The Comfort of Snow

Growing up, snow made me uneasy. The great snow of 1989 in North Carolina was particularly unsettling. I was incredibly young. My dad made me a slushy from the snow and a Coca-Cola. In the evening, he and my mother got into a nasty fight. My life changed for the worse during that snow storm. The next time I saw snow was Autumn of my 16th time around the sun. I’d just moved to Kentucky because my father and I had an explosive fight where we nearly killed each other. Literally. When I arrived, the first couple of days were bright and sunny. But then, overnight, there was a few inches of snow on the ground. I woke up thinking my mother was playing a sick prank on me. While walking home from my first day at my new school in that snow, my older step sister was waiting outside for me letting me know that the house was mostly empty, that her dad decided to leave my mother, and that she wanted to make sure it had nothing to do with me or coming to KY. She made sure to remind me that I was loved and that she was sorry. I got blamed for it anyway. The only enjoyable memory I really have involving snow (prior to moving to Canada) was the time I had the opportunity to be with my godson during his first snow experience. It was amazing. But he’s a boy I’ll likely never see again, so that in itself makes it sad. Most of my car problems throughout my driving history have been in the snow. Snow was always just kinda messy for me.

But it seems that since I’ve moved, my views on snow has changed. Canadian Snow is different. I got engaged while snow still covered the ground. It snowed on my wedding day. I’ve had snowball fights with my step children. I’ve kissed in the snow, laughed in the snow, danced in the snow. So many good memories are being made to replace the bad ones.

The past couple of weeks have been stressful. My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer then died a few days later. It temporarily put me on an emotional roller coaster that I promptly found a way off of. I “broke up” with someone that was once my best friend. I grew tired of only being important when it was convenient for people, and she was one of them. Friends have seen her make snide remarks about it in various tagged posts on Facebook. It’s stupid and petty. For a couple of days, work was abnormally rough, but thankfully rebounded. I feel like garbage from my flu shot. My back is killing me from contortionist positions I had to get into for our family photo shoots, reminding me that I’m not as young or as flexible as I used to be. Then both of our vehicles decided to crap out at the same time, thankfully one of them being an easy fix, but the other will be costly. My stepchildren have been jerks all weekend. And to put the icing on the cake I got a snarky “That’s right, come to your mama” along with a smug glare when passing off my youngest stepson to his mother. It was really just shit I didn’t need added to my plate.

Just when I thought I couldn’t deal with any more crap, I looked out of the window and saw it snowing outside. Not much – a light dusting – but it’s cold enough for the snow to stay for a few days. I found it oddly comforting. As I watched the snow create a thin blanket over the ground, I felt my frustrations fall away with it. None of the above things matter. I deserve better than how people have and do treat me in life. (And I’m thankful to those who put as much back into me as I put into them.) The snow falling made the things that I can’t control just fall away. Had you asked me years ago if I’d ever like snow, I’d have laughed. But now? I find it rather relaxing. Here’s to snow, the blanket of comfort and solitude.

Relief

A week ago, the woman who brought me into this world died. We’d be estranged for nearly 8 years. People came out of the woodworks to find me. I didn’t know how to feel aside from bitter and enraged.

My feelings errupted at the end of last week. I was briefly consumed by the feelings that I let go of years ago. But somewhere in the depths, I was able to let go of the anger that I held about what happened to me and set focus back to my brother.

My brother was left out of the obituary. He is 10 years my junior, has special needs from cerebral palsy, marfans syndrome, and fragile x syndrome. His father has done an amazing job being a loving and supporting parent. My brother is set to graduate highschool soon, works a few hours per week, and is slated to start college next year. Not bad for a kid who was abandoned by his mother and has had considerable bumps down the road.

Leaving him out of the obituary enfuriated me. I couldn’t understand why I, someone who voluntarily left and cut my mother out of my life, was included, but an innocent boy was not. I tried to contact her husband to voice my concerns, but my attempts were ignored. I didn’t feel right about it. It wasn’t fair. At first, I had no idea what to do.

I contacted the funeral home. I explained who I was and offered to provide proper documentation to prove my identity if necessary. I gave my mother’s name and explained that her step children and myself were listed, but that her biological son was not, and that in light of our estrangement, I would like to be removed from the posting if he wasn’t to be included. I never received a reply, but my name was removed.

Relief.

After, I contemplated attending the funeral. I still get that nagging “But it’s your mother” from people who don’t understand the history. After talking to my ex step father, he explained that my brother doesn’t know much about her and that he hasn’t told him anything. He didn’t plan on attending. That also gave me relief. I decided to not attend either.

Relief.

Something about her death gives me closure. I’ll never know or understand why she did the things that she did. Part of me doesn’t want to. Part of me doesn’t care either. And that’s okay.

Passive Aggressive Bullshit

“‘Cause maybe some day I’ll walk away and say ‘You fucking disappoint me.’  Maybe we’re better off this way.”
Passive –  A Perfect Circle

Over the last few days people have come out of the woodworks in order to contact me.  People I haven’t seen or heard from in two decades or more.

While I can appreciate people thinking of me to finally reach out, it’s all so strange.

I don’t know what you want from me.  I don’t know what you want me to say.  I don’t know how to comfort you.  And I don’t want to.

It’s nothing against you.  I just don’t have comfort to give.  I don’t have compassion for the woman who has put you in a state of grief.

I left for a reason.  I stopped talking to her for a reason.  I haven’t been there for 8 years for a reason.  Do you even know the reason?

It was never because I was some rebellious kid angry at her parent.  And honestly it wasn’t even because of me.  I didn’t care anymore about what happened to me.  It’s not always about ourselves.

Did you know she had a son?

So many didn’t.

What did she tell you?  What did she tell you about my departure?  What did she tell you about her son?  You know what, I don’t want to know.  She fabricated so much.  So many lies.

22 years prior to her death, on the same date, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  One that she neglected his special  needs.  One that she abused.  One that she didn’t care for.  One that I couldn’t have a relationship with after she lost custody of him because I didn’t want to upset his life.  Because I didn’t want him to bear the burden of knowing that he had a mother that didn’t give a fuck about him.

You see, I may have forgiven her for the things that I endured.  But her son deserved none of her evil ways.

I can’t even tell you that I’m sorry for your loss.  I try to never wish bad things on others.  But I can’t tell you that I’m sorry for your loss because it would be a lie.  The woman you think you knew and the woman I grew up with are two vastly different people.

You knew what she wanted you to see.  I knew a monster.  A monster with no conscience.  A monster who never had to face the consequences of her actions.

A monster that didn’t deserve the peace that death brings.

I already mourned the loss of my mother.  Not the woman, but the figure.  I didn’t have what the rest of you took for granted.  So please don’t expect me to partake in your grief.  I already walked that road.

“But how could this have happened?”  I’m sorry, but have you met my mother?  She set herself up for this fatal ending.  She knew the risks when she went down the paths she wanted to go down.

May you find the strength to deal with whatever this is.
I’ll stick to my passive aggressive bullshit, thanks.

 

 

 

Happy Canadaversary

Exactly one year ago, my dog and I came to Canada. Mold in my home displaced me, so I ended up moving to be with my husband before we anticipated. How have I been the past year?

Well let’s see. I married my best friend, became a stepmother, and now have an awesome family. I got my permanent residency. Per my last post, I’ve found that I don’t mean as much to some people as I thought. It’s a lot colder here. I’ve been treated like absolute shit by my stepchildren’s mother. I’ve been treated incredibly by everyone else. I had a horrible job, then got a really great one. I’m a lot less stressed. I’m healthy and happy. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown as a person.

Canada looks good on me. I’m thankful that I had the ability to pack it all up to be able to be with my husband so that we could have a new life together. Happy Camadaversary. It’ll be nice growing old here.

Move On and Let Go

If you ever want to know how much you do or don’t mean to someone, move.

Since moving to Canada and marrying my husband, my life has been infinitely better. My stress levels have been immensely reduced. I’m healthy. Hell, I’m actually happy. I can’t recall a period of time in my life prior to this where I was genuinely happy. It’s nice to finally feel comfortable in life. Sure finances could be better and it’d be nice for it to be less of a struggle for my husband to get time with his children. But in the grand scheme of things, my life is pretty stress free by comparison. It’s given me a lot of focus and ability to evaluate things that are important to me.

Of all of the people I thought I was close to in the US, only three people put forth as much effort into our relationship as I do: my dad, my old boss, and the friend I gave a surprise visit to last month. That’s it. I have one other friend that moved to Georgia a couple years prior to my moving here. We touch base on occasion in the same frequency that we always have since she moved first, so I suppose she counts too. Beyond that? I’ve found that I mean a lot less to others than they did to me. It was a harsh reality to face. I realized there were people that I tried to nurture and continue friendships with that it was only me trying. The last few weeks I stopped being the first one to reach out to those I cared about. Did many notice? Nope.

What’s frustrating is all of these people are on social media. I see them active in Messengers, posting statuses or whatever, but can’t take 5 minutes to simply say hi. It hurt figuring out that I wasn’t worth 5 minutes to many people. Especially since most of them knew about my father’s recent grim medical diagnosis. No one bothered to check up on it. And I guess when your self absorbed, narcissistic, asshole of a dad cares more about you than some of the people you’ve poured your heart and soul into, it makes you realize that maybe it’s time to stop clinging to what once was and embrace the present and bravely move forward.

Its tough. I’m a creature of habit. I always thought that I hated change, but moving to another country was a huge one. Getting married was a big change. Changing jobs – twice – were major. Maybe letting go of people who don’t show the same kind of care to me that I have to them is a change I need to embrace too. I still have the aforementioned couple of people back home that care for me. I have a great family here (albeit by marriage.) And I’ve started making new friends too.

Maybe moving forward isn’t so scary after all.

Exposure

I love my job.

I get to come in contacted with people from ALL over the world. I’ve met people from Greece, India, Egypt, Russia, and everywhere in between.

Recently I met a couple from, where I assume was, Saudi Arabia. They came into our storefront, the husband wearing jeans and a nice t-shirt, the wife donning a black Niqab, fully covering all but her eyes. Before really speaking, I tried to feel out the situation and vibe. My only experience with anyone from Saudi Arabia was in the US and in passing. They were very standoffish and reserved there, but I feel it was with good reason. There, anyone who looks like they’re from the Middle East are heavily discriminated against. Canada is a different story. Here, this couple was pleasant and friendly. Maybe they hadn’t been subjected to the same hatred, or maybe they didn’t carry that burden with them if they had been.

For the services they needed, they asked if it would be okay to lock the door. This is not uncommon for some clients, so I naturally obliged. The husband blocked the glass from any potential pass-byers as his wife slowly began to remove her headdress. I felt oddly honored to be a part of this moment. I don’t know much about the culture, but I do know that modesty is extremely important to them. There’s a weird sort of platonic intimacy in a moment like that.

We exchanged some small talk, laughing and enjoying the exchange. I asked if it would be okay if I asked a few questions, hopeful to not sound rude, but explaining that I was genuinely curious. They said of course. It was a perfect learning opportunity for me, and they seemed happy to answer my curiosities. I did wonder if the woman felt perhaps vulnerable or exposed removing her headdress in public, albeit that I closed the office for them, but I didn’t dare to ask because I felt it was a little too personal in a way. I was, however, able to get an answer to a question I’ve always been curious about…

“In the summer, is it overly warm to wear such garments?!” The woman kindly smiled and let out a small chuckle. I know I probably sounded like a typical dumb American, but I’ve always wondered. She explained that even though she also wears a full outfit underneath, the fabric is very breathable and not uncomfortable at all. She also noted that it provides religious and spiritual comfort as well. My curiosities were finally satisfied.

Canada is amazing. The US likes to try to have this reputation of being a melting pot of different cultures, but it’s still a truly racist country. I know there is racism everywhere, but at least here it’s not so blatant and wide spread. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to so many walks of life and to learn so much about others.

Til Ikea Do Us Part

“In sickness and in health, til death do us part.”

Maybe there should be something about insanity and Ikea added in there.

My husband and I live in a small, but comfortable, two bedroom home. Here they’re called suites, back home it’d be considered a duplex or a mother-in-law apartment. The house was finished being built about a year and a half ago, the price can’t be beat, and our landlady is amazing. The downfall is that my husband has 3 children, so things can be a little cramped when they’re home here.

When we decided to lease this place, I started the hunt for some furniture for the kids. I opted for the Tuffing bunkbed from Ikea. It holds twin sized mattresses, but is also short and low to the ground – tall bunks make me nervous from a safety standpoint. Plus, of the two bedrooms, one is quite a bit smaller than the other. We’ve had the two older kids in the smaller room and the youngest in our room, which was fine, but limited their play spaces. This weekend we opted to change the arrangements around and put all three kiddos into the larger room, giving my husband and I the smaller of the two so that the kids have more room to play, even with their little brother’s bed in there too. The final result is fantastic, but it was certainly an adventure getting there.

As I mentioned above, the Tuffing bed is great because it holds twin mattresses instead of kid sized ones and it’s fairly low to the ground. (I can make up the top bed without having to climb up there.) The downfall? It’s a major pain in the ass to put together. Even bigger downfall? It’s an even bigger pain in the ass to take apart and reassemble. But we did it. There was blood. But we did it. There was cussing. But we did it.

We did it.

And you know what? It gave me this odd sense of added security in our marriage. My husband and I have always worked well together, communicated efficiently, and BOTH put a lot of effort into our marriage. Tearing down a large piece of Ikea furniture ad reconstructing it together with minimal issue feels like an odd token of our ability to work together. Take that Ikea!

I hope the kids enjoy their new space as we try to save up for the ability to move into a larger home in the future ❤️