It’s the first day of Spring

It’s the first day of Spring; the weather here in the Lower Mainland has already sprung into the season. The leaves on the tree are bidding, the flowers have begun to bloom, and the days are getting longer with each passing day.

I love this time of year. It’s the time of rebirth and renewal. The abundance of sunlight picks me up and fills me with joy.

In Vancouver area, we don’t get a lot of snow, nurse do have an abundance of rain. It can rain, off and on, for months at a time. Some years this gloom can be very trying while other years are not so difficult for me to muster through. This past winter wasn’t too bad to endure. Although, I am glad that the snow and the cold are over (It’s been a strange year, and they say, “There is no global warming.”

Spring has sprung. I am glad.
—Robert Confiant 20 March 2019


A better commute this morning

The SkyTrain was slow this morning; apparently, they are driving them manually (the system is automated and the snow keeps triggering the sensors; thus, the trains shut down? So, the train system is being overridden and the trains are being driven manually.

The roads; however, are clear of snow, so the buses are running well. Although, the drivers a driving more cautiously, i.e., more slowly. I am making okay time though. I may be a little bit late. It can’t be helped. I leave early as it is. I cannot leave much earlier than I already do without getting up an hour or two earlier than I already am.

I do the best I can there are only two or three buses earlier than the one I take. I can’t walk to the SkyTrain station in this weather; most of the sidewalks are not shoveled.

It seems I, like Vancouver, don’t do well in snow.
— Robert Confiant 13 February 2019

I am working on it

I have lost fourteen pounds since Christmas. It isn’t as awesome as it seems. I lost eight pounds in the first two weeks, and then I plateaued for over a month.

My brother was in town a little over a week ago and he commented on my weight gain (my heaviest weight ever; shamelessly to admit). I told him, “I am warning on it and that I lost eight pounds.”

I want to do things differently this time. I have lost count how many times I’ve tried to lose weight. Diets work for a while, but then I go back to my old habits. I am striving for a lifestyle change and new habits by cutting down on portion sizes, eating more vegetables, and true social drinking (and not what I previously considered social drinking. But if I want one or two drinks a week, then I will. So far, I haven’t wanted one).

It’s working. I have lost another six pounds. According to the Body-Mass Index (BMI), I am morbidly obese. I don’t believe one should go NY the BMI scale. I think realistically, one should carry ten to fifteen pounds above what the BMI states (in case, one gets sick. But more so, because it’s more realistic, I am 56 yo, I don’t care how old one is, I know 140 to 145 lbs is never going to happen besides 155 to 160 is more realistic weight, but at my age, I will settle for 170 to 175 lbs.

In any event, because I am not dieting, it will take a long time to get there and that’s okay. It took a long time to pack it on, so it’s going to take a long time to take it off. It’s about lifestyle and habit changes and these take time. Besides, I am bound to slip every once in a while; it’s human nature. The thing is not to fret, or quit just because one screws up once in a while (something I have done in the past.

Life’s a journey. I will keep you posted.

—Robert Confiant 7 February 2019

Maturing to the point where one says,”Screw it.”

I try to be genuine to myself. I try to be true to who I am, and to my beliefs. This wasn’t always the case.

When I was younger, I wanted to be accepted and fit in (I think a lot of us did). As a person with a dis-ability, I think this was doubly so. Although my friends in the project, never excluded me; I may not have been first chosen, but I was included (Reflecting back on this time, I only ever felt bad about being picked last, or almost last, but I shrugged it off).

This need for acceptance and to fit in only worsened as I hit my teens, but it became more subconscious; more ingrained, so much so that I never gave it a second thought.

I finally shook it in my forties (I know, that’s a long time, but I am pig-headed and, obviously, slow to learn – I guess some behaviours are slow to change even the self-destruction ones). It’s strange, how as one ages one cares less about what other people think. I still want to feel accepted, but I won’t be bought, I won’t be used, and I won’t lessen myself, or change myself in order to be accepted by another person. It has taken me a long time, and a lot of hard lessons, to reach a place where I can live an authentic life where I can be who I am just as I am and be true to my beliefs.

I wish to be accepted by everyone I meet, but now I know that isn’t going to happen. I take it as the other person’s lost and not mine (This is probably not the best attitude to take, but it serves me, and helps me not fall back on the needy person I was). My attitude today is either accept me as I am, or not at all; the greatest “Screw it” attitude. I realize I am a decent and good person. I like to believe I treat others well, or at least I try to treat others well. I like to believe I am a good friend to my friends with each providing mutual support and love.

So yeah, I have reached a part of my life where I like who I am, where I want others to respect me for me, and where I don’t give a hoot what others think (for the most part, I still listen to advice from friends), and where I pick my friends more carefully and where that friendship provides mural support and love.

My friends are the best part of me. They always have my back and I hope they know I have their back.
—Robert Confiant 28 August 2018

I no longer do religion

I grew up strict Roman Catholic. I was pretty “goody, goody” as a kid growing up. The first time I swore was when I was in Grade 7, and I did so on a dare. I remember it clearly. There were only a handful of boys in the classroom with me and they kept promoting me to swear, which I did. I said, “Fuck off,” but it was merely stated. There was no emotion behind it.

In my late teens and early twenties, I thought of entering the seminary. I attended church numerous times a week. After I hit thirty and then completed university, this desire to attend the seminary only intensified. I started to attend church daily and sought to complete the two philosophy courses I required in order to apply for the seminary. I even started researching and corresponding with religious orders and the diocese of Toronto. Around this time my brother had died, my dad was dying, another family member was fighting cancer. My father passed away and then my mother got sick; this was the first of my doubts in God. Also, I began to question my religious education and teachings. I began to disagree with the church on its stance on homosexuality, women’s issues – their role within the church (priesthood opt), abortion teachings, and its stance on married priest and celibacy (I believe they should make this optional). I guess the final straw that broke, which caused me to question my faith, were the horrendous reports of sexual abuse by priests coming out of Ireland, some states in the US, and Newfoundland. I ceased going to church.

Losing my religion

Funny thing though, I never stopped believing in God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit. I continued to pray.

At the age of 40, I came out, and with the churches stance on gays, church was history. I attempted to go back. First, I attended the United Church, and then Presbyterian Church. I am not sure why I ceased attending church altogether, nor have I really quested why. Perhaps this was because I had my faith. I realized I did not need to attend church.

I was watching online some of the victims of child molestation by priest from the latest report coming from Pennsylvania when a Bible verse came to mind:

“No longer will they teach neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.”
Heb 8:11 (NIV)

Actually, the recall was from the previous verse:

“… I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
Heb 8:10 (NIV)

I believe the abuse and the residential school issues are indications that the institution of the church is dead. The church is done (The residential school issue, in case you are not familiar, was a series of boarding schools for indigenous peoples founded by the Canadian government and ran by churches for assimilating indigenous children into Canadian culture. Many children attending these schools were physically, emotionally and spiritually abused). It’s leaders no longer have the moral authority to guide or teach people. Does this mean that the spiritual body, which is the true church, is likewise decease? Of course not, I believe we the church, it’s people, have arrived at the moment where the church, as an institution, has concluded and we are the cusp where Christ will be found from within in our contemplation and from within our hearts.

I for one believe and I don’t require attending a building to prove it.
—Robert Confiant 25 August 2018

Footnotes:
1) Canadian Indian residential school system, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Indian_residential_school_system
2) Catholic Church sexual abuse cases, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases
3) Bible verses, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+8-10&version=NIV

Some of the saddest people in the world are those one would never suspect

Some of the saddest people in the world are those one would never suspect.

faces

Marc Maron and Jim Norton have spoken of their depression. Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Chris Farley and Greg Giraldo all died of drug overdoses. Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, and, more recently, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.

One can never really know what a person is feeling, how one is doing. We are all good at presenting ourselves to others. The ‘me’ I show others is what I wish to portrait. No one wants to know our real selves. One does not express their deep secrets to strangers. One would scare others away if you told of your demons on first contact. No, one waits until others have accepted one.

I suffer from depression from time to time. These periods are few and getting fewer. Depression is no longer the prevailing aspect of my life. I only have my bouts with depression, and thankfully, it is not too longer encompassing to me as it once had. I can deal with them. I have learnt how to overcome these dark phases (I do the opposite of what I feel to help me pass through these periods. For example, I go out instead of staying in, socializing instead of isolating myself, I stay in the now and try not to fret about the past or the future, I don’t bottle things in but write or talk about how I am feeling or doing. I have come to accept myself both the good and the bad. I remind myself that no one is perfect, that everyone has something they are battling. These help me to cope.

I cannot judge others. No one know the struggles someone is dealing with. The one thing about depression that those who have never experienced it is that it can be all consuming. The darkness and despair are real – in the moment – they are real. It is everything. It is all consuming. It is difficult for one experiencing depression to see hope; all one feels is despair and loneliness.

If you are suffering, I plead you to seek help.
—Robert Confiant 10 June 2018