Tag Archives: books

Hard things are not easy

I’ve noticed a theme in my reading lately. Over the last three weeks, I’ve read Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs and I’m in the middle of Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

I’ve also read The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, which I wasn’t going to list here because it’s a fictional story about a woman who is dying, not a self-help book. In retrospect, it fits my theme: doing hard things.

Also, over the last three weeks, I’ve been working from home, supporting my children as they do school from home, parenting in the usual way and navigating new parenting rules, keeping up with friends and family, trying to keep space for my marriage and managing my mental health (but not very well). These are hard things. And I thought I was doing OK. I really thought I was doing OK.

Things seemed almost easy. For sure life was different. But I was once told by a therapist that all my stories and everything I’d talked about in therapy led her to the same conclusion: that I was good at adapting to and solving problems.

And this physical distancing COVID-19 thing is simply a problem to be adapted to and solved.

But then my chronic pain flared up, a bad case of hives and additional joint pain jumped on board and proper sleep evaporated. Oh and my body won’t stop buzzing (whether or not a I drink coffee).

So, not doing so well after all.

I haven’t written on the blog for a few days because I’ve been filling my journal with dark thoughts, paranoia and self-defeating lies.

Today, it’s raining. It’s gloomy. The weather kind of matches my mood. It was sunny yesterday and I tried really hard to let the sun in, but it was just.too.damn.hard. I went for a walk, which only made my pain worse. I tried to focus on work and enjoy the sun beams streaming through the windows. No luck there either. The bright and sunny day brought into focus how little time my kids were spending outside and how much time they were spending on their various screens. Which spiraled into a vortex of parenting guilt.

I know, I know. These are different times and we should go easy on ourselves. But boundaries still need to exist otherwise there’s chaos.

Today, I’m giving myself permission not to do the hard things, like fake it ’til I make it. I’m going to be sad and in pain and exhausted. And I’m going to nap and drink water and go for a walk on my treadmill while listening to a podcast I enjoy.

And I’m going to start to heal…again.

(Because books are always a good balm for my agonies, I read a lot. And this past week, the sweetest and most beautiful story that has kept me going is The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. It is so tragic and uplifting and sad and real all wrapped up in a person’s struggle. I really recommend it, but read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry first; also a very good story.)

Global Climate Strike instead of Black Friday

My daughter has been counting the number of Black Friday commercials on the radio every time we get in the car. I don’t know what she’s up to, because I lost track after the first few days of her counting.

She recognized that EVERYTHING was about buying more, getting the best deals, not missing out (media loves to put the FOMO in you). Even when the radio personalities were chatting between songs on their morning shows, they were talking about shopping and buying and what they had bought and the deals they got and what they were going to buy next.

I get it, from a money-making point of view, ads run the show. The radio station has to make money. But I’m sick of it. I’ve stopped listening to the radio unless my daughter is in the car and wants to count Black Friday commercials.

Last week, I started listening to a podcast called 3 Books with Neil Pasricha. There are no ads and Neil talks about books. I’m working my way through the chapters and it’s great. It’s a balm to my crazy days. I think I’ve found my people.

Today is Black Friday. I’m taking my daughter out of school and we’re going to fight for our planet again at the Global Climate Strike in Toronto. A friend of hers is joining us. Because she’ll have her friend to chat with on the way there, I’ll put my earbuds in and listen to another chapter of 3 Books. This will be the tiny, sane part of my day that will keep me grounded out in the world. It will remind me that there are people out there who believe in books and doing things because they love to do them, not because they will make money. And this message, this idea, fills me with hope that people can change, that Black Friday doesn’t have to be a thing, that people might start to see how rampant consumerism is killing our planet.

This morning, I started with writing and meditating. This afternoon, I will listen to a podcast about books and I will raise my voice and my sign at a rally for our planet. This evening, I will hug my family and tell each of them how grateful I am that they are a part of my world, a world that feels like it has gone made, but a world that is worth saving.