Easter weekend 2014 (and checking in)

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my space here. And I miss it. I miss it very much.

Time is difficult to find these days – or I should say, making time is difficult these days. I’m up at 5:15am to workout, off to work long and sometimes very intensely busy days (more days than not), back home for the after work/after school daily grind and then, hoping, to be in bed by 10pm. Though most nights, I could easily fall asleep at 9pm.

But how am I, one might wonder?

I’m doing fine. I wouldn’t say I’m filled with constant happiness. But I do check in with myself once in awhile. I’m actually not use to be going on for this long without suicidal thoughts and sometimes wonder if all those dark days of are of the past.

Are they? Or are they just lying dormant? It’s difficult to say. I suppose, I’m being cautiously optimistic. I’m partly being hopeful that the worst is all behind me. But realistic that I’m not cured, by any sense – just that I’m able to, perhaps, manage all this.

A part of me wishes that I could steer onwards with a heart full of hope and charity. Another part of me realizes this is not completely realistic. Not to say that I am without hope or faith – I do continue to strive for a full heart. But sometimes, a certain level of being guarded is part of survival of this world we live in.

It’s knowing who to trust and who needs more time to be trusted (rather than jumping to the conclusion of who not to trust). The latter usually requires much more space and distance – at least at the beginning of whatever relationship I may or may not have with that person.

Anyway, we had a beautiful but busy long Easter weekend, full of egg colouring, food prepping and dinner hosting, seeing Captain America – The Winter Soldier, an egg hunt, a bike ride and walk under the sun, pub wings and some organizing/cleaning in between everything.

leg of lamb with prosciutto

image courtesy of taste.com.au

Our traditional Easter dinner menu for my family:

  1. Spinach, Egg and Bacon Salad
  2. Smoked Trout
  3. Roasted Lamb with Sage and Prosciutto
  4. Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  5. Roasted Asparagus
  6. Applesauce Cake*
    • Modified ingredients:
      • 1/2 cup coconut flour
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        3 teaspoons cinnamon
        1/2 teaspoon ginger
        1/2 cup reduced-calorie margarine
        2 whole eggs
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
        1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

* The dessert was modified (and I’m still working on perfecting the modifications) to make it diabetic friendly. The original recipe asked for 1/4 molasses (pure sugar) and 1 cup Splenda. I normally reduce the sugar by 1/2 or 2/3rds anyway. As I’m not big on the artifical sweet taste, I’m working on reducing the Splenda but will also look into natural agave to substitute the sweetness. The unsweetened applesauce already has enough natural sweetness to it, though. And coconut flour, which has a higher absorbancy over regular flour, is much lower on the carb count and glycemic index. It’s nutritional value is higher as well.The above recipe is gluten-free – just make sure the baking powder and soda have no additives that would be problematic for those who have certain food intolerance.

hatha yoga welcomes my weekend

hatha yoga welcomes my weekend

“she is very good, the instructor. and the practice is not just good, but enlightening. i am so use to doing a more vigorous vinyasa flow which combines many power yoga moves, if not all power yoga for the entire practice.

yet, even during her class, which is slower in pace, somewhat on the more gentle side as we hold each pose for longer than the quicker pace of vinyasa flow, it is still challenging in a different way. by the time we warm up to take on some of the longer held poses, sweat is definitely accumulating around my brow and i can feel my muscles working significantly…” continue reading.

artificial nocturne

I’m just as fucked up as they say
I can’t fake the daytime
Found an entrance to escape into the dark
Got false lights for the sun
It’s an artificial nocturne
It’s an outsider’s escape for a broken heart

the past.

my memory takes me back to when i was about chaeli’s age – 10 or 11. there i was sitting in the kitchen of our old house. my father, standing there beside me – hovering over me.

math. it stared back at me. numbers. something that always confused me.

he was talking impatiently, asking me to solve the problem. but i couldn’t. i barely could see the problem from the notebook anymore. and as i sat there, sweating and staring in silence, his voice started to get louder… and more anxious.

fear started to creep in as i desparately stared harder and harder – hoping, praying the answer would come to me.

there was a long period of silence before a thud was heard.

i don’t know if that thud came from his hand hitting my behind, or when i landed on the kitchen tiles after flying off my chair and under the kitchen table.

the pain of the impact his hand made on me was very real and very scary. but i was in so much more pain from not being able to please him. not being able to solve that math problem.

why couldn’t i solve it? was it true? was i stupid like he’s told me i was before?

why couldn’t i have just solved it?

the present

we’re sitting at my aunt’s and uncle’s place after dinner.

my uncle has diabetes type 2. just like me though he’s had his for 25 years. but he’s managing it. and i go to him, and my aunt as she’s been a big part of helping him manage it, for not just advice and knowledge…. but mainly for support.

and for empathy.

empathy has become a theme in my therapy sessions. i have learned that my childhood lacked empathy. and as a result, i give myself very little empathy – and through that, i have a lot of guilt. mostly from things i had no control over. it is this pain from this inner turmoil – this guilt – which has caused anxiety over every decision that i make, not just in the present, but struggle of past decisions and fear of making wrong decisions of the future. everything i do, i fear if it’s the best way.

the best way – my mother always made me see what was the best way. if some one hurt me at school, i was told which was the best way to have avoided being in that situation. if i planned to take the public transit downtown, i was instructed to the best way. on my best friend’s wedding day, when i was maid of honour (which was with such great honour, i might add, as it was one of the best days of my life), i was told my hair was not the best way for the day. the list goes on.

my father – he never told me what the best way was. he just expected me to know and i suffered his wrath if i simply did not know.

basically, a lot of people/parents will give a statement of empathy such as, i’m sorry you are going through such pain, BUT…

the ‘but’ usually negates the empathy. and that’s okay to some extent. we care and love our family and friends so much that we want to fix their problem, forgetting that the first reason they came to us was not for a fix, but simply for empathy. as humans, we’ve probably all made this mistake.

the issue with me, however, was that it was rare, in the past mostly and sometimes in the present, where i even recieved that first startement of empathy. and so, a lot of what i came home with, my problems, my struggles, was made apparent that i was responsible for everything. not accountable in some way, shape or form, but completely responsible. even if it was not my doing, somehow, i could have prevented it.

and so, i sat there at the dining table expressing my concern over my glucose levels as for the past 2 weeks, there were very high spikes i could not account for (nothing changed in my diet or exercise – yet, my levels would got up sometimes as high as 3 units after a similar lunch i had 2 weeks before with very normal readings afterwards).

i was very upset, i mentioned. and frustrated.

my dad then interjected and told me, “yeah, but, you have to take control of your sress and not obsess over this.” it wasn’t what he said. it was how he said it – a manner that expressed, this is your own-doing. there was frustration in his voice – and while i understand now that it’s his own anxiety and worry over my health, that he has no time for empathy and just wants to fix my problem for me, i was just so angry at him for not being more sensitive.

and so i responded, “yes, well, easier said than done.” in other words, okay… thanks for the piece of unwanted advice. perhaps you would like to tell me HOW to do this since you seem to have all the answers?

he was not happy with my one liner. and started to raise his voice, arguing with me that he KNOWS it’s not easy, etc. i ignored him then and returned to my conversation with my uncle who was, at least, giving me the reassurance and support i was searching for.

all the time, i thought to myself, if i wasn’t so depressed, i would be laughing. here is a person telling me to take control of my stress and yet he’s arguing with me and stressing me out even more. how is this helping, i wonder?

the summary

the above is simply an exercise of my thoughts from this past week, which links to what i posted yesterday.

i understand it is up to me to tell my parents how i require the support yet at this point, i’m not sure i’m ready to try this step as it would be a very big step. anyone who knows my parents, would understand how big it is.

the issue is that i could tell them but they would either argue back and say that they’ve always been supportive of me. or that they simply would refuse to reflect on their own path of self-improvement due to what i had already mentioned in my previous post, their lack of self-awareness.

the above video and song by metric, is a song that is close to my heart at this moment. i do not know exactly what the intentions were behind the meaning of this song, but it seems to mirror how i feel these days.

the trick with therapy

my last therapy session was good – very good. we did a lot of digging. so much was uncovered that i added another session between this last one and the next one which i had planned for early may.

i figured, before the session, that i would be ready to go every couple of months as planned. but as soon as i got home, i emailed the lovely, friendly receptionist (they chose a good candidate to take care of business in their office) and asked for another session between now and then. so about 5-6 weeks appart between each sessions.

this was my own decision and my therapists never puts any pressure on me as to when i feel the need to return. everyone is differnet. some people need to go weekly, some monthly and some, just go ever other month or so for a “tune-up”. some need more time to process the information and put it to good use before the next session. and some require the frequency to be more intense because it helps with the motivation.

i chose to make it sooner than later because i feel we’re at a crucial part of this digging.

it’s tiring, though. and painful. what i mean is that old wounds were open. i went home and for the past week since i saw my therapist, have been flooded with painful memories of my childhood. memories not forgotten but simply put away or off to the side.

there was some frustration though… these are memories i thought i was over. things that have been dealt with. i want to move on with them. i thought i had moved on from them. but the reality is that these things from the past are still here in the present. perhaps they are disguised in different shapes and forms, but they are very much still here. either metaphorically as the culprit of my anxiety/depression issues. or, evern more painfully, embedded in my current relationship with my parents.

now, as i mentioned already, i do not want to hold any ill-feelings towards my parents of my childhood. which is probably why i am frustrated with these haunting memories that have caused so much emotions.

but the truth is that, perhaps, my frustration lies in our relationship at the present moment. and i’m aware now that something happened between my father and i this past friday, just a couple of days after my therapy session, which angered me and opened up the flood gates to some of these horrible memories.

it’s a reminder – when something happens in the present, it automatically links, for me, to the past. and until i deal with my personal demons – and learn how to handle my current relationships – this will always be the case. at the least, through my progress in therapy, i’m able to link this cause and effect relationship.

it’s tricky – to be strong enough to go through all this digging, opening old wounds and NOT go to that dark place where it’s easier to just point fingers and blame them and think, you did this to me! this is the way i am because of you!

i don’t want to go there but during the most painful parts of these past few days, the temptation was there. but what point would that be? it would be vengeful and spiteful – and that will not help me in the end. plus, i know my parents just didn’t know any better way – they were raised in probably a harsher and/or more abusive way than how i grew up. and part-way through my adult life, i could see there was regret on their part.

the best thing i can do is to try and deal with this – and move forward. i’m lucky, very lucky, to be more self-aware of what is going on inside of me. unlike my parents who still to this day struggle with the concept of self-awareness.

i use this ability of mine to make sure i be a better parent to my own daughter. because i don’t want to put her through what i went through – i don’t want to pass on this anxiety/depression issue to her. i hope she has a future of much greater freedom than this type of inner prison i’ve been trapped in for decades.

treating myself

mid-winter indulgence shopping

i admit it, i’ve been giving into small indulgences. some of the mid-winter sales are a bit hard to resist. above are my recent purchases. aside  from the travel mug, everything else was pretty much a steal.

note – i tend to go on for a very long time between shopping for myself unless they are truly things that i need. for example, last weekend, i finally went shopping for underwear at costco. 6 cotton, undies – $2 each! comfortable but no granny-panties. all pastel colours of pink, peach, yellow, baby blue, etc. why pastel? i am a woman that tends to wear a lot of black, grey and other neutral/earthy colours. i try to add splashes of colours into my wardrobe and while i’m succeeding at it, some colours i can only wear unseen underneath my clothes.

i’m sure you wanted to know that.

as i was saying about my underwear purchase, i had to. i really had to buckle down and get some underwear. i had a bunch from my drawer that i try to wear on weekends as they are too big, but it was getting ridiculous. when one walks, they should not feel their underwear moving in all sorts of directions. when one stands up from bending over or sitting, one should not need to always hitch their underwear back up. when one changes out of pants, the underwear should not come off with the said pair of pants. underwear needs to be comfortable, yes, but it also needs to be functional. and my old pairs of underwear, perhaps 2 sizes too large, were not functional anymore.

that was definitely a tangent to what i meant to post, but there you have it. that is my underwear story.

anyway, the above purchases were:

  1. Aqua Finley Leather Journal
    • my therapist agreed that i should keep a journal. my friend, ada, gave me the idea about making sure i purchase a journal that feels right to me. not only did i love the colour, which reminds me of some of the aqua-blue colours of the ocean during our cruise, but the texture feels good in my hands.
  2. Starbucks Double Wall Faceted Mug
    • go team canada! i couldn’t resist the red and white colours – totally fitting to the olympic spirit during the sochi winter games. i have a larger, more durable travel mug with a handle. but sometimes, if i’m going to the library or needing a cup of hot beverage to take in the car with me, i just want a simple, small tumbler. and the weight of the ceramic feels good to hold.
  3. Women’s Old Navy Active 1/4-Zip Jackets
    • once in awhile, it is a bit cold in the basement or fitness studio during one of my yoga practices. i had talked about getting an active, long sleeve layer with holes in the sleeve for my thumbs. that way, i can wear it as an outer layer to shed once my body warms up. it would also be great as an inner layer for snowboarding. the thing is that even a cheaper brand costs $30. old navy had a sale plus an additional 30% off so in the end, i bought this for $12! TWELVE DOLLARS! i should have bought one in every colour at that price.
  4. Women’s Heart-Icon Hoodies
    • perhaps to continue with the team canada’s olympic spirit but more because i wanted a white hoodie and i wanted something with a heart on it. i don’t tend to have things that are ‘girly’ like that so this is reaching out a bit from my comfort zone. the price made it easier to go ahead with the purchase.
  5. Blue Marble Leather Journal
    • another leather journal ready and in place once the aqua-blue one is filled. same reason as to why i bought the other journal – i loved the look and feel to this one as well. i couldn’t decide between the two but as they were both on the clearance rack, i decided to get both.