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Someone Gets It, Someone Gets Me.

It was a beautiful Sunday and, for once, I was the customer instead of the sales clerk, strolling through the bookstore as if I had all the time in the world. It was a beautiful Sunday for another reason as well-it was beautiful because I had just come out of another depressive episode recently, and I felt good. It felt good to be Me again.

I have had Depression for quite some time now, and my life has been characterized by the emotional highs and lows that come with such a disease. However, this year, instead of trying to “beat past it” and “push through it” like most people so kindly and inaccurately advise Me, I decided to get help. I went to my Doctor and set up my very first appointment with a psychiatrist.

I was super nervous-Psychiatry is a field of Medicine that has such a bad rep! I swear, what’s the big deal about Mental Illness anyway? Is your brain not allowed to get sick from time to time? Why is Diabetes acceptable, Hypothyroidism sympathetic and Arthritis understandable, but Mental Illness is the whack job?

I still don’t understand the stigma…

But anyways, I was really nervous about my psych appointment, and not because of the afore-mentioned reasons stated above, but because I didnt know how to explain how I felt. I could not find the words to describe my state of mind and I was afraid that I would not be able to explain myself. The frustration led to fear, which led to anger and eventually, it made me cry. Uncontrollably. Snot everywhere!

How do I tell a psychiatrist that I feel like a Failure? Like I am being punished by Life? That I don’t deserve anything good to happen to Me? That I screwed up so badly, I dont think I will ever get out of this rock bottom phase of my life? How do you say those things out loud to a stranger?

These thoughts consumed me during my Depressive episode, but they eventually passed. And I was able to see my psychiatrist, who was very nice, and describe my situation to her to the best of my ability. (I only went through 1 box of tissues! Yay!)

It felt good to talk about my Depression. Really, really good.

But it got me thinking…Other than my Psych, who would get this stuff? When I’m asked how I am doing,  how do I convey this to people?

I was thinking of this in the bookstore that day when I came across Alice Hoffman’s new book Faithful. In this fantastic read, a young girl with her whole life ahead of her gets into a car accident and survives. The life she had planned for herself disappears in a flash and the Survivor’s guilt eats away at her for many years until, one day, a guardian angel gives her the will to pick up the pieces and start over

I had always wanted to read this book, (i put it down on my infamous list!)  but that day I just opened up the book to a random page to see if it was something I really would like to get into. I came upon a paragraph at the bottom of a page and instantly, we connected. My eyes widened and my heart began to pound.

‘Whoa’ I thought, ‘This is Me! This is my inner dialogue exactly. Word for word..’

The main character had spoken aloud my exact feelings regarding my Depression. Every single thought, feeling…she got it. She Got Me!

You don’t know how elated I was to have someone understand these emotions so much, and write them out so plainly on the page. I wasn’t the only one out there who felt these things. People experienced it. People understood it. People conquered it. Life didn’t stop at Rockbottom. They too got their happy endings

Now I am not saying that I recovered from this book, or stopped seeking help for my own Depression. No I did not do that. But it was nice, no it was wonderful to know that someone understood Depression, and was able to put it into words and create a story that people would read and, for a brief period of time, would understand too.

That understanding-well, sometimes, it makes all the difference to Us.

Thank you very much Alice Hoffman-from the bottom of my Heart.

 

LoveUntitled @_@

 

 

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A Mother’s Love…

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To all the mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, friends-Happy Mother’s Day! And on the flip-side, to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and buds who take on the role of Mother today-a very Happy Mother’s Day to you too! We are honoured, privileged and blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you!

This year, Mother’s Day was especially beautiful for me because I was able to experience Motherhood in all it’s forms. Through a variety of women in my family, I saw how Motherhood was conveyed, relayed, shared and shone between us, and it humbled this little heart to the core.

It started with brunch with my Mother, Grandmother and sister. Four women, 3 generations and a hot mess of love and emotion in a tiny car. On the way to brunch, my Mother was, well, being my mother! We have a loving yet exasperating sort of relationship where, despite being well into my 30s, I am still the child and she is still the adult. I am Ernie, She is Bert.

Mum: “Change lanes, that guy’s too close to you”

“Don’t put your purse there, it’ll get dirty”

Me: $(@)@(*&!!!!^^&%I$((#&@@&%&&&@$&!!!!!!!!!!…AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! (in my head! only in my head…)

Yet, at the breakfast table, things took a little turn and it was my mother in the hot seat and my grandmother steering the conversation, much to the chagrin of my mother.

Grandma: “Pour the tea carefully otherwise you will spill”

“Why aren’t you eating? You look pale, take this.”

Mum: (disgruntled silence)

As the scene continued to play out, my sister and I exchanged amused glances-the apple clearly didn’t fall too far from the tree. It was cute, and it got me thinking…A mother’s role in life is so strong, so powerful, that even with all the good and bad we witness, we still want to emulate them. Our idols of life, love, womanhood ahd humanity-we want to be just like them. In every single way.  On the ride home, this simple thought humbled my ego and filled me with affection for my mother. She and I were so alike, we were both caught between the individual and the idol dream, and still trying to navigate to that in between.

This time, when she complained that I was speeding (doing 65km in a 60km zone) I didn’t get mad. I just smiled and slowed down 🙂

Later in the day, we went to my Aunt’s house for afternoon tea. Now, we have not always had a cordial relationship with her and her family, but she was recently diagnosed with End Stage Kidney Failure, and we all decided it was time to bury the hatchet and be supportive. Sitting at her bedside,  I saw first hand how Sisters are a very special sort of relationship, the in-between of a mother and a friend. My mother is two years older than her younger sister, yet she fell into the role of mother with such ease-fluffing her pillows, arranging her flowers, pouring her tea, sitting down for a good gossip. What a bond! I never thought about how unique the sister relationship really is,  mother your own age! A mother who gets you! A mother who sees you as an equal! It’s pretty cool….

A few hours later my aunt’s children, my cousins, came by with their kids in tow. As I watched my cousin nurse her 9 month old daughter at the kitchen table, I was again bowled over by the beauty of motherhood-it’s so natural, so intrinsic, like a second skin. The look on her face as she nursed her daughter was just ethereal, and in that one moment of nourishment, you could tell that the entire world had just stopped to care for this little girl. It was a powerful moment for me.

As we left the house I picked up my dog and as I looked into his little black eyes, I couldn’t help but feel that tug at my heart for this little boy in my arms. Was this Motherhood as well? Yes, I think it is. While I am not a mother to a human child, to me, my dog IS my child. I love him so fiercely, so deeply and so completely, I cannot remember my life before him. When he sleeps, I am at peace. When he’s sick, my heart hurts. When he is happy and excited, it’s like a light has turned on inside of me. I just adore him.

And so, I feel I can safely say that yes, I too, belong to this beautiful society of Motherhood. It is a Love that I cannot contain-for my mother, father, sister, grandmother, aunt, friend, niece, dog. It is unconditional and it keeps expanding, spilling out into all of my other relationships,  growing,  transforming and evolving over time. But interestingly, never diminishing. Never, ever diminishing.

In one day I learned and felt so much about Motherhood, I was overwhelmed. It was on display for me in all of its intimacy, power and glory, it was blinding. And each woman, each encounter, each experience taught me yet another lesson about the powerful Love of a Mother.

As I sat down to write this post, pondering over the events and emotions of the day, the most perfect book came to mind and I knew I had to share Maya Angelou’s Letter To My Daughter. 

Now most people would think, why not Maya Angelou’s other book “Mom & Me & Mom”-after all it is Mother’s Day right?

True. However, Letter to My Daughter was a more fitting selection for me because it is a book that reflects the very core of Motherhood- to teach with Love. This was the ray of light I experienced today, witnessing all these beautiful conveyances of a Mother through all of these women. Maya Angelou’s collection of essays reveals Life Lessons she has learned  from Herself, her own Mother, Grandmother, her friends, family, strangers, her obstacles, triumphs, failures and dreams. And, as a Mother, Angelou passes on  these lessons to us as well. Her audience. Her extended family. Her children.

With her characteristic grace, intelligence, humour and flair she conveys some wonderful advice about life with the humility and beauty only Angelou knows how to put into words. It is a book that not only needs to be read, it needs to be absorbed. All of it.  Into your very bones, Your Mind. Your Heart. Your Soul. And then you pass it on with Love, just as a Mother would.

I cannot recommend this treasure enough. Go out and grab a copy today. You won’t regret it!

Happy MOther’s Day!

 

LoveUntitled @_@

 

 

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A Song, A Book and A Garden

 

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Have you ever experienced that perfect moment when art, literature and music collide? Well, today I did and the way it all came about still sends tingles down my spine.

I was driving to work this morning when this song came on the radio-a lovely, contemporary classical piece on 91.1Fm. The violin and piano melodies were just so beautiful together-comfortable, earthy yet elegant, and it just relaxed me instantly. Normally, I would Shazaam the heck out of a piece I didn’t know, but being the responsible driver that I am [thank you :)], I missed the details and resigned myself to letting another good song disappear.

Meanwhile, at work, I met a friend who also happens to share my passion for the eternal City of Lights-Paris, France. We constantly talk about France, to the point of being irritating. As we got to chatting (again!) about Paris, he whipped out his phone and showed me some photos he took at Giverny, home to the infamous gardens of Impressionist artist Claude Monet.

His photographs made me nostalgic for France, a place I visited for the very first time last fall, and so I headed over to our travel section and lo and behold! A beautiful photography collection by Jean-Pierre Gilson caught my eye. ” Monet’s Garden At Giverny” is a genuine  stunner. Gilson’s photographs are breathtaking, capturing moments in the garden with a professional, yet emotional eye. One can’t help but gasp out loud at the sheer beauty this garden exudes, and that’s just through the photographs! Imagine what the real thing feels like! In addition to the collection, Gilson collaborated with author Dominique Lobstein, who gives us fictional first-hand accounts of Monet from his family members, colleagues and acquaintances. In this charming narrative, he manages to convey the story of the moody, temperamental, yet soft man behind the genius of these gardens and their paintings.

I was so enamoured with this book that I bought it on the spot. I showed my friend and he suggested that when I get home, I should just prop my feet up, pour myself a glass of wine and pop in my Mellow Songs playlist. “It’s the only way to really enjoy this book!” he exclaimed. I couldn’t agree more.

Later on, at home, I was putting the finishing touches to my “Book Ambience” when I received a text message. It was a friend with a song recommendation. “Hey S! Check out this song, I heard it today and it’s amazing. I think you would really like it!”

I popped the title into Youtube, hit play and reached for my book. As soon as the first few notes hit me, I stopped, my heart quickening in surprise.

Whaaaaattttt?

It was the piece from this morning. Passaggio. By Ludovico Einaudi, accompanied by violinist Daniel Hope.

When art, literature and music collide…Amazing right?

LoveUntitled @_@

 

 

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Note To Self: Listen to Juliet!

The other day I was talking to my friend SK about the idea of Unrequited Love. My birthday had just come and gone, and I was still glowing from all the heartfelt wishes and cards and gifts that I was showered with by everyone. It was truly humbling. But there was one message I received that left me with a little heartache.

For the past few weeks I have been trying to get over someone and I have been writing about our little “loveship” on my other blog, http://www.loveuntitled.wordpress.com. Long story short-I was in love with him and I took the leap and confessed and he confessed he used to be in love with me but is now dating someone else.

Well, the other day I received a birthday wish from him, and I just melted. One part of me was ecstatic that he remembered my birthday, the other was heartbroken that he remembered my birthday ( you know what I mean?). When relaying this story to my friend we got to talking about Unrequited Love and, despite the obvious downside to the concept, we realized that there were some really beautiful things that could come out of it. Loyalty, resilience, strength, friendship, honesty, boldness, vulnerability; I was pleasantly surprised to discover all these traits within myself. Me! Bold, Vulnerable, Resilient! Who knew?

I also discovered how I love-unabashedly, passionately, with loyalty and on a foundation of friendship. That’s my relationship style. And lastly but most importantly, this experience taught me how I wanted to BE loved. With the same passion, loyalty, respect,  affection and, above all, with the exclusive commitment I truly deserved.

And so, of course, this experience would not be complete without a life-to-book connection . While I was grappling with these thoughts and feelings inside of me, I decided to journal a letter to Him. Saying thank you and goodbye for really being a wonderful man in my life. And while writing that letter I thought about Glenn Dixon, author of the book “Juliet’s Answer”. Glen, an English teacher of 20 years, was also in the throes of unrequited love when reality came crashing down on him and he realized he had to get away. And so he traveled to Verona, Italy where he joined a group called Juliet’s Secretaries and spent the next year answering love letters  to Juliet from around the world.

Glen’s experience with Unrequited Love made me think of my own story and I think we both came to the same realization that sometimes, when it comes to love, letting go is the best gift you could ever give to Yourself. Glen let go, I let go and, as if by magic, the world opened up for us.

For those experiencing a similar sort of relationship, for those who love to be in love and for those who are simply enamoured by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, I encourage you to run, no FLY, to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy today. You will fall in love all over again-with love, with Shakespeare, with your partner, your loved ones and, most importantly of all, with Yourself.

 

Enjoy your weekend!

LoveUntitled @_@

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