Monday, May 27, 2013

On the Journey: Building the foundation



Of all the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pictures I've taken, there are none of a building in the process of construction - especially the beginnings of construction.  Laying the foundation.

The best I can do is this picture of a temporary bridge being built across the Grand River in my neighbourhood before "rehabilitation" of the existing bridge could start.

Personally, I find it amusing that a bridge can be "rehabilitated."  I thought that word applied to humans as in drug addicts, criminals ... maybe even abusers?

Today we shift the focus a bit from the journey of recovery to laying the foundation of what this blog may look like in the future. Of parts of the process.  Of who I am.  Of my story.  Of the path I intend to take this blog on in the immediate future.

In a recent bus journey with a group from my church, we were all given a paper with hints and were to write down the hymn which fit the prompt.  We had such prompts as:  the tailors hymn; the shoppers hymn, etc.

The only one I got right was the contractor's hymn:  How Firm a Foundation.  Why?  Because my husband is a plumber who has done mechanical plumbing i.e. construction.  He likes to tell me stories of his day at work ... and I listen.  I may not understand as I'm (a) not a plumber and (b) not at all mechanically inclined.  But this is his journey and so I join him on his path.

If I had a picture of the beginnings of construction of a project, it would not be very exciting.  Which is probably why I don't have one.  It would show a piece of land surrounded by some sort of fencing - usually - especially if it's a big project.  Inside the perimeter would be earth digging equipment like a back hoe to dig the hole.  The bigger the building, the deeper the hole.  Inside the hole comes what is called the underground i.e. pipes for plumbing and probably the basis of the electrical work as well.  (Remember I'm a plumber's wife, not a contractor's wife, so I know things only from the plumber's point of view.)  Not only do the pipes have to be laid before the cement part of the foundation can be completed, but they have to be tested for leaks as well.  All the while, other contractors are breathing down the necks of the plumbers to get done so that they can get on with the work of pouring the concrete, etc.

And the most important part:  the foundation has to be strong.  It has to be strong enough to hold the entire weight of the building and not just hold it upright in bright, sunshiny, mild circumstances but especially when there are tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.  When the building is buffeted and battered.

Which brings us back to the foundations of this blog (and easily be sidetracked to the whole concept of the foundation of emotional healing and recovery).

First we start just a bit with me.  After all, there's always a bio in the back cover of a book jacket right? But this is not about being born in such and such a place or how many children I have or even where I graduated from university and what in.  It is about who I am.  What I do.  How I approach not only life in general, but this blog in particular.

Whether you've just started reading this blog or have been with me from the start, there are several things you have probably realized about me: I am basically a story teller using real life examples to tell the story rather than creating fiction.  I also love to use photographs to illustrate the concept, if possible.

I like to make analogies.

What you may not know is that I was not only a teacher at one time but that those who knew me called me a "born teacher," someone who could get things out of her students that the other teachers could not.

My analogy of choice is to liken my journey of recovery to an actual journey of which I've taken more than a few.  I not only love to travel on long trips but I love my smaller "adventures" such as walking by the nearby river, taking day trips with my husband especially if there is a camera in my hand.

My counsellor has said more than once that my cognitive skills i.e analytic are superb.

I'm an observer.  Not just of people - but of life in general.

I'm like the cat whom curiosity killed.  I am very curious about many things.  So many things fascinate me.

Until the first part of the recovery process, I lived a lot of my life dominated by fear:  fear of the dark, fear of closed-in spaces especially elevators, fear of heights especially bridges.  Fear.

As a child I was very much an introvert.  If called on in class, I would shake violently.  Now, I think it would be safe to say that I'm very much an extrovert.

I'm a people person.  I love people.  I love talking to them.  Hearing their stories.  People fascinate me.

In the process, I've learned - or started to learn - what my triggers are so that I can deal with things that would normally push them big time better.

I met a writer named Phil Callaway once in a writer's conference approximately two decades ago.  This man is well known for his sense of humour.  He commented that even as a child in public school, laughter seemed to follow him around the classroom.  Smiles seem to follow me wherever I go:  church, the library, the grocery store, you name it.  Maybe it's because I give them out so liberally.

I have evolved from being a very angry person to becoming a happy person.  Even in the midst of the thick of the workplace abuse when my world was being shaken at the core of it's foundation, someone emailed me stating:  "You're the happiest person I know."  Since that person only knew me from FaceBook, that comment blessed me - a lot - because that person had no way of knowing that the very core of my world was being severely buffeted at it's foundation.

This is only a little synopsis of the person who is writing this blog.  A small glimpse.

Just as the whole phenomenon of workplace abuse is complex, so am I.  My weaknesses, my strengths, my character, my values, my ethics.  The whole nine yards.

If you've been following this blog, you're aware that I'm in the midst of realigning it to tell my story of recovery.  From complex PTSD.  From Trauma.  From workplace abuse.  From ... well ... from all my past experiences.

And that, dear reader, is where I will leave you for today.

Tomorrow, I will continue back on the journey after a good night's rest.

Join me tomorrow for more of the journey.  In the meantime, I wish you well on your individual journeys through life.


And yes, the temporary bridge, although it did sway a bit and make sounds when the cars went over it, was sound enough for its purpose.  The old bridge has been "rehabilitated" and is now structurally sound enough to withstand hundreds of cars per day.











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