Sunday, December 31, 2017

Architects.

It's almost 2018, you guys.

I know two posts a day apart are unlike me, but maybe it's the crippling anxiety I feel in my throat as 12:00 approaches that made me come here. Maybe it's because I know so many are feeling the same and I hope we can all sit together, wait it out, hold virtual hands until it passes, and hope that 2018 can be a better year.

2017 has been bad for a lot of us on a lot of levels.

Hurt.
Loss.
Pain.
Struggle.

I cannot say I know anyone who has not been touched by any of the above this year, and I feel that as we get older we experience more and more but I am not sure we hone our skills to deal any better.

I started to burn out in 2017. I know that makes a lot of people roll eyes, snicker and question my strength, but I did. It happens.

I'm not being self centered or selfish when I say I care a lot.

I care a lot about the industry I am in and everyone in it.
I care about those I love and I love with all I have.
And I care about things I have no power over and let them consume me.

It's who I am.

And though I make promises, have hopes and try to prepare myself for when the clock strikes 12:00, I know that there are emotions that will overwhelm me and a wave that will consume me while I try to stand strong against its force.

And I will, I know, but I hate that feeling.

The choking, smothering feeling when you feel like you're drowning and have to muster up the strength to say, "NO! I'll fight you off and I'm going to get through this to start anew. I'm going to be great and I'm going to get there."

I know I'm not alone.

So, for anyone who might be feeling the same - the dread, the anxiety, the worry, the pain, the hope, the begging the universe to just let things work - know we are all sitting, hoping, wondering, wishing, and that none of us are alone.

And I wish you all peace, love, kindness, and that all your wants and desires come true for 2018.

You deserve it.

We deserve it.

And maybe we're all due our moment.

"Do you still believe in all the things
That you stood by before?
I hope they're on the front lines
Or at home keeping score
Do you care to be the layer of the bricks that seal your fate
Or would you rather be the architect
Of what we might create?"

Saturday, December 30, 2017

All my Mistakes...

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve.

Everyone is doing their writing and jotting now, thinking about what a piece of trash 2017 was and how we'll all make 2018 better if it kills us. We're filling notebooks and flashcards and blogs with hope and regrets and promises to the universe that we are convinced we will put our minds to and make happen to make it all a little better.

I guess this is my turn.

2017 was a piece of work.

Things looked up.
Things fell down.
Things grew in different directions.
Things moved away.
Things moved closer.
Things changed.
And things started anew.

I've never been one to be retrospective on time or years. I've always considered it a futile exercise since it is a constant repetition and cycle of one shit year coming to an end and hoping the next will be better, yet it follows along and so it goes until we ring in the next one and watch for our community on the NTV New Year's Eve roll.

But here I am. I guess 2017 has been different on a lot of levels and I feel like it is coming to a close in a way I never expected it to - with a lot of hope and promise.

Or maybe I'm just getting old and this is the type of shit you do when you're old. Either/or...

I've learned some lessons in 2017, some the hard way and some that just come by the way life tends to run at us like a freight train and makes us question if there isn't some weird sequel of the Truman Show happening.

Some key lessons 2017 taught me:

- People change, paths change, and that's okay. There will be damage, scars, hurt and things left in the dust with a lot of questions but it will all work out. Every ding in the armour just helps shape it and make it yours.

- If there's something you're missing that used to be a part of your life and made you happy, go back there. Lacing up my skates again this year was mine and I don't know what I would do without the sport and the people it has brought back with it. If a piece of yourself is missing, go get it back.

- Happiness must be paramount.

- There is ugliness in the world (okay, a damn load of it), but there is also good. Find it.

- There are people out there whose paths are waiting to be crossed to make you feel like your world is being blown up, and all of a sudden they're the most important people in your life. And that initial explosion will make you ask a lot of questions and wonder who is writing the script, but you'll never want to change a thing and know that this is where you are meant to be.

- All our idols are mortal. They're going to die. And it sucks.

I know there are more but that will do for now.

For 2018 I'm not going to make any huge resolutions or commit to any big life altering "self care" regimes because a previous blog post should tell you what I think of all of that. I'm healthy, I'm fine, I eat well but I also like to eat shitty and I drink a lot so suck it, resolutions, I'm happy with who I am.

What I will do is throw a bone to the new year and ask it to be:

Kind.
Forgiving.
Peaceful.
Not a tire fire.

And if the new year could answer that tiny wish I've been tossing out to the universe for the past while I wouldn't be opposed to that either.

What?

I'm allowed to be a bit of a hopeful, optimist sometimes.

And throw in a threepeat of Pens Cups while you're at it.

2018, you don't have big shoes to fill, but that doesn't mean you need to be a slacker.

And I'll even be cheesy enough to say I have a feeling this year will be the first year of the rest of my life.

"But I can't go back
And I don't want to
'Cause all my mistakesThey brought me to you."

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sanctuary.

Tomorrow I head home to my cove. I've never been one to turn off, take vacation, reset, unplug. I've decided to do it this time and I cannot wait.

A month.

Christmas.

I'm not ready for Christmas this year. Like so much, it has come at me fast and I'm not ready. I'm just going to let it happen and try to get through. It's all I can do, really.

Up goes the armour. Deflect! Deflect! Deflect!

Christmas is a hard time of year for a lot of folks. Over the past week I've seen some important posts from friends, read about loss, mental health, struggle and pain. And Christmas seems to amplify all of that with a thousand swords.

I get it. It's a brutal time of year with the pressure for perfection. Picture perfect. Everyone is perfect on here, eh? Funny, that.

I'm not.

It's been a long couple of months. A lot of changes, a lot of new, and lot of different. I still can't say I understand it all or know where everything is going but these past few weeks have been especially different and new.

The old adage of the world working in mysterious ways is far too real now. There are often things that come at your like a freight train that you could have never predicted but would not change for anything in the world, no matter how difficult or challenging.

Sometimes those things come at you hard at vulnerable times but make you realize you're ready to fight for something and be stronger than you thought you were.

And there's promise. Promise in those wonderful things. So much to look forward to and I know it will all work out, even though it might seem like the universe is throwing everything for a loop and tossing in every wrench it can.

Power through.

Maybe I'm being too positive and hopeful.

Maybe I'm watching too much Nashville and getting caught up in storylines of what haves and what could bes and devotion.

Maybe.

I don't know.

All I know is I'm going to get through Christmas.
I'm going to get through new years.

And 2018 holds promise that 2017 has only sparked.

It's going to be good and I know it.

This is it.

"Turn the light off, go to bed
Tell me all about the day you had
Lay beside me, it's time to rest
You can close your eyes, you've done your best

Let me be your sanctuary
Let me be your safe place to fall
I can take away your worries
The refuge from it all

All this time
We have together
Is our shelter from the rain
I will share the weight you carry
Let me be your sanctuary."

Monday, December 4, 2017

Self care.

Well, buddy, it's been a week, let me tell you.

The house is in shambles and my brain is in shambles and life feels like it's in shambles sometimes but it's time to take a deep breath, focus and clean it all up.

But there are some good things. Hopeful things. Things that make me happy when I wake up in the morning and make me believe everything works out in the end.

When life comes at you hard and things change, isn't it funny how many Ann Landers-esque folks crawl out of the woodwork to tell you just exactly what you need to do, or should do, or what you should eat/listen to/watch/do/drink/join.

B'ys.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, I know, but knock off.

#unsolicitedadvice

Know what grinds my gears? "Self care."

Whatever self care is, if we could bottle it we'd cure the Israel-Palestine conflict, apparently.

Self care.

"You need to take time for yourself! Get a mani-pedi! Take a bath! Go get yo' hurrrrr did and be fierce!"

Well, guess what, Susan, those of us who don't get mani-pedis on the reg, and shower quickly and shave our legs while we're eating breakfast halfway in and halfway out of the shower if we eat breakfast at all, do not generally do it because we choose to not take care of ourselves.

I take care of myself.

I run hard, train hard, beat the crap out of myself at hockey and eat generally well. I also drink a lot of wine and eat dip in the shed.

Shit depends on us and, quite honestly, having a $75 set of gel nails won't make me feel like I have my shit together.

And I am fierce. And I get my hurr did. Every 8 weeks and my roots are out right now. It doesn't bother me.

So, please, do not suggest that, for some reason, the fact that things are a little upside down means any of us do not take care of ourselves. The concept of "self care" is subjective and what makes you feel good is not necessarily what care means to the rest of us.

And nails are a stupid waste of money anyway.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Not Ready to Go...

Yeah, it's been a Trews week. The Trews are deadly.

This post is a bit different. I'm usually here being vague and rambling, not really making a whole lot of sense but thanks for reading, anyway.

I never really talk much about specifics. About me. But tonight I figure I had might as well top the other night's emo vent session with something a bit more positive.

For those of you who have gotten here from, most likely, Twitter, it is not news that I run. I'm a runner. I've been a runner for 12 years now.

Shit. When did that happen?

I have a love-hate relationship with running. We've had our ups and downs and we've come out with a mutual understanding. I don't hate it, I don't love it, but we co-exist and I kick its ass sometimes to make myself feel better.

Tonight was a bit of a turning point for me, so I think I'd like to get it out there. Maybe it will inspire some folks. Maybe it will make someone say, "Running is stupid. Thanks for turning me off it." Whatever makes y'all happy.

I was always fairly athletic in high school, but never ran. I ran when we had to at practices.

I figure skated competitively, played a scattered game of hockey, played 4A basketball (and lord almighty, was I shitty and it turns out my aggression on the court isn't welcome in high school basketball...PSA: don't elbow and then shake the nuts you don't have at some missus from King's Cove. It will get you ejected), and I played broomball.

Looking back, I was an asshole in all sports. Imagine.

Anyway, after I went to university and my metabolism slowed to that of a reptile, I blew up. You see, I'm essentially a puffer fish. I can look at a cookie and my ass grows three sizes that day. It sucks, but it's under control.

But then I was 200 lbs. The high school athlete (who died for smoking darts in the trench and was also student council president and debate champ because everyone needs to be well-rounded) was 200 lbs.

I was so uncomfortable.
Self conscious.
I had grown up with a lot of pressure that skinny was important.
Not strong, skinny.
The numbers on the scale were how your value was weighted first and foremost.

I needed something I could do between my crazy work and school schedules, so I picked up a pair of sneakers and went to the Field House. I was petrified. I stood there watching people work out and I left. I went back the next night, late. I got on the treadmill.

I was a high school athlete. I could do this running thing. Right?

Wrong.

I got on the treadmill, ran for less than two minutes and vomited in the bathroom.

From there I got determined. I started going regularly. And the weight came off. But the obsession started. I ran and ran and ran, and I ate less and less and less. And the number plummeted, which was good, right?

190...180...170...160...150...90.

I was 90 lbs. I wasn't well. But I ran. It helped me cope with the stress of school and trying to be perfect and all of that shit.

(Fuck that shit, by the way...I learned a lot).

Eventually I began to wake up and realize that there was more to being successful and "in shape" than numbers on a scale. So, I started looking into running properly and what it would take to make it a sport I could possibly compete in and stroke that competitive streak I had in high school.

Fast forward to 2012 and I was running varsity cross country for MUN. I was a 30 year old graduate student, the second oldest on the team and my team mates referred to me as Nan Wilder since I was the forever student.

I made that damn travel team though and I kicked down barriers. I trained my ass off and ran like my house was on fire. I was in the best shape of my life. I was strong.

After that season, I got sick. I was out of commission with pneumonia for a bit and bouncing back was hard.

Everything blew up when I buckled to pressure. Art, my XC coach, had been feeding me workouts that I was half-assing, and picked me top 10 in his Tely picks for 2013. I wasn't ready. I went out hard.

And I was puking on someone's lawn on Topsail Road at about 3 miles in. I bombed it so badly that I cried and couldn't stop crying in the damn field afterward.

FYI - I hate the Tely. HATE.

I got down. The weight went back on. I couldn't shake it. I lost my motivation and I found my times crashing every time I would race. I would stitch, I would nearly vomit running paces that were a joke for me a year earlier. I got discouraged and I quit.

In 2016 I decided I had enough. I was sick of it. I decided I needed help getting back and a friend recommended his sports nutritionist who is also a triathlon and running coach (I'm also a triathlete but I love it so it does not deserve to be here...except swimming. Fuck swimming).

Enter Tara Postnikoff.

Tara is a miracle worker. She's a kickass athlete herself and she figured me out. She put me on a strict nutrition plan to kickstart to metabolism and get strong again. God, I missed the wine. She let me drink during the playoffs though. She isn't a monster.

And the weight went down, and the times went down. 2016 was a good year. I wasn't where I was in 2012 but I was on my way.

And 2017 has been even better. This year I hit almost every distance at a PB, minus the damn 5K but I stitched in the race I was on pace to hit. That one will be mine this spring.

Oh, and I even hit my Tely goal. I never hit my Tely goal.

Tara and I chatted this week about going hard again, putting my head into it and she asked if I was ready. I told her yes.

I looked at the workout for today and I almost threw up. There was no way I could hit those paces and I wasn't going to hit all 10 reps. No way. My confidence has been shot for years and my head sometimes gets the best of me. Not to mention I played a game of hockey tonight where I was the absolute shits and my legs wouldn't move.

But I talked myself into lacing up the sneakers and I ran.

And I hit every rep about 10-15 seconds faster than goal pace. Some sub 4s. I never thought I'd run a sub 4 again.

I finished the run and laughed until I nearly bawled. And I realized I'm coming back. If all goes well and I don't wind up injuring myself like an idiot I should come out of the gate this spring faster than Ive been since 2012...or faster.

I was running sub 20 5Ks back then. I can do it. I know I can.

And this is the first time since 2012 I've looked at myself and known I can do it. I just need to keep my head in it. It will come.

I'm not self centred or cocky. I'm actually the opposite and pretty damn self conscious. But I feel like I'm actually in the best shape of my life. I don't know how. But I am.

And I'm feeling pretty damn good right about now.

I know it might just seem like one good run to a lot of you and you're wondering why this has catapulted me into a different mindset. A barrier came down. One I didn't think I could get past. And I'm feeling good.

Really good.

I often lack confidence. I second guess myself a lot and I doubt myself a lot.

My confidence is back.

And I know next year is going to be the best one yet.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

"...ain't nothing wrong with a woman who got a little backbone"

Driving back from the rink tonight, on my second skate, I was thinking about how Sundays are my happy days and how lucky I am to be able to skate with a group of awesome, kickass guys and girls. The girls are all strong, confident women who kick some serious ass. I'm lucky to have found them and have so much fun during our skate up the shore.

Then there is the group of guys who accept me and don't ever bat an eye because I'm the girl.

Maybe I miss a pass a faster man could pick up, or maybe I go down on a shove a man could stand solid on. Nobody cares, and when I come to the bench I get a glove tap and a "good pass" or "good shift" or, if I'm lucky, a "good goal" (I got one of those tonight and it was dandy).

I'll flatten a beer as fast as any of you, but I digress...

This week has been a tough one, emotionally, on a number of fronts. Luckily, I was able to end it with a game of hockey with a group of awesome gals and then followed by an awesome skate with a group of equally as awesome guys.

Then I came home to see the AZ Cardinals had "punished" a QB by making him wear a Supergirl costume.

Punished.

Your punishment for being subpar is to wear a dress.

And I got angry.

I have been competing in sports my entire life. For most of my life I have spent it trying to shake off the perception that I would show up to practice in a dress and need a special dressing room because my anatomy was different.

That for some reason my dress meant I was automatically not quite as good.

Hockey was always my first love.

I grew up worshiping my dad (I still do). He played hockey - he was no Lemieux - but I spent so many nights as a kid watching him skating around the ice, handing him Shopsy's beef sticks over the glass, and being convinced my dad played for the Detroit Red Wings.

I still wear his old Cooper shin pads from the 70s.

There were so many trophies and medals. Every time he went away for a tournament he called to let me know how he was doing and always put his medal around my neck when he came home.

I learned how to compete and win from him.

I'll never forget the night mom was sick at work and my cousin, my babysitter, had to call dad at the rink. She asked me, "What team is your dad on?" and I cried so much when she told me he wasn't a Detroit Red Wing.

Why else would there be so much Wings merchandise in our house? Dad must play next to Probert.

And I will admit, I never wanted to play girls' sports. Why?

It was simple - girls' sports were the inferior sports. If you wanted to be an athlete you needed to keep up with the boys.

It was and is so wrong that the narrative to girls is if you want to be strong and competitive you need to compete against the boys. It still rots me and I still find myself comparing my progress to how I stack up against men. I guess it's ingrained in me now.

And so my dad took shots on me in the yard. I would be equipped in goalie gear as he kept firing, reminding me to never consider myself second to anyone - but that girls didn't play hockey so I needed a niche.

I played broomball with the boys instead of the girls, requiring a provincial exemption. It wasn't that the girl's team wasn't good enough - it was just that if you wanted to make it you needed to play with the boys.

"Boys play hockey. Girls figure skate."

So, I figure skated while I played hockey on Kitt Lake Steady in the woods. I figure skated to the top level achieved by any skater in our home club. I coached professionally.

But my heart was always with the boys, on the ice, and I sat by hoping for a game.

"If you ever want to play you'll have to be a goalie. They won't let you play otherwise. But they always need goalies."

I wasn't a goalie, I was a skater. I played out sometimes, but it was always on the pond. If you want a "serious" game you need to be a goalie. Then they'll come looking.

It wasn't about skill or heart but about what was needed so the boys could play. Necessity. Just picking up the slack.

I decided this year, after 20 years, to lace up my hockey skates again. I was fortunate to find a group of women who needed a spare and let me get back on the ice again. It's been 7 months now, and every skate is happier.

I've since expanded my network, gotten involved more, and my heart is full, skating with some wonderful women who have reminded me of the fun hockey can be.

But I cannot leave out the men. My allies.

After an emotional month of Weinstein, of #metoo, of the every day systemic violence and lack of action toward the epidemic of domestic violence that plagues our province and country, a post by a female hockey friend of mine - shoutout Deb Bellows - made me realize how lucky I am to have so many allies in my life.

A male friend of mine invited me to a skate a few months ago. I was super hesitant - I was a woman. I remembered being told as a kid that I had no place in the dressing room. How would I change? Surely changing with men was wrong so I shouldn't be there.

And so being a part of something I loved was quashed because of physical appearance and what I should and should not do as a woman.

Echoes of childhood rang through my head: "You'll never keep up." "They won't let you play." "You'll only get hurt."

But I went, and I am forever happy I did.

I know there are so many, but I just want to name drop a few folks who deserve thank yous for being strong allies and just generally good folks in the dressing room (and I'm not limiting it to these guys as there are many more...these are just the main folks who have been consistent over the past few months and who I adore for their comraderie, brotherhood and laughs) -

Keith Malone, Terry Doyle, Jeff Williams, Mike Hickey, Jimmy Hayes, Juan Barrett, Cyril Buckley, Leo Warren, Greg Brown, Doug King, Chad Furlong, Jon Williams, Mark Roberts, Vince Sharpe, Shane Hoskins, Nick Green, Mark Keeping, Corey Lawlor, James Dunn, Yorick Colmay, Jim Bellows, William Drover...I know I'm missing a dozen guys who play with us all the time. For that I'm sorry. I'm tired. You guys skated my ass off tonight.

Thank you for every pass you fire across but know I might miss.

Thank you for sitting around and never treating me any different (even when that means creaming me behind the net because I have my head down).

Thank you for telling me when I fuck up.

Thanks for the passes I manage to tip in.

Thank you for always being respectful.

You all rock. Seriously.

And hey, thanks for managing to not sexually harass or assault me in the dressing room when I sit around in a sports bra and hockey pants. The media tells us girls it's extremely hard for men to not do that.

So many of you are fathers and I love that you are instilling such awesome values in your kids. I listen to the stories and feel so confident in the generation you are shaping.

And thank you for helping me get back to a huge part of who I am that I have been missing for a long time now. My dad always told me he'd never seen me happier than when I would step on the ice. It's been 20 years but he is still right.

And every Sunday when I call him, driving from one rink to another, he reminds me that I'm now him at 35. He had to retire at 37 so my joke is always that I'll break his family record. My cousins playing junior and senior might give me a run for my money on that.

And that makes me feel pretty damn good about who I am.

He was the first male role model in my life who told me what I was capable of, and who told me to never listen to anyone who told me any different.

Knowing there are so many men out there who support us in what we do, and who tell their daughters and sons that the game is all about the fun, no matter what is inside your hockey pants, makes me so happy and hopeful.

Guys, you're all pretty damn awesome.





Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"In the ulcerating silence perspective comes..."

Gord Downie died yesterday. The world found out today.

Though we were all given time, nobody was ready. I don't think we ever would be.

Pulling in the driveway today, Fiddler's Green came on and then the tears came.

I think the tears came for everyone today. 

Not because a musician died - but because Gord Downie resonated with so many of us, made memories with so many of us, and even in death made his demise and the attention not about him but about the wrongs in Canada and telling us all we have a part to play in fixing them. 

Even death was not about Gord; it was about social justice. Gord was an activist through music, life and death.

Everyone is telling their Hip stories today. I never saw the Hip live. Every time they came to town I was either away or could not afford to go. I did see Gord at Folk Fest a few years ago and am forever glad I did.

Today, however, I cried. Heavily.

Ugly crying and once the tears started they wouldn't stop. I know so many can relate.

I cried for how Blow at High Dough was the soundtrack to some of the happiest times I can remember, driving to and from Terra Nova and Pitt's Pond in Ritchie Vivian's truck.

I cried for the singalongs to Boots or Hearts around the table at Steve's cabin in Pope's Harbour in the winter, nothing else around but a pack of cards, a bottle of rum and the Up to Here cassette in the radio.

I cried for sitting around with friends watching Tarzan Dan's Hit List on YTV when Bobcaygeon was new and so was our impending adulthood that would drive us all in different directions but we would always have Bobcaygeon to remind us of those days.

I cried because of all of those nights sitting around with friends and a guitar singing Hip songs was a good night. Every one.

And I know Gord Downie wrote the soundtrack to many happy parts of all of our lives, some sad ones too.

I watched the last Hip concert huddled around my laptop in an airport in Montreal last summer. As the show went on other people from all over started to come join my coworker and I.

It was the perfect example of what Gord Downie did - a dozen people from all over the world, waiting to go to a dozen different destinations, all singing along under our breath to the songs that undoubtedly shaped all kinds of different moments in all of our lives.

Today the poet left but the soundtrack continues.

Hip songs will continue to be sung in trucks on the way to camping grounds, sung around the table as friendships are forged and played in moments where friendships will start to fade and people go their separate ways. Hip songs will continue to bring people together.

And we all have a part to play in carrying on not only the music but acting on what Gord asked for - social justice, reconciliation, and loving one another.

Rest in power, Gord.






Friday, October 6, 2017

"...driving at 90 down those old country lanes"

Home.

I haven't posted in a while.

I've been busy.
Occupied.
Thinking.

I took some time after I returned from Ottawa to go home. I haven't been home since Christmas and it was long overdue.

There is nothing better for the soul than home - the salt water air, the things that complete me. I am happy here.

I have to go back tomorrow. I know I say it every time, but next time I won't stay away so long.

Velvet pony noses.
Salt water.
Sand.
Running on broken pavement and crushed stone.
Sunsets in the harbour.

I wish I could stay for another lifetime.








Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"I know I'll often stop and think about them..."

There is one consistent thing in my life - I love my job.

I am fortunate to be exactly where I wanted to be from the days when my father would bring home folders, bags, anything from our Union and I would seize it all, carrying it as a badge of pride. I couldn't wait for the Union magazine to arrive.

I idolized heroes like Lana Payne who carved a way for women to thrust our fists into the air and fight for what was right and just.

The importance of having a strong, powerful Union to fight for social justice and the industry that is entrenched in the social fabric of our coastal communities was never lost on me.

My father a fish harvester, my mother a fish plant processing worker.

My grandparents, aunts, uncles - all dependent on the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry - my home just one of the many communities reliant on the fishery for survival.

I knew where I wanted to be. There was never a question.

I grew up through a tumultuous time in the industry. I was a child of the 80s, then the 90s. I saw my community thrive, grow, fade, die, be revived, find its legs again, prosper.

I saw companies try to beat down the independence and wellbeing of harvesters, plant workers all for profit. I saw people and the community fight back and claw its way through near disaster, and prove that we are resilient.

I grew up with firsthand knowledge of "the company boats" and what that meant for the creation of a god-awful dichotomy within the industry.

I can still repeat the names of every boat in the fleet.

I saw it.
I grew up with it.
I was shaped by it.

LIFO.
Owner Operator.
Fleet Separation.
PIIFCAF.
Trust agreement.

All concepts that would mean very little to some but words that were carried daily like baggage.

As I was driving home tonight I was thinking, as I usually do lately given I spend so much time in my own head, of just how much my job means to me and how I can do more.

I lost both my grandfathers young - one at 56,when I was just 11 months old, a fish harvester and a sealer who shared his time with the lumber woods; the other at 67, when I was 3, a fish harvester who lived each day shaped by the fishery and instilled his values of hard work in his children - daughters who all became teachers and beat the odds of growing up in Spillar's Cove, and sons who all became fish harvesters and who all bleed salt water.

Some of my fondest memories entrench the fishery in my being. I look back and realize there was never another option for me - from the moment my father told me, as his father told him, to go away, get an education, and forget the fishery - "there's no future for you in it." None of us listened and we all wound up in the industry that runs through our veins. It is hard to walk away from something that is so interwoven in your fabric that it is hard to tell where you end and the salt water begins.

The past year or so has been a trying time in this industry - hell, is any year not? And I look at what a critical juncture we are at and want to fight more than ever.

I fight along some damn fantastic, strong people - old and new - who all have one end goal in mind. There have been days when I've felt pretty downtrodden and like efforts are futile, but usually a phone call or quick chat can change that. The good outweighs the negativity that tries to set in. The majority will always win out.

Every day I look around and see people who put their heart and soul into everything they do - without recognition, with criticism and often under-appreciation - and I know none of us do what we do for any other reason than trying to make a difference in this industry that built the province and who many of us are.

I'm hopeful. I'm very hopeful. There might be transition, but we will get there and prove ourselves resilient once again to move through the challenges. As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians it seems to be what we do best.

I will never take for granted why I am where I am or who shaped me. When my grandfather was being brought from our little cove in an ambulance for the last time he made my father promise he would take care of his little girl - and I like to think he somehow guides me in everything I do. I wear an anchor around my neck engraved with the name of the first boat him and dad ever fished together to remind me daily of why I do what I do.

I owe it to him - for every day he spent in the twine loft with a little girl bouncing around on an orange balloon asking questions that probably drove him near insanity, telling her what each piece of gear was for, melting spoons into hooks and jiggers, teaching her how to tie knots, dragging her around in crab boxes, ensuring she knew what hard work was and just why we need to fight for this industry.

For every night my father spent reading endless novels to me, and going through work books of math problems outside of my regular schoolwork, trying to forge a way for me out of my little cove and into something bigger - something he never felt he had the opportunity to achieve.

(Yet, he is the one who conquers a Jeopardy! board and schools me. He is the most brilliant person I know).

I always promised to fight to the best of my ability for my family, for my home and for the industry that runs through the veins of my family, so many of my friends and through every one of our members.

We have so much coming at us and coming at us fast - and we have the opportunity to make our mark on ensuring our fisheries thrive and our coastal communities are vibrant.

I can only hope I can make a difference.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Everybody's cup of tea...

It's hard to find the logic sometimes in why people do or say certain things. I've also concluded that there are few things as insulting as having your integrity questioned when protecting it is something you both work hard at and pride yourself in.

Anyhow, given that I've spent a night seething on petty comments, I figure Kacey Musgraves probably summed it up best:

Maybe your jacket is a hand-me-down
Maybe you slept with half of your hometown
In a world of squares, maybe you're just round

You can't be everybody's cup of tea
Some like the bitter, some the sweet
Nobody's everybody's favorite
So you might as well just make it how you please
Cause you can't be everybody's cup of tea

Maybe you're working in a hotel bar
Maybe you're still driving your high school car
Maybe you still don't know just who you are

You can't be everybody's cup of tea
Some like the bitter, some the sweet
Nobody's everybody's favorite
So you might as well just make it how you please

Maybe you married the wrong person first
Maybe your hair's way too long
Your sister's in jail or maybe you failed
Out of college, but hey, life goes on
We've all got the right to be wrong

Cause you can't be everybody's cup of tea
Some like it black, some like it green
Nobody's everybody's favorite
So you might as well just make it how you please

Cause you can't be everybody's cup of tea
Why would you want to be?

Monday, August 28, 2017

It's alright.

I have been trying to write a follow-up post to last week's for a few days now. Nothing I wrote ever really seemed appropriate. I don't do pity parties and I will not hold one. Everything I wrote came out that way.

I also don't like to talk. The words never come together the way I want them to. I write instead, so trying to talk to me will usually only cause walls to go up. Remember?

Paint over the holes and make the exterior look tougher...

Therapeutic.

I'm glad I held off.

It's nice when things open up a bit and the pressure seems to ease, even if there is always the hovering feeling of impending doom and the crash that comes when things start to feel too positive.

Never let anyone underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with good, like-minded people. For all the bad in the world there are always friends who will go for beers, laugh until your stomach hurts, give you hope, talk it out, vent, give advice, take advice, sweat it out on the ice, or just generally make you feel like, for even just that moment, you're doing alright.

This week I have done a lot of thinking and self reflection, even if the self reflection was often shrouded in the wet blanket the brain sometimes likes to throw on when it tries to convince you that you are worth far less than you would like to believe. Shut up, brain.

Good people, good conversations, good times, getting back on the ice and a good focus on training have all been a part of the equation of things looking up.

The world is still going to hell, McGregor lost and the Pens signed Jay McClement to a PTO and all of that sucks - but I digress.

As I drove home one day I found myself thinking:

We don't really have control of much. Sometimes we think we do - that everything that happens is somehow a product of our actions.

But, that's not right. Sometimes things happen no matter how hard you try to think you are consciously shaping the outcome, and maybe you just need to ride it out, accepting whichever way things go.

Wait and see.

As a now-retired coworker of mine would say, "Carry on as if you was normal!"

You can only try to make the decisions that will better your own lot and hope everything else follows suit. There's no rush.

C'est la vie.

After the Paradise Triathlon this Sunday, a friend of mine pulled in my driveway for a chat. We were catching up and, after saying how I never understand why the more stressed I am the faster I get and the better I race, he shrugged and gave me a piece of advice I have adopted as my new motto:

"Screw feelings, Dwan. Stats are forever."

Touche.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hey there, Mr. Tin Man.

Every time I say I am going to resurrect a blog, I fail. I use the excuse of not having the time, getting consumed with other activities, writing too much each day for writing to be therapeutic, etc.

But maybe I need to make it a therapeutic space.
Maybe I need an outlet.
Maybe I just need another space of air to yell into in an attempt to hit a release valve.
Maybe.

So, this is an attempt at exactly that.

Just the other day, sitting in a room full of hundreds of union brothers and sisters, listening to stories of torment and struggle, hardship and heartache, pleas for solidarity and help, I found myself bottoming out.

Stories of violence, hatred, systemic barriers and racism, people beaten down and written off by the selfishness of others.
Talking to a friend at home who was being gutted by the selfishness of someone he loves.
Heartache, loss.
Helplessness.
Issues much larger than the shit swirling in my own head but a space had opened just small enough to throw a magnifying glass on my own world and just enough have the pain hit me like a ton of bricks to the chest.

The week had begun with so much hope, happiness and positivity.

Now, my heart hurt, my head felt like a pressure cooker and my throat and lungs felt like I was drowning.

I walked back alone.
I went to the bar.
I drank wine.
I opened Twitter.
Charlottesville.
I opened Facebook.
I saw a friend had gotten married...while in palliative care as he was dying at 39.
I drank more wine.
I am thankful for the company of a good friend who knew something was wrong.
He walked with me in near silence to the monument at the Forks for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
I stood there.
I cried there in a circle of medicine pouches.
We walked back and for a while things were hopeful, good.

And the next day my friend died.
In the arms of his new wife.
I wouldn't make it to his funeral.
A guest speaker could not make it because she was assisting in the recovery of the body of a 17 year old indigenous youth.
A friend had his heart broken once again.

But I spent more time with good, strong people. We all talked, laughed, had fun, explored, shared stories.
I had hope that somehow, some way things would work out and things could be...just good.
That through our own strength and fight we could channel what it takes to kick the bullshit in the face.

Isn't it funny how life is a bit of an asshole sometimes? How it makes you just delusional enough to convince yourself things are going to be okay? That there is hope, happiness and maybe, just maybe, there is some good and a path to make a difference?

It's fucking hard.
Up, down, up, down, up, up, up, DOWN.
It's hard when things crash.
It's hard to see any hope when we look at the hurt, the systemic violence, the racism, the misogyny, the hatred, the broken hearts that surround us all on a daily basis.
The feeling of running in cement toward something that is never going to be attainable - happiness, hope, peace, the endless pursuit of answers and solutions - is, for lack of a better word, bullshit.

I'm tired. Actually, I'm emotionally and physically exhausted. Gutted. My heart feels empty. I feel cold. And I still don't have an inkling as to what the solution is. This isn't meant to be philosophical. It isn't meant to be anything, really, other than trying any way possible to let something out.

I've been told that I have a tough exterior, and maybe I do. But there are some things that penetrate the exterior, and when they get in it's hard to flick a switch and say, "Away with you." Sometimes things make their mark, kick a hole and it's hard to make repairs. Maybe the damage is irreparable. Who knows? Out, out, damn spot.

Maybe all we do in this life is find ways to patch holes and paint over the damage to make the exterior look tougher.

I'll be okay. It will be okay. It will have to be.

"By the way there, Mr. Tin Man
If you don't mind the scars
You give me your armour
You can have my heart."




Friday, May 19, 2017

Hello.

Every now and then I say, "I think I'd like to start a blog."

Those thoughts usually follow trying to rant on twitter and 140 characters not being enough. I have a lot to say. Most of it is not interesting.

So, here it is - my blog.

I can't promise it will be interesting, but I can promise it will probably be full of the rantings of a pissed off bayman.

And, for now, I'm too pissed off that Matt Murray will be starting game 4 to bother with this so, enjoy the game, folks. I'll leave the writing for another time.