The Emotional-Enema, Too-Cheap-for-Therapy Post

Days, weeks like this, it’s best to remember life is a marathon, not a sprint, and all things come to pass.
I fucking hate turning to Confucius-like fortune-cookie-style wisdom to get me through, but some weeks it’s the only weapon left in my arsenal.
Between the oppressive rain, the soul-crushing Conservative-majority national election victory on Monday, my friend’s death on Tuesday, the barrage of Mother’s Day advertisements for the last couple weeks, and hardcore PMS, my thread is really goddamned thin.
I’m not depressed, I’m moody and pissed off. I’ve passed the sadness phase and I’m just angry.
Still: Nothing that has happened this week was unexpected.
We knew the election might go sideways. My friend’s death had crept upon him for four years at varying paces. Mother’s Day is something I dread annually. Another reason I don’t EVER buy commercial cards anymore. Fuck you amping up my therapy bill for profit, Hallmark! I will not be buying your cards. (I buy blank.)
It’s amazing how hard someone’s death can hit when you see it coming so long. I’m always surprised by that. Relief, sure, glad their suffering ends, sure, but the LOSS is stunning.
It’s like we sit around damming it all up in an attempt to Keep Our Shit Together when they’re around — I call it the KOST factor. Then, they finally slip away and that dam doesn’t burst, it explodes like a sidewalk-hitting water balloon from four floors up. KAPOW. The coping KOST factor.
It’s been 12 years almost and I still can’t get my mother out of my head the week before Mother’s Day, no matter how much I try to avoid the advertisements.
We try to pretend we get over the deaths, but, we don’t. Not really. The hurt always stays there, the regrets, the sadness. It lessens in its sharpness as time passes. It’s like the slow layering of dust over furniture in the attic. Just because it’s getting covered doesn’t mean you can’t recognize it, you know what I mean? I know the size and shape of my grief and loss like it’s my social insurance number. But that’s love. I’m glad love only fades in loss, it doesn’t vanish.
It’s bad enough I try to avoid Mother’s Day ads and malls, but these days I log on Facebook and there’s all these “Change your profile picture to your mom to show her how much you care” bullshit status updates. Like it didn’t suck enough that Hallmark and Friends were dumping all the emotional shit on those who’ve lost their parents, but now our friends and social media are in on crushing any safe space we have. And not just for a day, but for weeks on end.
I HEART MY MOTHER TOO, but she’s ashes in a goddamned ocean, people, and putting a fucking Facebook status up ain’t doing me any favours.
It’s three weeks now that I’ve been seeing Mother’s Day crap everywhere. Seriously? Awesome.
And I live in a rainforest. A really grey, dark rainforest full of bitchy people who dislike living in a rainforest.
And I have PMS and I’m bitchy about living in a rainforest with bitchy people who dislike living in a rainforest.
And I could use more money.
But, hey, I have a blog, man.
Seriously, though, if there’s anything this week has taught me, it’s that some things are missing in my life — and that’s for me to take stock of — and that I really, really, really love being able to write when my life takes a hard left turn.
Derek Miller’s posthumous blogpost, his self-written epilogue, has reminded me how everything we live or experience enhances our craft of writing. (He’s reminded me of so much more, but…)
Salon wrote about how illness/death can bring a kind of clarity one would never have otherwise, and a blog like Penmachine is the output of that clarity when in the hands of a masterful writer.
Well, I don’t want to write about those things this weekend, not without this air of flippancy. I can’t dive into my emotional reserves right now. I’m a bit scared of how deep the dive would go. And this is an experienced mental-spelunker typin’ here.
The Dead Mother Week thing combined with the death of a brilliant young father, and the worst election result I think Canada could have had, all mixes into a super-heady storm of past-present-future.
Where’s my country going? How far have I come/have I yet to go since my mother’s death? What am I doing wrong when a young dad with everything dies feeling he’s lived a full life at 41 and I feel like nothing I wanted is close to done? If I died tomorrow, what would my epitaph read? Who would cry for me? What’s really important to me here, now, today, and how do I make it happen?
These are things running through my head as my estrogen’s at 10 on the PMS-o-meter and the rain beats down on dreary concrete all around me.
I had already started down that path, the what’s-important-to-me-here-now-today. I think I’ve made some progress, but there’s so far to go. I’ve always felt the best way to honour those who leave us, who we claim to be inspired by, is to actually allow their memory to change us.
So, today, while I fume and grumble my way through my day, I know I’m giving myself the day off from emotional resiliency. I’m letting myself be the grumpy bitch I feel like being. I’m embracing this.
I’ll be awesome on Monday.
I grew up on Star Wars. I know giving in to the Dark Side is a BAD thing when you go all Darth Vader and get-me-a-costume shit about it, but if you just dally with the Dark Side and return to the fight for the Rebellion, using the Force, then it’s an exciting plot-point!
I’m a writer. I’ll go with the exciting plot point.
So, back the hell off, buddy. Bitch comin’ through. Come back Monday if you want a nice person.

7 thoughts on “The Emotional-Enema, Too-Cheap-for-Therapy Post

  1. Jackie Baisa

    Understood. May this weekend pass by in a flash for you.
    And, although I haven’t known of you very long, I would miss you. I just wanted to say that.

  2. Christine

    I’ve only just stumbled upon your blog this past week. I just wanted to say that I really like your writing and your honesty.

  3. Cheryl Cheeks

    When I first started blogging back in 2009, I had countless people warn me to *never* use my blog like a counsellor’s couch. I chose to ignore their warnings, telling them all they were effectively saying I should silence my voice during the times I needed to be vocal the most. I’m glad you’re not one to heed such a stupid warning either. Write write write. Create. Get it out. Put it out there. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction – connection – that comes with knowing you’ve written something people will identify with. The power of Derek K. Miller’s writing has shown me that, on a global level. The power of your writing shows me that.

  4. Syd Gill

    I don’t know you (I followed you on twitter because you were a fellow Vancouverite and writer) but from one motherless daughter to another — *hugs*
    My mother passed away on May 3rd, 14 years ago, and this year it just seems that I’ve been taking a beating during this dark part of the year for me.
    To top it off, my kindergartener’s class did a special mother’s day tea for us. They sang a song. A sad one that made me think about how much I missed mine. Yes, all the moms were weepy — thank god — but I was probably the only one hoping that I didn’t break down in sobs and run out of the room.
    It’s just another reminder of how everyday events that are so very normal for other people, aren’t for us.
    And absolutely the election results and lack of sun are contributing to MY bitchiness.
    Take care, girl.

  5. nancy aka moneycoach

    If it is a leeeetle bit cheery to you to know this, I desperately (!) need a “me” day and am going to take one tomorrow. I was thinking of 3 or 4 treats-to-myself and one of them is to finally read your buyers direct (?) posts with a cuppa coffee and some classical music in the background. Maybe even in my pjs.

  6. Chizuko

    Steff, I know you miss your mother a great deal. I’ve followed your blog enough to see you endure this yearly round of depression and irritation, determined by the holiday-makers and their grip on the calendar.
    First, I would suggest that therapy is better than a blog. Talking to a professional who specializes in grief can be remarkably helpful. Perhaps it’s not in your budget, and perhaps it is not covered by your employer’s medical plan. I only mention it this once.
    I’d love to hear more about your mother. So, instead of being annoyed at those on Twitter who are observing the day with their loved ones, I would be grateful to hear more about this special woman who so clearly influenced you . . . your sass, your compassion, your determination. I’d like to learn more about her . . . and learn more about you.

  7. Chizuko

    I’m a trans woman who recently came out to her family. While the reaction was not hostile nor condemnatory – and I’m grateful for that – I wasn’t exactly invited to brunch today with my siblings . . . if you know what I mean. So believe me when I say that, on some level, I sympathise with your feelings. I don’t know what it is like to have a dead mother. But I know what it’s like to have a living one who isn’t involved in her daughter’s life beyond the occasional phone call. Either way, I doubt my absence at the white-tablecloth restaurant will be noticed.

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