Neighbour Shaming

EscalatedA little over a month ago I got new neighbours.  I usually love meeting new people, so when they moved in a did the friendly ‘how are you’ in the hallway and received a very strange response.  My new neighbour, a 20-something tattooed girl who speaks too loudly for small spaces, responded to my ‘Hi’ by showing me her arm.  She had a cast on. She said ‘I’ve had better days’.  Because I care when people are hurt, and this seemed like a great opener to get to know each other, I asked what happened.  This was her response…

‘I fell out of a tree having sex on my birthday’.

…okay… well… at least you have a good story!

‘that’s what everyone says, I’m not sure what they mean.’

….at this point I said goodbye and walked away feeling a little taken-a-back.  I’m not usually so awkward when people turn a conversation to sex.  But I’d just met this girl.  Her second sentence to me was about sex.  I have no idea if the tree-sex story is true, but she certainly introduced herself in a very specific way to me.  But hey, I’ve never had tree-sex so maybe I would want to tell total strangers about it as well.

That night, they had a party.  I’ve mentioned in this blog before that I’m okay with neighbours having parties.  We all have people over and as long as we’re respectful, it’s no big deal.  But this one stood out for a couple of reasons.  One, it started at 3:00AM.  Obviously whatever bar they were at closed for the night and they just migrated to their place.  The second reason it stood out to me was it was Wednesday night.  Friday and Saturdays I don’t care, but Wednesday?  On a work week a respectful neighbour takes it inside at a reasonable hour.

I let it go because it was just one night.  We all do things once in awhile that probably piss our neighbors off.  But then the next night they watched a movie at 1:00AM so loud I could hear full conversation sequences lying in bed.  It’s Thursday night, I now haven’t slept in two nights!  I’m a Monday to Friday worker, so I was getting pretty exhausted.  Continue reading

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October Goal

OctoberSeptember has been a difficult month and I’ve allowed things like health and energy to get away from me again.  This past weekend I realized I was back to feeling sluggish and a little irritable.  But instead of focusing on what I failed to do in Septemeber, I’ve decided to focus on October and make it my month to succeed!

I’ve learned through time and failure that I’m not good at following things to the absolute dot.  Instead, I come up with general goals that I know will make me feel fantastic and push me to keep going.  That way I start succeeding right away instead of feeling failure at every turn.  If my goal is to eat mostly vegan and today I ate completely vegan, then I had a major success today!  If one day I eat some meat, then I haven’t fully fallen off the wagon, and my month goal isn’t already defeated.

With that in mind, here are my general goals.

I’m going back to almost full Vegan.  I’ve been eating roughly 80-90% Vegan most of the summer, but September took me back to around 60% .  I’m bumping that number up to 90% for the rest of the month!  (We had an early thanksgiving this year so I’ve already done turkey and stuffing!).  I’m re-focusing on my water intake once more.  Water for me is the one thing that is the first to drop off the side.  I’m going to limit my gluten and stick to whole grains.  And last but not least, walking.  I’m not going to make big lofty goals about exercise.  Instead, I’m going to say I want to walk in this beautiful fall weather as much as I can.

I started writing out in my brand new journal exactly what my goals were.  Right away I realized that I was writing ‘no’ way too much.  No sugar, no candy, no chips, no… it’s a very negative list!  I think the first step towards failure is setting it up to be deprivation.  So I quickly tore out that page and started again.  I will not use the word ‘no’ at all in this list!

1.) Water! Water! Water!

2.) Only healthy sugars to keep energy flowing smoothly.  You know how bad you feel after a handful of candy!

3.) Whole grains and fibre rich carbs to keep me full and on goal!

4.) Let’s hit the sack! 7 hours of zzzz’s per night.

5.) Stretch and relax every day for mind and body.

6.) Enjoy this beautiful fall as much as possible.  Get out those walking shoes!

To me, this list is so much fun.  I can’t wait to go for a walk, crawl into bed at night or feel limber and relaxed.  The only ‘rules words’ or ‘only’ and a few ‘!’.  It’s a list of inspiration, not deprivation.  It’s so important to set yourself up for success rather than creating a tiny little box you need to work too hard to fit into.

What are your inspiration goals for October??  Can you re-write them so they feel fun instead of depriving?

Most Inspirational Award

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I see a lot of blogs talk about the people that they admire, and I’ve always loved the idea.  I’ve made a list of the people I’ve always looked up to and there are some big names on there.  Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Ella Woodward…  I could write about any of them and the reasons they inspired me.  But I haven’t managed to really write something that truly affects me.  If I’m going to talk about someone who inspired me to become the person I am, and still inspires me, there is only one person that stands out.  My mom.

There’s a joke in our family that’s stuck with us for years.  My mom failed gym in high school.  We laugh about it now because she’s come a long way since then.  But still, how do you fail gym?  All you have to do is show up!  School wasn’t her top priority when she was young, and after high school she didn’t go to college.  She worked and lived with friends, and from what it sounds like, had that house everyone congregated at.  We tease her and say she had the ‘party house’ and she denies it with a smile.  It was in this timeframe she met my dad.  They were married for a few years before they decided to have a family.

Neither of my parents had post-secondary educated when they got pregnant, but with a family looming, my dad decided to go back to school and my mom became a stay at home mom and wife.  She supported my dad through school by managing the house and raising what turned into three children.

My childhood was wonderful, and I think both my parents worked extremely hard to raise three relatively well-adjusted creative and happy children.  With my dad working and going to school, I never remember a time he was absent.  They made sure that he took time out of every day to be with us.  My mom worked extremely hard every day, and I have lots of memories of activities and events she found to do for free because money was always tight.  She built a community around us and there was nothing we didn’t experience. Continue reading

A Funny Case of Instant Karma

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My best friend Kim is a teensy bit negative.  She has a good heart and truly believes in good, but she’s been through a lot the last few years and it’s worn on her.  I’ve been trying to help her see the positive side of life and focus on the things that make her happy.  It’s been a struggle, but she’s slowly getting there.

Yesterday we treated ourselves to a spa visit after work.  She’d never had a full facial before, so I wanted her to experience it.  We went early, had a steam, chatted in a friendly way, and relaxed.  Everything was good.  It wasn’t until we were leaving that something happened to make us both laugh all the way back to our car.

Down in the parking structure you have to pay for your parking before you exit.  We stood behind a guy who was already paying and waited.  When it was finally our turn, it spit the guys ticket out at us.  He’d run of, obviously in a hurry, forgetting to grab it after paying.  Kim is not a mean person, but her instinct was to just leave it.  I thought how frustrating it would be for him to get all the way to the exit and have to come all the way back.  And maybe someone else would have taken it by then!!  Technically we could have grabbed it and left without having to pay for parking, but that thought didn’t cross my mind until much later.  I grabbed the ticket and hurried after him, waving down his car.  Another person in their car saw that I was trying to get his attention and honked for me, making the guy finally stop.  I smiled at him and gave him the ticket.  He thanked me profusely.  I could tell he was pleasantly surprised and relieved that I’d given it back to him. Continue reading

Expecting Negativity

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My sister and I have a long and complicated history of being frustrated with one another.  I love her and I think she’s a talented, beautiful person, but our personalities have always clashed.  Growing up I was the active sporty one and she was the quiet artsy one.  I was loud and she was quiet.  I think maybe I was too abrasive for her, and she was too judgmental for me.  As young women, we dealt with these differences by getting on each others nerves and then exploding in different directions.  We always dealt with one another same way, and it amounted to the same thing.

I began to tell people that my sister and I are really great friends for short periods of time.  We can go out for dinner and have fun, but we have to separate before we get too ‘into’ things.  Sometimes she stays with my overnight and by the time she goes home I’m relieved and exhausted.  This weekend I finally had a wake-up call and realized I have to call myself a hypocrite when it comes to dealing with her.  Let me explain…

My sister is living with my mom right now.  It’s just the two of them and they have a great bond.  They’ve been together for a year now.  Recently our Aunt Sharon moved in with them and will be there for at least two months while she waits for her son to finish her new home.  It was an unexpected gap between places to live and my mother offered her a temporary room.  If we’re going to talk about negative people, my aunt Sharon will always come up in conversation.  It’s just the way she says things.  You’ll make a beautiful meal for her, and she’ll say ‘did you run out of salt?’ or pull a face and say ‘it’s sour’ in that tone that says ‘yuck!’.  She doesn’t mean it, I know she doesn’t, but after awhile you just roll your eyes and say ‘that’s just Sharon.’   Continue reading

Craving Alone Time

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I had this habit during my seven year relationship.  I would go into the bedroom, close the door, listen to music really loud and pretend I was somewhere else.  I assumed it was a coping mechanism; my version of ‘anywhere but here’.  I pretended I was in hollywood accepting awards, hanging with celebrities, travelling the world or generally being free.

I’ve now lived on my own for a year and a half, and I still often seek out that alone time.  It’s one of my favorite things!

I’m normally very social and love going out with friends.  I no longer have anything I need to escape.  My life is fill with wonderful people I look forward to seeing constantly.  But I start to look at my calendar and wonder ‘when do I get to be by myself?’.  I crave it.  I’ve never considered myself an introvert, but that time by myself beckons to me like a comforting blanket.

So what’s it all about?  Why do I crave ‘me’ time?  Those same fantasies I had to escape from life are still in my mind, only now their light and filled with happiness!  I enjoy them so much more than I used too because they’re not masking anything.  They’re dreams and possibilities.  It’s my positive side reaching as far as possible and imaging futures I can have!  I used to feel like life was never within reach, that I would never get to a place of happiness.  Now I see those ‘absurd’ fantasies as completely within my grasp. Continue reading

Don’t Sacrifice too much for Love

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Over the weekend I met a friend for a walk around the seawall.  Dee is a wonderful person I met a few years ago and we’ve often said that we met exactly when we both needed one another.  She was going through a divorce and I was struggling through the end of a horrible relationship.  We supported one another through the healing process and really gave each other the courage to heal and have the courage to believe in our biggest dreams.  She and I have talked often about our past and currently relationships in very supportive ways, so it was no surprise that we started talking again about how we were doing in our love lives.  She said something during our talk that really struck a chord.  She thought the reason my past relationship failed was because I sacrificed too much.  At first I wasn’t sure that was right, but she started lining it up for me and I couldn’t say anything .  We all sacrifice for the people we love, but there is such thing as giving too much for not enough return.

Here’s the list.  I gave up my home in the city for his home in the suburbs.  I’m the type of person that loves the hustle and excitement of the big city, so moving to a place where the closest coffee shop was fifteen blocks away and everything closes at 7 was a real change.  I don’t usually get home from work until 7 or 8, so basically once I got home there was nothing to do.  He was a hiker and mountain biker, so I gave up my lifestyle to make his easier.  At the time I didn’t mind because I loved him and I wanted him to be happy.  I tried to make it work.  Moving away from the city meant I gave up the ease in which I saw my friends.  They went from living a few blocks away to at least a 30 minute drive away.  I gave up my food routine and adapted to his way of eating because he complained about not getting enough of certain things and I was the only one who cooked.  I gave up big portions of my weekend because we moved into a bigger place than I was used too, and he didn’t really help clean.  He tried sometimes, but he just didn’t get it and I didn’t want to nag.  Now none of this seems particularly huge to me.  We all give certain things up.  But what Dee pointed out was that I got nothing in return.

I’m not a give and take person all the time.  I believe in karma and positive energy, and sometimes you help someone just to help them.  I don’t always need a reward or payment.  But in a relationship, there needs to be a certain equality.  After awhile, the things I was sacrificing piled up until I started to resent it, and because of how unhappy I was, more and more things started falling away from me.  I sacrificed my health because I was depressed.  I was eating poorly and eventually ended up medicated for anxiety.  I stopped seeing my friends because getting to them was too difficult, and I felt guilty about asking them to trek out to me.  I sacrificed every ounce of confidence I had at events because I was constantly worried about him and his social anxiety problems.  I sacrificed time with my family, because his anxiety made it hard for him to visit them, but it had no affect on seeing his family, so we visited them way more than we visited mine.  In short, it became all about him and not enough about me. Continue reading