Thinning my skin (and journalling notes)

07:14 In ViJournal again. that seemed to work. (I copy-paste the writing afterward, into any other program that I know will survive my next software upgrade.) Yesterday I copied that entry into Mac OSX Notes (which syncs with iOS Notes on my phone) so that I could copy-paste it from there into WordPress, to publish from mobile, between school runs. Today I copy that, for permanent(-ish) safe-keeping, into my other digital journal. I’m using Scrivener as my main journal at the moment. I got a 50% discount on it after participating in NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago (no, I didn’t write a novel, per se… but I did write another 50K words, this time condensed into 30 days, which is enough to qualify as “winning”).

The big negative point in using Scrivener as a private diary is that it’s not password-protected, unless you go through a complicated (to me) process of making a separate “disk image,” which takes up significant hard drive space (which recently I ran out of, until finally moving my 850 GB digital photos collection to an external hard drive —which has caused other issues which now need repairing), and besides, programs become quite clunky to open from disk image, imho, which makes starting to write more of a chore. I did use Scrivener that way for a while though. I perhaps may revert to that method again, clunky though it is. I haven’t performed my system upgrade yet because I still haven’t exported all the old journal entries from ViJournal and I am worried that I may lose access to them if the program gets further damaged. During the last system upgrade the ordering of entries in ViJ got completely mangled and I thought at first that huge chunks of writing had gone missing, but I was able to locate them again using the app’s own calendar view.

The advantage to having a password-protected diary is that you can finally feel much more free to write your true thoughts. And if you can write your true thoughts, without fear of being discovered, you can figure out what you want to say. And then, what you want to do.

The kids don’t have school today so I might have a bit more time. However, I’ve used most of my writing time this morning in working a poem I wanted to submit to the Geist Erasure Poetry contest.

Here it is if you want to submit (or even not submit, but try a fun writing exercise). Yes it’s CAD $20 to enter but the fee supports quality (and mostly Canadian!) literature, so, I feel, very worthwhile.


Just side-tracked in getting that link. Looked at this awesome thing:

Hocky traiku. Must tell my daiku-writing blog-friend M. (um, and maybe I should tell him —and the rest of my other blog’s blog-friends— about this blog? but how? I feel terrible about that. but it had to be this way at first. I could not bear the pressure of failing in the end? of possibly letting them down? it’s such a blooming muddle now… just as it started… but bound to work itself out.)


I’m a bit late today, but I finally got enough sleep after two many double-ended-candle nights.

Besides wanting to share process, the other reason that I do this chatter sometimes is because I’m afraid of writing the truth. Funnily, the most common reason I’m afraid to begin is because I’m afraid I won’t get to end. I fear interruption, to the point that I don’t allow myself the chance to do something worthwhile. But isn’t it better to begin something worthwhile and never finish it, than to never begin at all?


Yesterday. Gorgeous weather again. That cracked-open morning. If you can unlock yourself, and write your truth, the world becomes beautiful.

I had been wandering around with knotted forehead and thickening skin for so long, I felt just as dull as in my drinking days. “My drinking days” — I dislike that expression. It gives an impression of finality, which my subconscious rebells against, and it also may give an impression, to a reader who does not know my life, of things that never existed. What I mean, at any rate, is that I felt not much better than I did during the last year or few of my life in which I would follow a pattern of drinking more than I’d wanted to, and yet repeat that action again, within a day or two, a week or two, or even as much as a month or two. The point is that I’ve recently felt un-healed, no better than before really, hungover all the time in some strange way that needed no alcohol, and I felt dull, and lifeless-y on the outside, and I had grown a thick skin, quite literally — the day before yesterday, I’d had some strange swollen feeling, just under my skin, possibly not visible, but I felt it, all over, real as real — of course that kind of dull sobriety will always make one reflect on questions such as “is it really better”?

And of course, all it takes to calm that wondering, is remembering that “the disease is progressive and it is fatal.”

So if you love life at all, and if you want your chance to make your life as gorgeous as you wish it to be in your heart of hearts, then the answer is, “yes.”

And I realized that my thickening skin was telling me that daily exercise, both physical and spiritual, is truly vital, and I must return to it, if I plan to be that healthy and well-loved old granny that I plan to be.


I’d wanted to tell you about the weekend. The weekend, for me, started out as terribly disappointing, and all by my own hand; for I had planned a camping trip alone, away, to collect my thoughts, my laptop, and my reams of words, and drive toward the distant hills, and just sit outside in nature, I pictured myself, under the awning of our van, sitting in the sun, typing, digitally-organizing, contemplating, perhaps walking through trees down to a river, sitting there, never interrupted.

But. I have fears of travelling alone, I must admit — not at all serious fears — but very stupid fears, of firstly, being thought of as intensely selfish, and secondly, actually feeling terribly selfish, and thirdly, I have fears of being interrupted, not my my own family, but by men.

I have to face this fear. It’s giving me a heart-palpitation to write about it.

The truth is, I could never win any beauty contests, but I’m attractive enough, as far as average women go; I have my eyes in the usual place, and all that lucky stuff.

Anyway. I’ve lost the train. What was it again. Right, so let’s stream it out…

dear, dear diary… this is the thing, the real true thing:


Husband has the children till 08:00 (he is home this week!). But holy shit number three is throwing up a dramatic sob like there’s a camera rolling, and shouting (I imagine, to his brother):

“I don’t want to be ??? (born?)(unintelligible?), you piece of poo!”

He loves to get my attention this way. He needs to get my attention this way. Got to go.



It was “I don’t want to be BORED.” Not “I don’t want to be born.” See how I have this sky-is-falling mentality?

That’s why I need my husband. He’s the exact opposite. God I love him.

My husband grew up at times living in a trailer park, at times in a trailer in someone’s back yard, and at times in the back of a station wagon (imagine, a single mother with two young kids, working several part-time jobs, homeless except for the car, teaching them how to “do the necessary” in a bag, at nights, I kid you not), then finally, in an abandoned logging cabin in the woods (which my then-10-year-old-husband helped rebuild). He learned how to survive. and thrive. as did his brother. how is it that the such seemingly-derelict conditions can produce such successful people? (hint: partly, good mothering, in spite of the world, in this one particular case; and partly, “no mud, no lotus.”) I don’t just mean successful in terms of earning a comfortable living. I mean, successful in having a healthy mind: anxiety does not seem to be a “thing,” for my husband. He just gets on with it. He reached disillusionment at the ripe old age of eight, when it dawned on him, in his own words, when watching his alcoholic mother’s mismanagement of money, “that adults are just grown-up kids.”)

Meanwhile, I grew up one of two daughters of two school-teachers, loved, cherished, by okay-no-one’s-perfect parents but honestly, it was all so idyllic, in my own view at least, that when I was a child I remember thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world to have such a family.  Of course, my parents, and most particularly my mother, being near-perfect as they were, daily imprinted on us how lucky we in fact were. Pointing out everywhere poverty, sadness, unluckiness, illness; to feel compassion, to always help others, constantly reminding us that if we ever felt unhappy, we could be happy that at least we had a roof over our heads, food on the table, that we had lungs with which to breathe.

I remember complaining as a teen, while leafing through piles of fashion magazines (which, incidentally, my mother would buy, if I remember right), staring at articles about how to lacquer my nails to perfection, comparing my farm-stock hands to the slim appendages of supermodels: “but, my hands are too manly! my nails are too short!” To which she would reply: “Be grateful for your hands, how useful they are! Be happy they can make nice things! Be thankful you have hands at all! Some people have no hands!” And then she would tell some story of a friend who had lost their hand in a — well. I will spare the gory details. You get the picture. Awfulness and “unluckiness” were everywhere, lurking around the corner, a fact of which we could happily remind ourselves, every time we felt our lives were inadequate, or not lucky enough.

And I am thankful to my mom for all that. And do not blame my mom for all that. And now, I *am* all that. I hear myself, unbidden, doing similar things with my own children, in my most stressed-out moments. And stressing out about the possible outcomes of my imperfect parenting, later. For better or for worse. *So hum.* (“I am that.”)

However, there was a side effect: my feelings also became inadequate. If I felt unlucky, well, I was not unlucky *enough.* I had *no right* to feel unlucky, to want more. I began to constantly feel that I deserved *less.* I would thus always look for less, even as I craved more.


Okay so about the men-thing… yes. I have these anxieties about being hit on. It’s funny, it’s all I ever wanted, when I was young…

but now it’s different. Of course, I love a good flirt, but the problem is that I find that a good flirt can too quickly become

what? How to describe it? Well, let’s put it like this:

I must admit I’m pretty old-fashioned; I believe there are boundaries, such as marriage or other long-term-commitment agreements, that make boundaries clear. So, say for example several married men and several married women openly flirt in a fun and wit-filled conversation around a dinner table, it would seem fairly clear (to me) that this is dinner-table flirting, and there is no need nor want to progress beyond that. But then one suddenly finds that at the next party, one is swimming in a pool that has become more like a shark tank (strange — French? — custom, I seem to be unaware of the tacit underlying — quite literally — rules of this game) or that one is receiving unexpected drop-by visits from gentleman callers (lol, love that term), who were suddenly walking their dogs in the neighbourhood, “just dropping by to say hi.” At times when it was known that one’s partner would not be present. Um, no. To me that is crossing a line. (I would love to say it was innocent? But guts speak louder than words.) For a while there, I even started closing the gate across our driveway, as a kind of deterrent. And I hate closing gates!

So… the eternal conundrum. I love men (I love women too, but in a different way), I love love, I love flirting in love, I don’t love paths toward infidelity. I don’t love complications. I don’t love feeling hunted.

I retreated further and further inward. To keep my life simple. But somehow, my forehead ends up in a giant knot.

I noticed that in middle age, a kind of agoraphobia struck me. I would not want to leave the house at all. I was afraid of being hated, of being loved, of being harmed, of inadvertently harming.

Thanks to the children, I kept going out as necessary, but other than that, I went further and further inward, away from trouble, but I found I only troubled myself.


the kids are on Minecraft, if you were wondering. The last two days they have been planning what they will virtually build together, and now, we’ll see if they will virtually build it.

There is no school for the younger three on Wednesdays. And school for the eldest only on Wednesday mornings. And I’ve got my eldest coming home at lunchtime from *lycée.* He will ride with a friend’s mom halfway, and I will pick him up from there.

He was content enough, in “internat,” and happily his roommates were kind enough, but I missed him, and he missed us, and I kept making the long drive to the city to visit him on Wednesday afternoons anyway, so he might as well come home. So now he will be three nights away per week, instead of four. And I am glad.


09:20 I had not meant to write about any of this. I’d meant to write about the weekend, and yesterday.

Nutshell: Though my husband was home, and able to look after the kids for some hours, and my plan was to work on figuring out a book or three that I’ve been cogitating for a good number of years, I instead “wasted” my creative time going down heart-palpitating virtual rabbit holes on the information super-highways. (I put “wasted” in quotations because, nothing is ever truly wasted, if you can recover from it.)

But on Sunday afternoon, I finally sat quiet, for just a few minutes, doing absolutely nothing, in a lawn chair, finally outside, finally staring at the Tree, whose leaves, I finally noticed, were changing colour. Big clusters of golding green, of seed-propeller-brown. (It is a linden tree.)

And I was silently wondering if there was any point to it all. If I should give up my dreams and plans, and revert to “normal.”

And then, in that moment, there came my husband (who has mostly been more quietly befuddled than actively supportive, regarding my decision to go alcohol-free)… to serve me a gorgeous non-alcoholic drink, a kind of blackberry-banana sherbet he’d made himself, in one of his lovely, stemmed beer glasses, elegant as anything, and with a candy-cane striped straw.

This was the first very special alcohol-free drink I believe anyone has ever handed me, since I have given up wine. And suddenly, life was perfect.

And after I finished the drink, I went inside and chopped vegetables while he rolled out pizza dough, and I talked about everything, and he listened.

And on Monday morning, I got up early, did my exercises, both physical and spiritual, and made a plan.


10:58 note, this is very hard to publish. why? due to constant distractions. I become unsure of myself. fragmented thinking. rereading to get back on the thought-train, then increasing, decreasing. that is why I need to return to getting up much earlier. which means going to bed much earlier. which means getting the *kids* to bed much earlier. and so on.

but ok, I guess I’ll put this one out there. Hit the ol’ publish button. Seems like a waste, otherwise. After all, I wrote it with you in mind.

Thank you so much, for all that love yesterday. It’s nice to know that if you are truly yourself, your true friends (at least, the ones who are aware!) truly show up. It makes life worth living.





22 thoughts on “Thinning my skin (and journalling notes)

      1. Yeah I realized that right after I posted, lol. You may be able to password protect the folder that the app is in. Do you use a mac primarily?


      1. This is interesting. You seem much younger in this blog than your other one. Possibly it’s because you’re writing about a topic that’s new to you. Maybe lack of a photo. I have an alternate blog too, not so much for different writing styles or topic matter but for identity.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Nadine, when you only know someone through their written words you get a partial picture of them, you fill in the gaps and then try/to construct a visual picture. I can’t seem to do that for you, the picture keeps shifting, which keeps things interesting. I did get a clear picture of that non alcoholic drink you had though. Seems yummy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t that the neatest thing? I would love to see photos of how each of us “anonymous” bloggers looks in each other person’s eyes side by side with photos of the reality! Would be a fascinating art project

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now there’s a thought. That could be hilarious. I’m going to try and represent myself as tall, slim, incredibly handsome, cultivated , thirty something with incredible fashion sense (now think opposite)😂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh Jim. I doubt it’s the opposite. You seem incredibly handsome and cultivated to me. 😉

          On a side note, I’ve just noticed this blog post was complete gobbledygook. 🤓Trying to figure out how to recover from it. 😅 But, your comment cheered me up. So thanks. 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This post is awesome! The paragraph where it started and ended “If you love life at all….then the answer is yes.” is so inspiring!! ❤🙌🏻
    When I read your son said to his brother “I don’t want to be bored, you piece of poo!” I did giggle out loud at the poo part. I just think it’s hysterical. 😂
    Your husband bringing you a non-alcoholic drink and your Sunday after that sounds just wonderful! You two were meant to be together! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *You* are awesome, and so kind as always… thank you Jackie 💖😍😘
      I know, it’s brutal that they call names, right? But “poo” is always hysterical. 😂 (Of course, they got a big talking-to, and no laughter, poor kids. ;))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think traveling alone, camping night alone is a safety thing. It’s that a few bad men can hurt us. We know this, and unfortunately, must be extra careful.
    My parents raised us to to think of other people first, which was kind, but then all I do is worry about other people! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hugs Wendy. *You* are so kind. Truly, thank you. Albeit a bit selfishly (but also for the sake of hundreds, perhaps thousands of other people here in BlogLand), I’m glad you were raised that way. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Back from the lotus-ing you just got me to do, via your other comment… 😉🙏 and now seeing this. wow. Anne, this means so much to me right now. I had a very difficult creative moment today. This makes it feel a lot better. Thank you… once again. ❤️❤️❤️


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