Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

I know you're only just arriving and have barely had time to unpack your bags, but I want to head you off at the pass just in case you don't receive the hospitality you may be expecting. The truth is, you might need a little extra time to accustom yourself to the state of the world. Honestly, 2017, I fear you don't know what you're in store for, so I'm here to debrief you.

Right about now you may be noticing that 2016 hasn't been a great year for everyone. In fact, this is the most negative New Year's Eve I've ever been a witness to. Yes, there are a few unique individuals who had amazing years but the vast majority feel as though they've been thrown in a burlap sack and tied to the back of a bumper of a truck that happens to be off-roading on the most brutal terrain known to man.

It's been a rollercoaster ride. And not a new shiny rollercoaster but one of those rickety old wooden ones, the kind you truly think may fly off the rails at any given moment. So, 2017, I sincerely hope your not too discouraged and that you understand why so many people are eager to see 2016 laid to rest. The pressure is great and there is a lot resting on your shoulders.

For myself, it has been an incredible year of highs and lows. While I have watched in stunned silence as Britain voted to leave the European Union and America voted in Donald Trump, I have also been heartbroken over the Syrian war, the pipeline protests, horrific mass casualty attacks, and the water crisis in Michigan. More than anything, I am devastated by the fear and helplessness so many of my friends are experiencing and those emotions are truly reflected all over the globe.

On the other hand, I have my son. My beautiful, warm, charming, utterly hilarious son. This year has seen his first birthday, his first steps, his first solid foods, and first real words. He has brought me immeasurable love and joy which made this year better than so many of my previous ones. He is wickedly smart and so damn sweet. But he is also the reason why I am afraid.

You see, 2017, I am frightened of you. While people want to be rid of 2016 I'm scared that I will miss it by the end of next year. Of course, I want to be an optimist but the very real truth is we don't know what's coming down the pipe and what's to come might just be worse than what has been. And I look at my son and I worry about the world I've brought him into. I want him to know love and kindness. I want him to know understanding and compassion. I long for him to grow up in a world where he can be who he wants and love who he wants. I desperately want to believe we are good and that the good will stand up and defeat the bad but 2016 left me feeling that the bad guys won. That is unacceptable.

It's unacceptable not just for my son but for all of us. Don't we all want to live in a world where good wins?

Here's the thing. I can't change the world. I can't stop wars.  I can't eradicate racism and homophobia. I can't wipe out poverty. Not on my own at least. Together we might be able to. It starts with our own backyard. And it starts with kindness.

Under normal circumstances, I don't do New Year's resolutions. But nothing about this last year has been normal. In the wake of 2016 and having witnessed so much unhappiness for others this year, maybe it's time. Here it goes...

My resolution is simple and not very unique.

I resolve to be kind.

First, I will be kind to myself. Because people who are kind to themselves are more likely to be kind to others. I will treat myself better and stop tearing myself down. Not only for myself but for my son. I don't want him growing up witnessing his mother being mean to herself. I want to show him how to love and respect himself and that can't be done when I'm appalled at my gargantuan thighs or calling my writing gutter trash.

Next, I will be kind to my friends and family. To the people who love me and never ask me to change or be someone I'm not. I will work to engage with them and give my love, understanding, compassion, and humor. I will not judge them or criticize because I know they have already judged and criticized themselves enough.

I will be kind to the Earth and all the creatures on it. I will be kind to the trees and the animals and the bees and the spiders.

And lastly, I will be kind to the people I encounter throughout my day. I will hold doors and smile. I will offer kind words. I will strive to connect and have genuine moments with strangers and acquaintances alike. I will offer friendship to people from all walks of life in hopes of teaching my son the value of each person. My kindness will not be subjective and it will not be complacent. It will be strong and determined. It will be formidable. In kindness, I will stand up for what's right and strive to provide a safe place for anyone who needs it.

So, 2017, I may not be able to change the world or the outcome you have in store but I can change my backyard. I can change every interaction I have. And I can change how I move through life. From today and onwards, even in the face of grief and anger and frustration, I will work to be kind. For myself. For my son. For the earth. For everyone.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Lately I've been knee-deep in a blue sort of feeling and it's so strange. So encompassing. So heavy. So unwanted, truthfully. Thick as mud and just as hard to get out of. Damn wheels are stuck and we all know I'm rear-wheel drive.

Usually, October is my jam. Pumpkins and horror movies, sweaters and new seasonal colour palette - that riot of orange, yellow, red and brown, what's not to love? What's not to celebrate? Every other year, I've looked forward to saying goodbye to summer (good riddance, summer, with your tiresome heat that causes my meaty thighs to chafe) and hello to Autumn (Hello, warm blankets and big mugs of hot tea (well, actually, lukewarm tea. If you know me at all, you know I don't drink my tea while it is hot. It's a quirk, I suppose).

Except, this year is different. (You know how I am not equipped to handle different)

At first, I thought it was because of the baby boy's first birthday. Yes, he turned one. (Certainly I deserve some sort of praise and cake for this?) And yes, I was unusually emotional. Like the weepiest of all the weepers. I couldn't believe how often I welled up at the thought of him turning a year old. It was, to say the least, headache inducing and annoying. (You know how I am when it comes to feeling the feels.) I thought, for sure, I was being ridiculous, but word on the street is that being a mother is a very emotional business. In truth, I am not cut out for all these feelings. They are exhausting. So, I was sad. Very sad. But also hugely happy and excited about the baby boy turning one. After all, we made it a whole year together. It was both a blink of an eye and the longest period of time simultaneously. 

That was back in August. In September, I chalked it up to the change of seasons and the lack of warmth. Rainy days are great for reading a book but not so wonderful for adventuring with the wee one. We try to get out and explore for a couple hours a day. Hard to do that when the heavens are throwing a temper-tantrum of epic proportions.

Still, I thought for sure once October hit, I would be back to my joyous self. Actually, no one has ever used the word 'joyous' to describe me. So, let's not get too hyperbolic. Exaggeration is fine in moderation. Lo and behold, I did not feel excited about October. In fact, it turns out, I became even more morose. Confounding, I know. 

Now, it's ten days in, and I've yet to shake this melancholic mood. It's Thanksgiving today and I have many things to be thankful for. I try to focus on that, but you know how sadness creeps in until it has coated everything with its weepy residue and no matter where you sit or stand you get it all over you. The truth is, I don't foresee a turn around in mood any time soon because, and I know this is going to come as a shock, I am moving again (YES, AGAIN). And I started thinking, maybe this is why I wasn't enjoying October in my typical Halloween obsessed fashion. 

Even though we have a crazy landlady and an ant problem, I actually like living here. I have good memories. Like the most important recent  life-changing memory ... baby boy's arrival home. This was his first home and, for some weird reason that I'm sure other mothers can understand, I am sad to say goodbye to it. I know in my heart our next home will be just that, our home, but this one is special because we spent so much time together here. We grew so much here. I became a completely different person here. And that's the most truth I have written in a very long time. 

I learned to love another human unconditionally here. This is where my universe shifted. In this house, where I write this, I became a mom. I figured out how to be a mother. And I brought my son here. He learned to crawl here. He learned to say 'mom' here. He learned to eat food here. He learned to walk here. His first smile was here. My life was given new meaning here. 

If that won't trip you up and make you feel a bit sombre, I don't know what will. 

Also, the house we are moving into at  the end of the month is much smaller (cozier). 

Do you know what a smaller home means? Less space. 

So, I have been purging. And by purging, I mean throwing out my life. You wouldn't believe the things I've gotten rid of. There is still so much more to go through. It's daunting, really. I have donated, consigned, sold and thrown out so much of my life. So many things I was holding on to. At first, when I found myself knee deep in sentimentality, this was hard. Really hard. I felt as if I couldn't let anything go because I'd be hurting someone, or myself. That I would be letting go of who I was. The girl I used to be. 

And you know what ... sometimes you need to do just that. 

When I seriously started to get down to business, when I stopped moping and getting all boo-hoo over this junk, when I finally pulled my purge pants on and actually started giving things away, selling them, throwing them out - it got easier. With each thing I donated, it was easier to toss something else. Until, I looked around and thought, Well, shit, this is all just stuff. 

Now when I look through a box labelled 'my past', I don't see the people I used to love or memories we shared. I see things. Things that have been sitting and collecting dust. And some of these things I have moved around with me since I was seventeen years old! Do you know how many moves that is? Let me think ... Surrey, New West, Main, 14th, back to Surrey, another place in Surrey, to the Island, and to here ... that's eight damn moves! And do you think I even opened those boxes? Or went through that stuff? 

Big. Fat. Nope. 

So goodbye pirate shirt, I might fit you again but I will never wear you. Goodbye ex-boyfriend boxes full of twenty page love letters and mixed tapes. Goodbye scrap books of ticket stubs and weird advertisements. Goodbye jewellery I've had since I was sixteen, no one needs three dog chain choker necklaces. Goodbye wedding dress with the wine stain from Leppy. Goodbye random tooth I had pulled when I was eighteen. Goodbye first tattoo design which I seriously regret having now. Goodbye all this crap. 

Because these things may serve as memories, but you know what else does. My memories. In my brain. I still have them. They are all stored up there in meticulous order. And if one day I no longer have my memories, then these items will be useless anyhow! 

Okay, so maybe I know why I'm in a funk. Birthday. Moving. All this change. And I know I am terrible with change. There's been so much of it in the last couple years - the business, the baby, the job. It's basically been a complete overhaul. And now all this purging - it's hard work, you know. I suppose even the brightest beam of sunshine might be disenchanted by this act. All these items, they fill up our lives, don't they? It's almost as though this stuff defines us in some weird way. It is nice to have a few trinkets to hold onto to remind us of who we once were and how we got to this point. But we are not the same people we used to be and, you know what, it is okay to let that person go. I think letting go of who you once were is freeing because you no longer have to compare yourself to her. 

You can simply be who you are now. And maybe that's something I can look forward to. 

Then I can start working towards the girl I want to be.*

*a girl who isn't in a funk

And now a picture to sum up the chaotic beauty of my life: 

Monday, June 6, 2016


Sometimes we say things and, even though we say them correctly, they aren't heard that way. When you live with someone, you're bound to experience some form of miscommunication. I try to enunciate and speak loudly, but there are times I get lazy and a mumble comes out. If all else fails, I have been known to get my point across with dancing, wild gesticulations, and exaggerated facial expressions.

Still, there are times when the Sidekick and I are not on the same page.

Here is one of those occasions.

It was a hot and balmy evening last July and I sat in the groove of the couch where my bum fit so perfectly because I'd been working diligently to build a nest. My nearly eight month pregnant form hugged a pint of non-dairy ice cream between my thighs and I stared at the television, intently binge watching Call the Midwife. Like any good spouse, I often regaled the goings-on of the show to the Sidekick. Not because he cared but because that's what we do.

We talk at each other about television, sports, music, people and events the other person doesn't really care about but has to listen and respond because that's what a relationship is all about. Listening to crap you don't want to know just because the person telling you is someone you love.

Anyhow, on this such evening, I was thoroughly engrossed in the midwifery, most likely because Chummy was being the chummiest chum , when who should enter the room? The Sidekick.

He comes in and asks, "Which one's Carl?"
"Excuse me," I say, partly because I was so focused on the show but also because I thought I misheard him.
"Which one's Carl?" he repeats.
Of course, I do what anyone would do in this situation, I simply stare at him waiting for more information to which he says, "Carl the Midwife! Which one is Carl?"
Blink. Blink.
"It's Call the Midwife!" I exclaim. "Not Carl!"

And to this day, whenever I need a laugh, I remember how the Sidekick thought I was watching a show about some dude named Carl running around trying to be a midwife.

So, you see. If 'call' can be 'Carl' then surely other words can be masquerading about causing issues where there shouldn't really be one. Suddenly, "Honey, can you grab some peas?" turns into "Honey, can you stab the police?" and we are in a mighty strange predicament.

In the end, always speak clearly and, if possible, write it out on a sign.

My photo-shopping skills are incomparable. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mental Health Awareness

To be honest, I've always been a fairly anxious creature. I have, in fact, perfected the art of worrying and I grow more adept at it as time passes, especially now that motherhood is in the mix. There are times when the walls of reality seem to be closing in on me and I have no idea how I will escape being crushed by circumstance. When I should be sleeping, I lay awake and think of scenario after scenario of failure and conjure up horrible what-ifs. Certainly not every night, but enough  to cause  a bit of concern. You see, no matter how tired I am, my brain refuses to rest ... and it's exhausting. Though it is hard to admit, I am afraid of what is, what could be, and perhaps a little of what was. I second-guess and doubt as effectively as any worrisome warrior or neurotic ninja. And truthfully, I know this obsessive worrying isn't healthy.  I tell myself to stop but I've always hated being told what to do.

So, why am I mentioning it?

May is mental health awareness month. And we should be talking about it.

See, it's hard to confront one's own demons, to put bare our troubles and seek help, but these matters of the mind are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they are more common than one might think. For we all struggle, even the most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Why? Because life isn't easy. This society we've built and the rules we've created can make it impossible to see the light through the darkness.

It's easy to become trapped under the weight of our own neurosis, to allow our depression and anxiety to suffocate rational thinking. In this world we exist, it's easy to lose touch with those we love. And sometimes it is second nature to feel alone.

When we are stuck beneath the tar of self-hate and uncertainty it is easy to stop talking and withdrawal. It becomes normal to think no one is listening. So we turn ourselves inwards and allow that tiny voice in the back of our heads to fill our existence with irrational thoughts. All of a sudden simple things like going out or dialing a number is a mountain we have to climb.

And sometimes you don't have the energy to put your shoes on or change your underwear let alone scale a mountain.

Don't let that little voice dictate your world.

Allow conversations to happen for they can change an outcome. Communication is a luxury we don't always utilize because sometimes the simple act of sharing is terrifying. But without talking, without telling the truth about the monsters hiding under our beds and lurking in the closet, we will never touch the lives of anyone else.

If I can help someone feel a little less alone and perhaps a little closer to the light, then maybe the sleepless nights are worth something.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Screw You, Fitbit

Listen here, Fitbit.

You might be able to guilt me into getting my fat ass outside to do some laps around the neighbourhood every morning. You might have even been able to dupe me into walking until I hit ten thousand steps every day. Hell, I even fell for your badges and weekly step counter!

But there is no way in hell you will ever trick me into cleaning!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

This Is Not A Mummy Blog

While the little one sleeps, I'm stealing a moment to update my very loved and completely neglected blog. But if I loved it so, would I neglect it in this fashion? Sure. I think of it like long lost friends - the ones who, no matter how long you are apart, act the same when they see you again. Some bonds you simply cannot break. This blog is one of those bonds. For crying out loud, I've had this damn thing since 2006. That's ten years!

Ten years of blogging. Someone get me a medal. No seriously. Do you know how many people start blogs and abandon them without care or concern? Thousands. There are literally thousands of lost blogs floating around the interweb with one or two posts and then - nothing. How tragic. And yet, here I am. Still plugging away on what use to be That Girl Tyson. Sure, I only posted a handful of times last year, but I posted 339 times in 2014. That's almost a blog a day, which is actually what I was going for.

Trust me when I say there is a lot of hidden content on here. After ten years, there are probably close to a hundred posts I've turned to drafts again in hopes of them being forever forgotten. Not simply because there were riddled with poor grammar, which they were, but because they are too private or silly. Either or. The others I've gone back and re-edited, hoping to clear away the errors.

In fact, I just edited my last post and found four errors. Unacceptable. I can't believe I hit publish without correcting 'excitement' and 'friendships'. I even misspelled 'will'. It's a four letter word, how the hell did I misspell it? Probably something to do with sleep deprivation and carb-overdosing. Yes, I don't sleep enough and I am eating too much food. Some will say I need the food to create the milk to feed the babe, but the truth is my breasts are a big dodgy and have issues sustaining life. Long story short, this isn't a mummy blog. So we will end that right here. 

The point of this post is to tell you this isn't going to be all about my wee infant. I am not going to post photos and updates, and talk about the pros and cons of motherhood. There will be no tricks to putting a babe to sleep or ways to make the bitty one stop bawling, I don't know those types of things anyway. Isn't the best approach to simply repeat "please stop crying" and "please go to sleep" over and over? Or am I doing this wrong. 

So, this ins't a mummy blog, as the title states. Except, the problem is, he's currently my entire existence. Whenever I get to thinking about writing a little blip here, it's always about him. I have five drafts I simply didn't share with you because it's all about him and his perfect mouth and hands and bum and eyes. And then there are those times I want to write about the birth. Mostly, I think, because I still have PTSD from his entrance into the world and, well, I want to talk about all the gory details. Just to put them down somewhere. Because people always say you forget the details of the birth and, quite frankly, I don't want to. I want to remember everything, from the sound my waters made when they broke them to the poop I left behind on the floor. Too much information? Sorry not sorry. Birthing is beautiful. It's disgustingly beautiful. Horrifically beautiful. Batshit beautiful. 

Batshit beautiful. Now, that's a saying I can see catching on. I'm trademarking it. 

To clear things up, I don't have anything against mummy blogs, except for the fact that I don't think people really want to read them. I mean, I've read my fair share as I try to stumble through being a mom, but everything has already been said about parenting. I certainly don't have anything worthy to add. So, I promise I won't write about the Timbit all the time - but sometimes, yes, because I can't help myself! The thing is, just because he consumes my life right now doesn't mean I won't have other thoughts later. I suppose I am making a promise. Not just to you, but to myself as well. I promise to write again. Not only blogs but novels and stories too. I am determined to be creative. Maybe not right now, but it's coming. Big things are coming. I can feel it in my bones. And on that day, watch out.

Ten years and I am still toiling away. Labour of love, indeed. Actually, October is my true ten year anniversary here, according to my first posted blog. So, I suppose I'll throw a party then and someone will get me a tin gift. It's tin for ten years right? 

I'm sure I will have become a big, successful, household named author by then. Go ahead, laugh with me.