Signs and Inspiration: For L.M.

Inspiration shows up in the strangest of places at the strangest of times. A while ago I met a lovely person through a colleague. Today this woman and I found out that we were linked in other ways, through other people. Then this woman told me that she followed my blog. A couple of years ago, I would have been thrilled to hear this. Now I’m just embarrassed because I am one of those failed bloggers who keeps promising to write more, post more…and then doesn’t. I could go into several reasons why I haven’t written but then I’d be even more embarrassed. So instead, I’ll take her acknowledgement of being a follower as a sign. I won’t promise to write more often because every time I make such a promise, I break it. Today I will see the sign and be inspired to try again–to take time to allow myself to be creative, to play with language and form, to write freely without harsh self-criticism–with no strings attached. Here’s to (today’s) new beginning.

Letting go of something without really being
Aware of the fact is often more
Upsetting than
Recognizing that you are leaving it behind until
Eventually someone reminds you of who you once were and you realize that
Nothing is forever and that you can start over again, at any time.

If you’d like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read,
please email me: judyamy74(at) or tweet me @JudyAmy74.


Seven Years

It’s taken me (give or take)
l            o            n            g
To get this project (almost)

And Worrying:
(thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? digital literacy? gender literacy? architectural literacy? digital? feminist? architectural? is it (I know, I know, but I have to ask:) possible to switch to a Master’s of Gender Studies in the                         middle                        of a Master’s of Education program? (in case you’re wondering, the answer is no. at least, not on the prairies.) thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive?)

And (finally)
Deciding (actively deciding or resigning myself to the fact?)
on the

(Wondering once more: did I make the right choice? if yes, why do I feel this need to explain my choice? as though a Comprehensive is somehow inferior to a Thesis, but it is, right? everyone knows that Real Scholars go the Thesis route so that they can roll merrily along into a ph. d. but that’s not my reality. and although the amount of blood, sweat, tears, thought, snot, you name it, that I have put into these

Seven (Give or Take—take 1 year off for having twins and see if you manage to Pass Go and Collect $200 ever again.)

is Equal if not Greater Than some who are writing a thesis, by choosing the comprehensive route I still feel Less Than. and not without merit: it’s definitely more difficult to be accepted to a Ph. D. program without a thesis, even though an M. Ed. is an M. Ed is an M. Ed. there are no extra letters for a thesis)

l            o            n            g
And this project (M. Ed., no more, no less)
Is (almost)
It’s (about) time

(For something new)

–J. Amy (July 13, 2016)

Notes: I’ve been absent for a long, long time. I know this, and hopefully this poem explains some of the ‘why’ behind my absence. I’m hoping to be back (regularly) on this blog in the not too distant future. Thanks for your patience. 

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Warning! (D is for Don’t)

Don’t ever agree (even to yourself) to commit to something you aren’t sure you can follow up on.

I’m only on the fourth day of this A-Z blogging challenge and already I feel more disconnected and disjointed from my writing then I have for a long time. Perhaps it’s because I’m sick with a cough and cold so the only thing I can think of is when I can go to bed.

I suppose an alternate title for this post could be titled Dried Up Creativity. That would be fairly accurate. I’m hoping I can gather more enthusiasm (E) for tomorrow.

On Coughs, Colds, and Carrying On

My head is aching from
This lousy sinus cold that’s been going around.
The Tylenol I’m popping just isn’t cutting it.
As soon as one cough drop is finished I start
Another one although the soothing action promised
On the wrapper is limited at best.

I feel miserable
And long to crawl under the covers to sleep it off
But I continue to carry on,
With a pocketful of cough drops and Kleenexes–
some used, some new.
At this point, I don’t really care.

Chugging from a bottle of Sudafed,
I sign the field trip consent form,
RSVP to a birthday party,
Search for a missing rubber boot
And listen to my eldest
Do his daily Home Reading.

Woman Blowing Nose (Mojpe, Pixabay)

Woman Blowing Nose (Mojpe, Pixabay)

I’m a mom.
There’s no time for me
To have a cough or a cold or
God forbid,
a combination of the two.

There is only cough syrup,
Kleenex, and
Carrying on.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74


A-B: Anyone Can Have an Eating Disorder

I’ve been considering doing this A-Z blogging challenge and I’m already 2 days behind, so I thought I’d knock off two letters at the same time. It’s a topic I’ve written about before but tonight I stumbled across the following article:

In the article, McCarthy talks about how her eating disorder went unnoticed by doctors, friends, and family because she was overweight. I find her story to be really sad, and I completely relate to it. In a way, I was lucky. When I began my long journey through anorexia and bulimia, I was thin. When I was considered as “cured” as I was going to be by doctors years later, I was even thinner. For many years, when I opened up to people about my eating disorder, they immediately felt sorry for me and had nothing but words of comfort and support.

Over the last four and a half years (basically since I had the twins) I have gained a lot of weight, and many would now consider me fat. It’s what I call myself when I look in the mirror, not in a “You go, girl!” sort of way, but in a “You’re pathetic!” way. I’ve noticed something though in the last few years. When I open up to someone about my eating disorder, I am now met with surprise, off-colour jokes, and outright disbelief. (“Everyone thinks they had an eating disorder.”) and I’m pretty sure the reason they respond like this is because of my weight. Many people assume (and tell me) that I was bulimic only and not also anorexic, because, well, I’m fat.

This harms and hurts me more than these people can know.

When you have experienced an eating disorder, the issues never go away.  I weigh more than I ever have in my entire life and yet I continue to have eating and food issues every day. There is never a day when I am free from feeling disgust, shame, guilt, or disappointment about eating. And when I try to reach out only to be pushed away because of my weight, it really affects me.

This is a very real issue. The bottom line is that anyone regardless of size or shape can have a serious eating disorder and if someone reaches out to you, listen. Don’t judge them based on your misperceptions. Believe them and believe in them. Everyone deserves this, not just the stereotypes.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Goodbye 2015, Hello Sweet ’16!

2015 was a great year for me. In many ways I’m sorry to see it go. I spent most of 2015 as a 40 year old woman who was finally starting to feel comfortable in her own skin. That alone makes for a great year.

Here are some highlights:

I spoke at a few different venues on themes of writing, poetry, social justice, and creativity. I created a really fantastic art installation to encourage teachers to use artifacts in their teaching. I believed in myself more and was less afraid to share my ideas and feelings with others. The end is in sight for my M. Ed. degree. Overall, 2015 was pretty good.

Of course there’s always a flip side–

For every talk I gave on poetry and writing, I wrote less poetry. The fantastic art piece took a lot of my creative energy and before I could continue, I needed to recharge. With my newfound confidence also came new challenges, particularly for other people who were used to me in a certain role.

So, what am I hoping for from 2016?

More of my own creative projects. While I enjoy researching and crafting assignments for professors, I am very much looking forward to choosing what I want to create based on my ideas.

For the poetic muse to return. It feels like it’s been a long time and I’m hoping it’s not lost forever. I used to always wish people love, laughter, and poetry for the New Year. Perhaps I need to wish myself the same.

For my newly discovered sense of self to continue growing, while still being mindful that it might be difficult at times for those around me.

To nurture a giving and generous spirit, in myself and my family. Having seen our oldest raid the pantry daily during the month of December for his school’s Food Bank drive, I know that this spirit is strong.  Giving always begets more.

To be happy. I always wish this. And each year my happiness seems to grow. I attribute this to my wonderful family and friends.¹ So this is what I wish for you: Happiness. Pure and simple. In whatever form, wherever you find it, grab onto it and hold onto it, but remember to also give some away to those who have less than you.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year, in the purest, truest, deepest sense of the word! Here’s to a Sweet ’16!

A picture of the author, many celebrations ago. Cheers!

A picture of the author, many celebrations ago. Cheers!

¹ My happiness may also be attributed in part to Wellbutrin® and a great therapist. (And gin and tonic.)

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: or tweet me @JudyAmy74





Just Not Good Enough

Just not good enough:
That old familiar refrain
Rattles around in my head
As I survey my surroundings–
naked Barbies and broken Lego spaceships
litter the living room floor;
children run by with can openers and spatulas
to be used as weapons of some sort–
The voice sounds off:
You’re just not (a) good enough

Later that evening,
I shower and stand in front of the mirror
Examining myself–
Stretch marks abound on my round, twenty extra pound belly,
The gap between my front teeth seems more prominent somehow,
And my eyebrows are in dire need of some attention,
As are the grey roots poking out from my blonde hair.
The voice taunts me:
You’re just not good (looking) enough.

I sit down at my desk,
Determined to get some work done on my latest project–
A lecture on living and studying poetically–
But I’m stuck on words that won’t come
And hung up on the idea that the other scholars at this conference
Will be smarter than I am.
Are they?
I really don’t know yet I know it must be true, for
The voice whispers:
You’re just not good enough.

Sometimes the words are altered slightly–

You’re just not:
Thin enough
Intelligent enough
Pretty enough
Strong enough
Dedicated enough
Fill-in-the-blank enough.

The meaning’s the same though:
I’m just not good enough.
I get it.

How is it possible to
Continue day after day
Hour after hour
Moment after moment–
When everywhere I look
Reminds me that
I’m just not good enough.
When all I hear (all the time, all day long) is
The voice in my head:
You’re just not good enough.

I don’t know.
Yet somehow I continue to exist
In this time and space
That surrounds me,
Envelops me,
Keeps me here.

Maybe,  just maybe,
I allow myself to think
(for one short, brief second, perhaps even to believe)–
I am good enough.
And maybe that’s just good enough
To keep on going.

Notes: I feel as though I have so much to say about the power of these words that have ruled my life for so long but I can’t adequately express them. This poem just isn’t good enough.

And, if you want to know what the voice sounds like set to music, have a listen to Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” and replace the lyrics with “Just Not Good Enough” and you’ll have a fairly clear idea.