Tag Archives: kindness

2014 in the Rearview Mirror

Man guys. 2014. Amirite?

It was such a doozy of a year, but as I go through all these questions I really feel like it was one of the best I’ve had. I feel like I’ve done a lot of fretting and worrying but I’ve also done so much growing and loving. I can’t really complain with that.

Apparently, sometimes it really is a good thing to look back and see how far you’ve come.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I attended a birth! I saw a real, live baby being born! I also had my first homebirth (!!!) and I attended my first cesarean section. Most of my firsts are firsts for my doula work. (First episotomy, first forceps etc, etc.) OH! I also took my FIRST, real adult vacation that wasn’t camping! How crazy is that!?

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?

I don’t even remember what mine were last year. Probably not. I will make some general intentions and a few longer term goals though this month. I think it is the right time for me to do so.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Weeeelllll, I saw a lot of births this year (17! SEVENTEEN!) , all people that were close to me by the end, but not family/friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, sadly. My Aunt Becky passed away in October after a long multi-year battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the good ol’ US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?

I would like to have more stability next year though with a large move on the horizon, I don’t see that happening. Oh, how I dream of feeling stable and having roots. I’d at the very least, like to have a more solid plan for the next 5 years of our lives together. Dare I say I would like a pregnancy as well or is that crazy talk?

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory and why?

I’m so bad at remembering actual DATES, I’m more of a memories kind of gal. I’ll never forget my first birth, the homebirth, a few other doula related moments. I will never forget standing atop Rockefeller Center with my family in June, our vacation for my birthday and my Aunt Becky’s passing. Hearing that my father was officially cancer free!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a doula. By far. BY. FAR. I still cannot believe it happened.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining weight back and treating my body like garbage. It’s made me feel so terrible. Inside and out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got a pretty good cold before Christmas and I have been battling a few injuries that have kept me down, but nothing major. Thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A vacation. My grocery delivery. (Yes, really.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. I’m not one to be all lovey-dovey on the interwebs but man, he really was pretty stellar this year. I worked 40 hour weeks, attended seventeen births (yes, I’m saying it again because OMG!!!1!), endless prenatal visits, interviews, postpartums and several TWO DAY births. I was ridden with anxiety and depression at times, I stressed, I struggled…and all along? He did the laundry, cleaned the house, cooked meals and held me while I cried. The guy even came to get me at work when I broke down late on Friday night and felt like I couldn’t go further. I mean…I just don’t know what I’d have done without him this year. It’s certainly given me some perspective.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Politicians. People on social media. Medical professionals. Anytime there’s an injustice – I feel so wounded for all involved. ALL.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Haa, oh NYC. My money all went to rent and cab fare. And dining out when I was too wasted and exhausted. Sadly it did NOT go to Broadway shows liked I would have preferred!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I got insanely excited about seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Like…WOUND RIGHT UP excited. Andrew made us ‘take a walk’ when we got there because I just couldn’t settle down and sit still. Drinks may have been necessary to get me to just stop. But guys. ALAN CUMMING.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Ugh. Stupid old Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”.  I really can’t stand her.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Fatter. Ugh.
c) Oddly enough, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d seen more movies and had more quiet time with Andrew. I wish I’d seen more friends and gone out more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Working.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family in Maine. So happy we did.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. With birth. I really, truly did. I just fell unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with it all.  I see amazing things happen! Life!

22. What was your favorite TV Program?

The Blacklist. The Good Wife. White Collar (it’s gonnneee!?).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is an ugly word.

24. What was the best book you read?

Baby Catcher, by far. It was so inspiring for me to read it! I was so grateful to get it as a CDP!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Eh. I’ll admit I haven’t discovered much. Jason Mraz’s album with Raining Jane called “YES”.

26. What did you want and get?

Experience. Confidence. Direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Time to myself. Stability. More time in a day.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?

Hah. I saw one movie in 2014 – American Hustle. No joke. ONE MOVIE.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34 on July 6th and we went to Boston! It was SO. FUN. We’d never taken a vacation that wasn’t to see family or camping. We stayed in an ACTUAL hotel, rented a real rental car and did touristy things! We got room service! It was just a much needed break.

30. WHat one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to breathe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?

Will blood wash out of it? Does it go with leggings? Will this work at the hospital?

32. What kept you sane?

Andrew. My birth friends.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Honestly? The police brutality issues. It’s hard being the wife of law enforcement and can feel incredibly isolating.

34. Who did you miss?

My family. So hard. SO hard.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My doula mentor and my childbirth ed instructor. Both are AMAZING women. One is a midwife now and one is just my best friend. Honestly. They were rocks for me and amazing resources. I wish I could hug them daily.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?

Even when you aren’t sure of your purpose, you may be just exactly what someone needed.

More than Chiropractic

Working as a chiropractic assistant, I deal with a lot of people in pain.  Often.

People in pain just aren’t themselves.   (Are you ever your best self when you’re sick or in pain?) They are often crabby, short tempered, angry and all sorts of other difficult emotions and sensations that make them sometimes, quite frankly, difficult to deal with.  There is really a great person underneath all that they’re experiencing.   If you have worked in a health field, you may know exactly what I am talking about.  If you’ve never worked in a health field where you deal with the sick, the pained or those who have lost hope, I’m not sure you can fully understand the energy it takes and what a special environment it is.

I love what I do and wouldn’t trade helping people heal for anything in the world but, it is still a challenging environment at times. I’ve learned over the years that you just have to help people to the best of your ability and wait for their true personality to emerge once you’ve washed away their pain.

Today, we had a man who was in severe, acute pain. I would say distress. He could barely lie down or get on the table. Standing took him effort, held breath and visible struggle.  It broke my heart to see him that way as he fought his insurance company and radiology clinic on the phone, just to get help.  Although it was very busy, I did my best to tend to him as much as I could to make it easier for him.

I asked him many times, what else I could do for him. At one point, he asked if I could help him with his shoes since it hurt so much for him to bend down. I smiled as I tied his shoes and tried to joke around in an effort to make him more comfortable with the fact he just couldn’t do anything on his own.  When I asked him if he needed anything else, his response made me stop. It made me pause and put down my other work. It made me come around my desk and into the waiting room next to him.

“I could really use some moral support.”

I couldn’t help but smile and tell him that I really had been there. It was how I found chiropractic in the first place, when my roommate came home to find me on the floor, unable to get up.  I told him that it does get better even though it doesn’t feel like it.  I told him that he certainly was in the right place with the right people that could help him.  When he mentioned that I looked like I had full range of motion, I grinned and said, “Well Sir, I’ve been under chiropractic care since 2005 and it helps. It really does help.”

Later, he dropped something and sighed frustrated, maybe even dejectedly. Resigned.  He called my name and when I went to help, he apologized and said how helpless he felt. How awful it was to feel like he couldn’t do anything on his own.  I reassured him that this was what I was here for and I was happy to do it. Anything I could do, I was happy to do it.

It really was the truth. I loved helping him. I loved being able to at least get him to smile.  These little interactions with him warmed my heart for the rest of the day. It made me feel so good about where I worked. It made me think about all the people that we’re helping on a daily basis. It also made me realize that not all pain is just physical.  There is so much surrounding physical pain – emotional and mental trouble that comes along side it.  We need to be more cautious, more aware. More intuitive.  More loving.

This man returned to my office about a half an hour later, reaching over the counter to hand me the washroom key.  He had gotten all the way back to his hotel, taken off his jacket and realized he still had the key.  I laughed and shook my head, asking him why he came back all that way, in pain, just to bring us back the key.

He responded with, “It was the right thing to do.”

 

Case of the Mondays

Well, kind of. It’s more a scattered, unsettled feeling. Thoughts are spinning and flying by without me being able to catch them to examine them. It’s like their way of staying put. If I can capture them, then they might go away. Annoying, but it’s how my brain is so often. Just a mash of random things, mixed in like a full emulsion, the unimportant hiding the ‘omg important!’ ones, making me jittery, unable to relax and just moody.

SO! Here are some thoughts that have popped into my head today. (Edited to add: This is a LONG post folks. I didn’t mean for it to be, but it is. You’ve been warned)

Apples are not an easy-eat food for me. When people talk about eating something ‘like an apple’, for me, that would be cutting out the core, and slicing into 1/4 inch slices give or take. I can’t remember the last time I just bit into one and went to town. I do the same with peaches and pears as well. Freestone things are easy though because the pit just twists outta there and makes for easy slicing.

I have some family sads. None of my family ever visited me in Vancouver, despite me being there for almost eight years on the nose. I had one friend from high school visit, and a few Canadian friends visit. But that’s it. I was guilted regularly for being so far away, for not calling; but no one ever came. Usually citing finances as an obstacle. I watched as they traveled to see family across the US a few times, but never me. It’s kind of one of those things that doesn’t bother me until someone triggers that…then boom. Sad.

Wedding Thompsons
The Thompson Family at my Wedding

None went to my wedding either. It was a rather quick affair in a park with about 20 people. I see the beautiful wedding photos that people have with all their friends and family dancing and having a blast. While I realize it just…wouldn’t be like that with my family and that we had a LOVELY time at the restaurant we chose with a close group of friends, it is sometimes hard to look back on that day without a few regrets. And that is sad.

The 'Reception' at my favorite restaurant.
The ‘Reception’ at my favorite restaurant.

I might be getting tired of snark. The ‘cool kids’ are always sarcastic, witty and quick with a comeback.  I’m starting to feel like, the offhanded sarcasm is meant well but it always ends up hurting someone. You may not know about it, they might not always speak up out of fear or what have you, but it always bothers someone. Someone ends up taking it personally and it always applies to someone.  I’ve been on what feels like the receiving end of this* lately and it isn’t good. I have begun to find myself censoring what I say on Facebook and now Twitter, afraid to speak, simply because I just don’t want to deal with the responses. They are rarely helpful and almost always I take them personally. There are some people on social media that intimidate me because of that and I just don’t know how to interact with them. I keep trying though.

I’m going to try very hard, to be kinder and be wary of who I may offend or hurt with what I say. Even if unintentionally. I want to think of those that aren’t always thought of, before I speak.  Much like during the elections (when Ginger wrote an AMAZING post – truly, go read it), sometimes you never know who might associate with that party, or philosophy you’re spouting off against. I’m sorry to those I’ve isolated or made to feel badly in the past.

I am scared to go back to work.  I haven’t worked in over two years. Prior to that, I had a job that was not in my ‘field’. I will most likely, never have a job in the field I graduated in. I don’t really want it if I’m honest. With all of this, it means I haven’t interviewed or job searched for oh…8 years. It’s intimidating and I feel so anxious about it. I’m anxious about what hours I’ll get, what time I’ll work, what the work will be like. My last job, while I loved it, also came with a whole host of energetic bull crap. Dealing with people in pain, day in and day out as well as busy doctors and practitioners? It’s a load on the ol’ system for some. I loved what I did, but it absolutely took a toll on me personally. So, I worry. Which takes a toll too. Oh boy. I swear, I am a fun person.

That said, I have a lower key hiring event to go to this weekend. Kind of a meet-and-greet style gathering which I feel pretty darn good about. In person, in a low stress environment, I think I make a great impression. I believe in the products I would be demonstrating and selling, I am upbeat. I smile. I enjoy talking to people and sharing things that I love with them (as many of you can tell on Twitter. Hah). I feel like this job would be a fairly low stress job, with good perks, a good company philosophy and…I think I’d just enjoy it. It’s a stop gap while I train to become what I really want to be – a midwife.  So. Fingers crossed for me friends.

I should own this costume. (Source)

I am a vegetable spaz. Seriously. When I shop I just want to buy ALL THE VEGGIES. This comes from wanting the nutrition, but also just LOVING almost every vegetable out there and wanting it covered in butter or cheese in my face. I already have a freezer, fridge and counter full of vegetables that I cannot possibly use up and yet I still am dreaming of even more. Use what you’ve got, sistah!

I want to be vegan, completely, but dang it is hard work. I know that I CAN do it. I really do. I just am not sure I am in the spot to do it right now. With all the changes I’ve got going on here and still not really having a grocery ‘routine’, I think maybe now isn’t the time. I need to be able to get on a schedule, have a few prep routines on the weekend or whenever and really nail it down. Add to this wanting to be more fit, exercise more etc.

I do believe it is the best for my health, for the world we live in and for the health and welfare of farm animals though. So, I will do it. I think slowly reducing the dairy and eggs I eat will be a good start. Bit by bit. I’m not one of those cold turkey kind of people I don’t think and that’s okay.

Overly positive people drive me crazy. I feel like – that can’t be ALL that is there. I’m all for gratitude and deciding to be happy and the like, but if you never show a crack? That’s not real. Is it? Am I just a negative Nancy here? You know the people. The ones that post inspirational messages every day on Facebook, never ever mention their struggles or bad days. The ones that say, “I am home sick today and feel pretty awful, but at least I get some lovely couch time with my loves!” I can so appreciate their ability to find light in the darkness, and wish I could see the light a bit more sometimes but often wish they’d show a crack sometimes. This isn’t me wishing someone to fail, but wishing someone to let go. To be honest. Truthful. To be vulnerable.

Perhaps that’s more a reflection of myself that it is them. Maybe? I don’t know. I just enjoy people that are real. So many of you folks that I interact with on a near daily basis feel…so real. You have shitty days/weeks/months that suck. Ones that call for your friends to love you a bit extra, hug you and vocalize their support. Then you are still not afraid, in the midst of it, to shout to the rooftops when you’ve had something wonderful happen. Neither cancel out the other and it’s just…okay. It’s how it is. It’s life. Does any of this make sense?

So, thanks folks, for being real. For not being afraid to show the good and the bad. The inspirational and the depressing. The sad and the happy. I want to see it all. I really do. I get frustrated with superficial friendships that feel like someone is hiding something from you. I really do appreciate it, when you share both. I always, truly want to know.

OH! And if I ask you “Hey, how are you?” I…actually want to know. So please. Tell me truthfully!

I love my bed.  It’s a cheap platform bed with a cheap memory foam mattress, but I just want to lie on it all the time. Alone. I don’t want to share. I’ve never ever loved a bed like this before, or a bedroom. This one? I want to be in there and be still and quiet, reading or writing. I have curtains that make it a bit darker without blacking out the light completely and it feels so cozy.  We’ve done a really good job so far, with a very minimal budget, to make this little apartment a sweet home for a bit. I think it’s so necessary and am glad that’s where the money has gone.

Kindness Matters. Oh holy hell friends. It SO matters. I constantly feel like I want to hug each and every one of you that is having ‘a day’. It isn’t a superficial feeling, it really truly is a feeling of wishing I could squeeze you and make it just a tiny bit better. Just so you know.

Last week I was having one hell of a day. I didn’t say too much about it, but commented to a few friends with kindness and whoa. It came back to me 100 fold. Shalini made me feel like I had made a little difference in someone’s life, and further solidified my desire to buy her a kale salad if she makes it to NYC in the near future. (Maybe a book tour? huh huh? Hint hint?)  Kammah. Man. She just made me feel like SOMEONE understood me. Someone saw me for how I feel inside. For the kindness and love I feel inside for just about everyone. Every living thing. For someone who lives their life feeling constantly misunderstood and like they have to explain themselves to everyone – this was huge. It truly made my day that without prompting, she just…got me.  Then a gentleman moved on the train, so I could sit down with my grocery bags, next to Andrew. After a bit of a morning freakout, Christina made me stop and pause, and to really spend a couple moments being more gentle with myself. She is always such a good support and a good reminder to take it EASIER.

Seriously. Honestly friends. Kindness matters. If you feel something positive – share it. If you like someone’s hair that day. Say so. If you think someone’s child is lovely – say so. If you are silently amazed by a parent or a person – TELL THEM. Just, speak up. Even if it seems small. It might just make a difference. It has for me.

*I am an anxious person and sensitive by nature, so I take full responsibility for the fact that I take things personally and often feel more hurt than perhaps I ‘should’. 

What’s on your mind these days? I really actually want to know. Spill it!