Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bone Weary: Big Change and Big Courage

Beau and I are in the process of moving in together and I'm tired.

Really really tired. You know that feeling, when you're weary down to your bones and liable to burst into tears at any moment, when you get a full night's sleep and feel like you haven't slept at all. We've all been there. Moving sucks.

Dress: It's already packed so I don't know; Boots; Ecco; Levi's jacket: a gift from a friend 20 years ago; Shirt: Reitmans; Pendant, black and white ring, purse, and Larin brooch: vintage; Earrings: boutique; Diamond ring: Birk
These days, I don't feel beautiful. I haven't cut my hair in God knows how long. I'm irritable and weepy. And I just feel tired.

And scared.

You see, Beau is a single father of two boys, aged nine and twelve. I don't write about them much in this blog and I never post photos of them because we feel it's important for children to have internet privacy. But they are a big part of my life, and my moving in with Beau means I'm becoming a step-mother! That's why we've waited two years to live together. We wanted to give the kids and me the time to get to know each other.

Even once we'd decided to live together, even once the kids were whole heartedly on board with the idea, we wanted to make sure we found just the right place, with lots of room for everyone. We found a great place, and we're all really excited about it.


But I'm really tired and, yes, I'm really scared. I was feigning drama in this photo, but only barely.

There is some real drama. You can see the fatigue in my eyes, even as I'm trying to ham it up for the camera.

Don't get me wrong. I want to make this move. I like the kids and we get along really well. They think of me as family already and are eager for me to live with their father and them.

But I have lived alone, by choice, for twenty years!

I was born into a family of extreme cruelty, brutality, and unimaginable sexual abuse. Of course I have complex PTSD. Over the years, I've found many ways to cope with it, and one major way has been to let my natural introversion take over. Given my experience of family, the only way I've known how to feel safe has been to live alone. There have been times when I've spent 90% of my meager income just to have a door to shut between me and the world.

In the last two years, I've found that my introvert space has slowly expanded to include Beau. I do feel safe with him. I do want to live with him. But making this move, especially moving in with children, is forcing me to think about my own childhood, my own coping mechanisms, the negative associations I have with the word "family," and how I'm going to have to learn to make some changes in the ways I face the world.

So, yeah, I'm scared and I'm stressed, and I'm tired.

As always when my stress level increases, my pain level has increased too. Given that my disability was caused by child abuse, my pain becomes a kind of a trigger, reminding me of abuse, which causes more stress, which causes more pain. The cycle continues.

And, on a more practical note, have you ever tried moving when you're disabled? It's an exercise in frustration and, yes, stress. More stress.

So, on this day, I felt the need to dress tough. I even dug out the old Anubis earring I got in my early teens. Anubis was the Jackal headed Greek god who, among other things, weighed the hearts of the dead against an ostrich feather. If the heart was heavier than the feather, it was not pure, and would be eaten by Ammit. In other words, the impure of heart would not gain immortality.

For me, in my teens, badly abused, and having no recourse for justice or escape, Anubis made me feel that maybe, just maybe, there would be justice in the afterlife. Maybe those who hurt me would pay for their sins after all.

I don't wear my Anubis earring often anymore, but, when I do, it's because I'm really struggling to feel my own power.

Thus the "tough girl" outfit. Okay, as usual, I'm not very good at looking tough. I never have been.

But, to me, there was something tough about this outfit. An ancient, weather-beaten, jean jacket, a Brutalist brooch, the colours of urban decay... Tough, right?

Or, if not quite tough, then at least urban? Will you grant me that?

I felt my outfit had a certain grit and edge to it that I felt I needed to combat my own fear and fatigue. Am I the only one who dresses for courage? I doubt it.

And what says "tough" like a knuckle duster ring?

On a boomerang pattern, urban grey, table top. That boomerang pattern, a staple of the 1950s, made me think of our new kitchen, which we are decorating in total 1950s fashion. I really am excited about our new place, in between the fear and the exhaustion.


And besides, it's spring here! Really and truly spring. God how I love the west coast. 

Not only is it spring, but it wasn't even raining, and you know what that means, don't you? 

That means: Enjoy it, quick, before the rain comes back! So I wore a long skirt (that, for once, would not drag in the rain), and a little spring colour to go with the urban grit.

I didn't even wear tights or leggings. It was too warm for that.


So, yeah, I tried to have a little fun, but I can't say I was hugely successful.

Can I maintain some inner peace when I'm not living alone? Do I have what it takes to be a step-mom? Am I giving enough? Do I have that generosity of spirit?

Beau says I do. Beau says I already give more to his children than anyone would expect. 

Beau says that, far from making me an unkind person, my rough background has made me exceptionally compassionate towards the weak and marginalized, including children and animals. In the above photo, I'm talking to my cat friend, Houdini, asking him why he won't come down off his porch to say hello.

Beau makes a little joke about me and cats, and I smile. He's able to make me laugh even in all this stress.

Beau has faith in me. He has faith that everything will work out well for the four of us. I'm doing my best to share that faith. Sometimes a great move forward takes great courage. 

I'm doing my best.

(I'm linking this up with Visible Mondays on Not Dead Yet, and Seeker's Tres Chic Bits at Searching the Inner Me.)


  1. Moving's rough. Remembering to eat and sleep (as well as snuggle cats and Beau) will help; forgetting the dull stuff when you're moving compounds everything else. Loving the Anubis earrings! Your best is pretty awesome!

  2. You have all the reasons to feel scared, stressed, and tired. Habits and routines are something we tend to protect and not let go easily. You're being such a brave woman!!!!! I'm sure all will be for the best, because still I can see a smile. And your accessories are lovely. All the best dear, this also shall pass.
    Thank you so much for linking with Très Chic Style Bits

  3. Pretty dress. Good look with your big move! Being a step mom can be a tough job, for sure.

  4. It sounds like your feelings fit perfectly with what's happening to/for/around you. I am sending you the calmest, happiest thoughts as you begin this new chapter. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday!

  5. I'm sorry I'm so late getting around to tell you how pretty you look in spite of being stressed and freaked and exhausted. You do look happy under all the other stuff, though ... it shines through. I hope by this time, you're settling in together, all of you, and are having a lovely,warm-fuzzy and familial spring!
    I'd rather cut my head off with a teaspoon than move again! And you are wearing jewelry while you do it.

    1. You're sweet. We're all still working on settling in but it's definitely better than it was. Yesterday, I got my first hummingbird to my feeder at my new place. For me, that's a good step. The cats are getting along really well too. Also, I can almost find all my clothes and jewelry now.

  6. We are lucky indeed if we find a man who can handle the dark places we've been and still give us sunshine when we hurt or memories from our past like to come and camp out on the living room floor. My finance is my sunshine and he makes me laugh so hard I cry and snort. Which is embarrassing...and only makes him laugh...which only makes me laugh harder. He has no idea the gift that laughter is or that the fact he has faith in me- thinks of me, cares for me is a world changer. For all the bad and all the dark I am blessed to have even just this one person. I am glad you have someone who can give you laughter and joy despite the pain. Very, very glad.