Monday Vibes

It’s a Monday morning and just Jonni, Cash and I are home. Laundry laundering, windows open, fan running, hot coffee in my cup and I am grateful. Although things seem to be a bit of a struggle right now, we’re going to be ok. We have a good life and I sometimes forget that. We are ok.

The hubby and kids are at work and I wanted to share this short post with you. In the happenings of life, things sometimes become overwhelming and chaotic and we get stressed or worried, but I believe they all work out for the best. We’re always taken care of.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve not been one for socializing but seeing my cousin Crystal’s kids Nevada, Slim and Korianka after a few weeks makes everything better again. They remind me how loved I am and how happy life is. They come running every time I go to their house yelling out my name and giving me hugs, and just say the best things to make me feel happy inside my heart and head. I love those kids. Kids are great. Kids remind us how carefree life should be and how much happiness there is in this world. Mahsi, kids.

Yesterday, I got to go boating with Jason, Crystal, Greg and Ashton courtesy of Jason and Crystal. We spent a few good hours on the river just miles from our homes and it was everything I needed to refresh my outlook on life. No worries. No stress. Just beauty. Thank you, Jason and Crystal. I love you guys. I really needed that and as always, Creator took care of it. I appreciate you both.

Check out this short video I made of our day.

Have a good one, friends.

Renee

Stop This Crazy Train, I Want to Get Off

Stop this crazy train I want to get off. This post is long overdue. I’ve not been myself for a very long time, or at least that’s the way it feels. Aging is hard. Life with teens is hard. Being happily married is hard. Shit is hard or so it seems. In reality, it’s only hard because I’ve not been myself as I mentioned.

I know, I know many people have it far worse than I do and that’s why I should shut the fuck up and be grateful. Don’t get me wrong; I’m so completely grateful for every day, my life, and my family, all of it. It’s just hard to deal with when you’re not feeling yourself and I’m not afraid to admit that. Sure, it’s selfish but that’s ok too. I’ve come to a place in my life where I need to be selfish. I need to take care of me first, so I don’t go completely off the deep end. Cue the crazy train.

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I’m not sure when or where it started but one day I felt good, the next I felt ‘off’. Misery. Whatever you heard about misery loving company is a lie. I hate people. I hate noise. I hate people, places and things. I just want to be left alone. I’m not even joking. Socializing makes me sick. Who knew that was even possible right? Well, now I know. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like this. There were days where I felt literally crazy, like I was losing my mind, scared of what was happening to me. This is not the Renee I know. Oh but it is, naïve Renee. It is fully and completely you and you are ok, I learn to tell myself that after many days and months of feeling like shit.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you care? You don’t have to care and I don’t have to tell you but if I’ve learned anything about healing, it’s that talking about it helps and who knows? I just might be helping others to learn about themselves, too. I learned that these feelings, anxiety and depression happen to everyone and I’m not unique by any means. Shit right? We all want to be ‘the one’ hey? Well, tough shit.

If I could pinpoint a time when this started, it would be way back when I worked at my previous employer. That being said, it could have been earlier and just not noticed, so there’s no real way to say for sure. Anyway, I was in the shower one day getting ready for work when I felt like I couldn’t breathe suddenly, like the lights started to go out and my heart rate increased at a rapid pace. That morning I went to the emergency room just to be safe and learned I had a panic attack. What? Where the hell did that come from? I felt fine, though!? I was only getting ready for my usual day. What I didn’t know or understand at the time was that my work environment was causing this stress. Naturally, I blamed myself at first until a really awesome and supportive doctor helped me to understand that it was indeed linked to work and it wasn’t my fault. It just so happened that every morning before work I’d feel ‘funny or off’ but I didn’t realize that until much later and by talking these events through with medical and mental health professionals. Ok, so all better right? Nope.

Add the much earlier passing of my Grandma, my son’s graduation, his pending college departure, leaving a job I enjoyed and financial security, taking on two puppies, financial burdens, losing so many loved ones in such a short period of time, and I ask myself, how did I actually not go completely off the deep end? Thankfully I didn’t and I got help in time. I took care of my health and took time to recover. Some days I slept for two to three hours and would still get seven to eight hours of sleep at night. Even up until recently, I still felt ‘off’ and out of sorts but with talking to great supports, I am feeling alive again. That’s not to say, I won’t get in those funks again because it’s possible. Anything is possible, one day at a time, though. Focus on the good.

So what’s my point? My point is that I believe many people suffer in silence. I believe we need to take better care of our mental health. If we break something, we go to a doctor. If our hearts are broken a hundred times, we don’t. We ought to. If you repeatedly hurt or break something in some way, there’s going to be serious damage and sometimes we can’t see that damage but it’s there and it hurts us in other ways like what I mentioned above. Depression kills. Stress kills. Pain kills. Suffering kills. We’ve lost so many people in our community that it’s impossible for everyone to be perfectly ok. That alone is enough to do serious damage to our people and I think that’s prevalent if you just look around. Today, I am ok but I still have deep wounds that need healing, too. Remember, you’re worth it. You matter and your mental health is just as important as any physical health issues. It hurts to look deep inside and open old wounds but what’s on the other side is nothing short of beautiful. We are worth it.

Today, I choose to enjoy this beautiful day and live life on my terms. I’m not crazy, just dealing with healing, that’s all.

 

Renee

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This Moment

How would I feel if things were easy? Would I be happy? Would I be miserable? What is happy? What is sad? What is an easy life? Is it real? What does easy even mean? I’m sure everyone has their interpretation of what life is supposed to be like but what’s mine?

I imagine life differently but all I know is what I know. How can things be different, when this is all I know?

I know life can always be better. I know I can try and do better, work harder and there’s always room for improvement but what am I striving for, if anything at all?

What if this is what I strive for? What if this is where I’m supposed to be?

I can hear the wind in the trees. It dries my tears. I hear dogs bark, birds chirp, motorbikes zooming by and yet my thoughts are of this time, this moment. What is next? What is beyond this moment?

Who knows?

Renee

Transitions

What is even happening? Life seems insanely crazy these days. My mind and heart are not aligned and I feel at odds with life.

It’s been a while since I’ve attempted to write. A lot has been happening since I last wrote. I don’t even recall what I last wrote. The husband and I started updating the yard with a fence and a new coat of paint on the house (or modular home), but then I got a call for surgery. Within two days of getting the call, my palm was cut open and I was having carpal tunnel surgery in another province. Aside from that, surgery completely halted any further yard/house work we were doing because it’s near impossible to go to the bathroom, let alone paint a house. I probably picked the worst time to have the surgery but I have relief from pain and numbness so that’s the plus side of it all.

On top of all that, our community is divided and things are quite contentious because for one, it’s an election year and two, members are not being heard by the people they elected nor are they being consulted. I am saddened that this is the best our Council and Administration can do. It’s as if the members don’t matter. Election years suck. Rez politics suck. One dimensional leaders suck. Dictators suck. No matter who’s on Council, no one wins, especially when you have a select few people doing what they think is best for the overall nation without proper consultation. As Indigenous people we complain to governments and corporations about proper consultation yet don’t practise what we preach in our own communities and governments. Today, I’m making a conscious effort to focus on more important things, like my son’s upcoming graduation.

OUR SON IS GRADUATING!! Again, my first-born child is graduating!! Let that sink in. Imagine the craziness that alone brings. I’m losing my mind. My heart can’t deal. I don’t want my kids to grow up but I don’t have a say in the matter. They’re growing up and becoming their own people, young independent adults. It’s scary, heartbreaking, joyous, and exciting times. My husband and I didn’t graduate so this is a momentous occasion for us, somehow we didn’t completely mess up our amazing kids with addiction and chaos. Thankfully, we rose above for them and for ourselves. Our kids deserve so much better than we had and I’m so extremely grateful for my parents and family who helped shape our son and daughter in to the really awesome teenagers they are. I just know they’re going to do really great things with their lives. Sigh…transitions.

What else is there to say? Transitions. Transitioning. “The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” Married with kids to married with no kids (at home). Kid-less. It’s mind-numbing and overwhelming to think of a life that involves only two people (mom and dad) where there were four (our son and daughter). What’s next for us as a couple? I don’t know but it’s going to be weird and it’s kind of funny to imagine. Life, one day at a time with the love of my life is all I can be sure of right now. I’m optimistic that whatever comes our way, we will deal with it and we will be ok.

Transitions.

 

Renee

 

Rising Up

Well, I lost track but that’s because we’ve been busy giving our yard a makeover among other things. Also, I lost track of days and numbers so let’s just say I won’t be counting days but instead writing for the sake of writing because it clears my mind and heart.

I have realized a few things in the last while since I’ve not been writing. While not writing, I have a lot of time to think about the things I should be writing about. Go figure!

One, I like writing but it takes focus, silence and a clear mind to ‘get in the zone’ hence the reason I don’t write as often as I’d like. There’s a lot of distraction and life is happening around me, so I need to make time. Do it or don’t but writing is therapy and healing so making it a priority is key hence this post today.

Two, I’m so fortunate for my life. I have a super hardworking and handy husband who goes above and beyond at every opportunity to make the kids and I happy and provide a good home and life for us. Look at all he’s done in just six days!

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All of this wouldn’t be possible or happening if we were still living a life of addiction. Fuck, I’m so happy that this is our life. I don’t miss that shit for anything. Addiction is a nightmare. I see people struggling and it’s all because of addiction. It’s the choices one makes each day that keeps them stuck or moving forward but ultimately, it’s all a CHOICE. We wake up each day and choose to be sober and drug free, still, after all these years and our life is good. I’m genuinely happy. Happiness was always short lived when living that life. Fuck that shit.

Three, remembering to be grateful every day for every thing, especially the things we take for granted. I got two calls last week from my cousin Taylor, who’s continuously doing amazing things with her life, thanking me for some ideas I offered up and for encouraging and believing in her. My heart overflowed. It meant so much to me. It took a lot to not cry because it’s a lot to take in when someone says thank you for your help and you hear in their voice, how life changing their experiences were. My heart burned with happiness for her.

I want so many good things for our people. I want good things for the people who wake up every day and strive for healthy communities to make the world a better place for all people, especially our Indigenous relatives. As a people, we’ve overcome so much and the people that are working to improve their communities every day are proof that we’re stronger and more resilient than we sometimes give each other credit for. We’re fucking badass. To all the Taylors and Zakarys in our communities, mahsi cho, for doing the work to improve our communities, you are the next generation of leaders who will bring forth the change we want and need. You are our role models. Thank you for being you, being amazing, being strong when times are tough, being the voice for the voiceless and not giving up even when there’s days you want to. There’s days like that for me, too, but if we gave up, who would lead the way? No pressure. Wink!

So there you have it, some good stuff from my soul. I’m just so thankful for life, the sunshine, the birds, our walls, the helpful guys at Ace Hardware in Fort Nelson, and music that keeps me rocking.

One day, all our people will rise up and be strong and healthy and when that day comes, we will be a force to be reckoned with. I see it already because we model it every day for our kids. We believe in you, Son and Miss Magoonie.

Enjoy this beautiful day.

Renee

Can’t Sleep

I’m wide awake and it’s 11:30 on a Sunday night. I fight with myself to get up and clean while it’s peace and quiet or force myself to get some shut eye. Instead I just write this.

Today Greg and I went for a hunt and saw our first bear and also scored some traditional medicine, diamond willow fungus. We had a pretty laid back day. I napped, too, so that explains the alertness at this hour.

Anyway, not much else to say except I have a lot going on this week, so I best be getting some rest. Good night.

Posts Can Wait, Culture Cannot

I’m two posts behind, tonight and last night. I think? Yes, two, it is.

I have a good excuse though. I’ve been dancing alongside family, friends and community. Dancing to the Dene drums. The medicine of our people.

I got to witness, Taden, drumming alongside men 20-60 years his senior and it warmed my heart. Not only is he super cute, he’s gifted with the medicine of our people – the will to drum and carry on our traditions. What a blessing.

Then tonight, I danced while my husband and son drummed, too. I feel so good inside. Taden also received a drum from Dene Tha drummer and community leader, Fabian. I could feel how happy and proud everyone was for the little guy. He totally deserves to drum all the days of his life.

Although I feel like I’ve not met my “100 posts in 100 days” because I’ve fallen behind, I recognize that focusing on the good things are far more important than beating myself over falling behind. I’m not behind, I just was too busy enjoying life and our culture with my family. Posts can wait, culture cannot.

The video is dark but the drums are loud, and that is the heartbeat of the Dene people – strong and proud. I’m so thankful for this way of life. Something I’ve taken for granted for many years, but now I fully embrace.

Good night.

Renee