Friday, October 15, 2010


Well, how was the 10-day break from me? In the last 10 days, I've had to come to grips with a lot of things. And right now I'm ready to reflect and digest. Because I've had 24 hours to myself while living on the Plateau in Montreal by myself to concentrate. I can't help it. It's what I do here. I decompress, I evaluate, I move on, grieve and welcome new adventures. I reset. I'm not sure if I laugh more or cry more when I'm here.

When I got out of the 60-minute wait in Immigration, I walked past the mountain of people waiting for loved ones. And every time I'm here, I dream and wish that someone would be here waiting for me. Some kind of friendly face in my favorite town. Unfortunately, Mr. Taxi Driver is usually the one who ends up with me. It was the first time since 2005 that I arrived at night. It had rained all day, and the air was cool but refreshing after standing in line with a bunch of sweaty people for an hour. I got into the cab and gave the address and cross street to the driver. He drove toward the highway and then picked up the phone and called in to have someone google where he was going for him. I thought that was hilarious. From time to time I do that for MacTroll when he's on trips, well, before the invention of the iPhone. I hate to say it but that damn thing is actually had more negative effects on our marriage than positive ones. That is, if you value communication with your spouse as a positive. 

Anyway, when he turned onto Rue Berri, I explained he could just drop me at Sherbrooke and Laval because Laval was a one way and the only way down it was going all the way up to Av. des Pins. He thanked me profusely, and I realized, as I do when the family goes to St. John. I'm becoming a regular. (Of course, the woman at Immigration also looked at my passport and said, "You're here all the time!")

I walked about 50 feet up the street to my apartment. It was the second floor, an apartment rental known as Lux Suites. It's a total guy apartment. Everything is red and chocolate brown. There are 3 TVs in an 800 sq foot place, a grill on the stove, espresso and a small container of milk in the fridge, and he was taping Elles on the ARTV channel on his DVR. I wondered if this was his bachelor pad, that they redid (so he wouldn't have to sell it) and they lease it out. But I also wondered if someone ran over here to "work on the apartment" and watch his shows. :-)  The remodel of the old building is very nice. Particular attention was paid to the lighting (every switch dims on and off with cool blue lights) and the bathroom.

The first night I sat down with my HMR meal starving. I wolfed it down and then took off to walk to the store for some fruit and vegetables and diet sodas. My preferred Fruiterie was a little far to go on a night where it looked like it could start pouring at any moment. So I opted for the lame little grocer instead. The path to the grocer takes me down Prince-Arthur, which is pretty much a pedestrian only street lined with primarily Greek, Italian and French Bistro restaurants. There's also a liquor store, a couple of quickie marts, etc. It's well lit and lots of people were walking home with groceries or going out to dinner. It's my first time in Montreal in the fall. I've only really ever been here in the summer, except for one trip in January a long time ago.

When I returned, I sat down with my food journal for my emotional eating class. (I think this is a challenge I'll always have, but it helps that Carle has a special class devoted just to this issue.) I wrote down my dinner and my night time snack, brushed my teeth and slid under the covers of my queen-sized bed. No cats to clean up, no kid to put to bed, no husband asking where his shoes are... The truth is, I spent most of my first night on Facebook. I was avoiding thinking. In the end, I'm pretty sure that's what Facebook gives me. It saddens me to know that if I left it, what few interactions I have on there with friends would stop and I'd be left behind and forgotten. But I know it's true, and I hate it. 

Today, was a different day. I got up at 7 a.m., put in my contacts, got dressed and went for a run. A restaurant on Prince-Arthur burned down last night. I do remember waking up to sirens but I thought it was because my apartment is near a medical facility. When I interned in D.C. my studio apartment backed into GW Hospital. Eventually, you get used to it. But I'm used to hearing trains in Savoy, not so much sirens, so the fact that they were coming and going for 2 hours doesn't surprise me that I wasn't all that rested at the crack of dawn this morning (and I can say that because the sun rose at 7:11 a.m. here). 

On my run, I felt like I was going to die. I originally was supposed to come up here to do a 10k on Sunday, but due to the fact that I haven't run much at all all summer, and have only had one 5.3 mile run in the last three weeks, I'm probably just going to run by myself and not go to the race. Sad, isn't it? But I'm not eating my way out of it. I'm confronting it. Dealing with it. Trying really hard to accept it. I'm not Wonder Woman, right? No matter how much my 4 year old thinks I might be or how much I want to meet that expectation.

After 10 minutes, I slowed into a comfortable pace and started thinking. Today's topic was work and future. I still have not heard anything back from Eastern regarding my transcripts. I've e-mailed 4 times since Labor Day and called twice. I'm being ignored. I find that rather rude. But they're the only ones near me that focus on nutritional education for RDs. I could do an online program, I guess, but I kind of wanted a support system. The truth is, I do too much on my own as it is. I'm feeling disconnected. 

I could apply to different programs that would require us to move, I thought. But I'm afraid of not selling our house. 

Then came the idea that I really don't want to write any more research papers in my lifetime. I sighed. Do I really want to do more school? I could. I'd do it. But it has to work with my life. And let's face it, my life has a lot of freedoms, but it's also been feeling like a very decorated, elaborate cage. 

It's not wrong to want to take care of your family. It's not wrong to identify that my relationship with MacTroll has never, ever fit in a real "normal" mode. It's not ideal, but it's our norm. There's comfort in what you know, but at the same time, our life makes me feel very much alone because I'm the only one I can depend on in the house. And I feel like my life is always around the boys. I lose sight of myself. I feel dizzy. 

And so I go forth and I make things where there weren't things before. I'm good at it: making something from nothing. I'm good at helping people. I'm useful. I'm thoughtful. I have a high level of empathy, and I'm extraordinarily good at organization. I love kids, animals and old people.  I volunteer, I organize, I work part-time, I take classes. And at a snail's pace I move forward, having no real idea of where I am going. I get an idea that makes me excited. And then two months later the bigness of it tires me. The idea still excites me, but the practicality of it happening while I live in my bubble is non-existent. 

I wonder, often, if a full-time job would give me the outlet I'm looking for. And then I wonder, what would that job be? Would it be in publishing again? Public relations? Would it be something new? 

Then something hits me. The amount of money I'd make doing one of those jobs is nothing in comparison to my husband's check. The check he receives for having a job that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of being on his phone, his computer, at the airport. The idea of it makes me feel stupid. More lonely. Less of a help to my son. I treasure our freedom, even though I know in less than a year, we'll be more structured due to kindergarten. 

Is this really how it's supposed to be? How is it that what's probably best for me, isn't, at this point, what's actually best for my family? And how do I move forward knowing that the theory: "if Mama ain't happy no one's happy" makes sense in my head, but in my heart, it tells me that the best thing for most of my family is to continue with the status quo. 

The other thing on my mind is MacTroll's future at his company. It's likely if he's to move up the ladder (likely=his boss told him, "You know if you want to move up in the future...")  he'll have to move to California. The idea of this makes me cringe. Mostly because I'm not a big fan (too many freaking people), even though we'd probably see other friends more often as they all have to come to Cupertino/San Francisco at some point or another. But those aren't friends I can leave my child with and go out on a date with, you know? They're the ones who fly in and fly out. Where would we live? How would we afford it? I'd have to go back to work, even with MacTroll's mega paycheck. And what would California (particularly in an area where everyone has to have two incomes to pay for their incredibly expensive housing) think of someone who stayed home for years to raise her child? And what the hell would that job be? Would it be better to have some full-time work experience here before going there? 

So many thoughts. So many doors and possibilities. And this is only the first 24 hours. 48 hours left... And that was all just in a 30-minute run. Know what helps you get out of that funk? A hot shower after running through the cold rain, warm clothes and a bowl of fruit for me and pastries for a friend over honest and high-quality conversation. Sully, thank you for getting me out of my funk and reminding me that I have the potential for greatness in whatever I choose to do. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that from someone today. 

In other news, it appears as if all of my emotional eating for the last six months was basically fruits and carbs. My lack of energy, hair falling out and other health issues I'd been having since May have to do with the fact that I have a protein and iron deficiency. I'm back in the HMR box for the next 5 weeks (which will help raise those levels and kind of reset my eating patterns) and then I guess I'll be having meat for Thanksgiving with a baby spinach and strawberry salad (vitamin C helps your body absorb iron). I'm also on an iron supplement, but my thyroid didn't break down, so we'll take it. 


Anonymous said...

Dana, I've got so many thoughts in response to your post that I don't know where to start. We need another coffee date! For now, may I just say thanks for your willingness to put yourself, vulnerabilities and all, out there for me and others to read. And I hope you can know how valued your contributions to the world around you are--I suspect you don't have a real sense of all the ripples spreading outward from your center. They may be quiet, but they are not small or irrelevant. See you on Curtis : ). --Molly

Leah said...

I'm having to ditto Molly!

Also, my fab cousin lives in SoCal and is a SAHM to 2 if you DO ever move there, she's one friend you could have that would get it ;)