Well the evidence of summer's end and fall's beginnings abound: yellow and red leaves scatter the ground; the darkened sky encroaches. Those lazy, long days of the summer’s sun once again have retreated. I hurry to try and get as much done as I can before we settle into our typical darkened evenings. This time of year is when most Victorians begin to hibernate – we spend more time at home, at a close friend’s, or maybe just a quick bite out to eat or a movie. There is an agreed sense of early departure: a silent exchange that we all want to return to this year's nests we've been busy building.
I feel that this season is resourceful, where deep breaths become easier as the busyness of summer is behind me. Time for myself feels more abundant.
I hope right now is one of those times for you too and I welcome you to this new newsletter. Grab a cup of tea, a blanket and cuddle up with me for a moment :)
Thanks to each of you for subscribing and reading my newsletters. I appreciate your support.
If you're new to my website and newsletters, greetings! I'm honored that you're reading my writings :) Check out all of my previous newsletters and other writings on my website, Kim Friesen - Mogillow Arts.
POEM OF THE MONTH
My heart lay in your hands
You chose in haste
Or in calculated action
More often than not
To try and break me
Over the years
You were supposed to be smarter
I was unworthy
Self-imposed to the depths of my arduous mind and soul
Lost in thoughts, in early years, of suicide
I believed I would never be remembered
That it never mattered if I were here from one day to the next
Certain that I could never measure up to your elusive standards
Instead I taunted myself
With the razor blade I’d placed in front of me
Drops of blood
The gleam of metal flickered, it smiled
By these memories
That you tried to kill my spirit
That you tried to force me to take my own life
That you tried to rid yourself of my call for justice
Some tribal voice spoke to me one day
"You are you, you are enough, you are worth it"
It permeated every layer of my being
Like a fire before the flame ignites,
Trust in myself pooled inside my heart, constructed
Breath in, breath out
My diaphragm readied for war
As days became years
Your attempts to eradicate my soul
Continued to fail
Seeds were planted
Love for who I am
And were watered daily
I held my new traits, close
They intertwined within me
Even when you tried
Your usual deception and manipulation
To silence me
The wings that I’d been given
Allowed me to fly now
To a space where I could heal
The trees once barren from your words
As thought patterns unravelled
To make way for even more flowers to burst open inside of me
That somewhere, somehow I could be recognized as a gift
That you guidance from above would impart that person to me
Who shows up, no matter
Who would never think to hurt me
Who would never make me feel unworthy
They would neither thrive on goodbye
Nor debauch at hello
I delved deeper inside of myself
As though I was discovering the Titanic
Silenced for so long beneath the murky waters
I reached for her
By the tender, exquisite little girl that emerged
"Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Well, as I said above, something this summer happened that I've waited for a long time to occur. In August, I returned home to where I was born, Flin Flon, Manitoba. It was interesting, to say the least.
To have the chance to meet up with family members I hadn't physically seen in a while (on my mom's side of the family), to be with family who I hadn't seen in what feels like forever (on my biological father's side of the family), as well as to get the chance to meet new family members (on both sides) was an honour.
To return to Flin Flon, I knew would be like visiting ghosts. I understood there would be memories I might remember easily, all of a sudden, or not at all. I didn't anticipate just how hard it would be though to face and understand the ache that rose in my chest when I got there.
I don't remember exactly how I was made to feel this way. That particular time when that little girl on the inside became a separate part of me and never grew up. She still today questions what she did wrong.
I understand now that this is a natural way for children abandoned under the age of five to feel. It was not just my biological father who abandoned us, but my mom as well.
My mom left us for almost two months. Gone around the Grey Cup, she stayed away over Christmas and went to Vancouver - when I was about four and a half years old. My mom was involved with another man. It was the only Christmas that my grandparents (my biological father's parents) were ever apart. My biological father then permanently abandoned us when we moved from Flin Flon to Vancouver (to supposedly try and make things work) a year or so later. We were left with our mom and somehow forgotten. My biological father started a new family, which he protects to this day at all cost. My brothers and I were made a part of our biological father's past. I have another sister I have never met. It all sounds so easy and packaged up. For me, to this day, it is not.
Since both parents went on to remarry with daughters then produced, I've always felt lost. Like the movie the Lost Boys, I coined myself the "Lost Daughter" and could relate. My mother continued to both physically and emotionally abandon me over the years, which to this day still affects me.
My twin brother did not like it when I recently wrote on my personal Facebook wall how I was disgusted that both my mom and biological father left such a beautiful little girl to feel erased. This is my truth. I am not ashamed of it. I am old enough to live with the consequences of my own voice. I did not understand though why my twin brother saw fit to protect my mom when I've discovered over this last year his many acts over the years he's done against her and myself, in particular, by reaching out to the other side. Does he not know that I have been told now how he visited, as early as 2010 Olympics, our biological father without asking me to join him or be apprised of any of his other visits to other paternal family members, even while staying with me at my home. His voice is silent, but oppressive. He should learn to practice what he preaches. I have only ever given him truth in my actions. I have not stepped out of the boundaries our mom set for us - despite me knowing they were wrong. I was brought up to always be honest though - I attest this to my dad, Gord. I wonder now if perhaps my twin brother lives a double life. He will be mad that I've said this, but he should have been truthful to me long ago. Deception has consequence. I'm surprised he never learned that. We grew up in the same household.
As a mother, I can not imagine leaving my son as my mother left us. My twin brother may have forgiven her, but I am struggling. I owe her nothing. I kept her secrets for all these years, yet have been vocal of my biological father and more so of myself. In order for me to heal, I must speak out. This is not my cross to bear, this is my coming out party.
Other than knowing that my mother and biological father fought and were on the verge of divorce, I don't remember much else about Flin Flon. I remember the name of the store I played at and bought treats from - the Candy Bar - yet when I went close to it this summer, nothing emerged from my memory. When I saw the rocks behind the park we would have played on, I felt something I didn't understand and didn't know why I was feeling the way I was. I felt a sense of hollowness that has always been inside of me climb swiftly to the surface. I felt misplaced and guilty for being there and visiting the side of the family I was conditioned that I was supposed to forget. I felt an emergence of my true self constantly yelling inside of me, "You have every right to be here, no matter what anyone tries to tell you!" I didn't feel like I belonged there though. I felt like I'd been through a war, several deaths and now was sitting in a place I had fought for, but didn't recognize. It felt odd.
The rocks I played on as a child
What resonated with me though was the feeling of never actually living the loss of my maternal and paternal grandparents -especially my Grandma Brown. It was hard. I find it tough right now to even write about it. Like what should I say, does anyone even care?
I'll suck it up though. I write for me, but I also write for a fellow tortured soul, who right now reads this and needs me to be truthful. Lots don't admit what goes on inside their mind. I do, without regret. I am responsible for my own actions, not those of others.
Piece by Piece
Right now the song "Piece by Piece"by Kelly Clarkson resonates with me. Can you blame me? I have included the link of her singing on American Idol. Kelly breaks singing this song - she is thinking of her children. I do too each time I look into the beautiful face of my little boy.
"Piece by piece he collected me, up off the ground where you abandoned things."
I can't help but feel honored that my husband still loves me after thirty years together. Even he abandoned me at one point in my life - there's the article, Stand by Your Man on my website, Kim Friesen - Mogillow Arts. Yet, I know, without a doubt, that he will never walk away from our son. My son is delicious and always entitled to our endless love and adoration ;) If my husband tried to leave him behind, I'd chase him down - for the rest of my life - that would be my endeavor.
I have to also take a moment to say, as of a few days ago, I realized that this song should also be heard with a dedication to my dad, Gord Burr. The man who became my father figure - despite us being "those kids."
I went to the house I lived in when we resided in Flin Flon. I felt nothing. It seemed any of the memories I was meant to remember hid. The lake where we were told the Boogie man lived, the streets where I used to walk along didn't feel familiar.
It wan't until we made a trip farther down the road past the Candy Bar that we saw a cemetery and I got excited. With rocks all around me, I was certain I would find my Grandma Brown's grave site I'd never seen. I ran frantically all around.
My husband pointed out graves of ancestors from my biological father's side of the family and I hurried over. I stopped short though when I realized that all my family on this side have been nothing but long ago memories. The three people buried here were my great grandfather and two of his children. My great grandfather died before I was born, but the other two, as fate would have it, were my two favorite aunt and uncle from my paternal grandfather's side. I felt my stomach turn for a moment as I stared at their markers. I was still frantic to find my Grandma Brown's grave though, so I pushed these feelings aside.
My head was pounding as I ran from grave to grave trying to find her name. I couldn't. It wan't until I got back in the car and looked up where she was buried, I literally slapped myself in the head. Duh, we were at the wrong graveyard. I knew that! My heart started to break, and my head ran in circles.
By the time we got back to my aunt's and uncle's for the night, I was in a dizzy mess of emotions. When my aunt looked at me as I got home, I burst into tears and she just embraced me. I felt so lost, I felt like I was a failure, like I didn't belong. So distant from anyone and everything. She understood. She just held me and let me cry.
Other than a recent episode with my Reiki teacher, I have never let anyone hold me while I cried. My husband has tried. He's gotten so close so many times over the years, but generally as soon as his gentle, supportive hug surrounds me, I stop crying. Trained to do be that "don't show emotions like that, be pissed off, make people think you're a mouthy bitch," an emotional explosion occurred and I dissolved. My aunt just held me tightly and told me that she loved me and that no one would ever take me away from her again. That I was her family, no matter what anyone said. I believe her.
Phew, it's emotional as I write this. I've always felt on the outside of all of my families - other than my mother's side with my Grandpa who insisted I was his "Kimmie," I felt I had no one. I believe Grandpa is one of my guardian angels and was there to battle for me when I had my stroke. Whenever I look at his picture to this day, I can't help but get a lump in my throat.
The next day in Flin Flon, my husband was hell bent on getting me to the grave site of my grandma on my mom's side. I went and searched and at last found her marker. As I reached it, I looked up to the sky and then collapsed. A part of me felt I was finally home. She was here. All the lies I had been told, all the hurt shoved my way, all the times I cried alone, all the smiles I put on that were fake, all the thoughts I was never good enough cascaded on the ground below me. Grandma, absorbed them. I lay with the one person who loved me always, no matter, that never gave up on me. If Grandma were alive right now, I am sure she'd have held me, just as my aunt did. Grandma always believed I was worthy. She'd shake her daughter and tell her to smarten up, that I was a gift and not something to trample.
As I held onto the grass in the cemetery, I cried, I talked to her. I let her know I'd come at last. I left her a note so she won't forget me. I took a small rock from her grave that my husband found. It's the only thing I have of hers other than a plant and a few small pieces of her jewelery. Did I mention that I miss her, I miss being someone's number one instantly, no matter. I have been number two so many times. Yet today in this moment I was number one. Grandma whispered in the wind for me to be strong. I felt her love. I felt my Grandpa's love as well. In fact, I felt the love of my paternal grandparents embrace me too.
Below is a poem I wrote about visiting my Grandma Brown's grave:
Standing at your grave site
Long pent up thoughts
Detach from my brain
I am humbled Emotionally naked My head pounds
Like thunderclaps in my ears
My breath shortens
Tears that have been trapped inside for years
Slow to trickle outside of me at first As I fall to my knees
And collapse into the ground
They start to freely drain from me
Onto the lush green grass
The smell of both life and death all around me
You left me here defenseless
So many years ago
I used to shine so bright for you
Now I feel no one has ever seen me like you did
When you died
I got scared
I learned to put a guard up To shield my heart
To cry alone
Until this moment
Where I lay here unsheathed before you
I wish I'd had those last moments with you, Grandma
For all I have now is memories
And then a big dark space
I wanted to say goodbye
All I can do is say it now
Despite the fact that
So much time has passed
I release today is fresh, intense Hidden marks of an emotional shark
Left upon my body
With memories of the hounds of hell
When they attacked my heart
When I was desperate And fell off my path
I lay on the ground now aching for just one more touch from you
I wonder today
Why I shouldn't join you
Is it too late?
Could I find you?
A part of me wants to stay here on this
Soft patch beside you Grandma
But my son's voice awakens me
I've lost so many people over the years as a result of my biological parent's divorce. I lost my paternal grandparents over Christmas presents that were sent that we never received. They thought we were ignoring them, so my grandpa told my grandma to give up on us. I was always told that they abandoned us because of a note that I had written, with no ill intent, in a guest book at my grandparents' neighbours' home. Writing that us three kids' names in my twelve to thirteen year old handwriting and that we were mom and Gord's kids - remember my biological father had a new family. They flew in a plane and visited Japan. They never did it because of that I've learned. It was because of never hearing from us - I can personally say I was caught up with what to do.
The lies that have gone back and forth that probably in time may have twisted over time still reflect an important message. Never let the children of divorce be swept away from one side of the family. Told if they were to make contact, they'd just open a can of worms that once the lid was off you could never put back on. I am living proof that a can of worms opened wide can not destroy me. I'm still standing, still alive.Let my struggles be your savior.
I wish the only dad I ever knew (Gordie), could speak up too and let his family embrace me. I feel like I never measured up for them and it hurts.
My visit to Flin Flon also included many other things like camping, lunches, visiting caverns, water skiing and hiking around. I also returned to my paternal grandparent's cabin where we played as children and where my paternal grandma's ashes are spread. I love the idea of spreading ashes, but I have to say I wish I could have lied down on her grave site right now. I know she would have whispered that I was worthy and to embrace my inner beauty.
Below is the cabin that my paternal grandparents owned. In the picture that I am standing, in the scenery behind me, is where my grandma is buried.
MY FITNESS CORNER
Perhaps the best part of my fitness life lately has been that I was challenged to do 22 push-ups each day - The 22 Push-Ups | 22 Days Challenge. The first time I was challenged it was by my twin brother and I completed the challenge, but not with much gusto. Since we were going to be away, I didn't even do any taping of myself doing the push ups. I was honest, consistent and did what I was told to do.
The second time I was challenged though, I was home from vacation. It was my trainer, Jenn, who nominated me. This time I was emotionally ready.
I video taped myself each day. Some days my push ups were good others not so. They were never "military" style, but they were me. After the road I've been down in my life, I'm surprised that I am even here to do but one. Fitness for me is not always easy. I am a survivor of a stroke and two brain surgeries. My stroke was in my balance center, so when I am tired I can falter. I have to be sensitive to my needs when working out to ensure that I don't push myself too far.
The real thing it did though was let all the people who read my site for 22 days realize one thing. That thing that only my husband and maybe a few people knew but have not truly digested. I suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome). It occurred when I had my stroke and also I have a form that is the result of the abandonment I endured as both a child and as an adult - it still continues to haunt me. I've learned that I don't get close to people because, in my mind, people leave anyway. Abandon them before they abandon me. I have had this proven to me over and over again with my father, my mother, my twin brother, my best friend, other friends, my boyfriend who is now my husband. I realize lots of people have these kinds of things happen, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. Revealing my diagnosis to anyone who wanted to read it though is not something everyone does. They are fearful. For me it freed me. No, I'm not a basket case. This does not give anyone a weapon to infiltrate and take me down. There has been no power exchange in my releasing this. Instead, it allows me to know that it was time for me to stop living in my head. To stop worrying about everyone elses' needs. To realize not many gave a crap about my needs, just their own anyways. That those people who were letting me down I could be let go of now because there were others waiting to come in. Who have told me I'm amazing. What, me? I still have a hard time believing this.
To explain why fitness is so important to me. Fitness releases me. It unleashes the demons that try to haunt me and it helps me to destroy them. Some workouts, I can actually feel the annihilation of little cells of toxins and it feels incredible. I know, without a doubt, I am stronger and more together than many of the haters, the phonies, the people who think they are using me. If you are reading this and you recognize right now that you've allowed people to use and abuse you, have faith. Just remember you can never use a person who has been abused in the ways that we have: we're way too smart for that. You know it's just interesting to watch people try and calculate their way though trying to overtake us. We are strong and like me, you too are a survivor. Special breeds allow others in to see what they already know about themselves.
I work out six of seven days in the week. My boot camp time has not been up to par but my trainer knows it does not mean I am not working out, my husband and son can attest that I am. My dogs are my rowing buddies, I have an older version of a Concept B machine. I do an hour rowing now with them.
I am not vigilant with what I eat, what I drink, but I do try and be the best person for me that I can be. Yes, I drink alcohol (lately too much if I were honest), I sometimes have treats. I always remain cognizant though of what I put in my body.
As I've said before my trainer, Jenn, at Wholly Fit, is always there to help me through things. She's pulled me tight since I've been home. I've appreciated that and her. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have her. I have some friends at Wholly Fittoo, fellow boot campers, who I know will listen to me when I need it and in that respect I am very lucky.
Lately my PTSD has been reintroduced after being to Flin Flon, I have been alone a lot. I don't have many people in my life who reach for me when I disappear. My husband and son have let me be, but my husband has had a firm eye on me too. It's easy as we are in the same house. My aunt has been watchful and texting and phoning too to ensure I am okay, which I appreciate. As you know the gift in my life is that she found me again and I will allow no one to break apart this supportive bond. There is no reason for her to be a part of my life other than because she wants to. I am so fortunate to have this.
This month, I also started a new challenge for the month with my Wholly Fit family. I have changed my schedule up a bit so I can be in amongst a larger class so I can just disappear inside myself and do some of that annihilation I talked about. I will be back to my once fiery self once again, but right now I'm just a little lost. I'll get there. I have committed with one of my bootcampers to doing a Spartan race next year, so I am going to have to step it up and get back to being me.
What About You?
How are you doing? I'd love to hear your thoughts. How are your work outs going? Have you been inspired lately to start doing them if you haven't started yet? Drop me an email email@example.com, anytime!
RECIPE WORTH TRYING
My husband, son and I went to our new friend's house for dinner a few months back. We were served this dish for dinner and I'm addicted! Easy to make, it's wonderful at this time of year. I'd highly recommend it! Yummmmmm :)
I feel so powerful in my suggestion to you that if you love wolves, you think about staying at this place if you are in the area. It is close to Yellowstone Park too. Comanche, Sekani, Chinook, Tahoe and Shasta are so worth the stay. I have to share one of my favourite pictures again:
What's New This Newsletter
I gave it some thought this newsletter about what I wanted to share with you, my wonderful readers. I waited as I believe that the universe provides us with what we need to hear or read. I didn't have anything until a co-worker shared something and it was bang on for what I think a lot of us need to hear.
This wisdom from Oprah. Check it out, it's good some sage advise on failure:
Well I have some exciting upcoming news. I've spoken to a person about being an illustrator for my children's book Magic and they said yes! I hope in the springtime to meet up with them and really get this book out and published. Though the smallest book I have written, it is my husband's favorite. I hope once it is done it will make everyone feel the way I do each time I read it, I cry but am inspired. Two very important and healing emotions that we could all use in our lives - stay tuned!
************ Last night a painful development occurred in my life. I will share it with you next newsletter, but right now it is too fresh to get into. I am devastated as is the rest of my family. I don't want to leave you hanging, but in this case I must. My mind is swarming and I am releasing this newsletter unproofed. Forgive me for my errors and typos. My brain is having trouble functioning. Thank you my friends. Remember to hug tight those you love xo
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