Tag Archives: remembering

Yesterday or Yesteryear?

It’s all strange.

I’m slowly trying to get a life again after taking myself out of the equation for years. Looking for people more up than down, more smart than dumb, more communicative than un, more unmarried than married.

That part’s working, it’s fun, but it’s a strange ride, especially since everyone I’ve been meeting is 34 and younger. Even if I am young-at-heart, I tell ya. These “kids” think, “Well, it’s only 10 years.” Yeah. And 220,000 hours. Just shy of 14 billion potentially life-altering anything-can-happen seconds. I’ve changed so much this WINTER, let alone the last decade. Age isn’t just a number, it’s an entity. It’s just not a be-all end-all, but it can’t just be dismissed. That said, I like youth. I’m just bridging some mental gaps, is all. Continue reading

So, Here We Are Again

The whole 9/11 thing is feeling weird. Reminds me of when five years had passed since my mother’s death. Has it really been so long? Boy, was that all it was? Five years?

Grief gets weird when you live with it for a long time and then — poof — it just vanishes, like. Guilt can come on, then. “I should be more depressed. Shouldn’t I?”

I’m watching some of the retrospective stuff. I think it’s important to remember it all, but I just don’t want to face any marathons. I forget sometimes, though, how fucked up it must have been to live in NY in those early days.

I’ve been thinking about that day. The weather today was very similar to the weather then — clear, sunny, warm, with just a hint of fall on the light wind. I remember the silence that morning. I never found out until I got to work — I never saw the news or anything that morning. I was enjoying coffee, sitting barefoot in my deck captain’s chairs, curling my toes around the metal railing.

I remember walking into the office, my closed captioning office, and the radio was turned on for the first time (and last time) ever. All the employees had no headphones on and were numbly editing files that probably needed no more editing. I knew something huge had happened.

“What?” I asked.

“Someone’s flown planes into the two World Trade Centre towers. Thousands of people are dead. They think it was terrorists. And someone hit the Pentagon, too.”

And like that I knew life on the continent had changed. No longer were we untouchable. Quite the opposite.

I didn’t think I could lose any more innocence after that day, but I was evidently wrong. I grow more jaded and disenfranchised with every passing year.

For a time, 9/11 made us all better people. We found the commonality. We had community. We had a cause. And something happened. A chasm. Conflict. Chaos.

Strange how quick that tide turned. Sad, too. Sigh.

Stumbling Through Sunday

Do you ever have those days when something hits you and you begin to think that, this day, for whatever reason, will come to be an important one in some grand scheme of things?

I’m having one of those days. I feel like it’s a day on which my mindset’s going to shift in a new direction. I don’t know why, but I just feel like I’m learning something new about myself this weekend. It’s not really hitting just yet but it’s there.

See, it’s one of those days I’m going to remember for good or bad, anyhow, ‘cos it’s the seventh anniversary of Mom’s passing. I’m in a pretty good mood today, though. It’s not like I’m down at all, I’m not. I’m feeling pretty good about things. I’m thinking a lot, though. I was out all night last night and fell asleep on a couch, made my way home at 5:30 in the morning, timed to catch the sunrise, then I slept another four hours at home. I think riding home on a quiet Sunday morning with a late summer sunrise was a pretty contemplative start to my day, and sleeping on it a bit wasn’t such a bad thing, either.

I may never be the book-smartest person anyone ever knows, but when it comes to just thinking, I’m a great thinker. I love to ponder my life and the things that go down in it. There’s that saying, A life unexamined is a life unlived. I cannot tell you how profoundly I associate with that sentiment. It’s in reliving my life through my thoughts and recollections that I really glean the meaning of it all. I guess it’s why I’m most saddened when I see people scouring the newsmedia for interviews with their idols or gossip on the stars because I just feel there’s so much more each of us can learn from our own lives that we choose to bypass simply because the western world feels it’s best to “move on” after any life experience had. Why in God’s name anyone should feel the need to live vicariously through others is something I’ll never, ever understand. Fucking weird.

And moving on, that’s just silly. I mean, hell, people come and go all the time, but no matter how impermanent we feel things to be, it’s only that way when we choose to have it be that way. I reflect on my mom from time to time, though she’s falling further away with every passing year. There’s an echo to memories now as if they’re almost due to fade away. Slippage, that’s what it is. One little bit more, and poof! Gone they’ll be.

But at least I’ve had another dance with them, you know? And it’s all written down now. I feel good about that. I wrote this on Friday and it really tripped my head. I have been so angry — so angry, so long — at the amount of writer’s block I had. I still am, too. For six years! And look, LOOK at all I’ve written in just 21 months! More than a thousand postings, probably a couple hundreds drafts, and hundreds more private writings. My GOD, imagine what I’ve missed out on recording! Six– six years, all that block!

I just never realized why the loss of that was so important to me, but this weekend, I get it. I understand. I’m angrier about the writer’s block that I am my mother’s death. How strange is that? But I guess it’s just that I realize what it is I’ve lost of my mom, but I’ll never know what I lost in writing. Know what I mean?

Strange realization, that.I have book ideas, you know. A movie idea, children’s books… So much to write, and all that time lost.

Still, I’m glad. I’m still in a good mood. Now I’ve got a reminder of why I write. For awhile there, I was beginning to wonder why I bother. I was bitter. I was a little too caught up in depression and in turn was realizing that I simply didn’t feel like having a record. The thing is, that’s only in the moment. For a moment, I feel like this shouldn’t be recorded for posterity, but down the line, now I know how much I wish I’d been recording more… You know? Life passes so quickly. It’s a shame to have wasted any. It’s tragic to forget any.

You see. I have to start podcasting now. That is my Sunday night. I’ll be heading in for about 3 hours work today, and when I do, I’m buying an expensive steak, then a bunch of quality veggies, and I’ll make a nice supper later, but in between all that will be finally playing with my podcasting stuff. I’ve cancelled everything I had going. It’s podcasting time.

I’ve been avoiding it. I’m scared, truth be told. Feeling a little shy, am I.Yes, I get performance anxiety, too. A lot. I’m also having a “Gee, I mean, what have I really got to say after all?” moment. I’m just some girl who grew up in a big black seaside house throwing her two cents into the cosmic mix. I ain’t all that, baby. It’s hard to reconcile who you are on the inside to what the world sees of you. So what have I really got to say? God, all I have to do is go back and read some then, haven’t I?

Anyhow, I don’t want to do the podcasting, but I know how much I’ll hate myself if I don’t, and I also know it’s nothing more than fear, so I gotta just kick my own ass and get it down. Tonight, like I say, it’s gonna go down. No, that still doesn’t mean there’s a firm airdate. Soon. But hopefully all the problems I’ve had with Dell and my new computer have run their circle and now there’ll be no more external delays. If it’s all on me, then it’s gonna come together quick. It’s like fucking for the first time — there’s that heavy mix of anticipation and fear of failure. When you’re finally done, the orgasms’s not awesome because the sex was great, but because it’s done, it’s over, and from now on, you know each other and you don’t have to worry about the unknown element causing any grief. The dance has been danced, and the game is on. I wanna get myself to that stage: fuck and be done with it, and then the cherry’s popped and the game’s in play.

Like I sez — soon. (I’ve been moaning about my Dell grief on the other blog for weeks now. Seems I’ve been explicit enough with Dell about HOW MUCH I FUCKING HATE THEM RIGHT NOW that they’ve become a lover with something to prove: I’ve just received an email saying that should I be running into anymore technical problems, I’m to notify them with my case number and a tech will be sent ASAP. Right, okay then. We’ll see.)

Motherless on Mother’s Day

I’m a daughter without a mother, and anyone who’s read me awhile knows that it’s not only what you would read on the back of my collectible Bloggers-of-Now baseball card, but it’s a fact that absolutely defines me to my core.

My mother dying destroyed me – utterly, brutally, without a doubt, destroyed me. Every now and then, someone comes along and gushes, “Gee, Steff, how’d you get so darn smart?”

I couldn’t tell ya, honestly, other than those three or so years after my mother’s death left me swimming in alcohol and as fucked up as any person’s ever been. I was a wise, smart girl before she died, and I’ve come back to who I was, but when I was shaken off-course, I’ll tell you, I fell hard and I fell far.

Climbing out of oblivion can take a hella long time, kiddies. There just ain’t no compass for that climb. I did much of my ascent over the course of five years. It’s been nearly seven since my mother left for the great gig in the sky, but over those years I’ve come to decide that the woman I am now was worth the price I paid through my mother’s horrid cancer death. It’s unfortunate, this not-having-my-cake-and-eating-it-too thing, but if her dying is the only way I’d have learned to be this person, well, so be it. Like I have a fucking choice?

I’m not writing about sex today, because I don’t care about sex today. Today’s a mental health day. My loverman’s off to see his granny, since his mother’s dead as well, and maybe we’ll hook up tonight for a couple hours, and maybe we won’t; it depends on how much the alien mind probe (aka 20 hours OT) has messed with him. My day’s plans include being a rebel and barbecuing burgers for breakfast with my brother before we head out on a grueling mountain bike ride around the city and through Vancouver’s legendary UBC Endowment Lands, home to some 70+ kilometres of primo cycling and hiking trail within city limits. And THAT is why I live in the coolest fucking city in the world.

Y’know, probably the most important lesson I’ve ever learned is that of knowing when to say “fuck you” to the world, when to unplug and go your own way. I don’t take calls from relatives on Mother’s Day, because as much as I know they’re thinking of me, they’ll never understand what I lost, nor what haunts me still. And that’s loss, pure and simple. It’s different, depending who the person was to you, and I think probably few deaths equal the impact of our mothers’. There comes a point when you just have to accept that other people care, but they just don’t know jack about what’s going on for you. Turn off the phones, ignore the emails, and do your own damned thang, baby.

We want to think we move past lost, but we don’t. We learn to assimilate it into who we are. It becomes ever-present in the back of our mindscape, like a shadow, or something we always know and need but seldom refer to, like a social insurance number.

Some days it hurts to realize who it is we’ve become in the face of such things, but some days it’s worth celebrating. I think burgers off the barbecue for breakfast with my big brother before a bitchin’ bike ride around this far is exactly what I’ve needed.

For those who can’t fathom the loss of their mothers, or for those who understand it all too well, it’s probably a good time to point out that one of the best things I’ve ever written, IMHO, is what I wrote about my mother last August on the sixth anniversary of her death. It’s on my other blog, and it’ll probably help you get to know me a little better, too.

Meanwhile, I’ll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled smut. Sometime Monday will be bondage, baby. Until then, restrain yourself. ;)

Happy Motherless Day, folks. Gimme my burgah! (Oh, right… I’m the grillmaster.)

Thinking Too Much, Too Late

This isn’t really off topic… it’s masturbation of a sort. Literary masturbation.

Tonight, I can’t stop thinking of how I got from point “A” to this point of my life. I don’t know when this mood struck me. I made a comment in response to one of my readers earlier today, “It’s amazing, the footprints left when people walk out of our lives.”

It got me reflecting on some people I’ve known, experiences I’ve had – all that profound shit that shakes down from the tree of life.

I get a lot of emails from this site, people wanting to connect, forge something, interact, I don’t know. Sometimes it seems they want to know more about me, I get questions. They divulge deeply personal things to me, profound problems, fears, experiences. It can be daunting, but it’s very rewarding. I try to respond to everyone, to share a bit of who I am in trade for their confessions.

Another reason I’ve been thinking about myself is that I had this email sent to me about “Stop Internet Censorship,” a new-ish blog formed with a mission, that has a number of esteemed contributors. I was asked to join it, and have, because I think censorship’s bullshit. But it has had me thinking. How does this concern me?

Really, I’m not sure it does. Not yet. It probably will. But I’m pretty open about who I am, thus why I get really personal things sent to me, I guess. I leave myself vulnerable here, only because I feel invulnerable.

Everyone in my life knows I write this. They all know I do everything from sex advice and tips to ponderous deliberations. From my father and family to my employers to my friends, they all know. They accept that this is just who I am, and I’m not ever judged for it. I couldn’t much care if I’m outted tomorrow. It would impact my life little, I suspect. I’d flinch and grit my teeth because I’m a control freak and would rather decide on my terms when to let my identity be known, though.

A reader commented (on this posting) last week, and for all I know, hasn’t been back, that I was, essentially, a hypocrite. It pissed me off. It really, really pissed me the fuck off. So, let’s go with that for a moment. You know what you know about me because of my grace, generosity, and openness. It’s my gift to you, this intimacy with this stranger you may never know. I’m not being arrogant, I’m being honest. That is, in its essence, what blogging is. Allowed voyeurism, by we, the brave provocateurs.

Those of us who do this, who put ourselves out here in the raw – with the hurts, with the reality, with the insights – we do so for our own reasons. We have gracefully allowed you, the world, to be players in our mix. You’re the voyeurs we’re humouring by leaving our blinds up. You owe each of us the very simple respect of acknowledging we all have our stopping points. There are things that, for whatever stupid reasons we have, we do not wish to share. That is our right. When it comes to what it is we divulge, you have no say.

Those are the facts.

It doesn’t change much for me. I still plan to tell you a little more about who I am and how I got here. But just keep in mind that I have a line in my sand, and if you cross it, I’ll mince no words in telling you so. What I choose to tell is always going to be my choice. Fortunately for us all, I love to take requests. It’s just so spiffy and interactive, like a game. I do so enjoy games, after all.

Anyhow, most people treat me wonderfully around here, and I love it, and love those of you who it applies to. I do love to please a crowd. There’s just the occasional twit, and I wanted to say something this time.

But I do digress.

I think it’s safe to say we all know I’m a pretty introspective individual. My life has made me that way, through a variety of experiences. I’ve had a lot of strange encounters with death, a lot of struggle, a lot of experience, in all ways, shapes, and forms.

I guess it’s part of why I’ve been riding the masturbation topic this week. I’ve spent a lot of time alone in my life – I’d have to, to write as much as I do these days. But I love being alone. I can be the life of any party, and my personality, when I turn it on, can win over just about any person, any time. And though I love people, I’m protective of my space. That space is precisely what has seen me through all the struggles and hardships I’ve had. It’s also what makes me an engaging person to befriend and know.

Over the next week or two, I’ll be wanting to spend a little time taking a look at myself, and I hope to have an interesting post of how a girl like me gets formed. Not necessarily because it’s been a request, but because it’s my blog and I’ll do what I wanna. (Oh, I’m just playing. It’s actually something I do every spring… a stop-and-smell-the-self or something.)

I said earlier about the footprints left in our lives when people walk on out, and there’s been no bigger tread than that of the one left by my mother. Six-plus years have passed since her death and the loss still finds me from time to time, and this week has been no exception. Some sad topics came up when talking to my father the other night, and I’ll be expounding on that another time, but tonight it’s too much for me to think on.

I will tell one story, though, of one day spent with her that has profoundly affected the way in which I live my life today, something I hope the parents out there can learn from.

My mother wasn’t well educated, and I remember her getting her GED (high school equivalency) when I was in Grade 3, but she had the most common sense of anyone I’ve ever met. My father made me flush with pride the other night when he said that, then told me I got mine from hers, and took it further than she had managed. I’m proud I had her as a role model.

Something she forgot how to do as she got older, sick, and tired of the struggle in her life (the result of a bad menopause), was how to stop and smell the proverbial roses. But she taught us how to do it in our youth. I remember being in Grade 2 at a Catholic elementary school. We’d take the bus all the way from White Rock, out into the valley, and the whole thing would be a 45-minute ride, up and down the streets in the valley, before ending at that small school by the church.

I remember this morning in particular – a spellbinding onslaught of spring. One of those days after a warm rainy spell, when the April sky explodes in blue and light, and the world just comes alive. The birds sang, flowers bloomed big, the air was rich and aromatic. We couldn’t have been in class for more than a half-hour, when what should happen?

My mother arrives, tells the principal we have doctor’s appointments, picks us both up from class, and makes a beeline to Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park, which was carpeted with baby daisies and little purple flowers I’ve never learned the names of.

She took our shoes off, bought us ice cream before it was even lunch, and told us to play nearby after she hugged us both and told us it was a day made by God.

She then sat down on the grass with a sketch book, and began sketching as we ran wild all over the grass. I remember nothing of that day except the happiness and freedom I felt.

I learned then that life comes with a pause button. To this day, I never let things get too hectic without remembering I can say fuck it and stop it all. I did that again today, the second time in a week. I went for a long bike ride in the rain and just felt incredible.

That day, my mother just sat there, watching us. She looked so damned beautiful, but then, she always did.

Never underestimate the power of spontanaeity – not in life, not in love, not in sex. There’s nothing more spell-binding than a well-chosen change in plans. My life is richer today as the result of a seemingly innocuous little day at the park, spent at the whim of a woman who loved to hear birds chirping, and who’d been overwhelmed by a shitty streak of rain.

And never, ever underestimate the impact it might have on those along for the ride.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll choose a couple more things that have profoundly shaped who I am, and maybe share with you the lessons I’ve come to learn as a result. Self-indulgent, but perhaps a couple people might find it interesting.

It’s fitting I end this post in the middle of the rousing chorus of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”