Saturday, 22 February 2014

Things that go bump in the night

Lately, I’ve been struggling to sleep, distracted by the things that go bump in the night.  I know many people can relate to having that insomnia feeling at least once in their lifetimes.  A nice glass of wine helps to sooth those demons under my bed, but my current financial situation, sadly, will not support that sleeping aid.  Weekend wine is all I can afford; anything more would put me in the (darker) red.

Which brings me to the ‘money monster’ that is hiding under my bed.  The first of the many demons that keep me awake at night.  Money!  Why is it we never have enough?  I never have enough money for the important things, never mind the things that I would just like to have.  My phone for instance, I would love to have a smart phone.  Sadly, I cannot afford one.  So I make due with this pay as you go flip phone.  I hate it, using it angers me and only adds to my stress.  I studied for years for my degree in teaching.  I feel like I paid my dues as a struggling student.  Now I have a career, isn’t this where my life begins, and I start being able to afford the things I want.  I work hard; I teach, I tutor and I am always looking for ways to make money, I’m even willing to babysit.  Twenty-four years old, and I am looking to do a job that I did when I was fourteen.  Walking on this treadmill of life, and getting nowhere.  I’m twenty-four years old, and I live with my dad.  Looking at my salary, I’m beginning to think the only hope for me for any sort of future (if I stay in teaching) is to meet a man with a decent income and marry him.  Not in a gold digger type way.  But lets face it, there are many guys out there that have the potential of making me fall in love.  I just don’t plan to date the broke, jobless ones.  Thus eliminating the risk of falling in love with someone as hopeless and broke as myself.

Speaking of boyfriends, meet the ‘boyfriend boogey man’ that is hiding out in my closet.  I’ve been single for six years.  Not that I am looking for a relationship, because I’m really not.  I feel like I have enough to worry about without having to deal with that too.  I do feel a little lonely from time to time, and it’d be nice to have someone to come and chase my demons away now and then.  But honestly, boyfriends just pretend to chase the demons away.  When really they just bring their own demons with them, and they buddy up with your demons, and everything seems happy go lucky for a while… until you look around and think, “oh crap, now I have double the amount of demons!”  So far, for me, boyfriends have proven to be more trouble than they are worth, though they come wrapped in some pretty nice packaging.  But as far as my future goes, I really will have to one day meet someone, and get married.  Or else I’ll be moving out of my dads, and back in with my mum. 

Which leads me to the ‘fat phantom’ that doesn’t even bother hiding; this guy just sits on my chest and tickles my nose while I try to sleep.  If I’m planning to ‘one day’ bag myself a Christian Grey type man, then I need to get myself an Anastasia Steele type body!  I am a long way from this, let me just tell you.  I was doing great, I had lost 30lbs and was working out five times a week.  I was on my way to my future, sexy self.  Nothing was going to stop me.  Nothing was getting in my way.  Until it did!  Don’t even ask me what.  It’s the same thing that happens every time.  I lose momentum, or motivation or something.  And don’t ask me why, because trust me, I still want to be thin.  When I started tutoring it made it harder to work out those two days a week.  But that’s just two days, and I could find something else other than the gym for those days.  I need to find my momentum again!  Today I entered an online competition for weight loss; you bet $25 that you can lose 4% of your body weight in four weeks and then all of the winners split the pot.  So hopefully this motivates me again.  Getting a sexy body would really be a step in the right direction for eliminating all of my demons!

You know, I sound like I’m complaining.  I’m really not!  I am lucky, and I know that.  I don’t have any serious issues.  I am healthy (apart from that phantom on my chest), I have a roof over my head and I have people that I love in my life.  There are people much worse off than me.  But these ‘demons’ that are keeping me awake at night are pretty common.  Especially the ‘money monster’!  It seems everybody has a ‘money monster’ demon bumping away in the night.  I just hope I can tame mine one day, because it really would make everything so much easier.  Money might not buy happiness, but it definitely eases stress!  It lets you enjoy the things in your life that make you happy.  I know some people that stress so much over money that they don’t know how to take time to enjoy the things that make them happy.  Or take time to create lasting memories with the people that make them happy.  Money definitely isn’t everything, but it is a pretty powerful demon in everybody’s life, you can’t argue with that.

All of my demons work together.  It is a vicious circle.  Instead of going bump in the night, they’re having a rave in here.  Blaring that base, with no regards to my beauty sleep.  Christian Grey type, if you are out there: I hope you like the haggard, sleep deprived, broke, overweight, wine lover types… because here I am baby!  I’m waiting for you!! Come find me!

Monday, 17 February 2014


Hello, my name is Caroline and I am a butterfly addict.

Anyone that’s ever been on a first date, or sat next to his or her crush will know that feeling.  Commonly described as butterflies, it is the most universal feeling there is.  Your stomach feels like it is flipping, there’s a tingle in your belly and you can hear your heart beating in your ears.  Butterflies.  The most awful and amazing feeling you will ever have.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’ve caught a sickness bug… or the love bug.  Yes, I did just use that cheesy line.  But that’s what the bug does to me… those butterflies bring out my inner cheesiness.  I’m not ashamed to admit that this nervous, nauseating feeling is my favorite in the world.

We’ve all been there:
Sitting in the movie theatre, his knee accidentally touches yours.  Butterflies.  You glance over (without turning your head) and look at him in his seat.  Butterflies.  He moves his hand so that it is almost touching yours.  More butterflies.  You look at his hand.  There it is, that nauseating feeling… nerves, and you can hear your heart pounding in your chest.  Can he hear it? You touch his pinky with your pinky.  Oh wow, the butterflies!

Everyone has been here.  It might not go exactly like this, but when you were reading that, you were thinking of your own experience.  Maybe he got up the courage to touch your hand, or your leg… maybe he put his arm around you.  You try to tilt your head and rest it on his shoulder to show that you like him too.  But it’s a terrible angle, because of those seats.  It hurts your neck, but you don’t move.  You don’t want him to think you changed our mind… so you stay there as long as you can, even with your neck hurting.  Do you mind?  Of course not, because of the butterflies.  You are enjoying the butterflies far too much.  You, my friend, just might be a butterfly addict.

It’s a feeling that only comes when you really like someone.  When there is an attraction, preferably a mutual one.  I have been known to have those feelings when it has not been mutual.  I’m sitting going crazy over an accidental bump of the arm, and he was just reaching for his popcorn, and has no idea we touched.  This feeling isn’t quite as enjoyable, but shamefully, I admit that I do still love it.  Butterflies are butterflies, and I am a butterfly addict. 

It’s a very innocent feeling, the butterflies.  One I hope I never lose the ability to have.  I enjoy being nervous and excited, because it is that innocence that allows me to enjoy the butterflies.  Those crazy, wild, senseless butterflies are the greatest.

I often wonder if I enjoy the butterflies too much.  What happens when I, finally, one day settle down in a serious relationship?  Will I miss those beginning butterflies too much?  Maybe there will be new feelings that I will love?  New favorites?  New firsts?  New addictions? 

I will find out soon enough.  In the meantime, I am just going to enjoy the butterflies!

Sunday, 9 February 2014


We all claim to understand how short life is.  We say we know that anything can happen.  In the blink of an eye our whole life can change.  We can lose someone we love… 

We know this.  But we still don’t really believe it could ever happen to us.  How could it? 

I am so lucky; I have never experienced real loss of someone I love.  I’ve grieved deaths, and lost people I care about.  But the handful of people that I truly need, are still with me.  Even the thought of losing them is enough to make me crumble.  Just the idea of it is too awful to imagine. 

I did have one moment that I thought I might have lost one of those people.  The feelings I went through at that time are indescribable.  It was the most awful and terrifying moment of my entire life.  No pain I had ever felt, or have felt since has come close to what I felt at that moment.  But relief then followed it.  I was lucky.

My sister, CC, had been in a car accident.  She had only just left the house.  It barely felt like ten minutes had passed since she said bye, and was out the door. 

The house phone rang. 

I heard my mum answer it.  I heard her voice change.  I heard the fear.  I instinctively went to her and asked what was wrong.  She told me CC had been in a car accident.  I asked her who called, and she told me it was a woman.  That was enough for me.  CC hadn’t called, which meant it was bad.  My mum and step dad ran out the door, and I stayed at home with my youngest sister, K, who was very young at the time.  She was in her bed for school, watching a movie, oblivious to what was going on.

I walked to the dining room.  I tried to stay calm.  But I kept hearing my mum’s voice.  I kept seeing her face.  Her fear.   

People say that you imagine the worst when these things happen.  But I didn’t have to imagine anything.  There was no thought process.  It was the not knowing.  I couldn’t imagine the worst.  But in my heart I knew what had happened, I knew it was bad.  It was the worst.

I tried to stay calm.  I told myself not to react, not to think, until I knew what had happened.  Right now I knew nothing.  I needed to wait.  Stay calm.

Then I heard a giggle.  It was K’s sweet giggle.  She was laughing at her movie.  And then I crumbled.  I couldn’t breath!  It wasn’t about what I was losing.  It was about her.  How would we tell her?  How do we tell her, her sister is gone?

I lost my ability to stay rational.  I couldn’t breath.  My sister was gone.  What would I do without her?  How could I be without her?  I called my mum, over and over.  They had been gone for what seemed like forever, and there was still no answer.  I couldn’t breath.  Tears flowed down my face as I tried to catch my breath.  My sister was gone!  I called CN.  She told me to get outside. She told me to breath.  She told me that CC was fine.  She told me exactly what I needed to hear.

The call eventually came from my step dad.  He told me that CC was alive.  She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  He was going to come get me, and our neighbor was going to come stay with K.  I was so relieved that she was alive; I didn’t even ask what was wrong with her.  Why was she going to the hospital?  Then began a new worry.

I will never forget the moment I saw CC in that hospital bed.  She smiled at me.  In all of her pain, she smiled at me.  She wanted to reassure me she was ok.  I knew what she was doing.  She had been worried about me.  
She had been in a car wreck and was in a terrible mess.  But she had been worried about me!  She knew how scared I’d be. 

I’ll never forget that awful day.  Or how I felt.  But I was lucky, because I also remember the relief.  I still have my sister.  She’s still here.  I am left with the memory of that day, not the memory of my sister.  I still have her.  I was lucky. 

Some aren’t so lucky.  Some people lose the people they love.  It is in an instant just as ours was.  But it is final. 

I couldn’t imagine what life would be like right now if what had happened that day had been final.  I can’t bare the thought of life without my sister.  I need her.  If I go a week or two with very little communicating with my sister, I miss her.  I feel lonely and sad, and I need to speak to her.  After we talk, I feel better: like a weight has been lifted.  We talk and share, we giggle and play.  We laugh at things that no one would understand or find funny.  We understand each other.  We trust each other.  We would do anything for each other.  I am so blessed to have her in my life.  And so thankful that what happened that day wasn’t final.

My heart breaks for people that lose their loved ones.  That handful of people that we need, we don’t ever expect will be taken away.  Because even though we know it happens.  We never believe it will happen to us. 

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why these things happen.  Why the worst can happen to the best of people.  No one deserves that kind of pain.  No one deserves that pain to be final.  Everyone deserves the relief.  I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if that relief had never come.  I don’t know how people get through these things and remain strong.  I don’t know if I would have had that strength. 

I’m so thankful to have my sisters.  I love you both so much.  I'm thankful to still have my mum and dad, and my handful.  My heart breaks for those that lose the people closest to them.  Those that have to become strong, because the relief never comes.  My heart breaks for them, because I know that if it happened to me; I would crumble. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014


In life we have moments that can change our lives forever.  A split second in time that changes who we are in the most drastic way.  Sometimes it's unexpected.  Other times we know it's coming, but we can still be surprised by the impact that it has on our lives.

Today, my best friend had one of those moments.  She gave birth to her baby girl.  Her beautiful daughter.  Seven pounds and two ounces of precious perfection.

Some laugh when I talk about commitment.  I think over the years, losing trust in people and seeing what the world is really like has turned me into somewhat of a cynic.  Perhaps even a commitmentphobe.  I laugh as I write that, because never have you met a more romantic, cheesy, soppy or sensitive person than me.  But years of reality and relationships have bruised my once perfect vision of what love is.  It's not that I don't believe in it.  It's that I believe it is more rare than people would care to admit.  I don't believe (anymore) that everyone will find their happily ever after, as I once did.

When I hear about people making a commitment such as moving in together, or getting married, I always think;
"I wonder if this one will last?"
"I wonder who will snap first... Or who will leave who?"
I don't even wonder if they will make it to the end, because I really don't believe that anyone ever will.  In my heart, I just don't believe that anyone can make a life long commitment to another person.  

But today I realised, I had only ever thought of commitment in the way of falling in love and getting married, or moving in with someone.  I had only ever thought of the commitment that we make with our partner to stay faithful, and stay with them until the end.

Today, CN made the biggest commitment of her life.  She made a commitment to her child.  To love her, to protect her, to stay with her forever.

You see, I had never before thought of this as a commitment.  My mum had always loved me and cared for me.  She was 100% committed to my sisters and me all of the time.  I thought this was just what happened, it wasn't a choice.  But this isn't always the case.  We do have a choice to make.  We do have to make a commitment to our children.  Once you make that choice there can be no going back.  There is no escape clause like there is in marriage or owning a home together.  If you make the choice to make this commitment to your child, you have to honor it for the rest of your life.

There is no commitment more important than the commitment you make to your child.  No promise matters more than that one.
It's a huge responsibility.  But it is also the most rewarding commitment you will ever make.

In life we have these moments that change our life forever.

It can be something small and simple.  Something that seems insignificant to the larger picture of our lives. It could be missing our regular bus; going for a job interview; visiting a new restaurant for lunch; walking the dog; running under shelter to get out of the rain.  The simple, seemingly insignificant decisions that we make on a day to day basis, could be what lead to that moment.  That defining moment that changes our life forever.

Those moments can also be larger ones.  We see them coming, but are yet still surprised by the drastic impact they have on our lives.  Moments like saying yes to a proposal; deciding to move in with someone; falling in love or having a baby.  We know these moments are going to change our lives.  But sometimes, we are unprepared for how much these moments change us, as individuals.

Last night CN had one of those moments.  The moment she held her new born daughter in her arms, her life changed forever.  Not only her life in a physical way, and how she would have to behave and live.  But also in the way that she thinks.  Things that used to matter to her don't matter any more.  Things that had mattered only hours ago, no longer matter. This is it.  This is what matters.  This little girl!  Her daughter is what matters.

This is how love is defined:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

If this is love, then do we really love like we should?  The only love that I can see reflected in these words, is the love a mother has for her child.  It's unconditional.  It's everlasting.  It never fails.  Now that kind of love, that takes a huge commitment.

I'm so proud of my best friend.  She's doing this on her own.  Granted with the support of her amazing family, but she's essentially raising her daughter alone.
And she's scared.  But she's doing it.  She made a commitment.  She will honor that commitment no matter what it takes.  This is it.  This is what matters...
Her daughter.

And she's going to be an amazing mother!
This I have absolutely no doubt!

I'm dedicating this blog entry to my best friend:
I love you.  I'm proud of you for the choices that you have made and the commitment you are making now.  Your fearlessness and strength is an inspiration.  You will be your daughters hero.  Don't forget that!  Things might get hard, and there will be upward struggles.  But as long as you are committed and have love to give, your daughter will never be without.  You'll be her hero, just by loving her every day. The type of love and commitment that only a mother can give.
Congratulations mummy! :)