A Summer to Forget: A Dessert by Deb Reflection - Part I
Hello, September. It is so nice to see you. I feel a change in the air. The sun sets a little earlier, and the air is cooler, crisper. Fall is my favourite season and I am so looking forward to those fall colour, cozy sweater with a book and teacup moments. But that's not the only reason why September is such a welcome calendar page flip for me. I am truly relieved this summer is over and coming to a close. It pains me to say this because I'm generally a positive person, but there's no sense in not being honest with myself and the world: this summer was awful. Physically and emotionally just...awful. I don't think I've had a summer this bad since 2015. And that's saying a lot because I was in the throes of depression at the time and by Christmas, it was my own personal rock bottom year in every way imaginable. So I am taking a deep breath and processing my feelings and thoughts as I untangle it all and move past it the best I can.
I spent much of this summer in a lot of pain and discomfort. The heat was unrelenting and my body was not having it. My chronic eczema flared badly, I was breaking out into painful heat rashes, I felt like my body was constantly overheated, and I got so sick in the first week of July, when in the middle of the night my body went berserk and almost shut down. The eczema on my hands caused my skin to bleed and it was painful to even bathe and wash my hair. I spent the remainder of the summer trying to fix what was wrong, doing everything I could to try to heal it. For months it felt like a 1 step forward, 5 steps back type of thing and it was unbelievably frustrating.
Finally, in August I went to the doctor to get some medication that I had taken in the past and that I knew worked for me, just to calm things down. I didn't want to rely on it and resort to it, but I was in too much discomfort and knew I needed help. Within 24 hours, the inflammation had gone down considerably and it was such a relief. I knew taking the medication was a temporary, just-for-emergencies arrangement though so I started doing some research online to see what I could do to change things long-term. I was tired of dealing with it on and off all these years and I wasn't looking for any topical remedies; been there, done that. I was looking to alter things internally and it occurred to me that one of my biggest issues was my body's constant itching, not only in the summer but regularly year-round. This summer had simply been a ruder than usual wake up call.
I had a sneaking suspicion that my body was producing way too much histamines and that the situation couldn't be fixed with over the counter allergy medication, so I started looking into changing my diet, to eliminate foods high and rich in histamines (or foods that cause the body to release more histamines) or at the very least, reduce them dramatically. I immediately started cutting out dairy (I haven't been drinking dairy milk for ages, but cheese and yogurt and ice cream have very much been a part of my diet), tomatoes, avocado, shrimp (crustacean shellfish), and a bunch of other foods and while it's only been a few weeks, I don't feel the urge to claw my body off anymore, so I'm optimistic that I'll see positive changes in the months to come as I continue to stay steady on this.
This summer was also incredibly difficult emotionally. I was dealing with a heartache and spent all Labour day weekend crying as I came to terms with the crushing finality of someone no longer being in my life the same way. I was grieving, plain and simple. No, the person didn't die, but it's a loss nevertheless as they are no longer occupying the same space they once did in my life. And my sadness and disappointment are emotions I can't ignore. So begins the task of figuring out how to heal from this too, just me, myself, and I.
And in the middle of all of this, there was work and business. Dessert by Deb, my baby. And every single emotion and expectation that comes with being a business owner and entrepreneur going it alone smacking me right in the face. The joy of creating. The worry over money and living pay cheque to pay cheque. The disappointment of a slow-as-molasses, non existent summer of sales. The gratitude in a returning customer. The frustration over seemingly out of reach opportunities. The tiredness from late nights. The weariness of other's intentions in the industry. The exasperation over people's empty words and promises. The annoyance over social media (me thinks social media is no longer very social. How do accounts with over 1k, 5k, and 10k followers (clearly not mine, ha) have zero comments on a post? Explain that. Apparently people don't want to fucking talk to each other anymore). The pride from taking a great photo. The warmth over someone else's excitement about your product. Every. Single. Feeling. And every single day I go back and forth between throwing in the towel, closing every single account and saying, "fuck this shit, I'm done with this", and loving what I do so fiercely that I can feel the love and passion run through my veins and radiate out of my body.
Happiness is such a misunderstood thing. And I think it's because it means different things to different people. It's not tangible. You can't see it, buy it, touch it. You can only feel it, deep in your bones, when your mind and heart are pure and your truth and honesty with yourself is pure. And I think it's misunderstood because it's been conceptualized as something that stands alone like a pillar in an empty land. Its own entity. But it's really not. Because being happy, or in a state of happiness and acceptance with yourself, doesn't mean "without challenges". Without messiness. Life is a challenge. Life is messy. You can be happy and challenged at the same time. I don't think that just because you're in a place of struggle that you are suddenly wholly unhappy, that you are inherently one or the other. I think the trick to putting one foot in front of the other in this thing called life is figuring out what our version of happy is, despite the challenges, despite the doubts, despite the pain. Because our version of happy does change over the time as we change as people. I've been a Britney fan since the beginning, and in one of her interviews on Much Music back in the day when she first released Me Against the Music for In The Zone, she said something that really encapsulates this paradox. The interviewer asked her when was she most happy and Britney reflected and answered, "...maybe two years ago?...our lives have courses and...I'm in a good course right now, but it's more challenging."
Do you see the butterfly up top? I've always loved butterflies since I was a little girl. I bought this butterfly ornament back in 2016 in the spring, several months into my recovery from depression. 2016 was my year of transformation. I had completely come undone in the two years before and 2016 was when I put myself back together and healed from all that had transpired. This butterfly was a token of faith, an affirmation of life, a symbol of my belief that no matter what, I would be okay. Sometimes just okay, and other times so much more than okay. I hadn't taken it out of my desk drawer in the past while but given my current yearning for emotional comfort and safety, I took it out over the weekend and held it in the palm of my hand, letting the cool metal and familiar colours and words bring a moment of peace to me.
And that's where I'm really at right now with all of this. Honing in on my happiness, joy, and purpose in spite of all the muck. Being very honest with myself and self-reflective. Realizing that this is another phase in my life. Determined to do the things I need to do to make this phase in my life a good one. Believing in myself. Being patient with myself. Remembering that I love what I do and it's where my calling and passion lies even in the moments when I'm disappointed, angry, and ready to give up. And realizing that the growing, changing, transforming, and healing never truly ends or stops.