Sunday, June 6, 2010

I bitch, therefore I am...

I think I'm having a mid-life crisis. I really do.

I wake up most mornings utterly glum and irritable. I feel uninspired by the nuts and bolts of my domestic minutia (I only just saw the bottom of my laundry basket after 3 days of dedication to that particular goal. If only I could reach my professional goals as quickly.)
I pray for more sleep, less noise and just a suggestion of something resembling personal space.

After nursing my youngest son 3-4 times a night lately, the mornings are not met by me with delight or vigor. Hence my previous posts below, which are admittedly attempts to cheer my sullen ass up.

I didn't realize Motherhood would be this, for lack of a better word, hard. I love my children. I do. I mean, I love these boys more than donuts. And let's face it, I never met a Krispy Kreme I didn't like. (Though, here's a hot tip: If you like donuts, and you live in Vancouver, where there is no Krispy Kreme nearby, go to the little kiosk in the Granville Island market. When they are just brought out of the fryer and freshly glazed, forget about it. Panty soup!)
Anyhoo, I love my boys and I love donuts but neither is keeping me happy these days.
I mean, really happy.

I don't know if I have a touch of Postpartum blues or if I'm just generally grumpy. I know that I tend to view life on the negative side of that dastardly barbed wire fence. You know, the fence that separates me from my professional hopes and dreams, which are always it seems on the other side. Yes, I know the grass is greener there and yes, I know I should bloody well stop belly aching already.

I have so much to be thankful for: A loving husband, two beautiful children, lots of food, a roof over our heads and, most importantly, everyone in my little family is healthy (aside from the cold we all share at the moment). So with all there is to cherish, why I am I feeling like such a cantankerous git?

I think it's because, for me, motherhood alone is not enough. I know there is profound value in raising excellent people and that is obviously my goal. It's just that I am feeling lost in the process. I still regret that my career flat-lined years ago. I've since begun a different business and I've done fairly well at it but even that feels exhausting given that I've taken time away from it to have another baby and the prospect of rebuilding it places me at the beginning of a long and uncertain road. I don't know what is at the end of it. Will I fail as I did in my acting career?

Will I ever become a success?

My husband tells me regularly that I already am a success and that I need to stop looking to a career to prove it to myself. But I don't know how to do that. How do I stop and accept myself where I am, exactly as I am? Because, I don't want this to be all there is. I need more. I need to feel that I am giving to this world as a woman and an artist and not just as a mother.

Hence, my discontentment. And if I'm being honest, I would have to ask myself - is this a new feeling or is it something that visits my neck of the woods on a somewhat regular basis?

When was the last time you woke up happy? I mean for no good reason. Just because you did. I can tell you precisely when that happened for me. It was my 35th birthday, almost two years ago. It was a Monday and I woke up just as pleased as can be. I had no reason to be happy on that particular day. It's not like I wake up on most birthdays thrilled to pieces. (It's just another excuse to eat cake in my books. And that's fine by me.) And certainly, on this day there was a lot to be decidedly unhappy about. My husband was unemployed at the time, having been laid off a few months earlier, along with his entire department due to the recession. Our son was 10 months old and we were living off my husband's EI cheques while he looked for work and going more and more in to debt as the months hobbled along. I was many, MANY pounds overweight, still carrying that pesky baby weight that just wouldn't go away.
I had no job (my acting career was in the shitter), no prospects for work (the TV/FILM industry was all but collapsing around me and the projects I tried to direct myself flopped). I had no idea if or when life would get any better.

Yep. I sure had no reason to be happy. But that day, on my 35th birthday, I woke up happy just the same. I was delighted to be me. I was thankful and eager to experience the day before I even got out of bed. I smiled at myself in the mirror. I was tickled to be alive.

It was the only day I can remember ever waking up being pleased to be myself. No outward circumstances were determining my mood. Nothing was different outside of me. It was me that was different. I had changed that day internally. Somehow I had lifted the blanket of doom and gloom without intending to and I simply felt a joyful peace in every moment of that day.

Now, I don't mean to suggest that I have been angry, sullen, moody or depressed every other day of my life except for that one. What I am saying is that I woke up happy that day without trying. There was no effort required. It was easy and freeing and fabulous. I actually winked at myself in the mirror. (I even considered going to Sears to get a portrait taken of myself to commemorate the event.) It was a beautiful, liberating thing and I loved it!

So that is the goal. To allow that feeling to happen again and again.

Hence the reason for the change in my blog's title from I Ate Enough To Stop The Heart Of A Donkey (which, believe me, I have) to something that is a little more relevant and necessary in my life's path, The Happiness Detective. I'm going to make it my business to do a little daily investigating to find that innate joy in my life again.

And I hope to be more than happy to let you know what I come up with.


Yours in the quest for bliss,

The Happiness Detective


Joydance said...

hey ER
a friend posted this link on his facebook page the other day. it inspired me and maybe you will like it too
i love your writing

Trysh said...

I too love your writing. Possibly a book in your near future?

lifewithB.O. said...

Check out the following link:, most of the site is kind of silly, but I subscribe to the daily joyride and I can tell you that even though the quotes may not be the happiness inspiration you search some of them are so corny you'll have to laugh...
Have a great day!