Being exactly where I need to be.

From a first glance this week was kind of a wreck but things are okay and I’m feeling lucky and grateful above all else.

Wednesday was tough due to things not going how I had planned or hoped for. In addition, lately everything has felt so overwhelming. I think part of it all is due to the constant, underlying feeling that everything is about to change in the most massive way really soon (baby is getting biiigggg), but it’s impossible to know exactly how and what it will feel like until it happens. It’s like we are waiting on the edge of this chapter, knowing that it’s going to happen and that it will be the most wonderful, incredible, and difficult adventure we will ever have, but we don’t know when it will happen or what it will involve.

On Wednesday I kept thinking about how it was such a bad day, the worst day in a long time, and just everything stemming from it was so all-encompassing and negative. But in the evening, I was so lucky. I was driving down a very pretty stretch of highway to pick Cameron up from the train and a beautiful song came on the radio and the surrounding farmland and evening light was gorgeous. It hit me that this could be one of the best days. That all of the unplanned things happening that seemed so unbearable and unfair and wrong, could actually be exactly what I need. To teach me to be more assertive, to stand up for myself, and to trust in the process of brighter things heading our way. To keep going and to keep doing all the difficult things – that this is exactly where I’m meant to be. Perhaps, this is exactly what needs to happen to make room for something better.

And this small, little understanding was such a blessing. Because although it doesn’t change the situation, it definitely makes it into something much brighter. And that’s something that is much easier to cope with.

So all in all, this week has been a good one. Feeling so very lucky.

+ Getting such sweet, thoughtful, and kind words and calls from friends and family. Little messages that make my day and make me smile so big.

+ Stumbling across Tony Anderson’s music and feeling like it’s exactly what I needed. It’s lovely to have in the background while I work.

+ Having a beaut of a Valentine’s Day with the apple of my eye! Because it’s so close to our wedding anniversary, we just wanted to celebrate in a low key way. So this looked like a good movie and cute chocolates and just simply being together. The best, most easy thing.

+ Saturday saw our beautiful dog Ruby arriving down to live with us permanently! My family got her for me when I was 16 and going through a rough patch. She was a lifesaver, truly. She stayed living with my family once I moved out because we were never in a rental situation that allowed pets. But we are finally able to have her live with us and we are so over the moon! Our little family is slowly arriving in all the ways and we are so thankful. Pets are so good for the soul.

+ Board games, always.

+ More work on our home. Painting and gardening and priming things. So very gradually things are coming together and it’s a great feeling.

+ Beautiful words to ruminate on. It’s crazy how exactly what we need to hear can appear at the right time. Morgan Harper Nichols – a legend. Her words have a funny way of always helping. Of always spreading hope.

Lots of love and hugs,

Kaitlyn.

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A sweet, ordinary weekend.

A sweet, ordinary weekend that was so, so good. A perfect example to teach me that not everything needs to be going perfectly (it never will, and learning to live well in that discomfort is good), but there are certainly still beautiful things if I just open myself to seeing them.

+ A ruthless game of game of thrones themed monopoly that was the fastest we have ever played because everyone apart from Cameron (he is the monopoly king, somehow – I’ve never seen him lose) lost miserably and very quickly. It made me so thankful for old friends and new because board games are one of our favorite things to do and it makes us so happy to play. We love board games with our friends and family down here, but we also miss our board game nights with our dear friends and family back where we used to live. But that’s okay, we have plans for board games with them in a few months time!

+ The most beautiful plums! They are deep red and bright yellow, and they taste exactly like summer.

+ Calm, unwinding evenings with Fleetwood Mac, a good game of gin, and the soft, summer air.

+ Finding out that our baby is “long and lanky”, just like her Dad, and that she is positioned head down and facing the right way, so everything is looking like it’s heading towards going smoothly.

+ Beginning our very long list of house renovations! We began priming and painting some exterior parts and so far it’s going well. Despite me accidentally painting the driveway and Cameron the carpet, all things are good! The colour we chose for outside is called Tricky so we are really hoping that the name isn’t a prophecy of the renovation process, though if it is, I guess that’s all just part of it!

+ Feeling so, so loved and cared for. Pregnancy has really been taking its toll on me lately and this doesn’t really mix well with my must-do-everything nature. Cameron has been I. N. C. R. E. D. I. B. L. E. to put it lightly. He takes care of me so well and makes me take care of myself, despite how awful and useless I feel because of it. Thinking about how amazing he is makes me get all goosebumpy and want to cry all the happy tears all at once. To put it very lightly, I am so thankful for him and I can’t find the words to describe how much so (but my rambles can certainly try)!

To anyone reading this, I hope that there have been plenty of beautiful, little sparks that have been glistening in your days!

Lots of love and hugs,

Kaitlyn.

730 days.

My wildest dream come true. You! Four years ago the universe did some crazy magic and we somehow ended up working together. Scrubbing mirrors till late every night, leaving each other little notes by the microwave, going on late night drives in Nancy. And then two years ago a little bit more magic happened and I got to be the luckiest person ever. Saying I do to you. You have changed my life in every possible way and every day I still pinch myself checking that you’re real. We laugh and cry and argue and do all the normal human things, but there is truly no one else I would rather debate with about which way the ironing board goes. You make every single day special and radiant, and my goodness I love you Cameron. You are my best friend, my favorite human, and the most radiant, loving, generous, and funny person I know. I am so excited about how much more “you” that you will become next month when you’re a Dad. Here’s to a lifetime of celebrations and to a love that keeps on growing.

A touch of magic.

He told me that there was a surprise planned a few weeks ago. First it was to go see a statue, then an early morning walk, then to visit Ellen Degeneres. But then we ended up at the airport with my lovely sister and mother-in-law and I was more confused than ever. We got on a plane, saw my parents at the arrivals lounge, and went to their house. There were beautiful streamers and lanterns everywhere and it looked like magic. I had decided not to have a baby shower months earlier because too many of the people I love and miss dearly were too far away to attend. But here we were. The most magnificent surprise. My husband, my rock, the soon-to-be dad, planned and organized the most incredible, light-filled day. My parents hosted this gorgeous event and my mum worked so, so hard to make it look and feel like a dream. My sister and mother-in-law traveled all the way up to be with us in this most special day. To be surrounded by everyone who I cannot put into words how much they mean was. The. Best. I kept welling up because of how thankful I am that us and our daughter have the most incredible family and friends. I am so, so grateful. And I can’t believe that this dream isn’t just a dream. Feeling all the loving and living in awe.

Good days are made.

Lately, I had been feeling so frustrated and exhausted. Just due to general life things, really. The waiting games, the normal discomfort of growing a little human, the tiresome everyday things weighing me down.

On an ordinary Tuesday, the phrase “good days are made,” popped into my head.

I don’t know where it came from or how it arrived, but wow. I am grateful. It changed my week, truly, as cliche as that is.

I’m learning is that big joys and little joys are all the same really.

The big joys are marrying your best friend, finding out you’ve got the sweetest little human coming along, graduating, new jobs, homes, and love, and love, and love again. Big joys are beautiful. How could they be anything but?

We can’t wait around for the big joys, though, because their very nature makes them big and rare.

But we can find the small joys in every day. These minute, insignificant moments every day that actually become something special because they are every day. The moments we can choose to notice or not. The moments that linger and exist and are so very ordinary. But who said that ordinary can’t be special?

They are cooking dinner and laughing with your soulmate. Looking for the brightest flower hanging over the fence and spotting a tiny spider inside. Getting the washing off the line and it’s all warm and sun-kissed. Having dinner with friends or family. Board games, movies, walks. Eating the sweetest nectarine. Having a planner and a routine that makes you feel good. A hilarious, silly, sweet dog. The color of the leaves out the window. The way the light hits the kitchen at 7am.

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At the very foundation, it’s gratitude. Again and again.

Because things will change in all the ways.

But today, I am exactly where I need to be.

I have my soulmate by my side. He calls me from his work and we talk about things. Boring things, happy things, exciting things, sad things. Ordinary conversations that make me realize it’s so dang wonderful that I get to be his human.

I feel our baby move and squirm all day long. Soon all the morning sickness and discomfort will be a distant memory and nothing compared to the immense feeling of holding her in our arms.

These past few days have been so, so wonderful. Nothing extraordinary happened, but I feel productive, joyful, and content. And so, so very blessed.

Good days are made. This life isn’t perfect but I’m sure as hell fighting to make it a good one.

Finding Writing Again.

I have so many words that I want to say, but I do not know how to pour them out.

I feel as though they used to flow effortlessly, a tangent, a whirlwind of letters and vocabulary that represented the storms of my mind.

And now they feel stuck.

There are ideas, memories, song lyrics, and love notes inched toward the front of my brain.

But I am afraid of being vulnerable.

And I am afraid of being lost where everything was once so familiar.

Perhaps I am just out of practice, of letting these thoughts out freely to strangers.

Perhaps I am practicing the expression of these through my lips instead.

– For when my lips could not speak, these words could do it for me –

I want to write about my husband. His beautiful, kind soul.

I want to write about love. About how it grows and changes over time. About how love is work and how love is everything.

I want to write about our child. About her indescribable soul who we feel as though we already know. And about how we know that we have no idea how much we are able to love her just yet.

I want to write about people that I know. Because they fill me with awe and gratitude and things that I do not know what to call.

I want to write about what is not seen from the outside. About how we have no idea what we are doing or how we got here.

About everything that has created this path and how we found ourselves together in it.

We are only wandering, really.

I want to write about this period of change. About growth. The absolute, pure, discomfort of it.

And the surprising strength that can be found within these mountains.  

About how everything we have ever dreamt of is “over there” and we are “over here”.

And my god, that space in the middle is terrifying. But necessary.

But necessary.

//

Since starting to write professionally full-time, I feel as though my creativity has become stuck in a way. I feel confident in writing reports, instructions, and directions from A-Z, where everything is straightforward and without emotion. Having that golden freedom that makes writing feel limitless and without bounds? That is what I miss. I know that what you focus on grows and what you pour your energy into expands. I just need to create space to practice this outlet once again.

Guilt and soon-to-be motherhood.

Our baby hasn’t arrived yet and won’t for a little while, but I am already starting to feel guilty.

I feel guilty that if I stay home with our baby once it’s born, that I won’t be contributing financially as much as I would feel that is “right”. But then I would also feel guilty about eventually returning to a job that is out of home, as I would feel like a bad parent for leaving our baby as he or she grows up, and my time and energy towards them would be compromised. And most recently I have started feeling guilty about also wanting to have a career. It sounds very old-fashioned, but I do feel guilty about it because is that selfish of me? To crave the best of both worlds?

Is this what the term “mum guilt” refers to? The feeling of no matter what choice you make, that it is never right nor easy. To feel as though you will always be doing the wrong thing, and not knowing what choice is best for your child, if you are even lucky enough to have a choice in the matter.

Logically I know that there is not only one path in motherhood and being a parent in general. There are many trails woven within this journey, and all are equally valid. There is no right way to do it, and that there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with you and who does things differently.

This also got me thinking about dads or husbands or partners or anyone else in the picture – do they feel this irrational guilt about these aspects of parenthood too? Cameron has just been offered a really great job in the city we are moving to, and does he feel guilty about this progression in his career? I highly doubt it, and nor should he! He is just fulfilling his role that we have planned for the next little while, as I am going to be as well.

I feel as though mothers will always be the most criticized in parenthood. It’s in all of the books, movies, and reality too. When dads go to work, it’s seen as working hard to provide for their families. And if they are stay-at-home parents, praise is shouted at them from the rooftops. Either way is good, but I just wish that mums could make it through with the same support and clear conscience. Our Prime Minister here recently had a baby, and she was harshly criticized from all angles about being a bad mother and a bad leader, despite doing a wonderful job and most of the men in government and past prime ministers also having kids, which no one blinks an eyelid at.

Maybe it’s because we’re women. Maybe it’s because this is an age-old battle, but just the parenthood edition. It just feels like we have to fight ten times harder. I think that guilt comes with the territory of becoming a mum.

My pregnancy body and why I’m learning to love it.

Before I got pregnant, I used to find it hard imagining that I would be able to accept what my body would be like when pregnant, let alone like it.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t in awe of how a body can grow a whole, beautiful little baby from scratch, because that is incredibly amazing! But more so that I was worried how I would feel about my body with regards to my past experiences with body image. I was worried about how I would cope with a body that is growing in size, and that is out of my control, and not being able to deal with all of the thoughts that go along with that.

However, I am so pleasantly surprised! Since becoming pregnant, what my body is doing has truly left me in awe. And that’s so weird! That I am accepting my body and all it’s doing to grow this beautiful little bean! It feels strange to be so at peace with my appearance. I am so happy to watch my bump grow every week. This is such a massive shift in mindset, coming from years of absolutely loathing my physical self with every cell I had, and destroying it at every chance I got, to admiring what my body can do for me.

And growing babies it just one thing that makes bodies incredible. We have arms and legs and eyes and ears and noses and digestive systems and veins and hearts and brains, and oh my goodness each of these parts of us do such an incredible job! They keep us going, and they keep us fighting, in every moment of every day. And most of the time we don’t even acknowledge the amazing work that our bodies do, without us even consciously knowing what to do or how to do it. Every system, pathway, and stimulus in our body functions to keep us alive. What an incredible gift to have.

Taking care of both our bodies and souls is of upmost importance. After all, they give us the world, and most of the time we struggle to even think a positive thought about them. I feel so grateful for all that my body does, and I am so happy that it kept going despite all that it’s been through.

Here’s to our bodies, and the remarkable work they do every second of every day for us.

On the home stretch.

Tomorrow marks the final stretch of my endeavors with university (well, for the time being anyway). It’s the second half of my final semester of my undergraduate degree, which I feel has gone on for decades. But really, it’s been about four and a half years, only a year and a half long than it was supposed to be.

It feels as though so much weighs on tomorrow. Having the opportunity to complete my degree, once and for all, feels surreal. It’s been a long time in the making. Everyone has a different path I guess, and there isn’t a right amount of time that it takes for anyone to complete anything. It’s different for everybody. But this chapter, I’m so ready for it to close. Especially with our next chapter waiting and getting bigger by the day!

At the start of this semester, so a few months ago now, we found out that we have a baby on the way, who will arrive in March!

We are so unbelievably happy. And scared. And excited. And full of hope.

We get to meet our baby in about 6 months. And that thought is so strange. Knowing that our lives are going to change dramatically really soon, but also knowing that we won’t understand the full extent of it all until it actually happens.

I used to think that the semester where I got so low and sick that I dropped out of university was the most difficult and challenging. But looking back, although being sick was awful and terrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it’s all of the time since then that’s actually much harder. Being sick, in comparison to recovery, is easy. The illnesses take over. You can give your whole life to them. But recovery is a fight, a huge decision on every moment of every day. Fighting your brain rather than just floating along with it is far more terrible, rewarding, and life-giving.

This semester has been really difficult to be honest. There have been so many times where I am doubting if I could complete it. I am still thinking that right now, and I probably will until the moment where my final exam is over. I’m taking the equivalent of six papers, off my medication due to pregnancy, and am growing a human. Morning sickness has been really hard. We are also planning our move in about a month and a half. I feel as though I’m whinging way too much. We are so, so lucky. And I will never be able to understand how truly lucky we are to have this kind of life.

Cameron has been my rock through it all, and I have no idea where I would be without him. It has also been a big relief to be finally telling our friends and family our exciting news, because that takes a big weight off in a way. Everyone has been so supportive, kind, and full of love. We feel so loved.

The day after my final exam, I think I’ll cry and sleep and then cry some more out of pure relief. To make it through university will be the biggest weight off my shoulders.

In a month and a half, things will be so different. Sometimes I think about how different everything is now compared to in the past and it hurts, like people and places and relationships. It’s happy but sad at the same time. In a month and a half, it will all be so bittersweet.

Thoughts of the moment #2.

These little thoughts have been swirling around my brain recently, and letting them roam free will help, maybe. Some are fleeting, and others stay long into the night. They are what they are.

  • I’m finding the subject of weight increasingly boring as the years go by, and as I get better too. Like there are so many more interesting things to think and talk about other than your body’s relationship with gravity. I’m finding it so dull and such a waste of time, kind of like if you think about bricks or chalk for too long. It’s crazy to think how my weight occupied about 80% of my time and thoughts for so many years. It’s such a waste of time and there are so many things that are better uses of your thoughts than obsessively calculating and subtracting and adding and just generally being Very Boring.
  • I have a meeting with my research supervisor tomorrow morning and I’m just feeling all blessed and happy that I have access to higher education, and to be doing something that brings me joy. Bring on the sand dunes and me trying to make my research sound way cooler than it actually is!
  • Oh my Lanta broccoli is quite possibly one of the best vegetables ever. And carrots. I could eat those two with literally everything.
  • Getting outside is something that I’m super passionate about and you have probably read my rambles about this many times before. But being in the sun! Or in the rain! Either way just getting out from our little house shells and experiencing what it is like to simply feel, this always helps so much. Never underestimate the power of green spaces on mental health.
  • I have been going for so many mindfulness walks lately and doing progressive muscle relaxation and just feeling good!
  • There will always be periods of anxiety. Emotions will always wave, and to not accept this will only bring you devastation and heartbreak. Do what you need to do to respond to the feelings, and embrace the good ones.
  • It’s okay to not be who you thought you were supposed to be. Just like how it is okay for you to not be perfectly disciplined and your routine impossibly sculpted. Leave room and no expectations so that you can have space to be human. Accept that your last semester isn’t going to go perfectly and that it will look a little different than you had hoped. And be okay with this shuffling space. Embrace these changes and what they bring, despite not being your ideal, manicured vision. Let go of the things that you can’t healthily accomplish, and go for gold on the rest. Take time for yourself, accept that you might not make it to every lecture, and be okay with this whole being a perfectly flawed human thing. Take care of your brain over everything else. It should always come first – before immecable grades, networking, research, and awards.
  • Little experiences of feeling are so underrated. Take a bubble bath and play with the bubbles. Go dog-watching. Accomplish a few small things off your to-do list and feel your productivity shine. Brush your hand through the leaves as you walk by. Feel. Be.
  • Take yourself seriously but not so seriously that anything less devastates you. Be silly. Have fun. Be disciplined but make time for being wild too.

Love,

Kaitlyn.