Gimme Some Love

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Love is in the air…and on the door!

It’s the season of love so we are gearing up for Valentine’s Day!

This idea has been floating around social media for a few weeks.  I’m not sure of the original source as so many people have shared it and reposted it.  My sincere thanks to whomever the brilliant, innovative person is who thought this up.

Here’s how it works. Starting February 1st, every night while they are sleeping, you tack a heart to your child’s bedroom door professing what you love about them.  Super simple to do and the impact is huge!  Here are some example of what I have written:

You are a really good friend.

You always look after everyone and make sure they’re okay.

We are so proud of you.  Proud of who you are.  Proud of what you do.

You are so artistic!  Your art is amazing!

You are beautiful, inside and out!

My children wake up so excited to see what has been added to their doors.  A little tidbit of love to start their day off on the right foot and fill them with all of my love.  The bonus is that it delays the sibling fighting for all of five minutes! Hahaha!  But seriously, it is a little thing that warms them and reminds them how much we love them.

You could do this for your significant other too!  You could tape hearts full of love on the bathroom mirror for them to read while getting ready in the morning or maybe sneak them into their bag/purse or tape them to the dashboard of their car. That would be such a nice surprise!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?  How do you show your love?

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

Spinning

To turn as squirrel in wheel

My mind is full of panic. Spinning on the wheel of chaos. The anxiety is suffocating, I can’t breathe. Triggered by the physical sensations occurring throughout my body. My stomach hurts. My thoughts are racing. My heart is beating hard and fast. I’m shaky. Wait, am I starting to sweat? Why is it so hot in here? There must be something very wrong for me to feel shaky, hot and sweaty. It couldn’t be that I just changed over the laundry and walked up a flight of stairs. No, there’s no room for logic here. Only irrational thoughts are allowed to take up residence in my mind. The stomach ache. Oh, it won’t go away. I hate IBS. I’m going to die in the washroom like Elvis Presley. Seriously. These are the thoughts I have. These are the completely irrational, illogical, false thoughts I have all the time. Health anxiety. You bitch. There is no escape. Sigh. Pull yourself together. It is just a stomach ache. Not a big deal. Sit down. Give it a minute. But I’m shaky. Yah, you haven’t eaten breakfast yet. It’s so bloody hot and I’m sweating.It is just from doing laundry and walking up the stairs. My heart. Oh my god, my heart is beating fast. Yes, you just walked up the stairs. You don’t exercise, you are out of shape. Anyone’s heart would beat a little faster walking up the stairs. It is normal. It happens to everyone.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4…Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Oh logic, how I have missed thee. Where the hell were you? Don’t ever leave me again! I’m calming down.  I’m not as hot. My heart is returning to its happy place. Writing it down helps.  It almost forces me to look at the logical side instead of just letting my mind spin on the wheel of chaotic thought! The spinning is hard to stop. How much time has passed? Maybe fifteen minutes, maybe longer. I’m not sure. I lost track of time. The minutes blurred together.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4…Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The spinning has stopped. Time to move on with my day. Try to forget this happened. Logic, you better stay strong, I have a lot to accomplish today.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

To the Victor Go the Spoils

Satran

Today I broke free from your clutches; from your relentless desire to consume my sanity.

I have been a prisoner in my home and in my mind for far too long.

Today I walked out the door,
and I did not look back.
I drove my car.
Fast.
Dangerously fast.
It was exhilarating.

The windows were down and the bass of the music was soothing to my soul.

I have taken back control.

Oh, you tried to trick me a few times, but I persevered.
There was nothing you could do to stop me today.

It is a sign that your strength is weakening.  Your grip is faltering, your power wavering. You won’t have a hold much longer.  I can feel the victory rushing through my veins.  A taste of the other side.  A taste of what is to come.

For I reign over my mind and body.  Not you, Anxiety.  You are not welcome to do as you wish, you are not welcome to force yourself upon me.  Your intimidation will not prevail. I refuse to give in to your mind games; to your feeble attempts to manipulate me.

Today, I overcame your power.

To the victor go the spoils.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

The Curtain

Red curtains and vintage wood floor

What is behind your curtain?

Let me tell you about mine.

Behind my curtain, I am a ball of anxiety.  A bundle of nerves.  A million electrical currents trying to find their way; searching for a way to become grounded.

Insecurities abound.  They are limitless.

Questions are insurmountable.
Questions pertaining to my sanity, my sense of self, my worldview.

What is to become of me?

The once strong, confident woman, who possesses a touch of arrogance and an uncanny, sarcastic sense of humour has changed.

I am not what I once was.  There is a new strain to my identity, one that is characterized by nervousness, anxiety and insecurity.  One that I am not familiar with and do not want to get to know.  I suppose however, that in order to defeat your enemy, you must get to know them.  Walk in their shoes and discover their plans in an effort to foil them.  Thus, I am forced to get to know this most suffocating strain of my identity; this nervousness, this anxiety, this insecurity.

Behind my curtain, I am struggling to maintain my power over anxiety.
I must make every effort to get up, go out; resist the urge to stay in bed, rolled up in that ball of nerves.
Behind my curtain is a woman who once soared.
Behind my curtain is a leader who has lost her footing but will not falter.
Behind my curtain is a woman who is scared but will always show you a smile of sincerity and give you a hand to hold.

Although my curtain is drawn, I am reminded of the person I was just a few short months ago.  My power and my tenacity are still within me, they have just been hushed by the overbearing sound of anxiety.

I must get louder.

Free my old self, rescue her from the depths of the darkness.

Cue the orchestra.

The curtain is about to open.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

Tootin’ My Own Horn

Fragment trumpet closeup

Toot toot!

I’m not one to usually toot my own horn, but I feel compelled to do so.

Not only did I drive my daughter to dance tonight, but I picked her up too!

Holy moly guacamole!

Now, for all of you who do not have an issue with anxiety and/or panic, you must be thinking that I have completely lost my mind and you may not understand why this is a big deal.  I get it.

But, to those of you who know anxiety, know panic, you will know this is a massive accomplishment!

Woo hoo!

I haven’t done that, by myself, in about two months.  Seriously.

I told you this was a BIG DEAL!!!

I’m not going to lie.  It was hard.  I was scanning, scanning, scanning my body for any signs of anxiety (which of course, we know can actually cause more anxiety! Go figure!). My heart was racing, my mind was looping around like a hamster wheel and I had Taylor Swift blaring!  Singing along whilst slightly hyperventilating!  It was uncomfortably liberating!

So that’s it.  My big accomplishment of the day.

Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Toot toot!

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

 

Crossroads

Sad wife after divorce holding a wedding ring

Listen.
To my voice.
To my pain.

Look me in the eye.
Glimpse upon my soul.
The struggle is irrefutable.

How can you dismiss it?

How can you blame me for the circumstances?

I don’t know how or why, but you do.
You said it; you put the blame on me without blinking an eye.
It was easy for you.  Too easy.

Perhaps it is your own insecurity bubbling to the surface or your inability to show compassion and loving kindness. Perhaps this scares you, because you do not know how to respond, how to show emotion, how to be supportive, how to be or feel anything.

When did you lose your feelings, the kismet, the love for me; for us?
When did your career become more important than family; marriage?

Why does everything have to be about you?
About your needs, your wants and your time?
What’s the plan, what’s the plan, you shout from the rooftops.

I am an inconvenience, a curveball that has been thrown into your rhythmic life.
Our marriage is an annoyance and frustration that no longer aligns with your interests. It cannot compete with your yearning for financial success and your drive to get to the top of the corporate ladder.

Competing interests, and I am losing; our marriage is losing.

We are standing at a crossroad, you and I.

It is time to make some decisions.  It is time to take responsibility.  It is time to admit our shortcomings, accept our roles in getting to this point and decide whether we are in this together.  We can be a united team or a defeated statistic.

Which path are you going to take?

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.

On Entitlement

School sign on blur traffic road background.

Ah, the kiss & ride.

Could there be a more stressful way to start your day than to participate in your local school’s kiss & ride?  I don’t think so.

It is hell.

All encompassing, rip your hair out, hell on wheels.

And sadly, it is reflective of our society as a whole.

Here’s why.

We are in the age of entitlement.  Unfortunately, it’s not just today’s children that feel they are entitled.  Their parents are proudly paving the path to entitlement.

Somewhere over the last decade, our society has changed.  There has been a dynamic shift in what is acceptable from a behavioural perspective.

Somewhere along the lines, common courtesy and good character have been thrown to the wayside and replaced with rage, annoyance, disrespect and entitlement.

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, entitlement is defined as,

the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something;

the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)

Which brings us back to the kiss & ride;  the proof in our day to day lives that our society has lost its bearings.

There are civil rules, hell, there are laws, in the kiss & ride.  For example,

Do not park in the fire route. Do not leave your car.

Do not leave your car running. Yield to pedestrians.

Use common sense (especially challenging for many people).

This does not happen.  Ever.  Instead, there are cars abandoned everywhere, blocking fire routes and blocking other cars.  Blocking the driveway.  Children don’t know where it is safe to cross so they can be seen dangerously running about traffic searching for their parents.  Crossing guards, bless their souls, are frantically trying to maintain order amidst chaos while being sworn at or ignored altogether.

The message being sent is loud and clear.

I am here for my child.  I do not care why you are here.  The only thing that matters is that I get my child.  I do not care if I have to run yours over to get to mine.  If I have to speed down the street to ensure I am there on time.  If I have to give you the finger, yell at you in the driveway or break the law.  I am entitled to get what I want, when I want it and I want to get my child right now. 

If everyone took a step back, demonstrated patience, showed respect for others, we would all be able to pick our children up from school in a safe and orderly fashion.

When did your sense of entitlement become more important than the safety of all other children?

Why does your rush to get somewhere threaten our entire neighbourhood’s safety?

There is a disturbing parallel.  This age of entitlement coincides with an increase in bullying and behavioural issues in schools.

According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,

1 in 3 adolescents reported being bullied recently.

47% of Canadian parents reported their child has been a victim of bullying.

40% of working Canadians reported being bullied on a weekly basis.

How can we put an end to bullying when adults continue to exhibit such bold disobedience of societal norms and expectations?

We, the adults, are responsible for guiding our children and teaching them that societal norms matter and that disobedience of societal norms and values will not be tolerated.  But this disobedience continues to be tolerated!

Why?

It circles back to this sense of entitlement.

Some 21st century parents have lost their good character, their respect for others, their rational thought.  There is an urgency driven by check lists and extra curriculars; by responsibilities and stress;  by family dynamics that appear to no longer foster respect, patience and tolerance.

These parents will do anything they can to check something off their list, to move onto the next task.  At any cost.  Even at the cost of your child’s safety. There just isn’t time, in their minds, to be cautious or slow;  there is too much to do.

Is that it?  Is it that this world we are living in is so demanding and moving at such a fast pace that there just isn’t time to think of others; to slow down, to show respect for humanity as a whole?  It is the me generation.  Me, me, me.

As a result, our children are growing up in an environment where they are taught to put their needs first and to do so at any cost.  We are creating a generation that will grow up to be dependent, selfish individuals.  No collective reasoning.  No actions to support the greater good (look at vaccinations, don’t get me started).  A worldview that no longer considers the world.  A very narrow view of self and their immediate surroundings.

We have to get off this road to entitlement.

It is critical that our children are taught the societal norms and values that ensure the day to day functioning of our world.

Who is going to do this?

It starts with you.

It starts at home.

It starts in the kiss & ride.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.