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#TBT Throwing it Back

never grow upToday I indulged in TBT, tagging my best friend of nearly 30 years in one of my favourite photos.

We were sitting atop a huge boulder in the northern Ontario wilderness, each wearing our high school sweetheart’s sweater, and sporting late 1980’s curls.

Our body language and shy smiles told the world that we were unsure and dreamy; unsure about what the world had in store for us, but sure that it was wonderful.

Flipping through my old photo album, I found another gem. It was a photo of a group of eight of us posing in someone’s living room in our prom finery.

One of the boys and I have kept in touch, and we recently had a conversation about adult things; careers, children, lovers and just how very difficult it is to schedule time for fun.

Throughout the years friendships have waxed and wained. As spouses, children, divorce and death have visited, many of us have forgotten who those fresh-faced kids were who stare back at us from our shared TBT photos.

As my conversation ended with my guy-pal from that old, prom photo, I wished that I could give him back his mischievous smile and take away the pain that he has come to know as an adult.

I wished we could go back to the days he shyly delivered truckloads of ice to the quaint village store where I used to work, barely raising my eyes to meet his,  offering a small wave by way of acknowledgement.

Social media may be flawed, but the older I get, the more I appreciate being reminded by these friends, of the magic we all carry within us. Our news, updates and loll’s  breathe life into our still-young-at-heart-hopes-and-dreams.

Celebrate TBT and throw it back out there. You never know who you may inspire to seek out their young school-kid heart and remember what it’s like to be silly.

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Sink Or Swim; Nostalgia & a Little Shove

mylifeHolidays tend to make us nostalgic. Thank goodness that they’re officially over for 2015.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard, “2015 was a terrible year“. Wow.

I prefer to frame my year as a deli sandwich. The bread was delicious, but the meat of it was a little sour. In other words, the first and last thirds were great (as in; good enough), but the middle really blew.

How often as children did we say a year was terrible? We didn’t darlings. We just did the 10 second countdown to the new year and moved forward with joyful, curious abandon.

sufferingNow we yearn for the days when life was simple and  we still believed in magic. Friendships and family were taken for granted, and happiness was just on the other side of the screen door.

As adults, we tend to overcomplicate things. ‘Be kind and play fair’, seem to have gotten lost in the big, adult personal ethics playbook. And that just stinks. Because it hurts. Yes, people can be selfish and cruel, but they can also be kind, giving, and lovely to snuggle up with. Naked.

As human beings, we all want to be loved. We all need and want strong friendships, a true love with whom we can  share our most intimate selves , and bourbon. Ok, maybe the last bit is all about me, but whatever.

When we lose ourselves in the fray of losing the one person we fell in love with, we feel broken. I’ve been there. It hurts. It’s scary, and it puts a pretty harsh filter on our vision of the future.

Just this summer, I sat, sobbing on my friend’s front step, while she nursed my broken heart and damaged pride. I felt empty, hopeless, afraid and lost.

We live in a world that prizes the individual and yet makes it impossible to live without the safety net of community, family and friends. Yes, the great Western-way-of-life has unfolded into a wonderful cock-up of psychological dissonance. But what do I know? I’m just a girl after all.

I do know this. The holiday season has seen a lot of falling in and out of love; happy hearts and hearts that have been broken and need time to heal, relationships that are worn thin, or worn out altogether.

The beautifully terrifying part of it all, is that the only way to heal a heart is to live life. The very life that has tossed you like a small boat on a big, angry, ocean, leaving you feeling washed up and broken beyond repair.

Cling to curiosity. Let your friends lead you when you are  blinded by tears. Be wary of the seductive pull of too much sleep, lack of self care, and try to remember how good it feels to laugh after you decide to, ‘fuck it’.

As a quasi-Buddhist-lover-of-Christian-ritual, this speaks to me. You have two choices; get up, dive back into that same unpredictable ocean to wash yourself clean, or wallow in the sand getting burned by the sun and possibly gnawed to death by vicious, exotic fauna.

Sometimes you need a friend to role you back into the ocean. In some cases, you need a friend to drag you, kicking and screaming, back to life. It’s called tough love, and we all need it once in a while.

Nostalgia and wishing for a happily-ever-after is a waste of time.

havetimeYou and I both know that more than anything else, this is true; life is short and precious.

Take the time you need to sit quietly with your broken heart. Don’t run away from it, or deny it what it needs to tell you.  Take your sadness and swaddle it like a helpless infant. As difficult as this may seem, you will see that soon enough, you will be at peace with it.

Weep. Cry. Scream into your pillow…and as you take your last gasp of sobbing breath, get ready for a shove back into the ocean of life.

You’ve always been a beautiful swimmer darling. Always.

 

 

 

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Everyone is a Kid at Christmas

kidsThis is for teenagers, young adults, and parents.

Let me tell you a short story. Today was my day off. I work long hours, at a very (physically & psychologically) demanding job (which I love). Even so, I L-O-V-E my days off.

No-alarm-clock days are luxurious. After all darlings, I have mastered the art of living and relaxing. But today I set my alarm for 6 a.m. You see, my kiddo had to get up and out before 7 a.m., and I wanted to give him a drive.

Yes, he’s old enough to get there himself. Yes, he knows how to pack his own lunch, cook, clean and do his own laundry. Despite the kiddo’s protests,  “Mom, why do you want to drive me? I’m fine on my own. Go back to bed“, I often get up even on the days I work a late shift.

Why? Well, as any parent will tell you, they cherish those moments with their children, and those moments come fewer and more far between as our children grow up.

The Christmas season offers many opportunities to argue, fight, and to feel annoyed with one another.

When we want to be with you to decorate the tree,  have dinner with friends, and participate in family traditions, please remember that it’s not intended as a form of torture.

When we ask how your day was, we’re not so much checking up on whether you were a stand-up human being, we want to make sure you’re ok. Ok as in, we’ve been there, and we know that the world can be cruel and hard. We want to make sure you never leave for the day, or go to bed at night feeling, ‘less than’.

When we pack you a lunch, or suggest you take more food, we’re not criticizing your menu choice. We don’t want you to be hungry.

When we make sure you have a winter coat for the season, and suggest you take a hat or gloves, it’s not because we want to send you out looking like an over-grown toddler or out of style. We don’t want you to feel the cold.

When we ask you about your first crush, we don’t want to give you a moral lecture on sexual behavior. We want to know if your crush is treating your tender heart with care. We don’t want you to feel heartache.

When we ask you what you want to study or what you want to be be when you grow up, we don’t care if you have a definitive answer. We want you to go after your dreams.

We don’t want you to suffer; to feel pain, cold, hunger, loneliness or sadness.

No matter how old you are, if you are lucky, you will always be someone’s little boy or little girl. At a certain point in life, the roles reverse, and like I feel about my mumster, you’ll want to swaddle us in protective love too.

Wishing kids of all ages, a very happy holiday.

 

 

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A Beautiful Messy Life

  

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Waving Good-Bye to Summer & How to Like What Comes Next

sunto
Every summer has it’s own story…

It’s hard to believe, that today is the last ‘official’ day of summer, what with being in the middle of another heat alert.

It’s a bittersweet season of not wanting the long, sunny days to end and looking forward to the delights of autumn.

I must make a confession, although I’m loathe to see another summer pass by, I have to confess that I love the fall.

Growing up a wild-haired blonde-beach-bum, summer was a season of freedom and self-discovery. Fall was the beginning of nesting, wrapping up our sun-soaked bodies and snuggling in for the winter.

Each year as summer draws to a close, I reminisce about what the summer brought; new love, broken hearts, shenanigans and road-trips. I also look forward to all the pleasures of autumn;

…clear, crisp air, and the beauty of watching green turn to shades of gold, rust and deep ruby reds…

autumnlandscape

…a fireplace on a wet November day…

fireplacewine

…weather cold enough to have an excuse to stay inside and write…

williegreeneye

…baking all kinds of yummy Thanksgiving treats…

autumn food

…sumptuous, comfort food shared with friends…

thanksgiving al fresco

…pumpkin spice lattes of course…

Pumpkin spice latte recipe

…rainy November days perfect for sleeping in, reading or movie-watching…

catwindowI hope that you’ve had a delightful summer, that your skin is smiling from the sun, and your wanderlust is somewhat sated.

Here’s to autumn my darlings, and all of the comforting beauty that it brings.

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Seeing & Knowing; Why We Write

breaking your heartThere have been very few moments in my life when someone has looked me in the eye, and I know that they know exactly how I’m feeling in a moment of despair. Seeing and knowing in the spiritual sense is powerful for the object of that seeing and knowing.

I had one of those moments recently. It was powerful, brought me to my knees, and made me realize that no matter how much I have overcome, that I’m still human, vulnerable and need, just as much as anyone else,  to feel like someone, somewhere has my back.

Memories come quickly sometimes from places in my past that I thought had long ago been dozed, graded re-forested and landscaped in a fabulously bohemian way.

Lately it’s been a grand parade across a never-ending stage instead of a dreamy oceanside stroll. Images, words, and scents evoke my white-blonde-pig-tailed, tear-streaked-cheek childhood as I stir dinner at the stove, rinse my face at the bathroom sink, and even pour a beer after a long day.

My story is being played out again even though I didn’t clap for the encore, and I’m rewriting it all in my head as I’m held hostage to it all.

For the folks out there who have not had the pleasure of experiencing crisis, trauma or what it’s like getting by one day to the next without knowing when it will ever end, trust me, it’s a wild ride darlings.

Wild as in it is a teacher of the most grand kind who takes you through a crash course on self-awareness while you’re still not quite awake to the world and barely dressed. It can make you tough, and it can make you so damn tired that all you have the energy to hope for is to feel numb. It can harden you so you lack empathy or compassion, or it can rip open your heart so you bleed life and love and kindness all over your world.

As a writers we can write out our suffering in the lives of our characters. We can re-write those sights, scents and sounds that evoke so many memories and what-if’s.  The brilliant part is that we are able to create something which expresses the bittersweetness of life out of something dark and painful. Laughter usually follows deep and cool on the heels of human folly.

But it takes guts to go there. It takes time, space, and friends who tolerate the depth of crazy that it takes to keep diving into and crawling out of our character’s heads. Because they’re our  pretty little heads, our jumbled thoughts, our answer’s to all of the what-if’s that have ever kept anyone awake at night.

Going back to where I started with this post, when my friend looked me in the eye and I knew that they knew what I was going through, it was the closest I came to feeling like it was ok to sink into my characters and writing like slipping into a deep, warm bath.

I knew that I had to do something or I would drown in this endless ocean of memory. Please toss me a pool noodle and whip me up a gin and tonic. This is going to take some time, and I’ve worked up quite a thirst.

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What is that taste?

rockin good wayThere are some moments in life that are meant to be savoured; long, lingering, mid-winter dinners spent at wizened harvest tables with too much wine and just enough friendship, being curled up with your lover in a breathless, sweaty limp-from-loving half-sleep on blushing, rumpled sheets or watching the slow spread of delight cross an old woman’s face and creep into her eyes.

These are all delightful moments. These are the moments which reveal themselves without pretense or ceremony  to our cluttered minds.

But there are other moments to be savoured. The ones that are not so easily recognized, cause your brow to crease, and the corners of your mouth to turn down before they turn up.

There have been a few instances in my life where my wee, little, girl brain has spun quickly ’round and come to a sudden, and definitive conclusion after asking, “What is that taste in my mouth?”

Much like a long-ago  Friday evening when I arrived home after a long stretch of twelve-hour days feeling alone and unloved. Don’t lie to me darlings, you’ve also visited that, nobody-loves-me-everybody-hates-me-place.  

Anyway, I arrive home to the quiet, solitude of singledom, kick off my shoes and pad into my boudoir, only to be taken by surprise at the sight of a pair of dust-bunny-ravaged men’s gitch which had been mercilessly dragged from the unholy darkness of underneath-her-bed by the cat.

It was a split second; my brow creased, the corners of my mouth turned down and then up as my girl-brain came to a screeching halt and definitive conclusion; some poor bastard had gone home commando.

And I laughed.

I laughed the tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks-kind-of-laugh all alone in my bedroom. In that moment I knew that the price of my loneliness was worth every second of my solitude.

The man-gitch were most certainly a souvenir from a morning-after that found my first thoughts asking, “What is that taste“?

Usually that taste was accompanied by some fuzzy memory of the night before; dirty gin martinis, laughter, the company of a delightfully sensual gentleman and whatever the flavor of the 3 a.m. craving was. It was usually a granola bar that only half fulfilled its destiny of reaching my tummy. The other bits would be found clinging to unlikely places on my sticky, hungover flesh.

After having spent a much-anticipated evening of mutual adoration with the love of my life, I was drifting off to sleep and thought, “What’s that taste“?

In the sputtering candlelight, wrapped in a once-in-a-lifetime-drifting-off-to-dreamland-full-body-embrace, my little girl-brain did not need to spin.

A slow, smile in all its fullness spread across my face and seeped into my body. “I know what that taste is”, a delicate fleeting thought crossed my consciousness just as it slipped away, “It’s gin, my man and joy. Now go to sleep darling, you have everything you’ve ever wanted”.

We make our memories in every moment. Sometimes they are the brow-furrowing, laugh-until-you-cry-memories that leave you asking, “What is that taste”?