When was the last time you let your soul shine? I’m sitting here on a cloudy rainy day introspectively thinking of my childhood, of how my past has brought me here today. The question running through my mind is when did I give myself permission to let my soul shine? Painful memories play in my mind like a projector, from when I was four years old and how my Dad left and said he was never coming back. I felt all the light God gave me start to fade away as he ran out the door. I watched how he took on a new family, a new life and I wondered how I fit in… Anyone who’s the product of a broken home knows the child always blames themselves. I became angry, rebellious, and a troublemaker and I did everything to get my Dad’s attention and it always resulted in a negative manner. I definitely wasn’t letting my soul shine in those moments. So what helped me you may ask, hugs from my Mom, love, tea and cookies from my Grandparents, family, and always God in my life. I felt if I could go to a church and sing all my pain away I would be saved. At least in that moment, there are happy times too as I don’t want to be the proverbial downer on my blog. I remember a wonderful memory of being five years old at my Grandparents 50 th anniversary party. My Mom took my sister and I to get our hair done and shopping for a new outfit for the special day. I remember how happy I was to see all my family and how beautiful my Mom and Grandma looked in their new dresses, shoes, and hairdos. After we all had an amazing dinner at one of our favorite restaurants everyone went around the table to say an anniversary wish I suddenly felt sad since I had nothing to give. So it came to my turn and I was sitting in a puddle of sweat and anticipation I started to say happy anniversary I love you Gram and Grandpa and it came out in a song. I’ve always craved the spotlight so as the response became positive I stood up on my chair and sang You light up my life by Debbie Boone. Oh how wonderful I felt to see my family smiling at me and how my Gram picked me up and cuddled me on her knee afterwards. My Grandpa sat back and grinned and said that’s my little girl with the big voice. The rest of the night we gathered at our relatives for cake, and copious amounts of tea since we’re an Irish clan. I sat on my Mom’s knee and sang all the classic Irish songs as well some Elvis tunes while my brother played his guitar. A happy memory that fills my heart that let that little girl start to let her soul shine again. And through a few bumps in the road I still let her come out and play. So in closing we all deserve to shine, whatever it is that makes you happy, feel fulfilled, and comfortable in your own skin, do it and let your soul shine!!!
I tend to think of comfort zones as being like a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers. You know the ones I’m talking about the pink ones with the ratty ears, dirty nose, and half of the whiskers missing from each of its faces. I had a pair like that when I was fifteen, oh how I loved my bunny slippers. Well that’s another story for another day, when it feels it needs to be written. Lately I’ve been breaking out of my comfort zones firstly writing this blog, finding my voice, saying goodbye to friendships that no longer fit, performing in plays, writing a song, and taking on the choreography to a song and dance in my next performance. So now that I re read what I just wrote that sounds like a lot of growth! Oh my you just don’t know the half of it!!! Well now I digress, it started the day I lost my voice. When I say that, I’m meaning my ability to sing in public. Something I’ve grown up doing and loved greatly. The day came when I my Mom died I felt like a piece of me died too. There I was raising my four year old son and eight months pregnant. So to honor my Mom’s memory I sang at her funeral. How I was able to accomplish that only God and my angel parents know. So to say I was stressed is an understatement!!! When I listened to advice from my well intentioned loved ones to not let my Mother’s death get to me, be strong for my baby and my son. Yeah right, they were all I thought about! So I put my grief on hold to help my son deal with his. I will never forget the honesty and innocence when he presented me with a picture of my Mom, walking hand in hand with God. He told me at the tender age of four, that it was going to be ok, because Grandma was with the angels and would watch over us. Shortly after this I had my baby at 36 weeks, he had to spend time in the N.I.C.U. That was the longest two weeks of my life, as I had to watch my precious baby boy struggle to gain weight and fight jaundice. Which left him so sleepy and unable to feed for long periods of time. So talk about stepping out of my comfort zone I was still used to being pregnant!!! So there I was sent home after five days, and had to go home and look after my oldest son, and manage to be a wife to my dear devoted husband. I went back and forth from home to the hospital to hold and feed my baby. Who was getting stronger day by day, thanks to a very supportive medical staff, a hospital advocate, and of course this strong Momma right here!!! Those days were induced with a combo of what I like to call the three T’s T-3’s, Tiger balm, and tenacity as I was healing from my caesarean section via my baby’s rapid delivery from a ruptured placenta. So eventually my baby came home and we all settled into life as a family of four and I wrapped my head around the fact that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I believe I did grief that as I wanted to give my baby all the best I could while still dealing with my Mom’s death. So I asked God for strength, the courage to adapt to being a Mother of two, and to lift me out of my pit of post partum depression. Then I began to sing, to my Mom, and to my boys during my daily chores, and of course in the shower (which has the best acoustics, second to that of a church.) God provided for us and answered my prayers in a way I wasn’t expecting in the form of my husbands job transfer. So off we went to set up a new life in a new town living in a hotel while seeking a home and in the process of trying to sell our old one. I was so far out of my comfort zone my head was spinning as I was adapting to all the newness!!! So seven months passed while hotel living, the longest seven months of my life and we found a home. My oldest son was adapting better than I had ever hoped, with his new school and new friends. Everything was going well with my husband’s new job and his support in the community. I struggled while my baby had erratic sleeping patterns and became a “mombie” living on granola bars, yogurt, and Carnation instant breakfast shakes. I slept whenever he slept (which wasn’t very often, at that) and managed to make some new friendships while missing my old ones. I said goodbye to everything I knew and loved, friends who were my family, relatives that took the place of my parents, and my beloved Okanagan. What got me through all this you may ask, well my faith in God, my family, my friends, and plenty of wine on rainy days. So my son and I joined a local theatre group and became to know and work with a wonderful bunch of actors. Then came the day when we had our first show a pantomime where I played not one but three roles. Well what can I say when I jump in, I jump in with both feet! Then spring came and it was a time of rebirth as the first anniversary of my Mom’s death and the third anniversary of my Dad’s death passed. I was asked to portray an Irish character my dear, beloved Nellie Cashman. Then I was to sing Danny Boy an old Irish classic that I grew up singing as I drank tea and enjoyed scones with my Mom, Gram, and her sisters. As I opened up my mouth to sing I found my voice and I sang for all of them. And remembered the stories of the plight of my ancestors as they struggled to leave their beloved Ireland during the potato famine of 1845 first they went to Scotland and then travelled onto New York where they lived for a year and took the train to Canada. After the music stopped and I returned to my mind and heard the applause I knew Irish angel wings were holding me up. So in closing we all may get stuck, we may all die a little inside, but take that step and break out of your comfort zone and chase your dreams. You’ll never know what will happen unless you try. So I will take my own advice and start my next adventure, to be continued….