not disappear from myself. I had to make decisions that were right for me and my girls. It was like trying to learn how to walk all over again.

It took me months. I agonized over it. Wrote in my journal, meditated, went for long walks. Talked at length about moving with my daughters. Let my ex know several times I was thinking about it (he ignored me). Moving did not just mean the need to make a decision that deliberately excluded him. It meant giving up on the idea that our family would ever heal itself, in whatever form. That he was really gone.

It was not until I went to visit my sister who set me up with her craniosacral person that I gained some clarity. During that session, she asked me to imagine myself as a child. I described me at my father’s funeral, the only me I really remember, the lost and lonely child trapped inside herself. Always in a corner, always with an expression of a trapped mouse. Constantly surrounded by people but always alone.

What did that child need? Craniosacral lady asked. “What did I need?”

The answer came immediately. I needed time and space and help. The only way I could get those things was in Victoria, where I could lean, for a little while, on the support of my family. Where my daughters would be surrounded by other adults who loved them dearly and who had the capacity to show up for them.

I hated making this decision. It meant letting go of the notion that we could still be a family even though we were not together anymore. Deep down, it also meant letting go of the toxic hope that he would come back to me, that we could heal together and embark on a different kind of marriage. It meant I was making it harder for him to heal the wounds his leaving had caused, because now their emotional distance would be matched by a geographical one.

I knew this. I did not like it. I am still uncomfortable with it. And yet I would do it again, because it was the right thing for me and my girls. For the first time ever, I let my own needs matter as much as those of others, let them have a louder voice.

I listened.

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On the 38th Anniversary of my Father’s Death

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My Dad and me

Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death.  He died at the age of 38 which means he has been dead as long as he was alive. A whole lifetime has gone by and yet somehow it seems like yesterday.

That’s grief for you though—it refuses to obey the dictates of time. Here’s a piece I wrote recently on my 8-year old response to his death.

 

 

 

Criminal

We commit crimes when we are children. We don’t mean to but we do. Our childhood certainties become suddenly uncertain and we panic. React. Do something we don’t understand and therefore cannot undo.

We then bury these crimes inside of us and forget about them until time, with its constant cascade of loss, erodes the dusty soil of our hearts and exposes the edges of our shame.

Time to face the facts: I am a criminal. Here is my crime.

Suspect: 8-Year Old Girl

With the exception of my mother, who teaches kindergarten in the large, bright classroom near the foyer, my teacher, Madame Lise, is the youngest, most beautiful, and also the kindest of all the teachers at the school. We are in a Grade One/Two split class. When Madame Lise needs to test us, she takes us out of our regular classroom away from the Grade Ones, and into another, smaller one around the corner. Today is a dictée day. We are in the small classroom writing down random words Madame Lise pronounces slowly and clearly. Bibliothèque. Armoire. Pommier. I know all the words. I am pleased with myself.

She finishes quizzing us. We are to follow her back into the regular classroom, where the babies are waiting. I am in Grade Two.

We turn the corner and immediately know something’s wrong. The teachers are outside their classes, leaning against the walls like broken ladders. Their heads are buried in their hands. They are crying.

This shocks me. Adults are not supposed to cry.

Mme Lise shuffles us into the class and rushes to investigate.  A few minutes later she reappears at the door and beckons me. I feel special to have been singled out and follow her. I am curious. That is all. It does not occur to me to be nervous. I am a good girl. Top of my class. I never hit when I’m angry or steal someone’s cookie. I am even nice to Maurice, who picks his nose and eats his boogers.

Nothing bad can happen to me because I follow the rules.

I get up from my desk and act like it’s no big deal. My friend Jody is watching me. I feel important.

In the hall, we first pass Mme Simpson, my First Grade teacher from last year. She had no patience for my shyness and would not let me go to the bathroom without asking in French. I could not ask. Every day that year I ran home after school, my bladder heaving like a dam after the storm. Often the dam overflowed and I arrived at my doorstep, cheeks and underpants wet.

She peeks her bulldog face through her thick, slug-like fingers and spots me. Her face contorts and a sob belches from her. I look away, embarrassed.

Why is such a mean woman crying? Mean people can’t cry. Adults don’t cry!

Except in this bad dream they do. All the teachers. I concentrate on the scene at the end of the hallway. There’s a man in his fancy dress uniform talking to my mother. They are backlit by the glass doors, the late morning April sun spotlighting them.

My mother’s hands also cover her face. Her body shakes. The man in the uniform is straight and stiff as a ruler. His arm rests on my mother’s hunched shoulders. I can see the doors between their bodies.

The hallway stretches out like a bad Alice dream. The clack clack clack of my teacher’s heels echo off the linoleum floor.

Panic flutters in my chest, the way it does when things do not make sense.

My teacher leads me towards my mother. Her grip on my hand is a little too tight. She keeps making these little sounds like she’s trying not to cry. She is scaring me. They are all scaring me. I wish they would stop it.

Mme Lise brings me directly to my mom, lays a hand on her shoulder to let her know I’m there, then abruptly turns away and moves down the hall to huddle with the other crying teachers.

I face my mother and the uniform man. They’re outside my mother’s classroom. She is popular, my mother. In March she shows her students how to make tire by pouring hot syrup on the snow. I wish I could have been in her class.

Maman?

My mother lowers her hands. Her face is not her face. It is the face of a pain I do not recognize, something deeper and untouchable than the hurt of all the scratched knee caps, bee stings, best friend fights, sisters breaking your favourite Sean Cassidy record, mean boys hitting you, combined.

This pain is a chasm and my mother has been swallowed. She is not my mother but something else now.

Her words are pebbles down a well; they land like a faint echo. Ton pèreavionaccidentmort.

I see it now. How the me that was before jolted out of my body, a faint ghost hovering like an echo behind me. The inner wooshing sound as I pulled her back into me and locked her up, that stupid girl who felt safe and confident that she belonged.

I hated that girl instantly for being so naïve, so sure of herself. I hated her for not knowing the world could turn on you at any moment. That your parents could one day cease to be your parents and what you thought was real and solid was actually just a big, nasty pretend game.

I panicked.

She had to go.

So I shoved her away, locked her up in a remote region of my heart and left her there to rot.

I told myself it was self-defence. She was too dangerous. Deliberately ignored the banging on the walls, the pleas to open the door. I tried very hard to forget her, tried to convince myself that the chasm left by her absence had always been there, that I was simply born this way. Some people have dark hair. Some people are psychopaths. Some people are simply missing the piece that makes them worthy of love, that allows them to trust. I could almost believe it was not my fault, not something I did to myself.

Almost.

But I did. And I have spent a lifetime paying for it.

The Sentence

The sentence for forcible confinement of yourself is simple: hard labour.

Work. Work your ass off and then work some more, bitch.

Oh, you can do your time but you’ll never really make up for it. You are a criminelle. A monstre. Your crime is perpetual therefore so is your punishment.

First: Arrêtes de rêver. Don’t fucking dare dream. Who the hell gave you permission to have those anyways? You locked them up, stifled them with your stinking fear and putrid shame. Your dreams are now a heaping pile of fertilizer. Might as well use it to grow other people’s dreams, because you ruined any chance of your own.

Second: Love. There will be people who think they can fix the trou inside you. They will think they can love you. The only way you can keep them around, pretend for a moment that you might deserve love (you don’t) is by working harder than everybody else.

You have to earn the air you breathe, the ground you stand on, every bite of food you stuff into your monster mouth. You must earn love and earn it constantly.

If the people you love with that amputee heart of yours are not happy, it’s your fault. If you don’t work your ass off to meet their every need, they will find out your dirty little secret, your gaping hole instead of a soul. Is that what you want? Is it?

If the person consents to marry you, feel grateful, bitch. They don’t realize yet you’re unlovable. Joke’s on them. Hide your trou through work and then more work. Make sure you do not need anything ever.

Ever. Tu m’écoutes? 

Third: Time. It’s not yours. It’s for other people.

When kids arrive, make sure your spouse does not feel overwhelmed. Small kids are hard. They’ll take a toll on those who are whole. But for you, avec un trou, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need time to yourself. You have no self worthy of time. Do not take time away ever. How many times do I have to tell you this? Stop wanting more than you can have. You made your choice. Live with the consequences.

So you’re unhappy. So you’re angry. Who cares? Bury it. You’re not allowed to feel these things. Who the hell said you could feel anything but grovelling gratitude?

Try harder, damn it. Get up at five am. Go running. Lose the weight. If you’re going to mimic worthy, at least look the part, fat ass.

Always be willing to have sex even though you’re dead tired. Do not think of the alarm clock or how near 5 a.m. is looming. You’re lucky he even wants to have sex with you. Don’t blow it.

Work hard and then harder to prove yourself in your new career. Keep your kids happy and thriving. You’re lucky to have them (you don’t deserve them).

Try to find time to write. Because even though you broke rule number one of your sentence, the dream still gasps out of you like the need to breathe. But this comes last do you hear me? Last. Dishes come before dreams. Everything comes before your dreams. Do I have to make you write lines to get it through your thick head?

Turn yourself inside out to keep everyone happy. Bury your unhappiness. Clench your jaw when the anger surges. Do not feel sad or lonely. What the hell is that? This is what you chose, this is what you wanted.

Don’t make a mistake ever. You can’t afford it. The people will find your trou and they will leave you like you deserve.

You buried me inside you, the part that was allowed to want more. You have done this to yourself.

You are a criminal. This is your sentence.

Time Served: 36 years

It was all for nothing.

All those decades of frenetic activity, of a prison routine devoid of compassion or space. Of clenching my jaw and then swallowing my hurt and disappointment as if it were bitter but necessary medicine to cure me from myself.

He discovered the trou and he left.

His leaving did not happen over night. The erosion began a long time ago. The walls around my trou were showing signs of age and I did not have the energy to repair them. He caught a glimpse and told me it was too much. I was a burden he could not carry anymore. How could he love me when I was so broken?

So he left and the walls crumbled to dust. No more illusions of being the good, supportive wife. No more pretending that I do not have a hole instead of a heart. No more walls, no more flesh, no more hiding. This is me.

I am so tired.

I might just sit a moment. Enjoy the view that opened up when the walls went down. A large plain stretches out to an old cabin on the horizon. It is vaguely familiar. If I’m quiet, I can hear the howling escaping the cracks of its clapboard sides.

She is still alive. Still screaming. My own tornado of rage. She would tear down the world to be heard, this creature I kept locked up in me for so long, this feral, closet girl. She will scream until I come and get her.

Parole

I took a trip inside my heart the other day, to the unknown places I had neglected for so long. There was a ruin of a house, a ramshackle, once beautiful thing in the midst of an overgrown garden.

First, I had to find the key. I got my hands dirty sifting through the mud around the door, through the overgrown weeds.

Luckily it is my own heart; if I take the time to look, the lost objects inside it will take the time to be found.

There it was, canopied under some rogue fireweed, a worm slithering across its rusted metal surface.

I grabbed it and wiped the dirt from its grooves.

A skeleton key.

Of course.

My heart has a sense of humour.

The house and the garden contracted with every beat. As I got closer, it beat louder and faster. My heart was nervous. Fluttering. I took a moment to stand still and let it flutter, coaxing it into calmness the way I do with my daughters when they are sick with flu or heartbreak.

I climbed up the stairs to the porch. The third stair was rotten through and required stepping over. At the door, I hesitated. Took a nervous breath and gathered my small courage.

This is it. I am doing this.

I fit the key into the lock. Even after all these years it turned easily. It’s like it wanted to be unlocked, like it was waiting for me.

I let the door swing open. The morning light shone through the dirty windows. It was only one large room, a rustic cabin that could be beautiful if I had tried.

If I try.

I squinted in the half darkness and searched the corners. There she was, exactly where I left her. The fierce, eight-year old me. Knees squeezed close to her chest, her dark, angry eyes staring at me. Her hair had grown long and her clothes ragged. She looked like she could use a sandwich.

I took a few steps towards her. She shrunk into herself.

I’m sorry, I said.

A heartbeat pause.

She opened her mouth and a scream cycloned out. It ripped the roof off the house and toppled the walls.

She will be screaming for a long time, I think.

That’s ok. It is a start.

I’ll wait with a cup of hot chocolate and a package of cookies. Keep on saying sorry until she stops.

 

 

 

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Notes from the Pandemic: There is only the present

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Photo credit: Sylvie Gordaneer

Time has expanded into an eternal present, engulfing the past and the future like a large two-way tsunami. I guess that’s how it always is, really, but mostly, when I’m bustling about going from work to more work to making dinner to worrying about bills/upcoming taxes/my disengaged daughter [insert frantic worry here] it seems like I’m always living in a waiting room of a possible future, a perpetual purgatory.

Paradoxically, I have also been living a lot in the past in these last few years, trying to forensically piece together the ruins of my marriage to determine what the hell went wrong and why I find myself here in this new life.

Essentially, I’ve been living on an existential teeter totter vacillating between past and future, rarely finding the balance to hover in the present.

Except for now, during this pandemic, where it feels like the teeter totter has been frozen in the middle, and it’s stable enough to stand up and walk around.

Here is what I discovered in this new territory of the present.

That given some space, I hardly think of J at all. That the anvil on my chest has gotten lighter without me knowing it, the anger less. I always noticed my pain and hurt got more pronounced the more stressed out I was —about making ends meet, about my daughters—mostly feeling panicked and disoriented because I did not sign up to do this alone, but with him. His absence is most notable when I am overwhelmed and scared.

But with a break from these stresses (I know they are still there, they have just been paused like everything else in the world) comes a break from feeling cratered. It has been nice—surreal— but nice to remember how it feels to be me again without the heaviness, like a pleasant dream where I’m playing myself.

I know these times are very hard for most people. Hell, if I let myself think about it, they are going to be very hard for me to get by without my supplementary incomes. But because there is nothing I can do about it right now, I just can’t get myself to worry about it. Instead, I find myself healing in a deeper sense than I have in the last five years, which has been all trauma and tragedy and work and survival. I feel like a wound that has finally been un-bandaged and finally allowed to breathe.

I haven’t been doing a lot of thinking, just a lot of being. I sleep eight hours a night (I think it has been more than twenty years since I have been able to accomplish that). I am not drinking very much—except for when my daughter makes me a delicious Aperol spritz! I am learning how to take a weekend day to sit and read and do nothing else. This is a big accomplishment, as I have not been able to concentrate on fiction very well in since J left. I am retraining my brain to be able to immerse in story again. It is wonderful.

The life I want to live, the one I make vision boards about, the image I have had in my mind that has kept me going through this half decade, looks a lot like this life (sans, the social distancing and people dying of course).  It is about working from home, about having the time and space to go for walks, read a book, write as much as I want, sit in the sun. It turns out it was a lot more in my reach than I thought it was. As we flatten the curve and begin to contemplate life returning to normal, I find myself wondering how I can sustain it. What can I cut out of my life? What is non-essential? How can I continue living in this strange, double-edged gift of a perpetual present?

Because I for one, don’t want to go back to the way it was.

 

 

 

 

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Silver Lining: Productive Isn’t Always What We Think It Is

Transcript

A whole lot of time and space have suddenly been dumped on my lap as if all my backorders for my entire life have been filled all at once and honestly, I don’t quite know what to do with it. No, that’s not quite right. It is not that I don’t know what to do with it. There are a million things I could be doing. I just don’t really feel like doing them.

Now, a few years ago, this would stress me out completely. If I didn’t know how I was going to be occupying every hour of every day, guilt for wasting precious time, for not being my most productive self would settle in and I would panic. If I was not doing something, then I was taking up space I had not earned.

But, oddly, during these times where life has been pared down significantly, I find myself perfectly content to sit here and just be.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still have a full-time job that takes up most of my days. What is different is that I no longer have freelance work, or Airbnb guests or, well, a social life that fills up the rest of the time.  This has freed up a lot of mental space that was hitherto cluttered with an endless to do list.

It took me writing this down to realize what the difference was—I am no longer living by my to do list. Apparently a constant litany of tasks to check off takes up a lot of mental energy. Taking it away is like turning off the radio or the television that’s been blaring in the background all day. At some point in the day I turned it on and was enjoying it, but then I got distracted and left it on. I’m not listening to it anymore, but the noise is still there. It’s only when I turn it off that I realize how much the white noise had been stressing me out.

Maybe productive doesn’t always look the way we think it looks.

At some point in the last five years, I’ve gotten over the intense fear of being alone with myself. I wrote about this a few years back, how my reading habits changed after what I like to call the J bomb. How I couldn’t read fiction anymore. How any book I did read had to be digested slowly for its ideas, written in the margins. Taken one little chunk at a time. This meant I was no longer burying my head in a book on the bus or waiting for a friend at a café (oh those distant days when one frequented pubs and cafes!). I was just sitting there. By myself. With only my thoughts to keep my company.

It turns out that constantly doing is not the only way to be productive.

Sitting alone with myself has brought along some pretty deep changes to the way I function in the world. In many ways, being lighter and more compassionate toward myself and then consequently to others has been the most productive thing I could have done, because I am no longer wasting so much of my mental space and energy on self-loathing on frantically always trying to earn the space I take up in the world.

So my silver lining this week is that I am content to do nothing. To not feel the acute pressure of always having to be productive. All I feel is the need to sit in the sun for a few minutes of the day, close my eyes, feel the warmth on my face and think and do nothing.

During these very stressful and anxious times, I hope you find some space to rediscover your own company, and, in the silence heal the parts of your relationship that may need some extra attention. You don’t have to do anything. All you have to do is find a patch of sunlight, close your eyes and soak up the warmth.

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#TBT: My 16 year old journal

To amuse during these very weird times, I offer you a glimpse into my 16-year old soul. And yes, it is as embarrassing as it sounds. You are welcome.

And to sweeten the pot, here is a visual to go with it…unnamed

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