Monday, December 23, 2013

Comfortable in Our Own....Shoes

The last few weeks have been filled with all things shoes and feet. Not sure why – maybe my feet are telling me something.

“I have come to an age where I am comfortable in my!” My friend proclaimed. We were walking down the street and a woman 3-inch heels teetered by.

She further exclaimed “Get it? Instead of saying ‘I’m comfortable in my own skin,’ for me it’s ‘I’m comfortable in my own shoes!’”

Although I did agree with her, I thought of how I often longingly gaze at all the pretty too-high-for-me shoes in the stores and magazines and wish I could wear them. Yet I know deep down I have likely missed the boat for uber-fancy shoes: I have no practice wearing them (‘better late than never’ shoe-fashionistas everywhere would say), and my body/back/legs wouldn’t be able to handle anything other than what I typically wear now.

We were wearing our trusty, comfortable, flat, loafer-like shoes. Trendy yet still ‘in style,’ our shoes are best for us and our lifestyle; we are always on the go. We don’t need 3-inch heels to trip us up or slow us down. And yes, I know there are women who can go for miles all day in their heels, and I’m not saying those who do are less busy, but those angle-twisting ‘ways’ are not for us, not anymore. We used to wear those, back in the day, we reminisced, but we’re happier with who we are and what we wear, now.

But I still secretly long for those days.

But these days, I don’t have time to be worrying about my heel catching in a crack in the pavement. I’m busy! I have stuff to do! Being comfortable, safe and secure without risk of tripping and falling (mind you, I can do that even without heels) is what’s important to me. Sure I love little kitten heels, glamorous uber-expensive high heels, and I long for the days when I could get away with wearing cheap barely-there flats, like I did in my teens. But time and necessity has changed my needs and priorities.

All this shoe-enlightenment came on the heels (yes, pun) of my months-long struggle with a sore foot and quest for finding better shoes. On a Friday I was told by a doctor it was likely plantar fasciitis, and on the following Saturday, I tripped and fell, twisting both ankles and spraining the same foot!

Great, just great. I REALLY don’t have time for all this, I moaned as I limped home. It was putting a cramp in my style, a limp in my step, and a pain in my butt (literally, as my limp was aggravating my sciatica).

In the end, I had to rest my sprained/plantar fasciitis-plagued foot for a few days, and after the black-and-blue bruising faded, I was somewhat good as new.

Good thing my shoe closet doesn’t consist of only heels.

Two weeks later the city was abuzz with overnight snow warnings. We ended up getting only two centimeters, but my tendency to trip and fall and seriously injure something, even without snow, had me pulling out my trusty hiking boots. My dad bought them for me for a group hiking expedition up when I was 14 years old. I know those mathematically keen will figure it out my age.

The boots have been everywhere – through the interior of BC, to Alberta, and to the many Gulf Islands. Oh, if these books could talk…

They’re comfortable, dry, sturdy, and dependable. I’ve never had a blister with them, I’ve never twisted an ankle with them, and I’ve never tripped and fallen with them.

And with my foot being ‘challenged,’ the boots worked out fine – no problem.

So to say I am comfortable in my own shoes – or boots, as it were – is an understatement. I truly am happy with me, who I am, and what I wear. I'm not out to impress, I'm out to have fun - and be comfortable!

Maybe all these shoe/feet issues/enlightenments/encounters mean something. Maybe I need to slow down and take better care of myself (yet again, another reminder). Without happy, healthy feet, there is so much I would miss, otherwise. I got stuff I gotta do – things to see, places to go!

And maybe I, too, have come to a point in my life where I am comfortable in my own shoes, or boots, and forget about the heels.

And keep going......

(My old trusty hiking books - approximately 28 years old)

Thanks for reading! Lisa

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hobbling Along with Perspective

It’s the Christmas season.

It’s not just a day – but a season.

And really, the generosity, good-will towards men, gratitude and counting of blessings should happen year round, but this is life. We get busy, we get caught up in other year-round activities, and we sometimes forget to remember – a lot of things.

As so often happens (sadly) at this time of year when everyone is in a rush, I witnessed exchange of heated words the other day between a young guy who apparently ‘stole’ a parking spot and a grandmother seated in her car, shaking her fist through her window.

“Come here and say it a little louder so my grandson can hear you!” she shouted at the young guy who apparently said something horrific I couldn’t quite hear. Her three-year-old-ish grandson would later follow her out of the car.

“Bring it on!” responded the young guy as he chuckled at her threats.

And it went on and on, back and forth.


All that over a parking spot.

I relayed this story to two cashiers in a store shortly after.

“Perspective, people, perspective!” They both chanted. We all got on such a rage about the whole thing, I was sure pitchforks and torches were about to be raised.

I would only later realize I need to apply those ‘perspective’ thoughts to myself.

Previously, I had been moaning about my lack of writing time and all the incidents and challenges that threatened my writing time over the last two past months. I moaned and groaned and slumped and whined. But determination stoked a major fire under my butt, and I have been writing like a madwoman ever since.

And then I tripped and fell, twisting both ankles and spraining my foot. The same foot that, only the day before the fall, I was told had plantar fasciitis – the cause of pain and limping that had been slowing me down for months and months.

Argh!! Why? It’s been a year of weird (relatively insignificant) health issues! If it’s not one thing, it’s another! Just when I got my writing on track!

Feeling a tad sorry for myself, I limped home from the hospital following my x-rays and carrying a note from the emergency room doctor excusing me from work. Yes, many would jump for joy at this notion, but not only was I worrying about what my place of employment might say, but I was feeling kind of defeated. This was just ‘one more thing.’ I have stuff I gotta do! It’s Christmas! I can’t laze around all day!

Mid-limp, however, I stopped. Wait a second. This isn’t so bad. This is ONLY temporary. This is NOT life-threatening. I am fortunate to HAVE a job. I am fortunate to HAVE a home to go to. I’ve been through worse before, I will get over this, too! This is NOT major. And all this time I have been moaning about the fact that I don’t have time to write – well, NOW IS THE TIME!

Bad: gimped foot.

Good: time to write.

Talk about silver lining.

Perspective, Lisa, perspective.

There are much greater things in this world to moan about – things bigger, greater and well beyond my busy/chaotic/stressful little world of cooking, cleaning, working, being a mother, and dealing with silly little gimped feet. I have it easy. I forgot to remember that I have the wherewithal to write – the freedom to write what I want – in the first place. Why let another little hiccup in things ‘trip me up,’ so to speak.

Things don’t always go as planned, but it’s about gaining perspective and an attitude change that gets us through the challenges that seem huge at the time. A ‘stolen’ parking spot, a gimped foot....these are little things. Bigger things would be not having a foot at all. Bigger things would not have a car to drive.

Bigger things would be.....would be too many awful things to mention.

When bemoaning terrible atrocities of the world, many folks say “at least we have our health.”

And it’s true.

I have my health - and I can write about it.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Swimming....

I had a plan. I had a goal.

But things just didn’t work out the way I had intended.

For those non-writers out there, November is NaNoWriMo, aka ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ Writers buckle down and commit to writing a 50,000 word (or more) novel from start to finish within the month. In the end they have the notoriety of saying they are a ‘NaNoWriMo’ winner, and have a completed novel in their hands. The NaNoWriMo’s website has sections where you sign-up and log-in your daily word counts, along with online forums offering support, and links to other writers in the area who have signed up for the infamous writing month. On November 1st at 12:00am it’s READY, SET, WRITE, and you don’t stop until November 30 at 11:59pm. Word counts are logged and ‘winners’ are proclaimed. Public accountability is a great motivator, never mind having your own conscience pushing you on.

Yes, a novel can be written any time of the year but committing that month, along with others, to getting something done that most people only dream of doing has worked for many. Just look at the acknowledgements section of many books; they started out as NaNoWriMo books.

I had heard about this before, and the concept of being able to commit to something I am passionate about, writing, for a whole month, without distraction, was a bit of a challenge for me. I’m a mom, a wife, a full-time employee outside the home…I’m a busy momma. I always had the dream of ‘one day’ I would do it.

I had decided this year I was gonna do it – come hell or high water. I could juggle kids (who ARE getting older), home life, work life, and everything else that could come my way. I had broken down how many words I would have to write each day – whether writing five or seven days a week – to reach my 50,000 word novel goal. I plotted, planned and organized. I planned to take a day or two off from work, just for me and my writing. And I knew I would have to let things slide. Sacrifice, having a no-pain-no-gain attitude, and staying focused were all going to have to come into play. Writing takes time, commitment, drive, dedication and sacrifice – and I love it.

But I decided to start early, and made my goal to have my book – a humorous women’s fiction - I started in October finished by November. It wouldn’t be a true NaNoWriMo ‘entry,’ but it gave me a goal – a deadline. I was going to have my own ‘NaNoWriMo,’ but it would be over two months, instead.
But it didn’t happen.

What did happen was ‘life.’ Life happened; reality struck. To say the timing wasn’t right in relation to the stage of my life I am at right now is not an excuse. It’s reality. It’s the way it is, and was.

Some days I could write, some days I couldn’t. Family, health and a whole whack of other things had put a wrench in my plans – my schedule – and I was miserable. Self-doubt crept in, and I beat myself up about it – big time. Some might say I CHOSE to let that happen – that I CHOSE to let external forces get in the way of my one month of writing. Say what you will, but it was my reality.

I have a writing buddy – a mentor, if you will. She was, and still is, encouraging and supportive. She knew about my great plan, and whole-heartedly encouraged me. And the fact that I had told someone meant I was further committed. I couldn’t let her, or me, down.

And when the middle of November came and went, and only a quarter of my book was done, I was miserable. I tried and tried, but the calendar was counting down the days faster than I could write. I wouldn’t meet my November 30th goal. I admitted defeat and confessed all in an email to my writing pal. Despite how hard I tried, my own NaNoWriMo wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t giving up, but my dream of having it done by the end of the month was disappearing faster than the days flying by.

But I hated admitting defeat. I hated writing that letter to my pal. I wasn’t done. I wasn’t going to let anything get the best of me. So what if a month had passed? Big deal. So what if I wouldn’t get my book written in that tight timeframe. Books get written all the time, YEAR ROUND. So what if things didn’t go my way, when and how I wanted?

But I was wasting time beating myself up over my failed attempt, and I was mad - mostly at myself.

And when I get mad, I get busy.

So I started writing – like REALLY writing.

I had set daily writing goals when I was planning my NaNoWriMo, but this time was different. I had a fire under me, and I was being more realistic. When I had previously planned my writing goals, I think – no, I know - I was a bit overly ambitious. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I hadn’t expected the life-challenges I would have during that time.

This time I had doable goals. I put my writing buddy, the calendar looming over me, and everything else out of my mind. I wrote and wrote. One day I met my goal, and then the next. And the next goal I surpassed. And the next. And the next. Some days my writing sucked, and other days it flowed. But I kept going.

Then, to take it further, I advertised my goals on Facebook. All is said was: ‘Today’s writing goal – 1,500 words’ - that’s it. I’m sure that non-writing folks were wondering ‘What the heck?’ I had to put it ‘out there’ to make me even more accountable for my plan. But the comments and ‘likes’ I soon received not only from my writing pal but from others – writers and non-writers – was much needed. I was doing this for me, but I had to save face by honestly fulfilling my goals.

After this post is done, I will continue with my days’ goal of 1,000 words. And if I don’t make that word count – that’s OKAY. I will keep going.

But I learned a lot from my own so-called NaNoWriMo. Firstly, not to be so hard on myself.

Sure I didn’t finish my book on time, but I don’t consider myself a failure or a ‘loser.’ I consider myself….human. ‘Life’ happens to us humans. We can’t control what happens. But what we can control is what we do after all that stuff called ‘life’ happens. Like Dory from the Pixar movie, ‘Finding Nemo,’ says: ’Just keep swimming…just keep swimming.’

Just keep writing…just keep writing.

Thanks for reading! Lisa