When the going gets tough…

https://youtu.be/Bxsf2Qxk2AE

I’m not dead yet, so I might as well keep pushing forward.

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My feels arose in a parking lot

I went for a walk tonight and decided to do a 30 min parking lot workout.

I hadn’t experienced this feeling since I first started my journey six years ago.  It was an uncontrollable lump in my throat, then lungs that I could not contain.  My body tried to cry, but it was although my soul was being enveloped by something greater than myself.

I honestly remember experiencing these moments on my power walks at night when I was struggling greatly with my marriage, my need to leave my career and my role as a mother.

For anyone out there battling your demons, you’re not alone!

Axxo

 

A lesson from my jade plants

I received a stem from my mom’s jade plant a year or so ago.  She potted a shoot for each of her kids last Christmas: a single stem with one or two perfected glossy leaves, planted in a teenie terracotta container, rough and completely perfect for each of us to love and care for.

What she may not have known at the time was that I had tried to keep similar plants alive for a decade or so before this, all ending in the somewhat inevitable death of a succulent with dried up stems and wilting leaves, the soil never right. I had gone through four or five and was never successful.

I had told my therapist years prior, during one of our elusive sessions on why I continually sabotaged my efforts to gain health and happiness, that the jade she chose for her singular living thing in her office was a brave one.  She asked me why.  I told her jade plants often times took on the energy of their environment and her clients may be the indirect future death of her Walmart-purchased choice.  When I sat in the exact same chair a couple of years later during my separation, I asked her where her jade was. She said she brought it home because she took my words to heart and couldn’t keep it alive in her office.

I guess, for once, my advice (through my own homicidal plant experiences ) was right.

I took that little stem my mom gave me and kept it in that terracotta pot.  It sat on the kitchen window sill of my newly obtained townhouse.  This was the very first time in my 39 years I could call a place my very own.  My home was mine and my kids’.  I didn’t pay much attention to that little jade.  I watered it infrequently and then, a couple months later I noticed it was getting heavy with new growth and hope.

Three months later, I was given a brown planter’s pot that was thrifted in Port Elgin from a past love, the pottery matching my mom’s 1970’s salt and pepper shakers and French Onion Soup bowls I had known and equated to my childhood.  I moved my little jade plant to that pot and moved it to an old champagne pail holder and it sat proudly by my living room window, often times being grazed by playing and fighting kids and my cat who loved to jump up on the window plotting his escape daily.

My jade was living a good life.  It was mirroring all that was going on in my life.  A new relationship, a freedom from roles or expectation, a full time job that (at the time) I thought I loved.  It was happy and so was I.

Not long after, it starting sprouting new leaves and was singing its praise.  That little shoot from my mom’s 20 year old mamma bear plant had found its roots and was thriving.

I was then in one of the most amazing Chinese supermarket north of the city and as we checked out with what was probably some pretty cool looking vegetables and fresh fish, there were a few jade pots at the counter.  One was purchased for me and I brought it home.  It was planted in that brown pottery next to my happy and boisterous jade.  It gladly shared its home to the new neighbour, although who knows the story of where it came from.  It was a different species but just as beautiful and mysterious.  We all welcomed it.

Just today, I decided to separate my two plants.  My mom’s needed room to breath.  It was starting to fall because of the weight of it’s stems, newly formed leaves, roots pulling at the re-used soil from the plants before it.

Now, I have zero grace in anything I do.  If you have ever worked out with me, you will know this to me true, or cooked with me.  Both the gym and the kitchen are left as if a tornado has put it’s course through, not leaving any survivors behind.  My project today was no different.

The clean dishes I had stacked from the dishwasher to my counter were covered in soil, mini leaves fallen from both plants into the drain of my kitchen sink with no hope of survival.  I had evidence on my hands, in my hair and somehow on the creases of my purple moccasin-type slippers.  The task at hand was daunting.  My mom’s plant was not proving to be as robust as I had hoped.  It was losing it’s life quickly and I started to panic.  But, with my kids sitting eating their freshly made pancakes, I thought up a way to save it and both plants were haphazardly placed in their newly fashioned homes.  With a knife stuck in the soil, I was hopeful.

I rarely use that term – hope/hopeful/hopefully.  These words always leaving me feel as though the situation is beyond practical application of result and that I don’t have control.

This is how I felt… but then, as I looked at both plants, separated again after spending so much time so closely together, the only emotion I felt was hope.

“And sometimes separating two things that spent so much time side by side is the best next step.  Some leaves may break off, soil all over the floor and counter and stems a little droopy at first, but it’s the only way each can flourish.

A life lesson from my jade plants this morning.”

Tonight, as I listen to an old playlist, sip my dark rum and diet pepsi and face doing my taxes for the first time since 2015 (since my separation), I am hopeful things are untangling as they should.

Separation of two things, people, is okay if the pot was a little crowded and the stems were beginning to feel heavy.  It’s okay to imagine rooting in something new, even though not having what you grew accustom to have isn’t right beside you any longer.

My jade plants will survive this.  They were once alone and a random act brought them together.  And then, they were alone again.

It’s what is needed sometimes.

And that’s pretty hopeful.

Axxo

 

 

Feeling sexy is nothing to be ashamed of…

I am obsessed with Amazon’s Original “American Playboy:  The Hugh Hefner Story”.

For anyone who knows me, sex is something I don’t shy away from.  As I used to tell my then-single girlfriends, don’t ask me anything you’re not prepared to hear an honest answer about.

Hef’s story is one of revolution, empowerment and keeping up, if not ahead, of a lot of the cultural and social shifts that happened between 1960 and today.  Sure, the series shows some nuddies once and a while, but it really had to do with his vision and philosophy around sex – don’t be ashamed.

I did my first boudoir shoot five years ago.  I showed a little cleavage, flipped my blond hair for a sultry look and held a string of white pearls in between my teeth.  I was getting comfortable with a new-found confidence I had never had and my photographer was finding her own amongst her artform – Julia has evolved in leaps and bounds and my most recent shoot with her was phemonal.

Today, I bring you to a shoot I did back in early December, a time when I was learning to navigate in an unlabelled relationship with a man I had loved dearly, feeling somewhat robbed of the grieving process with the loss of my dad and the stark reality that for the first time in 40 years, I would be waking up to Christmas morning on my own.  I was dealing with a lot.  So, why wouldn’t I strip down to nothing and show my goods to an absolute stranger?

Sam from Crave Boudoir Photography was very welcoming.  She featured me on her blog today and I’d like to share it with you.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

If you find the female form at all offensive, size 2 or 24, please move on.  I will not tolerate any negativity as the essence of this shoot was for me.  And if I inspire one woman out there to do this for her, my job is done.

Here’s Sam’s link:

http://www.craveboudoir.com/blog/2018/2/3/the-empowerment-of-boudoir-is-insurmountable-toronto-boudoir-photographer

“I did not come in last,” she said and this is what it meant for her.

I wrote a blog back in September about a 5k gone wrong. I had made a goal a few month before with my then boyfriend and we were to train and prep for the 5k, run it and then go to the wine festival that was happening in the hosting town.

Well, I didn’t train, my life was in an emotional whirlwind with my dad’s final days approaching and somewhere, in the recesses of my heart, I knew the man beside me was starting to pull away.

We woke the morning of to temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius and a panic that I hadn’t felt in some time ensued. I was excited to be doing this with someone who meant so much to me and knowing a friendly face would be at the finish line to greet me made the anticipation a little less overwhelming.

It was a bad run. For more detail, please go back to my post entitled “‘I came in last’, she said and this is what it meant for her”. The detail I chose to leave out at the time of publishing is that there was not a friendly face awaiting me at the finish line and that made my day’s experience ten times worse. But, I digress.

Fast forward to yesterday… I am redeemed! And not by some act of God or streak of luck or fluke. My commitment to myself after I wrote that blog a few months back was to never come in last again. That goal was hit!

After my Single at 41 blog was published, I had a lot of feedback on my strength, courage and resolve to move forward with what I wanted for 2018. I sketched out a list of goals I wanted to accomplish on my own, many of which I had declared to my love during the intimate moments in bed, as the sun poked through the curtains or we sipped coffee while our toes found each other under the sheets. These were things we had wanted to do together and when together doesn’t exist, I picked myself up and recreated that list for me.

I travelled to Arizona to cross one of my Single at 41 goals off the official list. Thinking back to that hot, crushing morning in September that deflated my confidence and soul, I knew I would not only beat my time, but I would feel like me again!

A fellow scale warrior posted on IG some time ago that she had registered for an upcoming 5k. I wanted to cheer her on and it was an opportunity to offer myself a redo of that September mishap.

We crushed it. We struggled as the first half was a steady incline, but stuck with our intervals on the back half and at one point I even found my runner’s breath and kept going. I was slow, but I kept going.

What did NOT coming in last mean to me? It meant that I am enough. It meant that I have enough within my grasp to lead a happy, fulfilling life even when the dips and valleys happen.

I was in Phoenix for 48 hours. I came with reservation, hesitation and a little doubt. I am leaving with confidence, pride and a kick ass tattoo to remind me what this weekend was all about.

Thanks, Jess. This was a pretty amazing trip for me. We did it!!!

Axxo

A declaration to my future someone(s)

I’m not actively looking for a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, sidekick or friend with benefits… let’s be COMPLETELY clear on that.  Solitude is not only craved, but definitely a necessity right now.

But, I have a lot to say about who I am and in the process of all I have gone through, realizing my worth, my needs and my boundaries has been a big part of my current and future healing; not just from my separation of 21 years but a couple of broken relationships along the way.

Change can only occur when one wants it or out of pure force of circumstance.  For me, I fall in both categories.

This declaration is to no one in particular – no ideal mate or type, no time-bound expectation, no guarantee of that someone ever showing up.  However, when and if they do, I will be ready to read this to them.

I am a lot to take in.

I love meeting new people, but generally, hate everyone.

I may look like I’m flirting, but I assure you, I am just friendly – get over it now, or it will be a reason you start to doubt.

I don’t open my mail right away.

If we are playing in bed and the sheets come away from the corners, I may need to wave a white flag for a time out and fix them.

I love avocados.

My kids are my world, but my first role is not mom. I am me first. Love my friends and value them, all while sharing my time with you.  I won’t ever sacrifice the life I have created for myself.

I won’t get sick of spending days on end with you, unless you give me a reason.

I have tattoos and plan on getting more.  This is also something you need to accept.

I take 17 minutes to get ready.  Shower, dressed, hair, make-up.

I am self conscious about my body – my side boob, my stretch marks, my legs in particular, but I know you will always make me feel like I’m enough.

My house needs to be organized, but my car, 96.8% of the time, is a fucking pig pen.

I am an early riser by nature but can welcome 2am if the snacks and agenda are enticing enough.

I love to travel and to explore and driving to new places, no matter how far.  I am not afraid to do any of this on my own with no set plan.

That being said, I am a forward-thinker at heart, but just big picture stuff – I wont schedule our day to the minute as spontaneity and naps are important.

Be prepared to sleep next to a furnace.  Our bodies will be sweaty while we sleep, but my cold feet will often need a place to land and it will most likely be your calves (or if I’m feeling like a pillow fight is needed, a little higher to startle you).

I don’t bake, but love cooking.  Everything.  And will, with grace and love, bring you breakfast in bed but ensure no crumbs are left on my sheets and will kiss the powdered sugar from your lips.

I adore twinkle lights in both the summer and winter; crocuses and daisies in the Spring and the lake, ocean or even a pond any time of year.

Counter sex will happen.

I grew up in the country so I will gladly bait your hook, chase the chickens to the coop or cut the grass.

Don’t be an asshole.

I cry a lot and hope you will too.  I have the best ugly-cry.

I will love your family as my own and welcome all their idiosyncrasies that cause you to dread Christmas each year.

I don’t want a dog.

I will insist you get a physical every year.

We will make out in any and every library and/or bookstore we ever visit, because it’s both romantic and cliche as hell.

You need to be ready to be loved.

I own multiple purses and sunglasses, all of which are low quality either from the dollar store or good will.

I want to learn the piano and visit Malta.

I don’t want you to worship me or call me your Queen, buy me gifts or adorn me.  I just want respect, honesty and effort. And did I mention the occasional nibble on my lower arm and maybe an attempted zurbert on my soft and welcoming belly?

You will need to be my rock sometimes, when I don’t want to do anything but it is necessary to.

Black olives are the devil’s work.

I love to be loved.

Go out with your friends, for god sake. Don’t be lame.

We both will learn to say yes to adventure but when no is necessary, we will respect each other to explain the why.

We won’t ever fight over money because we will talk about everything.

You will read my blog because you love me.  You will listen to my interviews because you love me.  You will support my quest to help others because you love me.  You will drive my food truck because you love me. You’ll put your arm around me when I need it because you love me.

You will respect me enough to tell me you no longer love me because we are, first and foremost, friends.  And friends are kind and honest and forgiving and only want the best for one another, even if the topic is gut wrenching.

I will always tell you if you have something in your teeth, your fly is undone or you need a tissue.

I will kiss you even if you haven’t brushed your teeth.

We will both respect our ex spouses because they are the parents of our children and were once what we wanted and needed.

I have an elephant collection.

The greatest thing you can do for me is bring me coffee in bed, super hot, just as I like it.

My cat will fall in love with you just as I have.

We don’t need to grow old together, because maybe our time together is shorter than it feels it needs to be – but, we can say all the days and minutes and seconds we spent with one another was perfect because we were so very fortunate to find each other, right now, at this time in our lives.

I may want bangs again.

Axxoo