Fresh Start

September 2009 to March 2010-76

Welcome 2018

Screech! I hope this isn’t a sound you hear this year, with the exception of driving of course. You want to hear a healthy screech when you slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a pet, or a child, or three adolescent lynxes running across the road. Oh, and maybe an adult human, I guess you might want to brake for an adult  human too. Unless you’re an asshole, and then all bets are off. What I am trying to say in a rambling sort of way is stop hitting the brake pedal on your dreams. Ignore the hesitation within yourself. Smash the desire to toss those bright and shiny dreams in the garbage just because they might be hard to accomplish.

Seriously though, this is your fresh start. Begin. Make your wishes a priority. Do you want to travel? Maybe you can’t do it today, but you can start by planning for it today. Is it the cost of travelling which is stopping you? Begin by budgeting your money, read blogs and articles on how to save money, buy stuff at a second hand store, shop the deals in a grocery flyer, and cook your own meals. There are infinite ways to tighten ye ole purse strings.

Maybe this year is the year to lose the extra jiggle on your middle? It’s probably the number one New Years promise (lie). And do you know why people fail? It’s because they cut out everything they enjoy doing and eating on January 1 and replace it with gut wrenching gym programs, and tasteless food you need to chew for an hour before swallowing. The reason people can’t make it past week three of the program is because they are pure misery and still have the jiggle. Not only that, but they are feeling unsupported because their significant other is MIA. What they don’t realize is their significant other is probably hiding in the closet or under the couch. They are avoiding the swoosh of the fun Dracula which sweeps in when you enter the room. Please, for the happiness of those people around you, go slowly into the big life changes. The only thing shock starts are good for, are for jolting your heart when it stops beating. Begin your get fit program with a fifteen minute work out and build up to an hour. Change your diet a little at a time. Wean yourself slowly off the sugars, fats, and breads and gently incorporate healthier food choices. Have one food cheat day, and one exercise free day once a week. Be nice to yourself, changing your body takes time, tiny steps evolve into going the distance with less discomfort. And lets be honest, most people don’t enjoy discomfort.

Maybe this year you are dreaming of a gershnoskel upgrade? Maybe you have one of those snot collectors which have begun to look a little lumpy in a mushroomy sort of way, or it sweeps everything off a shelf when you turn around. If it bothers you fix it. There are people who are trained to deal with the genetic whoopsies in our personal form. Maybe this is the year of the nose job?

As you endeavour to change yourself this year don’t forget you have the ability to change the world as well. Recycle, buy local when you can, and if you can’t purchase something you need locally then please consider what type of country you are supporting with your money. Continuing to purchase “Made in China” products supports human rights violations, suppression of human expression, and death sentences for those people who dare to challenge the injustices in their country. I am so grateful to live in a country where I am free.

Whatever you choose for yourself in 2018, I wish you the most honest effort. I wish you foot off the brakes oodles of dedication. I wish you the simplicity of kindness towards yourself and then towards others. It is an important practice as you’ll soon discover travelling to your dream destination. On the plane they will inform you it is necessary to put on your own oxygen mask first before you are able to help others. This is often the case in life. Your dreams are personal. If you are focused — Anything is possible. All you have to do is to commit.

Have a blow your mind, bloody amazing New Year!

Your Christmas Wake Up Call

fullsizeoutput_8b5

I slapped her hard across the face.

The sound echoed with a satisfying smack.

I wanted to see the fog lift from her, to see her sunlit eyes glisten with awareness once more.

Her eyes watered,

I don’t know exactly what I was hoping for— I did it out of desperation.

Maybe it was clarity?

I needed to see a realization that she understood without participation we are all doomed to die.

Not just one, but all— all the picture perfect babies with their soft sweet features, each shielded by their own skin of different shades of color.

Born into our arms of care.

Doomed to die,

All the children, our most beloved representation of affection and celebration of life.

All of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandmas and grandpas.

We, as supposed civilized beings sit busily clicking on our computers and phones consumed by consumerism, ignoring the Earths signs of distress.

Who can see that the complete and utter extinction of a species has begun?

Click, buy a second TV, click purchase another piece of clothing, click, click, click,

The sounds of humans eating up the Earth

People— complex organisms torn between love and hate, creation and destruction, greed and generosity, sickness and health, fear and security, war and peace, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain,

An unwittingly apathetic mortal too self focused to see the unraveling.

I’m not sorry I slapped you,

Give your head a shake, wake up.

We cannot afford to pretend anymore.

Just because we had yesterday and today doesn’t mean we automatically get tomorrow,

Our lives are far from a Hallmark movie,

We need to think beyond the sparkle and shine of our lives, and really understand who we are supporting with our existence.

To whom does our money go?

And what are we supporting with that buying choice?

If we don’t change the way we purchase and consume, soon—

Click, click, click,

Sorry kids

We are close to our expiration date.

I’m usually such a jolly elf, but there comes a time for serious action, and that time is now. Please read, How Humans Are Driving The Sixth Mass Extinction.

Best Road Ever

fullsizeoutput_8b4

Right or Left?

Fasten your seatbelts and take a moment to tumble into this line from Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—“

In the past I have finished this sentence by cavorting along the path of life tossing confetti into the air and watching it fall around me. I confess to chasing small forest creatures into the bush and losing my way. Today I realize I am at a fork in my road. And I really hope I don’t fork this up. This year I decided to forgo flitting down the trail and becoming distracted by things such as the light filtering through the trees. I decided I am picking my path with purpose. No more darting off into the trees to chase squirrels for me. I think I may have been a Canadian cur in a previous life.

How about you? Do you have insight as to why you choose the road you’re currently on? Do you stay focused on your route ahead? Do you believe the choices before you are vast and open? I hope you can recognize your potential and brilliance.

You are unlimited.

Continue moving forward, one foot in front of the other, pause to catch your breath, do a little cha cha cha, and keep going. A sure fire strategy to fulfilling your aspirations is to keep travelling. Maybe there will be more forks in your road? No worries take a break consider your options and go. Refuse to halt your progress, balk at becoming a stagnant pool of decomposing sludge. Sometimes fear will whisper in your ear, “Stop, you’re making a fool of yourself. The only thing ahead of you is ridicule and failure. Don’t listen, return your focus to your goals. Move! Dance along the road of existence with a smile on your face. You know where you are going. Simply wrap yourself in the clothing of possibility for the journey. As you continue forward, you will soon find the momentum of your decision will carry you into your future with ease.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—”

It’s Free! Or Is It ?

 

fullsizeoutput_8ac

Underwater can be a magical place.

Building a bucket list is a rip snorting way to remind you to step out of your comfort zone. It tears your focus away from what is and leads you into the possibilities of what could be. It can bring an energizing reflection of where you’d like your life to go. Creating my own bucket list proved an elusive creature on my radar. However, my hubby, Rick nailed one down a while back and he had scuba diving listed as one of his targets. So while it wasn’t a prominent idea in my thoughts, the idea of pretending to be a fish and swimming along the bottom of the Caribbean waters did hold some appeal for me.

fullsizeoutput_8ad

Pictures from snorkelling in the Riviera Maya, my camera is only good for shallow water. These are two different types of grunt fish.

Sometimes opportunities pop up that can’t be ignored, an occasion such as this happened to crop up on a weeklong holiday in the Dominican. There we were skipping along, well maybe not skipping because Rick tends to look quite silly when he skips along. We were strolling along the tiled pool area and noticed a sign for a free introductory scuba diving lesson. The key word here is Free. It’s like a magnet for my Scottish blood, Aye Laddie, I’m cheaper than a two bit taco on Tuesday. It was like a sign from God, maybe not God, but I think his name was Jesus. Anyway we trotted down to the scuba shack, well, maybe we didn’t trot because Rick looks silly doing that too, we ambled down to the beach area to sign up for our FREE lesson. At this point I’m still feeling excited about our underwater adventure. I still think I can be as graceful as a fish gliding about the coral. I was about to realize I was a fish afraid of drowning.

fullsizeoutput_8a9

An absolutely stunning parrotfish.

Upon our arrival at the scuba shack the sales pitch began, and before we knew it we had committed to a four-day Open Water scuba diving Padi course. This was far from Free. Our actions automatically kicked my Scottish blood into internalized dialogue, “What are you doing you couple of bawheeds, now you’ve gotten yourself into a scunner, and for quite a pretty penny ya pair of numpties.”

“Hush up you cheap bastard. It’s a bargain for a notch in the bucket list belt.”  I defend replying to my Scottish side.

Check! There goes one item off of Rick’s list. After all, life is full of opportunities and shouldn’t we jump in with both feet and give it a go whenever possible? Side note- If you’re jumping in with your scuba gear on make sure to hold your mask and regulator on your face.

fullsizeoutput_8aa

A bluehead wrasse, simply gorgeous.

It shouldn’t have been such a trial for me, I do love the ocean and I enjoy snorkelling. But it was a trial. The first thing I learned during our pool dive is that I was freaking terrified. I had no faintheartedness about seeing sharks, stingrays, or puffer fish, or any of the other amazing underwater creatures that could potentially kill. I was terrified of not being able to breathe when I wanted to breathe. The cause of my excessive trepidation originated from my childhood, where all good fears tend to spring forth. As a childhood survivor of chronic bronchitis and pillow smothering, I was quite concerned about not being able to get my air. I love to inhale and exhale at will. I enjoy breathing through my nose. I am not a mouth breather and I do consider that a good thing. On the other hand it is a necessity to scuba dive.

Rick breezed through the scuba course like he was a fish disguised as a human. As for me, it proved trying at the best of times and on my final dive before certification I had a meltdown. Throughout the course I had continually shoved my fears into a little corner of my mind. It had been no easy task to keep myself in the Zen state of mind while diving in the deep blue yonder where oxygen does not exist as air. And although I admit to enjoying the magnificent undersea, there was never a second when I didn’t feel like the petrified prude of the diving world. I was forever counting down the seconds left to surface and having the freedom to pull the regulator from my mouth and breathe like a human.

On our last dive the instructor and ourselves followed the tag line downwards towards the ocean floor. Rick quickly equalized and arrived at the bottom. He took a knee in the sand observing his dawdling wife and impatient instructor through the crystalline water.

I recall following the dive line downwards and suddenly noticing the water pressure on my body feeling uncomfortably constrictive. I pause on the rope. My breath becomes shallow and rapid. I know I need to slow down my breathing, but I can’t seem to relax. My Zen space is gone and I am tossed into my fears. I stare at my instructor with wide eyes and give him the signal I’m going to the surface.

He snatches my arm and glares at me, giving me the slow down motion with his hand.

I shake my head in a negative way. His grip on my arm increases as does my feeling of being trapped. Panic sets in and masses of bubbles are released from my increasingly rapid breath. I break free of his grasp and head up to the open air. No worries about equalizing, I wasn’t far down.

As I pop to the surface I keep my mask and regulator on trying to find the calm I had achieved on previous dives.

The instructor arrives at the top and gives me his death glare. It was the one I had gotten used to seeing because he wasn’t the most patient instructor in the world.

He gave me the thumbs down motion indicating I should follow him back towards the bottom.

I shake my head vigorously making the hand tilting motion to indicate something is wrong. My heart is still squeezing out terrified beats and they reverberate inside my chest. I inhale with focused breath wrestling with my alarm.

My instructor tugs on my jacket style BCD (buoyancy control device) insistently trying to bring me down beneath the surface of the water.

Panic absconds with my thoughts; they are a troop of monkeys leaping through the trees running wild with fear. I can’t do this. I hate the water pressure squeezing my body— I hate the thin dry air through my regulator— I hate breathing through my mouth. I’m a nose breather goddammit! I feel like I’m suffocating. I could die.

I smack his grappling hand off of my BCD jacket. I bob with the waves. I stare at him through my mask with immense eyes meeting his daunting gaze. I pull the regulator from my mouth, “No. I’m not going down. I can’t do this. I can’t breathe.” I gasp. I know it seems ridiculous to him. I’d already done three dives, four including the pool training. I was almost done my certification. He could see I was going to quit on him. He saw a skinnier wallet. All I saw was a potential watery grave, and yes I’m being dramatic, but fear tends to exacerbate emotions.

He pulls his regulator out and said, “But it’s so beautiful down there, you have to see it.” He grabs my arm again.

I growl, “Let go of me. Stop frickin grabbing me. Just give me one second, and I’ll try again. But don’t grab me again.”

He raises both hands to surrender.

It takes a couple minutes but I manage to recollect myself. We drop down to join Rick on the dive. It is a paradise below indeed.

We both got our certification, (mine questionably) and Rick checked an item off his bucket list. We’ve done more diving since, and I really have come to relax into it and enjoy it. But there are moments, times when it’s been too long since my last dive and my anxiety displays it’s dreadful grip. It’s one of those life choices where you just have to calm down and kick fear in the face.

I think it’s my turn to check something off my bucket list. What are you terrified of doing dear husband?

Combustible Life

fullsizeoutput_894

The descent through the tunnel had been gradual, but long and winding. During the whole trek the only thing Skye could smell resembled fresh cat pee and mouse turds. It seemed strange, because where there are cats, mice shouldn’t exist. The odour wasn’t the worst of the pathway into the earth though; the worst of it was traipsing through the spider webs. The feeling of taunt sticky threads collapsing against her face, the invisible lines sticking to her eyelashes, and being pulled into her nostrils by her terrified breaths. And although she wanted to do nothing more than to turn and escape, the idea of wealth drew her downward deeper into the darkness.

She pressed forward pushing past her dread, past the knowledge that webs are careful traps set out by hairy eight-legged creatures wanting to suck their prey dry. She wiggled her shoulders and shifted the weight of her backpack as though that simple move would lighten her load if she had to turn and run. God save me from giant spiders she thought as she surged forward through the passageway. The further she went, the more coated she became with webs, both old and dusty, and new and sticky. An involuntary shudder passed through her body as she envisioned a giant arachnid studying her with its multiple eyes. She knows she would make a juicy feast. She lets out a nervous giggle; her sisters always said she had an active imagination. She hugged herself tightly warding off any trepidation. She could always return to the surface.

As she set one foot in front of the other with fear in her bones she heard her fathers words as though he had said them aloud. God hates a coward Skye. It was a phrase he uttered often, as though if he had said it enough to her it would make it so. The memory of his hard tone sends her forward at a quickened pace, and then she sees it. It is a beckoning light further up the tunnel. She slowed her pace. She feels the clingy grip of panic increasing the beating of her heart.

She continued on like a moth to the light. She entered a large cavernous space. A blazing fire burns with a vengeance at the center of the cave. She glanced around with searching eyes. She is alone. So why does she feel like crowds are pressing in on her? The dancing flames breed massive shadows on the walls.  A chill crawls up her spine. Maybe she should leave?

Skye, Skye, say good-bye, run away and cry. The nasty rhyme the oh so beautiful kids used to sing to her on the playground played in her head, a bad memory coming to light. She wished she had a delete button, not only for the words, but also for the wicked kids themselves. She took a deep breath and gathered her courage.

Skye approached the fire feeling the heat on her face. She studied the ever-changing crimson licks of light. Her eyes widen as she realized there is no fuel for the fire. No visible fuel for the fire. There is no one present to feed the flames. She could see no footprints in the dust, yet the blaze flickers with nourished strength scarcely contained within a thick ring of stones. Maybe, it is fed by a vein of natural gas?

She gave the cave one more sweeping glance and then set her backpack down. She sank beside it settling into a cross-legged position. Her dry mouth begged for water. She snatched a bottle of water from her pack and quickly drained it. The plastic crinkles loudly, a foreign sound in the archaic cave. She shoved the empty back into her pack, she wouldn’t be the first to litter a pristine place. It is only one bottle of the many she carried. A person can live for days without food, many less without water.

She wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her fleece-lined coat. The residue of the moisture darkened the periwinkle color to sky blue. She slowly unzipped the side compartment on the bag. She pulled out a small tube and reached inside with her fingertips retrieving a leathery looking roll. It is thicker than the thickest paper of modern times and smells like rotting hide. She opened the small roll with reverence. The proof she is a thief. But it’s not all she is; the life of one person has too many dimensions to name just one. She is not simply ugly; she is damaged, yet beautiful too. If people could only see past the thickened skin marring the one side of her face and look into her eyes the color of sparkling amethyst, and notice the healthy glow in her auburn hair they might find the glimpses of beauty. It is no matter, not many will miss the lowly assistant to the librarian, and it will be a long while before anyone will notice she had taken the scroll, if they even notice it at all. The librarian in charge is a hoarder, reluctant to share. She is a contradiction to the very purpose of a library. The scroll had been donated, mixed in with boxes of leather bound books and ancient maps concealed in tubes. Skye had been designated to catalogue the contents of the donation. The fact is the scroll simply wouldn’t be missed at all.

As Skye studied the scraggly drawing she could clearly see the fire had not been noted on the map. The only marking  on the wrinkly old guide was a definite X written in crimson ink inside the cave. If it even was ink? Skye’s eyes searched the cavern, so where is the booty? Everyone knows an X on a map means a treasure.

She studies the walls of the cave. They are smooth, blackened, and reflective like onyx. This space contained nothing but the flames. Her gaze lands on the entrance to the tunnel. It blended so easily with the walls and she almost could have missed its presence in the shadowy firelight. Maybe she is missing more?

She squeezed the flashlight in her hand. She feels the cool weight of the cylindrical metal. She flicked the switch on, and the bright beam diminished the fires glow. She shone it back on the mouth of the tunnel. She could go back? She could go topside to the light of day. Return to the other civilians like her bumbling through their existence. Does she want to return to that? To that dull routine, uninspired and pointless, to see the mirror reflect the flatness in her eyes, to know her spark of life has been smothered by lack of inspiration? The map is a cosmic gift.

Skye leaned in closer to the firelight. What is this mystery? Why did the map not mention this? She watches the orange and red flames prancing in colourful twists. It revealed nothing. She rose to her feet, her muscles are tight with unease, they are bound securely to her bones ready to flee if need be.

An unexplainable wind sweeps into the fire, and the flames grow taller lengthening upwards towards the ceiling of the cave. She retreats to the wall feeling her elbows tighten into her sides. She wished to be invisible to whatever this thing may be. The fire expanded cutting the cave in half. It effectively blocked her way out. And still it grows.

Her face is scorched; the sweat oozed from her pores, only to evaporate on her skin. Skye pointed her flashlight to the backside of the cave. She spied a silver toned lever gleaming at the topside of the back wall.

The fire intensified further. The rocks began to glow like coals. Her skin turned scarlet. The map smoldered in her fingers.

The cave is a crematorium; the fire has left only one option.

Propelled by mounting discomfort Skye raced to the lever. The map blazed into flame between her fingertips and she dropped it with a gasp. The handle juts out a foot from the wall. It is shining and bright, almost glowing with light. In that split second she noted the etchings along its length, swirling and symmetrical, Celtic in nature. She leaped as the fire licked her back. Skye smelled the stink of her seared ponytail. She latched onto the metal lever. The rigidness of the bar collapsed into the shape of an arm.

A hand grasped her elbow.

A female voice sounded in her head, “Hold on tight this will be nasty.”

Skye feels herself being dragged through a whirling space. Her muscles scream as she is stretched beyond anything she has known. She lost all awareness of her limbs, causing her to question the very existence of them. Nausea grabbed hold of Skye’s center causing clenching cramps in her guts. At least her belly button is present. Her mom always said Skye had the loveliest belly-button of all her kids. The edges of darkness moved in on her like the blinds on a window sliding down against the light. The last thing she felt is the wretched pain in her abdomen, and the cold steel grasp on her arm.

Blade Runner 2049

fullsizeoutput_880

A good movie provides entertainment; a great movie inspires internal consideration. My hubby and I went to the movie Blade Runner 2049 last Saturday. We choose to watch it in 3D, and although the glasses are annoying as hell, my eyes eventually adjusted and I was transported into a world of apocalyptic conditions. It is a time of humans and replicants. The replicants are bioengineered humans birthed by technology for the sole purpose to obey and serve. The main character K is a replicant, a Blade Runner for the LAPD who is instructed to hunt down and dispose of older model rogue replicants. As we are swept along into the story it becomes clear that the storyline is more about creation and the rights of self-aware beings. In the midst of the movie we discover life has been created within a replicant through a loving relationship. A baby had been born, and the bioengineered human died in childbirth. The character K is sent to hunt the now grown baby.

The cinematography is nothing short of stunning. The visual effects sweep me into the adventure as though I were in a waking dream, and although I sense the length of the movie I didn’t want it to end. There are a few drawn out scenes with little action, and although I am tethered in an otherworldly state, my hubby begins to snore in the seat beside me. The increasing volume of the chainsaw noise yanks me back into my reality.

Here I sit in an expansive room crowded with rows of tilting chairs filled by strangers wearing unattractive glasses in the dark. A ginormous screen occupies the front wall playing images and there are numerous speakers surrounding the uppermost parts of the room emitting intense sounds. I lift my obnoxious spectacles. I lean over and stare at my hubby entering the thralls of deep snoredom. I poke my chosen mate in the ribs, initially with no response, or so it would seem in the darkened room. I prod him again with my rigid finger for which I receive a glassy glare.

Take my hubbies snore as no reflection on the movie. I myself was in wide-eyed full appreciation of the drama threaded through with wicked stimulation. I thought the cinematographer Rodger Deakins created a work of art as he brought the imaginary world destroyed by war and famine to life. If you care to enhance the experience, please do wear the magical but ugly 3D eyewear and be catapulted into the year 2049.

After we left the movie and acclimated our senses to the present moment we headed downtown to attend an Oilers hockey game. It was a once a year, big night in the city for us. We are confessed Oilers fans but rarely go to a live game. We were looking forward to being part of the crowd and making some noise. We did in the beginning, but it soon became obvious our team had not shown up for the game. It was a snoozer. This time I fell asleep through the show and Rick poked me in the ribs. The final score was the Senators 6 and Oilers 1, it’s no wonder I lost my battle of the yawns.

After our evening out I can honestly say the Canadian, Denis Villeneuve who directed Blade Runner 2049, scored big. The movie was the significant winner of the evening for us despite my partners brief snore. Blade Runner 2049 gets a standing ovation from me, along with the wave, which isn’t very impressive with only one person. It just looks like I’m doing a set of squats. Now go be inspired by an amazing cinematic experience.

Paddleboard For Peace

DSCN3906

I’ve been contemplating the world from my secluded slice of heaven for a while now. It can be a reflective state as you can see from the photo. It’s a photo of myself and Mica on one paddleboard, and then my hubby on another paddleboard struggling to keep up. I revel in the fact I’m faster than he. He’s normally the fleetest of foot, his legs compare to the stilts of a caribou running in front of a wildfire. If he straps on skies, he’s akin to a bunny on steroids. If you give him a pedal bike, his legs spin around like the roadrunners in the Looney Toon’s cartoons, “Meep Meep, try to catch me.”

So I admit, I practically glow with satisfaction when I look back on him wobbling in my wake. He blames it on his weight and the length of his paddle. However, I patiently tell him, “Your paddle is fine. It’s the way you use it that counts.”

fullsizeoutput_813

Anyway, my grand dog Mica loves to go cruising on the lake with me. She is at ease, sometimes she stands up, and sometimes she sits down, and then there are times she lays across the bow like the July playmate in a Playdog magazine. She trusts me. She knows I will do my level best to keep us afloat, and so far we’ve done well.

The contemplative nature of steering across the lake has caused me to toss around the notion that the most troublesome of the world leaders should be required to paddleboard. It should happen on a remote lake in the middle of nowhere. They should be instructed to ride together and then switch up partners taking turns at being the paddler, and then being the passenger. It would be a good teambuilding experiment. It might instigate a sense of trust— no rocking the boat on purpose here.

It would an excellent time to remind them of the beauty of our planet, and how well an ecosystem survives when there is little to no manipulation from human kind. Maybe the leaders causing the most damage should heed the words of Mother Teresa, “ If you want to change the world, go home and love your families. (love your people)” Just imagine if everyone stopped throwing spitballs at each other, and went home to hug their family and pet the cat?

Out here on the lake I see no imaginary lines determining countries or property. It looks to be open access for all. On the water we hear the voice of the wind speaking gently to the trees, and the willowing cry of the loons. We see the fish leap and land with a splash causing circles to ripple outwards. The dragon flies glimmer and sparkle in the fading light as they dip and dive consuming mosquitos that would feed on our blood. Out here there is a sense of freedom, and a definite detachment from the over populated parts of the world. As we sweep along on the wrinkles of the lake there is no phone by our hand, and no call to be judged or judge. Our hearts are open and our minds are free as the sun begins to set. Our world is shaded in splendiferous colors and glows offering hope for tomorrow.

fullsizeoutput_815

 

Worry Wart

fullsizeoutput_5d4

Worry is planning for the worst possible outcome. Do you really want to live your life that way?

Is it ever worth it to worry? According to Dictionary.com — worry is to torment oneself with, or suffer from, disturbing thoughts. How terribly accurate.

I agreed to the voluntary affliction of worry when I was six years old. Worrying came as naturally to me as breathing, except with much less benefit. I used to worry all the time. I thought if anything could go wrong it would. I was convinced anything happening out of the ordinary would harm me, or kill me. Or harm those I loved, or kill them. Sometimes I would imagine tripping down the stairs and breaking my neck. Or having my head pop off when I got red-faced angry with my sisters. Or being missile attacked by a high-speed boulder in a rock fight. The list was endless— exhausting.

My Mom called me a worrywart. Attractive right? An anxiety ridden raised bump caused by a virus? Hmmm, I guess I did cause the bump on mom’s body, and if you call a sperm a virus, I guess I could be an accurate representation of a worrywart.

However, it’s a strange phrase Worry Wart. Where did that phrase even come from? Let me enlighten you, it came from a 1956 comic strip character; Worry Wart was the name of a character that instigated worrying in others. He didn’t actually worry. So mom had it all wrong in calling me a Worry Wart. I was a victim of the Worry Wart.

I didn’t enjoy being labelled as a worrier. So I relabelled my tendency. I no longer worry, I simply consider all the possible negative outcomes. I clearly recall my first experience in considering all the possible negative outcomes. Normally my older sister Cheryl and I would arrive home from school about twenty minutes before mom rolled in from work. I had just enough time to crawl up on the kitchen counter, dig through the baking supplies, locate the bag of chocolate chips, and scarf down a few handfuls before mom could catch me in the act. Naturally I paid Cheryl a small portion of my allowance for her silence.

On this particular winter afternoon many, many, many minutes after my healthy after-school snack, mom was MIA. I clearly remember standing on my bed, on my tiptoes, and peering out the window for any sign of my missing caregiver. Suddenly strange thoughts began to form in my mind. I began to imagine mom had a car accident. Or that she slipped on the ice, refused stitches, and bled to death. Or that she was kidnapped, and was being held for ransom for her tiara from her historic beauty pageant. Being little, the minutes seemed like hours. My stomach shook uncomfortably from all the grasshoppers jumping around inside of it. Worry soon has me planning for a future without mom. Tears form as I contemplate dad’s next marriage, and me as the new Cinderella wearing mom’s tiara.

All at once car lights flash in the window. Mom swings into our driveway with our younger sister Shannon in the front seat. She’s travelling without a car seat, or even a seat belt, because that’s how families drove back then.

I suppose mom may have wondered why she got the biggest hug in the world when she stepped through the door, but more than likely she just wanted it to end. She still needed to create supper before my giant dad came home from work. “Fe fi fo fum, give me food for my tum tum tum.”

As it turns out, Mom was late getting home because she had tea with Shannon’s babysitter. All my brainpower had been wasted on worry. On the upside, I may have burnt off a few chocolate chip calories.

These days I’m at the point in my life where I worry very little. It’s undoubtedly because I’m closer to being dead. Now, I mostly take life on as it happens.

‘Worry is like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.’—Wiz Khalifa. That doesn’t sound extremely productive does it? Walking around with a stick that pops out shelter on a perfectly wonderful day? So how about we drop the deadbeat umbrella, and heed the words of Hagrid from J.K. Rowlings, Harry Potter, “What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.” Good idea Hagrid. I agree, life would be far less tormenting if we stopped the process of worshipping our problems with worry. When we succumb to those disturbing thoughts, we are simply reinforcing the idea that we’re not good enough, or strong enough to manage the temporary obstacles which pop up in our lives. We undermine ourselves by worrying.

We deserve more than uncertainty. We can stay positive. We have the power to influence our focus and feelings. We have a fierce inner roar to deal with any unexpected setbacks in our path. We are so bloody capable it’s scary. Now show your grit, bare your teeth, and get your monstrous life on. Grrrr.