Freedom

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My socks hug my feet as I fold my pant cuffs around my calf and slide my foot into my boot. Every muscle in my legs and hips is pulling. I struggle to lean forward. It is a shame that one needs to exercise to ease this tightness and yet exercising is such a deterrent when I am in so much pain.

Boots are on. Now my snow shoes. Tightening the back of the snow shoes is the most challenging part. The bend is deeper.

As I zip up my winter jacket it pulls tight around the belly. Will I need a new jacket next year? Will I loose weight and be okay? The ski-pants are also too small. I can not do up the top two snaps. Should I look for a larger size on sale this spring? Will I be smaller next year?

All set.

I open the  door and the cool winter air welcomes me first. It is a perfect day. Just cold enough just to be winter. The brightness of snow and sun blinds me. This yard will look and feel so differently in a couple of months. It is amazing really how I can adapt to the space, forgetting about summer completely in this snow, and in summer forgetting the snow.

Snow-shoeing is one of my favourite things to do in winter. I don’t make it out as much anymore since my last little one was born, almost four years ago. My snow shoes have a maximum weight of 170 pounds. That weight seemed so far off to me at the time of purchase. I never thought I would ever be this weight unless I was pregnant. Now I am 175 (ish) pounds.

It is amazing at how often I think of the thinner-version of myself. Like an old friend or family member who has passed away. Sometimes I think I will never see her again. Other times I know I will once I have more freedom in my day.  The weight will just fall off. Will it though? Will it?

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When I am happy I don’t think about food so much. Or at all. For me to be happy I need to do what I want to do. Freedom is really what I want. Today going for two show-shoe walks with my mutt Laisey was something I wanted to feel free to do. With kids on an acreage, far away from anyone else, it seems hard to get outside. Most of my household is gone for about 12 hours a day.

The snow comes down here on the Saskatchewan prairies as I write this. With the struggle physically and the lack of opportunity, I hope tomorrow I will have the freedom to choose to snowshoe again.

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Old Age

Old age appeared like a puff of grey smoke. She thought I wasn’t paying attention. Indeed I was not paying her much attention. I was nursing my baby Fira in the dark and strategically holding a cellphone, watching Netflix, so I wouldn’t disturb her with the light. The show was on mute but I was engrossed, ignoring my senses.

Old Age poked her head in, slid in. At first she was meek and shy moving about. It reminds me of when you open your friends door to her house and call out. No one answers but you walk in anyway checking each room to see if your friend is there, seeing how she has decorated and adorned each room.  This is Old Age. She spent the early days investigating the new space. Seeing what I have done with the place.

Three years later she has made herself comfortable on the couch. I think Old Age is in pajamas. Hanging out. Waiting to get called into action. She is leaving dishes around the place, not vacuuming or picking up her things. It is getting a bit annoying. I have not asked her to clean up. I pretend she isn’t there right now. Soon though. We need to talk and take action.  Her presence reminds me that things are going to change soon.

Happy Birthday

It is dark. My eyes have no need to open yet but I know it is dark. I hear Craig’s light breathing. He is still in bed so it is before 6:30 a.m. Today is my birthday. I don’t want to be aware today. I want to keep myself separate from the day. I will acknowledge happy birthday greetings but I don’t want it to stop me. Today feels like a day that could stop me. Cake and happy birthday songs seem like a halt in my energy. I need to keep moving. This is a strange thing to say because I don’t feel I have being physically moving very much at all. Some part of me must be, because I feel I don’t want to stop.

My cell phone is resting beneath my shoulders, tucked between my mattress and the frame of the bed. I reach for it and check messages. A few happy birthday greetings already via Facebook and some private messages.

The temperature, minus 22 degrees Celsius. I seem happy to see 22° on the 22nd of February. I feel it’s a good omen for all these twos on my 42nd birthday.

I feel the need to get up. I roll over. My shoulder and lower back and neck resisting the movement. I push myself up, my body pinches and a quick flash of pain spans my body. I walk to the door, feeling for the softness of my pale pink housecoat I wrap it around me and feel an instant soft warmth.

Quietly I open the door and slip out into the Hall closing the door behind me. The bathroom with the scale is just the next door down but as I slowly walk there my thighs rub against each other and I am caught off guard by how uncomfortable it is. They are rubbing into each other so deeply. What pain. I must walk with my legs apart. This is new. They have been rubbing together for a long time causing me to wear pants all the time but this is worse.  This is much worse.

Today I’m going to weigh myself. It feels like a beginning. A begining where I try to care. Where I try to take action on my life. I want to know how I’m beginning this year. I go pee and pull out the scale.

Weight is 172lbs.

Waist is 39 in.

Hips are 41 in.

Chest is 37 in.

While I measure my head is still seeing the number 172. I’m a 172 lbs! I can’t believe it. I never thought I would ever be this heavy unless I was pregnant.

Today’s the day I begin my journey. I need to get healthy again. I need to find my strength. I am so internally lazy that I don’t even care about my weight or pick up a pen laying on the floor. I ignore it all.  Today is the day. It is time to take control of my life. Kettlebells and yoga. Here I come. I miss thin me. I miss the me that could move and not be in pain. I miss the me that coloured on my father’s bald head. I miss the me that was spontaneous, fashionable, fun. It is time for me to find these versions of me and bring them back.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” – Kurt Cobain

I need to celebrate who I am. I came to this version of me for a reason but it is now time to go home. This is my journey home. What lays unconscious in my mind is that I have been gone from home for a long time, almost three years. Some things may be different.

K, how is this? Its rough.

Since 2am I have watched 1.5 hours of How I Met Your Mother episodes. All of which I have seen already. Plus, I have stuffed myself so full of food that I feel very ill right now. Here is my attempt at writing. Nervous …

I grab my shake and bags and get out of the car. I walk to the back door and pull it open. As I step inside Marina comes out of the coffee-room with a coffee and a warm smile. 

“Hey, How are you?” I ask.

“Awesome” she replies with a smile. I knew that was going to be her response. I ask just to hear her say it cause it makes me glow a bit inside. “We have an issue with the welding program.” she says. And so my day begins. I have not even finished my breakfast or taken off my coat and I am at work. 

Despite an hours drive to work, straight highway, I could not finish my breakfast because I was too afraid of wildlife while I drove in the dark. It is February. The only light I can count on is from the full moon. 

Marina and I walk to my office and continue our chat. We chat as I hang up my coat and turn on my computer. We have a possible solution and then just as we are finishing up someone else is at my door with an issue. And so goes my day. Putting out fires. 

I use my lunch hour to catch up on emails. Fires there too. Someone comes to my door and I say that if it is not due in the next 30 minutes I can’t deal with it right now. My mid afternoon I start my lunch and sneak off to the Co-op down the alley for a chocolate bar mid afternoon.  

By the time I drive home it is 5:30. I walk in the door and holler for Sherese to come up so I can take her to guitar lessons. We pile in the car and off we go. As I wait for her lesson I am on my phone responding to work emails. Then back home. 

Three hours on the road today. Exhausted. Finally we can start eating supper at 8pm. Forget it. Teela needs me. I sit and nurse her and then try to prep something for supper for tomorrow as well as clean up a bit. My family sits and watches TV. I have two laptops going and one TV on the main floor. Teela is running in circles around our bungalow. It is noisy and I am annoyed I am alone in getting everything done. I am annoyed that I have to ask for help. I am annoyed that everyone is oblivious. It took me 6 hours to eat my breakfast and 4 hours to eat my lunch. Supper wasn’t until 8pm and I didn’t even get to eat it while it was hot cause I had to nurse. Now I am the only one cleaning and cooking for tomorrow while everyone gets to relax. Oh, lets not forget that I just spent three hours driving today. 

I can’t keep this up.

K, this is rough. I don’t like it but I do feel I broke the seal. It makes me think of how I have already written this scene three years ago and which approach is better. I will regret posting this but I am going to anyway. Don’t judge me. I know I can do better.

Memory Burst

Memories come in bursts sometimes. I wonders if they are trying to push their way out and just waiting for an opportunity for you to stop thinking, just for a second, so they could come forth.

I am in the midst of washing sunshine yellow walls, something the previous owners left and we have lived with it for five and a half years. As I wash a memory breaks through the confines of my self-conscious.

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There is a wooden structure in front of me. It is the two sides of a triangle with the front missing so we can sit in there and have our picnic out of the rain or out of the hot sun if we choose. I can feel, just for one millisecond the air and the breeze. Mostly this flash is about the building. I know where I am when I see that building – Round Lake, Saskatchewan. I am in ‘bear country’ as my mom calls it. This is where my mom grew up and where my parents met.

My mom's mom

My mom’s mom

Moving from my hunched up washing position I stand up and think about what just jumped out at me. I tell myself to file it away to reflect on it later, and go back to work. Only I think about this structure and am curious about why this memory would pop out now and what the significance is of this wooden structure.

Actually, I feel, I don’t think.

This building makes me feel warm. Weiner roasts and my family all together by the water’s edge. My parents relaxed. The lake is quite. There isn’t a beach. You come for the scenery – forest all around you. I have been in forest before. This forest feels different but I can not put why I feel that way into words. Maybe it is because it is my forest. My family has a history with it. I don’t know.

Round Lake is a special place to me. It is a quiet lake. There is a small army base just down from where the campground is. Although I have never seen anyone there and have ever heard the faintest of noise from them. That is the height of activity.

The water is usually so green with algae that no one has ever gone in it. I have never heard of anyone fishing in it either. People have told me on occasion that they have seen it clear. For that is why you walk to the water – too see how bad it is:)

No matter, my mom grew up three kilometers down the road. She has told me stories of how as a young woman she would bring the cows there for water, even in winter, smashing a hole in the ice for them to take a drink.

There are stories of bears. Hunting bears, bear cubs living in their yard, my uncles walking up to bears. Bears. Bears. Bears. So many nature stories. My mom’s brothers and father were big hunters. They hunted bears, rabbits, beavers and muskrats. Funny, now that I think about it, I don’t recall ever hearing them hunt deer or geese which is so common now.

Mom with Dead Beaver

My mom snuggling a kitten with a dead animal on the hood of the car.

My parents met there. While their story ended in divorce their meeting was romantic. My dad had bought land close to the lake campground and was clearing it. My mom would walk the road leading to the lake, picking berries from the shrubs that lined a forest on the opposite side of the farm land. I imagine the berries, a hot summer day, the forest, a young man working hard in the field … They would look at each other, infatuation striking them. Alas, courting would begin.

Mom at her farm

Mom with her horses.

As a child we went there a couple of times. We only camped there once and had an amazing time. My mom and I went there about ten years ago for a trip down memory lane. She wanted to see her old house. It is long gone now and she admits it felt strange to not be able to even walk in the yard. It still felt like it was hers.

Mom and I at Round Lake, Saskatchewan.

Mom and I at Round Lake, Saskatchewan.

Reflecting on the memory flash made me realize how much I care about Round Lake. It isn’t that I have any direct childhood memories but I have lived through my mom’s I suppose. She has so many stories to tell of growing up there. Most are sad and troublesome but they reflect her life. I guess I am attracted to the woman who grew up there. She loved animals and nature, she ran with the wind, she was carefree. Now she is dependent on others opinions of herself, full of vanity, and status. She is so far from nature.  Maybe I hold onto her past for her?

I have digressed. What is my point here?

  1. pay attention to your memories
  2. don’t rationalize your memory bursts but feel them
  3. write about them over and over again until you get all that you need to get out of them

Why the memory of Round Lake would jump out of my subconscious while washing yellow walls I do not know. The fact that my memory was of a building, just a building, shows how little I have of the place on my own accord. My attachment is through my mother. I am thankful for the memory burst as it gave me an opportunity to explore this side of myself. I have often thought of this place, wanting to take my kids there, my nieces and nephews, show them where my mom grew up and where her and dad met. Try and paint the picture for them. I am very attached to my roots.

Care to share any of your memory bursts?

NOTE: Round Lake is the epitome of nature. I tried to google Round Lake to get an image for you but came up with a different Round Lake. If you google-map-it ask for directions from Greenwater Lake to Round Lake. Then you will get the right one. No cottages here.) 

NOTE: I have spent hours writing this post. It has taken me about a week piddling at it every day. Not quite sure what I want to say and exploring it like crazy. These type of posts frustrate me the most. All I had to go on is this darn building and why it is so significant to me. But this memory burst allowed me to really explore my feelings and attachment to this place as well as my relationship with my mother. I still don’t feel done with it. Funny how small things are the hinges to the universe. I urge you to write even when it seems like there is nothing there. You get these bursts for a reason:)