Saturday, April 28, 2018

Our "Revised" Whole30 After Week One. Intuition as Strength. Re adjusting isn't 'Quitting.'



Our 'Revised' Whole30 Journey

Day 6.5 and I found my food freedom...in quitting the COMPLETE Whole30 Re Set program. We are actually still going to eat 85- 90% of the Whole30 guideline mentality for now. But, we are actually reintroducing some foods back in during week two instead of eliminating for thirty days. This may even change as we go. If we find we are getting more issues, we will change our minds. I realized I literally do have to go with my gut (ha ha?) and intuition. (We have done Whole30 before so thus WHOLE7 for Re sets is truly all that is needed.)

I want to say that our first Whole30 was a life changer. I still believe most people should try this form of elimination diet at least once in their lives. Especially if they are having unexplained medical issues, food allergies they can't figure out or severe gastro distress. It is WORTH it. I also still stand by everything I said in previous posts. But with all things in life, there is another side.

For our family, I had to re ask myself the main reason we were attempting a second Whole30 again. My main reason was iron absorption and to cut down on any inflammation. My reasoning for my family was to get back on track with eating, figure out a few issues each member was having, and cut out the sugars (over use of honey) again or other not so great aspects of food we were mindlessly consuming. Honestly? Seven days was enough for this. We already know we react to gluten and all sugars except honey in moderation. So 7 days was a great reminder to be mindful of what and how we eat. My secondary reason was to lose weight hopefully by re setting hormones and look younger and healthier. Perhaps that wasn't quite as noble? Although I do have a goal of cutting down inflammation still and re setting some of my issues. I still hope this will help with iron absorption along with my Kelp and BC1. Now, I simply will be doing this process a little bit more relaxed, with a few added elements for life quality, budget and food enjoyment. Again, we are still planning on sticking 85-90% of the plan. If we were needing a full gut re set (and we may still if we get too sick after this) we MIGHT do this again at some point or a form of it.

I still believe that our food choices shape our health. I believe there is a time and place for the Whole30. But I also realized it probably was not going to help me absorb iron more. Or maybe it would, but I wasn't willing to suffer the runs to find out. I prefer to keep my bathroom habits healthy and regular. I do think that eating more protein and veggies could help with this anyway but I need a bit of starch and fermented dairy in that department. At least I think I do...time will tell.

The Week of Lessons:

This week taught me a lot. I am relieved and happy that we started this journey. Already in week one I have modified some aspects of our eating. We will be incorporating grass fed, organic protein in as many meals as feasibly possible. Vegetable variety will be found on our plates or in our smoothies. Fruits will be consumed in moderation. My tongue has already adjusted and tuned into natural herb flavours and the lack of additives. We will still be especially meticulous in these areas. But I am hoping to add back in the yogurt, mozzarella, and butter. (Update: This was unfortunately not successful other than clarified butter.) Along with a few non gluten grains. If we react or find our quality of life goes down, I will take these elements back out. Nothing is set in stone. I feel we can afford to experiment without a full reset. I don't wish for mindless grazing or snacking. I also like the concept of not eating after dinner for the most part. Honey has many beneficial qualities. Just in moderation. We were consuming too much. We can scale that back but the raw honey is still on my list. I do like a home made, gluten free muffin at breakfast sometimes, and there should be no guilt in that. As long as it is paired with a quality protein source and some vegetables.

This whole experience has showed me that I was not enjoying food much before, and I was not really enjoying it on the re set either. I have always struggled with the pleasure aspect of food. It's rare I actually savour and love what I am eating. I mostly eat to survive. In this way I am a bit disordered in my eating. I also don't eat enough. I need to learn to love food for both it's nutrients and it's goodness. Part of quality of life DOES revolve around yummy, yet nutritious food choices. Deliciousness should also be a factor sometimes.

The Budget and Obsessive Factor:

Another reason why we are cutting this short? Our already stretched budget went overboard. Now we are two months behind our monthly budget and it will be hard to recover. (Perhaps we over prepped? And we had to drive to get our groceries...but luckily we still have a month of good food stocked and ready to go!) I think quality food is worth it, but we also have to do what we can afford. I was also OBSESSING about food from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. For 7 days my quality of life revolved around one aspect of living. Prior to I wasn't feeling a lot of guilt about my food choices, other than knowing I needed to cut back on a few choices and add in more veggies. But on the Whole30 this time, it felt like I had a full blown eating disorder. I already tend to have a warped perception of my body and maybe I do have a form of disordered eating that I need to unpack. I was revolving my life around image, health and food. All good things...in balanced moderation.

Cold sores appeared all along my tongue last night, which I never get otherwise, and this seemed to be an indicator that I was consuming too much of something or not getting enough of another nutrient. Some say it could be a detox symptom, but I felt energized more than ever because of the protein at each meal. I wasn't suffering mood swings or cravings. Although I did crave the smooth texture of yogourt. Overall, it was a good seven days of eating. But it needed to be switched up.

A week was enough to learn some valuable lessons, new nourishment strategies, and re set our minds on sustenance. I'm still planning on reading the rest of the books to my children. I still believe in most of the science. (The crucial wording is MOST. From the beginning I disagreed on some concepts like honey, yogourt ect. I come from more of a Weston Price mentality in general but do believe something like the Whole30 can do wonders for those addicted to sugar or processed foods.)

This experience was exactly what we needed...for seven days. Just not thirty. I feel freedom. Maybe it's not what Melissa Hartwig would view as food freedom forever. But life is a journey. Maybe she would think I deserve my health problems? Maybe I do. But I also have to believe in myself, look at my body intuitively and make the best of it. I have to stop comparing myself to the energy and looks of those around me. My most content years were the ones when I knew I was doing what was right for me. When I knew that my life mattered even if I struggled or was sick. There are many different reasons on the net for why people quit so I don't need to back mine up with bullet points. What I can say, is that I am happy we did this. I learned I loved Bok Choy. And that I could drink a smoothie with coconut cream and spinach and blueberries and LOVE it.

Re Adjusting Expectations, Cultural Conformity and Personal Intuition:

Some of my best choices in life have come from re adjusting expectations. Some would call this "quitting." Perhaps it is within definition. But I feel it's more of a re start from a re start. An organic way of moving from one healthy introduction into another form of Being that WORKS for the individual or family. Most people would say we "quit" school, church, swimming lessons, organized sports, piano lessons ect. Changing plans is not something our culture is generally comfortable with. And perhaps 60% of the time, this is how it should be. Otherwise there would be chaos supreme. Yes there is something to be said for accountability, finishing a project, or sticking a tough aspect of life out. On the flip side, it also takes strength to find another way, contort the box for flexibility, and be accountable in a different form.

I know I am stubborn and resilient and can stick anything out if I believe in the overall out come or benefits. But when I realize it is not the best decision? Then I take myself out of the equation. And that takes strength. Because people judge. And we also have an inner moral compass to develop. If not one way, we must grow in another. I had to fight a lot of guilt during periods where I changed the direction I was taking. But whose life is it? Mine or the majority? Who will benefit the most? My loved ones or the social structure? Sometimes I choose both. Sometimes I pick one over the other. But most times, I have to go with my intuition. Our culture has a lot to learn about the merits of weighing options, and choosing to walk away. My best decisions have involved walking away, but then opening up a new door to another path, and maybe switching that one or going back to the old one for awhile to find multiple directions of fulfillment and meaning.

Our family still needs to take some lessons in regards to food. My children were hesitant to not finish the Whole30. We had to have a discussion on basically all I covered in this blog post. Now they see it as a re adjustment. We also had to really decide WHY they wanted to continue and consider their points. Weight loss was not a good enough reason in my books (although yes, for some it would be.) In the end they settled on mostly whole30 compliant with some gradual additions. But our journey won't be as much about restricting as it will be about what is good, healthy, and yes delicious (and affordable.) I need to learn to love all kinds of food without discrimination. My husband needs to love food for fuel and in moderation. My daughter needs to learn to back off emotional eating but then allow food to heal her too. My sons need to learn to consume more veggies when they want a snack. But all in all? I am proud of their general choices. Do we have more to learn? Certainly? Does food matter? Absolutely. But is food everything? Maybe you are what you eat, but you are also so much more.
Just a reminder: I am NOT in charge of your life. Do not take my words as your truths. Work with your health care team to find what works for you. This hopefully includes a functional health doctor along with allopathic. Your journey should look different from mine, since we look different from each other...it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise. That said, I share my experiences to help others process my truthful stories and maybe help hone in on their deeper truths. May your journey be a glorious wild mess of beauty, hardship, truth, change, growth and healing.

Song choice: Just Another Day- Lady Gaga

Thursday, April 26, 2018

First Week of the Whole30 With Autoimmune. Teens and Children On The WHOLE30. Contrasting Our First Whole30 with Our Second Experience.



The First Week, The Second time Around:

I had a gut feeling this second time around was going to be tougher. We were not quite through our first week and I wanted to be done.( SEE THIS POST for more. I actually realized that there were other reasons my intuition was thinking that we should cut it short this time around. We did end up 'quitting' and re adjusting the program the day after I wrote this post.) Choking down meat at every meal for a gal who only loves to eat meat about three times a week, has been tough. We are following the autoimmune protocol which means NO EGGS for 90 days. (Which I am still sticking to regardless.) Nightshades and nuts are also on our 'no list.' Which means we were considerably more limited in options than most who go on the Whole30. But we also didn't really feel sick at all so that's good.

Quite honestly? I felt ok. I went in with some food poisoning issues and they worked themselves out within two days. I also began that time of the month, which for me means two days of 'can't leave the house' bleeds. I gag at food on the best of days during this time. So drinking bone broth, with it's very meaty, oily taste, was...Well, I was the last one at the table, twenty minutes later, choking on soup. My children did better in this department. Actually, they did better than me overall. They also won when it came to eating spinach with beef drizzled in avocado oil. Generally, the tastes are ok for me, it's the texture. As an Aspie, texture is everything. Most Autistics can't handle certain foods because of the sensory onslaught. I am forcing myself to eat like this, but I know it is not sustainable, however the benefits, after 30 days. But I wish to do it right so the elimination process is accurate and to see if it DOES improve my iron absorption. Thank goodness that my personality can be summed up as stubborn and resilient. I DREAD meal times. Especially Meal One. I miss my smooth Greek yogourt.

This is supposed to make your relationship with food better. I don't think it will for me. In fact, I am obsessing about food. Meal 3 is always delightful but I generally gag my way through the rest. I am hoping I will adapt. I keep reminding myself I am doing this for my iron, for overall health, and to see what is triggering my inflammation issues at the end. If I had a major eating disorder I don't think I would do this Re set. (Again, see THIS post for why we pulled the plug the next day in a different form, despite being stubborn and resilient:)

Our First Whole30 Contrast:

That said, the first time we did this Re Set Whole30, we experienced AMAZING benefits. We had been eating loads of gluten, and cutting it out was heaven. So much so, that four years later, I am still not tempted to eat any gluten. Plus, we found out I was Celiac so maybe that is why...but still, the differences in all of us from not consuming gluten were too good to ignore. I have read that people who regularly consume gluten, processed foods and sugar benefit most from this Re set diet. My problem, this second time around, was dairy and corn. I never drink milk, but greek yugort was my companion at almost every meal. I also had an addiction to corn chips and popcorn. And I admit that non gluten grains and legumes were sneaking too many times into our diet. I know for a fact that after this round, Legumes will probably be out permanently for us. I am also considering opting out of rice. It truly depends what are effects are. IF, by the end of 30 days I no longer gag on my food, and I feel energized, lose a bit of weight (which means my hormones have regulated by the food and Kelp), and feel pretty good...I would maybe re consider never eating like this again.

We did not do the Whole30 this second time around, to tame our 'Sugar Dragon.' Although my daughter feels that she is craving sweets. I don't feel deprived. I don't miss honey much. We were pretty careful with our sugar overall, yet we did get it from fruit, gluten free baking, and an over use in honey. I plan to re introduce honey but curb our habit back to a teaspoon per person, per day MAX. Without any processed foods or treats, this feels reasonable to me. The first time we did Whole30 we had major sugar issues. We realized how dependant we were on sugar which often goes along with Gluten consumption. This time, we are realizing how dependant we were on rice, and how we were not consuming enough vegetables on the best of days. I picture the lame line in Fast and Furious 5 when the Rock says, "Give me the damn veggies..." Ha, cracks me up every time. Yes, we will definitely be including more of an array of vegetables when all is said and done.

I will admit to having my eyes full of tears yesterday afternoon. The tears didn't fall. I blinked them back. But I was struggling. Because I was reading testimonials of people who the Whole30 didn't work for (which is actually a very tiny stat considering! The amazing testimonials of it working far outweigh these.) But, the people who it wasn't effective for were like me. They had already cut out gluten for about four years. They had celiac and their gut took more to heal and seemed to need the fermented dairy in moderation. They also felt that their benefits happened mostly when they went off of gluten. I wasn't having gastro distress for the most part in my pre re -set life. There are a few triggers I am identifying now, which would make all of this process worth it I suppose. But in general, I am doing this for other health reasons. I DO think I have some inflammation to battle. And this Re set is all about re balancing hormones and inflammation.

The Key to Your Food Journey and About Children and Teens On the Whole30:

The key to our journey has been reading the books, "It Starts With Food" and "Food Freedom Forever." I feel the science that backs these theories up is sound. The research and digging I have done match the facts in the book. I do believe, to an extent, in this way of eating. I feel there are exceptions but overall, yes most people should eat like this for 30 days at least once, and see the difference for themselves.

Many people say to me, "My children would never do that diet." Um, who is the parent? For that matter, what is love? Is love a birthday cake? Is love a sugar rush? Maybe sometimes but probably not every day.  Or, is love giving your child the science, the tools, the facts, and the habits of good eating that reduces risk of all types of diseases, autoimmune conditions, and overall health and affects their mental health? Unfortunately, eating is a large part of health. As the book mentions, "Genetics are the gun, but environment and food habits are what pull the trigger" on varied conditions. The first time we did this, the kids were younger. We explained what we could but generally just had them eat what we did. If they were going to throw up from something we didn't push it, but otherwise they were pretty good. And they felt the difference after! They were proponents of no gluten too! The second time around, two are teenagers. I had to approach it differently. I did say that our food is being prepared this way and they have to eat what we eat. But, every night I have been reading them a chapter of the book.

My mother calls this brainwashing. I call it giving intelligent information and allowing the reader to make up their own minds. Which my children have. I ask them questions after. Whether they agree or disagree. I ask what they would do differently, if anything, and try to incorporate their ideas. This isn't a dictatorship. However, our entire family knows that I tend to steer the ship when it comes to ideas. I think, that they allow me to do this because they see that I do it fairly, consider all the angles, and figure out what is best for everyone overall? Regardless, generally if I give enough solid evidence, my husband and children will come on board. It takes some work. It took three months for my husband to agree to the whole30 but then suddenly it happened overnight. He was game. Did I read him numerous articles, drop suggestions and comments when I could, and cite numerous health facts? Of course. Is this manipulation? Maybe to some, but for myself, I leave the decision to the person. My theory is, we have one life, if something means a lot to us and if we see it will massively benefit our loved ones or perhaps even have them live longer, why wouldn't we try to push it logically and rationally?

"Once again, we believe that the diet that is the healthiest for us grown ups is also the healthiest for growing children. There isn't a single nutrient in cereals, biscuits or formula's that can not be found in healthy meats, vegetables and fruit. (It goes on to exclude infants and why of course but at toddler hood children should be eating this way.)... Perhaps even more so, as their immature immune system and GI tract can be even more vulnerable than ours. Even in the youngest of us, typical 'kid foods' like milk, yogourt, cereal, peanut butter, and bread can promote systematic inflammation, create immune system dysfunction, and increase the risk of disease like type 1 diabetes. Lot's of parents we've talked to say, "But my kids don't like vegetables..." or "but my son loves his sugary breakfast cereals." This is where we often get into trouble asking, "Does your toddler do his own grocery shopping?"...But until your children are buying their own food, with their own money, you as the parent are the single largest supplier of your child's nutritional needs. And we believe it's just a critical to your children's long term success to feed them healthy food as it is to make sure they don't drop out of school after the third grade." (pages 247 and 248 of It Starts with Food.)

They go on to say it will not be easy. "But we think that there are few parental duties more noble than loving your children whole heartedly and feeding them as best as you can. Even if you have to fight them on it. Even if they go to bed hungry for a night or two. Even if you have to resort to the old standbys' It's for your own good. Because we said so."

And the Husband?:

A friend once said to me, "You are so lucky to have the husband that you do. My husband would never treat me like a princess like yours does. He seems to do anything you want. For that matter, I notice at mom's groups that often we end up doing what you want, and enjoying it to boot! Even if we didn't think we would, we have these happy experiences that we would never do otherwise. You are either very convincing or maybe too bossy." I laughed. I know I can be bossy. Although I prefer the word convincing. However, my husband doesn't treat me like a princess all the time. I AM lucky. He is amazing. We married young so we are both used to sharing ideas, growing together and shaping each other. We matured together and are pretty equal in our relationship now. But he did start out as very conservative and religious. He believed I should do all the cooking because I was the woman. Poor man learned a lesson in that area fairly fast. I work hard to get my ideas across and to have my children and husband open to my ideas. I make sure I am fair. I research the bajeebees out of any given subject before I present it. I make sure I have solid evidence for what I propose. I also consider people's context and personality and would never force someone to do something I know is out of their comfort zone. I know what that is like. I won't force the trauma I experienced from sensory overload on other people. My husband and I have a story that exceeds most epic love tales. We are tight. When our marriage is terrible, it is horrendous. But generally, we are THOSE partners, who have each other's backs for most things in life. It actually takes a lot of brain power to be as convincing as I can be. Ha ha. I bet you are all very relieved that you are not married to me right now.

It's Actually About So Much More Than Food- Regardless of the Timeframe or Re Set:

At supper the other night my eldest son piped up, "Mom can I have those two books when I move out?" I was confused for a second. Percy Jackson came to mind first but I knew that series was more than two books. Then it clicked and my mouth sagged a bit as I said, "Do you mean the Whole30 books buddy?" and he nodded adamantly, "Yea I would really like them." My eyes almost filled with tears again, but instead I let out a bubbly laugh and ruffled his hair. That was the night we were eating bone broth, and I don't think I would have forced myself to finish, until I heard his statement. Then I realized I was also modelling how to eat, and I was going to sip up every last gulp of the meaty sustenance. He inspired me.

Recently, we had our child psychologist/ therapist and his aid in our home. He made my heart happy when he turned to her and said, "This family is TIGHT. In all my years of working with families and children, I have never come across a family this close. They have each other's backs. Their philosophy is something I wish would be adapted more. They are outside the box. They do things quite differently. In fact, as you know our careers are heavily based on research. Unfortunately, we do not have the studies or research to know what will work for this family. We have to play it by ear because they literally defy all the rules. I love coming into their unique home and watching them interact. I hope you will enjoy working with them as much as I have. I hope you will learn as much as I have from them, just as much as you will hopefully give."

At another point I was stressing about certain milestones for my children and the outside pressure I have been receiving to "do more" or "socialize them" more. He turned to me and said, "Ok who are you right now and what have you done with Kmarie? The K. I know does not conform to other people's expectations. She is solid in her philosophies and sees the benefits she has chosen for her children. Where are all these voices coming from?" I flushed and stumbled. He then smiled, "I know the best of us will listen to outside voices, but let me tell you, that I see all sorts of families. Many whose parents to not pay even 1/4 of the attention you give your children. The one issue I see, is that independence will be tougher in your family due to your tightness. But maybe you will defy that expectation too? Unless your children avidly want it, and then you will have to work around that obstacle, but I have every confidence you will. Even if it's hard. If it is important to them. But otherwise, I continually see how in tune you are with your unique sensitive family with diverse,  sensory needs. Stop listening to the majority. While it's good to question yourself, I will say this- I have had more than 30 years of experience and you are definitely the minority in your philosophies. I have worked with the religious and the non religious. You are a minority in both. So you are gonna get flack sometimes. But that is why you have a built in resilience back bone. It has been an honour to work with you. In fact, I think I will pop by for coffee sometimes just because I like your family."

I needed to hear that. It applies to all areas including the Whole30 Re set. This is what we need to do. It's not easy this time around. I already have a weird throat rash. But, anyone can do anything for thirty days right? Maybe? I guess time will tell... ( And it did, a day later, when I decided to re focus. See HERE for more.)


Song Choice: Like a Love Song- Selena Gomez. This is an odd choice that doesn't have to really do with the post, yet it does. My daughter does this with 'Just Dance.' Selena Gomez' voice in this is like dessert. Which I don't miss actually, but it's nice to get a sugary sound in the ears, isn't it? "And I keep hittin' repeat, peat, peat, peat..."

Friday, April 13, 2018

"You are TOO much" or "Your Posts are too Lengthy" or "Why Don't you Privatize your Space?" Addressing the Nonsense Geared at Minorities/ Autistics/ INFj's. "This IS me."


Over the years I have received various opinions about my thoughts. There are three negative statements however, that have been more prominent. After I receive this feedback, I will force myself to take a breather, accept the honest opinions of others as their own, and question my reasoning. Here are the top three statements and how I have dealt with them internally;

1.) "Your Posts are TOO lengthy." "Can you work on shortening your words for ease and accessibility?" Or my absolute favourite, "I could have read the whole thing, but it was too long so I stopped. It was fine and well written." 

Erm okay? So you were interested and you COULD have read it, but on the principle of the matter (it being too long) you decided to stop? It is one thing to stop reading because you simply don't have time. We all have to consider our time. It's our greatest gift. I respect that. I skim all the time - even my own stuff. Skimming is a gal's best friend.

But why tell me that MY communication needs to change. This is my process. Just skip it or skim it but why tell me what to do? This is particularly irking, if I wrote a post FOR or TO someone and they give that feedback. Immediately, they are downgraded from my circles of sharing or importance. Not because they didn't have time, but because they clearly did not respect my time put into trying to make their world better. If they don't read or skim that is one thing. But bossing me around to communicate just like them is not ok.

They can give negative feedback in dialogue, but that is another matter completely. When this happens to me... If I have something to read that I don't always have time for, I will consider the other person's personality differences, skim what I can, pick two points that I can give positive feedback on, quickly write a response, and send immediately so I do not forget. Because if a person is important to me, I can give them a few minutes of my day every once in awhile. I don't expect this type of feedback on every thought or post, but yea, if it's been awhile since I connected, I expect myself to acknowledge a friend's thoughts and existence. (P.S. This has NOT happened recently with posts. My cousin's Ferritin post was well received:)

First off, there are years or posts that I practice concise, shorter writing. But other years or posts are about my process. Which is long, speedy, and already cut in HALF by the time it gets to the page. That is just who I am. Other Aspies have also blogged about this issue. We have so many internal thoughts rolling around, that we need an outlet. Often our outlets are writing or monologuing. Both of which we have received flack from the outside world on more than one occasion.

This is nonsense because I have never claimed to be a "professional writer." I am a writer, for myself because I engage in writing. I also then hope it can help someone who maybe had similar experiences. End of story. I am not on board with perceptions of how things "SHOULD be." However, I AM aware of my readers, thus at times I will go out of my way to edit a post in half, or in hindsight go back and make cuts. I will also sometimes make underlined headings so that people can skim or skip to the parts that are relevant to them. In the end, this space is a healthy spot for me, to get out thoughts or words that I do not often have a forum for otherwise. Because I get inside my thoughts and it is hard to find a way out, detailed writing provides an outlet. It also depends on what type of post I am writing.

I understand accessibility and feel it's important. I do it in the ways that I feel I can. I have limited energy. Writing a long blog post surprisingly restores my energy. But notice, that I do not actually write captions explaining pictures ect, like most Neurodiverse blogs do. I just can't. That stresses me out, and unfortunately drains the energy I have for my family because of chronic illness. I will not be accessible to all people. That is just how life goes. I will try my best in the ways that I can. I will sometimes stretch and grow myself. I am finely in tune and honest with whom I am. I know what I am or am not capable of. I know when to choose the tough path or the easy one. This blog is primarily for enjoyment.

2.) "You are TOO much." Or "Just get in the boat!"

I realize the second statement seems semi unrelated, but these two statements are what I spent the better part of my first 4 years of therapy on. As a child and teen, the people whom I was told loved me most, the ones who protected me or took care of me, or witnessed my life, regularly gave forms of these statements to me in some way, shape or form. Even if they complimented me on other areas or deeply loved me, I learned two facts quickly;
I wasn't fully accepted for whom I was deep down...so I learned to mask and conceal. I became Elsa. Second- I had no real autonomy. If a sensory experience was "too much" for me, I just was ordered to "get in the boat."
I was told my fears of water were unfounded but actually, they were quite logical. I was continually asked to ignore my own internal process. I was told that my thoughts or feelings about something were "unrealistic" or "too dramatic." This created a dangerous position to be in. I did anything a doctor would tell me to do. Much to my detriment. I just listened to people in certain positions of power, not because I agreed, but because I doubted my own experience and defaulted to "professionals." Luckily, I learned about personal autonomy gradually, beginning with the birth processes of my last two children at 20 and 24, but did not reach full autonomy until about 26.

I now understand that this is also nonsense. Why do these statements not hold up? Because I was already an anomaly. I was a minority so my experiences were considered illegitimate. But that did not mean that I had no meaning. Or that I was absurd for being me. What was absurd was expecting me to conform when I was clearly not fitting in every step of the way.

I also understand WHY this happened. I can look back now without feeling the absolute grief I used to about childhood. I used to feel embarrassment for myself and the others involved. I used to feel deep pain for being ignored where I needed attention. I used to feel disrespected. I also felt paranoid about my way in the world. My anxiety was heightened because I was constantly given mixed messages of "You are loved" but "Don't be like this, don't be your truth." Of course, this made me question whom I was and it took years to get to know myself again in my later twenties.

In the end, I worked through blame, criticism and pain, to realize it was not my fault, and it wasn't any of my caretakers' faults or those who loved me. Did I still have to deal with loads of memories and relationships in therapy over the years? YES. But, I also started to unravel the deep wounds. Because, the fact is, when someone or something is not understood, they are contained or feared or forced to become something else. Naturally, that is what happened to me. My real fear of water was written off as trivial. I still can not think of swimming lessons without massive palpitations. I was told to "DE -sensitize." A favourite term of ABA specialists and "normal" people. But de-sensitizing a logical fear or something that makes sense, as a reality, or a phobia, will not work. It's like calling people who are germ adverse hypochondriacs. When you look at the history of the world, more people have died from disease than any war. Most wars were also won BECAUSE of disease. It is a fact that if the world is going to be wiped out, it will be more likely from disease than a nuclear bomb. Vaccinations happened the same time as advanced hygiene. Disease went down due to the hygiene factor more than the vaccinations (although some of these were a huge advancement.) This is simply logic. So it makes sense, if one cares about longevity, to be careful about hand washing, contagions ect. It's cold logic applied with practicality.

My sensory experiences WERE legitimate. (Check out the Sensory posts on side label. Especially the Halloween HERE or Thanksgiving one HERE.) Just because over 80 percent of the population May not feel the same, does not mean the other 20 percent are not legitimate. Or insert whatever statistic you like. There ARE exceptions always. One reality does not negate another. Being forced into a boat, being told to ignore it, getting in trouble for wanting to throw up from a noise, being told when the worst of sensory would bombard me and I would cry, that I was "Too much" contributed to the massive self esteem issues I began to have at the tender age of six.

Oftentimes, certain personalities are more prone to comment this way on my persona. Usually it is unhealthy persons who have not yet known themselves. Also, the majority have been ESFJ's. I now know why this is. A close friend is a pretty balanced ESFJ. We actually get along well in moderation. Our processes are different but we can agree on harmony. However, ESFJ's can feel frustrated by the individuality of an INFJ, as they are more for the collective good. They do not always love exceptions to rules, which INFJ's often portray. Also, the aura of mystery can feel devious to them at times, as well as the fact that INFJ's give advice. Advice feels like being bossed or feels degrading to many ESFJ's. Thus, my natural personality could be continually offensive. This is ONE small example of how personality understanding takes most of the pain away from a statement. Because when understanding to context is applied, then it feels less personal. (See THIS and THIS and THIS video on ESFJ's process.) This can also happen in ANY personality type and engagement.

Today, if I get these statements, I DO initially feel the pain again. It's like a battle wound that has since healed completely but still receives phantom pain or has arthritis when the weather changes. I have to tell myself, "Those are messages from people who may not give deeper thought to what they say. Perhaps they lack self understanding or the larger picture. Maybe they are wounded too. You have dealt with this. You may be too much for some people, but for the few who matter, you are just enough. You have your mistakes, you have your flaws, but you are still worthy. You have strengths and you have disabilities. Remember that a large compliment is just as damaging to the ego if massively internalized. People are fickle. Opinions change. Both the good and bad opinions become neutral when one knows themselves. Enjoy the good but don't let it blow up ego. Question yourself with the bad. Then question the person who said it. Give grace when possible or contextual. Apply boundaries or distance when needed."

"Look out cuz here I come. And I'm marching out to the beat I drum..."- This is Me.

3.) "Why Don't you Privatize Your Space? If you value privacy so much, why not take it private. You share too many personal things that should not be processed in public."

This statement I have only received 4 times. Once, it was said to me via email, when someone who did not even know me well, read my blog, made some conclusions about me, and decided to confront me. Though it was audacious, it was also a form of brave, so I gave her my time. She was a worker at the local school who had witnessed aspects of my life growing up, but had yet to ever have a personal conversation with me one on one. Thus, I took that context into consideration when reading her words.

"Hide away they say, we don't want your broken parts...Run away, they say, no one will love you as you are.... but I won't let them break me down to dust... I know that there's a place for us." - This is me 🎶

To be honest, I had to ask myself the same question the day I started this blog. I have had multiple blogs, switching when each one became well read. I have had two private spaces as well. In the end, I have settled on this place the last few years. It has felt like home. I try to keep posts to 2-6 per month because I am aware I give lots of information, so I try to not overwhelm on a daily basis.

About INCLUSION:

The reason I keep it public? In the past, I have received emails from strangers, connections, or statements in the comments, about how one post changed some one's complete way of thinking. I have been often asked to write self help. It's not so much about my actual writing, as it is, I think, about my way of being in the world. My honesty with self, tends to help others be honest with themselves. A comment I have received multiple times in the last two years alone. As an INFJ, that matters to me. If I went private, I would neglect to give to the people who need this space in some way. Those who are irked by 'me', can simply close their browser. Walk away. Those that either love me and want to know my inner workings a bit, or those who are just curious to learn, or those who are looking for something specific like my health journey, can search and find. That is important to me. I feel I can give to a few people in the world this way. Actually I KNOW I can. Just because the majority find the information "useless" or "too much" or makes them uncomfortable, does not mean I am not giving... in my own way. That is what true inclusion is. Allowing people to be whom they truly are and respecting them for it, even if it is not typical.

I write primarily for self first. For healing and processing. I need to write occasionally to understand. Once I put it out in the world, I feel better. It's a letting go process. But secondary to this, my writing is for the few who maybe grew up like me. With beautiful childhoods that still caused massive damage. With internalized confusing messages of whom they should be. I know I am lucky to have 13 plus years of therapy, diagnosis, self help books, researching and a good support system backing me up. I feel it is important to spread that support a bit, because I have it. It's a privilege that I can share in this way.

Private blogs are important. We all have differing processes. This space is just the tip of my daily life. My inner processes are so much more complex. For instance, this blog post alone only took 20 minutes to write. What takes longer is editing, finding a song or picture and emailing out to the list of a few people who thus far have not said anything that would stop me from sharing. Although certain posts I do not send to anyone and let the finders find, while other posts I have differing email lists (that I unfortunately sometimes mix up. Yikes.) My main cognitive function is internal. Which means that my inner world is more of a reality to me than my outer surroundings. For people with the opposite personality functions this sounds ridiculous. But, from my context, I understand their mentality but I also could never live in it either. Add to that, Autism and being an INFJ, and my internal process is probably more intense than most other people who share the same functions...unless they are also differently wired or own an intense, internalizing personality.

Conclusion:

"...🎶 Another round of bullets hits my skin. Well, fire away, cuz today, I won't let the shame begin. We are bursting through the barricades and reaching for the sun. We are glorious. Yea that's we've become. I won't let them break me down to dust. I know that there's a place for us, for we are glorious. When the sharpest words want to cut me down. I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out, I am brave, I am bruised, I am whom I meant to be. This is me. Look out cuz here I come. And I'm marching out to the beat I drum. I'm not scared to be seen. I make no apologies. THIS IS ME....And I know that I deserve love. There is nothing I am not worthy of...This is BRAVE, this is BRUISED, this is whom I'm MEANT to be. This is ME...I'm not scared to be SEEN. I make NO apologies for this is me...."- Keala Settle and Cast.*
🎶
**"🎶Oh life is waiting for you, it's all messed up but we're alive🎶..."


*"This is Me" was my second least favourite song on the "Greatest Showman." Although, I loved them all so this was a tough call. LOL. While I felt it was good and beautiful, it didn't feel too applicable to my current journey. My self of 25 and under? Definitely. I would have probably blasted this more than "Defying Gravity." But with a lot of personality study and different wiring, I have more of a gentle acceptance of whom I am now that I don't need to prove, but in writing, for those who are still coming to terms with themselves, I make sure I take a strong stance of worthiness and explanation. This song fit perfectly for those who are still learning they are worthy because they exist. Don't be scared to be seen. In short, that is why I keep up this blog. I am not going to quit out of fear. If I quit, it will be because of a new phase in life and not for others qualms or internalized self insecurity.


Song Choice: This is Me- Greatest Showman



Life- Our Lady Peace (the lyrics to this song helped me get through Junior High.)



Misery- Soul Asylum

Loser Like Me- Glee:


Thursday, April 12, 2018

'Operation Low Ferritin' Game Plan/ Whole30 Reset/ Kelp and BC1/ Life Enhanced by Self Growth and Lists/ I can not be Wonder Woman.

*Dedicated to Atlanta Rae :)* Also these are my experiences and not to be used for medical advice but as stories and encouragement. It is important for you to make medical decisions based on what you can manage. Your life, Your body.*

My cousin has a Ferritin of 12. Mine is at a 4. She recently visited and we spent most of our time together laying on couches watching movies, reading or chatting...and then needing to lie down and recover from such 'strenuous' activity. If you have had Mono, then you can imagine what a Ferritin below 20 feels like. Except it's more constant and without the fevers, but it feels similar. When I had both Mono and Low Ferritin I was surprised I was alive, every day upon waking. When I went to bed, I could only congratulate myself on getting through the day.

Because I have struggled so many years with low Ferritin, I know what I will and will not do as far as getting my levels up. I have tried almost every form of iron out there. I have changed diets. I have seen my Naturopath. I have done the Iron needles (BIG MISTAKE), I have been offered the Iron Infusions and Blood transfusions. I said no, after extensive research. I still do not regret saying no. The last time I was semi successful in raising my levels, I was taking organic well sourced Kelp, BC1 absorption salts, and had recently done the Whole 30.

It's time for another overhaul. I will link back in a few months with the results (most likely closer to mid summer after blood work.) But here is the tentative game plan.

'Operation Low Ferritin' Game Plan:

1.) The Whole30 Reset. Our family did the Whole 30 a few years back. The first week was tough but we LOVED the remaining month of eating clean. After the first bit of feeling terrible, we gained energy, lost a bit of weight, cleared up varied issues, and became more aware of food. The results lasted a good year. Months after we slowly re incorporated foods but still felt pretty good and kept losing weight. We did end up gaining weight a couple years later, but some of that was 'grief weight' and medications combined with hormone/chronic conditions.

We will be starting the whole 30 in a few weeks, after we use up the Yogourt and Half and Half Cream in our fridge for our coffee. We budget for groceries and do once a month shops, thus we can not afford a reset until we use up our perishables. Health is priority, but so are finances. We feel that this way we have honoured both. I looked into ordering organic veggies and fruits near us. Since we will be eating loads of produce our dairy/other grocery budget will go to this instead. (We actually only have butter, yogourt and cream for dairy, but for a family of five with a couple teens, this adds up to a couple hundred per month. Especially since we ate Greek Yogourt every day for breakfast and used it in smoothies.) The focus will be on iron rich veggies and meat with a bit of fruit. As a family, we feel this reset, discipline and the deeper issues of food with the Whole30 diet, together is immensely bonding and beneficial.

2.) Kelp pills and BC1. I am hoping that the Whole30 will help reset my gut bacteria. It did in the past. This may help me absorb better. I will admit, this is never a permanent fix for me. I still have other issues. But it helps. With the Kelp and BC1 from my naturopath, it should be easier to absorb the iron in my food. (This is also done with daily Vitamin D and C because I am low on both.)

3.) Iron tablet 2x a week. My Haematologist was horrified that this is all I'm planning to take, but I can't do more without suffering. My Naturopath took one look at the expensive brand of 150mg I was taking and exclaimed, "No wonder you felt poisoned." It was full of chemicals and dyes. I have since switched to another brand. It still affects me but I hope with the other 2 points of lifestyle change above, it will go further than expected.

4.) Treadmill for 20 minutes instead of 40. I will continue with Physiotherapy for muscle injury due to low oxygen. My physiotherapist monitors my exercise level. I am not allowed to be aggressive nor work on muscle strengthening yet other than the 20 minutes of walking a day. I also have to go easy on the walks. No cardio. Aggressive cardio at this point could equal muscle injury or heart attack or stroke. (All this information is covered in other posts of mine.)

5.) Sleep and rest as much as possible until the levels go up. I struggle with this point. I actually look pretty normal in my functioning to most people. I can go weeks without talking about exhaustion or low ferritin, until my kids and hubby even forget about the fact that it affects me. Since I have had it for so many years it is "my normal." I don't really want to be that person who says every day "I'm tired." Some days I do, but I bite my tongue a lot. Because otherwise I would be saying it all the time. I am bone weary done. I need to lay down after any activity. I go to appointments and crash at home. I am breathless after climbing my stairs or after shopping trips. But I mask some of this. Not because it's the right thing to do necessarily, but because it's been ten years. I can't make it always about me. But if you are new to low ferritin, TALK ABOUT IT. It's important that your support team know how serious it is. Your family needs to know how low functioning you will be. Back up your information with links and research. Understanding is the key to healing.

6.) Perspective and Grace. Daily I have to remind myself that I need to cut my ability to do stuff in half from what is expected. At the very least. When certain people give me advice I know I can not fulfill, I smile, say thank you and I find another way that I can manage. The body is low on oxygen. It's conserving energy. It's storing fat because the Mitochondria is not functioning properly. Try to reset gut bacteria. It may give you a boost. But don't be too depressed if it does not fully fix your issues. The results of gut bacteria are impressive, but life comes in dips and perks. Remember to balance quality of life with needed results.

LINKS:
Low Ferritin is associated with IBS, Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune Diseases like Lyme, and other conditions. You can not fully help what you have. It is NOT your fault. Despite what doctors may tell you about your diet or your decisions. Do these play a part? Absolutely. But health is a journey. I have tried it all. Yes, gut bacteria is a LARGE part of living healthily, but life still happens. Enjoyability of life is also a factor. It is important to try new disciplines and health res sets. The Whole30 is NOT a diet. It is a RESET. It's akin to a Elimination diet and each list of "okay foods" for your body will and SHOULD differ from another person's results.

Here are some more of my posts on Low Ferritin:
About the 120 Day Cycle of Blood and the Pros and Cons of Iron Pills

Catch 22 In Iron Health

How it feels when a Ferritin of 9 Drops down to 7.

The Happy Difference from a Ferritin of 2 that Ups to a 9

Anemia and Depression. How it feels.

A Brief Explanation of Low Ferritin

You did NOT cause your Condition

Low Ferritin and the MTHFR gene and Exercise


Life Enhancement and Choices:
I love having goals. I can't wait to get started on the Whole30 after I use up what we have. It has also helped me to make goals in finances, schooling, lifestyle ect. With low energy, it is important for me to pace myself but also be clear on what I want my life to look like and where I wish to use the limited energy I have. Recently, I created a calendar of such goals and it has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I have lists for chores, small renos/maintenance, meal planning and goals, personal growth, kid's growth/ unschooling goals, exercise/movement, beauty goals, emotional growth, future finances, future job goals for the husband, and future time disciplines. Most of these list are focused on baby steps with SLOW growth and low expectations that are built upon as time goes by. Except for food...the Whole30 demands a full overhaul and starts big, but we should all have one aspect of life that requires more from us, right?

Life is enhanced with Self understanding, Self compassion, Self respect and Self discipline. We make better choices by knowing when we can stretch ourselves and when to go easier. The higher the awareness, the easier the choices. The enjoyment of my one beautiful life means discipline for health but also easy going acceptance. It is always a balance of both sides of the coin. Quality of life matters. But preventative measures against disease by food and movement also matter. Each person will have to find a way to manage stress and incorporate inspiration. In the end, I have to constantly remind myself that I am NOT Wonder Woman. As much as would LOVE to be her or I'd settle for Gal Gadot, I need to look realistically at whom I am and what I am capable of.

"... I can show you strong, I can fight for you, I can try to move mountains if you want me to. But baby, I ain't Wonder Woman, I don't know how to lasso the love out of you. Don't you know, I'm only human? And if I let you down, I don't mean to. All I need's a place to land. I don't need a Superman to win my lovin' cuz baby I ain't Wonder Woman..."- Kacey Musgraves.


Bet all that gold gets heavy weighin' on her
I wonder if it's scary, always tryin' not to get hurt






Tonight, Tonight- Smashing Pumpkins

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

My NON Funeral Wishes. An Introverted, Autistic's thoughts on Planning A Death. Why I Don't Attend Most Weddings or Funerals.


I've always known I did not want a traditional funeral. Lately, we have experienced a few family deaths, along with my own health scares a couple years ago, which had me solidifying my plans. Each funeral has been an expression of the person who lived or their families' thoughts on them. In the ways they wanted to be expressed, each was beautiful. Today, I attended my aunt's funeral via Facetime from my sister. I even spent a bit of time 'hanging out in her purse.' Which seemed an odd commentary on our current culture but also refreshingly funny. She was so sweet to hold up the phone for me during the tributes. My Uncle's was heartfelt and lovely. The funeral honoured my Aunt's planning and wishes. In that it was heartfelt and inspirational. When I am thinking of my own end, I have had to think upon what would be meaningful for me.

A few years back, my husband and I were driving past the local graveyard and I said, "I always hate driving past here because I picture my bones in that ground and I dislike that thought." To which my husband replied, "You don't have to be there. You could get cremated and request your ashes in our yard or other meaningful places with just the kids and I." And suddenly, driving past the graveyard never bothered me again. I felt so free. I knew I would not be there. I loved the thought of my ashes being by a tree in our backyard or some other place. I felt at peace.

Death is different for everyone and we all need to make choices based on whom we are. I don't think it is bad for people who have chosen to be buried nor do I judge any other deathbed wish. I know, for myself, what I feel better about, when I look to the end.

To me, Weddings and Funerals, are eerily similar but one focuses on celebration of life and the other of death. Actually both celebrate life in different ways to a degree. Both involve mourning of old ways and change. Obviously, there are also key differences. I didn't even enjoy my own wedding, although it was charming and the work all our loved ones put into it was appreciated. However, I love my marriage. My extended family now know that I generally will not attend most funerals or weddings. I am supportive and if I get invited and am close to the people, I will send a large gift and make sure I celebrate or mourn with them in alternative ways. I have a few exceptions to this that are contextual and circumstantial. If my children choose large weddings or funerals I will absolutely be there and honour their wishes.

For years I could not even look at Wedding photos without feeling sick. I would also feel inferior, yucky and socially inappropriate thinking back to "my day." Now, with more than 16 years behind us, I can look back with time, a bit of maturation, and knowing myself, and have a differing perspective. I also see how much everyone tried to make it splendid for me...and in that it WAS beautiful. I didn't know myself, so thus others didn't know what I needed either. We all thought it was an expression of whom I was then, and no one can be blamed, including myself. Thus, now I see the photos, where I know I was pasting on a smile, because I remember being so sick and just anticipating the days' end, but instead of it reminding me, like it did in past years, that I was a fake or a failure, now I see strength. I see a woman who tried her best to make everyone else feel good on her day. Because she noticed the effort involved even if it was making her sick. I see a woman who could not wait to have the day over with so she could start a life with the one she loved. But, I now also see all the people, who were having fun...in years past it felt like it was at my expense. Now, I see that it's just what cultures do and it was supposed to be a gift. So I will now take the gift with mixed emotions. In it's time- it was beauteous and pleasing. 

Every single person who sacrificed their time or money, behind the scenes decorating or making food, to make the day special for me, I deeply am thankful for. I can think of each of their faces, and the varied ways they gave to the best of their ability. Within that, the day was a gift. Would I do it differently now? Absolutely. But if I did it again, at that young age, in the same context, I know it would be the same. I now look back and realize it was what it was, for the time that it was, and unique and appropriate in it's own way. What I DO like, is orchestrating photos, even if I am pasting on a smile. Most of the candid photo time that I have with friends or family, is a fun time for me. We end up laughing a lot or enjoying our time, even if the photos are purposeful. If I could now, I would have a small gathering for a wedding but still have a photo time. I love that in my pictures I can see my cousins and sister...In the photos they do not even come up to my shoulders, but now most of them are taller than I am. I love to see the way we were together, because it triggers one on one memories, that I had with each of them that may not have been captured on camera, but were meaningful to me.


I am Autistic and experience painful sensory overload. I can also be socially awkward and make things accidentally worse for people. I also am an Introvert who dislikes large gatherings. My therapist told me a few years back, "I also have a family member whom is sensitive and can not attend these functions without getting very sick after and paying for it for days. You do not have to attend the big moments in life for people. The people who love you and who you truly love back, will feel important if you show them in daily deeds and little moments your care. If you don't attend a funeral, then send money, a gift, a lovely card or written tribute or give your presence one on one later, for the people you are close to. That is just as important as showing up. Yes, our cultural experiences and expectations and history hinge on these big gatherings. Some of them ARE important to do. However, they are based on the majority for healing. Community mindedness DOES create a good world, but there ARE exceptions. You are an exception. I know whom you are from the years we have been together and I know you love deeply and often make the world a better place. What you find healing will be different. That is ok. The minorities wishes are not often granted. It is ok for you to do things differently. As long as you still choose to love and respect when you can. Find alternative ways. Just know your small family may not be respected or may even be fought against for honouring who you are. Try to find support for them too and make it easier when you can while still being you." I found that validating and meaningful.

I feel joy in different ways than the majority. I am glad that people have lovely moments at weddings or larger gatherings. I have had a few meaningful, joyful or connective times myself in these circumstances. Especially in my younger years when I could tolerate overload better. My way of joy may be different, but it's not less. My way of being in community with people and having a handful of deep connections that would do anything for me, is how I need to move in the world. Again, it's different, not less. Just like I would view large funerals and weddings as different, but not less than my personal preferences.Quite honestly, many of my friends are not in my vicinity or even my own country. But they are deeply and avidly loved by me and I am by them. We share life together. I carry on unconventional relationships within my friendships that have a lot of space and distance, but they are also deep and full of love.

As my husband and I talked about each of our final wishes, we both realized neither of us will have funerals. My mother was appalled. She said, "But what of the people who wish to grieve you or come together. The funeral is for those that remain." To which I replied, "While I wish to be sensitive to that...People can plan what they wish themselves, in their spaces. What I wish for, is simply for my children and husband to do something in our home. They can also plan a separate small gathering with extended family or friends...perhaps a cozy sharing of our home in a hygge way. I DEFINITELY would love for them to do a showing of some of the slideshows I have made for our children over the years...I love those videos and would love it if they had time watching and remembering our good life together. Music and film are important to me.  But I don't want a large gathering and I don't want to be hosted in a church or sanctuary. As an Introvert, that is not me in this life nor should it be in death. I would also love if my close friends wrote letters to my children or husband or whomever survives me with tributes. I am ok if they want to write something on their spaces to honour the life I had with my family. I would rather people showed up for those left behind with daily deeds like a small meal given, a note or two, some music or gifts, and memories, but otherwise, I do not wish for anything but small, cozy, celebrations in the home that I loved with my husband and kids, and my parent's yard, with the videos I made and cherished, and supports of the people I left behind..."

This decision took a load off of my shoulders. I can now live freely, knowing my funeral will not be a moment of existence. Instead my family can pay for the cremation but use the rest of the death funds for themselves. I would like for them to simply live their best life...keep the writings and videos they liked of mine, and own every second they have left of their worlds. It's unconventional. Another family member called it "selfish." But I don't think planning our own ways to honour our lives is selfish. It's important for us to embrace our lives, know ourselves, and ask for our final wishes to be carried out according to who we are. Aren't all funerals a form of self? Even the ones that carry a final religious message are self serving the faith of those whom lived. It's not wrong, but it could be thought of another way too. So I do not believe that asking to not have a funeral or memorial in an official, unknown building is selfish. I have talked to the people who it would affect the most...my children and husband, and made sure that they know I have thought of them. I still want them to have closure, professional counselling support, and some moments of community with those who actually know whom I was. I would be honoured if they commemorated me by keeping my blog for themselves or my videos I made, but most of all by just carrying how I loved them in their hearts, and embracing their lives to the fullest.

My husband has similar wishes. If he goes first, it is the same story. He does not wish to be in a church or building either. It's not either of us. If other people decide to go against his wishes and do their own thing anyway, that is out of our hands. It would show, though, that we were not actually known nor respected. We will honour each other the way we have discussed. And our children will carry out these wishes, with or without outsider support, if we both pass on. But we hope that they will get support from the people who actually knew them and us well. I trust my small group of friends to remember my sentiments on life and support accordingly. I may not be a present person in larger communities, but I KNOW without a doubt that I am avidly loved by a few key people. Who also avidly love my children and husband. We are known deeply by a few. And those few are enough.

I do believe vows are sacred. The choice to honour someone for life can be a beautiful event. Death and birth are also crucial moments of life change. But we all have choices, to a degree, within these moments. For instance, with my second baby I wrote out a birth plan, knowing that things could change. Some points in the birth plan were not honoured, others could not be due to an emergency, but the essence of what I wanted and needed happened. I had a doula to make sure that most of my wishes were granted to the best of her ability. This mattered to me. It did not mean that I judged anyone who had a birth different from mine. Choosing to not have pain meds did not mean I looked down upon women who needed them. Each birth is contextual and individual, even though each birth affects community and the world at large. So should it be in vows and death.

I want my children and husband to know every day I am alive that they are my golden hours. I hope to convey this as often as possible. I also wish for my extended friends and family to know this, in the ways I communicate...that they are important and worthy because they exist. That I love them differently, in the ways that I can, and value them when I think of whom they are. In death, I hope that I will have given enough of that love to those in my circles, that they can continue to life fully and own every second that this world can give to them... And live.




Song Choice; I Lived- Glee version of One Republic.