Friday, July 29, 2011

Be Afraid be very afraid...

Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning scares us. We have some trepidation about what we are going to be facing...a meeting with a client to close a deal, talking to the boss about a promotion or a raise. For me, it is simpler things. Do I look okay today? And lately I worry if I even have the strength to face the day at all.

As much as I used to love my job, going to work often roused feelings of dread and fear. What lie was going to be told about me? What bomb was going to be dropped on me? What atrocity was going to be attributed to me? It's not happened. Time and time again. I fought none of it. I had faith in God that they would see the error of their ways and that Karma being the bitch she is would serve them up their just desserts. Revenge was not my style. If I left them alone, maybe they would respond in kind. Ha! Not...Epic fail! I was called a bitch and a bully because I was aloof and scared to talk to people. Looking at the ground as you passed meant that you were plotting and scheming. Oh the lies people can weave if only given the chance and warped mind. But that is how those good "Catholic" teachers and administrators operate at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. Do you have kids in the system? When they tell you they are being bullied...don't just look at their classmates. From my experience there is a good chance that the culprit is taller/older and responsible for the well being of your children. There is a lot of bias and if your kid is not liked, they are treated differently - yes, I mean bullied by school staff. I know...I was!

But lately it is not work that has me afraid. It is the thought of work. Of going back there into the line of fire, going back to be hurt again.

There is a good fear though. It's a fear that keeps us alive and vibrant. For some it is a roller coaster for another it may be the EdgeWalk. It keeps our heart pumping and sometimes a smirk on our face that no-one understands. It is that fear that I am embracing today. That fear that I conquered and feel more alive today because I chose to take the plunge. With thanks and gratitude to the one who had the notion and was there to support me, who reached out their hand to guide me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fake It til you Make It

It's funny where hope comes from. It's the little things. Deep down in the rational part of my thoughts I know that I am a survivor and it will take a lot to take me out. But the scary part is that the one thing you always here about suicide victims (and yes I believe they are victims) and that is that their actions were a cry for help. Well, for me who doesn't know how to ask for help, who has learned not to expect help, who is afraid to ask for help for fear of rejection...I understand the drastic measures that leads someone to cry out in such a dramatic fashion. The difference being that from the depths of despair - I had someone come into the dark place where I was hiding and helped me to see the light. People did what they could based on circumstance, distance and ability. Some helped me to stand, some offered comfort, some offered support, some put on the gloves and took up the fight on my behalf. I thank you all. But I can't get too hopeful, because if I do and get knocked down again...I don't think I will ever be able to get up again. It is getting hard to find that hope within myself that lets me see...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

With a little help and understanding

Til I Am Myself Again by Blue Rodeo

Today is a better day...and I am at home :) That means a lot! I am not myself yet, but I do see a little glimmer at the end of the tunnel. Okay, maybe just a flicker but it is something. Someone wants to come in my corner and help me fight the demons. I didn't ask...they offered. I don't know how to express how that makes me feel. It is so overwhelming to me for people to do that. I'm old (not that old) and I just have no frame of reference for that doesn't happen to me very often. The kindness of humanity....Thank you.

Bottom line is, I can't fight this alone. I just don't have it in me. I know that what is happening is wrong and should be fixed/corrected. If I could hate, yell, get angry, stand up for myself...well, for starters I probably wouldn't have allowed the bullying that occurred at work to even happen...and then I wouldn't be fighting the demons that they (DPCDSB) threw my way. But I don't do any of those things. I curl up, hide behind my wall and cry...

I've been told time and again that I am overly-sensitive. But does that have to be a bad thing? Do I have to be like everyone else, in order to be accepted? Maybe if I didn't feel attacked I wouldn't be sensitive about what you say to me? A page from the Book of Wisdom by Livia Sdraulig (my mom! <3) "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

One shout out to someone with the uncanny ability of helping me to see that I am a good person and worth it...

I'm the happy person and I liked me. I really did! And someday I will be Myself Again.
Hope you enjoyed the song while you were reading. Blue Rodeo is my favourite group!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Butterflies are free...

Butterflies are magnificent creatures. So beautiful and mystical fluttering about. We eagerly and without thought swat to kill houseflies and mosquitoes. We run in fear of snakes, spiders and other crawly things. We even seek out the best way to destroy the lowly ant...before they make their way into our homes. But not so the butterfly. I can't think of one person who would re-coil at the sight...oh no, in actuality we will stick out our finger and hope it lands on us! We plant flowers and shrubs in our gardens that will attract these creatures to our homes. But why? Only one reason I can think of...they are beautiful to look at.

Much like a butterfly, I cocoon myself to protect myself. But that is where the similarities end. I don't have beautiful wings that people want to admire and be around. I think I am more like a moth - eww...splat...get the moth balls to repeal the hideous things. But in my cocoon (my house, my sanctuary) I am safe. No-one can hurt me - except if they phone and yes I am afraid to answer it. To go out I have to do it alone. And I am out there vulnerable. Vulnerable to their stares, chuckles, judgments and lies. No-one is there to support me, to tell me I am okay, to believe me. And I know that I am going to be told that I have to go out, I have to reach out beyond my comfort zone to heal and become whole again. But do you get how hard it is? No matter how much I paint my wings, I'll always be the moth that no one likes, that is not good enough.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Easy Street is Full of Potholes

If, as Tom Cochrane states, "Life is a Highway", then mine is full of potholes, detours and roadblocks. Anything to ensure a smooth journey. It's a lonely road and it never ends, because I have nowhere to go and no one is expecting me.

I putter along, struggling just to stay on the road as the majority of society whizzes by in their sleek Jags and Beemers with perfect chassis' and smoothly running engines. They are beautiful...perfect. I gotta say, I'm a bit jealous, for just a while I would like to cruise down the highway without having to fight to stay on the road, without being pushed aside by the wind they create in passing. But it's not to be. My car has no "oomph" left in its tired old body, the tires are bald, the upholstery has rips and bulges where they never used to be, the paint job is a mottled mix of colours that are beyond description and the windshield...well, you can't even see out of it anymore. Every day looks muggy.

Broken down, I stand at the side of the road. No one to help me, I lift the hood as an invitation to the passers-by. But although they slow to look, they keep on going - laughing at the sight of me. They don't have a care in the world and they are not alone. They have somewhere to go and someone who wants them. I stand alone and watch them go with a tear or two running down my face that no one can see. I don't move to avoid the rocks and garbage that they are throwing at me as they pass. Maybe, somehow, I deserve it. They are many and I am but one...with no one in my corner and I can't fight anymore...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm soooo tired...

It's been three days of very hot and humid weather here and I chose these day to cut down trees. Well, not so much trees as over-grown hedges...but they were taller than the house and there were 17 of them. I bought an electric chainsaw and I felled them on my own, I had never used a chainsaw before and was pretty proud of myself that all but one landed where I wanted. That's not too shabby :) In any case, the other  two days have been spent getting rid of the debris. I put in 12+ hour days but I did have some help in the evenings and that was very much appreciated (thanks to LS and NS).  But believe it or not that is not why I am so tired.

I am emotionally exhausted and drained and don't feel like I can take anymore. You know those people who go through life and you would swear everything is handed to them on a silver platter and they want for nothing and never seem to have to struggle? I'm not one of them :( I'm just not sure how much more I can be expected to take or for that matter how much more I can take before I snap...again. It's work. :(

I can't even think of work anymore without my stomach tying up and knots and tears putting pressure on my eyes while I struggle to stop the flooding. I used to love my job and damn it I was good at it. Up until December 2010 and for 9 1/2 years I was an Educational Resource Worker (ERW) for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. For 8 1/2 years on and off I put up with, accepted and tolerated abuse and bullying from all higher levels of board employees. In the hierarchy of the corporate ladder, ERW's are on the bottom. But as per usual with low level employees, the house of cards would come tumbling down without our support. Not many people can wake up in the morning and be glad to be going to work because they love their job and the kids they work with. But I could and I did. I put up with all the lies, all the bullshit because i cared so much for those kids. The underdogs of society and the ones who needed someone in their corner, someone to care and help and encourage them. Especially when I saw them mistreated by the very ones who were supposed to have their best interest at heart. Not always teachers but administration would routinely use students for their own gains and power trips. I can name names and dates, I have it all documented. The board knows it and they aren't happy with me. Just another excuse to persecute and get rid of me. And they did that.
The beginning of the end came in December of last year when I learned that I was being transferred from a school and kids I loved to an elementary school where I had my first stress-related leave due to bullying. Father CW Sullivan. My only condition on return to work was that I not return there. So the board in their infinite wisdom (Maybe it was intentional) sent me back there. 
For me, there was no question - I couldn't face going back there. I did my research and I learned that the principal was no longer there but the building is a place of pain for me. A torture chamber comes to mind, :( I had probably the worst Christmas of my life this past year - and I've had cause to have a lot of rotten ones. I didn't put up a tree, not one decoration. I hated the thought of shopping and always returned depressed. I just couldn't care less. New Years Eve was no better. I got drunk and cried alone. I didn't want to be with people. I didn't understand then but the process was downfall.
January is a blur. I didn't go to work and did spend some time looking for other jobs...the only thing that was clear at the time was that I couldn't go back and wait for the next bomb to drop the next pack of lies to be hurled my way, the next round of personal attacks on my character. I quit doing some significant things that I didn't recognize at the time, like cleaning my house, my house plants all died, I never picked up a book or magazine to read, my Suduko book lay unopened. The one thing that I began to do in earnest and that consumed most of my waking moments was diet and exercise. I worked out at home intently for 2-3 hours a day. I did  WiiFit and the treadmill. I was on the scale 3-4 times a day. I lost not even an ounce. I looked at my diet and eliminated all carbs figuring that was the culprit. When that too failed I wrote down everyting I ate for a one week period and brought it to the doctor. All I heard him say was "calories in = calories out". So I went home and put a calorie count to my list. It averaged out to 700 a day. So, I upped the intensity of my workouts and dropped down to 300 calories a day. No, I wasn't can eat a lot of salad and vegetables and not consume many calories. Of course, that is all I ate with the exception of my morning 35 calorie yogurt. The only thing that happened was that my muscles screamed at me and made moving difficult and I developed tennis elbow.  Not one pound left my body. By this time I was lethargic, had quit looking for another job, I found the simplist of tasks over-whelming and I cried constantly. I would sit for hours and do nothing but cry, day after day. No-one knew the pain I was feeling. I wanted to quit it all, check out. When I started thinking of how...I knew I needed help. A week later I had an appointment with a therapist and a nutritionist.
Now 6 months later, I can see that something else was going on. I was trying to change me because the way I liked me. Especially the one place that I needed it the See, if I believed that I was "okay" but they didn't agree...maybe it was me and not them and I couldn't live with that. Everything I believed about mself would be wrong. And today...word came down from the pipes that it is me and I don't know whhat to do about that but it hurts...A LOT! :(

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Popeye is strong...pass the Spinach

You can't imagine how tired I am of people telling me I am strong. True I have survived a lot in my life...but that doesn't necessarily make a person strong. I would argue that in fact it made me weak. I am afraid to let people get close to me because they will leave and I will be hurt again. People walk all over me and I don't speak up and stand up and speak for myself. Not personal attacks at least by people I know and this includes family, co-workers and bosses. I have no problem speaking my mind to strangers in a store as a consumer. Many of the students I have worked with over the years have told me that I am their best advocate and give them strength to speak up for themselves. But I get walked all over -the proverbial door mat. So explain to me how that makes me strong?

People look at incidents in my life to bolster their argument of my alleged strength, I'll offer an alternative explanation. Yes, it is true that I survived a lot of tragedy in the form of horrific deaths in the family, but from what I can ascertain the alternative was suicide. Additionally, from the age of 8 and 9 I raised my kids on my own with no financial or family support - what was the alternative? Turn them over to social services? These are not examples of strength but rather survival and stubborness...too stubborn to die too stubborn to give in.

This weekend I bought a chain saw. It is electric so that hopefully it is a little lighter and easier to use...because I am going to be the operator! I don't really want to, but I don't have a choice if I want the job done. I have asked I have hinted. Think about it in your own life...immediate family is there for you...others...well, sometimes.

So please, don't ever call me strong. Because I really am not...just put some bugs around me and watch what happens to me lol!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My trip to Australia

Canberra, Australia is an interesting place. From a birds' eye view it looks a bit like a wheel with the Parliament Buildings in the hub and all roads projecting outward like spokes. Although it is located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, it is a fair distance from the Tasman Sea and the wild blue yonder.
It was a gloriously hot sunny day when I was there. The sky was a magnificent shade of blue with only the thinnest wisps of clouds to be seen. I came to the house of my friend Chara and we decided to venture to the water to take in the sights and enjoy the weather. I left everything I had and brought only a ratty green comforter to lay on. The waves smashing up against the rocks at the waters edge sprayed the crowds gathered and had the youngest of children screaming and calling for more! I have to admit that I found it very refreshing. But the churning rough waters had me nervous and I begged off actually going in. I parked myself on a jagged rock projecting out of the surface of the water, wrapped myself in the comforter so that only my face felt the coolness of the spray. I watched Chara and her other friends frolicking in the water until her screams pierced the air. I reached down and grabbed her limp body and with her friends we hoisted her onto the rock so she could catch her breath.
This girl lived for danger. Moments later she dove right back in. I could take no more of the stress. I wandered off and became immersed in a tourist display that spoke of the history of the land and its' people. I lost track of time and hadn't realized how far I had strayed until I turned to look behind me and all I saw in the distance was the rock breakwall and not a soul at the beach. I became aware of giggles and squeals coming from the west and headed that way - hoping to find Chara and wondering why she left without me.
RV stuffing. What a strange sight! I had never seen anything like it. I'll bet you can fit hundreds of people in one of those. I stood on the side lines and watched until every last person seemed to come out. Panic set in. Chara wasn't to be seen. I was in a strange land with no money, no ID, no idea where Chara even lived. What now?
So tired from the stress, excitement and fresh air; I fell down on the long grass with the last thought running through my mind being "I hope I turned the comforter around so I don't blend in with the colour of the grass and get mowed over"
And then I woke up... :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Speak up Sonny! :)

Well, as most of you know my son recently graduated from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am not a fan of air travel - but that can b explored in more depth at a later time. Anyways, in the interest of time, I flew on Porter Airlines from the Toronto Island Airport. Porter was great...they offer free alcoholic beverages :) A great thing for a nervous flyer on a small propeller plane. As normal, my ears popped and doing an extra stop in Montreal did not help the pressure in my ears. Then to make matters worse, we were maybe 50 feet from the ground at the Island Airport on the return home and the pilot changed his mind and took off again - did a circle and then landed the second time.

All fine and well for your average person...but I am so far from average lol! 5 days later I have a doctors appointment and I mention to him that my ears are still popping and I am having periods of deafness. We try Sudafed and Dristan thinking it might be simply sinus related. But the time I saw him again (less than a week) I was approximately 75% deaf with no relief. We started the first of 3 courses of antibiotics which didn't touch the fluid build-up in my ears but in fact my hearing got worse within the first 20 days of taking those "horse" pills. In all I was at least 2 weeks with a 95% hearing loss. It is still not 100% as I experience pressure, popping and itchy-ness still.

But today I saw the Ear Specialist. This is normal he says. Great...I'll never fly again! lol! Well, he clarifies, it may not happen next might. I could have had the doctor request an emergency appointment and he could have drained my ears and provided some relief quicker with less drugs. And the hearing test he performed indicated that the hearing in my left ear is worse than my right, but nothing to be concerned about. Whew!

However, should the symptoms persist...I should consider tubes! I am pushing 50 years of age and I am prescribed a procedure associated with! Will I be admitted to the pediatrics ward? :s

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So, this is where you will find my website. The site came first and the blog was secondary since I have things to say. I've written diaries almost all my life and this seems to be a natural extension of that process.
I need to figure out how to combine these two formats into one easy to find and access method. I would certainly like the option of people having a way to comment on my what they see on the site, since that has been one of the most frequent requests I have had so far. 

btw, although I can now be Yahoo!-ed, I cannot be Googled.  So you will need to type the website address directly into the address bar to be directed to the site. Enjoy! :)

The Weather

July 11, 2011

 So, it is hot out! It is supposed to's mid-summer. Isn't this heat what we have been waiting for all winter long. It has always been a pet peeve with me that people never seem to be satisfied with what they have. 

Some people spend all winter long complaining about the cold and how they wish it was warmer. Then summer hits and they complain that it is too hot. I think that the worst offenders of this are...the Meteorologists that report the weather. And the sheep just follow along :p

If you try to look at the brighter side - winter is an awesome time of year. What is more fun than cuddling by the fire? Or cuddling period. No body is too anxious for that in the heat and humidity of the summer. It is a lot easier to warm up than it is to cool down. Snow ball fights. Cool crisp air. No bugs, fewer allergies, smell of comfort foods cooking. Lazy Sunday mornings lounging in bed, the sun reflecting off the freshly fallen snow. The beauty of the big fluffy snowflakes falling.

Summer...the heat, the beach, camping, bbq's, the fashion and the flip flops. Lounging by the pool. A cold beer on an outdoor patio. The festivals and attractions. What's not to love?