There are a lot of things that I haven’t been doing enough of lately. Blogging is one. Writing in general, really. But I have been reading a lot.
I haven’t been exercising, but I did spend a lot of the last week cleaning and doing home improvement projects. To celebrate Canada Day the whole family is doing a 5k and I feel ready, and excited for how excited the kid will be at the end.
I haven’t been at my best, but I’ve been working on it. Pushing myself a little bit, and listening when I push back.
There is a lot going on.
Joe was away for a week and while he was gone the kid and I planted a garden and painted our front door. We’re building a deck – well, we’re having a deck built for us, hopefully by the end of summer. And on that deck we will put a gorgeous cedar glider being purchased for us for our 10th wedding anniversary.
I don’t know how we’ve been married almost 10 years, but then I think about our 7-year-old who is almost finished Grade 1. I think about the five years we’ve been in this house together. I think about our puppy, who turns 12 this year and remains in good health.
This week I started re-reading one of my absolute favourite books of all time – The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. It is the first of the Nextian series, which is made up of seven books (and I think he’s done). I bought the first two books at the Chapters in Belleville while I was living there for college. I’ve re-read it multiple times, now I’ve had it for 14 years.
Time doesn’t make any sense to me at all any more. It seems like we’ve been married for a minute. That our daughter is still new to us, but has still always been a part of our lives.
All of this, and I still feel like I’m a kid myself. Until I spend some time with people in their 20s.
I’m am currently in a period of depression. I know this because everything seems hard and I get tired easily.
I want to want to clean the house but I don’t know where to start, so I haven’t.
I want to eat better, but preparing food is too much.
I want to focus on things for a long period of time without getting distracted. I want to read things and remember them.
I want to want to cook and bake and take care of my family, but instead they’re taking care of me.
There have been times when I’ve been able to push myself to do something – take the kid to the park, watch her play soccer, go out with friends. But everything is just a little bit hard and I always feel a bit tired or tentative.
I’m having to push myself to do more and more things – like shower in the morning, or leave the house to get a meal. Sometimes even picking a TV show to watch is so much harder than just sitting in the quiet.
Of course, when I do push myself and get outside, take my daughter to play, sit in the sun and the breeze, it’s glorious and much-needed.
But it can be so hard to remember what feels good – and also that I deserve to.
When I was a kid, I idolized my Gramps. Growing up in a house with a single mother and a sister, Gramps was my male role model. I knew that he loved us unconditionally, I knew that he would always support us in whatever ways he could. I wanted to be like him, I wanted to be with him, and so I wanted to learn to help him do the things he always did for us around the house.
He taught me to sketch, he taught me to build things, he taught me how to drive a car and change a tire. When I moved out he gifted me a toolbox with all the things I would need for the basic stuff. I could bang a nail, drill a hole, use a saw, put Ikea furniture together with no instructions necessary.
In our house, when I moved home after college, I did a lot of the heavy lifting.
I knew from my mother’s example and my grandfather’s teacher that a woman could take care of anything in her home that needed to be done. And I believed I could.
And then I moved in with Joe.
Suddenly it was easier for him to carry the heavy stuff. When we work together to build something he gets frustrated and my feelings get hurt, so I leave him to it. I still hang pictures, but if a hole need to be drilled, that’s not for me.
Now sometimes it feels as though I barely do anything at all around the house. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I clean, sometimes I put on a load of laundry. But I don’t mow the lawn or plunge the toilet. I only empty the dishwasher and take out the garbage if he’s away and I have to.
(I really hate emptying the dishwasher, I don’t know why).
Part of me wants to get out in our garden and rip out the dead plants and stupid paving stones. I want to build that shelf I saved on Pinterest. I want to get dirty and fix stuff that needs it. I want to have the energy and faith that I used to have when I knew I had to do things on my own.
I want to fight my way back to being the girl who knew that she could, because her Gramps showed her how.
I recently read the book Big Girl by Kelsey Miller. It was an interesting read and I saw a bit of myself in her, though she faced more extreme struggles than I did certainly. I don’t consider any part of my childhood to have been an extreme hardship. But still, we found ourselves in similar positions as adults – overweight, struggling to figure ourselves out, scared of relationships.
But this is not a fat girl got thin book, and that’s what I like about it. Through something called intuitive eating, Kelsey Miller changed her relationship with food without getting skinny and suddenly having it all.
This book made me understand more about what it is I really want. I’m never going to be skinny. I never really have been – close in body but certainly never mentally. I have no real desire to diet. I have a desire to feel better. Less sick, less tired, less bloated, more capable of doing things that other people do.
I want to know what I want to eat, how it’s going to make me feel, how it’s going to fuel me. I want to know what I want to it and have it satisfy me when I do. I want to realize that when I am eating something and enjoying it I can and should stop when I’m full, because chances are I will have food that tasty again.
I want to not be thinking about food all the time. That I should eat, what I should eat, when I should eat, what I shouldn’t have, what I feel like having.
Now that I’ve read this book I know that I should do some more reading.
I am struggling. I’m am struggling to focus. I’m struggling to eat well. I’m struggling to deal with the knowledge that my struggles with confidence are probably related to my depression. I am struggling to give myself permission to do what I need.
The house is a bit of a mess, despite the fact that I’m home now and if I need a focus break from work I can and should do some tidying. I haven’t been exercising, despite the fact that I can go for walks around the neighbourhood with the dog when he needs to go out, up to the coffee shop with my laptop, or even on the treadmill where Joe set up a little desk for me. Hell, I could take my lunch hour at the gym, but I don’t.
I don’t remember the last time I did something fun and creative.
I’m biting my nails again. I’m not eating right.
Maybe it’s a reaction to finishing The West Wing and not having CJ’s support anymore. Maybe it’s an incredible fear of failing and being a disappointment.
I’m spending too much time scared. And waiting to start. I need to find my routine again. When I worked downtown in an office on the hill I had such a good routine. I have no recollection of developing that routine, I just knew what needed to get done first, and what would be good to do next, and then how the rest of my day should do.
I need to figure that out again. Except instead I’m floundering, unfocused, bouncing from one thing to the next.
But I have been doing one thing right: I have been taking my daughter to the park. I have been walking with her to the local splash pad. I have been surprising her with play. I have been inviting her friends along. That is one thing I have been doing well. We have been together. We danced in the rain.
There is that.