A Breakthrough Summer

I’ve been waiting to write a piece like this. A piece filled with complete confidence. A story of me slaying my demons. So here it goes…

It really began in June when my dad had relatives come over and visit from Germany. We wanted to do all the touristy things with him as he had never been to Canada before. A phrase he used often was “Sure, why not?” when asked if he wanted to do something. And it stuck with me, instead of over analyzing and over thinking e v e r y t h i n g, why couldn’t I just say “sure, why not?”.

Summer 2022 was the summer of me. I was working 2 jobs, 6 days a week, coaching baseball three times a week and I also turned 30. I decided before July 1st came around that I wanted to push myself to get out of my comfort zone at least once a week. It didn’t have to be anything big. But something that I wouldn’t allow myself to over think about. That I would just do.

The best part of my summer was that I got to do something that I truly love. So, I never really considered it to be “work”. I was providing 1:1 support to children with special needs that were participating in summer day camp. As a person who has worked in summer day camp and other camps in the past, I said that I would never go back to camp, that once I was done that was it. Well…this summer I spent 8 out of 9 weeks working in summer camp. I had the opportunity to positively impact the children I supported every day. I was able to get them to try new things, play new games, work on social skills, and reintroduce them to things they forgot they loved to do. Each day was different. And I can’t tell you how many times I welled up with tears in my eyes because I was so proud of the child, I was supporting for accomplishing something. Each laugh was contagious. Each high-five was meaningful. And a hug was the greatest surprise. I was their voice, their advocate, their friend, and their cheerleader. Spending some of my days repeating the same two words over and over again. Or chasing them around outside as they ran from tree to tree. Watching them do things in their own unique way. The list is endless. Seeing them be successful in camp gave me the confidence push I needed to believe in myself.

I wish I could tell you that I had no anxiety all summer and everything was sunshine and roses, but it wasn’t. I still dealt with anxiety on a daily basis, but I kept going. I knew I had someone counting on me to be there with them at camp, and I couldn’t let them down. I cried a few times at camp from being completely exhausted and overwhelmed but I wiped those tears away and put my sunglasses back on. Iced coffee quickly became my best friend.

I fought to push myself and it became almost addicting. The feeling of doing something and completing it was blissful. I wasn’t going to let my anxiety hold me back. I did need some encouragement along the way, a hug, a high-five. There were times when I turned to a few people in my life and asked them for help. Asked them to reassure me that I was going to be okay, and they did just that and it worked.

I cried on my last day of work after my shift was over and I was driving home. I was so damn proud of myself for everything I did. I drove home and had happy tears rolling down my face.

The point I am trying to make is that you are capable of amazing things. You are capable of conquering your demons. It doesn’t have to be all of them at the same time. Just one. A tiny step in the right direction.

Now it is the end of September. It is my favourite time of year…sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, hockey is back, baseball playoffs and Thanksgiving. The leaves are starting to change colour, and they crunch as I step on them while walking my dog. September you have been key.

Time for a change.

Time for a new adventure.

And I can’t wait.


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