On the Half Shell


Turtle Zen: “Poke me, I pull into my shell. Come into my shell? Lose a finger. You choose.”

There used to be a time where I was so entirely optimistic and positive that I would figuratively, make you sick to your stomach.

You know the type.  That annoying “make lemonade out of lemons” personality.  The person who always said “it will be okay” or “tomorrow is another day!” or “it can’t rain all the time”.

I was a daisy.

And I liked who I was back then.  I was free of the anticipation of bad things or hard times.  I was free of the assumption that there were bad people.  I assumed everyone would treat me the way I treated them, and with kindness.

So in essence, either dumb or naive.  At the very least, ignorantly trusting of the world and the people in it.  Shining brightly without worrying about offending anyone with my [insert one] brain, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, laughter, humor… confidence.

Then bad stuff happened.


“God damn it! I have a shell! Do you hear me? I have a shell! This shit is not supposed to happen!”

What I realize now is that the pendulum has swung far to the left of what I was.  I no longer assume comments are innately positive, I look for the negative or the ‘hidden meaning’ in what people say or do.  Constantly.   And what’s worse?  Depending on how tired I am, I can infer that someone is meaning something negative where they aren’t at all.

I’m a God damned turtle these days.  How the hell did I go from ‘daisy’ to ‘turtle’ anyhow?  Oh yeah… pain and fear.  Now I remember, but that was then and this is now.

That shit is behind me and I am ‘feeling’ the pre-drama bits of me returning from some numb place that reminds me… I am a much more lighthearted creature at the core of me.

I married my best friend.  I’m far away from the circumstances that created so much conflict in my life.  How do I take back my innocence and optimism?  I don’t need this shell anymore… I don’t need to walk around like an snapping turtle.  It’s hard to breathe and be myself (my actual self) with this armor.

Gratitude.  It’s amazing how it is the best medicine for anything that ails your heart.

I am grateful for my patient and loving husband, who is my best friend, equal, protector, head Chef, and wonderful father to the twins (and a great doggy daddy too).

GuardI am grateful for my twin step-son’s who tear down walls faster in my heart than any other human’s on the planet.   They are my kids too now… and I love them fiercely.

I am grateful for the kindness and affectionate love of his parents, and their proximity.   I feel like I have a family again.

I am grateful for my brother-in-law and the friendship I have had with him for so long now.  For my sister-in-law and my new nieces and nephews, who are fun, entertaining and energetic.

I am grateful for someone I call my ‘adopted Mom’ and friend.  I can’t wait to fly to New York to see her asap.   Who could possibly understand the bond I feel for someone whose relationship has been long distance with me for four years?   I want to be like her.  Christina is my role model and much more.

(For the record I have no hope of becoming the Executive that she is… but I am going to try hard to).

And there is another friend in New York who means the world to me too.  Who leans in with advice and anecdotes when she senses I might be missing the forest for the trees.  I love you too Ann.

I am grateful for my sister.  She’s really my best friend on the books, but by the heart, Diane is my sister.  And one of the biggest gifts God ever gave me.

I am grateful for Kevin’s embracing and loving extended family.  I am working hard to get my life in balance so that I can spend more time accepting rather than declining all the fun invitations.

I am grateful for the family I have back in Canada who constantly stay in touch and wish good things for me.   And they remind me that I still matter back there too, to many people, when I feel slightly orphaned.

And thank you to the cat fish last weekend that I landed.  He flopped off the hook and I laughed hard for a good five minutes while Kevin tried to pick him up for a picture.

I’m going to work on a concept that ‘nice people’ are a norm not an exception again.  My heart is too big and too sensitive to go through life being afraid to be wrong about people.

Anything with a shell in nature is protected by it, but also hindered.  I don’t want to be a turtle anymore.

Right now I’m some strange turtle like creature with petals popping out of the cracks of a shell on it’s way out.   I feel “me” coming back.

I guess that’s a good sign, if not making for a rather unusual looking (and acting) human turtle.