Welcomed Alone Time

I don’t usually do well when I’m alone for extended periods. A lot of that can be contributed to my childhood and the fact that I never used to be comfortable being alone. I always used to feel like if I was alone, especially if I wasn’t doing anything, then I was somehow failing at life.

Lo and behold on this fine day, I find myself alone. My children had been sent off to their grandparents for the night and after a wonderful date-day with my husband, he had to work today.

That meant when I woke up, there was no one in the house but myself and the dog. In the past, that would have sent me into a panic. I would have aggressively done some chores or purged my closet or something else. I would have done everything in my power to keep myself busy. I sort of did that today, but at the same time I went at my own pace and took my time.

I lazily got up, wrote a book review that was due, puttered around my house. I collected the laundry, threw on some clothes and pulled my hair up, and went to the mall.

Sometimes I really like shopping by myself. I can dither wherever I want, go to whatever store I want and take as much, or as little, time as I want. Today I did that. I went to the mall I like (because it’s not usually as busy and it’s clean and bright) and I went into stores I don’t normally go into. In the first store I bought my kids so many things! Mostly t-shirts with fun pictures. I really like getting them things like that so it can help show their personalities. I ended up wandering and buying enough to make my arms and back hurt from carrying the bags! That makes me laugh a lot as I usually talk myself out of buying, especially for myself. I grabbed my favourite Starbucks and came home.

It’s a bit harder to relax at home. I’ve already got a load of laundry going with what feels like a million more waiting. I’m sitting here, writing this, and trying to think of other things to do. I might have a bath, give myself some much needed TLC for my skin. I might also just sit on the couch and binge my latest drama.

The thing is, I can do whatever I want. It’s weird to have that kind of freedom because I have spent so much time struggling to survive.

But I don’t have to survive today. I can live.

I don’t have to worry about not accomplishing something or that someone is going to be mad at me when they get home. I don’t have to worry about ensuring that someone else is fed, happy and comfortable.

I can tune out the world outside my home. I can ignore the malicious comments that needle their way onto my blog. I can dismiss the troubled times my country is going through. I can focus on myself and my needs. I can blast Journey and Rick Astley with a little bit of Korean and Japanese pop/rock music as loud as I want and sing as loud (and probably badly) as I want.

Today is about me. It’s about enjoying my peace and enjoying myself.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there is a rum and coke calling my name along with a piping hot bath.

Take care of yourself, friends, whenever you can.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Unlearning All I Know

There were a lot of things I learned in my youth that I have spent what feels like a lifetime unlearning.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry and show emotion.

I’ve learned that it’s not okay to be terrified of my family.

I’ve learned that I am not stupid, or an idiot, or useless.

I’ve learned that asking for help doesn’t make me weak.

 

Growing up was hard. There were a variety of reasons, but it was mostly due to poor living conditions. I was only able to make it due to the support I received from my extended family. Honestly, if I had not been as close to them as I was I don’t believe I would be here writing this today. Life at home was that stressful, that terrifying, that painful.

Mistakes were made; however I need to remind myself sometimes that I was a child. That it would have been impossible for me to know better. That I am learning what is right, how to parent lovingly and how to forgive myself for not having all the answers when I was far to young to realize that there was a big world out there.

As I grow and experience the universe and all it has to offer I learn even more.

I’ve learned that just because you are related to someone by blood, regardless of your relationship with them, doesn’t mean that they are automatically right. It doesn’t mean that they automatically know best, that their versions of history are fact, or that you have to love them. It’s been such a forced mindset; obeying everything people say just because they are related to me. I don’t have to be in contact with people who constantly put me down, disparage my existence or throw horrible information at me just because they feel entitled to do that.

As a grown up, I am in charge of protecting myself now, and that means protecting all of me from whoever would see to do me harm. I’m honestly too tired, too apathetic to try and please people any more. I shouldn’t have to fight so hard against people who you would think would love me (because apparently that’s what family does) just to have my voice heard.

And as much as I am entitled to that, so are they. If they choose to remember history as it benefits them, they can do that. If they need to paint me with dirty water and unclean, fabricated memories just so they can feel better about themselves, I will let them. I know in my heart what my life was like. I lived it after all.

It’s time now, I think, to let go. To look forward to the life I am creating with my chosen clan. To forgive myself for not knowing how to protect my younger self. While some habits are harder to unlearn than others, all I can do is my best.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

The Legend Rests

At the beginning of April, my grandfather passed from this world to the next.

I wrote about him in 2018, but nothing I could ever say would do him justice.

He was a force. A strong presence in my life. He showed me what a male role model should be. He, and my grandmother who passed twelve years before him, were the two constants in my life.

I might move, I might be lost, but I always knew where to find them.

He did so much for me and there is no way I could ever give all the gifts he shared with me justice.

Things that I didn’t understand as a child that can only be brought to life as I age and review those memories with more information and deeper understanding.

He and my grandmother gave me a place to live when I had no where else to go.  He was a refuge in the storm of my life. They both were.

Due to COVID, I could not attend the funeral. I was able to watch it streamed online through Facebook.

In all honesty it is probably a good thing I did not attend. It was clear that my presence would not have been welcomed. I could feel the distain for my existence in the obituary, in the comments made, in the statements that listed all of my grandfather’s grandchildren except for me.

There is only one grandchild I would consider to have been closer to my grandfather than I was.

And that child blatantly removed all traces of my existence.

But this isn’t about me. It’s not about the hurt I feel, the aching hole in my heart that his absence leaves, nor the fact that I wish so desperately for the times that I could do over again.

This is about my grandfather.

The man who would tell us that he walked to school every day, uphill both ways, in his father’s pajamas with snow up to his knees. Never mind the fact that he went to boarding school in India.

The man who would always know when we were about to touch the controller and change the channel from golf. He was always ‘just resting his eyes’.

The man who I sang with in Church at Christmas and who got me my one and only wedding singer job.

The man who arranged for me to attend karate lessons at his club a good thirty minutes away when I was no longer able to attend my local one. And he would take me and drive in the poor weather. Every time.

The man who would bellow for my grandmother to make him some tea while she worked in their shared home office in the basement.

The man who always tended to his garden, glued the legs back on that godforsaken donkey lawn ornament more times than I can count.

The man who enjoyed feeding birds and maintaining his lawn.

I was lucky enough not to watch him get sick and deteriorate. I didn’t have to watch him fade from the strong man as he exists in my mind, and for that I am grateful.

But he rests now.

The Legend rests.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Uncomfortably In The Middle

Everyone knows the phrase that there is always someone better at something than you are.

I knew that phrase. I had it ingrained in my body and mind for a long time.

Somehow, at some point, I forgot it also applied to me.

I was horribly humiliated with my pride being crushed by those who were better at certain things than I was, and those people were younger than me.

I had held on to these miniscule items and used them to define my identity.

“She’s very good at [THING]

“She knows a lot about [OTHER THING]

It’s not the end of the world, finding out that you aren’t the best at [THING].

The crushed pride was always internal. I didn’t let on that I had been decimated in such a fashion.

Because really, it was my own doing.

But being destroyed like that caused me to stop.

To pause.

To think.

What the hell am I actually good at? What do I want to be good at? What do I want to be known for? What do I want to enjoy?

You see, I had already grown tired of being known for proficiency for certain [THINGS].

Mostly because I knew, instinctually, that I was not very good at them. Not in the disciplined, studied-very-hard way that these younger people were.

So when I failed to display the knowledge they thought I had because I had proclaimed to be good at [THING].

I don’t know all the parts of a sentence and I cannot grammatically identify my way out of a fourth-grader’s ELA assignment.

I did not take a single grammar for morons class in University. I only got a 3 year BA in English because I had no idea what to do with my life.

I don’t give a shit that it’s not grammatically correct to tell someone to ‘drive safe’ when the weather is bad.

I don’t know what secret information an author is trying to portray when they make the streetlight pink and that the bulbs flicker to the beat of the Macarena. I don’t think about that shit when I read, and I certainly don’t think about that when I write.

I do, however, have immense respect for those who can figure that shit out and actively write in a way that that shit can be figured out.

I have a degree in Bull Shit and an overactive imagination.

Which is all I need.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Hello….?

I’ve been a very bad blogger.

 

I haven’t touched this thing in almost three years!!! That’s such a long time. Most people have probably forgotten me. Hell, even I’ve forgotten some of me.

 

I have much to update on what’s happened, but for now I will tell you this:

I WROTE AND PASSED A 6 HOUR EXAM!

 

Praise my greatness.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Climbing Up

Today is Father’s Day.

My father has become a kind and caring man. I don’t doubt that. We may not speak anymore, but that is by my choice. He became the father of another family. Even though it hurts, I wish him happiness. Even though we’ll never have the relationship I wished we had, I hope his children love him.

I have been fortunate to build my own family over the last 10 years. My husband is wonderful, my kids are a damn handful but they’re great kids. I’ve got a fantastic best friend/sister and an adorable ‘wife’.

My life doesn’t fit prescribed Hallmark holidays. That used to really upset me. It would hurt watching others celebrate these days with their families. Even in the beginning with my created family it sometimes hurt to see. The family that raised me is so broken. I’ve been told I am dead to them. I have been discarded so many times you’d think it wouldn’t hurt anymore.

Of course, not all of my family thinks that way and I stay in touch with those who treat me with kindness.

After this week off on stress leave, I’ve come to realize some things that are actually pretty common sense:

  • You can’t make people love you.
  • You shouldn’t waste energy wishing that things in the past happened differently.
  • When you change, even when it’s for the better, there will always be someone in your past who doesn’t like it.
  • Leave those people behind.

It’s been ten years since I hit rock bottom. It’s been a brutal climb, but I’m halfway up. I’ve been pulled back a few times by the slimy hands of my past. I’ve been taunted and berated.

But I’ll continue to climb. I will live my life for me. After all, no one else can live it for me.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Waking Up

It’s like I’ve been sleeping. Not necessarily dreaming, but sleeping. Lost in a that void of darkness that is warm and comforting.

Ten years ago in June 2008 I tried to die by suicide. Ten years ago I wanted to disappear into the never-ending blackness and never return. Looking back, it is no surprise why I got to that point. I’ve talked about it before in previous  posts.

Looking back on my road to recovery I realize I’m not exactly where I want to be. Not yet. These last ten months of my husband being gone for work have stressed my mind to limits I didn’t want to reach again. While I may tout myself as being strong and unbreakable, I do crumble just as much as other people. There are things I know I need to implement to continue to have a healthy mind. I haven’t implemented them and I blame work, no time, stress, life. These are excuses and I recognize them for that.

As I address my recovery, I need to go back. I need to unload how I got to that point ten years ago.

I didn’t have an easy childhood. While it wasn’t as bad as it has been for many others in the world, it was bad enough for me. I’ve had thoughts of suicide since I was eleven years old. These thoughts didn’t progress to the how I would die by suicide until I was thirteen. Before that, I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted the constant pain I felt to just stop. When you’re a child,  you don’t understand what these thoughts mean. I am an adult now, so I understand. I know now.

I tried cutting my arms to see how much it would hurt with the pocket knife my father gave me when I was thirteen. I did it again with a box cutter when I was twenty-four. I have a tattoo over the scars now.

When I was fourteen, I started pulling out my hair. On my head, on my legs, my underarms. I would pluck that hair over and over. I had bald spots in my late teens on the back of my head and would wear my hair in a ponytail or under a bandanna to hide it. I don’t know if I did it because it allowed me to feel some sense of control over the life that I felt was rapidly spiraling out of control. I don’t know if I did it because it provided some sort of relief or if I enjoyed the slight sting that would accompany plucking out a hair, but I did it.

Even now, when I’m distracted and playing with my hair, I might pluck a hair or two. It’s not nearly as bad as it was before, but I have moments of almost-baldness in spots.

In my youth, and even now, I wear the mask. The mask of ‘everything’s fine’. There’s nothing wrong. I can handle this. I can do it. I don’t need help. I used to be really bad at asking for help. There are times when I won’t ask for help because the people I’ve asked have made it seem like an inconvenience to them. I’ve encountered this a lot while living in this town for the last five years. Some people are quick to offer, but when they are asked, it’s clear that they don’t want to. I don’t want people to help me because they feel obligated. So I don’t ask.

In two weeks I will leave this town. My family will once again be a complete unit living under one roof. I will have a new home to paint and decorate. I will have an office to set up as I prepare to work from home. I have so many things to look forward to.

I am only leaving behind two friends. I am finally okay with that.

The stress of everything that I’ve had to deal with on my own over the last ten months has finally hit a breaking point. I am writing this post from a coffee shop. I am on stress leave. There have been a host of things from work struggles to family struggles to depression lying to me that culminated in this leave. I am grateful that I have the means to take this leave.

The recent celebrity suicides have reminded me of my own darkness. They have reminded me that it’s been ten years since my attempt. It’s not like you ever really forget. It’s not the last time I had thoughts of suicide either. Just because I think about it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. My supports have been lacking, but that is on me. I am using this week of stress leave to redefine what I need to be healthy so that I can put those needs into practice. I am cultivating a plan so that I can be the best me that I can.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments
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