Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Changing Winter Blahs

The snow is coming down all around me but the winter days I remember as a kid growing up seem to be gone. Snow forts with tunnels, toboggan jumps off of our townhouse community hill, big chunky snowmen with a carrot nose and button eyes. My bones are getting older, fatigue looming more often, so that tradition can be passed onto younger generations. But still, how things change.

What happened? 

We get some of the white stuff accumulating on the ground, but then thawing away every once and a while only to reappear days later. Frigid cold, then mild, then cold again. Minus 40 to plus 11 in a week and a bit. Is this now the typical Canadian winter?

It wasn’t too long ago I recall taking my dog for walks. Bundling up in jackets and mitts. Tree’s would shield us from the wind coming off of the lake near my house, until they disappeared and we’d have to move fast to get out of harms way. Frozen fingers and frozen paws.
The dog is too old now, arthritis kicking in. No more walks. But still, how things change.

What happened?

But even with the weather change, with age change, some things do remain.

Despite the up and down thermometer, to me January to mid-March still drag on. Depression can still kick in under those overcast clouds. Cold and flu season I think maybe made worse.
Are these the changing winter blahs… or just the blahs?

We can’t control the weather, we can’t control time; can we control the blahs? 

I don’t know the answer. Maybe it is not about control but focus, focusing more on what gets me through. The things I enjoy. The moments that are there. 

That younger generation in the smiles of my niece and nephew. The joy of still hanging out with my dog. There are so many things to consider.
There are parts of Winter I have to admit that I like; a nice snowfall, playing outdoors with the kids, tobogganing, hot chocolate, cozying up by the fire, chili in the crock. They are not totally gone and forgotten. 

But maybe just a couple of weeks, because I’m over it now. If I have to deal with the blahs anytime during the year… I’d rather one of the other three seasons. If in fact, those still exist.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Why it matters

A young girl sat in a hospital emergency room, she was going to be admitted to the psychiatric ward. Drug user, pale skin, very frail, had been living on the streets. Where was her family? No idea. While waiting to be signed in by the lead doctor and social worker she was to be monitored. A security guard was asked to watch over. For her protection, her safety, or the hospitals?
“I know my life is a wreck.” She quietly spoke to the guard.
“Maybe,” was his response; “maybe not. But regardless, you have the resiliency and strength to unwreck it, at any time, yourself. You have that power. No one can or has the right to take that away from you.”
Maybe it wasn’t his place to say, but he did.
The short talk between the two ended with a smile.

Why do this? Why take the time and bother? Because it matters. 

Because it makes a difference;

Because it put a smile on the face and in the heart;

Because it allows someone to stand up; it allows us to recognize strength over weakness.

When I was younger, and vulnerable, and trapped by a deadly virus, my mother stood up for me. Another student in school held my hand to guide me through my unease. A teacher slowed down to include me. When I got a little older a friend put trust in me. A manager gave me the accommodation I asked for with little thought. A colleague gave me the courage to lead.
Many have helped make me feel comfortable, shown me respect, complimented my accomplishments and have dried my tears when needed.


Because it mattered.

Sometimes we lose; sometimes we fall. Failure happens. We take two steps forward and then get hit with something that knocks us back five. We get up, and start again. Help is there, take it. There is nothing wrong with getting help. There is nothing wrong with giving help.
Be encouraging; be inspirational; show some kindness and empathy.
Give others a voice; listen to that voice; act on that voice.

Because it matters.

I am a Mentor to others yet I also sit in an office and speak with a Social Worker. I volunteer once in a while but I also need a helping hand every so often. I donate but sometimes require support.

Because I matter.

Because you matter.

The boy next door; the girl on the street; the men, women and children in crisis. The sick; the elderly; the poor; the rich. Any race, sex or disability. All of the differences and all of the similarities.
Let’s talk, let’s dialogue, let’s have a good sit down timeless conversation. Let’s remember and acknowledge that we are one, yet billions.

Because it matters.


Because it makes a difference. Sometimes, always, never; do we need to measure? It makes a difference somewhere to someone; because that girl is worth it, the sick and the homeless, they are worth it. Our community is worth it. Our humanity is worth it.

If my lived experiences, (challenging as some things may have been) if it has taught me one thing, is that it is not that hard. A smile, a hug, a word of kindness; it is not hard. Make time. To show support one does not have to move mountains. You do not need to be a saviour on a white horse.
Though you might be the saviour in someone else’s eyes. I know I have seen my share.
But do something to help, to encourage, to support. Even if only tiny steps are taken.

Laugh with someone.

Cry with someone.

Listen to someone.


Because it matters.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Mindful Sunset

So I am lucky enough to have a house with lakefront property, and I very much enjoy the times I can sit out on my front patio with my mom and dog and look out over the rippling water to witness some beautiful sunsets. 
Even if I am indoors watching through the window; even if it is not summer, but during those long, frigid, winter months. Although the snowy cold season can cloud cover the sun, I have caught an occasional magnificent setting over the ice of the lake.

Over the years, from lived experiences of challenging barriers and talking with others, I have gained a slightly different perspective on things. I learn and grow all the time. And I have come to appreciate another type of sunset, an inner dwelling one, what I call ‘the mindful sunset’.

“Close your eyes and breath,” I tell myself. “Recall the beauty and laughter, know that you are not alone and that it doesn’t have to be THAT terribly hard… at least not in this moment. Allow the fog to clear and the sunset to begin.”

I have a disability that follows me wherever I go, and some days are harder than others. The struggle can be overbearing at times. My feelings can become overwhelming. I’ve gotten pretty good at the disguise, not letting people see in. I vent through my writing, (shared or not) and to my social worker. At times I just stare and let the darkness in and then….


The hurt only goes as far as my mind allows it. My disability only affects my life as much as my mind allows it. I am not handcuffed to that darkness… though I often forget.

The mindful sunset helps bring me peace… even if it is only momentary it is welcomed. Because I know that I can find it again. 

The struggles and challenges are like waves; they will come, but they will also go. And beyond them, will always be a calming and beautiful sunset.