A Bit of Sunlight – The TradeShow

[When I left Carlton Trail Regional College to unknowingly drop myself into a state of burnout, my plan was to start a local garden market store.  As time went on in the planning of it I started to loose interest.  I became more attracted to the idea of shopping in it rather than actually running it.  Really, it was a bit of me longing for the small town feel I grew up with in Rose Valley.]

I stand and stare at my small little table and everything around it that I was going to use to promote my store. There is no space. I give up. I smile. What can I do? Everyone is bustling around hobnobbing.  I might as well join in the fun, accept where I am at and go with it. As I am trying to set up, people are stopping to talk to me. I realize I am feeling ecstatic the more people chat with me. They are not talking about the store, just introducing themselves or introducing me to other people.

I am surprised to realize that I know a lot of people here. I am socializing, supporting, and sharing with other tables. As I move around the hallway chatting with people my skirt twirls and I almost feel as though I am dancing. I feel as light as the air around my skirt as I twirl and visit with everyone. When did I meet all these people? I feel as if I belong to this community. There is so much positive energy. I feel radiant.

What is it about everything here that causes these feelings of joy? Belonging? Connection? Everyone supporting everyone? It is a night where everyone has open arms.

I don’t receive enough support regarding the store but I am o.kay with it. Actually, I feel a bit relieved. Now I can back out gracefully. It is done. I can put this baby to bed and move on.

Things are shifting. I wish I knew what those things were.

A Bit of Sunlight – The Living Dead

I am heading to my in-laws cabin today.  It is in the middle of no-where so I will not be able to post my regular Sunlight post on Sunday so I thought I would do it now.  Plus, it seems a little depressing for a Sunday post.  

Here I am at the age of thirty-four and I am the living dead. I am in the bathroom. I am not sure how long I have been on the toilet or how many times I have wiped myself. I seem to keep slowly coming to the realization that I am done peeing and I reach for the toilet paper only to feel like I have done this already, and then I drift off again. How many times have I done this? I don’t search for an answer. I get up, flush and move on with my day; to lay on the floor in the living room.

I followed the path laid out to me. The path that others were on. The path that society told me to follow: I went to school; I got an education; I found a job; I got married; I bought a house; I had a baby; Then why did all of these perfect steps lead me to the carpet, struggling for each breath and feeling lost and without purpose?

I have been telling my husband when we go to bed at night that I am not sure why I am alive. I am so sad that I can not move during the day. I feel guilt for laying here but I can not get up and do anything meaningful.

“I don’t like you talking that way,” he would reply. It sounds like he is scolding me for feeling this way. His tone is sharp. He mentions to me that I should see someone, a counsellor or therapist. His work will cover the cost.

He comes home one day and tells me quietly, when Teela and I are in the sunporch finishing supper, “There are a lot of people here that need you and love you.”

I know he is talking about him and the girls but all I can think is that living for them is not enough. I have been living for them for so long and I don’t want to anymore. It is exhausting and draining me to my core.

It isn’t that I don’t love them. I do. I really do. But I have nothing more to give them. I can not cook supper for them. I can not pay attention to the words they say to me and the questions they ask of me. All I am is a shadow. If I give them much more of myself I will disappear. I don’t care about anything except for an answer as to why I am forced to get up and live this hell every day.

A Bit of Sunlight – Unhappiness

Teela is back in daycare and Craig’s stress over money is overwhelming. I need to find a job. I got away with not looking for work the first week and half that we were back from PEI due to the daycare being closed for holidays. Now I have no excuses. I am not contributing financially and my husband reminds me of that every day. Not just in words. He doesn’t seem me as a person anymore. I feel like an object that is not longer fulfilling its function.

I feel nauseous simply looking online for work. When I do feel strong enough to keep the laptop open and stare at the web page, I do not feel qualified for the jobs posted. Or I simply don’t want to do that type of work. Some jobs even say that it is a ‘demanding’ or ‘busy work environment’. That is not a sales pitch to me. Those jobs are for the young ambitious folk. I had that job. A perfect job. With perfect people. I didn’t quit it to find something just as stressful, or more so, closer to home.

I do not want to do anything that is posted. I feel sick to my stomach. I close the laptop and go lay on the floor. I find I am laying on the floor a lot lately. Craig doesn’t approve of my laziness and not taking responsibility for my family financially. He sends me questioning eyes and body gestures that I translate into pressure and guilt. Yet, I can not get up. The guilt he gives me is not strong enough to make me move. Something else keeps me here.

I am done with life. There is nothing here for me. I love my children. I love my husband but I have no purpose. I do not know what I should do. Why did God put me on this earth? What purpose do I serve? Am I to be a rag doll for my family to throw wherever they need me?

I feel there is something amazing, something grand in me, and it can not get out. It doesn’t know how to get out. It can not find the door. It is dark and cold, and a smell of fear and sadness is all around me. So I lay still. I lay on the floor and wait. I wait. Each time I lay there waiting and find myself struggling to breathe.

My breathing is shallow and each breath is such an effort. I think, this is surely the time that God will take me. Yet each time I catch my breath. If He won’t let me go then what do I do? Why? I can not stand this pain. I can not withhold the pressure on my chest. It is suffocating me.

Perhaps my life had been more numb than I was aware of. I experienced joy being in PEI and now, when I return to my real life, the unhappiness is like a brick thrown in my face. My heart aches for the life I had in PEI and it is pounding and squeezing my lungs and heart to get out and go back. The experience of joy, after not having it for so long, makes real life unbearable. Ignorance is bliss? I went from sun to darkness in a second. I am trapped in a dark container with no view to the outside world.

My Saskatchewan Heart

I do not like my surroundings; Saskatchewan seems depressing to me. Feeling and thinking this way bothers me. I have always loved to look at the flowing wheat and barley in the endless fields as I drove. The golden fields would be interrupted by yellow canola flowers and purple flax – so many colours. I have always loved Saskatchewan’s beauty. I thought that enjoying a prairie lake would revive the Saskatchewan heart that beats in me. Instead I find myself crying. 

          – Excerpt from Sunlight, Wakaw Beach Chapter

 In Sunlight I wrote about my struggles with my Saskatchewan heart.  Since Sunlight I have recovered it and have come to realize that there are others out there with a Saskatchewan Heart but it is different than mine.

Despite me living on an acreage which looks like a farm because we just bought the yard but are surrounded by fields, I am actually a small town girl.  As a child I loved biking down town or cutting through some paths accross the tracks to rent a movie.  Dances in a small town are amazing.  The whole family attends, bar is open and if you live in a town you can walk home afterwards.  I was never much of a drinker so I never much benefited from the walk home for that reason.

Teela dancing at my hometown’s reunion last summer. My older girls are behind her and to the right.

My friends in town would come and knock on my window in the night and I would “sneak out” to go for a walk with them at some crazy hour in the night.  I never really “sneaked out”.  We lived in a very small house which I often refer to in foundness as a shack.  There was only one door in the house and you had to walk through the living room and kitchen to get outside.  So there was no sneaking past dad.  Unless he was in the washroom.

Childhood Home

This is my childhood home as of last year. It has been abandoned for the last 8 years. Sadly that hasn’t changed its appearance much. I have great memories growing up here though.

There are town kids and there are farm kids.  I think being a farm kid had more prestige in my class or school but to me it was all a matter of perspective.  It kind of reminds me now of the story “Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss.  Some Sneetches had stars on their bellies and others did not.  There was  a lot of segretation due to these stars just as there was some segregation if you lived in town or not.

My childhood yard. We had an amazing fort in the back of those trees.

This leads to the idea of their being different types of Saskatchewan hearts out there.  If kids grew up on the farm they have more of an attachment to the farm, to openness, and perhaps even the earth.  That is not to say us town kids were not attracted to these things but it was different.  We biked out of town to find them and the country kids had it right outside their door.

My father-in-law has the heart of a prairie boy.  He is a hunter and simply loves to be outside with earth.  Building, tending honeybees, gardening, seeking out people who have fresh eggs or farm meat.  He is resourceful and innovative.  He is always inventing and designing.  He is a farm boy.  Farm boys is another type of Saskatchewan heart.

Last night I attended my daughters year-end celebrations for pre-k.  One little guy up there won an award for being the first bullriding cowboy.  Everyday this boy wore cowboy hat and boots to match plus one glove cause he was that is what bull riders do.  It runs through his blood.  His parents won’t be able to shake him from it even if they tried.  Which I don’t think they will.

(My Teela won the award for Littlest Princess.  She is everyone’s friend and kind.  Plus she wears dresses all the time and fancies herself a princess)

Oh, there is more types out there.  I am sure there is a blending of them all or parts and pieces of a few.  If you ever hear someone say they have a prairie heart just ask them what they love about it.  It might be hard to put into words.  It is like asking us how our DNA feels.