What I’ve Learned in Quarantine: Less Really Is More

What I’ve Learned in Quarantine: Less Really Is More

Read Time: 8 minutes

The last few weeks I have been in a major slump.

I have had no gumption to post on Instagram, I take longer to respond to comments from other users and my beloved practice of writing for one hour a day to create content for this site has gone by the wayside.

I have been feeling frumpy and i’m honestly surprised it took 5 months in quarantine for me to feel this way – I was expecting it to happen sooner. The repeated loop of athleisure wear, grubby ponytails and the daily commute from my bed to my kitchen table and back again is really starting to wear on me. I recognize that there are much worse situations I could be in – I could have lost my job, had to give up my apartment because I couldn’t pay rent, or not be able to afford groceries (all of which I can still do). But at the core of it all, I have been told to stay home, as many others have, and it’s starting to feel a bit like the film Groundhog Day.

Credit – Giphy

Amidst the slump, I have been cleaning my apartment – a lot of cleaning in fact. I take pride in a tidy home. Despite living in a seventies three story apartment building in which the hallways look like a crack-house, I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter how old your home may be. If you keep it looking clean, beautiful and loved, it can be made to look brand new.

This cleaning includes dusting bookshelves, wiping down my blinds and vacuuming, among a plethora of other standard household duties. However, one cleaning activity which I recently completed was a closet, shoe and makeup clean-out.

Truthfully, I love closet clean-outs. Organization in general makes my heart happy. Frankly, I get anxious if there’s clutter. Not so much with other people, but especially within my own space – even a small pile of clothes on the floor or a small stack of dishes.

I’ve seen a lot of posts recently about lessons people have learned in quarantine. Most are fairly standard – peace within myself, rediscovering old hobbies, making time for balance and making time for play and remembering that there are more important things in life than work (although work is fairly important, but you get my point).

If there’s anything that I’ve learned in quarantine, it’s that I really don’t need that much stuff.
Says the girl who has been waking up and putting on the same pair of yoga pants and t-shirt for the past 5 months.
Credit – Giphy

No, really though.

I tend to do a closet clean-out twice a year – once in the Spring and once in the Fall. During these periods is when I will typically swap out my winter clothes for summer clothes and vice-versa. It also allows me to step back, objectively view my closet and shoes and ask myself certain questions: What have I not worn in a year? What do I continue to keep because I LOVE it, but never wear it? Why am I keeping that in my closet? In addition to – could this be up-cycled and made into something new?

As I get older, I have become more aware of the detrimental impacts surrounding fast fashion on the environment. As the fashion industry continues to crank out new trends every season, subsequent clothing retailers produce clothes to keep up with the demand of staying on trend and fit the consumer’s needs. In turn, there is an enormous amount of clothing produced yearly, that is incredibly wasteful and only serves to meet the demands of the trends in that moment, despite the fact that the trend will have come and gone in a matter of four months. Stores guilty of the practice of fast fashion include retail giants such as H&M and Zara.

Don’t get me wrong, i’m no clothing saint. As a consumer I am guilty of buying into the practice of fast fashion. Pre-COVID, I would go for my annual (sometimes bi-annual) cross border shopping trip with a girlfriend to Target, and stock up on cheap, cute clothing for the upcoming season. All of these items of clothing primarily have tags listing “Made in Guatemala” or “Made in Venezuela” – another point of concern within the fashion industry.

That being said, i’m starting to do and be better to become a more mindful, responsible consumer.

Despite my Target shop, I would say that the majority of my clothes are pieces that I have had in my closet for quite some time (we’re talking years).

One extreme case of clothing in my closet, is a sunflower dress that once belonged to my mother. While still in amazing condition, we estimate it to be approximately 21 years old. There’s a Christmas photo in my parents’ house of my mum, brother and I (roughly at age 6 or 7), in which my mum is wearing the sunflower dress.

I don’t buy clothes at a rapid rate anymore. If anything, my rate of purchasing clothes could best be described as glacial. Furthermore, during COVID, I haven’t gone online shopping once for clothes.

Pretty much every bout of a closet clean-out, I find something that I can get rid of. As I get older, I am also becoming more responsible about where my recycled or donated clothes go. I used to simply drop-off my clothes at Value Village (similar to Savers’ in the United States, if you are American). However in recent years, I have heard this is not the best place for donated or recycled clothes (within the fact they are a for-profit company, and very little of the money they claim goes to charities, actually goes to charities, which I think is shady) so I try to avoid it if I can.

Despite having a track record of fast fashion, H&M has a reputable textile recycling program, which I have taken advantage of. More recently though, I have been taking my clothing to my local recycling depot, where I’ve since learned that they recycle textiles, in addition to standard recyclable items such as cardboard, paper, plastic, cans and bottles. Through the recycling depot, the clothes are distributed to reuse organizations and companies. Any returned textiles that cannot be resold are recycled and reused to make different materials like rags, paper, yarn, carpet padding, or insulation. This helps divert used and unwanted clothing from ending up in the landfill.

There’s enough garbage in the landfill as is. My old pajama t-shirt from a past breast cancer run/walk, doesn’t need to end up there either.

As silly as it sounds, the gradual shrinkage of my closet in size and in clothing I don’t wear, brings me a sense of peace. It makes me less anxious in terms of making decisions (something which I have enough trouble with already), when there’s less to choose from. It also makes me feel better knowing that I have been more selective in choosing where my recycled clothes will go. Knowing that pieces of clothing which once sat stagnant in my closet, not being worn, are going to somebody who will wear them instead, or will be reused and created to serve an alternate purpose, brings me peace of mind. As ridiculously easy as it is to get rid things we no longer wear, I personally want to do so in a way so that my old materials, when going out into the world, will create as little waste as possible.

Mindful with Make-Up

This same sense of peace also comes from getting rid of old make-up. Despite that, some anxious tendencies still grip me when it comes to throwing out old make-up:What if I don’t find this color of eyeliner again? This cost me so much money, I can’t bear to throw it out even if it is expired.

I used to be the type of girl who would go through all steps in a makeup process according to beauty gurus on YouTube – moisturizer, primer, foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, highlight, eyebrows, eyeliner, mascara. Hey, if you are one of these girls, all the more power to you.

Credit – Giphy

While I still have all of these products in my possession, I find that in quarantine, I have really come to appreciate my natural face (It’s also not like I have a busy social life where I see people every day, these days). Rather than focusing on caking my face like when I was younger, I now focus on taking care of my skin. Keeping my natural face looking as natural as possible, serves as the basis for when I now purchase make-up. I also find with this approach I use less products, both in the number of products I buy, but also the amount of a product. This simplifies my routine significantly.

I purchased a CC cream that eliminates at least 3 of the steps above (primer, concealer, foundation). CC creams are magical elixirs which do a bang-up job of making your skin look natural but beautiful, while having a ton of extra benefits. In the instance of the one I purchased, it’s color-correcting, SPF 50 (Hiss – the sun! Out, damned spot!), anti-aging and hydrating. It’s also not tested on animals – another benefit which I find myself paying more attention to, in addition to vegan products. The current moisturizer and anti-aging serum I have are vegan.

The powder I use typically eliminates the other 4 steps concerning my face (powder, bronzer, blush, highlight). While I love the process of putting on makeup (I find it therapeutic), I find that my time in quarantine has taught me, if anything, that less really is more.

Simply put, I’ve learned in quarantine that I value having less clothes in my closet because it reduces my time spent on what I choose to wear and allows me to appreciate the clothes I do have. I also appreciate that this process allows me to be more mindful when it comes to assessing what I need to purchase and where I will purchase it from. I value not buying into a wasteful industry such as fast fashion, because I am trying in my own life to be more environmentally conscious – buying into an industry such as fast fashion would be counter intuitive to that. I appreciate my natural face and natural skin as I get older, reducing the steps in my beauty routine and spending money on fewer, high quality products.

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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Mid Year Self Check-In

Mid Year Self Check-In

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Today i’m taking a break from scraping the bottom of the barrel of my emotional flaws to do a mid year self check in. On Wednesday it is July 1st – over halfway through the year already. Wednesday also marks the ever so celebratory Canada Day – a day to mark when our beautiful country became … well … a country.

Canada only became a country in 1867. When you look at the timeline of the entire history of the world/(wo)mankind/non-binarykind, Canada’s timeline is incredibly recent, especially when compared to most European and African countries. We are still relatively new. We have come very far in our short time span and are known for diverse and talented people, majestic landscapes and a myriad of progressive ideas – working towards a more inclusive and equal society for all (heck we changed our national anthem for the sake of it), the legalization of cannabis, as well as a bang-up job of managing the coronavirus pandemic in comparison to our Southern neighbors.

Also inventing basketball. You’re welcome.

But we still have a lot to learn, in terms of our education and ability to handle and address such issues as those related to poverty, including our rampantly rising homelessness population, especially in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Also issues related to race – we tout ourselves for being progressive in our commitment to equality – yet still have Indigenous reserves in Canada without access to clean drinking water. Does that spell out equality to you? To me it doesn’t. Or even the fact we celebrate the beginnings of when our country was first marked a country according to colonization, despite the fact that Indigenous peoples of Canada were here for thousands of years prior to our official confederation written down in the history books.

By bringing these aspects up, it’s not meant to take a jab at an otherwise celebratory day, but to make you stop and think about how far we’ve come and where we’ve got to go. That’s the theme of today’s post for myself amidst my self-check in, as well: What have I accomplished so far, and what I wish to accomplish over the remaining half of this year.

I have a “My Vision” page in my day planner. When January 2020 first rolled around, I spent one bored day at work, scribbling down what I wanted to make time for, and what I wanted to work on/eliminate. On the corresponding page I wrote down a list of goals for myself for this year. I also wrote down dreams, both short term and long term, for myself. Today i’m going to share them with you.

Take note, I wrote a lot of these pre-COVID, so many I haven’t done simply due to the fact that I have been stuck in my house since March. So there yee be.

My Vision for the Year – Making Time for
  • Self Care
  • Exercise
  • Time with Friends
  • Meditation
  • New Experiences
My Vision for the Year – Working On/Eliminating
  • Overthinking
  • Negative Self-Talk
  • Insecurities
  • Stress
  • Word Vomit
My Vision for the Year – Goals
  • Learn to play piano – I have learned one and a half songs (lol – half? Yes half)
  • Learn to play the cello – hoping to take a socially distanced workshop in the fall for 18+
  • Speak my opinion more – working on it – ya girl hates conflict remember?
  • Recognize and train myself not to stress – I think I am getting better at this – mindfulness has been wonderful in doing so
  • Take a cooking class – not yet
  • Throw mom an awesome 60th birthday – yes! A surprise one – went off without a hitch!
  • Celebrate Corey & Danielle’s wedding (go a few days before) – will be attending in a few short weeks
  • Practice mindfulness at least once a week – yes, actually now I try to practice every day if I can
  • Go whale-watching – will be doing so when I got to the wedding listed above
  • Go to Whistler – not yet
  • Learn to Dance – …. not yet – I continue to dance like one of those inflatable flailing men they often place out front of car dealerships
  • Learn about Essential Oils (and buy more!) – not yet
  • Go to the sunflower and tulip festival – canceled this year – maybe next year
  • Lose 5 to 10 pounds – working on it!
  • Eat vegan more – Definitely – I have significantly cut down my red meat and chicken consumption – I eat a lot more tofu and I like it
  • Visit more vegan restaurants – not yet
  • Take a painting or pottery class – not yet
  • JOB CHANGE (PUT IN ALL CAPS) – NOT YET BUT ACTIVELY WORKING ON IT
  • Read 10 books (maybe more??) – I have read 5 so far, working on a 6th and listening to 2 audio books
  • Buy new furniture – I’ve bought all new deck furniture – makes my heart happy
  • Think before I speak more – not yet – work in progress
  • Cook yummy meals – yesssss
  • Take better care of my skin – yes! Up until March when everything shut down, I was going for monthly facials. I also no longer skimp on skincare products or go back and forth about spending the money. If I want it, and it’s rated well, I consider it an investment for my face down the road.
  • Love better, love deeper – I think I sort of have – the pandemic has held me back from doing so but has definitely made me realize the importance of doing so
  • Make margaritas – no but I have my mum’s lime margarita recipe and it is KILLER. Might have to make a batch for Canada Day, despite trying to be healthy. I wonder if margaritas are on Weight Watchers LOL
  • Not kill a plant! – I have killed some … but have also managed to KEEP SOME ALIVE
  • Get photos of friends developed – not yet
  • Travel – Washington, D.C., Grand Canyon, Yellowstone. International? Argentina, Croatia, Austria/Switzerland – nope – grounded
  • Go bowling – not yet
  • Say ‘sorry’ less – 100% have curved this – my sorries are sacred, you don’t get one unless I really truly mean it
  • Go to the Rugby 7’s – not this year
  • Pet and hold a piglet – apparently piglets don’t like to be held – my family makes fun of me for this goal but piglets are CUTE AS SHIT AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE
  • Complete more puzzles! – SO MANY PUZZLES IN QUARANTINE
Short-Term & Long-Term Dreams
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in Scotland – Hogmanay
  • Go to Mardi Gras
  • Spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
  • Go on a meditation retreat
  • Learn a new language
  • Swim once a week
  • Be well-read
  • Buy a vacation home (not sure where yet)
  • Be financially stable to never work another desk job again
  • Become a meditation teacher
  • Teach people how to meditate
  • Run meditation retreats
  • Live in another country
  • Run a successful blog (I defined success as 10k followers by the time I was 30)
  • Get married
  • Have kids
  • Hold a baby sloth
  • To speak at my own TEDxTalk
  • Go on an African safari for my 30th birthday
  • Be able to do the splits
  • Be able to do crow pose
  • Consistently continue going to therapy

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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Emotional Modesty: Minimizing Emotional Needs to Avoid Conflict

Emotional Modesty: Minimizing Emotional Needs to Avoid Conflict

Reading Time: 8 minutes

As a child, what was your sense of emotional needs versus your parent’s reactions?

One afternoon Karla, my therapist, asked me this question.

I immediately launched into how my mom was a single parent and was always making sure us kids got to our activities on time, were fed, looked presentable and got our homework done. It was especially with the word reaction though, that I noted how my dad had a short temper, and was one relationship in my life which I would classify as an eggshell relationship – being careful and mindful about what you say or do when around them so as to not set them off, as they are usually set off easily – walking on eggshells. It was in the midst of chattering away about these aspects of life that I realized sometime in my childhood, in an effort to minimize the conflict potentially bubbling up from my dad and to keep things easy for my mom, I began to make myself emotionally smaller, by minimizing my emotional wants and needs.

To lessen my chances of “being a burden” while minimizing conflict, I think I reduced my own emotional needs in an attempt to minimize my parent’s reactions. This is not to suggest mom wasn’t attentive, or an open ear. I also wasn’t actively not talking to my mom about my problems – I was always very vocal about my concerns, worries and troubles. But I knew deep down, she was doing twice the work because she was the primary caregiver. She often says nowadays when she reflects on that time period, she was dancing as fast as she could, in an effort to keep up with the demands of being a single parent to two kids. It’s possible I downplayed my emotional needs so she wouldn’t have to dance faster.

When I first started working with Karla, I made it clear that it was my romantic relationships, more specifically, my thinking, my actions, reactions and my being when in romantic relationships, which were what I needed to work on. However, as she pointed out to me, aspects which concern us in one type of relationship, often tend to manifest themselves in other types of relationships.

I exist with a few (okay, more than a few) dysfunctional tendencies when in relationships, especially in terms of how I approach conflict within a relationship as well as my emotional maturity (or immaturity I guess) when handling said conflict. At first I thought a similar pattern of downplaying my emotional needs was taking place in my romantic relationships. Now, I wonder if it’s an internal struggle of repeating these old patterns, while at the same time, trying to make up for the extent to which I minimized these needs when I was younger. How do I usually do that? Bring up conflict when no conflict exists.

I tend to bring up little things that bug me, when in the grand scheme of the relationship, they’re not a big deal. So what if he didn’t know I wanted him to reach over to hold my hand during a movie? Was it really worth bringing up and making a big stink of it, and inevitably ruining the evening?

One tendency is that i’ll often attempt to put square pegs into round holes when dating. In other words, I try to conform to, and place the wants and needs of my partner on a pedestal just for the sake of keeping the peace. I will minimize my own emotional wants and needs, in order to avoid conflict. to make things fit when they are not fitting. We see this internal struggle, now becoming a struggle which affects my actions and behaviors.

I also tend to believe that if I bring up a point of conflict, my partner will break up with me. This stems from recognizing within myself that if I bring up enough insignificant points of conflict continuously and consistently, I have the potential to create unrest within the relationship. I’ve never been with a man who does this, it’s simply a byproduct of my internal dialogue and my actions. I know that this is connected to feeling insecure when I am with the person I care about (something I have touched upon in previous posts), as well as a lack of security and confidence within my own feelings and emotions.

The third point is that usually after I have brought up a point of conflict, I will feel guilty for having done so, to the point that I chastise myself for having brought it up. It’s like I can’t stop myself from addressing these points when they bubble up. When discussing my points of conflict within past relationships with friends, a few have said to me well if you brought it up then obviously it was something which bothered you, which makes it valid. I disagree though – if you bring up enough small things that are not a big deal, you become a nag, and no one wants to be in a relationship with their mother. I don’t think anyone actively seeks out a relationship with someone who creates conflict – hell, I wouldn’t want to be with someone like that, it sounds exhausting.

It eventually turns into a cycle – I get upset over something small, my partner and I resolve the argument, then I usually end up apologizing profusely, feeling guilty, asking for reassurance, worrying about it for days on end and questioning if the relationship will survive. This is all in addition to how much better things would have been had I not just kept my mouth shut (I know – I’m super hard on myself). It’s complete garbage on my mental health, I expose my insecurities and lack of confidence, and my partner turns into my therapist.

A few solutions I see in working to curve these patterns is learning to pick my battles and developing the ability to think critically as to if what I am about to address is really worth bringing up. Alternatively, stopping to ask myself if there is something within my own power, which I could do to improve the situation or fix the “little thing” which is bothering me. As I’ve said before, it takes two to tango in a relationship.

Another point is working to heal my inner child – consciously granting myself permission to heal by writing about these topics as well as attending therapy is helping. I’ve also realized that little points of conflict I tend to bring up, are more a reflection of how I view myself – for example do I stir up conflict as a means to avoid the conflict that lies within me? As an unhealthy means to release the suppressed emotional wants and needs from my younger self?

It actually took for someone to point it out to me to realize that I’ve never had an example of a healthy relationship. For the most part, learning how to be in a healthy relationship has been a real trial and error process – I think for a lot of people it is. It’s almost as if I allow my inner child to be the part of me which handles and controls how I respond to external conflict. While I’m not one to argue or shout at my partner (getting loud and aggressive is not my “argument style”), it’s very nit-picky and childish behavior on my part. This inner child extends to how I react as well. I let my inner child go off the rails, instead of being accountable for my actions as a grown ass woman. Learning to heal my inner child, work in tandem with it and taking back control of my responses to conflict is key.

One last point is developing my ability to respond before reacting to something which I deem “conflict” – this is why meditation has really proven beneficial, as it allows me to stay grounded in the present, and slow time down. Especially when my judgement is clouded, I sometimes have a hard time thinking clearly prior to blurting something out. It’s part of my responsibility as a caring, present, communicative partner, to do my part, whether that means recognizing and confronting legitimate points of conflict, or talking myself down from the ledge of addressing “little things” which seem like points of conflict but really are not.

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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Trauma Is Not One Size Fits All

Trauma is not one size fits all.


I never granted myself permission to feel valid within the trauma I experienced because it didn’t feel right to express or share I had experienced trauma when others have experienced more severe trauma. As I am realizing and learning, trauma is not one size fits all and just because it may be something I live with to a lesser degree than others, does not make it any less VALID.


Read My Troubles with Trauma now.

My Troubles with Trauma

My Troubles with Trauma

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Despite this post talking about trauma, it does not go into great, graphic detail – it is more a reflection upon the trauma which I have experienced.

In my previous post, I touched upon my concerns and issues related to abandonment – primarily how abandonment has manifested itself in my past romantic relationships and how moving forward, I will actively work towards communicating to my partner that this is something I struggle with and continue to work through. I suggest that my concerns with abandonment have primarily stemmed from my father, and his inconsistent presence throughout my childhood.

I actually recommend you go back and read my previous post first, before you read this post, as it provides greater insight and context into this situation.

Today’s post is an extension of the previous one – how despite clear abandonment issues, I struggle to accept and to grant myself the peace of mind that what I experienced was a form of trauma. I also struggle with feelings of validity in several different areas of my life – I struggle to feel valid in the very fact that my dad was absent. I struggle to feel valid in using the term absent to describe my father. I struggle to feel valid with how his absence and it’s aftermath still affects me today as an adult. I especially struggle with feeling valid as to whether I have permission to refer to the aftermath I am experiencing as trauma.

One of the biggest inner challenges or turmoils I have struggled with and dealt with concerning this situation, is if my experience with this could be classified as trauma – and if it is considered trauma, is that trauma actually valid? Writing this post, my head is telling me my experience is not worth sharing because it is not trauma – but how can it not be when what occurred in my childhood is now manifesting itself in adulthood? When what took place when I was younger, is now having residual effects on my relationships, creating a lack in my ability to feel safe and secure when I am with someone I care about?

The struggles concerning my situation when I was younger, play out in a narrative that goes something like this: Sure, my dad was absent, but he was around, sporadically throughout my childhood, whereas some people’s parents are absent, period. There’s no floating in and out of their children’s lives as mine did – they’re just not there. My mind tells me I could have had it worse, that my experience is somehow less valid or not valid at all because at least he was involved in my life, in some way, shape, form or capacity.

So … that’s got to be better than the alternative which is not at all – right?

Re-reading those lines, and another more rational, more kind and gentle part of my mind appears and says no, honey – it’s not better. Looking back now, I feel certain it would have been better if he was either always there, or he was never there. I feel stuck in this weird limbo where at least I had him for parts of my life, but am I truly allowed to refer to him as an absent parent if he was around for some of it? This is what I grapple with, too – not only the validity of his absence, but the validity in referring to him as absent.

I made this analogy in my previous post as well, but I compare it in my mind to a fishing rod in the water with bait attached. The bait is my dad and I am the fish. It’s like when he was around it was exciting, it was amplifying a pretend normalcy despite the fact I had not seen him in months, despite the fact it was anything but normal. I know most people at this point would say what even is normal these days? but you get my point here. It was for me, a little fish, being lured by bait.

Which is why I wonder if my life would have been better off, had I never seen or experienced the bait to begin with?

All that being said, if we look at the facts and how life panned out, how could I not refer to my father as absent? I didn’t see him for the last 6 years of his life. Even before that, visits and phone calls from him were like a Russian Roulette style of parenting – maybe the gun won’t go off and i’ll get to see him, maybe the gun will go off and I won’t see him for another 4 months.

After he died (and even in the last few years leading up to his death), I think I carried a lot of guilt about not making an effort to see him. I had his phone number – why didn’t I call him? Why didn’t I set up a get-together? He only lived 45 minutes away. I was fortunate to have my brother with me on the day we found out he died because that same guilt came back and washed over me tenfold.

My mom was always supportive of my brother and I not having any reason to feel guilty of this exact thing and would repeatedly remind us of this. He was the parent, we were the children – if he wanted to see us, he should make the effort. I think that in and of itself was trauma too – knowing your parent lives so close, but them never making the effort to see you. You begin to question your worth, and what you could have done differently.

At the same time, I don’t think I would have wanted to see him or have gotten together with him. I am currently working on another post addressing his alcoholism (which brought with it even more trauma), but within the last 6 years of his life, his state/condition/however you want to refer to it, got really sick, to the point I ended up changing my phone number as a result of it. Bear with me on that post, it is coming. I know I mentioned it in my last post, My Mother: 10 Lessons at 60, but it’s a doozy, and I need to make sure I write it and capture it right, considering it involves both my mother and father’s side of the family.

Reflecting on the whole situation, I recognize that trauma is not one size fits all. Trauma looks different for everybody. Some will experience trauma to a greater, more severe degree, than others. In the same breath, just because my trauma may not be perceived as severe as others, who have endured much worse, that does not make my trauma any less valid.

I now recognize that in an attempt to take up less space with the trauma I experienced, I did not allow myself the space to heal, which probably would have made me a lot healthier and a lot happier. I said previously as well, it was not until I went to therapy that I made the connection that trouble within my romantic relationships may have occurred due to past abandonment concerns, and therefore the trauma experienced from that, is what has manifested itself in my relationships. Bottom line, I am working on granting myself permission to recognize my own trauma, by being more openly communicative with myself about my needs, as well as communicating to my future partner(s) about those needs, too.

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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Little Surprises

Yesterday I threw a little socially distanced 60th surprise party for my momma🥳

Mom watches my Insta Stories so I couldn’t share it with you. I know you can hide your Story from certain people but I was too paranoid she would somehow see so I didn’t share😂

With the help of my brother and my mum’s partner to coordinate keeping it a secret (and my brother helping me pick dessert flavors 😄), she got to celebrate with 3 of her best friends.🤫

I didn’t take any photos except for the food but it was all a hit!! A big thank you especially to @thegrazecompany for your amazing charcuterie box and @cakesnsweets_ for the delicious lemon and taro cupcakes, and earl grey macarons😍

The world is my oyster

A really simple Friday affirmation that’s been said to me before, which I needed to hear today.

I’m going to be transparent with you all – I got into the meditation teacher training program which I had applied for a few weeks back. Now I’m not so sure I’m ready to commit to it. Primarily because of choosing what dreams of mine to allocate my money to first. I have a dream to visit Africa when I turn 30, but I also have a dream to become a meditation teacher. Africa came before I dreamed of teaching meditation, so I should go with that right?

I’m at a crossroads. I should start saving for Africa pretty much now, if I intend to save up enough to feel comfortable going by 2022. But now is actually a really great time to learn to meditate while working from home. I don’t want to say it’s a hard decision because it’s really not – I’m making a decision about which dream I want to pursue more – which is hella amazing. Some people don’t even have that. Some people (as I am learning lately) don’t even have the privilege to consider travel or consider advancement or personal growth in the first place. So I acknowledge the privilege I hold, and I respect it. I am at an interesting point in my life – one where I am not tied down to any one location or job. I’m also not tied down by a boyfriend or husband and don’t have any kids. I can essentially do what I want and go where I want.

I think I’ve spent so long not acknowledging my dreams that now that I’m in this head-space where I know what my dreams are, and I’ve breathed life into them, I want to do everything now … and if I don’t then that dream will be forgotten about again.

But dreams take time, and that is also something which I am working to recognize. Perhaps pursuing the longer term dream will be bring me more satisfaction because I worked that much harder for it.

One Awkward Human – Site Sillies

In case you need a good “been there, done that before” relatable case of being an awkward human to know you are not alone, take comfort in my laughable blunders, which I chronicle in my One Awkward Human segment. These are daily mishaps, trials, and goober encounters I find myself in while being just a little bit awkward and a little bit human.

Considered naming my site

stickythoughts.com

Reconsidered after thinking people potentially type it in as

stinkythoughts.com

My Mother: 10 Lessons at 60

My Mother: 10 Lessons at 60

[TW: ED]

Reading Time: 10 Minutes

Today my mom turns 60. This past weekend, I asked her to reflect on life as she turns the big 6-0 – looking back on lessons learned, what she’d go back and tell her younger self if she could, and what she plans to do moving forward.

I’ve focused a lot of my energy recently on writing about my dad, about his absence and inconsistency throughout my childhood, and (in the works at the moment) his alcoholism. But throughout this writing, I’ve often thought “What about mom? Why focus so much energy on the invisible parent when the other was so present. She was the real hero of these stories”. She understands that my writing is a way to work through what I’ve lived through, but I thought it was about time that I focus on her – what a perfect week/day to do so.

In the past, she’d put her own needs aside to raise us offspring, while at the same time, putting up with an immense amount of bullshit from my dad. She’s pushed past the societal stigmas of raising 2 kids as a single parent and the criticism that’s been dished out to her that kids from broken homes end up troubled. My brother and I have not let this stigma define us, shape us, or take hold of us – speak to past teachers, speak to family friends, speak to our places of employment and you will find praise of 2 hardworking, caring individuals. That’s not meant to boost us up, in fact I take it very humbly. What i’m saying is we owe that praise to her.

She often makes enough food to feed a small army and at 60, still hasn’t figured out the correct quota of person to pasta ratio. She found love again at 52, after choosing to stay single for 15 years so she could raise us kids (meanwhile i’m over here lamenting about being single at 30). She has shared her appreciation for older music and movies with my brother and I (a la impromptu Milli Vanilli boogie sessions in the kitchen). She is strong, she is kind and not afraid to speak her opinion. She is helpful and she is loving – happy 60th birthday to my momma. Without further ado, here are 10 lessons at 60 from my mother and 2 lessons she hopes to adapt moving forward.

Accept your partner as they are

“If you find yourself in a relationship, especially when you are younger, accept your partner as they are – do not try to change them. If you find yourself trying and struggling to change aspects of your partner, it may be wise to take a step back, reconsider who you are with and whether that’s the person you’re meant to be with. Reflecting upon my first marriage before your dad, my ex and I grew apart in different ways. I was naggy and didn’t speak for long periods of time (when upset). Looking back now, I recognize he was perfectly fine the way he was – it’s crazy now that I reflect on it.”

I asked her what she thought she was trying to change in him, and she said “all those dumb guy things – the things young guys don’t think about, but you expect them to. Especially when you are younger you think they can read your mind, you don’t communicate. That’s another thing – you should never not speak – even if you fight and yell at each other, it’s better to do that then not talk. Eric (her current partner) says he has nothing to work with when I shut down.”

Your friends can be your family

“My friends are more like my family. I have friends that I connect with more than family members. Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you are automatically close with them. It also doesn’t mean you have to be friends with them. Some people have that (connection with their siblings), but just because you are related, it doesn’t mean you have to work at a relationship that is hard, or try to the point where it’s disturbing in your life – you can give up on it.”

Struggles are what make you stronger

“Every struggle led me to where I am now, which is a very positive place (I commented that it was probably the healthiest place she has ever been). Eric and I allow each other to just be ourselves. Every hurdle that you jump through and come out the other side, leads you to a better place.”

Wisdom with Money

“I would have been way wiser with money way earlier. But it was all about the party. You made the money and you spent the money, and you tried to save it but then took it out of places you shouldn’t have. I often think of Whistler Blackcombe, I could have bought a place for $8,000. Why were we so stupid with money? Why are you so smart?”

I proposed I thought it was because the economy was okay back then (in the 80’s), and the cost of living was cheaper, so there wasn’t as great of a need to save. As I pointed out to her now, I can’t afford to buy a house. “There were also jobs you could get without schooling, which may have also meant more disposable income when I was younger. I was also somewhat behind in money from raising your brother and you. So I would say just be wiser with money.”

Traveling lighter makes for a happier trip.

“Every trip I take I learn to take less with me because the less baggage you take with you, the happier your trip will be. Travel is so much easier with less and you usually don’t end up wearing half of what you take.”

Have Patience.

“Patience is something I have learned. Having patience has benefited me in that I don’t get agitated about little things. Patience also requires me to …”

Slow Down.

“If your pace is slower you have more patience. I’m in no hurry to get things done any longer. Sometimes things irritate me, but very little does anymore. I used to be the Queen of Rushing when I was younger, but I don’t rush anymore, I allow myself down time now. Some people might say it’s wrong, that you should live in the moment, but I don’t live in the moment. I know what I am eating a week and a half from now – that’s who I am. I have always had to be one date ahead, but that’s not something I think I have learned (a lesson from) – that’s something I see as a good thing for me, it’s what I do. It’s not something I would want to change ever.”

I asked her if she wished she lived more in the present over the years – “It was not a possibility as a single parent of 2 kids. But I look back to the summer holidays, that one summer we went to Drumheller – we put Sun In in our hair and you kids went back to school looking healthy and tanned. I look back at those times and I was present. I still knew what we were having for dinner and still knew what we were doing the next day, but I enjoyed it, I was with you kids. At home, when working full time and running from one activity to the next, I always had to be ahead of it. Now, I don’t have to do or be that way (both of us kids have flown the coop) but it’s an organizational thing for me, it’s part of who I am. I would rather be the way I am than at 4:00pm in the afternoon go “hmm what am I going to have for dinner?”. Speeding up to slow down, as I put it, and she agreed.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

“I have learned how to laugh at myself. If something is funny, and little things just happen, I don’t take it home with me. I don’t come home and say “oh my god, oh my god”. Instead of beating myself up about things, I can laugh at myself which is important. You don’t care as much about what people think as you get older.”

I told her I looked forward to growing older for that reason.

Eat Healthy, Everything in Moderation

“I think that a diet, like a really restrictive diet is not healthy – I think that the strive to be thin can be all-consuming. I did all kinds of stupid stuff. I took laxatives when I was in my 20’s, I made these muffins that were held together by bran and nothing else. I’ve always had a weight problem. I do love Weight Watchers, I don’t know if you can pump them up on your blog. My mother had me on this diet when I was 8 that was grapefruit, boiled eggs, and Swiss cheese and that’s all I ate for like a week. Those kinds of weird things – doing things to your body that are destructive. I just think healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle are the way to go, but also to live a little once in a while – have that doughnut if you want to, everything in moderation.”

As I pointed out to her, with that sort of diet when you are 8, you are reinforcing the belief that your body is not what it should be, you reinforce the idea of an “other”, like it should be something that it’s not. The second point is that creates such disordered eating when you start so young, in women especially, which is probably why she ended up making bran muffins with nothing to them.

“I would say enjoy life – if people relaxed a little bit more about diets, they would find their weight wouldn’t fluctuate so much and would probably be happier.”

Walk Away From DramaEspecially Workplace Drama

When talking about her previous workplace: “I was seen as not very social or friendly because I wanted to avoid the drama that filled my workplace. When I was younger I may have made more of an effort to be social but as I got older, and especially at the specific location of where I worked, my intent was to come to work, do my job and leave. Nobody there liked their job. They got stuck there because of the money, they were grumpy and hated what they were doing. They were trying to create something out of nothing and trying to make other people unhappy because they were not happy. It’s toxic – they were not happy in their own lives and there was so much talking about everyone else behind their backs. You don’t need it – stay away from it.”

2 Things To Work Towards

Become a Better Listener

“I would like to, in the future, between 60 and 70, to not, while someone is talking, have my brain going in a million different directions in how i’m going to respond to them. To stop my brain and actually listen to somebody. That’s one thing, it’s a big one. It’s always going – when you’re talking to me, I’m thinking of what i’m going to say or something else. And it’s not you, it’s just who I am and my brain has had to do that for years. That’s something I’m going to work on. It’s back to the point earlier about slowing down.”

Express Gratitude on a Daily Basis

“I would like to wake up every morning and think of something I’m grateful for, to take a page from your book. Because sometimes you forget, all the good you have and you need to remind yourself every day.”

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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June 9 Grounded Gratitude


The closer I get to July, the more excited I get about my road trip to Tofino for my friend’s wedding. I look forward to going a bit earlier, sightseeing, eating local food, driving through and exploring the forest, the trees, the beaches, the towns.


My shady plants (hostas and vinca vines) are loving the shady parts of my deck and seem to be flourishing. My pansies, begonias and lobellias are another story – they are kaputz! I think I was too late in providing them sun. Alas, this season is meant to be exploratory in my horticultural skills so I shan’t feel bad.

I should first off acknowledge that it is purely coincidence I have a darker background for today’s Grounded Gratitude, and I talk about following more black creators on Instagram. I did not intentionally choose to match these aspects up.

I have a lot to learn, I am sure I will misunderstand concepts and ideas and make mistakes – I apologize in advance, but these are exactly that – mistakes. They are not intentional. In an effort to be more conscious, more open and more informed about matters which I, because of my skin color, am not affected by, I have followed a number of accounts created and driven by people of color. I think it’s a good place to start so that I can learn in a quiet, observant manner.