Repost: Galentine’s Day 2015

This is a repost from Feburary 2017. I am currently going through a divorce with the man I was to marry in this story, but I will still forever love our love story… especially since it began with love for myself and ended there as well.

“Galentine’s” Day – February 13, 2015

2 years ago today, I had come to a place where I was happy to be single, live my life that way, and had just generally gotten used to the notion that love was something to be enjoyed by other people.

It was a cold, snowy, February 13, and me and my main girl Courtney were ready for “Galentines Day”, a day where just the two of us would get all boozed up and spend a night dancing downtown having a good time in light of our annoyance over the imminent “love holiday” of Valentine’s Day.

As the vodka drinks in our systems accumulated, so did the snow, and our plans to go downtown were squashed as we realized that we, and our chosen outfits and shoes, wouldn’t stand a chance in the elements.

Eager to still go out and have a good time, we settled on visiting the “cougar bar” the Wortley Roadhouse, where we proceeded to have one of the best nights we had out together. Drinks were being slung everywhere we turned, we were meeting all sorts of interesting characters, and best of all, we cut it up on the dancefloor like I hadn’t in years. By all accounts, I was having the time of my life, enjoying my life, enjoying my best friend, and pretty much just “doing me”.

During a break from our serious dancing, I can remember taking a sip from a drink and then looking up across the bar to see a bearded red-head clad in a leather motorcycle jacket looking at me. I’ll never forget the look on his face when we locked eyes, and he gave me a little wave. “Huh,” I thought with more than a bit of intrigue.

If I were to say the rest was history, I’d be lying; it took us a few months to get everything on track to the point we could be with each other, both having different obligations at the time, and of course, I had just committed myself to my single life…

But as they say, things that are meant to be, fall into place, and this is what has happened with me and the love of my life, Levi, who I’ll marry next month.

Since being together, we’ve traveled 3 continents, moved together across the world, own animals together, and now own a successful business together. It came together easily, because it was a meant-to-be match.

This isn’t to be a sappy love story, but it’s mostly to show that I don’t think I would have been able to be the partner I am and to fall in love the way I have had I not had that important single girl time where I was just “doing me” and enjoying life.

I had put away any notions of “looking or searching” for Mr. Right and instead had just found happiness within myself as a single girl.

So to any single girls looking for love and feeling a bit annoyed with the imminence of Valentine’s Day, do you. Be you. Live your life for you, and all about you. Treasure your times with yourself as those are the most character building and precious. Hold on tight to your friendships, never say no to an invitation, and never hold back just being you, even if it means cutting a rug on the dance floor amongst multiple vodka drinks in a cougar bar.

You never know who’s watching…

Second Fiddle to a 6-Pack

Someone I loved deeply is an alcoholic, and it has hurt me more than I could have ever realized.

I’ve always been around alcohol, even having my own issues with alcohol that was never long-lived. I could always take or leave alcohol myself.

During my time with the person I loved, I recognized that alcoholism doesn’t necessarily have an obvious face. It hides behind social beers, or sneaking one here and there at inappropriate times.. but then it becomes obvious when you find yourself cleaning up numerous beer cans every night. Half a dozen, 10, a dozen on Saturday. Stopping to count how many times a night you hear the “psst” of the can opening, because you know you’re only up for a fight if you mention it.

Loving someone with alcoholism has left its marks, almost as though I have some sort of PTSD from living in the shadow of someone else’s bottle. I no longer feel comfortable around men who drink. I prefer to be around men who abstain from alcohol, and silently feel uncomfortable when I am with a man and he is imbibing. I judge people who like to drink, and I live as an anti-alcohol advocate.

Alcohol was my bedmate, my soulmate, my roommate, and my spouse. That was then, that person is living with his reality now, while I recover in my own alcohol-free reality.

I can only hope that this person I loved has learned to love alcohol less, in light of new obligations and new life paths.

For myself, I hope I can soon shed the scars of that time I spent being second fiddle to a 6-pack.

Burning Bridges, Bright Lights

Goodbye to my former dreams, my marriage, friends I lost, my lovers, my haters, my depression and pain, my drama, my hate and all that brought me down in 2018.

Hello to a new life, new dreams, new adventures, new jobs, new friends and lovers, the positivity of freshness and newness and a future of happy in 2019.

Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge (Don Henley).

Happy to burn so many bridges from 2018 to build new ones in 2019.

This is my year.

Regressing To Plunge Forward

I drive a 2002 Honda Accord, and every time I get in, I always think about how life is so similar yet so different than it was in 2002. In 2002, I was living with my parents. I was driving a 1991 Honda Accord. I had broken up with my first love, and I was getting ready for university, and leaving everything I knew behind. I had the greatest of friends. My vices were boys, alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis. I was a bit all over the place then, and didn’t really understand my own brain and why it challenged me so much throughout my life.

It’s now 2018, I just broke up with my first husband, I’m getting ready to go into the unknown, as I have left everything I knew behind in Costa Rica. I live with my Mom again. I have better friends in my life than I ever have. My vice is no longer boys or alcohol, but cigarettes (temporarily) and cannabis still are. I am starting to understand my brain, but there’s years of cobwebs to get through.

Sometimes I feel I regressed, but then I remember that we all need to press “restart”, take a few steps back, in order to plunge forward.

Sweep In Front Of Your Own Door

The news can be a real bummer. It’s easy to say the world is going to shit. It’s easy to get fired up about the news, people’s opinions, and want to debate stuff (especially on platforms like Facebook) with total strangers.

We only have one life, and only we can control what we invite into our lives.

The best thing I ever did for myself was control my news intake. This happened after a very long break from Facebook and a very strong cleanup of things I followed, people, etc.

I found that my mood and my day could be affected so greatly by the news, people’s opinions, and “keyboard warriors” that I really had to consider my priorities. Would I let myself get upset by someone’s racism? Would I devote my energies to trying to change the opinions (and policies) against gun violence in the U.S (where I have no control)? Would I spend time yelling through the keyboard at sexist assholes that are getting entertained by bashing feminists? Or would I just exist right in the world in front of me, trying to be a positive agent for change, in places in spaces where I COULD have impact?

You don’t have to turn to ignorance when the news gets to be a bit tough to deal with. Nor do you have to turn to your keyboard to prove your point, debate facts, and spend more time talking to strangers than the people in your life. We don’t get anywhere by being ignorant, or trying to change the opinions and thoughts of ignorant people.

Instead, as Goethe said, “Let everyone sweep in front of [their] own door, and the whole world will be clean.” Stop focusing on Trump, and his constant vomiting of shit. You can’t control what he does (especially if you’re Canadian!). Don’t let him characterize the rest of the world for you.

Choose causes on the international front that interest you, and have a chance to make change, and put your efforts there. Turn your attention to what’s right in front of you, the people, the places, and the events that are happening that you CAN control, just by bringing a positive presence.

Keyboard warriorhood against issues that you can’t change does nothing, but getting up, and sweeping in front of your own door will help the whole world become clean.

Cultivate The Life You’ll Be Proud of On Your Death Bed

When you are on your death bed, what are the things in your life that you’re going to be most proud, happy, and satisfied with?

Will it be your house, cars, designer furniture?

Or will it be your adventures, experiences, and connections?

What if you were given the news that you only had 24 hours to live?

Would you be satisfied with what you cultivated within your life?

Would there be things you wished you had done with your life but never got around to?

Are there places you wish you had visited?

Conversations you wished you had?

Talents you wished you had fostered?

People you told you loved?

Conflicts that you wished you’d let go of?

People always seem to wait til “later” to get what they want from life. Or there’s an excuse for NOT doing what you want in life. Think about the fragility of life, and the privilege of having this blank slate ahead of us.

When it’s your time (hopefully old, and after a good long life), will you be happy with the mastery of your own ship of life?

Cultivate your OWN life NOW. Plant your seeds. Let them harvest. Leave this world with a smile when it’s your time, because you know you did the very best with your gift of life.

Grandma Ryan, The Protestor

Grand Bend, Ontario
Summer, 1968

It was an has always been known as one of the tumultuous years in modern history. 1968. A time of free love, anti-war, anti-authority, land disputes, resource disputes, and political protest. Lots of political protest.

It was a hot day. The ladies of the Ryan family decided to take themselves to the beach in the nearby beach town of Grand Bend, in Ontario.

It was a time when the news not only reported the news but also shaped it. When questioning authority, and rebelling against them, had become the norm. Trust for the government was hard to come by, and it was felt on the Canadian side of the border, as the spirit of protest reverberated across the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.

They set up their day at the beach. Sun butter, chairs, and likely one of those portable foil sunners that people crazily used back in the 1960s. They sat and watched the water and all the people and families out enjoying the splendors of a hot day on Lake Huron.

All of the sudden they heard a commotion and were stirred from their pounding sun rays. They looked up, and the Ryan daughters realized they had lost someone pretty important to their group: Grandma Ryan (their mom).

After packing up and walking along the strip, they realized what the commotion was. Teenagers packed the streets, chanting, protesting. Sadly, the topic of the protest was lost in posterity, but it was nonetheless heated, and important for the time.

Still looking for Grandma Ryan, the girls walked further, noticing there were lines and lines of impassioned people.

They still couldn’t find Grandma amongst the crowd.

They walked to the front of the protest line, and finally: there she was. Holding a sign, a woman in her 70s, Grandma Ryan standing amongst the emblazoned teenagers, yelling at the top of her lungs in civil protest.

“I thought I’d throw in my support,” said Grandma, matter-of-factly, as they returned to the beach to catch up on their tans and slug back the few beers she was always known for.

I think I know where I get my fierce spirit from. (Grandma Ryan is my paternal great-grandmother)