Here Comes The Sun

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Summer has hit the ground running, and so have I. I’ve been keeping a secret – I’ve finally managed to start losing weight (in a healthy way) AND have energy! Yes, I still have MS fatigue, but I am motivated. I want to move constantly, even when in pain.

My yard is not large, but I love it. I have worked on the gardens there, worked on the plants, cleaning up old growth, overgrown vine, pear trees that were left to run with no one to tend them. A beautiful rose bush left to be scraggly and gnarled were cut back last year and are growing in a lush, full green. I can’t wait to see them bloom. There was a lilac bush left to grow into a gnarled, ragged tree. I trimmed it far back as well; the new green is full and gorgeous.

There was a raised garden bed left to overgrow, the only decent remnants were chives and mint left wild and full. Those beds have been tilled under, the chives moved (though ants remain in them, so they await replanting). A new, smaller, garden was tilled (all work by me) with new plants to start.

The new garden bed.
Old bed tilled under

I’ll need to take more photos of the front and full back. The branches you see around the perimeter where the trimings from the overgrown trees that I turned into a fence like structure. I absolutely love the feel of it all. My only complaint – ANTS! There are ants everywhere.

The sun has brought light back into my life – literally and figuratively. I want to be outside. I want to dig my toes into the ground and squish the soil. I want my hands to be soiled from the work I’ve down. I want the rabbits to come play, and the birds to come feed.

Here comes the sun, and I’m going to worship it every day that I can.

The Beetles – Here Comes The Sun

Exhausted

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

I love to laugh.

Lately my MS has reared it’s ugly head and pain radiates in various areas of my body. I’m exhausted mentally, physically…emotionally.

I’m exhausted from worrying about how my children are. How can I not be a burden to them?

I’m exhausted from worrying about my husband. He has Parkinson’s, I don’t want to make him worse.

I’m exhausted from forcing myself day in and day out to sit at a desk. I HAVE to be the bread winner. I’m the only one able to work full-time.

I’m exhausted from fighting for help for my son. He’s 17; we adopted him young, but it didn’t protect him from the in-utero alcohol and drug use. Now he’s paying the price for someone else’s folly.

I’m exhausted from fighting for my daughter. She’s almost 19; she’s fought through so much emotional trauma. She’s finally conquered high school and on her way to college.

I’m exhausted from worrying about my youngest son. He’s 5; he starts this school this year and I wish with all I am that I could wrap him in a warm blanket of hugs and hold him tight to me away from the upcoming onslaught of expectations and rigidity.

I’m exhausted from trying to maintain our house. Selling it has been both the worse and best thing for us…if only it would sell…

On Friday, I meet a bariatric team in hopes of getting a much needed surgery to help me in my health journey. I have no fear in this, only hope. Hope that all this exhaustion will be worth it. Hope that I will once again find some health and joy.

Hope that I will laugh without pain and not in spite of pain. Hope that I will no longer feel so exhausted.

Foo Fighters – Exhausted

Unpretty

“I wish could tie you up in my shoes
Make you feel unpretty too
I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you
Look into the mirror who’s inside there
The one with the long hair
Same old me again today (yeah)

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue
Every time I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways
But it’s all the same
At the end of the day
I have myself to blame
I’m just trippin’

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty
(Yeah) I’ll make you feel unpretty too

Never insecure until I met you
Now I’m bein’ stupid
I used to be so cute to me
Just a little bit skinny
Why do I look to all these things
To keep you happy
Maybe get rid of you and then I’ll get back to me (hey)

My outsides look cool
My insides are blue
Every time I think I’m through
It’s because of you
I’ve tried different ways but it’s all the same
At the end of the day I have myself to blame
Believe I’m just trippin’ yeah

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty
I’ll make you feel unpretty too

I’ll make you feel unpretty

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make”

-Writer/s: Francine Vicki Golde, Dennis Lambert, Dallas L. Austin, Duane S. Hitchings, Tionne Tenese Watkins. Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

It’s funny how so much external and internal ‘junk’ can make us feel. I’ve always had low self-esteem. Why did I quote the whole song? Because, after all this time, it still rings true.

I’m always telling my friends that I have a laundry list of plastic surgery I would get if I could afford to. Liposuction, tummy tuck, butt lift, breasts reduction/lift (actually, that one is more medical since I have arthritis in my back), arm and thigh tucks, get that damn turkey neck gone. Yes, that really is my list. Oh, and electrolysis so I can permanent get rid of the hair I hate.

I can in all honestly say that I don’t like myself – probably detest myself. Everyone says that in order to really love, you need to love yourself first. If that were true, I would never love anything – but it’s not. I love my children. I love my husband. I love my family, my pets, my friends. I just don’t love myself and I really can’t see how I could.

Is that sad? I don’t think so – I think it’s realistic. I’m not one who resorts to such types realism often but in this case, it is a must. My MS has in a way made it worse. My inability to lose weight, to focus, to sleep well. My inability to even go for a decent walk without needing to rest for days afterwards. My inability to do things others take for granted – it all impacts my self-image. I full and well know it is an image of my creation. No one can see me the way I do. It’s been formulated over 44 years of horrid self-talk, bullying, verbal, mental and other forms of abuse.

Have I sought therapy? Yes, many times over. I’m tired of the platitudes that truly do nothing for me. I’ve tried all the exercises, I’ve tried journalling, I’ve tried meditation, I’ve quite literally tried it all. The biggest issue – if you can’t focus all of those things are for naught.

I love this song. To me, the other person in the song is just me on the inside. It’s two sides of the same coin – feeling like you look amazing only to have those inner voices tell you how much shit you are and that you are only fooling yourself. I’m sure it was written about a person who is thinking a significant other who is abusive; but to me it’s about self-abuse, self-denigration.

I’ve stopped wearing make-up, it takes too long. I’ve stopped trying to look stylish – I feel like I look like an old bat even trying. My social life is limited and I prefer hiding in my cave (home). I try to force myself out, but I always feel like my family is embarrassed to be with me in public even when logically I know they aren’t. I never wanted to be that fat mom. I never wanted to be that stupid person. More and more that’s exactly how I feel. My friends used to tease me over my jokes as I often thought the funny ones involved puns and large words and double entendres. Now, I’m lucky if I can remember how to spell, let alone get the jokes I used to love.

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling unpretty. I’m tired of feeling stupid. I’m tired of never being enough. I’m just tired.

TLC – Unpretty

Roar

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

Some days I feel like a little mouse. I wander through my day, nary disturbing a soul. Other days, I feel like a muted lion. I’m roaring, roaring so loud my ears are ringing and yet no one hears me.

When I was young, I was bullied. The bullying stopped when I changed schools, but the low self-esteem and extreme shyness didn’t.

As I grew older, I tried harder and harder to break out of that shell, but succeeded mostly in feeling worthless and acting happy. My relationships didn’t last – I was too busy doing what others thought I should do, but pretending to do ‘my thing’.

That combination of low self-esteem, losing someone I loved, and keeping up appearances landed me straight into a marriage that I didn’t really want. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? I need to clarify – I thought I was in love. I had left someone I loved dearly due to what others said I should do and fell into the arms of a man I would never have normally even looked at. He could sweat talk anyone and even though his controlling ways grew over our engagement, I thought I couldn’t say no anymore because I had already said yes and it was expected.

Years later, after we divorced (I won’t get into the details of our marriage, I have two beautiful older children who don’t deserve to read that online), I spent a few months trying to find ‘me’. I thought I knew me, but I didn’t. It was tumultuous, emotionally draining, and a hugely stressful time.

Out of that time I met my current husband. We met online playing World of Warcraft. We were friends first and foremost. I never even considered sparking anything with him until one day I asked if he was on Facebook. He was – and the rest is history.

I thought I had finally found myself with him. I love myself husband deeply. He stood by me when I was diagnosed with MS. He stood by my little family when my kids became harder and harder to cope with due to disabilities. He still stands by me and now our three children (we had one little guy together). I feel like I will never be able to tell him or express to him how much gratitude I have for him in my life.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2016. Our lives never seem easy.

I thought I knew me by now. But I don’t. At 44 years old, I am roaring to myself and no one hears. I have an inner anarchist that is never let loose due to propriety. I have to work full-time, I have to be a good mother, I have to be a good wife, I have to be a good care-taker, I have to be a good worker, I have to be a good everything.

The only problem is – I’m not a good me.

Katy Perry – Roar

Hello

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ― Marthe Troly-Curtin

It’s been a while. Please sit, and stay a bit…I’ve got a confession to make…

My name is Gwen, and I have an addiction.

Freshwater aquariums.

Sounds innocent enough, right? WRONG!

First, you get a small aquarium, but you research and you know that your little betta needs a bigger one. You upgrade. You add plants. Then you get a great deal off kijiji for an even bigger tank!

The HOBs (Hang On the Back) filters it came with aren’t good enough though…not in your mind. So you get better ones. You put MORE plants in. More fish. One filter isn’t enough! No, no, you need another.

That canopy it came with – it looks terrible over top of all those beautiful fish and that fluorescent light looks horrible. You need glass and LED!

Then you end up with this – 55 g

A 55 gallon freshwater aquarium full of beautiful tetras, and other fish…with hitchhicker pond snails about to be gobbled up by assassin snails (WOOHOO!). The tank came with 2 HOB filters…they would have been adequate. BUT not nearly as sleek as the cannister and submersible in-tank filters. I have more plants on the way – specifically mosses. I love this thing.

Here’s a little video of it about a month ago before I got the in-tank filter – . I’ll try to take a new video of it soon…promise.

Here’s two of my favourite ‘babies’ in this one –

Saphire
Saphire – Female veiltail betta

Dory (male veiltail betta)
Dory the male veiltail betta – don’t judge me, my 3 year old named him after watching Finding Dory.

I also love this thing – 9 gallon Fluval Flex that will be my shrimp tank. The plants have grown significantly since this photo. Sharp eyes will see Starburst the veiltail betta and Mr. Snail the mystery snail. That sad brown patch in the front is Christmas moss…which I am pretty sure has officially died. It’s being replaced soon. I’m getting some blue velvet and long nose algae eating shrimp tomorrow! YAY!9 g

Here’s my favourite baby in this one –

Starburst
Starburst – male veiltail betta…wish the iridescent areas would come out more in photos!

Sidebar – I had an MRI on Friday evening…every time I hear the song below it reminds me of being in the machine. Also, I find MRI’s relaxing – it’s the only time NO ONE wants my attention LOL! Not sure if it’s my MS flaring or what though, I felt nauseated and weird after this one. No contrast was used either…weird.

Martin Solveig & Dragonette – Hello