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i’ll tell you one thing for certain

July 26, 2008

I am inching toward the 6-month mark of my separation and though the past 5 1/2 months oddly almost felt like a breeze (perhaps not a zephyr, but a cool November wind), I suddenly feel the pain of it all. Like the band aid of distraction that was covering the wound has been yanked off and has torn a strip off my heart. When I left almost half a year ago, I was in survival mode. I dove right into my new life, new place, new job, without so much as testing the waters. But I’ve since had time to swim back to shore where I’m dipping my toes in and the water doesn’t seem so inviting. The lake is full of ripples as if a thousand stones have been thrown in and I can’t see clearly.

The trigger of all this, I suspect, is my search for an apartment. I’ve been living with my cousin since February but it’s soon time for me to leave the nest and fly on my own, which makes the end of my relationship feel more final than the day I left. On some deep unconscious level, my mind being the trickster it is, I may have fooled myself into believing that my stay at Amy’s was a layover on my long flight back home. After all, I had no strings tying me here – a temp job and no place to call my own.

But now, I’ve been offered a permanent position and I’m looking for a 1 bedroom apartment. Strings are being knotted and my stay no longer feels temporary. It feels very real, very permanent and no matter how much I sugar coat it with images of freshly painted walls and vintage Pyrex dishes… it’s still me sitting on my couch, me eating leftovers, me watching a movie, me lying in my single bed, me sipping a glass of wine, me with my deafening silence. There is no us in this reality and that is where my hurt lies.


Lately, the question du jour has been “what the fuck am I doing?” Between the chaos of a busy work schedule and a mind occupied with processing a million thoughts a day… my brain feels saturated and my heart is doing little to help the situation as it has its own mending to worry about. I feel pulled in a thousand different directions. I am afraid that I’m never going to figure out what I want to do with my life. What if I’m an administrative assistant for EVER? What if these little jobs that were meant to be a means to an end all these years end up being my life? Working for a company until I get a toaster oven in 10 years and a shitty pension in 30 years. I’m not judging anyone who is living this life, it’s just that I feel like I’m missing a dream I can’t see. Because when I try to think of what else I could do with my life, the answer is I DON’T KNOW. And though that answer felt okay when I was 20, it was like a little Who voice inside my head, now the voice is that of a giant and it is filled with dread. Whereas before I could at least say that I had the relationship thing figure out, because really, all you need is love… now, that has all changed.


In all the confusion, I feel the need to let go of something and had considered quitting this blog because if you don’t have time to do something well, don’t do it at all, right? False! Still, this made me wonder why it is exactly that I blog?

And the answers came threefold.

1. I crave the attention and the praise (c’est vrai).
2. I do it for my mother because I know how happy it makes her and I like to make her happy.
3. This is where I come to find myself, writing makes me feel sane.

Sometimes, you get the real me. Sometimes I am the person I aspire to be (my higher self speaks through me). And sometimes I am the person I want you to think I am. So allow me to introduce myself. Hello, my name is Jeanine and I am only human. I’m trying to find my way in a strange world that is also full of beauty. I am darkness. I am light. I am scared and I am hopeful. I can sometimes be a total selfish, judgmental bitch but I’m trying to be a better person every single day. I am negative. I am positive. I am the girl who will do 2 hours of intense yoga then drink a bottle of wine and perhaps puff on a cigarette. I am contradiction, I am balance.

And I am most certainly in the gray zone right now. The zone where I don’t have everything figured out. And though I may not have time or energy to write right now, I have a feeling that my creativity will find its way back to me again and I would regret not having this place when the time comes. So for now, I have to accept that this isn’t quite home yet. It’s more of a Motel 8 room, which my creativity checks in and out of when it’s in town. And it’s okay if I only pop in to share a quote and a photo. And it’s okay if, when I find my way back, nobody is here to greet me because ultimately, I am doing this for me (and me ma).


I was talking with K the other day and he said that while waiting tables last weekend at the bistro, he chatted with a table of 3 going on their third bottle of wine and one of the gentlemen said in pure Nova Scotia fashion “I’ll tell ya one thing for certain… everyone is fucked up”, to which the other replied… “and that’s why we drink”. That should be a t-shirt, a bumper sticker, the title of David Sedaris’ next book (whom I recently met at a book signing, but that’s another story… he is fantastic, by the way).

And then my cousin told me that she walked into the changing room at the yoga studio a few evenings ago and found one of the instructors, who has been practicing for 20 years, punching the yoga mats furiously. It seems one was out of place and as she pushed it back, she noticed all the other misplaced mats and lost it. Amy said she must have punched at least 10 yoga mats before entering the studio, sitting in lotus and breathing deeply before teaching her class.

This was both shocking and comforting to me. To know that we are ALL only human. We are all fucked in the head on some level. We each have our own nagging doubts, insecurities, awkward social moments, fears, weaknesses, shortcomings. Even those who appear to have their shit together. Even those who spend a lifetime practicing yoga. Remember that when you are being hard on yourself.


Another yoga teacher said something the other day, which resonated deeply with me, as I lie in savasana after an intense heart opening practice with heavy tears forming at the corners of my eyes. She said, when you find yourself not living fully, with intention, whatever that means for you, just start over… and over… and over. Each breath is an opportunity to change, to accept… to let go.

And so, with this breath, I am starting over.


Would it be as much fun, Jeanine, if you never stopped laughing? If there were never any clouds? If you were never challenged? If you were never alone? If you never heard the whole truth when it hurt? If you always knew what would happen, what to do, and where to go? Or would you be like, “Beam me down, Bro!

The Universe
” Notes from the Universe

13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2008 5:01 pm

    “The lake is full of ripples as if a thousand stones have been thrown in and I can’t see clearly.”

    Amen sister. But how beautiful all the ripples of light it creates.

    My heart wish I could find the perfect words to make yours know that I hear her and cry a bit and laugh a bit and nod in agreement and say yes, yes, yes that is it.

    But being a heart it go so lost in your ripples of lights it forgot how to speak.

  2. Christina permalink
    July 26, 2008 6:26 pm

    We are all different from one day to the next…many life factors alter our moods aka our personality. We all have that perfect image of `who I want to be`in our heads but applying that image to your everyday life no matter what happens in your day is simply impossible. That`s why we need to live life one day at a time.

    I can only imagine how hard it is to start over and I hope I never have to be that strong. You`re doing great Jeanine and I know you`ll find your `us`again.

    oh and forget Motel 8 girl. This place is my 5 star hotel resort with free happy hour…keep em`comin`!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. July 27, 2008 2:44 pm

    All I know is that I am here for you.

    I don’t have any answers. I certainly recognize many of the questions and fears and worries that you share here– I have/do live them all at different times in my life– creating a meaningful life and finding balance and finding our place, our tribe, manifesting our core self into whatever it is that it wants to blossom into– well, girlfriend– it can be overwhelming and discouraging for sure.

    But, I am here for you (as you are surrounded by loving friends and family) and I am always here to tell you that I believe in you. I believe in your creativity. I believe in your originality. I believe you will create a life that makes you profoundly happy and brings happiness to others.

    The end of a relationship is brutal and grief takes many forms and comes and goes in waves– over months, over years. Be gentle with yourself. Know that you are doing the best that you can. Know that you can create in your mind, in your thoughts, the visions of what you want in your life and hold those up in your thoughts and keep that vision and bit by bit it will come into being– I believe in you.

  4. July 27, 2008 6:28 pm

    Beautifully written. Raw, vulnerable, but beautiful just the same. We all go through it, it pains us all, but don’t forget to see the beauty that never leaves despite the chaos. Take care. Breathe it in, and yes, start over. I seem to be continually doing that.

  5. July 27, 2008 11:42 pm

    I love the analogy with the yoga teacher. For some reason that makes me feel better too.

    I also understand the fear of being an admin assistant forever. I used to have total panic attacks over that – I mean, I knew I was a GREAT assistant but at the same time I just felt so empty in the job. No one ever wanted me to leave but I just couldn’t stay because I felt like I was putting so much energy into something I didn’t truly love. But, even now, after going back to school and becoming what I want to be (somedays) a “writer/editor” I still have times where I have to fall back on being an admin assistant to make ends meet and during those times I still give it my all because I just don’t know how to do it any other way. I don’t know why I am telling you all of this except that I have a sneaking feeling you give it your all too when you are at work and maybe my story will help.

    And I write for my Mum too. It makes her so happy.

  6. July 28, 2008 12:30 pm

    Your writing is amazing, Jeanine. Beautiful, real, candid…it has a great flow and really draws your reader in.
    I’m not sure what you should do with the rest of your life (or mine for that matter) but if you keep doing the things you love (i.e. taking pictures and writing) you’ll find it. This is what I keep telling myself.
    I love what your Yoga instructor said about starting over. It gives me hope.

  7. July 28, 2008 3:07 pm

    yup .. we all be light and dark, fucked up and greater than even we can imagine and nothing but dust and we have the ability to create and understand and tear it all apart. we are the contradiction and its all okay.

    i’m turning forty this year and have no idea what i am doing with my life and that’s okay too. i’m living and most days that is enough 🙂


  8. Isabelle permalink
    July 30, 2008 2:43 pm

    Malgré la distance qui nous sépare, je te lis et je te comprends et je te rejoins et je te remercie de poursuivre ta quête de vérité et de sens aussi ardemment que tu le faisais au temps de nos adolescences. J’en fais autant de mon côté et je suis touchée de constater à quel point nos recherches parallèles se rejoignent dans l’essentiel même si nos chemins sont différents aujourd’hui. J’ai survécu à une rupture qui m’a brisé le coeur et j’ai finalement cessé de survivre pour vivre à nouveau et réaliser avec surprise que le coeur ne se brise pas mais qu’il s’agit bien d’un muscle que l’on entraîne. Je suis là pour toi si tu veux.

  9. August 1, 2008 8:16 pm

    I needed to read this today. Thank you. It resonates with me on such a level I can’t even express.

  10. August 13, 2008 7:41 pm

    Here and Now J, Here and Now. The rest is just noise. Eight months after my father died I was driving alone and began to sob, spontaneously and uncontrolably. Healing has it’s own schedule.


  11. August 26, 2008 3:56 pm

    So I have been away from the internet this summer, and my comment on this post is clearly coming VERY late; however, I HAD to comment because this post was so authentic and so full of heart and vulnerability and truth…and everything good. It made me smile and it brought tears to my eyes…because you summed all of it up so beautifully, truly you did. They why’s, the where’s and the how’s of ourselves and this crazy world in which we live.

    Thank you for reminding us and thank you for sharing. Peace to you~ Jen. xoxo

  12. April 26, 2010 4:59 pm

    oh man. man. (she shakes her head from side to side slowly) don’t know how i found your blog but i have and i shall read it from past to present. i’m an EA (@ 38) and when i began this job (@24) i told many a soul ‘if i’m doing this job when i’m 40, please put me out of my misery’. where did 16 years go? this post RESonates with me. i shall read and re-read and hope and dream and look inside…and know…i will know that (as you so perfectly put into words) though i may currently be ‘missing a dream I can’t see’ the fog will indeed clear if that is truly what i yearn for and set my intentions on. thanks for this post and for your honesty with your fear of not knowing what to do with your life. possibly (as this post is nearly 2 years old) you have found out now (well, you seem to have solved the ‘drinking wine alone’ problem at least).

    be well….

    ~ jennifer

  13. Toni permalink
    December 20, 2010 7:34 am

    I just wanted to say, I found you on GGG recently and linked to your blog and started reading. Very old post this is, I just wanted to say that it resonated with me very much. We’re all just trying to find our way, and all we can do is measure our success in life by our happiness, and I hope that you have now found your happiness.
    A girl in Norfolk, England.

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