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Subject:Anxiety and getting Older
Time:10:38 am
.....not sure if the 2 correlate but I find the older I get, the easier anxiety and panic take hold. I have had issues for years with depression and some anxiety. I just always called myself the ultimate introvert.
I am now 46 years old and I find in the last few years my anxiety has at times become immobilizing. I dread calling people on the phone. I dread meeting new clients an people. I get panicked having to go into an unfamiliar situation to the point where my stress levels become almost unmanageable.

In the last few months I started seeing a psychotherapist to deal with present and past issues. Due to some trauma I have experienced with spousal and abuse issues, I apparently also have PTSD.
I do not deal with my anxiety through medication (not yet anyway). I try therapy, exercise, journalling (when i remember)and brief moments of meditation. I am not normally the type to talk openly about issues (which drives my husband crazy) but I am slowly trying to do so.
The last 2 weeks have been particularly interesting for me. I am taking a more active role in my business and this means dealing with suppliers, clients, making phone calls etc. It is very difficult. more difficult than alot of people realize but I have managed with only a brief, nervous break down last Friday where I found myself stopped in a parking lot, crying and screaming in my car.
Is it age? Is my hysterectomy? Is it the knowledge that these issues has stopped me from succeeding for so long that I am now angry at myself?
The funny thing is, that I know what I need to do..some days I do it with relative ease and other days I will postpone and put things off to a point where it aggravates me and those around me.
Do I give in and talk to my doctor about meds? Do I push through and hope there are more good days than bad?
There is no black and white answer except keep trying; which I do. Some days are better than others. I don't want to give up but it's tempting at times.
I love life and my family too much to give up. I love myself and the possibilities too much to give in to the doubt and anxiety...on a good day.
I wake up every day trying to be positive and then i have a set back or an upsetting phone call or I am asked to do something that makes me uncomfortable. thing most people deal with every day with no issue.
I have issues....today is not a good or a bad day. I am here and trying to make sense of it all. I have peoplE who love me.
Onward I will go.

H. McALendin
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Subject:Identity....
Time:11:16 am
Thinking a lot about my identity today. My cultural and family identity specifically.
What makes me who I am?
Does my last name make me who I am? Is it the family from which I get my DNA that makes me who I am? Is it my sexual identity or my family by marriage?
For many years I thought my background to be Irish and French. I am finding out that on my bio father's side of the family I am also Scottish and Scandinavian and NOT Dutch as I was told. I have also found out that through family error way back when...my last name should have been spelled McAlinden and NOT McAlendin. Originally from County Fermanagh, and later prominent in Counties Armagh and Down and NOT County Mayo as I was also lead to believe. I also may have English and once again Irish/French and English on my maternal Grandmothers side of the family. It is fascinating how a families history can change with the passage of years and memories..
First and foremost I am a Canadian but what does that mean? To which cultural identity do I or can I adhere too?
Most of all is it important?
For me, family and where my family origins are, are important. It gives me a sense of tradition to pass on to the next generation. But, I am slowly finding out that many traditions may not be what I learned growing up.
So, do I make up my own traditions. Do I take bits and pieces of what may or may not be part of my family background as incorrect as they may be? Or do I do the research and find my own truth?
It's interesting to discover where the familial path may lead. All in all I suppose I have to expect that my DNA is part of me and my heart and soul is another. Can all be blended?
Family is incredibly fascinating as is history. As a reader and a writer I love to research and read about things that are of interest.
I like to think that family is the backbone of my identity and within that I can be creative and discover new and wonderful things about myself. This, like life is a never ending journey.
Onward I go!




Heather McAlendin (Neilson/McAlinden/Gibbons/Tache and on...)
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:The Past....
Time:01:59 pm
I am 45 years old and on a journey of self love and discovery.
Why?
I have long neglected certain parts of myself and my personality in hopes it would would appease or please others.
I have long neglected my desires and longings in hopes it would compensate for the damaged message others have rooted deep inside me.
How did these messages take hold? How did my psyche become so damaged that I can not even look in the mirror without shrinking in disgust or discomfort? Self preservation.
Why did I take on so many failure messages that even my successes big or small never seem enough? There are many reasons. Many things I could blame on others. Many things I could continue to hate about situations and relationships and life in general.
I have spent a large part of my teenage and adult life cringing, shrinking, putting up with, ignoring, casting aside, feeling inferior, depressed, self loathing.
I am in counseling and learning a lot about where these things come from and what they will lead too.
Hopefully the more I learn about why I resort to past failure messages instead of being happy and grounded in the present the more I will become the person, wife and mother I want to be.
In the here and now I have to be content that I am doing and have done the best I can until I learn more.
It's never easy confronting your past and truly learning to leave it there. Memories are like shadows they go away when the sun comes out but in the dark, in my head they replay and challenge me and bully me. I have to be strong enough to deal with them and I will be. One day at a time.
In the meantime, I will learn and grow and stay positive that lessons learned with set a good example for my child and make me a better partner to my love and husband.
Does it matter what others think about my journey? My initial response would be yes, of course it matters. BUT, I am learning it doesn't matter what others think. They don't live my life or walk in my shoes. I have to do what is right by me; love me; stand up for me and discover who I truly am.
I want my adult and golden years to be ones spent loving and learning and experiencing the fullness of life. I am worth it. We all are.
Onward I go, but for today.....I am good enough. Tomorrow is another day.


Heather McAlendin
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:Hatred...fear...intolerance...disrespect and ignorance.
Time:11:57 am
Whew..long title that covers so many issues.
In the last week I have seen more disrespect and hatred online directed toward those who are LGBT, Christian, muslim and native canadians.
WTH????
This is 2015 right? I have not gone back to Nazi Germany during the WW2? We don't live in 1940? Are we not supposed to be a progressive, open thinking, democratic society? I had thought over all people were becoming more open to differences and tolerance.
Do we not ALL have something to learn and teach one another?
YES, I am a white, christian female. BUT, i am also an educated free thinker, open to new ideas and ideology as long as it's purpose is not to hurt or exclude anyone from being a human.
Foolishly that is what I though the world was inhabited by...HUMAN BEINGS. HUMAN BEINGS of different races, shapes, religions, sexualities...etc., ect.
With the accessibility to information you would think people would think or get educated before they speak.
WAKE UP FOLKS!! Our common bond is being humans with families, hurts, loves, jobs, relationships etc.
Why do we continue to allow our lives; our thought processes to be ruled by fear and ignorance? What the hell is that teaching the next generation.
HATRED of any kind is NOT OK.
JUDGEMENT of those you do not know is NOT OK.
If you don't like something or someone then turn off the tv, change the channel, scroll past them. Why be rude or disrespectful? What does that get you?
Is it such a desire to maintain an air of superiority that you feel you need to crap on everyone who is different? Were you disrespected or hurt in some way that much as a child or young person? There is THERAPY for that! Bullying everyone who has a different train of thought from your own is WRONG.
Do you not realize you have children around you that watch and listen to you? Impressionable young minds who are struggling with their own ideology and identities? Or are so wrapped up in being self righteous that children, young people, humans don't mean anything more to you than an ant you'd crush under your shoes?
As a Christian and spiritually open person I forgive you but not everyone will be that way. Your children, hopefully all will never have to face any gender identity, religious or sexual issues. And if they do, hopefully in time they will forgive you for your close mindedness.

Understand the world is not just about and for you. It is for EVERYONE!



My two cents....rant over.

Heather McAlendin
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:Discovering my bliss...
Time:11:08 am

Long ago and far away I was a poet, a dreamer, a photographer, an artist who enjoyed the process. It was natural for me to draw, to write and take pictures of anything and all things.
As i have grown up, i have found i have lost the desire to dream; to get dirty; to take out my crayons and colour just for me.
The simple joy of putting colour together or words on paper lost something. What did it lose? ME!
I am finding out in middle age that growing up does NOT mean you have forget to be true to your spirit. It does not mean the simple things that brought joy from in your early years can not be tapped yet again!
I have written books and had a few published which is a huge accomplishment but I lost the joy in writing for fun. I got too caught up in why I wasn't popular; or making royalties; or had a fan base. I allowed jealousy of other writers who seemed to easily slip into the publishing industry and make money no matter what they chose to write.
I use to draw and paint. I got to a point where I lost my ability to create just for the sheer joy of it. I got lost in comparing what I did to others who didn't seem to try at all, it just came naturally and they enjoyed success.
What is success though? Is it derived from money or in the act of creating all on it's own?
I used to make jewellery and even tried to sell it. Everyone said my creations were "fantastic" but no one bought anything and yet others were actually making an income from making earrings and necklaces and bracelets. Once again I stopped because I thought myself a failure.
At the age of 45, I am learning and absorbing many lessons I should have learned many years ago. Joy is simple. It is us that make it and life so complicated.
I get joy from reading a good book; from writing a simple poem; from putting words to paper. I get joy from colour and from music and from taking pictures. I will likely never make a living from any of these things but I want legacy to leave the younger generation. NEVER! EVER! give up what brings you joy; makes you smile; gives you peace.
NEVER, EVER allow your spirit to be overshadowed any the disapproving glances of others who DO NOT live your life. Life is too short to not spread your wings and breath in bliss.
I have begun writing poetry again and slowly allowing that part of me that has been dormant to wake up and live in the present.
WHY? Why the hell not? I don't need your permission. I need my own. That is my power and I am taking it back.
Live. Love and laugh!

Heather McAlendin
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:Beauty, age and other preconceived notions after a hysterectomy...
Time:11:05 am
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Subject:E.L. James and Twitter...or...Here we go again??!!
Time:11:18 am
Okay, I will admit to being one of thousands of writers who have torn a strip off of E.L. James for her horrendously, written, twilight fan fiction (50 Shades of "Whatever").

To put it out there, for a woman who seems to know seemingly little about relationships and any sort of adult lifestyle (in this case BDSM) she sure does garner quite a bit of attentions, following and money. Kudos to her marketing team, publisher and publicist. She got in on the ground floor of a newly burgeoning erotica resurgence and cashed in HUGE!

Yesterday she did a twitter Q and A with "fans", most of which were blocked if they confronted her with anything less that adoration. And publicly wondered why she was getting some "interesting" questions and remarks. Really???

I have watched the back and forth on social media some for and most against this woman, her writing and what that writing stands for. Those for her are crying rivers over the fact that anyone would take her to task about what the drivel she writes and her simplified glorification of abusive relationships and total butchery of the BDSM lifestyle.

What I find most interesting about the discourse is that those trying to defend her are mostly upset about that fact she was confronted at all. SERIOUSLY? E.L. James is now an internationally known published writer and like it or not that puts her on the hot seat. In a democratically run society and with freedom of thought and speech, readers have the right to ask whatever they like and think whatever they like about her work. AND like any other writer, myself included E.L. James has the right to write any genre or style of books she wants to and her publisher can choose to publish it or not.

Kudos go hand in hand with disagreement. Positive comments go along with negative. We as writers or in any business will be critiqued and criticized. People will not always like us or what we do. AND?????

It's all a part of putting yourself out there. If you can't handle it then don't do it. And certainly once you are a public figure don't run and hide from those who have made you your money and may or may not like what they bought.

We are all entitled to our opinions and social media makes this easier to do than ever before. So for those who, like me don't particularly enjoy E.L. James's work...then don't buy it! For those that enjoy it...then buy as many copies of it as you like. BUT...on either side of it respect the fact that there will be discourse about her work simple because of the genre itself.

Let's all agree to disagree and got on with. We are giving this subject and this write way too much of our precious time. Get on with life! She is certainly getting on with hers.

My final two cents on this subject. Onward I go to continue writing my own "drivel" LOL


Heather McAlendin
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:Two weeks and feeling fine....well....almost.
Time:10:13 am
It's been almost 2 full weeks since my surgery and I must admit I am feeling much better. Still tire easily and soreness comes and goes but much better. I have started walking to increase my stamina. I will certainly enjoy the day when the doctor says I can get back to a bit more exercise. I miss my weights and yoga!
This all has become somewhat of a spiritual and physical journey for me. I have been forced to focus more on myself and my health and i am learning a lot.
I have become more aware of my body and the messages it is sending me. I am much more aware of what I am feeding my body and of the rest I am giving it. Although the last 9 months have been one of change for me in terms of fitness and diet this has had a deeper effect on how I view myself as a woman and a human being.
Last October I weighed 210 pounds....I was depressed and felt ill a lot; did not sleep well. I slowly took charge of my health in terms of food and exercise but was still neglecting my inner self and pushed though any pain and ill health because I felt "I had to". I had so many other depending on me.
These last few weeks have turned the tide in that I am allowing others to take care of some necessary chores etc., so that I can focus on me and my healing. What a change in perspective!
Life is doing just fine without my struggle to stay abreast of every little thing going on. Imagine that!!! LOL
I have had my surgery; am healing well; my weight is down to 178 pounds as of today and I am resting while still being able to do necessary paperwork for our business and fitting in some writing.
Living in the moment and day to day rather than in the past or so far in the future it caused me stress is odd but satisfying in a way I never thought possible.
Overall, at the end of all this I will be abetter person; better Mom; better wife and a much better me! The trick will be maintaining this once I am recovered and back into the mix of it all. I will have to be selfish about my "me" time and NOT feel guilty about it.
It's this simple.....I live my life. My health and well being is important and I will do what I have to to maintain that.
You deserve the same!!!



Heather McAlendin
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:POST Hysterectomy
Time:10:55 am
One week ago yesterday I had a complete hysterectomy (only left my ovaries). NOT a fun surgical experience.
I was prepped; had a catheter inserted; made to encase my legs and thighs in tight fitting compression stockings (reduces chance of blood clots)and undergo 2.5 hours of laproscopic surgery combined with vaginal retrieve of my uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes. All under general anesthetic.
FUN STUFF!!! NOT!!!!
I awoke to feeling disoriented and nauseous which lead to power puking; 24 hours of morphine injections; antibiotics and anti nauseous medications. Not the most feminine of situations considering the removal of some of my most feminine parts.
Don't get me wrong. The surgery was necessary as I was dealing with fibroids, scar tissue and an enlarged uterus which for months lead to copious amounts of blood loss (flooding); anemia and general feeling crappy.
I am thankful for a fantastic surgeon and recovery staff at a wonderful hospital. I can say I had the best of care and for that I am immense grateful.
Now I am in recovery mode at home. This believe it or not is the hard part.
I am a lousy sick person. Day 7 at home and I am restless, cranky, tired and achy. I can not even drive for another week; can not carry a laundry basket or anything heavier than a "newspaper" In fact I have 5 more weeks of this before I can even get cleared to get back to my normal life. Sex will be non existent for 3 months until I am healed internally.
Overall I feel not too bad but nature knows best and the healing process inside takes longer than some will admit too. I am NOT pushing my limits even though I want too. I can not take the chance of infection or opening my healing body internally. Serious stuff.
On a good day it's hard for most of us to listen to our bodies, pay attention to the signals of healing and be kind to ourselves.
TRY BEING FORCED INTO IT!!!!
As a woman and a business owner it's doubly difficult. I am very used to being in the role of caregiver; organizer; taxi cab driver; CEO etc. (as most women will attest to). So to have to rely on others for the simplest tasks drive me bonkers!
I am very thankful i have a wonderfully patient husband and a great son who are taking time out to check in on and care for me even when I grumble about it.
I have thought alot lately about what it would mean to literally lose a part of myself that helped make me a mother. It's harder than I thought.
A woman's body is specifically made to carry life and bring it into the world and even though I am almost 46 and had not wanted children for many years it's sad now that this part of me is missing. It's not as overt as losing a breast. It's not that obvious because my reproductive organs are inside me but the mourning process is similar. I was not quite prepared for that.
There is a danger of depression due to this and as I have a predilection toward anxiety and depression as it is I am trying very hard not to fall into this dark hole.
We as women need to discuss this part of the hysterectomy process. We normally figure that the healing process is just physical but it's not. It's psychological and emotional as well.
Although it's a foreign though most days we, as women need to STOP and TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES!!!
We need to start acknowledging what is that make us different from men and embrace that fact. We need to start reaching out to one another and embrace each other as sisters and talk about all these issues. We should NOT be shamed of being women nor be ashamed of NOT BEING MEN! Our physical and emotional needs and physical make up are different. Cherish that fact!
And if you are having a shit day due to your period, your surgery, your cancer, your menopause......SAY SO! Get it out and then accept the gifts the universe gives you. The gift of wonderful friendships; understanding; peace of mind; healing.
I am healing right now in many different ways. And starting to feel more like a woman despite this surgery.
Life is a process and it never stops no matter what age you are. Let's learn; grow and share what we learn with younger woman so they are prepared for this life.

Just my two cents.
Be back soon!


Heather
http://mcalendin.com
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Subject:Kindness of strangers...
Time:09:02 pm
Thursday is surgery day. I must admit even though I know what to expect, I am still nervous. A hysterectomy is fairly serious and I am not looking forward to so much down time. I am blessed too have the support of many family members and friends both old and new.
Speaking of support, it sometimes comes from those you least expect it. Hubby and I recently met some lovely people. "J" is an open, kind hearted woman who has already offered her care and support. Amazing from someone I barely know.
It's the kind of gesture that is life affirming. How wonderful too know there are still kind hearted people in the world.
Life goes on...as will I but its nice to know there are angels around to help out.
Onward and upward.

Heather
mcalendin.com
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