14 sucks… aka Teenagers Love Yourself… aka A letter for my Niece

Ahhh…. fourteen… Grade 9 baby.  Such a hard and challenging time.  You were just FINALLY the top of the heap at school, and now you are at the very bottom again… and this time at highschool, someplace scary and challenging on a good day.  Fourteen’s also this weird time where you have really cut ties with all things kid even though there are still pangs for that carefree-ness… but you are still too young in the teenage years to really have anyone look at you like you are close to being an adult – and that is what you really really want… to feel like an adult.  This is the period of reinvention for so many… but reinventing what… who they are?  Who they want to be?  Who they think they have been?  Who they have always been seen as?

In your head you are soooo there… you and your friends really talk like you are there…. the rest of the “so-called adults” just don’t get it…  This head-space is where one of favourite people… my beautiful (even if she doesn’t see it) niece is living.

Fourteen… all the teen years really, they are defined in many ways by friends… the friends you make… the friends you keep and lose along the way.  The friends that drift away, but come back again.  Friends help us find ourselves in ways that you can’t see until you are well past your age and looking back on it.  Distance is such a wonderful thing because it give perspective to all the things that feel so big you can’t see past them at the time.  

Friends can also the be the one thing that stop is from seeing who we are sometimes.  The mirror that is held up to us with who they need us to be can be overwhelming… so easy to accept… so easy to fall into…  but at times distorted.  The mirror has to be held by someone that sees you for you, and not for the person they need of you.  Are you really seeing your reflection, or their needs in that mirror?  Is that a healthy mirror?

In Hamlet Shakespeare wrote the famous line “to thine own self be true”…  and adults continuously say that to kids in hopes of helping them not cave to peer pressure.  I have watched this girl grow up and change and struggle and do all she can to be here, and I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is – how do you do this when you have NO idea who you are yet?

Let me start by telling you what I see….  what we all see. 

You are FIERCE – You are BRAVE.  There is so much inside that leaves scars and hurt that no one can ever really understand , but we really want to.  You stand tall and proud, even when you don’t want to.  You have built all kinds of safety layers to protect yourself out of necessity.  You have your own ways to test people, to hold them at bay…  just know more than anything we want to just love you while you accept those scars and find your own path to healing.  When you feel sore and achy, alone in what you carry, remember this – We see you.  We always see you, even when you want to hide, and that will never change.  You aren’t alone even when you push us away. 

You are an ARTIST.  Sometimes I am sure this may feel like a weight of it’s own…  Artists are a different type of soul.  You see the world in a different way, and you can translate that to paper, make it visual in a way others can’t.  But this can lead to a rawness and even a vulnerability that you may not want to share.  Always remember that your artistry is your gift and you can share it how and when, and with whomever you choose.  But it is also a means of healing and letting some of what you carry on your youthful shoulders out.  Think of it as a means to unburden yourself at times.  

You are a SISTER/DAUGHTER/COUSIN/NIECE.  You have a family… a very large family full of flawed people (because we all are flawed and scarred in our own ways) also trying to figure out the world as well.  But the best part of this, family means LOVE.  It can be hard to understand, hard to see, hard to accept at times, but it’s there.  In the way your mom talks to you… in the way your sister laughs with you… in the way that your cousins hug you… LOVE

 

You are an INDIVIDUAL.  The most complicated piece of all… What the heck does this mean?

Let me tell you…. you set your own rules for your heart and your feelings.  You get to decide who you want to share this with.  But you also get to decide if they get to keep the rights to reside there, or if it is time to revoke their membership.  And that is power.  It’s a power no one can take away from you, and that can scare people.  

See… people like to feel like they have control all the time.  But no one can, should, or want to control another person’s heart or feelings.  When you take control of that for you, it makes other people realize that you can’t be theirs to do as they please with at will.  Remember this….  it can be so HARD to flex this “muscle” and to assert this kind of strength, but it is so healthy to do it.  

So what am I really saying… “OMG… Auntie A… get to the point”… I am getting there, I promise.

In your heart and head you are the person you are meant to be and going to be; you are just getting to know that person.  Even better, you don’t have to be who anyone else wants or needs you to be.  Every morning all you need to do is wake up and be the person who makes you happy… who you feel in your heart , who feels comfortable in your skin at that moment.  And it may not always be the same… it can change, but they are all you.  And if you can learn this… embrace this… and just get to know who makes you feel whole inside, then my dear, at that moment, to thine own self you are being true. 

 

 

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A letter to my Mom… aka A letter of Forgiveness… aka Things you Learn when you grow.

Dear Mommy,

I am still calling her mommy because that is what she was to me when she died just 3 weeks before my 8th birthday.

My mom was manic depressive… something I never really never knew or understood as a kid.  What did I know… I knew she got very, very sad – a lot.  I knew that she cried easily and laughed so much harder even more.  She was loud and brave and filled a room with her huge personality.  At 7 everything about her seemed bigger and more glamourous than it likely was… Then she would crash… farther and harder than a child can ever really understand.  She slept, she cried, she was angry… but she loved me fiercely.

My mom lost her long fight with manic depression 30 years ago… That anniversary alone was enough to bring this all up for me, but aside from that, my baby girl is in grade 2 this year.  She is at exactly the same place in her life as I was when I lost my mom… was I that small.

Mommy, I remember feeling so big and grown up at that point… I remember you were sad and I was trying to be quiet and extra good.  I remember you coming in to tell me you were going away for a few days to see Grandpa, and that you loved me so very much.  I remember you hugging me so tight, and and kissing my cheeks in that way that only a mom can.  I remember loving you so very much – and not realizing that you were really saying good bye to me.

That was a Sunday.  I remember that week coming home from school on Wednesday and Uncle Gary picking me up instead of Granny.  this was weird because she always came to get me Wednesday’s – that was curling night.  I remember there were so many people at home – I remember Dad and Ann sitting me down to talk.  I thought Grandpa had died… you were still up North taking care of things.

I was wrong.

You were gone.  I couldn’t understand… I couldn’t think… I couldn’t feel.

I didn’t know then what I do now.  You didn’t have cancer, which at the tender age of 7 was the only reason “not old” people died that I knew of.  You lost your long battle… you didn’t have it in you to fight anymore.  You had committed suicide.

I remember Dad was so sad, and so very angry.  I think sometimes he still it.  I don’t think he knows how to forgive you.  I don’t think he can let go of the anger… But I can, and I have.

Mommy, you loved me.  You made me feel loved every day of my life.  In almost 8 years the memories were so bright and full of life that 30 years later they are still vivid and alive in my heart.  You took me to the cottage and we hiked in the woods.  You took me on a plane for the first time to Disney World, and posed for pictures with me and Minnie Mouse.  You bought us terribly wonderful matching 80’s outfits.  You made me feel love.  You made me want to be brave.  You made me want to be fearless.

Fearless… the word that people still use to describe you.  The only thing its seems that scared you, the only thing that you couldn’t conquer, that beat you, was your own mind.

Mental Illness was such a taboo then… it still is. I have had my own battles… but I am winning.  I can never judge what you went through.  I can never judge what you were up against.  I feel so broken and alone sometimes.  I feel so dark and scared, but I am still a lot like you, and I am brave and I am tough, and in your honour, I will never lose.

Mommy, I miss you.  I love you still, and I think of you all the time.  I know you are always with me.  I know you would love and welcome the mom that got to raise me in your place, and ensures your grandbabies know the true love of a Grandma hug and kisses.

Mommy I forgive you for leaving me.  I know it wasn’t your fault.  I know you didn’t have another path and that’s ok.  I understand so much more in life now.  I know this wasn’t a choice you made.  I know your death was not a reflection of weakness, but of sadness.  A deep sadness that you couldn’t bear anymore.  A sadness so overwhelming you saw no other path.  A sadness so deep you felt alone.

You didn’t choose to leave.  You didn’t want to leave.  I know this.  You were sick, and you had as much choice in what happened as anyone else that has left their family behind too soon.  In your memory, I will fight everyday.  I will be strong everyday.  I will hug and kiss my babies and full their life with nature and love.  I will be the woman I hope you foresaw when you kissed me goodbye the last time.

With a love always,

~amky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter for all the Mom’s… the low down dirty truth

For the longest time I was not a fan of blogging… and to be honest I would get annoyed by those people that I saw out and about that had to stop and take a pic and blog or post or make sure that the moment was captured, documented and shared with the world… Was all this for their own memory bank later, or was this just a way to validate the moment and have the “like” it to make it real to them.

Then I had kids… it is still amazing to me how no matter how many times you hear kids change everything, you don’t really realize it’s EVERYTHING until every day that passes.  After my daughter was born I discovered bloggers, really good ones, that were just writing about their life in a way to make others know that they had the same problems, same experiences, and wanted to sometimes duct tape their amazing wonderful little monsters to the wall for 10 minutes of peace and quiet as well.  I was in love and inspired.

After that I read a post from my favourite blogger where she shared some of the dark moments of early mommyhood that no one wants to talk about. 

Why is that? 

Why are we so determined to capture, crop, edit, filter and then share the seemingly “perfect” moment, but we hide the real ones?

We keep those moments, the ones that can make others feel less alone, less afraid, less ashamed of themselves and hide them, bury them really, deep down inside.  Sharing is  SO hard, I get that.  Sharing something that maybe you are ashamed of yourself (when you shouldn’t be!) is even harder.  But then I look around at all the people that are begging to not feel alone in their experiences.  I think of how alone I felt after my first miscarriage, until someone took my hand and told me I wasn’t.  I want to be that hand for someone else.  I am willing to share it all with you, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the stuff I buried way down deep.  Or as I call it “The Low Down and Dirty”… to be continued…

~amky

 

For My Husband… thank you for loving the crazy!

Dear Hubs,

It was Bell Let’s Talk Day last week, and it made me think of you… made me think of us… made me so F***ing grateful we found each other and have held on tight for all these years.  So being the emo, sentimental schmoop I can be, I wrote this for you.

Love you always, hopefully the way I think of you can remind others of the way they love and are loved.

~ amky

What do you do when you are tired?

When you are tired of the fight?

When you are tired of being brave?

When your soul is tired;

How do you go on?

Do you see me?

Do you see all of me?

Do you see beyond the smile?

Do you see what’s in my eyes?

Do you see all that is hidden;

The weariness inside?

Can you hold me when I sleep?

Can you always cheer me on?

Can you lift me up?

Can you light the dark?

Can your soul comfort mine;

When the night is so long?

Yes.

The heart that beats with mine.

The lungs giving life and air to me.

The arms that carry me, hold me, protect me.

The mouth speaking words, words I sometimes forget to say.

The eyes that see me, see all of me,

Even when I look away.

The soul that reaches out, sings, whispers

Songs and words I can’t forget;

For you, always, I am here.

 

 

 

 

What am I Doing? Letter to Myself

Dear  Me… and whoever else is reading this.

What the f*** am I doing?  Wait I know… I am trying to work full time, parent my awesome kids that I know are trying to slow kill me or assert dominance – is there really a difference – and try to keep my marriage breathing and thriving.  Not too much on my plate… HAH!

Thank goodness I am not actually alone in all this.  I have a group of super hero friends.  We can call them the Wine Squad! Why a pseudonym for a group of friends you ask,  especially since this is a letter to “me”… because while I have proven lately that I am ok putting myself out there, it’s not for me to do that to them.  So they will remain the Wine Squad for now.

Back to my point… did I have a point?  Oh yes, so I am trying really hard to keep my head above water.  This has been so much harder lately, but that could just be because my back is F***ED to high hell, and that makes treading water uber easy,  (if you can’t joke about the stress it makes this motherhood thing SO much harder).

The hubs asks me jokingly multiple times a day, “why did we have kids”… then they do something like hug you with hot sweaty hands on the back of your neck, tell a joke that only someone with your messed up sense of humour would understand, say “I love you” or just smile; then there it is.  There is reason.  To see your heart live outside you, and your lungs take air from  beyond your own body.

So really, what is my point here…?  To be honest, it’s to vent it out and remind myself, and whoever else that none of us are alone.  We are part of such a huge community, and we can all be there, just to put out our truths so someone else can read it and not feel alone either.

Can I promise to be the funniest thing you’ll read – no at all.  Never actually if you believe the hub

Can I promise to share it all, put it out there even when TMI – for sure.  Because for me I have learned that keeping it in will solely poison me, and make asserting dominance for the wee ones so much easier.

So here’s to truth, and not feeling alone… Cheers to me, and no one, and everyone!

~amky