Tag Archives: me

The habit of failure

Do you ever think to yourself, ‘gee, I’d sure like to exercise/read/write more, eat less, get up earlier, have a clean house (and not just when company is coming), watch less tv, be on facebook less, [insert your goal here]’?

*crickets chirping*

I will take your uncomfortable silence as aggreement. 

After a very difficult year, I have been wanting to make some changes. I am no longer waiting for the next big thing, I’m done having children, we are settled.  I should probably start acting like an adult.  (Do you think that will make me feel like one? That’s another post altogether.)

The two areas of my life that bother me the most are my weight and my house.  Both feel cluttered.  I think I had this idea that somehow I would just start moving more one day and the extra weight would just melt off.  Or I would just not worry about my weight (because, after all, we are all beautiful, right?) and it wouldn’t have any real effect on my life.  But while I was trying to love my body no matter what, I felt like crap.  My stomach hurt, all the time. I had no energy and was not wanting to do anything with the kids.  I couldn’t afford to buy new clothes and because I was constantly eating whether I was hungry or not (although I really did feel like I was constantly hungry) I was slowly but surely growing out of everything.  As much as I tried to convince myself that salads and fruit were the way to go, I was not making any healthy choices.  And for as much as I wanted to see myself as beautiful, I didn’t even recognize the person in the mirror.  Something had to give.  So I bit the bullet and went to my GP and got a referral to Weight Watchers.  I have been going for 13 weeks now and have lost 19 lbs.  Doesn’t sound like failure, does it?  I’m actually quite shocked, myself.  I fully expected to crash out or for it just not to work.  And I struggle with keeping positive as I feel like it was failure on my part to a) get to this place in the first place and b) need help from a program when I should be capable of dealing with this myself.  I still worry that as soon as I’m ‘allowed’ I’m going to go back to scarfing down the krispy kremes at every given opportunity, but we shall see.  What habits will I have at the end of this program?  Will they stick? Will I see food differently?  Will my appetite really change enough to keep me from putting it all back on again?  I don’t know.  I have to say, at this point, I don’t really have a lot of faith in myself.  I’ve disappointed myself too many times. (I know, I’m being a real Debbie Downer today, but I can’t just blog when I have something cute to say.)

That brings me to my house. I went back to the FlyLady website a couple of months back.  I’ve been there before, and tried a few things but never really stuck to it.  I just couldn’t get past the kitchen sink.  Well, all that changed when we finally got a dishwasher.  I love my dishwasher.  So this time, I got past the kitchen sink, I had a whole couple of weeks were I got dressed every day, made my bed, did a load of laundry, did weekly cleaning bits, scheduled my week, kept a proper diary.  I was working my way through the baby steps, building myself a control journal, feeling a little less cluttered, more in control.  Then, in the space of a week I got my period (which is somewhat debilitating at this time) and had to take some terrible medicine in preparation for a colonoscopy.  (Are you still with me, gentle reader?) Fun times. Needless to say I didn’t do much that week and by the time it was all said and done, I was back at square one; all my counters were cluttered, my sink was dirty, my laundry was backed up, and everything was dusty.  It was like all the good I’d done had never happened.  I still haven’t recovered. 

Everyone selling self-help/organizational books like to tell you that it takes at least 3 weeks to develop a good habit.  Apparently it only takes a couple of days to completely throw it out the window. And then where are you? Back at the beginning? Starting all over again?  How many times do I have to go through those three weeks before it becomes a habit that’s not quite so easily broken?

I am so tired of being deflated. Tired of feeling like it’s only a matter of time before something derails me and it all goes back to square one.  Tired of feeling like my life is cluttered with a bunch of crap that I don’t need or want but can’t seem to get rid of. 

I wish I had an inspirational ending to this post.  I would love to say, ‘this is how I conquered this problem’, but I got nothin’.  I’m open to suggestions. 




A month ago, I disappeared. I was trying to figure out a way of getting to my best friend’s wedding back in Canada. I couldn’t post about it because of course she reads these posts. And really nothing else was on my mind. So I hemmed and I hawed and the Rocket Scientist and I went back and forth over pros and cons and logistics and practicalities and it really boiled down to relationship. How much are relationships worth? I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re just about the only thing worth anything. Relationships with family, friends, spouses, children, parents, people on your street, in your church, at work, in your community, on the bus. Relationships are really the core of life. They are why we do most of what we do. How we view ourselves in relation to other people determines how we carry out our daily activites. Sorry. I didn’t mean to get so philosophical. Just one of those things you start to get a broader scope of when you actually sit down and start writing. Back to my story.

Every time I talked about the week of E’s wedding, I kept saying things like, ‘when I get back’. Totally by accident.  The Rocket Scientist was already going to Poland that week for a conference, I was facing my first week on my own with Doodle with a bit of trepidation and a bit of excitement, honestly, but everytime I thought of the wedding, I just couldn’t imagine not being there. Originally, I was supposed to be a bridesmaid. It hurt that I wasn’t going to be standing up there with her. So in the end, I went. We bought the ticket Sunday night and Tuesday we all flew out.  The Rocket Scientist dropped Doodle and I off at Gatwick and then headed straight to Heathrow for his flight. We survived our first trans-Atlantic flight on our own (whew), and were able to surprise E Wednesday morning at her home. The wedding was on Friday and was absolutely one of the most beautiful, intimate, and unassuming weddings I have ever been to. I actually cried more at this wedding than my own. I am so happy that I was able to make it.

I spent a lot of time on this trip, reminiscing. Maybe that’s not quite the right word. Remembering is a better word. I had been having a hard time remembering what life was like before Doodle and I was able to spend a lot time reliving the ‘good old days’. The days when the Rocket Scientist and I were first dating, when we were engaged, the early months of our marriage. These were good things for me to remember, important things. I had forgotten an awful lot. About myself. I was already starting to realize that. But mostly about my husband.  And about the things we went through.

To clarify: I am not going down the road of ‘having a baby ruined our marriage’. I cannot imagine life without Doodle. I don’t want to. But adding a member of your family does shift things. I think I did not really acknowledge/understand/get how much time it would take to make that shift. I think I thought it was over months ago and this is how we were going to be forever. It wasn’t a place I wanted to be. I needed to remember things that were before because there are so many of those things that I want to be sure to preserve as we go forward, things I want to be a part of Doodle’s life as well as our own. Things I want to keep in this family no matter how big it grows. Remembering is important. Living life on purpose is important. It’s often too easy to just let every day happen as it will and too much gets lost if you don’t purposefully hold on to them.

So this is me, holding on.

To my style: to who I am in all of my varied and wonderful roles

To my family: and all the history and growth and future that they represent,

To my friends: new and old, and all that we’ve stuck by each other through, I’m sure there’ll be more to come

To the Rocket Scientist: my husband, my partner (in crime and in parenthood), my love, my rock, my sheltering arms. Here’s to never forgetting again, or at least not for long.

To God: Who created the whole concept of relationship in the first place, to have one with me, He’s the reason that I love. Keep reminding me.

Without relationship, there can be no change. We are affected by, and in turn affect, those around us. So make sure your effect is a good one.

We strange, we happy strange.

So, I never really explained why I chose the title for my blog. Once I got it all set up, I simply took up where I had left off with my family’s website blog. I really didn’t mean to do that. In fact, in the beginning, I wasn’t going to tell anyone I knew about this blog because I wanted to be free to write in it what I wanted without worrying who was going to be calling me up five minutes later wanting to know exactly what I meant by that. Apparently I forgot all about that between the conceiving and naming of my blog and writing my first post. And, as you can see it quickly became…well, a mommy blog (and I don’t mean that nearly as sideways as it might sound), essentially a blog to share our family life with, whoever. When I set up the family website and then when I started to post here, I had hoped that my actual family would want to keep up on all things us and would read and comment and we could all keep in touch a bit more through the wonders of the internet. That didn’t exactly happen. My mom reads this. And I’m sure my bestest Aunt reads it on occasion over Mom’s shoulder. I try not to be bitter. Unsuccessfully for the most part. But I digress. Because I shouldn’t really be bitter when I didn’t want anyone but the anonymous masses to read this blog anyway. I can still be bitter about the website though. I pay money for that people! Moving on.

So who were the strangers and where was this normal land. I’m sure some people come across this title and think, ‘ooh, nice literary reference’. I’m sure it is. I haven’t read it. Perhaps others might think, ‘ooh, nice biblical reference’. I was pretty sure it was in there but didn’t really know where or who it referred to. Turns out it refers to Moses living out with the Midianites after he fled Egypt. Huh. So none of those references are really what I was going for. I just thought it was a nice turn of phrase. Some people might have thought it was in reference to the Rocket Scientist and I, being Canadians, moving to the United States. If that were the case however, I think I would have kept to the original phrase, ‘Strangers in a strange land’. And if that had been the case, I probably would have changed the name when we moved to the UK like I threatened to here. But we’re still not there yet. See this is what happens when I’m not simply reporting the goings on of our, or more likely Doodle’s, day. I get really wordy. Moving on.

So what am I talking about then. Us. Me and the Rocket Scientist. We are Christian. We are Goth (although some days could argue more punk than goth). We are just a little bit Crunchy. We are Geeks. We enjoy a good musical. We are tattooed. Well, I am. We are pierced. Again, me. We prefer our hair to be anything but a natural shade (although we don’t always get our way on that). We have other preferences that we won’t mention here because it is a family blog. And because my mother does read this. (There is just so much more that needs to be said on that topic, maybe if I start that other blog, sorry Mum, I probably won’t tell you about that one) Us. Me and the Rocket Scientist. We are strange. We don’t really fit anywhere. (except maybe Africa, that was like coming home) We are eclectic in almost every sense. Probably more than really anyone around us realize. We have learned to fit in. We have let a lot of things go. For a number of reasons. Money. Time. Effort. None of them so that we could fit in and yet our goal was never to stand out. Just to be ourselves. Although my husband probably enjoys the standing out a bit more. So we find ourselves amongst all manner of normal people (who by the way invariably say they wish they were brave enough to be not normal) feeling always a little…strange. Perhaps there is more strangeness around us than we think, we’re just among the few who let it show on the outside. Well, when we can afford it at least.

This is what I was trying to get at, wanting to explore, when I thought up this blog. Somehow it didn’t happen. I suppose life got in the way a little. But that’s not quite right. It wasn’t life. We haven’t been so much living life as surviving it recently. I don’t blame it on Doodle, I blame it on me. I had only just got the hang of being me. Suddenly being responsible for someone else kind of threw me. Even if I did have plenty of warning. I forgot how to be me, I was so caught up with being Doodle’s mom. I still am to a large extent, but I’m starting to remember there’s more to me and that it’s okay to have more to me. I don’t quite know yet, how it’s going to look to be…incorporated, because I know that I’m not ‘just’ me or ‘just’ mom. I’m me and now being a mom is part of that. But I don’t want to just survive. I want to live life with abandon. God knew what kind of mom Doodle needed. Me. Not a shell of me, or a watered down version of me, but me.
I am a tattooed and pierced, Christian-Gothic-Hippie-Punk-Geek mom who loves broadway musicals, Funker Vogt, and collecting dolls (did I just say that? not an admission I meant to make) who currently hates her hair and can’t afford to get done what she really wants so she’ll probably settle for bottle black. Again. Ugh. Spent. Kind of doubt this makes much sense. Probably should draft it and post it later, but later never comes. Right?

So where does the newborn go from here?* Or in my case, the strange mamma? Wherever it is, there will be good dance music, funky hair, more metal, my strange husband by my side and my awesome little man on my hip. And who knows? Hopefully more awesome little ones along for the ride. Hopefully a few more. Oh. And there will be Africa. Somewhere in there, there will be more Africa.

*I will give an actual prize if you recognized that quote. I don’t know what, but I will. Of course I would prefer that you actually recognized it and not looked it up on the internet. Is this what they call an honour code?