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What I Learned About Myself in 3 Weeks…

So it is common knowledge that I got a tattoo the week after our 17 year anniversary. What surprised me is what I learned about myself in the three weeks healing time afterwards.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

  1. Well I definitely don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, it is on proud and vibrant display on my left calf. And I hope people ask me about it. As the wife of a man who has been diagnosed not only with severe depression, but also CAPD, I found my symbol in his fight to control and manage his illnesses. The depression is represented by the semi colon or body of my butterfly. A more and more common symbol of depression and mental illness, it is a constant reminder for me of how I will never truly grasp how close I came to losing my husband and love of my life for ever on 2 separate occasions. Had he chosen to end his story instead of continuing on, my life, and the lives of my children would be very different right now. I have often spoken about how I feel the need to be an advocate for mental health awareness. Two helpful links – Project ; and in case you need help in knowing what to say  Make It Ok.org. Maybe one day someone will see my butterfly while I work out, or on a walk… or even peeking out in a fancy dress and ask me and I will have the chance to listen or share. If I can share my story, Ken’s story and help someone find help or become a source of support… icing on the cake. The other half of the butterfly is a wee bit obvious – maple leaf, Canada: you can take the girl out of Canada, but my origins are a massive part of my personality.Project-Semicolon-760x410
  2. Altering my body permanently was neither as earth shattering or life changing as I expected. Granted when I first got it done and posted it up on Facebook my little corner of the world shared its opinion and got excited. Some were impressed, some quick to admit they would never do the same, others wanted explanation of the image and many were surprised. But, the greater world, life in general… a blip on the radar. And you know what? That was more than OK! I love the reminder that some ink on my body was nothing more than a personal choice that I would now live with forever (proudly I might add). What was way more important is that my own children are super proud of their mom! It was an opportunity to remind them of the struggle dad has with his own mental health, and that it is OK to be sad, to need help. But they also need to be aware that mom really wants them to tell her… any time, any place, and if not her any responsible adult. Needles and healing and a choice that is permanent was simply that… a choice I made. Not the end of my life, though Ken was quick to tease me about his tatted up wife and how much of a rebel I was!IMG_20180704_125226_971
  3. Keeping my legs covered for 3 weeks seem to have given me the permission to embrace colour. My sari skirts were a bit of an impulse buy (Ken edit: If you call agonizing over a purchase for 3 weeks an ‘impulse buy’) if a bit difficult to pair up with shirts on hand, but for 3 weeks I have been colorful. Since some of the skirts only matched some crop tops I purchased recently belly baring became commonplace. It is a movement from worrying about fitting in, matching my clothes to my “life” and into comfort and colour and embracing the fact that I love brighter feathers. Plus, they make a lovely swish when I walk and I have always loved swishing and twirling since I was a little girl – why should that change now?20180628_152211
  4. Baths make me calmer and 3 weeks without that has been a bit of a struggle. I am not a girl who loves a hot shower, give me a long soak to relax away the tension and frustration of a long day anytime. The kids also enjoy the respite from mom after lunch when I took my lunch break. Maybe I really am more mermaid at heart than I like to admit? 
  5. That little square of skin is now the softest skin on my entire body, I swear! Lotion lotion lotion. Washing and lotion, no sun and then the itching. No one mentioned how high maintenance this small patch of skin would be, but worth it! Self care is so important, and this was a reminder to me that maybe I need to pay more attention. When you have to alter your life to look after a single body part… like my time spent on what we thought was my hip, but is now believed to be a slightly slipped disk from when I almost fell in the winter. The reality is I am growing older, and in order to do so gracefully and healthily I need to be more aware. Yoga, workouts, long walks, R.I.P.P.E.D. classes at the YMCA… they take on an even greater meaning when looked at from the perspective not of losing weight or strengthening up but of self care. Taking time for a nap without guilt (seriously I have to convince myself, idleness in my mind, becomes laziness or neglect… I have a very hard time just taking a moment and stopping), spending a few extra minutes working on your appearance and standing tall with confidence that you look awesome. I am learning more and more about these moments. I love myself, my insides and outsides, the family I have created, the life style I live. It is flawed and confusing and at times difficult but it is all amazing. The life I live, the appearance I put out there in the world is all proof that I love myself. That I take the time to care for myself and the ones I love. 

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

  6. I like feeling a little the rebel. Granted, many see me and my family as a bit more than a “little” rebellious with our large family size and homeschooling, or my lack of ability to drive and my insistence that we celebrate both Canadian and American holidays PLUS Chinese New Year. Ok… so I was already a bit of a rebel, but having a tattoo… that feels like a “cool” rebel. All that other stuff is more necessity or not a choice but a calling. I CHOSE to get a tattoo, I CHOSE the design and then had one of my oldest and dearest friends not only hold my hand through it all, but take pictures AND help with the design. Who else could be so lucky but to have someone who is basically a sister also be an amazing artist who can take my crazy ramblings and make something amazing on paper?? Thanks again Shandai! You ROCK! They say it takes a village to raise a family, well it sometimes takes friends to help create the perfect family unit too. I have been doubly blessed with an amazing community AND friends who are family to round out the flesh and blood relatives we were born with. (Plus Shandai is pretty cool, rebellious and all round awesome herself)

So there you have it, 6 things I learned about myself all from 30 min of tiny needles, ink and the hand of an amazing artist at Rose in No Man’s Land. I can’t say I won’t go back… My butterfly may need something sweet to land on yet. But for now… My heart is out there, open book. Ask me, share your story with me, read my story here (just search the word “depression” in my search box), my heart is open and I have found that sharing is so much more than simply caring. 

All healed up!

All healed up!

I Deserve…

Yoga has become a nightly routine for me now for well over 40 days and it is gradually changing my life. I have been going through the videos from the Yoga With Adriene channel on YouTube and am on my second 30 day series with her.

Currently I am almost midway through Yoga Camp. Each day’s video has a focus, the latest being “I Deserve”. Such a simple sentence to complete but for a moment it stopped me short. What DO I really think I deserve?

The idea of deserving something or being worthy is something I sometimes struggle with. How do I quantify what I deserve? Am I actually deserving of what I already have? How can I be deserving enough?

The reality of the life is that I think we deserve so much more than we realize… love, compassion, understanding, friendship, acknowledgement, acceptance… we all are so deserving of these things and yet often times don’t realize it or even deny it. 

Of course there are the material things that we feel we deserve and work toward… a nice house, fancy vehicle, a room full of yarn (or is that just me?). These items require action to be “earned” and often hard work or a financial investment. 

But when it comes to the statement in session today… I deserve… I felt like the list was much more the former category than that latter materials based one. 

What do I deserve that I need to acknowledge in those quiet yoga filled moments? It isn’t a ball of yarn or a new dress or a book I want to buy… rather I need to realize how truly deserving I am…

So here I go to publicly state what “I Deserve”…

I deserve …

  • Joy, I deserve to feel that full on belly tickling joy in my day and promise to embrace the opportunities to do so.
  • Peace, I deserve to come to the end of my day with the realization that I lived it with the intention of peace.
  • Love/Friendship… every hug, every moment with a beloved friend be it just a hello, I am totally and utterly deserving of that. 
  • Quiet, I deserve my quiet stolen moments. They are not lazy or negligent but an act of self love as I take some time to not be anything or anyone but me. Beyond mother, wife, teacher, friend etc.
  • Support, I deserve support. Not as a monetary or physical manifestation, but the knowledge that my dreams and aspirations are supported by others. Even if they may not understand my particular brand of crazy. 
  • Recognition, I deserve to be recognized… even if it is just by myself. Who I am is worthy of recognition. And that can mean just my own realization that I am worthy, that I am a good person and that I truly do try my best in my life. Self recognition can be so powerful. External validation is often a great thing but if I can stand tall and proud and realize that I am working to be the best ME I can be… there is power in that. 

So what does this all mean? Well, to me it means that I have work to do. As I wrote this post I felt those inklings of self doubt. Do I truly deserve friendship or love at all times? Do I deserve to be joyful when I feel I am lacking in something? Does that time I take for myself in silence mean I am neglecting something else more worthy of my time? 

It means I have work to do. I need to make time to embrace the stillness and look inside myself to simply realize we are all deserving of so much more than we accept. 

It means when I receive one of these blessings I need to acknowledge and embrace them, it is like receiving a compliment… am I the only one who has a VERY hard time simply saying thank you? 

I am an example for my family and I deserve the realization that I am a pretty good one. And every day as I work on myself and my family I simply become MORE deserving. We all do. 

So my goal for April 2018 onward is to not become more deserving but to become more aware that I AM deserving. We are all deserving of so much in life that we don’t acknowledge, ignore or even reject (consciously or unconsciously). Time to stop the cycle and accept the facts… 

How would you finish the statement -I deserve-?

Right now, right this minute, you deserve my thanks for reading my ramble. Thank you! Bless!IMG_20180329_091032_603