Tag Archives: Choices

The obstacle-ridden road to recovery

Erica lived with various mental health challenges, including borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, and addictions to alcohol and drugs. She tried for so many years to get better, but the road to recovery was littered with obstacles.

Erica started drinking when she was 12 and, admittedly, I had no idea what to do beyond telling my parents, and I certainly did not understand what was happening or how/if I could help her. I chalked the addictions up to choices she was making, because that was the context in which I had learned about my grandparents’ and my aunt’s alcoholism – they were making choices. Continue reading

Two Enormous Resounding Yeses

Yesterday, my coworker and friend, Kaitlyn, wrote a blog entry about her decision to not have children. Now, before I continue with what I hope people read as an entry that complements hers, let me tell you that Kaitlyn is an intelligent, compassionate, principled woman, who doesn’t need my validation.

I agree with what she’s written, and I come at this from a different perspective. Continue reading

What is a “Fur-Mommy”?

I’m 31 years old, have been with a man for nearly 15 years, and both have relatively well-paying jobs, a baby must be next, right?

No thanks.

Not yet. Maybe not ever.

I find it funny that society believes these factors are the perfect recipe for parenthood without considering if the “parents” want them or not. Why? Because the immediate question I hear when I tell people there’s no baby-bump in the immediate future is, “Why?” (Add in obligatory half-sneer as the inner wheels of their true questions stir) “Is there something medically wrong with myself or my husband stopping us from having children?” “Do we hate children?” “Am I so vain I don’t want to spoil my body?”

I know these questions are swimming around in their grey matter, not because I’m a mind reader, but because not everyone is so couth to keep the questions to themselves.

I’ve given myself until 35 to decide if parenthood is for me, until then me and the Hubster are content with our babies.

Our Fur-Babies.

Bosco   Mortimer

Bosco A.K.A Bossman (8 years old)                         Mortimer A.K.A Monster ( 1 year old)

Fur-babies depend on their parents for everything until they pass, beginning on when they’re tiny bundles of fur. When Bosco became a daddy (Mortimer being one of his pups), it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. To watch the sightless pups 24/7, who can barely squirm, to make sure the mother didn’t accidently suffocate them trying to get comfortable, unable to walk or even regulate their body temperatures, adding a lot of guess work in the mix while sleep deprived. Many elements out of my control including making sure the mother fed them enough and that she herself was healthy.

Watching them grow and discover new things like their sound of their own bark, or finding their favorite toy, and the fact cheese unfortunately makes them really sick, and watching them go crazy after a bath using the halls as a drag race is as rewarding as it entertaining, which is why us fur-baby lovers liter our social media accounts with pictures of our four-legged friends just as much as other do their children.

The bond is concrete regardless of species.

In some ways being a fur-mommy is more difficult than traditional parenting. NOW HOLD ON! I’m sure I just enraged every person who has ever carried a child and lived through hours of delivery, but hear me out.

Loving anything with an expiry date before your own is devastating, and we choose to do so knowing the heartbreak is 10-15 years down the line, and we do it a few times in our lifespan. If human children only lasted that long, I wonder if people would still have them? Of course the human race would die out, but you get my point.

Bosco and Mortimer will never learn to talk and tell me how much they love me, but they show it better than most humans I know. Love evident in their kisses and snuggles and in the way they seem to anticipate my emotional imprint. Calm and compassionate when my I’m down or goofy and rambunctious when I need a laugh.

Now, I’ll never watch my fur-babies grow up and go to college and fall in love, though they have had their own children, but I also won’t need to pay for college or a wedding either. The decision for parenthood is not monetary driven either but it’s a plus in the childless column. As is, no midnight feedings, enduring awkwardness of the sex-talk, paying a babysitter when you leave the house, or hoping you don’t end up raising a serial killer. (It’s an honest fear more people should consider) Seeing our little buggers grow, seeing their curiosity get them into hilarious hijinks, watching their puppy frenzy morph into that of a seasoned pup, is astonishing.

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced “baby fever” though I do love my nieces and nephews. They’re fun, but handing them back when their diaper needs changing or they throw a tantrum is FANTASTIC. At eleven my youngest brother was born, so babysitting was natural, but since then children haven’t been an element in my life and I never felt the compulsion to make them apart of it regardless if I mothered them or not.

Children are not necessary to feel complete, not for me anyway, and with the world’s overpopulation issues, I’m grateful to be raised in a society where parenthood is a choice, even if not everyone understands it. Most of the people I know who have children never planned them. Their “oopsies” turned into a blessing, but since I have the choice, I’m choosing to hold off until I’m sure.

For now, and maybe forever, I’m content and wholly fulfilled with the love of a little being who has no idea what I saying, has no care of my social standing and what that means for their life, and has no grand needs besides extra treats, freedom to sleep where they want, and forgiveness when they get into the garbage and poop out unidentifiable things me and the Hubster have fun guessing at.

Fur-babies are quick burning fire crackers that fill your life with joy and excitement as equally as despair, leaving us behind too quickly. No matter the fur-babies that come after them, they are never forgotten and your heart is left with a hole that outlasts their lifetime.

VirginiaR.I.P Virgie Bear.

 

Serendipity, Randomness, and Whatever Gets You Through

I’m a big fan of non-coherence. Not the drunken rambling kind of incoherence, but the non-ordered, non-patterned gifts of happy accidents or surprises. These “aha” moments, like uplifting flickers of light, often come to us when we need them, even if they are not exactly what we were looking for. Some might call it serendipity.

tumblr_ll6wg7MPl41qzo7v3o1_400Perhaps that’s why that Rolling Stone’s song You Can’t Always Get What You Want appeals to me. Mick Jagger must have come to the “let me combine these seemingly matter-of-fact lyrics with the awe-inspiring voices of a trained choir” idea in a moment of brilliant serendipity. Or maybe just a moment of brilliance. He’s lucky that way; he’s had many in his career. But I can’t help myself from cranking the volume at the chorus. After the “you can’t always get what you want…” I love hearing the exalted choir voices chime in with “you get what you need”. Yes! The perfect combo of resigned practicality in lyrics with moving melody in music. Uplifting!

Sometimes it’s true. If you try sometimes, you just might find you do get what you need. My emphasis here is on the sometimes and the trying. When things seem miserable and unrelenting, it is awfully difficult to be resilient. And I wouldn’t suggest resilience here is just a song away. But perhaps our framing helps.

We all know people who seem to be able to weather any storm, almost without being rattled. They may have excellent coping skills, or better support systems, or an unshakeable sense of self. They are almost always skilled at framing things in a positive manner. I don’t mean they are all sunshine and joy, or alternatively, that they give up agency and a critical eye for piffle, and resort to the “it was meant to be” mantra that seems to be so ubiquitous nowadays. As an aside, I shouldn’t get started on how much I loathe that particular statement, especially when it comes from the mouths of people who do NOT believe in predestination. But there, I said it. I loathe the “it was meant to be” tommyrot because it is insensitive and apathetic. Now, back to how I think this serendipity thing can aid resilience.

First, let me say that some theorists (yeah, there are serendipity theorists) believe serendipity isn’t just a happy accident, but something that can help those who are seeking to find what they need. Am I making any sense here? Let me relate a tale from my own life. Two years ago my partner was diagnosed with cancer. He had an aggressively growing tumour that blocked part of his bowel and impaired his liver function. We found ourselves in the emergency ward one day after his diagnosis, before he had begun chemotherapy. In truth he was terribly constipated. After moving through to a treatment bed, a bright, young, and confident nurse came in, read his chart, and looked him dead in the eye, saying his name and the words “cancer is just a word.” hope1Twice. This angel of mercy with the magic mantra — herself a cancer survivor who had a personal understanding of the brutal road he was embarking on—proceeded to tell him that she was going to help him understand bowel care. And she did. But she did more than that. She gave him his first real glimmer of hope in weeks. On subsequent visits, she continued to give him what he needed to keep going—a bit of herself. Now, nurses are trained to give care and expert attention. This Florence Nightingale was more than that. She was a serendipitous gift. She helped us find what we needed to make a breakthrough in thought and actions—a breakthrough in framing, if you will. We couldn’t get exactly what we wanted. I had wanted to wake up and find out that the actual diagnosis was a dream, but I guess that’s a bit like hoping I would win $50 million in the lottery. She didn’t give a cure. She gave hope. I believe we found what we needed serendipitously because we were open to framing it that way. She might have done the same thing for dozens of patients, but perhaps not all were able to take her care and her words and build a house on it. It wasn’t their serendipitous moment.

I think we all have these serendipitous experiences throughout life. If we choose to view them as helpful “aha” moments, they can assist us in following a new direction, but also in building resilience and keeping a hopeful outlook. Some people like to say these moments are acts of God, or signs from “the universe”. Whatever gets you through. I’m more inclined to think they are wonderful coincidences that if we want them to be, can be revealed as gifts or roadmaps to a different discovery.

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