cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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Finding My Religion (with apologies to REM)

**THIS IS NOT A ‘RELIGIOUS’ BLOG**

I grew up in a non-religious home.  We never went to church and when I asked my parents about it when I was in my 20’s, they told me that it was up to me to decide who, when, how and what I wanted to worship.  Oh, um…okay.  I also remember taking a course on Tibetan Buddhism and my mother warned me ‘not to tell my father’ – which indicated to me, that they considered themselves Christians, but just didn’t admit to it.

As a kid, I would occasionally go to Sunday school with a friend of mine – she belonged to an Anglican church and yeah, I lost interest pretty quickly.  Then, a few years later, another friend came along and her family were devout members of a Pentecostal church and I think I might have gone once and well, that was some scary shit, right there.  Yikes.  All that yelling and weeping and wailing and flailing of arms – uh, no thanks.

So, I was sort of left to my own to decide what I believed in.  Hmm.  Good question.

I never put much thought into it, to be honest.  I just assumed there was God and Jesus and for the most part – what I learned about religion was based on Jesus Christ Superstar (I still freakin’ love that movie).

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About 15 years ago, my family all went to see the Passion Play in the badlands of Alberta.  I wanted to go because it was set outdoors and it was supposed to be quite spectacular – and indeed, it was (if anyone is interested, here is the website:  http://canadianpassionplay.com/).  I laughed, I cried, I was moved – it was I suppose, a religious experience.  I’ve been back once since then, and I’d go see it again in a heartbeat.  It’s an amazing story.  I also remember my sister and I having a heated discussion on the way there – I asked her about her beliefs and she declared herself an Athiest and I couldn’t figure out why the hell she’d want to go see the story of Christ.  Ah, good times.

I plodded along, not paying much particular attention.  I’d go to church for weddings and funerals, but that was about it.  I have very good friends that are Ukrainian Orthodox and the inside of their church is simply beautiful and steeped in tradition.  I was in Paris a few years ago, and two of my favourite places were the insides of Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur.  They were awe inspiring and immensely beautiful in their design and age.

It wasn’t really until after my father died that I started wondering.  I look back now, and I think it was because I of course, was questioning ‘life after death’ and the idea of heaven and all those things that one thinks about upon the death of a loved one.  Was I mad at God?  Well, I was mad, but I realized it wasn’t at God, because I didn’t BELIEVE in God.  Huh…well isn’t THAT interesting.  I realized that I had a spiritual sense – rather – I believed in the spirit of the universe and that we are all energy and connected.  Did I believe in Christ?  Well, I think he was a stand-up guy; he was principled and preached the words of love and kindness.  Did I believe he was the ‘Son of God’?  No.

So, the past several years, I have found a sense of comfort, if you will, in putting my faith into the universe and knowing that everything happens for a reason…if I didn’t have that, I think I’d be in a much different frame of mind (and not in a good way).  When something goes wrong, I get upset, angry (insert emotion here) – but through it, I try to remind myself that it’s the universe’s way of telling me it isn’t the right time, right thing, right person – whatever the case may be.  That helped me through the agonizing grief I had after my father died and a number of other life altering things that have been thrown at me.  Don’t get me wrong – I get good and mad and weepy when something happens – but it’s that little voice telling me to be patient.  Whatever it is that I need, will come to me in its’ own sweet time.

Fast forward to this past week:  I have been invited to join the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.  Wow, really?  Me?  Huh.  So, I did some research and it’s an amazing Order that basically supports those who are sick or poor and can’t help themselves (I paraphrase).  That’s something I could certainly get behind!  It’s an Order that dates back to the Crusades…er…wait a minute…that’s ‘Christian talk’ – and I don’t consider myself a Christian.  Would joining the Order go against my own beliefs, also – would my lack of Christian beliefs offend those already in it?  I had to give this some serious thought.

I spoke with the woman who nominated me and she has assured me that my lack of Christian beliefs were nothing to worry about – the Order requires that one lives ‘by Christian values’ (and by that, I’m assuming they mean the ‘good’ Christian values, not the bad ones – because, there are some of those).  I researched the organization and came across this:  Notwithstanding the order’s devotion to Christian ideals of charity and its official position that the order has a “Christian character”, its Grand Council has since 1999 affirmed that “profession of the Christian Faith should not be a condition of membership of the Order.” The issue of the order’s Christian character and the issue of “inclusive membership” was dealt with in the Grand Council’s Pro Fide Report in 2005, wherein it was said that the order’s life is shaped by Christian faith and values, but that “[r]ather than the emphasis being primarily upon ‘spiritual beliefs or doctrine’ it is on works of mercy rendered through St. John”. Therefore, while the Great Officers are required to profess the Christian faith, the same is “not an essential condition of membership” and “[t]he onus is on the man or woman who is invited to the privilege of membership to decide whether he or she can with a good conscience promise to be faithful to the stated aims and purposes of this Christian lay order of chivalry.” On the subject of inclusive membership, the report stated “Christian hospitality is a criterion which can be applied to the Order’s relationships to persons of other religious faiths,” and “the Order needs to be characterized by a hospitable disposition towards other faith traditions while holding fast to its own origins and foundational identity in Christian faith.”

I have begun the paperwork this morning.  It doesn’t matter WHAT we believe in – as long as we’re all working towards the betterment of humanity.

PS:  For more information on the Order, here is a website:  http://www.sosjinternational.org/


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It’s been an interesting week on my new ‘less self indulgence’ lifestyle plan.

I’ve been keeping a written journal of what I eat, what I drink – and what I spend.  At the very least, an eye opener.  Yikes.

I met with one of the leading experts in obesity in the country last week – he was amazing.  If you’ve been following my blog, I’ve been involved with a local “Weight Wise” program, which is geared towards those who are considered obese or morbidly obese.  I’ve met with a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, a nurse and now the doctor.  The whole premise behind this program is to find out if I am a candidate for lap band surgery.  I have to go through a whole series of hoops and jumps before they will even consider it.  The best part of this whole experience is finally having someone understand that it’s not all ‘eat less, exercise more’.  This program is more than that.

He asked some questions that I really never considered a part of being overweight, but afterwards I realized – wow, those questions made complete sense.  He asked me if I had been promiscuous at any point in time in my life, and I will admit – I did go through a phase (of which I’m not particularly proud of) in my early 20’s.  I realize now that I wanted love – and I had confused sex with love (wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure that shit out WHEN we’re doing it?)  He asked me about my relationships with my parents and my sister, friendships…etc.  He asked me if I had a tendency to binge eat (which thankfully, I do not) and if I used alcohol as a ‘crutch’ (oh yes), did I overspend beyond my means (sigh, uh – YEAH) and a few other questions.  The questions he was asking had very little to do with my size or my weight, they were more geared towards my thought patterns and my personality, which can be defined in one word:  ADDICTIVE.  I was addicted with trying to find love, I was addicted to instant gratification and I was addicted to alcohol.  2 out of these 3 things were easily obtained by overspending (yet, another addiction).

Now, this is interesting.  There was an article in the paper this morning – “Weight loss plan can curb spending” (Postmedia news).  There was a line in there that jumped out at me:  “While the authors say not everyone who struggles with weight also has money problems, [Demetre] estimates over 50% of the population has issues with both.”   Wow.  I’d never thought to put the two together per se, but it makes sense.

We live in a society of instant gratification.  We want what we want, and we want it NOW.  We don’t budget for things like our parents did, we put it on credit.  We don’t scrimp and save our pennies, we just buy it and worry about it later.  We don’t do without – we all ‘need’ the new TV, the new iPhone, the new tablet, the new…(insert vice in here).  When I want to eat something, I want it NOW.  I don’t mean binge eating – I just mean regular, day-to-day living.  If I want sushi for lunch, I’ll got and get it ($15.00).  Then, if I want steak for dinner, I’ll go and get it ($15.00) and maybe a few more groceries that I really don’t need, but want ($25.00).  I’ve just spend $55.00 on things I don’t necessarily NEED.  Repeat that every day for about 5 days.  That’s $275.00 just on FOOD related items that I probably only need about $30.00 of.  Let’s add some wine on top of that ($60.00/week) and maybe a shirt or pair of shoes ($100.00) and I’m up to $435.00  For one week.

Great – so now I’m fat AND in debt.  But I can see how it goes hand in hand.  I eat and overspend to compensate for the things that I don’t have, which in turn creates more problems and gets me farther away from where I DO want to be.  It’s a vicious circle and I’m doing everything I can to get off the giant hamster wheel and back on solid ground.  Because the things that I want most – to be happy, healthy, a normal body weight – and to buy my own home – are things that only I CAN do myself.  It won’t happen right this very minute, but with some time and patience, I think I have a pretty good chance.

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Like they say, good things come to those who ‘weight’.  🙂


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On a typical day, I get up, feed the birds, brush my teeth, make myself look relatively presentable and head to work.

I work in a job where I am ‘on’ from the minute I get there until the minute I walk out the door.  I work with some very high level people and part of my job is to schmooze and make nice-nice with the people that come in.  We host meetings, special events, medal ceremonies – you name it, we’ve done it.  And, I can say with great confidence that I SHINE in most of these situations.  You would never know in a million years, that underneath the professional, witty and hysterically funny woman, is a little girl who is just wanting to be liked.

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The silly thing is that people DO like me (insert Stuart Smalley reference here).  I think I’m a pretty good person, I have some really wonderful friends and would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it.  I’ve an acerbic wit that has gotten me in trouble more than a few times, I will bend over backwards to help you – I will even let you share my bag of Doritos (that’s the biggest honour I can bestow upon you).

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So, you would think that I would have all the confidence in the world – that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, take on a bully, stand up against injustice (thank GOD for news websites that I can rant on) – even show others how to be a confident woman in this world.

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Sadly, I do not.  Have self confidence that is.  Okay, in *some* instances I do, and I get a real charge of positive energy when I am up in front of others, talking about something I’m passionate about.

But it can just take one comment, in one wrong moment to make me want to crawl up into a ball and wait for it to go away.  It’s as easy as someone ignoring me or not answering my email or phone message.  I revert back to the little girl, who never really got any positive reinforcement as a child, but the negative comments came fast and furious.

As that kid, I was trained to be my mother’s slave.  If I disappointed her, I was punished with silence and harsh, abrupt words.  To a little kid, it was pretty confusing, after all – I was trying to do what she wanted me to do, but it was just never right.  I didn’t clean the bathroom properly.  I didn’t wash the ashtrays (yeah, okay, I SO wasn’t going to do that anyhow).  I didn’t make her bed properly.  I didn’t remember to take out the garbage.  The list goes on.  So, as a grown adult, when I feel that I’ve disappointed someone in some way, I go out of my way to make amends.  Now, there is a little voice in my head that says ‘SHUTUP, DON’T MAKE IT WORSE, IT WILL BLOW OVER.”  But I’m also not very good listening to myself, so I ignore it and go ahead and indeed, make things worse.

And, this week – it did just that.  I had called in sick to work because I was having a horrible fibromyalgia pain day – I could barely move.  Now, I’m one of those people that will go to work even if I’m bleeding from an eyeball with pneumonia.  I feel guilty and even while I’m lying there wishing for death, I feel the need to connect with my work place so they know I’m not in Mexico drinking tequila out of some pool boys’ bellybutton.  But they don’t think that.  They think ‘hey, she’s sick, carry on.’

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So, basically I made a bad judgment call on Friday and wound up – what was perceived to be as ‘pestering’ my boss.  He was annoyed, I was freaked out because of his slight and fretted about it all weekend.

I should back pedal a bit by explaining that earlier this year, I needed to take a stress leave.  When I came back, he bent over backwards to accommodate me and our working relationship has grown in leaps and bounds (there are really only two of us in our office).  For the most part, we get along very well.

It’s been a couple of days and things aren’t much better and I’ve apologized for my end of things, which is all I can do.  My insecurities reared their ugly head and now I’m suffering the consequences.

A friend of mine told me today that I’m a very sensitive person and I should learn to not take things so personally – this was said with love, because I know this friend will always have my back.

She’s 100% right.  I need to let the guilty feelings that I grew up with go.  Let the insecurities I have about not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, funny enough – go.  My mother might have been the best travel agent for guilt trips, but she’s gone now, and I think I’ll make my own travel arrangements from now on.


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Letting go of the past…

This is a very personal story.  

I grew up in a home where love was taken away for doing something wrong (or perceived of being wrong).  Signs of affection were few and far between.  My mother had a theory that all people were inherently bad; if someone did something she considered a ‘slight’ – that person was banned for life (even if it wasn’t intentional – that person was never given the chance to explain or discuss the situation).  My parents didn’t have any ‘couple’ friends, I can remember only ONCE being babysat by my older sister.  My dad wasn’t encouraged to visit his sisters or their families, as my mother disliked all of them (for reasons unknown).  I remember my grandparents (my father’s mom and dad) visiting once or twice when I was little and that’s about the extent of that relationship.  I have aunts, uncles and cousins who live 3 hours away that I’ve never met.  

I grew up an emotional idiot.  46 years later, I’m still that person.  But, I’m working on it.

As a young woman in my early 20’s, I would do whatever it took to find a potential mate.  If someone expressed any interest in me, I was on them like glue.  Of course, back then I didn’t know that I had serious abandonment/lack of affection issues.  If they left me, I was devastated – what had I done wrong?  Was it because I was fat? (I believed that was always the main reason – even though back then, I wasn’t fat).  Wasn’t I good enough?  Pretty enough?  Smart enough? Mind you, it also didn’t help that my very first boyfriend in Grade 10 dumped me for the school slut. 😛

I met He Who Shall Not Be Named at the age of 22.  He was my world.  I adored him.  He made me laugh, he made me feel sexy, he made me glow.  He was everything I wanted.  He was my soul mate (or so I thought).

He emotionally abused me (I didn’t know what it was back then).

I turned myself inside out for him.  He was evasive.  He had the emotional aptitude of a 12 year old.  He lied to me.  He cheated on me.  He treated me with disrespect.  His friends made fun of me because I let him do whatever he wanted to me – because (I thought) I loved him.  I found out a couple of years later, that he was engaged to be married to a girl who lived in a different city the entire time we were together.

I told him that I loved him and he laughed at me.

He turned me into a paranoid, weepy, clingy wreck of a woman.  We’d split, get together – a million times.  He could still make me laugh.  He still made me feel sexy.  He made me feel like a bag of shit, when I’d wake up the next day after spending the night with him and him telling me I needed to leave.

This went on and off for 10 years.  The last time I saw him was 13 years ago, when we went out for dinner and he came back to my place and stayed the night.  He even told me beforehand that he was seeing someone who lived across the country.  I didn’t care.  I still loved him.

The past 10 years have seen a lot of ups and downs in my life.  I’ve lost both of my parents – the death of my father was my complete undoing.  Never in my life had I felt so lost, so sad – so abandoned.

But, with all bad things – came good things.  I learned to be responsible – no more dad to bail me out.  I learned to make my own decisions.  I worked hard and started moving up different corporate ladders.  I made terrific friends, my sister and I became very close and I was proud of who I was and what I’d been able to accomplish with very limited education.

However, I never did learn ‘how’ to have an intimate relationship with a man.  After a few failed attempts at them, I closed my heart off to avoid further pain.  I did counselling, I learned meditation, I read self help books – because there was something – something I couldn’t put my finger on.  All I do know is that nobody since HWSNBN, have the feelings I had for him even come close.

He’s married now, or so I’m told.  In moments of loneliness, I sometimes fantasize about running into him.  But then I stop cold:  I’m fat.  I would be mortified if he saw me now.  The fact that I’ve got a terrific career, great friends, a nice vehicle and a beautiful home doesn’t even enter in my my consciousness.  He’d see me as the “Thank God THAT never happened.”  

As I get older, I’m much more attuned to my emotions, my thoughts and my actions.  I will often be sitting quietly and I’ll have an epiphany of sorts about something – and in those moments, it’s like a small piece of a wall breaking off somewhere in my psyche – it amazes me and scares me all at the same time.

If you’ve been reading my previous blogs, you’ll know that I have a huge struggle with food addiction and am just starting a new program through our health service where I live.  I’ve been on the waiting list for 2 years, been offered a place 4 times, but it’s just now that I’m ready.  Why?  I’m still not entirely sure.

I was watching a movie on the weekend and out of nowhere came this overwhelming feeling of anger, sadness, nausea and pain…I let out a howl that came from the depths of my soul – I hate him.  I truly hate him.  I hate what he did to me.  I hate that I let him be a part of my head and soul for all these years.  I hate that I allowed him to determine who I am.  I hate the fact that I let myself get to this place, where I replaced love and affection with bags of potato chips and bottles of red wine. You know what the worst part is? Is that for all these years, I wanted to apologize to HIM for acting like some batshit crazy bitch. WTF?

It was like a black piece of my soul had turned to dust and had been replaced with tiny seeds of love, happiness, kindness to myself and acceptance.  I say tiny, because while they have been planted, I need to learn to nurture them, to love them and to let them grow into something bigger and more wonderful than anything I can possibly imagine.

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MS. MANNERS

I am going to be one of those little old ladies, who sits on the front porch and screams at children to get off the lawn.  I will wear nasty sun dresses with rolled down knee high nylons with slippers.  My neighbours will tiptoe behind the hedges just in order to avoid me.  The mailman will fling the mail in my general direction and high tail it down the street.  Don’t even get me started on what I might do if I catch a cat in the yard attacking the birds.  I will give the finger to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Well, except for the nasty sundresses and rolled down kneehighs, that’s pretty much me NOW.  I am a crotchety, old bag at the ripe old age of 45.

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I seriously thank the universe everyday for giving me websites to rant on.  I thank the idiots of the world, for giving me something to rant about.  In today’s world, it’s just too easy.  From the winners of the Darwin Awards – to embarrassing politicians – to stupid people in general, the news is a veritable wasteland of stupidity, ignorance and hideousness.

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Some of the biggest perpetrators, sadly, are the youth of today.  I remember when I was a kid and my parents would use the dreaded “when WE were kids, we did/didn’t do that!” – I also remember looking at them like they had two heads and thought they were nuts (okay, they were, but that’s neither here nor there).  But when did become acceptable to do some of the shit I see on a daily basis?  I’m talking regular, basic manners type things.  Like spitting.  I saw some kid spit on the floor in the middle of a mall.  Me, being the loud mouth I am, asked him to not do that and he called me a name that I won’t mention here.  What happened to respect?  Do people not teach their kids respect any more?  What happened to holding the door open for someone?  Please and thank you?  

What brings this all up is that I was out this past weekend, and ran into ALL of these situations.  These were people that were well old enough to know right from wrong.  I saw a kid running screaming around the grocery store while the parent sat there and talked on her cell phone.  I told the child to stop doing that, and the woman just looked at me with this blank stare on her face.  I had a big bag of stuff I was carrying out of a store and the kids in front of me just let the door slam in my face.  I was so angry, I shouted THANK YOU! and they turned around and looked at me and sneered.

 

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Now, I might be a crabby old bitch, but I still take the time to be nice to people.  To help little old ladies reach that jar of canned peaches on the top shelf.  To stop to let people in when traffic is bad.  To hold the door.  To say please and thank you.  It’s so easy to do – and takes such little effort and sometimes it’s that one kind gesture that can put a smile on the face of someone, who otherwise, might be having a shitty day.  

Let’s work on making it the norm again.  I, for one, miss it.