the week I lost my voice…

the week I lost my voice…

being sick doesn’t come easy to me…I don’t like slowing down and I’m talking about mentally slowing down…physically slowing down is happening quite easily for me – is it age, is it laziness, is it giving up or is it ‘frankly darling I don’t give a damn’…but mentally slowing down, kills me…I know my body, I know it well…I knew I was getting sick because I was overworked, overwhelmed and simply out of time…I don’t give myself a break, I’ve forgotten how to…but my aging body, well it shuts down for me…

this time, it took my voice…

now I got many stares this week and I had many people say ‘jesus, stay off you sound horrible’ to which I replied – in a whisper ‘I feel fine, why would I stay off’…to which they replied ‘you’re crazy’…so I worked…but I worked without a voice and it taught me a valuable lesson…

I learned that I really love my voice and man do I use it…I never shut the fuck up…always poking, always prodding, always reaching for the phone, always asking questions, always answering questions…and I love it…I work for a living and I work damn hard…this week, I sat in my office unable to answer the phone – killed me as I saw phone numbers that were calling me back…killed me to not be able to pick up and ask the hard questions to the people trying to avoid my hard questions…and I’m sure when they got my voicemail, they breathed a sigh of relief and said to themselves ‘thanks be to god, she didn’t answer’…my blood boiled…

I need answers, people depend on these answers…is there funding for his schooling…does she qualify for home supports…why did his employer put quit instead of lay off on that god damn slip…did that lawyer call you back…did you get your money back…when are your exams…did you get your textbook yet…do you have your bus pass to get to work…did you get that interview…did you go to the grocery store…did you get to the food bank…is your resume done…how was your test…is your assignment back…are you still falling out of your bed…did you get your bathtub equipment…

my lovely, lovely voice…

I learned this week that the one thing my father taught me in this world was to speak up and never ever be spoken over…fight, god damn it fight for what you want and fight for what you know is right…fight, god damn it fight…I’ve often been told that I am my father’s daughter, cause man I fight everyday…not in a loud obnoxious way but in a way that is for the betterment of my clients and myself…

I was born to be self-sufficient and I was born to be an advocate…the loss of my voice taught me that this week…

i sat in a meeting this week and attempted to participate…attempted…I was sitting back listening and dying on the inside to interrupt, ask questions, redirect and offer suggestions…I tried a couple of times, a squeaky whisper escaped my lips and those who heard the whisper tilted their heads as if to say ‘what the fuck was that’ and laughed at my attempt and those who didn’t hear, continued to talk over my whispers…my insides turned warm for a bit and then I embraced it as a little exercise…and I thought, Christ imagine in a room trying to speak up, attempting to ask a question or clarify a point and no one hears you…imagine…and then it struck me, this is how my clients feel…descriptions of being laughed at, crippled by fear of the head tilts, nausea of being heard and ignored and thoughts of the unknown in a room of faces…it’s the everyday experience of those who have not yet become self-sufficient, have not yet learned to believe in themselves, who have not yet looked in the mirror and liked what they saw…sometimes the lack of being heard leads to screams and these screams are often viewed as illness, aggression, rudeness or lack of control when simply it could be a plea of ‘please listen to me’…

having a voice is having confidence in oneself to use that voice…it’s a choice of what to do with it and how to use it for the betterment of yourself and society in general…i met with a client this week who put up with my whispers and he looked at me when describing how school has changed him and said ‘I can finally look in the mirror and see my reflection and say you’re doing good kid, you’re doing good’ – I teared up a little and we both laughed as I did a jazz hands symbol with him at the coffee shop…instilling hope in others who haven’t found their voice yet is why I push myself to the brink of losing mine…that one sentence this week, that one smile, that one image made the experiences of this week with no voice matter…I was able to pass on to him the ability to hear his own voice, see his own reflection and finally after 15years admit, ‘I’m okay’…

I could write stories all day about my clients because it is them that gives me the drive to get up everyday and be willing to put myself out on a limb to walk alongside them on their recovery journey…how they get there doesn’t matter, I have all the time in the world…I work in an area where voices take on so many meanings…I work in an area where I challenge myself, my co-workers and my clients to challenge themselves and be open to an out of the box experience…I don’t like ‘cookie cutter’ interventions and I’ve been that person who will attempt a vision board to help a person believe that they are worthy of having a dream…I’ve been that person who will colour alongside a woman who has been called stupid all her life and who thinks she isn’t worthy of having a long term goal…I’ve been that person who will go to a stable in minus 19 degree weather to groom a horse with a person who has never felt wanted, needed and loved…I’ve been and I’ll always be that person who believes everyone has dreams, desires, aspirations and goals no matter what life has dealt them…and I’ll always be that person who will use her voice till there no longer is a voice to advocate for those who haven’t found there’s yet…my voice is worth hearing and I’ll teach you that yours is too…

my lovely, lovely voice, this brief loss of you has taught me a valuable lesson…

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whoever said ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ was a fucking liar

passion, meaning and purpose…

if I were to record how often I say these words out loud man the ink would run dry…I’m in a place now in my professional and personal life that I am forging ahead with what I know works…what I know matters…and what I know can make a difference…I’ve felt passion before – even if it were for a moment, even if it were alcohol induced, we’ve all felt passion…but when I sit back and think about meaning and purpose, I draw a blank…

I believe I was put on this earth to matter…but matter to who or whom…

the meaning of life and love changes so frequently… blogging has become a right of passage for me…it’s what I do to keep my mind active, calm and alert and it’s what has given me a new meaning to my life and my ability to love…if you’re following me and reading you’ll know that I’ve been going through some up and down times within my own life and have sought out help to get me through…through the past couple of years, I’ve become a better person…I’ve become a person who can say they had a breakdown but I’m proud to state that I’m that person that had a breakdown and grew from it…I use the words harassment and bullying different now and I approach others with a new view…a view from an experience and not from a book…

life and love…those aren’t the things that got me through my experience…it’d be a nice story if it was…but my family and friends didn’t help me – they didn’t understand and to be honest they didn’t have the information nor the time of day from me to help them understand…what helped me was a couple of co-workers, a psychologist and a dog…that darkness was bloody dark, lonely and haunting…if I had to project being in a situation that I found myself in and if I had to project who would be there for me – I would never have listed those above…I have a strong, supportive family, I have great friends and I have access to great resources…but I didn’t need them, I needed me…

at the end of the day when my head hit the pillow…it was just me…

I believe I was put on this earth to matter…but matter to who or whom…a little voice inside me answers “you, stupid, you”…but the big bad wolf in my head sometimes answers differently…we spend our lives trying to please others, trying to tiptoe around those who are struggling, trying to satisfy every invite, trying to have the house that is pristine in case anyone drops over…well by jesus, no one ever just drops over anymore so i gave up giving two shits a few years ago and man was it liberating…at this point in my life, if I can get up, shower and get the pup to not shit inside, it’s a damn fine day…

passion…god I love passion…

I took some time recently and did something for myself…it was a silly thing, it was a massage…I actually took time out of a day and went for a selfish massage…“why are you here”, she asked me…”I’m a workaholic, diagnosed with chronic stress disorder and I haven’t done anything for myself in a long time”, I answered sarcastically with a wide grin…“okay” was her response…an hour and a bit later, my receipt read “tension and stress” and I walked out with a smile on my face and a second appointment booked…I sat in my car and I had tears coming down my face as I called a friend to tell her my experience…I was rambling, perhaps a tad bit manic and I had tears in my eyes…something happened to me that day…you know what it was, I actually took a breath, a deep breath because I wanted to not because I had to…

for so long my breathing has been shallow and forced…I’ve developed a constant cough…am I sick, nope…I’m literally in such a hurry, always running, always going to the next thing in my schedule…never taking the time to breathe because I want to, that I lose my breath and I cough…that day, well that hour, my selfish hour – I took a deep breath, I held it and I let it out and I swear to god I let out about 44years of pent up feelings and about 2years of nothingness, avoidance and fear…when I was laying there, vulnerable to the environment, a scent of Japanese mint brought me back to my grandfather’s bedroom, a bottle of vick’s vapour rub and he’s gentle voice saying, “child, what are you doing”….my bottom lip quivered and I took a deep breath…and it felt awesome…

I bought that Japanese mint for myself that day and every morning, I crack the top of the bottle, I pour 2drops into my hands, rub them lightly together, cup my hands to my face and I make sure I breathe…that’s how I start my day…simple…my days are still long, my weeks never ending…but I’m breathing…breathing for me…

passion, meaning and purpose…my passion is my life…my meaning is my work…my purpose is my life’s work…that’s why I’m here… at the end of the day when my head hits my pillow…it’s just me…and that’s enough…

I think people get passion, meaning and purpose mixed up sometimes and get stuck in the lust, consequences and single-mindedness of life…I’ve grown so much out of an experience that crushed me…thinking back on my daily struggles, I never thought I would say I’m thankful for the experience now because I’m stronger, more confident and well just better…I still have nightmares, I still experience hypervigilance, followed by increased anxiety and then fatigue, I still get fleeting moments of paranoia and I still have flashback scenarios going around my head…but it doesn’t define me anymore…

since these experiences, I’ve been told “you need to lose weight”, “you need to walk the dog more”, “you need to go back to the gym”, “you need to do less work” – and I could keep going on…people don’t mean these things in a harmful way and I know that and hells yah I should do all of those things…but my life, my say…I’ve learned in practice that you let your client lead you…their goals will often not be what you think they should be doing, but you support them in whatever way you can…I have more supports around me than I know what to do with…but when I lay my head on my pillow, it’s just me…

whoever said ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ was a fucking liar…man names do hurt…people are assholes…that’s why ‘just me’ sometimes is enough…and when you’re comfortable with ‘just me’ on the pillow, you’ll know who your supports really are…

passion, meaning and purpose…fight for it…when you win, you’ll find your Japanese mint and you’ll breathe…

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every moment with you…#makingit

we sat in the cabana steering at the pool, the adult pool cause let’s be honest, who sits with kids when you don’t have to…we sat there and my sister giggled and in one sentence she changed my viewpoint that day…”isn’t this a great age”, she said…”I mean to be able to sit back and do this and not to worry about tomorrow, this is making it”…

making it…I’ve been thinking about those words for a few months…reveling in the experiences we had…reveling in the moments we shared and the memories we made…making it…two often unimportant words, until put together in a context and then “making it” describes a significant life experience…

in my 20’s “making it” was living with a guy I adored, dreaming of a house, a ring, a baby, a life…I lost friends, I lost sleep and I lost myself…there must have been a piece of me that told me this wasn’t how “making it” should feel…taking myself directly past go in the game of life and back to university despite being accused of doing so for alternate reasons, I marched on…beaten down verbally and emotionally, I managed to finish – it wasn’t your regular 4yr degree…oh my goodness no…it took me 7yrs to walk across the stage with my undergrad…I worked full time for minimum wage, I went to school doing one course at a time, I managed to study on lunch breaks which were 30minutes, I managed to study late at night as I lay in a bed alone while my dream guy played loud music in another room, I managed to pass – I managed to pass…I got sick in my last semester, ended up with emergency surgery but by god, I passed…I walked across the stage with my stomach packed with gauze to help heal an infection that was nasty and lasted about 2years…yup, I struggled…”making it” – I rethought…

in my 30’s “making it” was leaving home and driving many miles away with my parents in a truck full of stuff for me to settle into a new home, a new province and a new experience…I still can’t believe I did this but gentle god, thankfully I got in the truck that morning…I cried most of the way – yup 30 and crying my heart out about leaving a province I adore, friends I couldn’t live without and a family that had become my security blanket…at 29, I got luggage for Christmas, I giggled and joked “you got me fucking luggage” – oh the things our parents do…a sign – yup, a well played sign…walking into a classroom at 30years old and staring at 47other people from all walks of life – getting in to that school was my “making it”…

I’ve always been passionate about what I love…well hang on now, reading that sentence back doesn’t fit how I once lived my life…I think I’ve blocked out my life from 21 to 29 – it’s like an 8year block that I can’t relive cause FUCK it really, truly sucked…it’s amazing how much you can hate something and not let go…once I hit the road and stood on my own two feet, something happened…I’m not going to lie, that move was hard…the morning my folks drove away, I stared at them from my front window and cried, got myself ready for school and walked into a building full of fresh faces not knowing what the fuck we got ourselves into…it was those 3years that I found my voice, I found my independence and I found my best friends and that was “making it”…

hit mid-30’s and “making it” was making a good pay check, getting an extension on student loans and partying our worries away…it was freedom, a freedom I had never felt before…I had gone from living pay check to pay check, looking to my folks for loans to get us through to a whole pay check that was mine…I remember getting my first one and giggling my ass off…and then we went out and celebrated…and then we went out and celebrated…and then we went out and celebrated…hummmm…we actually didn’t stop…the experiences we lived those first few years were eye opening and we drank the stories and the worries away…my “making it” turning into “fake it till you make it hogan”…

now in my 40’s – “making it” takes on a whole new meaning…I look back at my experiences both good and bad and thank god for them…I’m the person I am today because of all that is my past…the loss of my best friend at an early age, sucky relationships, a return to school – not once but twice, a move away from home, and a sick father – all experiences that as my nephew would say “makes my heart hurt forever”…we are who we are because of where we came from, who we encounter and how we treat others…I got through all that and I was sailing, sailing away, well not literally sailing cause I’d drown but clipping through life without a care in the world…my work was my life, I overworked, overplayed, over enjoyed and overindulged in many a good and a bad way…

“making it”…I read a meme a while ago that alluded to the fact that somedays you sit back and realize that all your friends are getting married, having babies and you’re still in the corner drinking wine…well I nearly died at it and shared it with everyone in my contact list…true story though – there comes a time in life that friends take different paths and we’re so happy for them…but there comes a time in life that you sit back and think, hummmmm wait a god damn minute…where’s my wedding and where’s my baby, oh wait where’s the fucking corkscrew cause baby I chose the wine”…

“making it”…

44…no wedding, no baby…but a couple of corkscrews and passion for life that will out live a lot of the marriages and a passion for life that will grow as I watch my friend’s babies walk for the first time, say their first words, call me auntie, hold out their arms up to get me to pick them up…that’s my “making it”…I was watching tons of videos lately getting prepared for a group and I came across a brilliant woman who has lived a life with a somewhat debilitating mental health diagnosis…a brilliant woman who stated that it came a time in her life that she realized that she doesn’t have to put aside her issues to be “normal” “to make it”…what she needed to do was just be her…find fulfillment, find purpose, find meaning – and once you do that you will experience satisfaction…

I think we yearn for a life that we’re supposed to have…that cognitive response to life…I should…what if…I must…what if…I need to, now…if I don’t, I’ll never have it…that cognitive response leads into a physiological response and you live your days with heart racing, mind chaotic, thoughts muddled and emotions heightened…sometimes we think others have it all…the partner, the white picket fence, the car, the kids, the events, the bond…and it’s their “making it” not mine…

we’ll never live in a state of pure happiness 24/7…if you think you do, you’re kidding yourself or trying to kid others…social media these days has a way of fooling the fools…people tend to think why is everyone else happy – look they’re on vacation…look at the smiles…look at the parties…look at all their friends…look at those comments…ya can’t kid a kidder my peeps…social media has us ruined…

you can’t hide behind a filter – adjusting the angles, adjusting the color, adjusting the lighting…until your expose yourself to yourself, there’ll always be a filter…as my own life plays out, I’m learning that I can’t take a picture of satisfaction…I can’t take a picture of sure bliss…as my life plays out, I’m learning that my filter is not a reflection of who I am but rather a reflection of what I think others want to see…every moment in my life, I’ve been working towards success…but measuring success is hard…is success “making it”…is having the house, the car and the bank account “making it”…every moment I’ve spent thinking about success…every moment I’ve spent yearning for love…every moment I’ve spent thinking I could do more, make more and live better, I’ve missed a moment of opportunity to flourish in my own success, my own “making it”…a missed moment sometimes can be a lifetime of a missed memory…

into my life came a puppy…I went from wishing I had someone to start my morning with a smile and a simple sentence that started with “every moment with you, I feel _________” to a morning of me fighting for a place to lie on my bed, wiping away puppy eye gook and a morning with “every moment with you, has been a happy moment”…animals have an innate sense of reading our emotions, our inner, darkest secrets…animals are a glorious creature that can help us out of our darkest moments….my animal, my puppy, my little monster came into my life at the darkest moment…I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the darkest moments of nanette danielle hogan’s life…it was a cold day when I got him but my heart warmed looking into his eyes…he had me at hello – well he had me….at that moment, and every moment since, when I feel low, when I feel down, when I feel things are a little hopeless – I look into his eyes, or I touch his little body and that warmth comes back…the it’s okay feeling comes back…

that four legged monster is the love of my life right now…my best friend…my savior…being his momma has become my “making it”…coming home to a house with a jumping puppy who won’t leave my side is my “making it”…my house is my sanctuary, my white picket fence is actually pressure treated wood built high enough so a 114lb monster can’t jump it; my bank account dwindles quicker than good ole john wayne can pull his gun out of his holster; my baby was born with 4legs; and my car, well it smells like dog – exposed…

yahhh I’ve “made it”, I’ve made it mine…my life exposed…I still hate sharing but I’m okay with exposure…

keep the filters for your coffee not your life…expose yourself and gain an appreciation for what you’ve accomplished, not what you yearn for…

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“hey, hey you, you’re a c*nt”…

find your voice, I say…use your voice, I preach…stop mumbling, speak louder, I demand…

there is not a day that goes by that I don’t talk to my clients about utilizing their god given voice…how do we become that person who’s afraid to speak up, afraid to disagree, afraid to compliment and afraid to be heard…sometimes when I’m speaking, I feel like a broken record and I get so caught up in the stories…there’s always a story – whether it’s illness, injury, insecurities or inability – there’s a story attached…

I think I have a pretty good voice but as good as I think my voice is, it too was silenced in my life on two occasions…once by an absolute a-hole who I let silence me…it was a classic abuse situation looking back…classic verbal and emotional abuse that led to me just giving in…I got to the point that I hit the why bother moment, that moment that I hear so often on a day to day basis…the second time was by two absolute a-holes…two evil, conniving, jealous ridden c*nts…classic harassment and bullying…this time I got to the point that I didn’t hit the why bother moment, rather I hit the oh, no you didn’t button…did I let it go on for longer than I should, hell’s yah…did I let it fester, hell’s yah…did I let it dampen my voice, hell’s fucking no…it was my voice that made me stronger…it was my voice that got me back…

we meet many people in our lives and we form many different relationships…each of those relationships serve us for different purposes…as we get older, we can identify what we get out of each one and we strive to maintain that connection…it’s the connections in this world that keep us ticking…keep us interested…keep us engaged…

why do some people dampen our spirits…why do some people strive to make us miserable…do they, though…are some people so miserable in their own lives that they project their misery onto others…I often think this…how can a person be so negative all the time…how can a person want to challenge and want to argue all the time…how can a person be so closed minded that not one thing you say resonates within them…the mysteries of life…

I’ve never been drawn to those individuals but they’re sneaky, they get in…we all have them in our circles whether it’s personal or professional circles…how to deal with them…christ, I wanna throat punch them but I consider myself too pretty for jail…instead, I smile, nod, politely say see ya and move on…

sometimes I imagine myself using my inner voice and verbalizing what’s in my head…like why can’t I look at someone and say “shut the fuck up” or “are you fucking kidding me, you’re an idiot” or “you did fucking what” or “god you’re such a god damn ass” or simply “hey, hey you, you’re a c*nt”…but I don’t cause my parents raised me better…

I don’t think people are born idiots, or a-holes or c*nts…in my wise old age, I’m starting to think that these people are actually lacking something in their lives, lacking a sense of self maybe, lacking a sense of security within themselves maybe, suffering silently with loneliness, isolation or c*untism…i think what’s gotten me over a lot of things in the last few years is that I don’t think people’s reactions or behaviors towards me has anything to do with me…that goes for you too, we can’t be the cause of someone’s unhappiness…we can’t be the only reason someone bullies, acts like a complete dirtneck or doucebag…hell we can’t be that important in their lives, are we…

I think as a society we are learning that saying no is okay…saying hell’s no is my preference…well really saying fuck you is my first preference but professionally I can not…instead I take the high road…the high road that includes taking the proper avenues to deal with the improper behaviors of others…no one should feel degraded, belittled, bullied, demeaned, tainted, tormented, harassed, tantalized, or isolated…

find your voice…use your voice…stop mumbling…speak louder…our voice – powerful, strengthening, empowering, embracing, loving and all encompassing – your voice…

I’ve learned and I’m practicing being true to myself…I’m not a forgive and forget type of person, even though I know it’s the highest road, I’m not going to lie here…I’m a grudge holder and it has caused me great stress in my life…I recently allowed myself to let go of a few things that have been weighing me down – baby steps that have made a significant change in my life…a little tuning of the attitude…a little tuning of the grudges and I’m a semi new person…I’m literally never going to get rid of all my grudges – it’d be a great post and such a positive spin if I could….but again, baby steps and it’s a blog not a confessional booth with a priest sitting across from me…if I said I have learned to forgive and forget, time heals everything – I’d be over in the corner on my knees saying 10 Hail Mary’s and 5 Our Fathers – for lies lead to penance….

moral of my story tonight is that we were all born with clean slates…how we live our lives is a product of many things – with that said though I believe that no matter what life has dealt us, we all make choices…some of us were guided by great mentors and some of us have clawed their way through…your voice is a product of you…use it wisely – it’s a very strong companion, it has the strength to build and the strength to crush…

our voice – powerful, strengthening, empowering, embracing, loving and all encompassing – your voice…

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I might have been raw at 43, but I soar at 44…

July 23rd, 2014 I opened my computer and started a journey…a journey of sharing, a journey of openness, a journey of truth and a journey of ‘sweet jesus did I write that’…

it’s been a year and a day since I’ve acknowledged that I don’t have it all together…I’d been thinking about blogging for a few months and kept putting it aside…the day I opened my computer, I was sat on my sister’s couch in Ottawa and simply blurted out “I think I’m gonna start a blog”…she was on me in a split second…she’s always been my greatest supporter…she asked me so many questions about my intentions of the blog…to which I kept responding “I don’t know” and I kept second guessing whether people would read the blog, would they think I was a rambler, would they think I sucked, would they think wtf…and then I thought, well I’m not writing for others, I’m writing for myself…then the 13year old girl came to surface and I yelled “well I’ll give it 24hours and if no one comments or likes or follows me, it’s coming down”, my sis said “deal”…

that was a year and a day ago…

my introduction to the world went like this… i’m 43, a mommy to a 90lb, 4legged monster who i am addicted to and a workaholic…why blog now, you may ask…well, i’m sick of hearing – you’re not having kids – oh that’s so sad…oh you’ve never been married – it’ll happen for you, sweetie…aren’t you lonely – you should try on line dating…and my all time favourite quote – you’re way too picky at your age…i’m wanting to share that a 43year old independent, career oriented puppy momma has an awesome life – a life i probably would not have chosen back in the day, but a life i adore, a life i cherish, a life that is mine…if you’re looking for proper grammar, proper language, pg rated educational info – scroll on…this is me, raw at 43…

fast forward a year and a day, and I’m 44, a mommy to a 114lb, 4legged monster who I’m still addicted to, a workaholic and I’ve added graduate student to the mix…I’m still single, childless (the human, traditional 2legged child kind), think on-line dating is the root of evil, picky, independent, and obvi awesome…I might have been raw at 43, but I soar at 44…

my vulnerability led me to a journey of strength and allowed me to transition my secrets into reality…a reality that I’ve used in my day to day life to get to where I am today…I’ve wrote about love, life, personal medicine, failure, anger, hatred, harassment, bullying, friendships and family…I’ve written of heartache, struggle, triumph, loss and gain…I’ve written in humour, I’ve written in sadness, I’ve written in anger, I’ve written in loss and I always write in silence…deep in my thoughts…

I’ve shared a secret of needing a psychologist to deal with a life stressor…I’ve shared a diagnosis of chronic stress…I’ve shared stories of illness, laughter and the love of my family…I’ve shared the dark times and I think I’m sharing the brighter times…i’ve been enlightened by comments about my writing and I’m shocked at the people that are reading…I thought I’d be shocked by the people who I thought would read it but my heart yearns for my writing to make sense to the people who need it to make sense…clear as mud hey by’e…

I cherish my vulnerable state of mind that year…I marvel in the person that an experience made me be and I celebrate the fact that I survived…I lost a few in the battle…a few that didn’t believe in me…a few that didn’t quite understand how to deal with me and my emotional ways…a few that secretly thought fuck her and the few that put me on the backburner knowing that I’d probably burn myself but I’d manage to turn the knob of my tormented soul off at some point…it’s amazing how one can get themselves out of a terrible, tormented experience and for that I am grateful…on the flip side, I completely understand how one could potentially remain in the presence of darkness and torment, a place that no one ever wants to go and a place that you’d give your body, mind and soul to get out of…

why did I survive…

broken finger nails, empty bottles of advil, sessions held in a therapist’s office, angry words, millions of tears staining my cheeks, empty ice cream containers and a tongue that could skin a cat with the nastiness that it could deliver – that’s how I survived…I clawed my way back, day by day…

it was a little over a year ago that day that I nearly drove a phone through a desk…physical rage bottled in a drained soul…it doesn’t matter why…it doesn’t matter who…it doesn’t matter what…it doesn’t matter where…all that matters is how…how I survived from that day forward…it’s that survival that I’m so proud of and so thankful for…would I wish it never happened – I’ve thought about that a good many times and I can honestly say, I’m glad it happened…my life up until a few years ago was smooth sailing…I was a work horse and a go-getter…I found my niche in my career and I had passion…god did I ever have passion…and then IT happened and I stopped…I questioned…I nearly gave up…I nearly gave in…I nearly…but I didn’t…I took that passion and I shouted to the world FUCK YOU…and I ran with it…

if you state something, no one will trust in you if you don’t stick to it…it’s like disciplining a child – make sure you follow through…a year ago, I followed through…

it takes courage to be yourself…I think I was myself before but I think I was missing something…I think my reason to be on this planet was to go through this experience and use it to strengthen who I am as a woman, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a clinician and ultimately me…I feel as if I have experienced a torment that was meant to happen…almost like my destiny of some sort…my body, mind and soul were kinda out of sync for a bit…I’m not sure what my TSN turning point was this year, it’s crept up on me…I feel lighter, I feel more insightful, I feel hopeful and I feel like I can help people through my experiences…

I’m good at what I do…that’s not being grandiose or narcissistic – it’s my belief that I am a good person…the fruits of my labour are paying off…my yearning for learning continues and my belief that everything happens for a reason grows stronger…my passion ignites me…my passion sometimes gets the better of me and that is my lesson moving forward…I heard the other day that ‘a negative mind will never create a positive life’…I’m done with the negativity – it’s taken enough from me…my lifelong goal has always been to live, love and laugh through all my days that this world allows me to live…my folks did not put me here to live in misery, nor did they raise me to project negativity…they strive in living life to the fullest and for that I strive to be a positive role model to my nephews, my family, my friends and to those who come into my life…

I’m not perfect but I’m pretty damn awesome… tormentors, you’ll never win but thank you for presenting me with the greatest challenge of my life – finding me…life, you’ve done me well…

never let your journey end…fill it with the things that make your smile wider, your laughter louder and your heart fuller…never ever settle – follow through…your dreams are closer than they appear…

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a letter to my father…

Without you there would be no me…

I’m sure the first words you said to me were “fuckin fuck you nearly killed your mother” as you held this tiny babe in your hands…what in the world was going through your mind as mom laid in a bed in recovery and you in a room with a brand new baby…well “fuck” was either at the start or the end of the sentence, who am I kidding it was definitely the first and last word…you always were a man of many words…

I’ll never know who you were then…but mom did and she picked you and we know she’s picky…I thank god for you daily and I thank the world for placing me in your arms that day many years ago…

despite the struggles, despite the heartaches, despite the long hours and days, you worked your ass off for us…I remember the sound of a pager and knowing that it would wake you from your sleep but you’d jump at the chance of a call-in…it meant providing for us…I remember you holding my hand and guiding me through life…just as you do today…I love holding your hand…it makes me feel like your little girl all over again…

you are the epitome of a raging bull – you always taught us that no one, no one was better than us and that we too were no better than others – we are all equals in this world, we will work for what we need…you taught us to speak up for ourselves, to strive for knowledge, to strive for a better life…you taught me to curse and boy am I a trucker…you taught me anger, you taught me rage, you taught me love, you taught me laughter, you taught me happiness– you taught me…my lessons sometimes took tutoring but in the end, I am definitely your child…you would go to the ends of the earth for me and sometimes that’s why I hide things from you…you would seriously lose your shit if we were hurt – physically or mentally…you would seriously lose your shit if our spirits were dampened…you would seriously lose your shit and well you have – that’s why you’re a raging bull…but you’re my raging bull and for that I am the independent woman I am today…

you are the epitome of a giant, snuggly teddy bear…as you read this I hear you in my head saying “fuckin fuck”…but people need to know that…you have the heart of an angel in that big ole angry persona of yours…your job is your job and you fight to the ends of the earth for your members….but when that door opens and you see mom, you melt…you are truly the most important thing in her world…for a woman to say she still gets butterflies when she sees you after all these years – you know you’re a good man…grandma and grandpa did good…

losing your dad at a young age had to be the most difficult thing in your life…I never met him but I think of him often and what a tremendous man he must have been to raise you…dad, I don’t know how you did everything you did for us…I don’t know how you got to where you are today – remember I found your report cards and dude were you angry…lol lol…you are a gentle giant with stories of hardship and stories of triumphs…you love your life, I see it in your eyes…

you were always a savage and still are…now I mean savage in a good way…you were the disciplinarian, if you could call it that…the yelling, the chasing, the timbit on top of the tv…the yelling, the chasing, the tire in between me and Stephen in the back of the car…the yelling, the chasing, the walks on the trails…like you are the most hilarious father that a girl could ever have…mom might have taught us sarcasm, but you taught us laughter…watching you do the ball and the paper bag trick, sure I still think david copperfield would eat that shit up…the horsie – well that seriously remains a hogan secret…the hiding in the closet with an old man mask on and punching Nadine in the face, sure that’s golden…savage sir savage…when a person says ‘watch out for her, she’s ed hogan’s daughter’ you know you’ve paved the road for me…the road to success…the road to ‘don’t fuck with her’…

there are so many memories…and so many more to be made…you were always meant to be my dad…I wouldn’t fit anywhere else…

with all your stories about friends and trips and what you used to do, I am surprised you guys didn’t lose the works of us in those days…you’d pack us up and road trip with us…there was no technology then, no ipads/ipods/iphones – just eyes in the car playing ‘I spy’ or counting railway tracks to grandma’s house…I’m so happy I grew up in that era and not now sitting in a car with headphones on or watching a movie or playing a game…sure that’s when we fought, but that’s also when we grew…thank you for that…I think kids these days miss out on that and for that I’m sad…

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when you listened to me playing the piano and being told that you should buy me one…I would love to have been a fly on the wall when my auntie pinned the diaper directly into my thigh…I would love to have been a fly on the wall when I said daddy for the first time…I would love to have been a fly on the wall when I met all those milestones…i’m not sure if you always wanted kids, like mom you’d never say no to me…but honestly pops, you were meant to be a dad…

I hope I make you proud…because dude you make me proud…proud to be your daughter…you’ve paved a world of opportunity for us…and for that I am so thankful…through all the years of not knowing where we’d be, who’d we be, how’d we survive – well you pretty much knew Stephen would survive, but for me and Nadine, I’m sure you lost sleep…and to go a little deeper, I’m sure you lost years thinking about Nadine…oh the Sunday dinners – the helicopter pilot, the Buddhist, the professional snow boarder, the dreams…you’d sit, mumbling “fuckin fuck” and we’d laugh…never have you ever dampened our dreams, stunted our growth nor called us out when we’re being assholes…how a parent does that I’ll never know…

never a day goes by that I don’t talk to you and never a day goes by that you don’t ask, “have you talked to your sister today”, “have you talked to your brother today” – I remain silent and you say “jesus danielle, they’re all you got for fucks sake, call”…always a man of many words…you truly will parent us to the bitter end…and for that I adore you…no matter how old I get, no matter what mischief I find myself, no matter how much finny tears up your backyard, you cherish me…i can’t imagine a life without my memories of what you and mom created for us…I am privy to the other side…I am the person I am today because of the love you bestow upon me…it gives me strength, encouragement, confidence and the power to be the person I am…

I believe the moment you held me for that first time, after you screamed “save my wife you cocksuckers” – you fell in love for the second time in your life…momma will always be your first love, but I’ll take second to her…but daddy you’re the first man I’ve ever loved and you’ll honestly be the only man in my life that I will always love…for the love of a father can never be replaced…you are my mentor, my guiding light, somedays a pain in my ass but overall the love of my life and the reason i am the woman i am today…

no matter what life has in store for us, I’ll always want to hold your hand…

and remember when you’re gone – i’m having a taxidermist stuff you and put you in your chair – insert hogan humour…

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9years ago tonight…#organdonationsaveslives

9years ago tonight I went to bed…

june 8, 2006 greeted me with a sunrise…it was a Thursday…

we were six…unprepared…

mom was at the rooms with my aunt and my dad was alone…

the phone rang…

our lives changed…

two years before nearly to the day my father was given a 50/50 chance of survival…”call the family in, there’s nothing we can do”…

9 words – my life fell apart…

fast forward 2years and there was hope…but with the hope came a sacrifice, a sacrifice from a stranger…

for them 9years ago tonight is a memory that brings heartache…

for us 9years ago tonight is a memory that brings a new start…

9…

tonight I think of the family that struggles to remember the last hand hold, the last kiss, the last words, the last smiles, the last touch…there’s a child with no father tonight to say good night…to kiss their cheek…to reminisce about the day…there’s a child tonight trying to forget 9years ago…there’s a wife with no husband tonight to say I love you to…to kiss good night…to share the stories of their children’s successes…there’s a wife tonight trying to keep her husband, the father of her children’s memory alive…for today was the day they decided to say “let’s let go”…

I think back over the last 9years and I think holy god, where did time go…and then as I sit back I think of all the people that have come in and out of our lives, the successes and failures, the deaths and the births…all my memories of the last 9years, he shared…the thought of a day without my father, makes my heart ache…I thought that day was in june 2004 and again in june 2006…

we make fun of him and tell him that every Friday I get a slight panic attack when the phone rings – see he always chose Fridays to get sick…and well june, june was always the month…so when the last Friday of every june comes and goes, I breathe a sigh of relief…onward to 10 I’ll say…

organ donation is a selfless act, I think I wrote last year that it is the most selfless act a person can do and I truly believe that…we talked about this the other night – mom, dad, my sister and brother in law…we talked about june 2004 and then june 2006 and I looked at my brother in law and said “yah, aren’t you glad you weren’t around those years”…#funtimesinthehoganhousehold

today we are 9…a brother in law and 2 little adorable nephews fills the house to 9…without that selfless act of a stranger and he’s family, those additions would never have gotten the chance to know and love the man I adore…the man who carries Larry the Liver as a trophy of gratitude…

to those waiting…my thoughts and prayers are with you…

to those deciding…talk to a recipient – listen to their words…

to those who don’t know what you’ll do…you will…

to those families who have lost family members and made that tough decision…thank you…

this is my story…it’s not over yet…keep reading…

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