clarity

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The last post I wrote on here was called "foggy waters" and indeed things felt foggy then. Things feel clearer now. 

Crazy to think that last post was on November 18th. It feels like far longer ago than that! A month and a half only... those days in between feel hard-won.

Anyway, it felt like time for an update. 

A lot of the questions in that last post have been answered. Yes, we're breaking up. Yes, there is hope - but not about us getting back together. It's hope for the baby, for us as co-parents. For our family (extended) to crack apart and then mend in a new way. We're doing pretty good at that so far. We're gathering the stuff the baby will need, and we're communicating well. The support of my own parents and brother has been invaluable. Yes, I will thrive again.  I can feel the buds of that appearing. Yes, I will have my own place. (There is one in the works, I just haven't moved in yet.) 

A lot of the things I mentioned as helping me through the dark patches are still what gives me life. Friends, and their texts, and laughing with them - LIFE. Music, old from my past or new, introduced to me - MORE LIFE. Writing about it - in my journal, in drafts in my email for future posts. In texts to friends. Same: LIFE. These things remind me I am alive, I am bad-ass, I am getting through. I CAN get through. 

I picked a word for this year, and it is GROW. On Instagram I wrote: "What I'm interested in inviting into my life this year is... growth. Both that of my baby (in the next month and a half she or he is growing to full-term, being born and then there is all the growth after that), and of myself. I'm growing as a person too... becoming a mother. Living on my own for the first time since I was 18. (I had room-mates after my first apartment on my own, and then lived with my partner for five years.) Going through a separation is a painful process and the last three months of 2017 were about things breaking apart, and me feeling broken. I want to *heal*, to feel *joy*. I want to respect the process of course - not just pretend I'm not sad when I'm sad - but I want to welcome in the positive growth that is part of this process too."

Right now the growth feels hidden. Under snow, in the case of the garden and the woods. Under my own skin, in the case of the baby that I cannot yet see, but who is slowly getting bigger every day, getting ready to be born. (Holy shit!) And hidden beyond this moment, in the future, unknown, in the case of everything else - my new place, when it will be ready, how I'll move in, what I'll need, how the birth will go. 

But just because I can't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening. Secret small things are unfurling, are building off each other, are becoming real and new. GROWTH is surprising, GROWTH is ancient and yet brand new. Growth is happening. 



 

quiet morning #2

Yup, I let my cat sit on the table. 

There are worse things.

Why is the old, shitty grill pan on the table? Lord knows. I asked Adam. He wants to get rid of it. But likely it will sit on the table for ... a month? ... before we do anything with it. #life

The monthly exercise for April in the One Little Word course is to write "What does it mean to really [your word here]?" on Post-its and stick them up around your house, your car, your planner, wherever you're going to see them. 

And variations thereof: "What does it feel like to __________?" "What does it look like when I'm _________?" 

And I gotta say, it's neat. This one pictured above is on the window above the sink, a place where I am quite often, doing dishes. I like that it simply asks the question and lets my brain fill in the rest. I like that I can think about it while I do a mindless task and let my brain come up with little bits of ideas, that I then go write down. 

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The 100 Day Project starts tomorrow. I'm a little nervous but also excited. Will I stick with it? I keep wondering. Well, I mean, I don't know. I can't know. But I can give it a try. 

I'm doing 100 Colour Palettes. Here's what I've got so far. (It will give you an idea of the project.)

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I'm currently grooving to -- and loving -- this song and video:

I put it on and dance around my kitchen. Even though I don't wear a hijab, nor am I Muslim, I believe in the right to do so, to be so. And it's damn danceable. 

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It's April third and today I was out shovelling yet another 5 centimetres of snow that had formed in drifts across the driveway. It doesn't feel a whit like spring here at the moment. Snow is still a foot deep across the land, and the wind is cold and whips it all around in spirals and clouds. It's pretty, absolutely. Am I ready for it to be gone? 100 percent. I dream of baby daffodil nubs poking up out of the dirt. Of the warmth of the spring sun and the steady tap-tap-tap of melting snow and ice. 

Ahh well. It is what it is. 

Off to work with me. Happy Monday, friends.

In Transition

 The parsley went to seed this year.

The parsley went to seed this year.

So here we are, it's a week into the New Year. Goals and resolutions hit the road. Or, wait, what's that phrase? When the rubber hits the road? Yeah, something like that. Anyway, what I mean is, one week in to the new year is when I remember that you've got to take things one day at a time. Setting goals for the year is a good thing, but it's one day at a time that dreams come to pass. That the work gets done. 

 Me running the snowblower earlier today. The joy of flying snow!

Me running the snowblower earlier today. The joy of flying snow!

It was a funny week. Monday started off strong when I took part in a really fun voice workshop with a local singer and voice teacher, and then Tuesday I was back to work. The clients at Horizon weren't back yet, it was just staff in that day, so it was very quiet around the Centre. It was nice though, to have a chance to get my bearings back in the office, before adding in the hustle and bustle of clients to the building. 

Then Wednesday morning I woke up with a full-blown head cold. Low energy, congestion, the whole bit. So that day I stayed home from work, and slept and OK, yeah, watched Outlander. (I finished Season 2 - have you seen it?) Luckily for me, I had made a big pot of chicken soup the week before, when Adam was sick, so I had a steady supply of easy-to-heat nutrients. 

Thursday I was still under the weather, so I took another sick day. This time around I slept the entire day, waking only to eat lunch (soup again). I always resist doing that, sleeping a whole day, I think because I don't like missing out on a whole day of life, but it seemed to do the trick at kicking those germs' butts because the next day I was mostly back to normal. 

I went back to work on Friday, which felt like a Monday, but of course was not. I was glad to get out of the house though, and get back to the office and see familiar co-workers and clients. It's funny - NEST is my word for the year, which I first assumed would mean getting all domestic and working on our home, but I'm already noticing that I need to get out of the nest just as much. Being around others, and working with them, satisfies a part of me I just can't get at home.

The "One Little Word" course I mentioned in last week's post asks you to pick a quote that uses your word, and the one I found and went with is: 

"By going and coming, a bird weaves its nest."

It's an Ashanti proverb, according to the Internet. I like it - it says to me that going out into the community, away from your home, and then coming back with bits you find (whether those are actual material things, or stories or experiences), is just as much a part of the nest-building process as working in or on your home. Which is good, because I go a little stir-crazy when I'm home for too long. 

So that was the week! Not a lot going on, but that's just fine. This weekend I got out, over to Sydney during the day on Saturday, and helped my friend Amanda shop for her freezer meal workshop. It was actually fun, going shopping with her, and we talked about maybe doing our weekly groceries together, to hang out together and also to spare our partners from having to do it. 

And then after that, before I came back to North Sydney, I got to have coffee with a friend who lives in Ottawa these days, but who was home for the holidays, and another mutual friend who lives in town. The fact that I'm not doing client work on the weekends means I have time for these things. For sitting in a coffee shop and losing track of the time, my hands wrapped around a mug with two cold sips of mocha left in the bottom, laughing and catching up on each others' lives. It feels really good. 

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So this blog and I, you may sense, are in transition. Over the next month or so, I'll make some tweaks to it, making it less about the freelance design business that I was starting, less about selling me and my services, and more about just... me. My writing. My photos. My design work, yes, but that design work is part of a greater body of work that I've made and want to share. This word I've picked for the year, NEST, can also mean my nest, or home, on the web, which is what this website is, when you think about it. So, like making changes to a physical space, I'll make some changes to this digital space to reflect where my life is at now, and what I want to be making and sharing. Stay tuned!

I'm turning away from having my own business, at least for this year, and to be honest, it feels OK. I had worried that I would feel disappointed in myself, or that I had disappointed others, (especially those who supported my crowdfunding campaign in 2015) but honestly, I don't. I gave freelance-on-the-side-while-working-full-time a decent shot. It wasn't for me. That's not to say that freelance design won't work for me sometime down the road, but for now, for where I'm at in my life, I prefer keeping the full-time job (for a variety of reasons), and then getting rid of a few extra commitments so that I have more time and energy. So that I'm a better worker when I'm at work, and a better friend, partner, and, well, friend to myself, when I'm not at work. 

More on all of these things, to come! I want to blog weekly I think. For now, I'll leave you with a selfie of me earlier today, after Adam and I had cleared the driveway of snow, and I went into the backyard to poke around in the snow-covered garden a bit. 

With love,

Leah