Thursday, May 28, 2009


Had you known me in University, when I was actively pursuing a Theatre Degree, you would know that I was on a quest for perfection. I was determined to leave this planet after giving my best. Personal perfection, intellectual perfection, creative perfection, carnal perfection, and worldly perfection drove me. Even when I succeeded and was commended by external stimuli/people/teachers/lovers/friends/family, I never permitted myself to listen to that praise. I never wanted to stay there. I moved forward as quickly and swiftly as I could, never stopping long enough to take in what good I had created. This same quest in High School pushed me. I was, insanely, on this same quest in my first, and only, year at Senior School in England.. .I was 11 going on 12. There was no sign of this quest leaving me when I joined the Fire Dept., when we moved to the countryside...I was in my 30's. Or had my babies. Or got married. Or continued taking classes. Or worked my 20's. I worked hard. I played hard. I thought hard. I rested hard. I ate hard. I dotted all my "i"s and crossed all my "t"s. Then filed them alphanumericalbetically. Then updated my file list. I have no trouble finding things. Perfect.

Having said all that, my desk has always been a mess. A disaster zone. Chaos. Still is. Um, not perfect.

My friend Drea says that I've "...been through fucking hell this past year..."

My Mum tells me that Jehovah has given me this illness because my shoulders are big enough to carry it.

My Father tells me he's worried sick about me. And nearly always interjects that it's Ontario that is making me sick, because this province is toxic. You can't live between Toronto ('Smogville'), Hamilton ('Steel Town') and Sudbury ('the land of Nickels') and not have the air and water affect you. The natural resources are sick. Ergo, I'm sick.

My Husband tells me that I need to make the necessary adjustments to relearn to live my life.

My Immunologist tells me that I need to make the necessary adjustments to relearn to live my life.

Drea points out that I no longer have to work, live on 128 acres of land in the middle of nowhere, can take my kids swimming for free in the lake ANY time I want to (weather permitting, of course), that I have all day to myself, that I have a man that loves me, two gorgeous kids, family and friends that love me and whom I love, and don't have to answer to anyone. Aside from the whole illness thing, she quips, your life is perfect. Drea does intellectual stand-up comedy: Spoken Word. She's brilliant at it. I'm a fan. Perfect.

A different person would take the time that I now have, sit on their arse on the couch and watch tv all day, while nibbling every so often and going for a pee. I have a great deal of trouble doing this, depsite wanting to sometimes. That drive for perfection speaks to me really loud most of the time. "WASTING TIME!!!!!! DO SOMETHING!!!!!! USE YOUR TIME WISELY!!!!!!!!", etc. Some of you may be familiar with the "etc.s" too.

I'm not sure where this drive comes from.

What I do know is that sitting too long on one side of the fence isn't good for you. Nor is the polar opposite. Seems to me, that some sort of balance needs to be present.

You can't be this driven and healthy too. Ergo I'm not.

I'm not saying that the insanity that I've called my life for the best part of the past 20 years is responsible for reaping some serious physical and emotional side-effects. But it can't have helped.

My husband has said to me on more than one occaision, "Nothing is ever good enough for you. You're never happy." In various tones and circumstances. THIS is usually what our arguments are about. When we have them, which, thankfully, isn't very often, it usually boils down to that. Once every 2 or 3 years I am given a sobering dose of someone else's reality and told that nothing he ever does for me is good enough. Until this past year. He's easily said it to me 7 times. In one year! I can't be responsible for why he's driven to have a woman in his life that pushes these buttons for him but I can be responsible for not being that person, because it's not healthy or balanced or ok. And, I can be responsible for not pushing myself to the brink of death 'proving' myself to the world. Quite frankly, it's not that interesting. Nor am I. Who cares if I prove anything? No-one but me. Perhaps if I give myself permission to relax and appreciate things as they are, I can enjoy the fruits of my labour when I take on projects or challenges...instead of rushing and pushing through them so they are over and I move onto the next thing. OR WORSE, I throw myself so hard at something, that I burn out and never finish it. How many unfinished projects or 'things' do we human beings have?? Don't get me started on the guilt associated with not finishing

What has happened is, despite my new limitations, that I have continued to try and push forward, in the same way that's always worked for me before. Really hard. And am no longer reaching my destinations...not even close. Ergo, there is a sense of failure.

This sense of failure is all too familiar to me. It's not just reared its head in the past year or so. Systemic Mastocytosis and a life threatening latex allergy haven't created this. I can't remember a day as a child, or teen, or young adult or adult that I didn't feel like a total failure. While every one was sharing accolades with me, praising and enjoying my work, stories, food, hospitality, singing, teaching, listening, sharing, theatre, children, marriage, fire department, yoga, running, fraternizing, whatever...I was sure it was never good enough, ok, or worthwhile. Or that I was. (The guilt over not receiving the love, praise and offerings of those people kind enough to share their time with me is another discussion altogether...) I never savoured a moment of perfection, in those moments being perfect as they were.

If I may be permitted to observe my own Self for a moment...this is pretty sad. Not to mention, unecessary.

It's even sadder that it's taken my world becoming infinately smaller, through illness, for my appreciation and love of my Self to begin growing. That might sound a bit new agey, but there isn't really another way to explain it.

Tonight, despite the downpour soaking my farm and my hair, I looked around me and was aware that my life is already perfect. I just haven't taken the time to "smell the roses" or Be right where I am, as I am. All this time I've spent searching, driving, proving, and trying to be happy, I just needed to BE happy. "Do or not do, there is no try."...says Yoda. It really IS as simple as a CHOICE. And I haven't always chosen this.

The need to rush to the next minute or moment or thing to do went "POOF!" and here I am, findng that time (an illusion) has slowed right down to a pace that feels good. Perfect. Why didn't I let this perception in, years ago? Hmmm, chances are good that I wouldn't have recognized it. How would I know NOT to speak unkindly to myself, if I had no idea that I was speaking unkindly to myself (and possibly others?) Thank God we have the ability to learn.

So that list of unrealistic expectations that I have of my Self needs to be rewritten or thrown out. Imperfect perfection is what I am, and that feels good. (Do I get to thank Adam and Eve here?)

If anaphylaxis, Systemic Mastocytosis and freaked out cells have brought me to this place, then I am grateful for it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. And, I wish I didn't react to the world we live in the way that I am BUT, I've arrived at "I'm alright" thanks.


Kevin said...

It’s amazing how much you have in common with other people, very nice post Gypsy. I’ve always strived to be the best at whatever I attempted whether it is work, family, marriage or just life. I really enjoy reading your thoughts, stories and day to day struggles.

Thanks for sharing, another great post by a great person.


Foxxy One said...

You are such a beautiful soul.

Gypsy Princessa said...

There's GOT to be a silver lining in all of this, somewhere...