Category Archives: Deep Thoughts…

The People’s Princess…

I wonder if other girls my age are feeling it this week…
The sadness.
The picked-the-scab-off of it all.

She was our Elvis, our Marilyn, our JFK.

Taken from us shockingly, without warning.

I was always fascinated by the Royal Family.
Just over a week before my mother died, I saw the Queen Mum. She was on her way to the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine and I was leaving the hospital, and walking towards the bus stop. I noticed that the road had been shut down, and walked up to one of the police officers at the curb and asked what was going on. He pointed and said “that”, just as the Royal motorcade drove up.
They came to a stop right in front of us, and the window was down, and there she was, the Queen Mum.

I curtsied, bowed, and saluted all at the same time like a spastic idiot.
She waved her tiny hand and grinned that famous grin, and the drove off.

Weeks later, I stayed up all night and watched the Royal Wedding.
It was 2 weeks and a day after losing my mother.
It was my escape from reality.  The magic of a fairy tale in the flesh. A “Happily ever after” come to life.
I clipped every newspaper article and photo from every paper and taped them to my wall.
(this was long before the internet)

I followed her life. The ups and downs. The happiness and the heartaches.  I related to her in an odd way. Like her, my “fairy tale” ended in disillusion and divorce. But she was moving on, and coming into her own. Doing so much good in the world, and looking like she was finally going to be happy.

Then, 20 years ago tonight, I was watching tv when the news broke that she had been in a car crash. Again, before the internet, the only information was via the news, and by now every station was now carrying the breaking news live.

Then they said it. “Princess Diana is dead”

I sat in the dark, reeling from those words. How? Why?

So cruel were the parallels to my own life.

She was 36. William and Harry were 15 and 12 respectively. The exact ages of my own mother and my brother and I when she passed.
I instantly ached for the young Princes knowing how their lives were now forever changed.

I watched the news coverage all night. While we were winding down on this side of the world, Britain was just awaking to the news. I remember not really knowing what to “do”, feeling so lost. Connected but alone.

I headed to the Princess of Wales theatre downtown and added flowers to the already growing tributes here in Toronto.

I spare I thought for her and the boys each year, but this year, 20yrs on, with the boys speaking out, (I was about the same age as they are now when I too started to deal with the effect my own loss had on me) and the numerous tributes and documentaries on tv, everything  feels raw again. Right under the surface.

RIP Princess… I hope that where ever you ended up you found a happily ever after…

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What is my Purpose? 

I was recently contemplating my purpose in life and feeling bad about essentially not really having one.

Then today I thought about all the doors I hold open, all the heavy bags, shopping carts, and strollers I help carry up and down stairs, and on and off streetcars.
All the coffees and sandwiches I buy for people on the street.
All the scarves and mittens and hats I chase after people with to return to their rightful owner.
All the directions I give, and questions I answer for random strangers.
All the babies I distract mid-meltdown so mommy (or daddy) can get through the checkout line …

And that’s when it dawned on me… Maybe my purpose in life isn’t one thing, or title, or grand gesture, but rather the multitude of tiny random acts of kindness and servitude I provide during daily travels.

We can’t all be Steve Jobs or Oprah.

Someone had to hold the door open for them 😉

DTOTD: Envy

I realized today that I’m not jealous, or rather envious I should say, of people’s “things”.

I see “The ladies who lunch” in their fancy duds, with their shopping bags from designer stores, and I merely shrug.
That’s not me. Never really has been.

I don’t even get the same tinge of green when I see posts of luxurious dinners from restaurant openings I’ve been excluded from. Meh. I couldn’t afford to eat there anyway, so it would be a fleeting moment at best.

But where I do feel a tug at my gut is seeing friends afforded the luxury of education and meaningful employment. That is what incites the green eyed monster from deep within.

The hot dog…

Every year around around this time I have what I call my “hot dog” moment.

Tonight was that night.

Let me give you the back story…

In 1989, about a week before my wedding, I was in Toronto for the weekend. (I was living up north at the time) It was the first week of December, and the city was in full holiday hustle and bustle swing.
Although I grew up in the city, I had been living away for about 4 yrs at that time, in a resort town, sheltered from the harsh realities life.

I was riding the subway when I noticed a man, obviously homeless and down on his luck, eating a hot dog. That in and of itself wasn’t odd, but rather the way he was eating it. Quickly, and protectively, while his eyes darted suspiciously at the people around him, fearing they might reach over and grab it from him at any moment.
I felt like the walls were closing in on me, and I burst into tears. My fiance looked at me like I was out of my mind, and chalked it up to pre-wedding stress. But he was wrong.

I’ve always been a pretty empathetic person, but in this instance I really felt his hunger, and his fear, and his urgency.
And it made me overwhelming sad.
24 yrs later, it still resonates in the pit of my stomach.

And now every year, especially around this time, there is a “hot dog” moment that overwhelms me.

The weird sense of relief I felt last year when the skinny, bearded homeless man with the sad eyes and sweet smile appeared at the bottom of the escalator at Yonge & Bloor when the weather got cold, and while saddened by his plight, I was so happy he was still alive that I smiled teary-eyed at him while stuffing $10 into his cup.

And then tonight when I became so distracted by the homeless man struggling to decide which treat he could afford to buy in the coffee shop at the end of the night.

Other down trodden folks had made their rounds earlier in the evening, asking the patrons for spare change, my friend and I making note of the fact that one was sporting a Canada Goose jacket and pretty decent boots.

But this old fella walked in and looked around for a place to sit. He was not in possession of a proper coat, but rather a few layers of sweaters and a light jacket. He had tattered shoes, and was wearing grocery bags over his socks to keep his feet dry. He had a shopping bag which likely carried all of his worldly possessions. After he picked a spot, and lay his bag down, and without bothering anyone along the way, he quietly made his way up to the counter, and asked for a piece of the gingerbread cake. I quietly made my way up beside him and asked if he would like a sandwich. He graciously accepted my offer and chose one. I brought it to the barista and paid for it, and then called over to the man that his sandwich was paid for and waiting for him. The barista seemed annoyed with me for doing that, but I didn’t care.

Perhaps it was because he didn’t ask that I felt compelled to reach out.
Perhaps it was because I wanted to make sure that he had something more substantial to eat than sugar before facing the cold night ahead.
Perhaps it was because I have been but a week or so away from being completely broke and potentially homeless myself.

And just like all the other “hot dog” moments, the emotions bubbled up without warning. The burning sadness. The frustration. The want… the need to do more.

I am just one person, but at least once a month I try to feed someone. (I’d rather offer someone food than just give them spare change) I wish I could do more, but realistically, I am limited.

It’s so easy, in our busy lives, to just walk past, with blinders on, and go about our lives without a second thought to the plight of those lest fortunate than us. To look down upon or scoff at those looking for a handout. I’m guilty of it myself, though I always try to smile and make eye contact when tell them I’m sorry I can’t help them today.
But just imagine if everyone of us paid it forward, even just once a month, with a meal, or a coffee, or even a fresh pair of socks.

Imagine how humiliating it is to have to ask for help. I’m not talking the regulars that have the funny catch phrases, or their spot in front of a specific store. Keep your eye out for the quiet ones, they’re probably the most in need.

Please keep this in mind as you fill your shopping carts and trunks with groceries, and clothes, and electronics, and all of the other little extras this holiday season.
Put a couple of extra cans in the food bank bin.
Purge your closets and donate to your local clothing drive
Drop off some new socks, or hats, or gloves to a shelter or community clinic.
Find an Angel tree and fulfill a gift request for a needy child.
Keep an eye out for your elderly neighbours and offer your services to clear the snow, or take them grocery shopping.

Be creative. Be generous. Be an example to others.

Deep Thought of the Day:

Maybe it’s because I’m a fall baby, but I always think of September as my “new year”.

I start getting pumped up in August. I get motivated to get shit done, make changes, kick myself in the butt, reflect on the past year and look forward to the next one.

I always liked that “back to school” rush when I was a kid… new pens, new notebooks, new clothes. I guess I still prepare the same way around this time, only in this case it’s for another semester at the “school of life”

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I was brave…

I had one of those “ah-ha!” moments when I was walking home last night, the last leg of my journey on a blissful day of little moments that added up to great joy. I was thinking about the blog post I had just finished writing and trying to think back to where this deep seated guilt over my relationship with my brother came from… then I remembered.
The letter.

Continue reading I was brave…

“Don’t make someone a priority in your life, when you’re only an option in theirs…”

This is to be my lesson/mantra this year I guess. At least I’m going to try to reconcile with it as it seems to be a recurring theme in my life.

I’ve tried to reach out, to be social, to forge friendships. It just doesn’t work past a certain age me thinks. I’m too trusting, some might say gullible. Everyone is busy with their own “stuff”, their existing people, etc…

I find myself putting others at the top of my mental priority list, then being disappointed when I am but a passing thought… if that.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a good friend and will continue to be if called upon. But I’m not a fucking doormat. And I know when I’ve been completely overlooked. And it hurts. Especially when I’ve made some extraordinary choices with their best interests in mind.

So, it’s back to solo Meesh. I’m not going to worry about the “yous” and the “thems” anymore. It’s wasted too much time and energy, which is rarely if ever reciprocated, leaving me feeling exposed and used. Not that I’m going I become a hermit by any means, I’m just going to make sure my choices are MY choices and lower the bar for my expectations of others. In fact, going forward I will “expect” nothing and hopefully be pleasantly surprised. Though I doubt it. Continue reading “Don’t make someone a priority in your life, when you’re only an option in theirs…”