Something About Me

A friend sent me a link to one of those online personality tests that's really a shill site for some self-improvement book. This one sticks you into one of four colour-coded 'work personality' categories. As usual, they're broadly based enough that everyone can find a bit of themselves in each category.

Interestingly, however, my results were almost dead on as far as my work personality goes. I'm Green, about which it says:
"You are an exceptionally creative problem solver who brings your ability to think outside the box to the workplace. You are a conceptual, analytical, and logical thinker. To you knowledge is power and your insatiable thirst for understanding and information is what drives you. You are an incredible problem solver but once the goal is accomplished you lose interest and need to move on. The challenge is in the ideas and not the details or implementation of your creations. Leave those things to another type that enjoys doing these things.

You are an independent worker who detests routine and prefers to work alone on projects and you often gravitate toward leadership roles. You could be a good computer programmer, scientist or researcher. You usually find entrepreneur and independent contract work appealing."

The first paragraph has me down cold. The second is a little off - I haven't really sought leadership roles, and I don't have any entrepreneurial tendencies (although I am, coincidentally enough, working as an independent contractor right now).

And it provided me with the following profile:

I am conceptual. I have an investigative mind, intrigued by questions like, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" I am an independent thinker, a natural nonconformist, and live life by my own standards.

I like to do things that require vision, problem solving, strategy, ingenuity, design, and change. Once I have perfected an idea, I prefer to move on to a new challenge.

I value knowledge, intelligence, insight, and justice. I enjoy relationships with shared interests. I prefer to let my head rule my heart. I am cool, calm, and collected. I do not express my emotions easily.
In private, I'm more emotional - and getting better at figuring out, and communicating, my emotions. But at work I'm pretty locked down.

Based on my simple not-so-random sample of one, the test passes with flying colours. So, in the name of research, take the test and let me know, on a scale of one to 11.673, how well it describes you.


Making the Leap

In light of the recent problems with Blogger's comments, I've switched to Haloscan. If you're feeling kind, drop me a note so I know it's working :-)


Losing It - Variations on a Theme

Going one (two, actually) better than Dean and Chellee, I hereby present 3 versions of how I lost my virginity. Only one is true; the others are partly true, and could have happened. It's up to you to decide which is which.

1. I'd known M since Grade 5, and we hung out with the same crowd (the smart band geeks). He’d been dating another girl in our grade off and on throughout most of high school - they broke up every couple of months or so then reconciled within a week for about 4 years. Their fights were famous, and frequent. He was very smart, very funny, and a great dancer. And short - if I wore flat heels, we were the same height.

M & I were at a party together a couple of months before graduation, during one of their 'off' periods, watching horror movies. We were sitting together on the sofa during, as I recall, Cat People with Nastassja Kinski, and I hid my face against his shoulder in one scene - not because I was particularly scared, but because it seemed like a good idea at the time. He put his arm around me, and before the end of the movie we were kissing tentatively (well, I was tentative anyhow). We didn't really date - our group didn't do formal dates - but we started hanging out together after school (he had a car and could be relied on for rides home). My mom was friends with his mom and therefore quite delighted that there was 'something' between us. I think she had us engaged and married off within a couple of weeks.

What she didn't know was that M had a well-deserved reputation for horniness and spent most of his time trying to get his hands in my pants. All my friends were sleeping with their boyfriends and as the only virgin in the group, I was more than a little curious about what I was missing. M was certainly experienced, as well as enthusiastic and persuasive, and he was a good friend so I figured I could certainly do worse for my first time. All that was lacking was the opportunity - his mom ran a daycare in their house and he had both older and younger siblings who delighted in thwarting his plans, so his place was out. His aged Audi was not particularly conducive to romance - or even plain old sex (I'd heard stories from his girlfriend). And my parents, although they trusted me to a remarkable degree, didn't go out much in the evenings, and invariably left me in charge of my brother and sister when they did. Eventually, we decided to skip school one afternoon and do the deed in my bed while my parents were at work. M would have had sex in the middle of the field at school, during a soccer game, given the opportunity, but I wanted somewhere a little more private (and comfortable) for my first time.

We'd been doing some hot-n-heavy petting for a few weeks and M was ready to go before the front door was locked behind us. We did make it to my bedroom, shedding clothes as we went, and I'd grabbed a towel on the way down the hall (dark coloured - as a voracious reader I knew what to expect). I will say this for him - M knew what he was doing (he'd brought condoms, too). No fumbling around, no misfires ... not a lot of pain, either. A little discomfort, then it was over. We had another go a while later, and a few more trysts over the next month or so, but there was never really any romance between us and sex didn't do a lot for me, so things kind of fizzled out. Eventually he went back to his off-again-on-again girlfriend, who never found out about us, and I found a more conventional boyfriend. We remained good friends for years, although he continued to hit on me whenever we were alone right up to the last time I saw him, 3 or 4 years ago (long after we were both married and had children).

2. D. was in my
Grade 12 English class, and kept showing up wherever I was - in the library, waiting for the bus (although he lived in the other direction), at the drycleaners where I worked on Friday nights ... I was completely oblivious to the fact that he was intently pursuing me. He asked me out for the first time a few weeks before grad, and we started hanging out together more and more over the summer. He was an odd guy - not in a bad way, but a defiant loner who secretly resented people who fit in. I was flattered by the attention, although in hindsight it might have been a bit obsessive. Looking back, I think I fell in love less with him than with the idea of falling in love, but at the time I believed it was the real thing.

He didn't drive, and my parents weren't all that keen on him so didn't offer their car as often as I would have liked, which limited the amount of time we spent together. He lived with his single mother, and we most of our dates making out in his basement, although I don't recall him pressuring me to go all the way very often. We watched Spaceship Yamato and he introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons.

After 6 months or so, I decided the time was right to go all the way, and went to the student clinic at the university to get a prescription for the Pill. I told him, that night, that we could start having sex in a month - I think he was a little surprised as we hadn't talked about it first. Not disappointed, of course - he was a normal, hot-blooded 19-year-old, after all. 28 days later, I had my dad's Buick Skylark, and we headed for a secluded area (one advantage to growing up in North Vancouver – lots of wooded, out of the way places to park). The back seat was too small, so we reclined the front seat all the way and started fumbling. It was the first time for both of us, and it took a while to figure out what went where, especially since we couldn't see what we were doing and weren’t willing to get completely naked (it was, as I recall, December). Eventually we got ourselves aligned, and he started thrusting. I remember a short, sharp pain, followed by a sort of abraded irritation every time he moved (which, mercifully, didn't last long). It took me longer to get the blood out of the upholstery than it did to complete the act.

After that, we had sex a couple of times a week, either in the car or in his basement when his mother was out, but I never really enjoyed it. But everyone was doing it, and I didn't have the courage to ask any of my girlfriends about their experiences. The following year, I started getting migraines, and my doctor took me off the pill, which I used as an excuse to stop sleeping with D. He settled for regular hand- and blow-jobs, but I started to resent the one-sidedness of it. We went out for another 3 or 4 months, mostly because my parents were pressuring me to break up with him and therefore I couldn't (my one act of teen rebellion - dating a marginally unacceptable guy for an extra few months).

He never spoke to me again, and I haven't heard anything about him in probably 15 years.

3. T was the drum major for the community band I played in. The usual rule was that you had to quit the band when you graduated, but that summer we were touring Germany for a month, so some of the older members stayed on. He was in first year university when I was in Grade 11, a tall, skinny blond with glasses. He was into punk rock and cynicism, which made him seem very worldly to my naive eyes. He was also quite bright and articulate, with a fondness for quoting Monty Python, and I'd developed a mild crush on him. But I wasn't one of the 'in' girls in the band, so we didn't have much to do with each other despite spending 5 or 6 hours a day on the same bus.

One evening, at a youth hostel in the Black Forest, a bunch of us were sitting on the stairs talking. He sat a few steps below me, with his shirt off, and was complaining about how sore his shoulder was from carrying the mace in a parade earlier that day. I don't know where I found the courage, but I offered to rub his back for him. My mother suffered (still does, actually) from tension headaches and at 16 I was quite an accomplished masseuse. We started talking, and the next day he invited me to sit at The Back Of The Bus, uncontested domain of the cool kids. There were some black looks from the other girls, none of whom had been successful in attracting his attention, but it didn't take them long decide to make the best of it, and I became one of their clique. For the first time in my life, I was part of the Inner Circle.

One night, returning to our hostel after a late concert, we started kissing - my first kiss. I remember how totally surprised I was when he slipped his tongue into my mouth. We were pretty heavily chaperoned, and I think he realized how inexperienced I was (it must have been pretty bloody obvious), so we didn't go beyond kissing until the trip was over.

My mother, never having been a band member, was prepared to trust, unconditionally, anyone in the band. She was a little worried about the 2-year age difference, but T was unfailingly polite and respectful of authority around said authority, and she relaxed her guard pretty quickly. It helped that we usually went out in a group - she didn't have to know that we didn't stay with the group. T fancied himself a modern renaissance man, wrote poems for me, and was very gentle, never pressuring me to sleep with him even though I know his friends gave him a hard time about it. He also worried a lot about the vast (2-year) difference in our ages. I was totally smitten (and more than a little curious), so when we had a chance to spend a weekend alone at his parents' place in Whistler, I was willing and eager. I told my parents there were a bunch of us going skiing for the weekend, and off we went.

We took our time, T wanting to make sure I was still OK with the whole thing – I think taking my maidenhead was a bigger deal for him than for me. I just wanted to get it over with, to see what the big deal was. We made out for a long time, gradually shedding clothes and inhibitions. It hurt a little, less than I’d feared, and T stopped to make sure I was all right. No fireworks, even when we tried again the next morning. And fairly regularly after that. T was the youngest in his family, and often had the house to himself. We used condoms for a while, until my fear of one breaking overcame my fear of ‘fessing up to my family doctor and I went on the Pill.

We broke up after I started university. I was carpooling with a bunch of engineering students, who were always looking for females to grace their dances and beer gardens. T was jealous of the time I spent with them, and I wasn’t willing to give up life on campus for him.

He moved to Africa after graduating, where he met and married an Irish lass. The last I heard, they were living together in Ireland.

Pop Quiz

For each of the two groups shown, select the item which is least like the other four:

1. cup, bowl, tub, funnel, dam

2. coal, ruby, diamond, emerald, pearl

Submit your answer, including an explanation of why you have chosen each item, by comment. Bonus marks will be awarded for convoluted and/or creative reasoning.


Question of the Day

Is there anything better than unexpectedly amazing sex in the afternoon?


Tuesday At The Park

Just hanging out, and being goofy, on a sunny day.

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How do you know what you know?

I don't mean facts like "blue+yellow=green", or "I wear a size 7 shoe", or even "I like raspberries better than strawberries." I'm talking about the things we tell ourselves we believe, things we think define who we are.

In other words, how do you know what you think about yourself is true?

For years I believed I hated writing - not that I wasn't good at it, as I had solid grades to prove I was at least above average on technical grounds, but that I disliked the act of writing. That I was a reader, not a writer. Then I started blogging and discovered that I quite enjoy writing. I'm still not sure my writing has any particular value, but I do, in fact, derive a fair amount of satisfaction from laying out my thoughts.

I thought I wasn't creative. Then I started doing crafts with my children and discovered I was fairly good at certain artistic endeavours.

I thought I was, at best, a mediocre cook, until my ex-husband stopped criticizing every move I made in the kitchen. Now I know I can reproduce pretty much any recipe in existence, and produce meals that impress my friends and family.

So why does all of this matter? Because I'm in the midst of wrestling with another opinion I've long held about myself, trying to determine whether there is actually any validity to it. I've long believed that I was not temperamentally suited to my current field of marketing, despite a bachelors degree and almost 15 years experience. I've thought long and hard about going back to school, starting over in another field. And I've been pushing at my current job to take on responsibilities outside the department, with the goal of gradually moving into another area. But I've got an interview tomorrow for a job that would be hard-core marketing, and a recruiter calling me about another marketing position. Both are pretty good opportunities - certainly good career moves on the marketing trajectory.

And I'm wondering if what I've told myself about not being cut out for success in marketing is really true, or if it's an excuse for not having done as well as I think I should have. Because if it's the latter, switching fields isn't going to make any difference - I'll undercut my successes there just as I do here.

How do you collect empirical evidence to evaluate your self-beliefs?



If you google 'sxkitten', I'm returned as the top 3 results.

How cool is that?


Testicular Insufficiency

A comment Dean made on a post by Kelly has got me to thinking: "Life should be lived with balls, IMO. " While I agree whole-heartedly in principle, I realize that I have not, in fact, followed this maxim in my own life. In other words, I lack balls.

I have allowed an excess of fear to inform* my life: fear of conflict, fear of criticism, fear of disappointing someone, fear of asking too much, fear of success ... I take the path of least resistance, at least when it is only my desires at stake.

The question is, how does one stop acting out of fear and start acting out of ... I don't know, joy perhaps? Boldness, conviction, sureness, élan ... fearlessness.

*I use 'inform' here in it's more academic sense of "to be a pervasive presence in."


Grant Me Patience

And the ability to deal gently with a sick child when she wakes me up for the fourth time, two nights in a row. She's got a wretchedly sore throat and a fever and has been throwing up intermittently, which I can handle with kindness and sympathy during the day, and the first 2 or 3 times I'm awakened from a deep sleep. The fourth time, I'm afraid I was a little snarky last night. I gave up on a nap this afternoon after the third time she woke me.

She's very pitiful, and pitiable, but she's also given to excessive histrionics, something with which I do not deal well. Her father was the same - everyone within a hundred yards knew when he was sick. He'd moan and wail, plaintively demanding to know when it would be over.

When I'm sick, I retreat. Silent and pale, I like to suffer alone. As a child, when I had to throw up during the night, I'd sneak down 2 flights of stairs to use the bathroom in the far corner of the basement so I wouldn't wake my mother. And I like drugs, whatever it takes to mask the symptoms. Years of violent migraines taught me the virtues of modern medicine.

My ex refused to take any kind of medication ("Men don't take drugs"), and expected to be waited on hand and foot until fully recovered. Which I would have done, cheerfully and supportively, if only he had shut up once in a while. But after a couple of hours of listening to him whooping and whining, my overwhelming impulse was to hit him with a brick. And I'm afraid I'm not as tender as I could be when she starts weeping and wailing because she feels like throwing up. At least she chokes down Tylenol on command. And she really is pretty pathetic right now. But I'm not sure how well I'll react after a second night of broken sleep.

I'll do my best. I just hope it's enough.


Crunchy Goodness

I'm three days into my Big New Project at work, and my brain hurts. It involves lots of numbers, and figuring out how things were done a year ago in Excel, then recreating those things in Access - a program about which I know some basic theory but no actual techniques.

So in addition to a ton o' number-crunching, I'm learning a new program. Which no one else in the company has ever used, so I'm winging it (with a lot of help from my resident texmort*, Dean). I've ordered a book, but even starting cold, using Access has already reduced two tasks which, I'm told, took 2 or 3 days apiece in Excel, to a couple of hours. So I'm already almost a week ahead, having mastered exactly 3 basic skills. It's been a long time since I've had that sense of accomplishment at work.

And the higher-ups are getting excited. The reporting capabilities of our existing sales system are quite primitive, and I've given them some ideas of what might be possible with Access** (with repeated caveats that while I know these things are at least theoretically possible, I do not, at this time, have the expertise to actually do them). I've basically been told to do whatever I think needs to be done, and come back to them with some results. Any results, really. Once they see what I can do, they'll start figuring out what they want. At this point, I probably know more about what they need than they do.

All of which is to say that my brain is sore. My head feels like a balloon that's been overinflated, then had the air let back out. But it's good - I haven't had to really think at work in probably 3 years. It's like going back to school after a very long summer vacation. I like thinking, and I'm really pretty good at it once I get going. I'm just out of practice.

*When Chickadee was about 3, she transmogrified 'tech support' to 'texmort', which sounds a lot cooler. Or at least like something for which you would need a large hat.

**I know real programmers look down on Access, and that, like most Microsoft ware, it makes it very easy to crank out large volumes of garbage. But it's a damned sight better than what they've got, and the first real opportunity I've had to move out of Marketing and into a more analytical position. And I've got a real database programmer in my corner, which should reduce the proportion of crap I produce.


Blogging Lite

I'm feeling guilty for not posting more often of late, although I'm not sure from whence cometh the guilt. I sincerely doubt that anyone is suffering from my lack of output. It just seems that whenever I have something to say, I'm several hours and multiple distractions away from a computer. When I'm actually sitting at the keyboard, I can't think of anything to say. I'm out of my blogging groove (such as it was).

Topics I've entertained in the car but couldn't sustain until I got online:

- André Matthieu, who composed his first piece of music before his fourth birthday to convince his father to teach him music, and what it would be like living with a child genius.

- the Celtic parade we saw last Sunday, with photos.

- pondering why, on some deep, subconscious level, I prefer rain to sun.

- hearing and memory, as it relates to a recent study at Dartmouth College.

- the story of how I lost my virginity, à la Dean and Chellee (OK, I'm just kidding about that one).

There were more but, of course, I've forgotten them all.

And now I'm out of time and must get back to work. I hate it when real life interferes with my hobbies.


Weighing in on Trade Issues

Being highly conflict-averse, I don't normally publicize my opinions on politics, international affairs, or other weighty issues. But ...

A couple of weeks ago, Tom Allen of CBC fame said something on the subject of our current trade problems with the US that had me laughing out loud, tears in my eyes, as I was sitting in traffic on my way to work*. He suggested that Canada follow the example of the French knights in Monty Python & the Holy Grail and, with a cry of "Fetchez la vache!", start lobbing Canadian cattle across the border. It would give their missile defence system a good workout, and clear up the backlog of aging bovines. If we built the catapults with softwood lumber, everyone would be a winner.

*I've been meaning to share it here ever since, but got a little sidetracked by the incredible weather (20 degrees yesterday), our new pets, and a plethora of job options and so am just getting around to it.


An Embarassment of Riches

Which job to accept?
Suddenly options abound
Petals drift like snow

Last week at work, 3 projects that promised to give my job some interest and challenge were shot down. I half expected it, but vowed to polish up my resume and start looking again. Not that I actually did so, of course. My current job is pleasant enough - the people are really nice, they're happy to have me working 4 days a week, if I need to leave early or stay home with a sick child, it's no problem. Of course, I'm on contract, paid by the hour, so it doesn't cost them anything to give me the time off, but there are lots of companies out there that would complain anyhow.

So I've been reasonably content for the last year - 3 days a week I'm quite happy with where I am, and the fourth I mutter under my breath about needing a challenge. Until last week, when I decided that I either have to accept that I'm going to keep myself in a quasi-clerical position until the children are in school full time, or bite the bullet and get back to my marketing roots and look for a real job.

On Tuesday, out of the blue, I got a call from a recruiter who'd pulled my resume from monster.ca. It was for an internet marketing manager's position, paying more than double what I'm making now. I took a look at the posting, and figured I had maybe two-thirds of the qualifications they were looking for. I could probably fake the rest - I'm a very fast learner - but was going to decline the request for an interview until Dean convinced me I had nothing to lose by going.

So I accepted on Wednesday and set an appointment for this afternoon. Yesterday at work, out of the blue, I was handed a very challenging project and basically told to run with it - that whatever resources I wanted would be made available. It would mean working largely on my own, building a database from scratch and doing vast amounts of analysis as I see fit, learning new software ... in short, my ideal challenge. This morning, about 90 minutes before I left for my interview, my boss took me aside and said he'd presented a proposal to convert my contract to a permanent position and hoped to get confirmation within a few days.

Then the interview went very well, although for a slightly different (and less intimidating) position that I think I could do quite well at.

Then I got home to find a message from yet another recruiter, wanting to talk to me about another position.

What's a girl to do?


How Excessive Are The Transformations Wrought By Spring.

It's a bit silly, really.

On Saturday I was driving into town with a cranky three-year-old. He fell asleep in the car and we were running early, so I decided to get off the main roads and see what there was to see. I was rambling along through East Vancouver, which is not generally considered to be the most scenic part of the city. The neighbourhoods are older, the population mostly blue collar and ethnic - not recent immigrants, but the previous two or three waves. The houses are small - a thousand square feet plus a dark basement - and ugly, on small lots. Some have meticulously tended gardens, but most don't. Lots of rental housing. Still, with Vancouver's insane real estate market, even the dingiest of these goes for almost half a million (my brother owns one, 800 square feet that he lives in with 2 roommates, plus an unlicensed suite. His property tax assessment is over $450,000).

So I'm driving along, wondering what stories these little homes have to tell, when I turn a corner and see this:

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Vancouver is riddled with ridiculously lovely pockets like this right now - row upon row of 40- or 50-year-old cherry trees running for blocks and blocks. They're everywhere:

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In another week or so, all the petals will start to fall in a blizzard of pink and white, and the streets will look like they're waiting for the Wedding March to start and the bride to begin her slow traverse to the altar.


Dining Out

The White Spot is a venerable Vancouver institution - the first drive-in opened in 1928. I can remember going with my grandfather to the White Spot on Georgia Street in the early 70's - the restaurant is still there, now right across the street from my parents' condo. Only a few locations offer drive-in service now, but I can still remember how impressed I was by the trays they used - they stretched all the way across the car, and the carhops would balance them precariously on one hand as they crossed the parking lot.

On Saturday, we were visiting friends who suggested taking MonkeyBoy to the Spot just up the street. I was somewhat dubious as he still has the table manners of a chimpanzee, but figured the ratio of 3 adults to one small goon was adequate. And dinner was a success, almost entirely due to the White Spot's time-honoured Pirate Pack. For as long as I can remember, kids' meals have been delivered in a 3-D cardboard pirate ship, complete with a sail that uses your straw as a mast. You could get a hamburger, fish and chips, or chicken fingers, and every meal came with a drink, a little tub of ice cream (which, of course, you had to eat first so it didn't melt) and a chocolate coin. We dragged the boats home every time, fighting fierce battles on the raging seas of the back seat

We all loved Pirate Packs, and I was curious to see how MonkeyBoy would react. We didn't tell him ahead of time, but had the camera warmed up and ready to go. The results were most gratifying:

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Peaceful Morning

It's just me and the monkey child this weekend. He let me sleep in a full 20 minutes this morning, presenting himself for a cuddle at 6:24. And he didn't start harassing to get up for breakfast until 6:36, so my morning lie-in felt positively decadent.

Since then we've: had cereal (Cheerios for me, low sugar Frosted Flakes for him - chosen solely because they came with a cooooool watch); watched a little educational television; played Spy Kids - I always have to be Romero, the dweeby guy with bad hair and broken glasses; played with the guinea pigs; ate some peanuts from a green M&M dispenser which continues to fascinate one of us with its magical delivery system; played Spy Kids; had a shower/bath and washed our grubby bits; and spent some time chasing a fly around the house, attempting to catch it with our Machete Elastic Wonder (AKA Chickadee's hair elastic) while playing Spy Kids. As soon as we wrestle the other half of the party into some clothes, we're heading down to the Milsean Shoppe for some insanely delicious confections to take to a friend's for dinner tonight. Then we'll probably play Spy Kids some more, have lunch, then hit the road, heading for dinner in the Big City.

I'm guessing there will be yet another round of Spy Kids in the car.

It's probably not the most exciting day you've ever heard of, but I find it quite satisfying on many levels.


Raging Insecurity

I suffer, at times, from debilitatingly low self esteem. I always have, even as a child, and my first marriage badly eroded what self confidence I had. I have a very bad tendency to minimize my strengths - if I'm good at something, it obviously can't be either very important or very difficult - and grossly magnify my weaknesses. When forced to admit there are some good things about myself, I can neuter the implied compliment: "I'm intelligent ... but I don't do anything with it"; "I'm a nice person ... but it's only because I'm afraid people won't like me otherwise"; "I'm a good mother ... but that's because my kids are good, not because I know what I'm doing."

There have been at least 2 periods in my life where I genuinely believed my family would be better off if I were dead - that it would be a relief to them, that they might feel badly for a while, but would be happier in the long run. The second time I found the courage, or the desperation, to tell Dean how I was feeling, and sought counseling because he convinced me that I didn't deserve to feel that way. I saw a therapist 5 or 6 times, but he told me on my first visit that he didn't believe I was genuinely suicidal, and after that I felt guilty for wasting his time (despite knowing that was how he made his living, and that he was being well paid to talk to me). I stopped going because I felt selfish for taking the time away from my family - an hour, once a week.

Despite the fact that I stopped seeing him far, far too soon, he did help. He recommended a book called "Feeling Good" which, despite the corny name, is actually an excellent guide to cognitive therapy. It's not a quick fix - it took some intense work on my part and I still refer to it at regular intervals almost 3 years later. But with that, and a lot of support from Dean, I've come a long way.

But it can still all come crashing down on me in the space of a few minutes. Dean and I had a fairly minor disagreement on Monday, 99% my fault (I'd say completely my fault, but I don't think he'd accept that). Within a couple of hours, I had convinced myself that I was utterly worthless, and was ready to walk out. It was a stupid, stupid thing to be upset about, and Dean was being completely reasonable to call me on it. And I was ready to end everything because I thought, in those hours, that if I did that one small thing wrong, then I was irredeemably worthless. And I couldn't even tell him that, so I raged about all kinds of irrelevant tangents that had nothing to do with the real problem - that I didn't believe he could love me because I screwed up.

On the bright side, within 24 hours we had talked it out, found a possible solution, and convinced me that I was loved and worth loving. Three years ago, I would have spent 2 or 3 weeks in a pit of black depression over the same incident. But it's been a long, hard slog, and I have a good distance yet to go to become the person I'd like to be, to put the abyss behind me for good.

At least now when I fall, I have the tools to fight my way back out, and a most loving hand reaching out to help. I know I can do it, and that the struggle is worth it ... that life on the outside is infinitely precious, and that I deserve to be a part of it.

I'm honestly not sure I would have made it this far without Dean's love and support. He is the first, and only, person I've ever been able to talk to openly about how I feel, and the only person I've ever been able to ask for help.

Thank you, my love.


Laden Branches

A companion piece to Carmi's 'In Like a Lion' post.

Here on the sunny west coast, we too have branches laden with white:

Of course, our burdened branches also come in pink and yellow.