Caregiving, Reflections, StaceyFH

February 22, 2021

Thank You – from a distracted writer

I'm WillowjakMama!

My blog started as a way to document my journey to wellness, but turned into a place to be inspired by others through our collective messy & authentic stories. Now it's my favourite place to be.

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When I sit at the computer to write a post for the blog, I am usually inspired by something that has moved me emotionally and I can’t wait for a moment to sit at my keyboard to match words to capture the feelings. I think that’s how I best process things. It’s cheaper than therapy, I’ll tell you that.

But lately, those inspired posts are fewer and far between. There are a lot of reasons for that. Constant interruptions from my boys is top of that list. I can’t sit for more than ten minutes consistently without someone needing me for something, or some catastrophe to take care of. Truth be told, if I DO get ten minutes of uninterrupted time, I worry someone is up to no good. This past Friday is a perfect example when I heard Will go into the bathroom. I never heard him come back out so I went to check on him. I found him sitting on the floor in my cramped bathroom, wedged with his back to the tub and his legs straddling the toilet. My first reaction was to ask if he was okay, as I assumed he might be vomiting into the toilet – but then I remembered he has never ever done that before (ya – those are messes you don’t want to know about). Then I realized there were bolts laying beside his legs and his hands were holding the bowl from underneath the toilet. He was trying to hoist the toilet off from the floor!! For crying out loud. It is always something and I still don’t know what he was doing it for.

Then there are the two dogs. If people were honest, I think we all get them because we want that unconditional love. Right? Even adopting rescues isn’t completely altruistic. There’s nothing wrong with wanting all that love in your life. And I love my pooches; I’ve had Winnie the pug since she was a puppy (she’ll be four this June) – she’s really a hyper Jack Russell in disguise; and we’ve adopted Rosie the retriever from my ex-in-laws when they couldn’t keep her in a transition to a condo – she’s almost ten and she’s a gentle beauty, bringing some calm into my life. But. These two dogs are literally on my feet with every step and every stop. There are times I can’t help but feel resentful of their big ole eyes guilting me every minute of the day, because I’m not paying them enough attention or feeding them 24/7. I trained Winnie to ring a bell at the backdoor when she needs to go out, but Rosie just stares at me. If it’s not the bell dinging, or a dog staring, I might as well call the vet because something must be wrong.

I’ll loop back to blogging, I promise – but one of the things I’ve been working on in myself this past year, is to quit believing the negative things I’ve been saying about myself my whole life, and at this exact moment, I’m finding myself grappling with finding words that line up with that goal.

Because what I want to say is – I know I’m annoying.

From an early age, I think I learned to tell myself that I was annoying, or too much, because I never found that person that would want to hear all the millions of thoughts that I wanted to talk about. I experience things throughout my day, some move me to tears, some spark joy, some cause me to process it internally, mull over and research online afterwards because I’m so obsessed by it. Then I get super excited and passionate about all the things and feel that I have to share them with someone. I know there’s a bit of self-pity in this, but it really isn’t fun not having people to talk with in your household, especially during a pandemic. I miss Jake because he really bore the brunt of my need to chat things. I talk too fast, I get distracted and tell ten stories when I should have stuck with the first. There’s almost always tears or deep breaths to calm myself down when I rile myself up. I blab it all out to whoever will listen and when seeing someone’s eyes glaze over the second you open your mouth is your first clue and you’ve ignored it, you can bet that person won’t be so quick to ask you for coffee the next time.

I should have known my ex and I were doomed when he demonstrated very early on that he was perhaps my number one – not my number one supporter – but the number one person who was most annoyed by my brain (to be fair, he annoyed me too!). He didn’t get excited about the things I did; I’d get the eye rolls if I pulled out the binoculars because I was excited to see a new bird visit the backyard. I would stress and find myself in empathetic turmoil over the upsets or tragedies that my friends or loved ones were going through and he couldn’t understand why I could cry so easily for them. I’d learn about a fundraiser or a rally to help someone in our community and he’d be irritated that I would help out, because we had needs of our own that needed to be tended to. I had a never-ending passion for learning and he’d dismiss my new discoveries because he assumed I’d move on from them soon enough.

So if I didn’t have that one friend who wanted to walk with me in my passions, and my own husband was annoyed by it all, I learned that I had to find another outlet to talk it out somehow. * It is worth noting, that I DO have a few friends now who I believe love me enough to engage in some of these conversations, but we’re all busy parents. Who has time to share, especially when they have their own husbands/wives to share with? * So I suppose with that negative voice in the back of my mind, telling me to shut up, and my adult relationships mostly supporting the belief, I turned to my writing and journaling.

The obsession with journaling was made even easier by my obsession with a great fine-tipped pen and a soft leather (or fake leather), lined notebook. I can’t tell you how much joy I get when stepping into a store that has a great selection of all of these things. Keyboards have mostly taken their place with blogging (but don’t worry – paper-filled planners fill that need quite well too!), but for as long as I can remember, I itch to write. As in, I physically feel out of sorts sometimes, while I wait for a moment to myself, so that I can sit down and write out my thoughts. I need to release the vent and let the steam off.

So back to the topic of blogging inspired posts, for the times when the boys and the dogs are not my excuse, I’ve got a bigger issue that has been plaguing me for months now. And before anyone private messages me to urge me to take care of myself, I promise I’m doing everything I need to with doctors and appointments. I have been suffering from some wonky eye issues, brain fog and memory loss for ages. The brain fog comes and goes, but the memory issues have been consistent for at least the last five years. My eyes just started bugging me this past year. I’m not going to list all the things I’m doing to remedy that, and I’m not going to list all the suspected reasons for the issues (not much point until I get solid confirmation). But I’ll just say that the symptoms are impacting my daily life and my ability to communicate effectively and specifically, how I interact on this blog. In the past, I would lose my train of thought, or words would disappear when I was speaking, but I could always count on writing. When I write, it’s automatic and sometimes it doesn’t even feel that I’m present, the keyboard or my pen just seem to be direct conduits to my brain. But lately, when I’ve got those moments when the kids or dogs or chores aren’t pulling at me, I get into the flow of writing a piece then I stumble. I have forgotten a name or a simple word. The other thing that happens more often than not is when I sit in front of the keyboard, I have no idea what I had set out to do. Zero focus and no memory of whatever thought had prompted me to get to the computer. I end up doing a loop of checking my online banking, peeking at Facebook, going to the Weather Network, following a link to an article, reading waaaay more than I have time for, then getting trapped in the black hole of replying to emails or running down a tip on my ancestry research. When the next morning rolls around and I realize I forgot to upload a post to the blog, that’s when I remember. It’s not good. I’ve started sticking stickie notes everywhere with little reminders. I’ve got my to-do lists in my planner as well! But they’re no good if you forget to check your planner.

It has me thinking and worrying even more, that I’m not sure who I would be if I couldn’t write. Worse, what if I couldn’t read. Or remember? Who would I be? I think about people like Willowjak writer Amanda’s mom, Audrey, who has suffered a couple of strokes and now lives with aphasia, having lost her ability to speak; or Ms. Devine, whose dad (my uncle) passed away from ALS. Would I be strong enough to survive those diagnoses? Would I show the grace of Audrey and the resiliency and positivity of Uncle Paul while suffering the devastating consequences of those battles? Then I think about what kind of impact any debilitating diagnosis would have on my ability to take care of my children, when I have no one else to share the responsibility. Then I think about how I can keep up with the pace I’m keeping now in being their sole caregiver, while needing to find a way to balance my physical health, my mental health and financially providing for us all if I can’t work. …This is the rabbit hole my mind scurries down.

This is why my blogs don’t always get written.

This morning I woke up without the brain fog. The sun was out, I felt good and my boys were happy and seemed content to do their own thing. I might not have written anything inspirational, or particularly interesting, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something big. I may not be inspiring others, but I’ve inspired myself. By letting my annoying self talk (write) in circles, I got the job done. Thank you for that, readers. You kept me on track today.

Stacey aka WillowjakMama

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Hi, I'm Stacey.
Welcome to the
Willowjak Blog 

My blog started as a way to document my journey to wellness, but turned into a place to be inspired by others through our collective messy & authentic stories. We chat about themes that are often ignored and voices that aren't often given a chance at the mic. Now it's my favourite place to be. 

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