If I met you in person, I’d say: “Hi! My name is Dominique – it rhymes with UNIQUE!”
I’m not fussy about titles with a name and I didn’t take my husband’s name when we got married. “Mrs…” was who my wonderful mother-in-law was, not me! So the first time the love of my life introduced me as his “fiancée”, I put a stop to that! I smiled and said: “I’m just Dom’” as I took the person’s hand.
But even 40 years later, he says: “This is JUST DOM” when we meet someone new. You can bet that requires some explanation! A bit awkward for an ice-breaker, don’t you think? For our 25th wedding anniversary, I made him a “dance card” (popular in the 18th & 19th centuries) with many of the names he’s used over the years. The grandchildren love quizzing me about the names. They know that Grampie will only “dance” with one person, since all the nicknames are various versions of ME!
I was a retail store manager for over 20 years, naively believing that being a workaholic (and a perfectionist) was a “good thing”. Many of the habits that I thought were “qualities” rewarded in the work place were actually gnawing away my self-esteem and confidence. The nagging voice inside my head (“Where’s the other 5%?” on my report card) meant that I grew up confusing DOING MY BEST with BEING the BEST (“perfect”).
Clinical depression and 6 months off work was the new beginning I needed. I didn’t believe others when they said I’d look back on it as an opportunity for growth, but I now know they are 100% “right on!” I work at my recovery every day; nobody is immune to mental health issues, even if you’ve had them before! At least now I can talk intelligently about my serotonin levels and OCPD!
I guess you could say I have “more issues than Vogue”!
My favourite book is The Little Prince which has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects. My growing collection (60+ at last count) ranges from Alsatian to Zulu! I post and pin a picture of each version as I add it to my glass cabinet, giving credit to whoever helped me get it.
My garden is one of my passions and it saved me several times (“Gardening: cheaper than therapy and you get TOMATOES!”). I also collect quotes, witticisms and puns. So when I started making signs for my own garden, to add a touch of whimsy here and there, it combined my “passion” for gardening with my “penchant” for collecting puns. The process of finding new puns, the creativity and attention to detail in making a new signs took me to “my happy place”, giving me a chance to practice good recovery habits (i.e. when I remembered to ”step away from….”.)
When friends asked where I’d found the signs, I saw a chance to make other people smile. They encouraged me to sell at craft shows and on consignment at garden centres. The new-found self-confidence spurred me to open an Etsy shop!
Can you spell “outside my comfort zone”!
So my garden led me on a new adventure of e-commerce, Facebook and Pinterest, even though, according to one of my grandchildren, I’m “already a BIG number (Nana)!” The thrill of figuring something out (i.e. on social media) feeds my craving to learn, which never bounced back to pre-depression level.
The only thing I knew about bloggers was what I learned in the movie “Julie & Julia”! I always loved to write (short stories etc.) and even had a diary growing up. I kept it until the day I realized that my son, now thirty-something, might come across it when I “shuffle off”! I was mortified (pun intended) at the thought and destroyed the diary in an impulsive moment!
Thank you, Lynne Huysamen for sharing your amazing journey that I can learn from, and thanks Jill du Preez for making me realize that I only want to be “unique” in some ways and that there is comfort knowing others face similar challenges to mine.
And thank you ALL so much for taking the time to get to know me by reading this!