My name is Patsy and I am trying to get back into actively contributing to my blog. Will I keep this up? Will this be another attempt that falls flat when I get caught up in another project? Only time will tell. For now I am treating this a form of therapy, and so I will write.
I’ll skip the formal introduction and we can circle back to that later. For now, let’s talk about where I’ve been, where I’m at, and the search to figure out where I’m going.
Way back in 2010, when I was an eager film school student with dreams of working on an eventual Jurassic Park reboot, I was regularly contributing to this blog. Both as a means of promoting my student and post-student work, but also to share my culinary adventures — I had been trying to break into the world of craft services at the time. This was followed by a new blog detailing my first solo travel experience in 2012, as well as a short foray into my life as an opera production assistant back in 2015. Most recently there was an attempt to blog about turning thirty in 2019, which ended abruptly due to a bit of a mental breakdown. In between those more ‘official’ attempts at getting back into it, there were a few posts drafted on this very blog, that never saw the light of day.
Over the years I’ve made countless attempts at picking this hobby back up, but it has never stuck. Sure I was doing cool things, one time I even attended Corgi Beach Day — still a top ten life highlight — but who was I to write a blog? I’m not an expert on anything, nor am I anyone of importance. Why would anyone care about what I had to say? Why would I think I’m good enough for that? You know — All that stupid shit we tell ourselves instead of just doing the thing we wanna do — that shit. I was living in a perpetual state of that — but not just for writing. For anything I wanted to do. I always found a reason why not to do something:
- Don’t start that sewing project. What if you screw it up and wreck that special fabric you bought with your best friend on that trip in 2017?
- Don’t bake that, you don’t want to waste the chocolate chips in case it doesn’t turn out. (Later that night, I’m eating them by the handful right out of the bag.)
- Don’t paint that canvas. You only have one left and what if you have a better idea later on?
It’s crap right? But I say it to myself every day.
A note left by my friend Sean Malmas. I still keep it on my desk three years later.
I decided it was time I started seeing a counsellor again. It was my first time since 2017’s ugly breakup, and I was six months into my new life here in Squamish. I was finally feeling settled, and like I was in the right headspace to truly dedicate myself to self-improvement for a while.
For as long as I can remember I have had a real problem with shame. I relive just about every situation I’ve ever been through, and think about different outcomes and how my life would be if I had just done X, Y, or Z. Think: Hey George, the ocean called — they’re running out of Shrimp! In the moment, I know I’m being a colossal dick to myself. Unfortunately I seem to be missing the step between knowing that I’m being mean and being able to stop that behavior before it starts.
Most recently this had manifested itself into a hideous shame cycle of “You left you job in July. You should be recovered and starting new projects by now.” to “Why haven’t you found your passion yet? How hard is it to find something to love?” This kind of nonsense was filling my days and nights. Then you add the whole pandemic to the mix, and my dreams of getting into event planning being put on a further hold once again, and I was feeling pretty hopeless. Then I’d feel ashamed of feeling hopeless, because I have such a full life. Instead of being grateful for all I have, I still found myself jumping back and forth between chasing the elusive dream that has escaped me for years now, and mourning past lives I’ve given up on.
Which is what brought me back to counselling. The first three or four sessions were filled with a lot of tears as we explored my past and present together. We discussed some of those big life defining moments that ended up developing into personality traits, as my brain tried to protect me from feeling bad. Reliving them was not always a treat, but it sure helped in giving me some perspective into why I am the way I am. Hearing myself say these things out loud and to another person, I decided it was time to learn to love my brain for all it had done for me up to this point. For all it had protected me from. For all it had helped me do. For always being there when I felt no one else was.
The following week we discussed the big one: my constant need to plan for the future and the crippling depression that comes when those plans fail. I didn’t know how I could move forward without some kind of goal in mind. The mental battle of trying to find a passion and setting a new life goal was driving me nuts and stopping me from just enjoying life. I hated myself for not having something to be passionate about anymore. I knew it wasn’t theatre or film, and I wasn’t sure it was event planning either — so what the hell was i going to do?
“What would it feel like if you didn’t have a major goal in mind?” she asked. Throwing the question out there so casually, as if it wasn’t the narrative of my entire life. My ears took in the words and the tears flowed instantly. Because that’s what it felt like not to have a goal. Tears. Anxiety. Inadequacy. Pain. Failure.
We talked a bit more about these complicated feelings and then she assigned some homework for the week: I was to think about life without a particular goal in mind.
- What does that look like?
- How do I feel about it?
- What does space does it free up in my brain?
And just like that, that conversation triggered something in me. The shame and guilt I had been carrying about this lost passion for so long… all of a sudden didn’t seem as heavy. As someone who has put herself out there so many times, only to fall flat, I had stopped trying to put myself out there and was now realizing how much I missed it.
My first real big putting myself out there project: Miles Off Track. One of the first things I realized through counseling is that I have just been searching and searching for my next Miles Off Track.
The next morning I already felt like I had a renewed energy, and over the next few days I really felt the change beginning to take hold. I felt motivated to try new things again. To actually use my craft supplies. I felt my brain making the kind of connections it used to when I was in college — which were arguably, the best years of my life. I was starting to feel like the best version of me was starting to make a comeback, but this time I could make her even better with all my new tools.
Don’t get me wrong, it was not some kind of magical cure, and I still have good days and bad days. The difference is now when those negative thoughts start to stroll on in, I’ve got a much better handle on them. It’s a work in progress, but damn if working on yourself isn’t the best freaking project you can work on. You reap the rewards just about every day. Especially the hard ones.
So — Best of all — in addition to being back in a better headspace, I finally feel like I have something to talk about! Gardening!
Gardening has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From my mom’s oversized gardens in my first home in Joussard, Alberta, to growing up among the fields of wheat and peas on weekends at the Brault Farm in Wetaskiwin, all the way to the backyard garden of my friends Magali and Laurent in Saint Soupplets, France, I have always felt at home in a garden.
Most recently, I started a balcony container garden and it has been an honest to goodness miracle in my life. For me, gardening is:
- a way of providing for my little family in an uncertain time.
- a hobby to keep me busy on the weekends and evenings.
- a way of bonding with my friends, new gardeners and old.
- And most of all: It’s given me something to talk about that isn’t my work.
As someone who a mere year ago was all about the career, the climb, the theatre life, and spent all my time outside of work talking about it, this has been the greatest blessing of them all.
My little slice of paradise in the mountains.
So to recap:
- Going through a big life change? There is no time limit. Give yourself the space. You don’t even know the kind of things you might need to heal from, so take the time and enjoy the ride.
- Don’t be a dick to yourself. You’re the only you’ve got til the very end, so be kind to yourself and love yourself. You are where you are because of what you’ve lived.
- I don’t need a plan for now. I just need to plant.
Well that’s it for this already very lengthy first post. The next few won’t be so long, and they’ll be more focused on my garden and what I’ve learned so far. Thanks for indulging me 💕
Ta-ta for now!