when we feel so very sorry

At the top of her concession speech, Hillary Clinton apologized.

“This is not the outcome we wanted or we im-sorryworked so hard for and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.” Hillary Clinton, Nov 9, 2016

It was reported that, in modern history, she is the first presidential candidate to apologize in a concession speech. This is not surprising. As all women, she took the world on her shoulder and felt apologetic for letting people down. I understand. I, for one, am a chronic apologizer.

When I began having a good enough handle on the English language, its many expressions and confusing rules, I gratefully picked up “I’m sorry”. I had found a perfect, short and sweet description of my feelings being in the world. It became so familiar that friends grew annoyed with my constant apologies. While at times, it is a handy catch all phrase, it can be rather unnecessary. In my case, it was more than being a courteous Canadian.

In my short and very unscientific study, men don’t use the three word contracted sentence nearly as much as the opposite gender. Why? Why do women feel sorry so much? Not all women are as liberal with the apology. Some go through life sure of themselves with no real doubt in their abilities. They are a minority.

One morning, sitting with a friend at a small awkward table, I apologized for something I had not cause or had any control over. The friend with whom I was having breakfast confronted me: “Why do you apologize so much?”. In a fleeting moment of vulnerability, the first and only thought crossed my mind: “I’m sorry I exist!”. I have to admit it was the first time I put thoughts together and understood for what I was apologizing. Fear of being an inconvenience. Fear of being “too much”, taking too much space. Fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Fear of taking in too much air. My case may have been extreme but, isn’t there a part in each of us that perhaps feels way?

The mental pressure we put on ourselves is invasive. Between kids, work/school, homework, marriage, relationships, volunteer hours, pets, extended family, holiday preps… (I could go on for an entire blog) there is little brain power left for ourselves. As we get spread thinner, the feelings of accomplishment are few and far between. Then, we begin apologizing for not doing it all or doing it all well. I’m sorry I didn’t buy the right kind of cereal. I’m sorry I don’t have the energy to talk. I’m sorry I can’t meet for drinks. I’m sorry you can’t go to the 3rd birthday party this week end. I’m sorry I cannot meet this deadline. Like Hillary, as much as she hoped to uplift women and finally giving us the ultimate voice, I’m sorry I cannot change the world.

At nearly 35 years old, I am, most of the time, no longer sorry I exist. I try to take some space. I make a point to have my voice heard. In the last couple of weeks, I have met and heard from so many women whose eyes get wet when we discussed what we almost had or at the lingering ache from the punch in the gut. The future seems bleak for women and minorities. As the White House administration gets filled with older white males, it may feel like 1966, not 2016. I find myself angry most of the time and looking for a way to channel the anger into something positive. I want to help. I want to be an active member of society. I want to be heard and seen and I want mine and all the little girls to feel like they CAN exist. I want them to celebrate their existence and NOT apologize for being who they are: humans with super powers.  *Nasty Women*

My pledge: I will try to apologize less. Speak up and speak out for what is right and what feels wrong. For me and for others. Fear cannot get the best of me now. I aim to be a fearless leader so my daughter and sons will know what a privilege is being woman .

Love, Maman M.

When “It’s quite enough work to go on living.”

My heart is shattered. Much like what would have been the historic glass ceiling, had things not gone so wrong on Tuesday night. 

I cannot find the words to write at the moment. Therefore I read other, stronger women who have been able to find their voice. 

Lena Dunham did it. Right here http://www.lennyletter.com/politics/a608/dont-agonize-organize/

Go on, my loves. Let us feel all the feels. 

keeping count

IMG_3511I was too skinny and my mental health was suffering. I had just turned 18 years old. I knew little. I did know there were feelings I had never felt before and I sort of knew they were not what I wanted to be feeling. There were some major transitions coming in the summer of 2000. Two of my best friends were heading West to better their English skills, others were off to cool adventures with family or boyfriends. I was so lost.

When I loaded my life in a few luggage and embarked on that bus, I took 3 or 4 Gravol. I wanted to sleep the entire way to Toronto. Perhaps I did not want to wake up. But I did. I woke up. At Union Station with the content of my life spread around my legs and those of my mind spread across thousands of kilometres.

My children are nowhere near the age where they want to pick up and go on an adventure. In fact one of them claims he will never marry and live with us forever. At this point, I’m ok with that. I however understand how my parents must have felt. I was to be gone only a few months; a year maybe. Today marks my 16th year as an Ontarian.

It is nearly impossible to remember the first feelings. The first few months living in Orangeville with my aunt and trying to figure myself out. I learned the language and was hired by an airline. I worked, made money and began travelling. As time passed, the world opened itself to me and my views broadened with each experience.

I have found it helpful and encouraging to count each additional year since my big move. However, this time around, it doesn’t bring me as much joy. I am not sad or angry, simply indifferent. I am counting the 5 more years before I graduate, which will mean my eldest son will be 13… a teenager. I am counting 2 more years, where I will have lived here as long as I lived in my home town.

The thing is, those year are passing much too fast. The months, weeks, days, hours, minutes… There is always so much to do and not enough time. I want to hug my kids and play in the creek with them. I want to sit outside with my man and talk about our lives and our dreams. I want to spend time with my beloved friends and all the love they share with us. I want to read all the knowledge I can absorb. I want to make space for all the feelings I am digging up working so hard at becoming a psychotherapist and be able to help people some day. I want to write all I feel and think and one day, look back at this amazing life we made for ourselves and let my mind travel through the beautiful memories. All because I did wake up.

I woke up and the sun rose again. Some days are a little darker but one thing for certain, the sun will shine again.

From here on, I’d like to quit counting and revel in the days, bright and dark. Because I know now, after all the diapers and colic and sore nipples and scratched knees and tantrums and soccer  practice and piano and swimming lessons, I am fully and blissfully awake.

Love,

Maman M.

i am fat

You see, I am fat. There are no other way to say it. I am not exactly curvy as standards would have it. I am not voluptuous

fat-catunless my husband is concerned. I am simply FAT. The scale says it. My BMI says it. Everyone one on my Facebook feed says it.

You see, I am studying to become a psychotherapist. Some of my work is a VERY intense training group which makes be dig up all the hidden ghosts in my imaginary closet. The thing about being a psychotherapist is having little to no judgement. AT ALL. Toward others AND toward yourself. FAT CHANCE! Thankfully, I have 3 more years of this work to do.

Let’s get back to the fat. I have been wired to feel that, the fat cells on my body, the ones people see and judge, are like penalty cards to my intelligence. My place in the world and my entitlement. Entitlement to opinions, feelings, bravery, etc. I am FAT therefore, I have less of an impact on others and the world.

In the last few years, I have had a few “free” passes. The last 8 years, I have been either pregnant or nursing. I suffer from a thyroid problem that makes it that much more difficult to lose the baby weight. I am on an anti anxiety/anti depression med that makes me gain weight. WHAT-eh-VER. I AM JUST FAT.

For my body to become smaller, I must starve, have emotional ups and downs, work out until I throw up and live like I am a different person. All because I need to be a certain way so I am seen a certain way!

My weigh and my appearance are a constant reminder that I am worth less than the common human being. People who bullied me had a right. People who didn’t like me were justified. People who looked at me differently were allowed.

My boys are 8 and 6. They know. They know that my stomach, which isn’t quite like the flat stomach of this other mom with 3 kids, isn’t “normal”. HOW. How do my children know and feel like my stomach should be flat and not protrude from the seam of my yoga pants?

Will my little girl know what it feels like to be FAT? Feeling fat is a complete other topic and please visit this article my friend Dawn posted which is brilliant and she is totally freaking gorgeous, inside and out.

Will my girl OR my boys get my genes? Will they feel what it feels like to be FAT. Will I have ingrained enough power and self awareness into them so they know they are magnificent, regardless of size, color, race, gender, etc.

You see, we are not wealthy. We are not wealthy because my main focus is to ensure they know who they are inside. We are not wealthy because I spend, or my guy is willing to invest, 8 plus thousand dollars a year in my self discovery so I can help people one day  love that they are FAT and smart and compassionate and generous and aware.  That the size of their asses has absolutely nothing to do with who they are as people of this world. And we, can do anything and everything. We are worthy or everything and anything: Friends, husbands, children, no children, families, friends, network, communities, faith, God, love. LOVE. LOVE. We are WORTHY of LOVE. ALL THE LOVE. Your size is utterly unrelated to the level of love you’re able to give or entitled to receive. LOVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART. AND LET US BE LOVED.

LOVE,

Maman M.

 

 

 

 

 

that shameful thing

Mindsight_LGI think overall, I am a decent parent. I feed, I love , I clothed, I listen, etc. I question my every move. Each decision, each comment, every little compliment is weighed. Whether before it is verbalized or after. My eldest son’s favourite come back now is “we all say things we don’t mean when we are angry”.

A very important notion in our family is that emotions are allowed, granted and celebrated. Not only the ‘fun’ emotions. All the emotions. If my children are never angry or sad, they will never be happy. However, in spite of how strong an emotion gets, the consequences of our actions live on forever. An insult to a beloved brother or too much talking back to a parent. If it makes the journey from your brain to your tongue and is delivered, it is out there. We must all live with it. Yes, it is physiologically known that when we “flip our lid” (Siegel, 2011, p.27) as Dr. Daniel Siegel explains so well in his book ‘Mindsight’, the brain connections working to regulate emotions don’t exactly fire properly. Still, it has a 99.9% chance of hurting someone we love very much.

So, I preach. I preach kindness and auto regulation. I preach to them, but I mostly preach to myself. Because when I ‘flip my lid’ (Siegel, 2011, p.27) and the ‘limbic lava’ (Siegel, 2011, p.27) starts to boil, I scream. I feel I must put it out there for the whole world to see. I am a screamer. Those sweet babies whom I nursed and cajoled and baked for all these months, they get the worst of my hot blooded self. My  wonderful psychotherapist likes to remind me I have European blood and I am ‘unique’ in certain aspect of personality. However, accepting my failure in keeping cool is oh so difficult. After all the neurons reconnect, I look at their little tiny faces and my heart sinks. I want to cry and hold them tight. I apologize for raising my voice but maman is just so tired and a bit frustrated repeating the same thing 100 times. School has been on for 5 months and when I ask them to get dressed and brush teeth in the morning, they look at me like I have 2 heads and they have never accomplished that task before.

So, I put heavy blame on myself and my ability to raise these little humans. I put more money aside for the therapy they will one day need. I watch from the corner of my eyes all the other mamas dropping off their kids at school and whispering sweet nothing to them. While I get out of the car, weary and filled with guilt because of another morning I didn’t handle with poise and calm. And, I know I am not alone.

There, I said it. This mothering business is difficult. It is a test. When I kiss them in the hall and watch their little backs walking away from me in to a life of their own, I wonder if they are happy and if they remember the apology that came shortly after the loud words. I pray they remember how much they are loved and utterly brilliant beings.

I will try again. Every. Single. Day.

Love,

Maman M.

References
Siegel, Daniel J. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York: Bantam, 2011. Print.

learning to land

Scan 10There are so many elements of my training in becoming a psychotherapist. I attend lectures weekly and lecture seminars monthly. There are the odd days when graduates share their most recent papers on the Oedipal Complex or Winnicott’s concepts. A very important part of this program, which few people understand, is a very intense, 4-year, 440-hour Group Therapy session.

In order to be a therapist and manage to support patients on a daily basis, a clear and profound awareness of self is necessary. Not only to help others, but to maintain sanity and survival. As a first year student, I am learning the ropes. Sharing my trials and tribulations and being able to sit and hold myself while reaching places within I would rather not attend to. Often, others’ sharing is the most enlightening.

Other than Freud’s Psychoanalysis Lexicon’s MANY terms and definitions, psychotherapists employ a jargon of their own. Much like educators or administrators, we develop a language of our own. For the actions of our work carry such meaning, they need terms or expressions. I am quickly learning my way around them. Although cerebrally processing words like “coming in” or “taking it in” and “holding” isn’t too difficult in the context of daily life or group, applying them is another challenge in itself.

This week, I had an epiphany on the word “Land”; to land or landing. Obviously, landing could mean arriving somewhere or at something. In this case, landing grabbed my attention in a way I have always wanted to understand and reach.

I detest conflict. I have difficulty facing a situation which may result in anger toward me. I rather walk away when I notice others heading to an argument, heated or not. I immediately reach flight reaction and fear danger. When faced with adversity, I have a tendency to hide. It is more comfortable to take the blame or pretend than having a needed conversation with someone. My fear of rejection wins. This week’s session shone a very bright, concert worth, light on my issues facing negative feelings and conflicts.

Landing. Making space for emotions, conflicts, etc. Allowing all these to land somewhere allows one to take ownership; to hold these situations in the basket with all the other parts of us.

I have noticed myself become increasingly assertive. The fears associated with speaking on uncomfortable topics or situation are slowly, very slowly dissipating. I have even been able to say “no” at times.

Amazingly, making space for all these things to land some place safe, instead of keeping them in, deeply nestled in my super critical self, has allowed the better parts of me to take more space. Clearer, neater and safer mind.

This is going to be a journey. A winding road I am learning to face. Small steps toward feeling worthy and entitled to those ugly and terrifying confrontations. Because, most times, the outcome is made so much scarier in my mind, than it actually is.

I want to make space for a smooth and bump-less landing of self. To grow to the best and most wholesome self I can offer my future clients. Much work; much work.

With love and hope.

Maman M.