Monday, August 20, 2012

Pink for Gabi: The inspiring story of Gabi's fight and friends.

I got a text from a former co-worker of mine last week; he said that he and his friends were planning a special pink-themed tailgate party outside the Bomber Stadium before last Thursday’s game for their friend Gabi, a fellow die-hard Bomber fan who is battling breast cancer. (Or, as my friend explained:  “Is kicking cancer’s ass.”)
“She had to give up her season tickets,” he explained of Gabi, who had poured years of her life into cheering on the boys in blue and gold both at home and in other stadiums in Canada. “We just want to show her that we’re supporting her.”

Now I don’t know Gabi, I’ve never even met her, but the story of this group of friends rallying around their friend in her time of need was inspiring.

Even though she couldn’t be at the game with them that night, they went out of their way to make sure that her presence was felt. And boy did they do a good job of that.

At just before 5 p.m. a core group of friends parked themselves on the East side of the stadium and began to set up a sort of shrine to Gabi. They decorated their Royal LePage RV with pink streamers and balloons. They all wore pink bandanas, jerseys, hats, t-shirts, beads, leis, boas, you name it, if it was pink they wore it… And they set up a banner on the side of the RV for people to sign, as a get well card to Gabi. The friends even bought extra pink leis and beads to give to passer-bys, so that other people in the stadium would be we supporting Gabi in her fight.

There they were, this group of friends, sending the ultimate shout out to someone they cared about.
Strangers walked by, some stopping to sign the card or leave some money to make a donation to Cancer Care in Gabi’s name. More than $130 was donated from people who were inspired by Gabi, her fight and her wonderful friends. Bomber President and CEO, Garth Butchko even checked in and gladly accepted the pink lei that was bestowed upon him. He posed for a picture (which I feel lucky enough to have been invited into) and introduced himself to the group.
The entire tailgate party and the thought that went into it was something to be in awe of. Beyond the time and money they spent on the ‘Pink for Gabi’ theme, the outpouring of love and support from Gabi’s friends and the strangers who passed by was incredible.

I wish Gabi a strong and speedy recovery in her journey.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's called a Breakup...

I'm reading 'It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken' by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. (Greg also co-authored 'He's Just Not That Into You.')

Before you start judging me, I must confess that the had been sitting on my book shelf, dusty and unread for a long time. Ironically I bought it during my last relationship, while things were good. A sign of the inevitable perhaps, or maybe I just liked the cover design. Either way, it was a well invested $3.99. (Thanks Goodwill Store!)

The book is hilarious. It's not the standard "self-help book" that reaffirms one's sense of "I am good enough, strong enough...blah, blah, blah." Nope. The book is a  compilation of different breakup scenarios combined with well experienced advice from the authors. It's funny, and makes the whole lonely process universal.

What, you mean I'm not the only person that ever thought Mr. Guy was going to hit a wall and realize how much he loved me and that I am the one and only he ever wanted? I'm not the only one who has battled with my un-ringing phone, dying on the inside because he wasn't calling or texting me? ...I'm not the only one who has ever believed that all those love songs (i.e. Buckcherry's 'Sorry' or Bon Jovi's 'I'll Be There For You') were the soundtrack the the way he was going to feel one day? So you're telling me he actually likes the other girl, even though she's not me!? Oh. OK.

You get my point.

Over and over I see pieces of myself in every breakup I've ever had; from the guys I knew were never going to last in my life, to the one I thought was "it," the book covers the gamete of breakup woes and emotional instability. It's comforting and amusing.

I remember one breakup, probably the worst one I've ever been through when I was in my 20s, I thought I was literally going to die. (I know we all get that feeling when we get dumped, but this particular process of getting over him took FOREVER!) I remember planting myself on my couch, or in my bed for days, and just crying. Yep, that's all I did; cry. I didn't shower, I didn't wear makeup, and I didn't eat. I called in sick to work, because this breakup was like a terminal disease, and I had my friends over to talk about my heartache. Hell, I even burned some of the things he gave me one night over drinks while my friends cheered me on, probably hoping this pain would also go up in smoke. Sadly for them, that was only the beginning of the healing process.

Don't judge me, I was emotional and young.

In the years and relationships/breakups following, the process was always similar, but never quite the same. Each time my heart was broken, the same heavy emptiness washed over me, but unlike the time before I was a different person. In my most recent breakup, the process hurt just as badly as all the other times, but the confidence I never had in other of my other relationships seemed to be my saving grace. Once I finally learned the truth of the situation and of him, it became clear that he was the wrong one for me and that life would be fine, great even, without him.

(Note: That said, I will admit that I think poorly of some of the people I've dated, including the last guy. Some, including him, probably think poorly of me too. Doesn't matter really, that's the past.)

The bottom line is that if you want a good read, or are going through a breakup of your own, you should invest in this book. (Hell, if you're my friend or if we actually know each other, send me a message and I'll lend it to you.)

If you don't want to invest in this book, but are going through a rough time, I just have a couple of tidbits of advice for you:

1) Adele is awesome, but after a three day Adele bender (when you first breakup) turn that stuff off. She's so tormented in her music that even happy people in relationships feel her pain and anguish, you don't need anymore of that in your state. Stick to upbeat, happy tunes.

2) Friends who listen are the best therapists. Don't call or text the one who broke your heart. Lean on your friends, and make new ones. It's always surprising and heartwarming to see who steps up in your time of need. Appreciate it, because (in a different way) your breakup is hard on them too. They don't like to see you hurt, and they're trying really hard to make it better.

3) It'll take time to get over it, but that being said, you still need to go out and enjoy life (even if you don't enjoy anything at first.) The sad truth is that he is enjoying his life without you, so you need to do the same.

4) If he wronged you and you need to hate him, hate him. You need to go through those motions. However, even though you're probably thinking like an emotional maniac, make it your goal to move past the hate to indifference. Someone who hurts you isn't worth that type of emotion or thought process from you. Hate, revenge, regret, or holding onto someone who doesn't want you isn't in your best interest. Life is short.

5) Beware of airing your dirty laundry on social media sites, everyone you've ever met in your entire life doesn't need to know what's going on. It's awkward. (Hell, we've all done it. If you have, don't beat yourself up, just stop now.) Once you're over it you will probably feel silly for doing it. Your future self respect and dignity depend on this! The people who care already know everything anyway.

You'll be ok heartbroken warriors. Love yourself and you'll be surprised how quickly you bounce back. I'll leave you with a quote a friend of mine texted to me when I was entrapped in breakup-ville.


Shelley C. xo

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mom, meet the Elephant. Elephant, meet mom.

I'm always astounded by my mom's deep knowledge and understanding of her children. I'd say that my mom and I are close, but there are things that I haven't and won't share with her. That being said, I believe she knows me better than I sometimes know myself.

I had been keeping a secret from my mom for a long time. It wasn't something overly secretive to my friends; it was just something that was a part of my life that I didn't think my mom needed to know.

My "secret" is something I don't deem necessary to share on the internet, as I like to keep some aspects of my life personal. However, in blogging about it, I want to tell the part of the story that isn't too personal to share: How much my mom knows and loves me.

Today I finally introduced my mother to the Elephant in the room. The introduction was an unexpected and unplanned Saturday afternoon telephone conversation.

Things started off normally enough: "How are you? What are you doing today? How's work?..." The small-talk kind of stuff that my mom and I routinely chat about. "I'm fine," I told her. "How are you?"

As usual, my mom caught me up with the happenings of her life; she talked a little bit about her trip to Kamloops, my nieces, and what she had done that morning. It was the same old small talk, and then she asked again how I was doing.

"Fine," I relented. "I'm not going to give you details, but I'm going through kind of a hard time right now," is what I told her.

"I know," she said.

"You know?" I asked.

"Yeah, I know," she said.

"What exactly do you know?" I asked.

And she told me exactly what she knew.

"Who told you?" I asked.

"Nobody, I'm your mother." She said.

I sat there on my floor, phone pressed to my ear and Elephant beside me. I didn't expect this exchange to ever happen, yet it was happening, and she left it up to me how the conversation was going to go. Understanding and maintaining an impassive attitude, she offered the details she knew, without asking for any in return.

(Mom, this is the Elephant. Elephant, mom. "Oh hello Elephant in the room, it's nice to finally formally meet you.")

In the grand scheme of things, the "secret" is nothing important. (Anyone reading this is probably coming up with all sorts of salacious scenarios about me, but trust me, it's nothing near as juicy or exciting as you are probably thinking.) In fact, I know I could have told my mom at any time, I just didn't feel I wanted or needed to.

I respect my mom immensely for the way she conducted herself. Here I was, shutting her out of a piece of my life, and she waited outside the metaphorical door for when (or if) I was ready to ever let her in. She never tried to barge in, or make me introduce her to my Elephant. In fact, she was very hospitable to the Elephant, welcoming the shy, invisible stranger into her life and waiting for me to introduce the two if I saw fit. She watched me from afar, keeping an eye on me the whole time, like any mother does.

There are many times in my life that I've kept secrets from my mom. I'm her daughter, that's what daughters do. Yet, I know (and probably even knew before this) that she knows me far greater than I think she does. It's comforting.

Thanks mom.