(the outer flesh)
A graduate of Interior Design (Dip ID 1990) Wanda worked in Ottawa for different large retail furniture stores as in-house designers.
By 1996 she started her own award-winning magazine and website called Energy Medicine. The publication focused on complementary and mind-body medicine throughout Ottawa and the valley stretching as far as Kingston.
By 2004 she returned to interior design and became the interior designer for the largest furniture store in Ottawa and stayed until the birth of her daughter. In 2010 Wanda enrolled at Algonquin College obtaining her certification in Technical Writing. Like interior design, technical writing felt like a natural fit.
“Information architecture and interior design are interrelated running parallel to each other. Both are communicating a story wanting to be told. Both require a kind of information development where structure and editing are shared realities in order for an authentic communication to be crafted. We all want a home that expresses our inner selves and we all want to be understood. What is that if not the architecture of writing and designing a life?”
Order and chaos: one and the same
We all try to create order out of chaos. We do this in attempts to understand—ourselves and our environments. Pattern recognition and organization are hard-wired into us for primordial survival, and are human attempts at making sense of the world. When we think we understanding we tend to relax; when we don’t, we become agitated, distressed. Organization gives us the illusion of control which we link with the perception of safety.
The creative process like life is chaotic, messy and seemingly random and although the patterns are unrecognizable to most, there is an order present—a sacred order. An order you will never be in control of.
All order and chaos require technical and emotional mastery, and if you have it you’ll soon become aware that the ordered chaos is contrived, and the sacred order is real.
After ten years of marriage I had a son with developmental delay and a host of other neurological disorders. At the time (2000) the geneticist said if I had another child I’d have “a one in a million chance” of having another the same. He was wrong.
A year ago another geneticist told me the chances were 25% that I’d have another the same, and that’s what happened. A son and a daughter.
When I realized my daughter was “the same” I couldn’t accept it and where the grief over my son had felt like shattering heartbreak, finding out about my daughter flattened me. I didn’t know how or where I’d get the ability to go through it again; and so, I didn’t.
I checked out but no one knew—not even me—at first.
Looking back it’s easier to see the different problems but a big one was I’d always imagined my intellect was the greatest gift I had to offer my children. I was going to teach them everything. But after learning about my children the “everything” I’d imagined was useless and that’s pretty much what I became.
Since, neither of my children spoke until they were six years I spent three years in sign language classes so I could teach my children how to communicate with the rest of the world. To me, just another sign I was rendered useless with nothing of value to offer.
Parenthood and supporting my son, then daughter became my life and it felt hollow, not something to enjoy, or be proud of, but something to endure by whatever means available. I took full advantage of those means while watching my husband get angrier by the second (although he was angry before then).
So, I added that failure to my list of “things I’ve done badly and feel guilty about”. What I didn’t want to admit was before the children I’d already lost my value as a wife, and after the children, I lost my value as a mother.
I began a not-so-secret downward spiral into addiction, which wasn’t pretty (but what addiction is?). By the end of it some six years later my then 23-year marriage was over, my home gone with both my beloved cat Libby and car dying on the same day. Life as I knew it was over, and my children were still my forever children.
And so, I began the long walk home—back to myself and my children—and I faced the realization that I was the woman, that never was; that I’d never faced who I was in any capacity. There’s pain in denying who and what you are. And maybe the remembering of it all, beneath the fear and grief, wasn’t quite really that bad now that I was awakening; but acknowledging is one thing, accepting quite another.
All this took much longer than I imagined. I was thinking a few months maybe six at the outside. The reality? I joined a 12 step, saw a shrink weekly (again); tended the children and struggled to pay the bills. Repeat. Six years rolled by with both friends and family asking me what was taking so long. Me haltingly putting one foot in front of the other, staying straight and (painfully) present.
Seriously, what was taking so long? I think I had arrested development and resurrecting was agonizingly slow. I came to realize that I couldn’t become what I already was, so the only thing left was to be the real me. Oh, her. That took awhile to accept too.
In the end, I came to understand that my kids just needed me to love them, with kindness and patience. To stand up for them, to fight for them, to model compassion; and those things I could do. On the walk back I changed a few things about how I wanted to live, with myself and my children. I appreciate that not a lot of people are going to live the same way and I’m okay with that.
But here’s what I’m working towards:
Community: building a community of like-minded people; creators and makers, amongst others
Risk-takers: People with courage, who can take risks and show up for themselves and others
Kindness: tolerance and patience take a kind of strength that not everyone has
Compassion: required in all things from all people
Generosity: a sound investment that pays huge dividends to those that practice
Appreciation: be your own kind of beautiful. Everyone has value and something to offer the world. The world needs that—your own special brand—and needs you
Capacity: to tell the truth, to be honest, to be real in however that presents itself
It feels like I’ve spent a lifetime of resisting—myself, the truth, what needed to be done, what needed to be seen and said, and the consequences of not choosing the truth no matter how uncomfortable it made me or others. I’m done with all that.
I’m learning to accept the value that’s inherently me–which means my value is mine to cultivate, and grow.
If any of this resonates with you join the Sacred Craft community I’d love the company. Life can be a little lonely at times. I post about once a week and send out other stuff from time to time too.
Lets talk soon,