i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

i blinked and suddenly it was march

Woah. Hey, there internet! How have you been? Long time no speak. Goodness. It wasn’t my intention to vanish into thin air for two full months. Yikes. Unlike the past few blog-lags, this time wasn’t due to any sort of sadness/depression/anxiety. I was away mostly because I am busy all the time, and offline much more than I used to be. (Granted, it doesn’t seem that way if you look at my Instagram feed, but you don’t have to browse the net in order to post photos on it!)

So, what’s new?

My job: still loving every second of it. To the point that I was sad I could not work two days one week because I had a fever with my horrible head cold. As of starting to write this post, I still can’t taste anything. Or breathe through my nose. Ugh. I do love working part-time, though financially full-time is what I need to be doing. I didn’t realize how much I missed shift work. I like having time during different parts of the day to do stuff. I especially love having mornings free to wake up, lounge about, and get stuff done. I have worked on a few events with the Kid’s team at work and those events made me SO happy.

Me: I turned 41 in January. I didn’t even blog about it. WHAT?! But it’s true. I am a little annoyed at myself for not posting something because I know I will eventually look back on my blog to find the post I didn’t write. But… I have cautious optimism about my 40s. I celebrated my birthday at a trampoline park with some of my best friends and their families. That was so much fun! I feel like I have my life together on an upswing. The changes I have made in my life in the last year have been for the better and are making me ME again. And happy. And healthy(er). (Ignoring the cold I got from playing with children. heh) If anything, I now want to do TOO much, I have all this energy that I want to channel into so many things – crafting, exercising, reading, cleaning, working. I need to find a decent balance so I can do all of the things I want to do and still have time to regenerate. I am anxious for the warmer weather so I can open up the windows and sit outside on my deck swing again.

FLOOFS: In February the humans in this house officially became outnumbered by the furry, four-legged creatures who live with us. We were adopted by a cat. It’s a long story, but the short version is: Yoshi loved her, he protected her when she was being sexually assaulted by a feral tom cat, and one day she just followed Yoshi into the house when I let the dogs in. She’s been with us for 3 1/2 weeks now, and she’s wonderful. Welcome, Abigail. We now live in a FLOOFmenagerie.

So, I’m here. I’m happy. I’m busy. And I need to remember to blog more!

full heart, sore feet

Rainbow Sparklecorn

The above photo accurately depicts how I am feeling these days. Rainbows, and stars, and magical, sparkly happiness. Me. Who I am. Who I have always been, but lost.

I have completed 7 full shifts at the bookstore and aside from sore feet (and lower back), I have never felt better. I feel like I am floating through the aisles as I wander the store and help customers, or tidy up books on the shelves. I can’t stop smiling. I am so genuinely happy that I feel like sunshine and rainbows.

I have been lucky enough to be scheduled for 40 hours a week, and during weekdays only. It’s nice to have my weekends off to see Shawn since I have been working afternoon-into-evening, and getting home way past my bed time. This coming week I’ll be working until 10pm or 11pm. I am slightly worried about exhaustion and driving in the winter, but I have been managing so far. I sleep well at night. I think I’ve only had one headache in the past 2 weeks, instead of one every day.

Even with the exhaustion of relearning how to be on my feet for 8 hours a day (and having to talk to people!), I feel as though I have so much energy to want to do things again. I read a 400+ page book from cover to cover in a day this weekend. I have shovelled snow. I feel bright and light.

I know this is a seasonal contract, and I can only hope to be offered part-time work after it’s over, if they ever need more help. But I am such a happier creature once more. I knew I wanted to do this, but it’s been like night and day the changes I feel and see in myself. I love the store. I love the books. I love the customers. Even when you get the occasional grumpy, negative client, I still take it all in with a smile. I am there because I WANT to be, not because I have to be. I am there to talk books (and other cool stuff) to people and share my joy and enjoyment of books with them. I love recommending titles to people looking for YA or MG books. I love sharing my thoughts about mysteries and fantasy novels. I am just loving every single second of this job and I am so happy to finally feel happy again. To finally feel like MYSELF again.

For the four or five of you who still read this (ha), you know how much I have been struggling the past three years. You know how lost and broken I was after the stupid jumper trauma. I just wasn’t me. I didn’t love anything about anything or myself. I was lost, I was apathetic, I was sad and scared.

But now I am feeling so much joy. So much…just right. Like things are clicking back into place. I am seeing colours and sparkles everywhere, and not only grey, colour-draining monochromatic surroundings. I feel as though the above amazing rainbow, star, unicorn onesie (the best gift ever from Monkey!) is a reflection of my soul right now. So cheesy and pathetic, yes, but true.

The decision to leave my old job was so difficult because of how it was a safety net for health benefits and money, and leaving my friends there was the hardest part. Leaving the job itself wasn’t difficult. I haven’t looked back yet, and not once have I thought I made the wrong choice. Retail isn’t easy, it’s not for everyone, and many think I am going backwards and not doing something important. To that I say – titles, and positions are just labels. Why focus on what your title is when you’re not happy with what you’re doing? Pay cuts are terrifying and difficult to work around, but not impossible, and I am so lucky to be able to choose what I want to do even though it will be a bit of a challenge to re-budget things.

I have the most patient, and supportive husband in the world. He might not get why I would want to go back to retail, but he gets that I want to be (and need to be) happy. And he knows I am happy. And we will make this work. And because of how fulfilled this bookstore job makes me feel, I feel as though we can make anything work. Always.

I’m still slightly lost in some ways, but I have found the right form of healing I needed to follow. Happy. I am so very happy. I love my new (but old) job, and I am so thankful that I found the courage to make this change.

It's possible my new job might bankrupt me

get out of the house to get out of your head

It has been an unusually mild November so far. Granted, looking back at my blog posts, or at my Facebook Memories, the past five or so years have been all over the weather map in November. Yesterday though, was gorgeous.

I’ve only been off work for two weeks, though I am finding myself a little lost already. I am lonely for one. As much as I say I don’t like people, I miss people. I miss the social element to being out in the working world. I have applied to a couple of jobs, one being seasonal work at the bookstore near me (and I am really hoping they call me, because I MISS that job!), but I haven’t heard anything from anywhere yet. I’m enjoying being on the south shore. I am enjoying being able to focus on my school work and not have to cram discussions or assignments into the limited hours I am awake between working hours. So that’s been lovely. I have more time to be creative, and crafty. I am trying very hard to keep that sort of thing up because I know it makes me feel better, and keeps me motivated.

But I am also getting stuck in the “hide-in-the-house-and-live-on-the-couch-in-my-sweats” rut. I don’t want this to happen at all. But it’s so easy to get swallowed up by laziness and agoraphobia. It’s also a bad, bad, BAD idea for me to be stuck in this rut when I am so easily prone to depression and anxiety.

Yesterday I followed the dogs outside, and sat on the deck. Still in my sweatpants and baggy sweater. The dogs bounded around me playfully, and gave me kisses. I took a deep breath.

It. Was. Gorgeous. Outside.

I sighed.

“I should really be outside, walking.” I said to myself. “It’s too nice out to just hide indoors all day.”

You have no idea how difficult it was for me to get up, go upstairs, and change into jeans so I could take the dogs on a walk. It should not have been that difficult but it was.

But I did it.

And holy cow was it nice outside. I let the dogs take their time sniffing everything. I sat on a bench in the nearby green space and just enjoyed the colours around me. The sunshine. The leaves. The warmth. The happy dogs. The squirrels. The breeze. The sounds. Nature. Everything.

I breathed.

I was out for almost an hour. It was warm when I was home. Sophie was in a panic because she had to suffer through both NATURE and EXERCISE. It was good for her.

It was good for ME.

I get into this gloomy headspace. I don’t want to do anything, or talk to anyone. I don’t want to go anywhere, and I feel like there’s absolutely no meaning to my life. It’s all pretty Emo and melodramatic, but it’s a downward spirally whirlwind of negative thoughts that is difficult to pull up from.

It wasn’t fair to the dogs to be cooped up inside on such a beautiful day. It was good for them, it was good for me.

The sunshine yesterday made me feel better. Watching Yoshi play-bow, and then try to bound after a squirrel in the park, made me feel better. The exercise made me feel better.

I even put reminders in my phone to prompt me to do little exercises during the day, so that I get off the couch and channel something else other than gloom into my body.

And I was outside, in a t-shirt, on November 15, 2016. It was that warm. I had the windows opened. I cleaned some of the house. I got outside and walked. I enjoyed how happy my dogs were as they sniffed every single blasted leaf on the ground. I smiled through the entire walk.

And I got out of my head for a while. And yes, I felt as though someone should give me a bloody trophy by the time I got back inside. Just for getting dressed and walking around with the dogs for 50 minutes. A freaking trophy of accomplishment! I didn’t get a trophy, but I am happy with myself TODAY that I did that. So, yay me!

who am i?

It’s been a week since my final day at work. I have noticed a change in myself both physically and mentally because of this decision. I feel lighter. Though I have my “WTF DID I DO?!” moments. Those seem to happen in the middle of the night. And last Friday I was pretty lonely and sad out of the blue, so I know that it was just me coming down from the adrenaline of my last day in the office, and making this huge decision.

So now what?

Who am I when I am not “Cat, the girl who works at McGill, and assists the Dean and Dean’s office”? How did I become my job? When did I become my job? What do I do now?

I like the idea of being a student right now. Only school work to worry about, and some free time to do things I enjoy, like crafting and reading. But I can’t just be a student. I need to find another job. We need the income. It is not feasible for me to not be working.

But I’m not quite ready yet, and to be honest, I don’t know what I want to do. I have ideas, but nothing feels right.

And I don’t want to be an administrative assistant again. I know I could kick butt at that type of job, because I do (did?) my job well. But I don’t like that kind of job. But I have been Me in That Job for so long, I’m not sure who Me in A New Job is yet.

was my job for such a long time. I identify as a McGill employee. I identify as a Schulich School of Music employee.

I’m not sure what my identity is right now. It’s a work-in-progress I suppose.

If my dogs have any say in my identity, it’s pretty obvious that I am destined to be Yoshi’s pillow for the rest of our lives. He’s been quite pleased that I have been home the past week. I was out for six hours today and you’d think I’d left him for years. Whether I am on the couch, in bed, or even in the chair at my desk in my craft room, Yoshi has to have his head against me. He’s like a security blanket that follows me around.  If I could get someone to pay me to stay home so I could be Yoshi’s pillow, I think it would work well for many of us in this household.

Meanwhile, I went back into the office today to return my keys, sign my termination papers and clear the rest of my stuff out of my space. It was way more real today. Last Monday was fun, all costumes, candy, and parties. But today was… strange. Surreal. Sort of like watching a dream unfold. I no longer have 5lbs of keys at the end of my lanyard. What even is that? I don’t understand this.

I don’t want to stay home and not work. It took a while for me to figure that out. (Hi, 6-month medical leave for PTSD.) But working from home would be nice, or something part-time, and most importantly working at something I enjoy and makes me happy. I’m just not sure what that is right now. I’m all for applying for work at the local Indigo (I miss that a lot), but I… I don’t know. Something is stopping me. I think it’s the fear of the unknown, and the fact that I have been my job for such a long time, trying to see myself anywhere else is like trying to look through a foggy window.

So I’m having this odd existential crisis about myself and my future and it’s pretty annoying. I know it will all sort itself out and I’ll be able to see Me in so many other things than just the job I had. But it’s kind of scary to have this huge blank canvas in front of you waiting for you to choose the right colour to begin filling it in with.

That’s what I’m trying to sort out! (Random epiphany as I type.) My colours! I feel them all returning, the grey is dissipating, but right now the colours are just out of reach. An entire Crayola box of possibilities (the one with the sharpener in the back of course), and I just need to reach out and choose one.

finding my own wonderland

Halloween 2016

We spend most of our lives trying to figure out who we are. Life is a never-ending path of discovery and questions. Some get lucky and figure out who they are, and what they want to do, early on in life. Not everyone is so lucky. Some take decades to finally feel at home in their own skin.

It took me over 30 years to be comfortable being myself. Being me. Embracing all that was quirky and odd, accepting that I don’t always like what everyone else likes. And then one day the sky fell and I got lost again. Suddenly, I realized, I didn’t know who I was anymore. Nothing I used to love to do was holding any interest for me. I was apathetic to EVERYTHING. I wasn’t reading. Wasn’t crafting. Wasn’t happy at all.

Going downtown five days a week wasn’t helping. After March 27, 2013, I really didn’t want to be in the city anymore. I never liked the city much anyhow, I love seeing the sky. There’s little sky viewing in downtown Montreal. All tall buildings. And as much as I love the people I work with, the job itself was making me feel…grey. Blank. Drained. There was no joy in staring at my computer all day scheduling meetings, or coordinating meetings, or taking minutes.

And so this summer I had to think. Think hard. What needed to change in my life? What could I do to stop this downward spiral into sadness so strong I felt as though I couldn’t breathe.

Months of pros and cons lists happened both mentally, and in my journal. I spoke about what I could do with my husband, and my therapist (the same one helping me through all the PTSD stuff). There were sleepless nights where I just felt so lost and trapped that I couldn’t even close my eyes. The darkness was too bright and too deep.

At some point I looked at job postings online and saw something closer to home, not in town. And it was as if someone had filled me with air. I could breathe again. I didn’t feel weighted to the ground with lead. Something clicked – I needed to be out of downtown. I needed to eliminate that part of the equation. That’s when the epiphanies started, of course my job is downtown, but what if I quit my job? What if I took this opportunity to actually stop doing something that was draining the life from my soul (dramatic sounding, I know. But I wasn’t even READING anymore!) and turning me into a drone, and started to do something I loved? Suddenly the people I had worked with for almost 11 years weren’t enough to keep me going into a job I didn’t love anymore. But leaving those people? People who had become as close as family? THAT wasn’t an easy decision.

Even more so, leaving meant I had to leave my boss. A woman I have wished was my own sister for years. A woman I adore, and learned so much from, and admire and just…adore. It was like breaking up. It was not easy. It is not easy.

But I did it.

The first week of October I gave notice. I think my heart was in my mouth. My hands shook, my stomach clenched, and my head was spinning. But I did it. One of the hardest things I have done.

Leaving the security of a place I have been for 15 years isn’t easy, and it wasn’t a whim. But it was time. My last day of work was Halloween (because, of course it was!), and my 15th anniversary at McGill was October 28. My first four and a half years were at the bookstore, and then the last 10 years and seven months were in the Dean’s office in Music. I literally spent a quarter of my life at that faculty, in that job (though it did evolve over the years).

They had a Halloween party for me on my last day. My heart was overflowing with emotion. I don’t like emotion. I was shaking like a leaf, but I managed not to cry. I cry at night as I try to fall asleep. It’s how I roll. There was so much love though. And I’m two days into being home and I miss everyone so much.

However, I am ready for new challenges. I am THIS CLOSE to finishing my Book Publishing diploma at Ryerson University, and I am desperate to work with books. I miss books. SO MUCH. I want to sell and publicize children’s books. My entire being vibrates with the desire to do that. To talk books. Read books. Sell books. And if I didn’t make the leap and change now, I’d have chickened out over time and just become resentful of missed opportunity, wasted passion, and bitter about a job I wasn’t getting any joy from. I couldn’t live like that. I can not live like that.

So I made this big, terrifying, life-changing decision and I don’t know what’s next. I just know that it needed to be done. Once I realized this what what I needed to do my entire body relaxed. I read 11 books this month – and I hadn’t read nearly that much yet this year. You have no idea how much stress and anxiety dissipated once I realized what I needed to do. Instead of being anxious about not knowing what’s NEXT, I lost anxiety I didn’t realize I was holding on to about staying as is.

No one who knows me would ever claim I was a fan of change. As a child I couldn’t handle the smallest of change. I remember having a clock-radio that I loved that died and I couldn’t sleep for a few weeks once I had a new one next to the bed because it WAS NOT THE SAME. The world was off-kilter. The air was too sharp and jagged. The cocoon of my room was DIFFERENT. And that was not good. And I’m pretty sure my parents would have bet cash money that I’d never move out of their house, and my room. And that I’d likely still be living there even though they sold the house. Change was not something I was ever able to handle. It’s amazing what a trauma and some other life-altering events can do to a person.

‘Cause, this is a Big Change, yo. This is me leaping into unchartered territory. This is so very un-Cat that it’s astonishing that I chose to make this decision. Astonishing that I even came up with this decision.

But I knew I needed to figure myself out again, and I needed to take a deep breath and make some Big Decisions as part of that. I can’t live in a grey world. I need that Wonderland that Alice found, as confusing and scary and dangerous as it might be at times.  I can’t allow myself to shut down by mindlessly going through motions because it’s what’s expected of me. I need to do something with my life that I have passion for, that brings me joy. Books bring me joy, so that’s the path I’m following.

As for right now? I’m going to finish this copyediting course and look for another job. It might be a temporary one as I figure stuff out along the way, but temporary is just a blink of an eye and it’s easier to digest than “forever”. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m hopeful.

I’m feeling like someone I used to know a little better. Almost myself again. And that’s one step closer to Wonderland.