This week’s choice – HAPPINESS!!!

I posted this a while ago and I often think about this post. I don’t actually remember what happened to put me in this mood. Maybe something bad happened and I was trying to boost myself, which I do a lot – it’s call the Fake It Til You Make It Pick Me Up Plan or maybe something good happened and I was manifesting the happiness. Whatever the case, here it is again.

Happiness is…..

Happiness is laughing until you feel a tear run down your face.

Happiness is forgetting and then remembering that your favourite show will be on soon.

Happiness is finding a dress in your favourite colour…on sale.

Happiness is catching a glimpse of your smile in the mirror.

Happiness is when your hair does what you want it to do.

Happiness is being told, “I love you.”

Happiness is the warmth of your bed under a comforter.

Happiness is friends who help themselves to the food in your fridge.

Happiness is watching movies in bed.

Happiness is flip flop tan lines from a day in the sun.

Happiness is cooking a meal for your family.

Happiness is a wet nose from a furry friend.

Happiness is a new pair of shoes.

Happiness is a cold drink on a hot day and a hot drink on a cold day.

Happiness is a small hand holding onto a big hand.

Happiness is finding someone who accepts you, flaws and all.

Happiness is the wind as it blows on the back of your neck.

Happiness is singing out loud in the car even if you’re not sure of the words.

Happiness is getting a phone call from someone far away.

Happiness is a first kiss.

Happiness is choosing to be happy every day, regardless of what life throws in your path. It is only when we choose to be happy, we will be happy.

Here’s to choosing to be happy this week!

V

What are we supposed to do now? Part 2

So on Monday I was talking about how dating has changed over the years and expectations of a date have moved far away from what has been traditionally expected.

This ‘new future’ worries me though. There was a time when you would advise your child to wait on someone special before committing, so at least that was in place to separate the wheat from the chaff, but now, with commitment being optional, now what do we use to gauge if someone is worth your time or not?

Very worrisome.

I have always been guided, selfishly, by what a person I let into my life can add to my life. I think I am a wonderful person to be in a relationship with and I have a lot to offer. I’m not going to discount that. Why would I let some random person into my life, enjoy all that I have and then be out? I wouldn’t let a stranger spend five minutes with my child alone because of trust, don’t I deserve the same courtesy? Too often, I think people put up with situations and people that they don’t deserve. You should ask yourself, “Is this person worth all that I’m giving right now?”

I know I’m being hard on poor unsuspecting suitors – maybe that’s why I never have a long line at my door – but I’m worth it. You’re worth it. You’re worth working for. You’re worth waiting for. You’re worth respecting. I think that’s what the traditional values meant. At first glance, it may have seemed like the woman had a lot to prove: “Can she cook? Is she physically attractive? Is she from a good family? Can she have children?” but on a deeper level, the men have to prove themselves too: “Can he provide for a family? Does he have a good job? Does he have a house? Can he take care of his family?”. There is a need for both sides to put their best feet forward and prove themselves. Sadly, we’ve kinda moved away from that.

I get it. It’s not necessary for a man to have a good job anymore because there are a lot of financially independent women out there and it’s not necessary for women to be able to have children because the need to ‘carry on the blood line’ is not a priority anymore. While all these questions don’t need a positive answer, I think the sentiment should still apply. I think we should be asking SOME qualifying questions. They may be along the lines of:

  • What are your goals? Do you want/have a career?
  • Are you financially stable?
  • Are you willing to be monogamous? Do you want to be with only me or are you still sowing oats?
  • Do you want children?
  • Do you want to get married?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

I mean, this list is, of course, not exhaustive, but these are the kinds of things one should be thinking about at the outset for a lasting relationship. It should be about complementary goals and ideologies, not just chemistry. It fosters respect and teamwork and focus and will ultimately lead to better compatibility and stronger relationships.

I think these days, we are not overly diligent about who we hitch our wagons to and it erodes the perception of love and wonderful romantic relationships and that makes me sad. Like the prevalence and availability of fast food makes us less willing to go out of our way for a nice meal, you know?

Anyway, I don’t have a solution, but I can only be diligent for myself and my body and my heart and mind. Here’s to hoping we find our way back to love and respect and honour and romance and dedication and partnership and all of that good stuff!

Keep love alive! <3

V

What are we supposed to do now? Part 1

Good morning!

I saw this picture on Facebook about dating back in the day versus dating in 2015. I intended to save it and include it in this post, but it slipped away from me. It did, however, inspire me to think about the dating life these days. I know my opinions won’t be popular or possibly even understood, but it’s just what I’ve observed in recent times.

It’s 2015. It’s a world where women don’t NEED men, they want men. It’s a world where women don’t need to get asked out, they do the asking. It’s a world where it’s acceptable for two people to have sex on a first date. It’s a world where there are open relationships and you can hire someone to cuddle you. It’s a world where traditional values are not strictly adhered to. There are no more guidelines, per se: the rules of courtship are much more individual. What’s acceptable is largely subjective. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.

I, myself, have always been guided by a more traditional set of courtship rules. I know I’m in my late 30’s and people have hundreds of ways to connect these days, but I just don’t think it’s acceptable to court me by text exclusively. I don’t expect flowers and candy, but I do expect a bit of deference when it comes to holding the door open or allowing me to order first if we have a meal of some kind together. Depending on the situation, I do not expect my date to pay for everything all the time, but I expect him to know that he should expect me to expect him to pay all the time. (Does that make sense?) What happened to gentility and respect and honour and chastity and self-worth and all of that stuff? Why has progression led to such a bastardization of our morals? These days, you don’t get asked to be a girlfriend or boyfriend, you are asked to accept a “Confirm if you’re in a relationship with” request on Facebook.

I actually still believe in romance. I actually still believe in talking on the phone for hours late at night (and it doesn’t include phone sex). I do believe in going through picture albums and sharing memories (not just adding the person to Facebook so they can look through your pictures WITHOUT context or emotion). I do believe in waiting for exclusivity to have sex (and not having a condom with you on a first date). I do believe in using the words ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ (and not label-less introductions). Having said all of this, I understand that we’re all doing the best we can and that most of these situations depend on the person involved, but I can’t help but wonder why we can’t dial it back – not all the way back, but to like the late 90’s or something.

Why can’t we really get to know each other? Why can’t we really connect with people? Why can’t we wait or slow down, for pete’s sake? I have a few theories:

  1. Since marriage is on the decline, people are not courting with a view to get married, but are ‘getting together’ in a much more casual way, so the need to know everything in order to determine long-term compatibility is fairly obsolete.
  2. With the perception of women changing from virginal and chaste, to a more multi-dimensional entity, it’s almost like the sentiment is “you can take it”. We are no longer the ‘fairer sex’, so there’s no need to tiptoe around us, is there?
  3. We live in a world where we can have it all, so the general feeling is that there is no need to compromise, so instead of accepting a partner as is – flaws and all – we are opting to take the good bits and throw back the rest. This leads to casual sex (if it’s good) without commitment or all these other ‘situationships’ that blossom out of thin air.
  4. What about self-worth and self-esteem being on the decline? Maybe with all the noise out there making people feel they’re not good enough, maybe people think they’re not worth waiting for?

I don’t know, this is what I came up with. Maybe it’s none of this, maybe it’s all of this. All I know is that I’d be hard-pressed to let some random person borrow my favourite shoes without asking 100 questions first, let alone said person having their way with my body. I mean, seriously? As I said, maybe I just don’t get it.

So what do we do now?

V

What are we supposed to do now – Part 2 to be published on Thursday April 9.

Through my own eyes

Good morning everyone!

Do you think when you look at yourself you see yourself through the eyes of someone else? When you make your decisions, do you subconsciously let others weigh in?

I’ve always said if it wasn’t for my mother being who she was, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. She was always in my corner boosting me up and letting me know that I could do anything. Sure, there were times when her advice was misguided because she feared for me and my well-being. Our opinions differed only because as a mother she wanted to protect me and I wanted to take risks. Now that I am a mother myself, I get that. She always let me know that I was smart, she let me know that I was beautiful and that I had many things to offer. She let me know that I was worth something and that I was a prize. Hearing that all through my life gave me confidence, it gave me strength, it made me stand up for myself and it also made others treat me the way she saw me.

You teach people how to treat you.

It’s only now, when she is no longer here, I see the fact that for a long time, I had been looking at myself through her eyes. My kindness and gentleness, my sense of fairness and generosity, my loyalty and honesty are all things that she wanted me to be, what she thought me to be and I manifested that and became all those things. Over the years, I had become that woman.

Interestingly enough, while I had a voice in my heart telling me how to be a good person, there were also other voices creeping in with disparaging words; words that told me that I am other things too. In the past, there was someone in my life through whose eyes I also saw myself and the Vikera I saw was not so good. The Vikera I saw was lazy, loud, aggressive, overly talkative, too smart, a mediocre mother, cheap, naive, a little bit stupid and overly ambitious. I saw myself through that person’s eyes for a long time and it took its toll on me.

Over time, I started to believe those things, in varying degrees. My mother had created such a strong foundation that this other stuff couldn’t possibly be true, but for pockets of time, I did question if I talked too much, I did think that I could be a better mother, I did wonder if I should dampen my rambunctious, vivacious personality. I realized that I started looking at myself through that person’s eyes.

Isn’t that strange?

Luckily for me, though, over time, I started looking at myself through my own eyes: a skill that took A LONG TIME to get a handle on. It took a long time to start looking at myself objectively and judging myself and my actions based on the person I wanted to be not who someone else thought I was.

I do not judge my actions based on what others think about me. I judge my actions based on what is right and fair to others.

This circles back to how strongly I feel about the media and body image and all of that stuff. This comes back to all these forces in our lives telling us things about ourselves that we may not necessarily buy into but before you know it, we start believing it and repeating it. We start looking at ourselves through others’ eyes – others who do not have our best interest at heart, others who don’t know who we are, others who try to hurt us, others who are not trying to build us up. We have to be vigilant, we have to be aware. We have to think if our opinions are actually our opinions or if we are voicing or thinking someone else’s.

I do like my rambunctious personality, I am hella smart, I am definitely loud and funny, I can be lazy. I am a wonderful mother. I hate doing dishes and laundry. I can do anything. I have thick thighs. I am a procrastinator. My wit is everything! I can be too generous sometimes. I am loyal. I love hard. I snore.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

All in all, I’m not perfect, but I’m fucking awesome and will only get better! <— That’s me looking at myself through my own eyes and I look goooooood!

Have a great day guys! <3

V

Plan B

Morning!

Kidlet and I went to the drugstore last week. When I pulled into the stall, I hadn’t seen the box nor did I see it when I came out of the car to go into the store. It was when I was walking back to it, I noticed the blue box on the ground.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without asking, please.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without asking, please.

For those who are not aware, Plan B is emergency contraception. Apparently if the condom broke or you have unprotected sex or you forgot to take the pill, you just pop this puppy and no diapers and university tuition for you!

I saw the box and it reeked of desperation and anxiety. I didn’t get close enough to see the actual teeth marks, but it looked like there might have been some on it. She probably swallowed it with no water either, with one foot on the ground and the other in the car then tossed out the evidence and, with shaky hands and a prayer, backed out of the parking spot and on with her life.

Plan B. Hmm…what a concept!

When you’re young, you think you will have full control over the life you want. Sure, some people at a very young age, decide what they want to be or where they want to live or who they want to share their lives with, and they bring that into fruition. It’s an amazing thing – to make your dreams materialize. For the rest of us, we have to carve out our lives day by day, not knowing what the hell is going to happen next. Our whole lives are a series of plans – in no particular alphabetic order. How many times do we think we know how something’s going to go or what’s going to happen only to be thrown completely off track? Some of us don’t get to take a magic pill to keep us on track!

If only all your bad decisions and things you regret can be washed away by a pill bought over the counter mere hours after your poor choices. Wouldn’t that be lovely? It just does not work that way. All your choices are a sum total of who you are a person and they all direct your destiny. Even if this woman was able to avoid pregnancy, her life will be changed by the “close call” at the very least. Almost getting pregnant if you don’t want to be is sobering, especially if it’s by Random Guy. Perhaps that experience, once reflected on, will lead to self- discovery…or not.

I don’t know, but sometimes the more I think I can control my life, the less I see I have actual control. Everything that happens to me these days I take in stride. I try not to get carried away and freak out because in the end, not every situation has a Plan B box that I can just rip open and swallow and get on with my life, not even bothering to dispose of the wrapping. Sometimes I get a second chance. Sometimes I don’t. That’s just the way it goes…

I’ve just embarked on a new journey fraught with uncertainty and excitement. My heart and mind tell me to have a Plan B tucked away just in case, but the reality is that now that I’ve embraced the fact that life will do its own thing and we don’t get our script until it’s too late to change it, I’m much more relaxed about stepping forward. Sure, things could happen that I probably won’t like or enjoy, but it’s all part of living.

So I go forward, with an open heart and mind, a smile on my face and only Plan A in my back pocket!

V

Yeah, it’s not flat…and?

Monday? Again? Seriously? Well, if we must, we must.

I haven’t posted about body image in a while. I guess it’s been winter and every body has been under 14 layers of clothes. Okay, so despite not trying (and much to my friend’s annoyance), I have trimmed down a bit. Not sure how it happened or when, but it did. I notice it in the way my clothes fit. I notice it in the smaller clothes I buy these days.

As I’ve said before, I don’t exercise. I am not interested in going to the gym or any of that stuff. I did give it a go though. Last summer, I was a bit more active: getting out on my bike and generally being busy. Now, I drive to work, so there’s minimal walking and it’s been cold, so I’ve been indoors way more, yet, I’ve trimmed down. I’m not going to lie, I do feel healthier and less jiggly.

We were invited to a house party for New Year’s at a friend’s house and on a whim, I bought a dress to wear. It wasn’t something I would EVER wear, let’s say, two years ago. I would never expose my stomach because it wasn’t flat and toned and with nary an ab in sight. These days though, I’ve really gotten used to my new old body. In the end, I never did wear the dress. I thought it might have been too fancy to wear to a house party and opted for something a bit more casual. Flashforward three months and I had to attend a dance festival social and I thought, “Hell yeah!”

One night last week, one of my besties came over and I tried on the dress and she gave her stamp of approval. My stomach still wasn’t flat and it was still going to be exposed, but I was stoked. I asked Kidlet, “This looks great, right?” Here he comes with, “Yes, but your belly is a little big-ish!” What came next was the gasp heard around the world! My wee kidlet had an opinion on my body? What? Um…

Right there and then, I thought, this world is F**KED UP. At first, I thought, “Wow, prior to that comment, I felt good about myself and my non-flat stomach and now there’s this cold bucket of water poured unceremoniously over my self-confidence.” The second thought was “What does this boy know about flat stomachs?” Though not actually flat, this is the flattest my stomach has ever been, so what’s he comparing my body to? The third thought was, “Thank goodness I don’t have a girl because right about now, I’d be even more PISSED!”

I’ve discussed this before. If your wee kidlet has an opinion of your body, and a negative one at that, what the heck is wrong with the world? What about unconditional love? What about loving yourself? Then the panic set in…does HE have things about himself that he wishes was different? EEEEEEK!

Okay, I may be overreacting here, but still. See? This is why I am a believer in positive body image! This is why I’m always trying to see the beauty in people. This is why I’m always trying to lift people up. This is why I always compliment people, not just women, but people in general. There are all these latent opinions and judgements lurking out there that HAVE to be counterbalanced. Grrrrrr….I know people who don’t like their ankles or their necks or their ears or their knees or whatever! Sigh. I try to tell them it’s okay, it’s good, but I’m only one person. Double sigh.

Inadvertently, though, by even buying that dress, it was to counterbalance the perception that only rock hard abs can be put on display. I wasn’t making a statement when I bought it, but I sure am making one now! By wearing the dress, I’ve said, “Yeah, it’s not flat. And?”

IMG_2716 cropped

We have to make up our minds not to give in to what ‘they’ want us to think about ourselves. We have to push through and accept our bodies as is! It’s the only one we have and if it’s a healthy body, ROCK ON!

Inside a human’s heart

Hello friends and followers and new visitors! Today’s post is a little longer than usual, but it’s a good one, I promise you.

So yesterday, I had a real life “Humans of New York” moment at the park yesterday.

Me and my stuff had taken over a park bench and an old man, came over and apologized to me because “my hip won’t let me take another step” and asked if he could sit down. Of course, I made room for him and, you know me, I almost immediately started chatting. As we sat there, with the sun bouncing off his aviator glasses, I realized that this man was old but not cold. He wore jeans, which surprised me, a very stylish combination of a sweater, collared shirt and t-shirt and, another surprise, canvas shoes. He had a British accent, which I liked.

We talked about the weather at first, remarking at how warm it was and how lucky we are to live in Vancouver. He said he had lived in Montreal for years and does not miss the snow. Many families made up of various components passed by as we sat there – dads, moms, children, dogs, scooters, bikes, skateboards – all out, making the most of the weather. I said, “Well, it’s a nice day to come to the park, anyway.” Then he started his confession:

“I lost my wife about a year ago and we would come here all the time. When I come here now, I come to think about her. We started courting when I was 17 years old and I’ll be 85 this year. It’s been hard without her.”

As I sat there listening to this stranger’s story, my heart squeezed a little bit. I know the sound of grief when I hear it. I know what it feels to reach a point where you are forced to contemplate a life you’re not ready for but got started anyway. Like a new diet, you continue to put it off, but you it’s something you’ll eventually have to do.

He went on to tell me about how good of a dancer she was and that everyone loved to watch them dance at the jazz club. “We never even had to talk about it. She was such a good dancer, we didn’t have to even discuss what we were going to do. It came so naturally to us.” To that I mumbled thoughtfully, “It’s because you were the same person.”

Anyone who has ever grieved deeply comes to a point where they just need to talk about the person. They need to keep the loss at bay. There is a need to bring the memory back and talk casually as if the person was at home or just stepped out for a minute. For as long as they are talked about, they are still real. I got it. I understood and it’s painful and it’s devastating, but that’s how the memories never fade. Because, I knew that, I let him talk. I let him tell me about how hard it is for him now, I let him tell me about how lovely she was. I let him confess to me that he wakes up from a nap in his chair and still expects her to be across the room on the sofa. I offered him a banana to which he declined because it doesn’t agree with him and he forgets which pills to take to help him digest “what’s the name of that thing bananas are full of again?” I replied, “Potassium.” I let him tell me that he forgets what he goes to the grocery store for and that the sweater he’s wearing is one that his wife bought him. I let him unload to me. I interspersed his story with snippets from my own story.

I told him about how years after my Mum had died, I called her cell phone, hoping against hope that she might actually answer and that she really wasn’t gone. I told him that when I got divorced, I didn’t know how to be or what to do or who I was and that I had just been recovering from that when I had to redefine myself again as a motherless child. I told him that grief is not something to “get over” despite what everybody says. It’s a condition that you learn to live with and don’t make anyone make you feel like you should be cured.

So here we were, two strangers on a park bench. Everybody around us was laughing, enjoying the unexpected warm February sunshine with their loved ones and here we were visiting our lost loved ones through stories and sharing. I wanted to hug him and tell him it gets better, but I couldn’t because it doesn’t. We connected in a wordless way, despite the many words we had exchanged. Both our lives touched in those moments.

He eventually got up and said he wanted to continue his walk. I told him not to run. He laughed and said, “Those days are long gone. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.” As he walked off, I noticed that he was hunched over and he walked with a limp, looking like all those old men whose body had betrayed them in the sunset years of their lives.

I sat there for a while and let what had just happened to me sink in. Later on, he walked past and said to me, “Goodbye love. I’m on my way back.” I looked into his glasses, held his hand and said, “It was wonderful to have met you,” and he said it back to me and he slowly walked away.