Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Circle


I'm innocent!

I've committed no crime.

Call my daughter, she'll tell you, I was home around nine.

You can't do this to me, don't take me away!

For what injustice was done, the guilty must pay.

Upstairs to a room, with the light shining bright.

Men, they surround me, their hoods dark as night.

And there, right before me, that circle of death stand.

Waiting, smiling darkly, for the next one to hang.

I’ve told you already, please listen to me.

I couldn’t possibly have done it, I’m innocent you see.

I was there that night, that much is true.

I saw what happened, I always knew.

Take off your hood, show your face!

Come down from the gallows and take my place.

Let justice be served, let me go.

I cannot conceive that I'll never know

If the person who really committed this crime

Will ever admit to being there around nine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pet Peeves

And now we begin our interactive portion of my blog. I’m blatantly stealing this idea from a fellow blogger. Names have been changed, but yeah, it’s theft pure and simple.

As a former Social Services worker, we vent…a lot. But in a creative and constructive way, mind you. We get it all out and we are able to move on.

So let’s vent! Let’s make a list of our pet peeves. OooOoO…I’ll start!

Grocery carts. Yes, grocery carts and their drivers. In my humble opinion, there should be driving and parking lanes in the supermarket. Complete with grocery cart police, tickets and jail time for the worst offenders.

When you go into a grocery store, generally, so do about 700 other people all at the same time. It gets very busy and very crowded. I start breaking into a sweat as I cross the threshold. Oh, this is gonna be bad, I think to myself. It’s a science to try to manoeuvre my cart without crashing into anyone. I loosely follow the rules of the road to try to cope. Stay to the left, pull into the curb to have a closer look at the food items.

I’m waaaaayyyyyyyy too polite. Do others afford me the same respect? NNNOOO!!!!!! It’s mayhem! Every shopper for themselves! If they see something interesting two feet away, they abandon their carts IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE to go and have a look!!!!!!! Oh God, I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking of it. So, you have a few people trying to be orderly, most people just out for themselves and the rest of us have to try to figure out how to get ‘round these inconsiderate shoppers who seem to be wandering off muttering “look at the pretty colours!”

But the worst, the absolute worst, is when they gather in groups. I think they have a cult or something. And they have their monthly meetings - you guessed it- in the middle of the grocery isle on a Saturday afternoon. I think they chant about broccoli or something.

Outwardly, I suppose I look frustrated an annoyed. A smart-mouthed comment may slip through my lips. Inwardly - there's twisted metal everywhere as I lob a hand grenade into the centre of the mass to clear a path.

So, what about you? What’s your pet peeve?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Chaos Theory II

I feel I have to take another run at this chaos theory of mine.

I have definitely discovered what was bothering me so much - all of this uncertainty, this not knowing. It took me straight back to my childhood and that was a place that I didn’t want to re-visit anytime soon.

So that’s the what.

I guess the question remaining is - why? Why have I given up stability and security to live in uncertainty?

I remember trying to start my own business in the past. Dozens of times. At the very first whiff of doubt and indecision, the first time stability took off running down the road, I tucked my tail between my legs and ran home to the man. Security was mine once again in the comforting blanket of 9-5. I knew deep down inside, that I was not a risk-taker. I did not have what it takes.

But that burning feeling in my stomach refused to go away.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my backpacking trip across Europe. Now there’s chaos and uncertainty for you. You have yourself and whatever you’re carrying on your back and that’s it. You need to get up every morning, find a place to stay, find food to eat, get the most out of the city you’re in, stay safe, have fun and do it all over again the next day.

There were some pretty hard moments. I remember crying on the phone to my best friend…I was tired, I was hungry, I was scared….but I remember asking her, “I’ll remember the good times, won’t I? I’ll remember the good times more that I’ll remember the bad times, right?”

And I was right. I remember my last fearful moment. I was somewhere in Italy - Verona, I think. Riding in a small van with other backpackers to get to the local hostel. The area was run down, the streets didn’t look safe. It was not the pretty part of Italy. I was getting nervous, wondering what the hell I was getting myself in to.

It didn’t improve much when we pulled up to the hostel. It was a ruin - literally. There were large holes where the walls should have been. I took my gear and went up to the reception to check in. I remember that my bangs were in need of a trim, so I asked the man at the desk for a pair of scissors. I must have looked depressed because he asked me if I was going to do myself in with the scissors.

Sighing deeply, I took my dull scissors and went up to my room. I dropped my backpack and went exploring. The hostel had a central stone courtyard that everything seemed to be built around. Looking up I saw clothes hanging from lines running out of the windows. I dejectedly sat down in an archway on a stone step.

As I planned how to get out of this place, I heard a baby cry in the distance. I slowly raised my head and started to notice my surroundings. As the baby cried, I smelled the sweetness of the wind. I began to notice the greens of the grass and the plants. The architecture of the building was stunning. It must have been ancient, yet it still stood, battered but not beaten.

Something about this place began to speak to me. In its silence, it insisted that I see what was right in front of me. Something changed in me then, my fear fell away. I connected to the rhythm and the flow of the universe. I just relaxed, I just breathed. There was no yesterday, there was no tomorrow. There was only now, this moment, and it was glorious.

So many magical moments happened after that. If I was in need, I just relaxed and opened myself up to the possibilities. And something always came my way. It’s a powerful feeling, living in the moment and using almost pure instinct to drive you, to move you, to choose your direction. To stop, take a moment, ask yourself what you need and sit quietly in contemplation until the answer becomes clear.

In a nutshell, that seems to be what I’m striving for now. I say I’m having my mid-life crisis. But lets face it, I’m way past the mid-way mark. Not much chance of me making it to 88. So there is precious little time left.

I’m looking to slow down and listen better to what the universe has to say to me, to reconnect to its magical rhythm. I feel it’s trying to tell me something, to send me in a certain direction.

I need to listen now. I need to see. I need to be.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Chaos Theory

There’s stability, and then there’s chaos. Two separate ends of the spectrum.

There’s something about chaos. It draws you in, pumps you up, sucks you dry.

Growing up, chaos was the norm. Growing up, and then reaching adulthood, chaos still reigned as I attempted to recover from my childhood. Stability did not live there.

It took a lot of energy to live in the epicentre of chaos. It was hard to relax, because I never knew what was going to be around the corner. Would I have a place to live? Food to eat? A job? Family? Love?

The longer I endured chaos, the stronger I became. I was a survivor. And I took pride in that. I didn’t let the bastards get me down. I beat the odds and I made it. It took a long, long time to realise that being survivor is quite sad.

But the human spirit is a wonderful thing. The edges of the rifts and chasms in my psyche eventually grew together. Perhaps the seal was not as straight as it might have been, but it healed.

It began to heal when I took control of my own life. When I took control and provided to myself, the love that should have been given to me freely. It began to heal when I started to make healthier, less self-destructive choices for myself. When I chose people to be in my life because they treated me with love and respect. I surrounded myself with good, loving people. My friends became the family that I chose. My love and loyalty towards them was fierce. Conversely, I could cut them off without hesitation if they hurt or betrayed me, and never look back. I lived in a very black and white world.

And gradually my world became infused with shades of grey. Edges softened. Everything was kinder, gentler, easier.

Stability had arrived. It unpacked its bags and settled in for the long haul. Security was mine. Eventually I completely and utterly forgot all about chaos. It was a distant memory, part of the past, never to return.

Until now.

Until, my midlife crisis. Chaos is back! It has kicked security and stability to the curb! And let me tell you, they’re none to happy about it! I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I’m constantly working a 3-tiered system. What has to happen today, what has to happen in the near future and what has to happen next year.

I have started my own business and no one told me that I had to become reacquainted with chaos to accomplish it! No one told me that security and stability would high tail it outta here at the first sign of trouble! Expressions like “flying by the seat of my pants” and “I’m gonna have a stroke” have entered my vocabulary with alarming frequency lately. I took up smoking again. I gained 15 pounds. Yup, this is chaos all right. I know it well.

At first, I was incredibly distressed to find that chaos had returned. I mean really, really distressed. It was most unwelcome. What good did chaos ever do for me? I felt that I was taking ten steps backwards. That I was a failure for bringing all of this uncertainty and instability into my life and into my husband’s life. I think I believed that this path had to be well thought out, smooth but with a few manageable bumps in it. Challenging, but not impossibly so. Something to get the old blood rushing a bit.

And all of that was about right. Until the start-up phase of the business ended and we had to get down to brass tacks.

I have discovered that it’s a good idea to have a limitless supply of money if you want to start your own business. It’s for the best, really. A lot less stressful.

And then I woke up and fell back to planet earth. Face to face with chaos, my old nemesis. It was going to be him, or me and I wasn’t planning on laying down and dying anytime soon.

I took off my rose coloured glasses and ground them beneath my foot. I smoked my last cigarette. I ate my last brownie (with vanilla ice cream on top). I turned to face chaos. It was time.

I held open my arms and embraced all of the uncertainty that was bound to come our way. I wrapped my arms around chaos and stroked it's head as it lay against my racing heart.

I had been letting chaos catapult me back to the past. But I will never go back there. What’s different now is that I have a foundation that I have never had before. Friends, family, the love of a good man. A deep and abiding belief in myself. I realised that I had to have faith in our ability to make this plan work. When times are lean, we will do what we must to get through. We will survive. And in surviving, we are moving forward. Growing our dream every day, every step of the way.

And there’s nothing sad about that, is there?