Codependency 

It’s my birthday but it’s just another day.

Here’s what I’ve learned about codependency, and instead of using ambiguous statements I’m going to use a personal experience.

1. Most birthdays end up being me disappointed that my s/o does nothing for me at all. This birthday, although I’m nowhere near any friends or family other than the kids and the s/o, I’m going to have cake and ice cream and the kids and I are going to have a fun day. I might nap or make art while they sleep but regardless, it’s going to be about enjoying the day.

(Owning my feelings and finding better ways to deal – my happiness is my responsibility)

2. The house needs extra income, my s/o has made it difficult to maintain enough routine to get a part time job and refuses to caregivers the children if I do. That said I also need an outlet so I’ve decided to start making art again with all of the art supplies I’m sitting on, and try selling it. Worst case, it’s cathartic… best case decent money and cathartic, and maybe I can afford a sitter once a week.

3. Refuse to do anything more than I’m supposed to do in my role as a stay at home parent. 

4. Delegate. When stuff needs two people politely say to s/o to do/grab/deal with the thing. If s/o doesn’t, talk to them about it later.

5. No is the magic word. Reframing boundaries.. this is a hard one, and unique to each person. I see posts about how to lay boundaries and there aren’t many clear answers regarding the subject. What it seems to boil down to is separating yourself from the other person and even your relationship to them. Who are you when you’re single? That’s who you need to be in a relationship. Who is that person outsode your relationship? Let them be that. If the relationship doesn’t work by just being, then you aren’t compatible, and that’s okay. 

6. Expectations are lies we tell ourselves about what we deserve. Yes we deserve love and affection and compassion, but we need to find people in our lives that we share those things with, not find a person, give it our all to that person with the expectation that they need to give us anything back. Healthy love is naturally reciprocated, not demanded.

7. Self care. If you need permission to take a walk or have a shower or just sit and relax, here it is. You have permission, so say what you are going to do and just do it.

8. Destructive self indulgence.

Smoking, binge eating, habitual self damaging habits of whatever kind. I tried to quit smoking and the chaos suddenly got ramped up in my house. The doctor that prescribed champix said, once I got to 5 smokes a day think about those ones. They are the reason I smoke. I smoke to step out of a calm situation to a stressful one. (Morning smoke, post meal smokes, etc.) I also smoke to be indulgent. It’s my little thing that let’s me be selfish, and make up for the “giving” and “sacrifice” that I do. Which is all ego.

9.  You aren’t needed. If you dissappear tomorrow, life will go on. You’ll be missed, your presence desired, but nobody needs you, except you. Tough pill to swallow. Your codependent addict will most likely replace you with another person willing to fill your role, worst case they will go down the path they were headed before you stepped in to take control, best case, that’s rock bottom and they start actually getting coping skills and learn how to be responsible. 

10. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

You aren’t helping your addict. You’re stunting them further. Your ego is telling you that you know best. You don’t. If you can’t control your life and behavior, you have no right to controlling or being responsible for anyone else’s life (if you have kids, get help if you’re codependent) you can offer friendship, or advice or find sources for help for your addict, but you can’t make them change. Period.

11. You don’t like your situation. You love them, you aren’t ready, you don’t have the resources, the list can go on, but it boils down to you aren’t happy…. do things that make you happy and feel secure. If you want to go to counseling, do it. Ask your addict to come, if they don’t want to, that’s where they are. It isn’t your problem.

12. Love languages work for reasonably functional couples. If your relationship is a train wreck, subtle things like love languages mean nothing. And really still puts the onus of your happiness on your partner and vice versa. 

13. Be a whole human, be loving and compassionate to yourself, all those shitty things you say to yourself daily: catch yourself doing it, and make an effort to apologize to yourself and reframe it. Talk to yourself like you are a 5 year old. 

Inrage

Oh the outrage.
People are outraged over things. Lots of things everywhere. Outrage is what’s in. Rage is in. Inrage.

There are outraged because a t-shirt could be misconstrued that is promoted by a walking dead star.

People are outraged and have created a movement against one particular group that has been doing bad things, but lumping everyone else they don’t agree with into that group, and displaying the same hateful tactics.

People are outraged over mislabeled fish, and chemical stuff and their neighbors dog.

People are outraged for other people who dgaf about the thing that is outrageous.

I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

I’m outraged at hospitals sending home sick babies to take chances with death and forcing parents to give the level of care a fully trained rn does with no training and no help.

I’m outraged that society keeps kicking it’s vulnerable down in order to keep the next in line afloat in order to keep certain other people living in  the lap of luxury.

I’m outraged that the food industry throws away billions of dollars of food away per year because it isn’t saleable and the poverty level is so high. Here and everywhere.

I’m outraged that there is a cure for some cancers that is not licensed meaning nobody owns a patent to it and because big pharmacy can’t make billions and corner the market, people are suffering and dying.

I’m outraged for all of the people in my life that are suffering from anxiety and depression because we live in a sick society that has a very uncertain fiscal and technological future. A society that has marginalized all things not fitting that system that is failing. A society that despises age and reminders of death, and puts sparkles on the trials of parent hood. 

I’m outraged at being lied to day in and day out just to sell me crap that will last just past the warranty that I didn’t need on the first place, so I can throw it into our overflowing landfills.

I’m outraged that I get more solid information from comedians than from the news. — that said I’m outraged that I have to agree with Trump.

I’m outraged because Americans are so desperate for security from the above unknowingly, have elected someone like trump because they don’t know what else to do.

We Canadians did it too. And we paid the price for it. So did our environment.

I’m outraged that what we keep asking for isn’t being done and our leaders are shirking their duties. For the sake of the next term promise.

I’m sick of entitlement. People that believe they are entitled to exorbitant wealth, objects, rights, other people’s decisions, access to other people’s bodies, freedom, life, or liberty. 

We aren’t entitled. But we are sharing this space, and seem to be pissing it up a wall between America and Mexico.  Have have a very uncertain future, and we as a global community have to take a step back and address what’s actually happening. We need to make provisions for what is already changing and prepare for what is most likely certain. 

There are two ways to lead. 

A common enemy (the enemy isn’t who you think it is)

A common goal (the goal is pretty simple)

Scratching the abyss

This is going to be a heavy post about addiction and suicide. 

For those people struggling with addiction, I have no answers. All new studies point to having love and a fulfilling life to prevent addiction, but once in the throes of addiction that community becomes a foreign place to an addict. 

As an outsider loving people who have spiraled through the event horizon of addiction, it’s a terrifying experience to behold.

After watching a person spiral in and shoot out over and over, one’s mind can go to really dark places. 

Tonight was a dark night in my mind. The differences between addiction and suicide hit me tonight.

Suicide is swift and final. There may be things left undone, unsaid or unexplained, but loved ones can grieve, and in time move forward. 
Addiction always teeters on the edge of finality holding on to a tiny thread of hope. The death of an addict is usually a slow and painful process.

One grieves a loved one that slides down the rabbit hole out of sight, but gets a glimmer of hope when the addict reaches up and cries for help.

The grief is paused. 

Then the addict slides down again.

Over and over the cycle goes until the addict destroys themselves partially or entirely. But up until the end, there is hope.

I don’t know how an addict feels during the cycle, and I refuse to ask for justification. It’s needless. I can’t force sobriety, or a fulfilling life. None of us can, it’s entirely up to an addict to make that decision.

Addiction is a sad part of society, and hopefully we can help our communities find a solution to help all who struggle with it.

I found happiness once

Years ago, I found happiness and actually had it hang around for six months or so.

Like actual happiness, I would wake up at peace and look forward to my days, there was joy every day of the week. I slept well at night and honestly can’t remember anything wrong happening at that point in my life.

It’s taken me 11 years to figure out what it was that made me so happy. Yes I had quite my job to chase my dreams to be an artist, and I got up when I was rested and wasn’t governed by clocks, or any other societal norms.

Over the years I tried and failed miserably to recreate that situation in a more stable and financially stable manner, and be truly happy again.

But I’ve come to realize that the art was a byproduct of what was actually making me happy.

I did art in a park downtown and there was always a stream of people that paraded by. In that stream there would be a random that would plop themselves down on my painting blanket and let me listen to them.

They would share a piece of life with me and I would actively listen to them and cultivate this spark, and as the conversation unfolded somehow one of the paintings I was working on would come to life. It would evolve from a bunch of colours and lines into something tangibly interesting.

I was happy because I had a fluid audience to listen to and communities with. Each fleeting micro-relationship special and entirely unique. And I thrived on experiencing the beauty and mutual vulnerability of it all. It was raw, natural and didn’t follow most social rules.

I had women and men alike, people in poverty and Versace wearers, Bikers  (yes leathers and Harleys) and the most prim and proper devout religious individuals. All hanging out on my little painting blanket, sharing life and just existing as they actually were… deep down inside, without judgement or criticism.

Obviously this lifestyle probably wouldn’t make most people happy, but it was perfect for me at that point, and I wonder if I can find a way to incorporate it back into my life now.

:D

Things I’ve learned about life (part unknown)
1. Get off the couch and do stuff. Hobbies, volunteering, travelling, LARPing. Just don’t be a couch potato.
2. Read. Voraciously about everything you can, even if it’s not your “thing”.
3. Listen to a variety of music, and be open to new tunes.
4. Push yourself hard
5. Take care of you, and love you for who you are right this moment, things change, bodies change, lives change.. it just takes time.
6. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Move on.
7. Listen. Listen to your friends, your world around you, your body and your heart. They tell the truth.
8. Success is a lie. Achievements are relative and failure is subjective.
9. Be you. The best you that you can muster. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
10. Facilitate others to also “be” and discover them as they are.
11. If you meet someone and get into a relationship, don’t stop doing the above. Period.

Risky Business

I’ve taken a lot of risks in my life… Some worked out for the better, and some for the worse.

 

For example, I ran away from home as a teen, to get away from my toxic abusive step father. I didn’t know where I was going to go, or what I was going to do, but I knew that my survival, and my freedom counted on leaving. Survival may have been more emotional and psychological, but freedom was a whole other ball of wax. I was at a point where I was actively considering assault, and I don’t know if I would have been able to stop once I started hurting him.

 

So, I took a bag with a pen, I.D.,  a writing pad, an extra set of clothes and walked out the door with the intent to never return. I trembled for the hours, not knowing what I would do, walking around and looking for answers.

 

There were none. I ended up hitchhiking and living on the streets and couch surfing for over a year. I slept in burned out building and held company with people ranging from drug dealers and hookers to sociopaths and random weirdos. Life was hard, and for some reason, living on the streets does some strange things to your head.

 

What I will give street life though, is that it’s simple. Wake up in the morning and survive. That’s it.

 

But back to risk taking. I’ve gone completely the other direction and many years after I got off of the streets, I had an opportunity to attempt to become a professional artist. I saved up three months worth of rent, food, and money for bills, and quit my shitty job, to see if I could hack it.

 

I treated my art like my job and worked ten to twelve hours a day, and in the first three months pulled in $10,000 for my troubles. I didn’t work shows, there was no commission work, I just made what I wanted, and people either bought it or didn’t, and either way it was cool.

 

I got pulled into the scene, and honestly, it didn’t seem to do me any good in regards to exposure or making money. I started doing commissions, and having deadlines and outside influences disrupting my flow, and eventually it reached a point where I wasn’t making any money and had to go back to work. (Unfortunately it’s taken almost a decade for me to realize what went wrong)

 

My jobs since then have been incredibly high pressure, stressful, chaotic, and generally have destroyed my ability to think clearly let alone have creative or critical thought. But, you do what you have to do to survive.

 

My spouse wants me to get back into I.T. and the thought actually makes me want to put a bullet into my head. It is a worse dead end job than being in retail or a barista. It burns me out in a way that I literally have no gumption to live. Which is the last thing I need right now.

 

But after boring you with little tidbits of my back story, I’m confident that you may be able to understand where I’m sitting in regards to my current predicament.

So, in July of 2014 I took on a job to try to turn around a little company that was failing, and was told at the beginning that if I couldn’t turn it around, that it was going to get shut down. At that point, I had no work, and it was a challenge.. so, I threw my hat over the fence.

 

There were two employees, that were working there and putting in time at the sister company when things were slow. One employee was a programmer, and the gig didn’t fit his aptitude. So within a week of me getting hired, he left to go back to something more suitable to his strengths.

 

Then my Grandmother who had an aggressive type of ovarian cancer took a turn for the worse. The other employee was a troublemaker and had angered almost everyone he had worked with in the sister company, and was unwelcome, so he was losing hours. Then he decided that when he was working with me he was going to get aggressive and pushy, with no skills or knowledge to back him up.

 

All the while I’m working in the office and on the field with no training and a little bully that didn’t like to work, and my grandmother was dying, bringing along with it, all the usual family stuff. By the end of August, she was dead, and I had brought in money that was outstanding for the company, and things were starting to look better.

 

September 12th, my little bully got let go. Now regardless of his attitude, I needed more than just me to work a company (it’s in the construction end of things) and so I’m in the office and on the field and borrowing staff from our sister company.

 

By October, our sister company was so busy I couldn’t borrow anyone, and I was getting borrowed. To the extent of working six days a week, and still trying to juggle the little company that I was trying to save, with no help, no training, no resources, and now no time.

 

I barely remember Christmas, but really we didn’t do anything for the holidays because everyone was so emotionally and physically spent that it would have just been a burden. Back to work we went, and I had to keep working for the sister company. With no help on the other one, even though there were big job offers and opportunities happening.

 

I failed. And as of Thursday of last week, I was told that my little failure was going to get shut down. That being said, the hardest part of it all, is that I’m over 15 weeks pregnant with twins. And if I lose my job, I don’t get maternity leave… with twins.

 

I’m upset, stressed out, and at a loss as to what to do anymore. Nobody hires pregnant women, and I have to consider welfare. With twins on the way.

 

I took a gamble and lost, and there are some poor innocent souls that are going to pay the consequences of my stupid wish to try to make something more of my life than just working a nine to fiver.

 

I’m tired of the stress, I’m tired of nothing working right, no stability and no option to get out. I’m fed up with people that don’t take responsibility for their actions and everything else that goes with it. I usually can think my way out of predicaments, but I’m burnt out and have nothing left to give.

 

I just want a job where I walk in do what I’m supposed to do and walk out at the end of the day. No extra projects, no glory, no respect, just work. I haven’t done any of my hobbies or done anything I consider a pleasure or had a mental break in over a year from my life, and now I’m suffering all around for it.

 

I want to come home and have the energy to make stuff, enjoy cooking, do a little dance in my shower before I get too big to do it safely. I want to have the time to actually think about and be excited about becoming a parent. I want less stress, not more. Because things are already upside down backwards sideways.

 

I can’t do construction for the duration of my pregnancy, as it’s really uncomfortable already. I just want to work in an office filing stuff, and maybe answering phones etc. But, who would be willing to take me on, and wasting money training me for their particular system, to lose me by late August?

 

I wish I had some sort of wisdom gained from all of this, other than when you take risks, sometimes it works, and other times it doesn’t. And when you fail, it hurts.

 

And when it comes to being a “strong person” people are there to listen to you, but will most likely never have answers to your crazy predicaments.

Have a happy

For the last couple of decades instead of a standard farewell, I generally tell people to, “Have a Happy!”. The first time I use it one someone in my life, they generally get slightly confused and chuckle, and ask, ” A Happy What?”

To which I reply, ” A Happy whatever it is that you do, that makes you Happy.”

There may be discussion about having A Happy, and if they get it, they understand that Having A Happy, could be a cup of tea, a well deserved rest, or a walk in the park video games etc. Whatever it is you do that gives you an inner smile, is A Happy.

I’ve come to realize over time that I hadn’t been giving myself the same advice, because I don’t give myself farewells. This means I’ve neglected my Happy, and in some cases unintentionally stopped being responsible for my Happy. I expected other people to share their Happy with me.

It’s fine to share your Happy with other people here and there, but another person’s Happy won’t sustain you the way that your own Happy will. And nobody is responsible for your Happy, just like you aren’t responsible for theirs. You can take a ride, or play with someone’s Happy all you want, or sometimes take other Happys on playdates with your Happy, but at the end of the day, It’s your Happy, take care of it, feed it and nurture it, and it will take care of you right back.

So I want to add to my greetings ie. “how are you/ what’s new?” to, “How’s Your Happy?” either it will hurt Happys or it will help Happys, but maybe it’s worth trying.

Have a Happy, and treat that Happy well