Never apologize for being a powerful fucking woman.

Excuse my language, please. I felt the need to include the ‘f-word’ in there as an accentuation of the statement.

There are a lot of people in this world that believe women should be subservient to the male gender. There are a lot of people in this world that believe women shouldn’t have opinions, shouldn’t speak up and shouldn’t stand up for themselves. There are a lot of people in this world believe women should be quiet, stay on the sidelines, never cause a fuss and always have a smile on their face.

DO NOT listen to those people.

Be strong. Be fierce. Be an ally for good. Be a powerful warrior for change. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel as though you’re less than everything you know you are and you know you’re capable of. Have opinions. Share your opinions. Don’t back down if someone mistreats you, stand up for yourself. Don’t take shit from anyone.

I think there’s a misconception in this world that women are too sensitive to be powerful. That we’re too compassionate to be strong. That we’re too giving and forgiving to stand up for ourselves. That’s simply not the truth. You can be kind, caring, compassionate, sensitive, giving, fierce and strong. You can be a force for change and you can force change.

Don’t ever allow anyone to let you feel as though you’re anything less than Goliath on a good day. And, most importantly, don’t ever apologize for being a powerful fucking woman.

Grow through what you go through.

Growing up, there wasn’t a ton of money to go around my house. With a boatload of kids, living in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, my parents had every penny counted towards something two days prior to pay day arriving.

There were times when things got really bad. And yes, I know I am not the only one on earth who can say this. I was not alone in what I went through. And a lot of what I went through, kids are going through right now.

On more than one occasion, my brother’s and I went out on our bikes after dark to collect bottles from around the neighbourhood so that my mom could return them to the grocery store in hopes of getting $10 for gas money. That $10 would quite literally be the difference between my dad being able to drive to work and my dad hitchhiking to work. And since my parents always did everything within their power to make sure their children were looked after, as kids, we did everything in our power to make sure our parents were looked after.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my past. While I am a firm believer that our pasts don’t define us, I also believe that our past does teach us a lot if we’re willing to learn from it.

Me, I know A LOT about how to stretch a dollar. I’m exceptionally good with my money. And, though it does worry me at times (as I’m sure it does with everyone on earth unless you’re Bill Gates), I recognize that my upbringing taught me a lot about how to stay calm in times of financial struggle or monetary crisis.

Everyone on this earth has been through something difficult in their life. EVERYONE. What I’ve noticed though is some people seem doomed to make the same mistakes over and over. They’re not willing to learn from what they’ve been through.

I think that one of the best things you can do for your development and growth as a human is to learn from the circumstances that have made you. Grow through what you go through; learn from what you’ve been through. If you truly want to better yourself, to let your past make you better and your present make you stronger, then learn your lessons. Take the shittiest things that have ever happened to you and ask yourself how you can make sure that never happens again. Remember the hard times and ask yourself what you learned from them. I guarantee you, even if it’s not top of mind, you learned something from these times.

If you’ve been through hard times, if you’re going through hard times, ask yourself what you can take from the difficult and the struggle. Ask yourself how it’s going to make you better. Grow through what you go through. It sounds cliche but you’re braver than you think, stronger than you know and smarter than you believe.

Things I want out of life:

  1. To be happy.

That’s it, that’s all. Wherever that is, whatever that looks like, I want to be happy. I feel like I will have lead a successful, fulfilling life if I can look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I am truly happy.

Happiness is something that all too many people chase in the wrong places. It seems to be elusive, but I know it’s out there. My only hope is that I don’t chase it in the wrong direction. I’m not getting any younger, I don’t want to take any more wrong turns. I just want to be happy.

Here’s to progress, and to being open to the possibilities the world possesses and to hoping that some of them will come my direction.

‘Whatever makes you happy, my love.’

They’re simple words, so genuine and heartfelt. Spoken with truth to them they have the power to make you feel as though you’re the only person in the world who matters. Or, perhaps even, the only person in the world at all.

A few weeks back, I made a post titled Tips for coping with anxiety from a Psychiatrist.

One of the tips mentioned in that post, reads as follows:

Think of a memory, one happy memory, and keep that memory at the top of your mind, always. When you think of happy memories, it produces serotonin in your body that can help boost your mood. If you keep one happy memory at top of mind, always, you can use that memory when you’re feeling triggered. Forcing that happy memory on your brain when you’re feeling anxious/stressed can help trick your brain. It’s not going to take away the things in your life causing you stress, but it will help you cope with the stress better.

Because I have been implementing this step into my daily routine, and because my world needs a little more happiness in it each and every day, especially in the past week, I am making the effort to write down my happy memories that I choose to remember in times of stress. Here goes…

Knight likes to buy lottery tickets. I’m not sure if he did prior to meeting me, but, one of the things we talked about on our first date was what each of us would do with the winnings if we ever one the lottery. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s always purchased lottery tickets.

Whenever he goes to the store, he purchases two lottery tickets. One for him and one for me. He turns to me, smiles and tells me to pick wisely.

“What if I chose both?” I ask, specifically trying to be a pain in his ass.

“Then take both,” he laughs. He’s not kidding when he tells me to take both. I know that if I did, he’d let me keep them both.

I’ll give him a ticket back, naturally. I mean… I’m not totally selfish. (I am. But I can be fair, too) And then I continue the discussion explaining to him that if I win, I’m keeping all of the money to myself.

“Whatever makes you happy, my love.” There it is. There’s those words. Genuine. Heartfelt. Thoughtful. Truthful.

“You’re also aware that, if you win, you’re required to share half of your money with me, right?” Chuckling again, he says “I’d expect nothing less”.

It’s the small things, they means so much to me. The fact that when he speaks these words, I know he’s being truthful. The fact that I know he’d never ask a dime of me, if I ever did win the lottery with a ticket he purchased for me. The fact that I’m absolutely certain that if he did win the lottery, he’d want to split it me.

People talk a lot about hypothetical scenarios, and honestly, he and I do a lot as well. I think that our hypotheticals mean more to me though, because there is a layer of truth to them that I don’t get from anyone else I’ve ever known.

I’m not wealthy. I haven’t won… yet. But there’s always a chance. I guess that’s why he purchases them. While I know I like to joke, the truth is, I’d likely give him all of the money if I won on a ticket that he purchased for me.

Thinking back on these moments, it brings great happiness to my mind. It’s my trick to forcing serotonin in my brain when I need it most. It’s my light on the dark days and a means to make me smile, no matter what.

Life after cancer.

Tonight, I am once again reminded why my mother has the biggest heart of anyone that I know.

Tomorrow is her (fingers crossed) last chemotherapy treatment. She’s been talking about it for weeks. And, though it’s been a pretty freaking miserable process for her the past few months, we were very lucky that her cancer was caught early, and that (fingers crossed) she’ll go into complete remission and we’ll never have to deal with cancer again.

Anyways, I digress.

After spending a few hours at Starbucks tonight, with a friend of mine, I returned home to find that my mother had gone to bed even earlier than usual. An hour earlier than normal. When I asked my dad if she was alright (being worried that she’d gone to bed so early) he said that she was tired from all of the baking she’d done.

What?

Oh yeah. My mom, with the help of my dad, baked lemon pie tarts for the staff of the cancer clinic. She plans to give them to all of the staff tomorrow when she goes in for her last treatment.

Atop the container filled with lemon tarts, she’d taped a note. The envelope says ‘Thank You’. Me, being the nosey daughter that I am, had to open it to read the note.

Here’s how it reads.

Thank You.

Thank you to each and every one of you [she names the staff members, doctors and nurses who’ve helped her the past few months] for helping me, for taking me on my worst day, at my lowest moment and making me feel better. Thank you for wiping away my tears, talking away my fears and for treating me as good, if not better, then you would treat your own family members.

It’s because of the incredible kindness of each of you hat I am here, that I have the opportunity for full recovery, that I get to be one of the lucky ones.

Thank you. It’s because of you that I’ve got a second chance. You’ve given me my life back, and I can’t stop thinking about all of the Christmas and Birthday celebrations that I’ll get to be a part of with my children and grandchildren now, thanks to you. Every moment, every celebration, it will matter that much more than it ever did before.

I am eternally grateful for all that you’ve done for me. And, I really hope that you take this a good way when I say that I hope I never have to visit here ever again.

Sincerely,

[Mom’s name]

I most definitely had an ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying’ moment when I read it. I resealed the envelope and taped it back to the container as to not let her know that anyone touched it.

Tomorrow is her final chemotherapy treatment (if all goes according to plan). I’m feeling grateful, and thankful that she now gets to start thinking about life after cancer. I know not everyone gets that lucky. And, from the note I read, it sounds like she’s already begun planning her life after cancer… which in itself makes me extremely happy.

Note to self:

If you’re feeling frightened about what comes, don’t be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness; don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes, because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again

Just keep going.