Tag Archives: pondering

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.

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.)

Thoughts: On Stairwells and Other Obstacles

The cable has been down now for some 14 hours. Both internet and television. They’re constructing a new transit line, a light-rapid rail line, over the water, and the workers in this area executed brilliant competence last night as they swung their heavy machinery and managed to sever the cable lines that feed probably 300,000 of us with pictures and words from the outside world. Whatever shall we do, home without distraction? Whatever can we put our lazy little minds to?
You, you get me with a many-hour delay. Fed to you through disrupted service, put on hold, stuffed away in some insignificant computer file until such a time comes as I can unleash my glaring insignificance upon you.
I’m thinking about stairways today. Steps that ascend, descend, or are even completely meaningless, leading to doors that stay locked and never, ever open.
There’s a poem by some dead poet – Langston Hughes, he of the jazz-rhythm behind words – about life being no crystal stair. There’s no clarity of where our adversities come from, no ability to see ahead of us miles on end. No, our stairs are warn and warped, wobbly and overworked. They creak and groan, there’s soft spots in the center, and hard metal-cased edges to save the joints. They’re dark and cramped and have no visibility beyond the next 12 or 14 steps. Stairs, I surmise, are a bitch, but they take us where we need to go.
I remember high school. Sometimes with a smile, but mostly with a groan. This is year fifteen since I graduated, and I’m sure there’s a reunion, but I’ve heard nothing. Would I go? I very well might. But not being afforded an invitation, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
High school was a mix of craziness and dying to fit in. Most of my friends were outside of school, since I was raised in a white-bre(a)d town filled of wealth and pretension. The native reservation in town might’ve been a world away, because we sure as fuck never saw them. There were two high schools: One on the east side, where the poor and fucked-up would attend, the other on the west. Naturally, the west reeked of money and patronage. There were the whores (oh, were there) and the jocks and the geeks and the brainiacs. I was a geek with social promise. I had friends, I was a mystery, but I didn’t opt to hang out with my peers, other than a few of the cooler outsiders.
In the midst of it all, I had my stairs. I’d choose to slip away and find a stairway that didn’t have a lot of traffic, and I’d read to get my head out of the world that I knew was reality. Sometimes Paul Theroux, sometimes my biographies of dead great artists, sometimes Vonnegut. Whatever, but it was my time, my world, my secrecy. For those few stolen minutes, the world around me would cease to be.
And then a bell would ring. I’d be sucked back into that mind-numbingly uninspired life with an unchallenging curriculum and bored-shitless teachers. I’d be forced back into monotony, where I’d be compelled to stuff my individualism back inside me, rendered just another pawn on the board of life.
It’s fifteen years later, and I can’t say that much has changed.
I have my own little world, this fancy little apartment of mine, all decorated like an eccentric professor unafraid of colour, and here I hide from the world at large. Me, my books, my media, my cooking, my comforts. Me.
And then, time changes. The hands pass 12, appointments loom on the horizon, the world makes its demands, the internet surfs me through to my bank account, and I realize I’m not alone, I have obligations, and for whatever it’s worth, I have a role to play. One that is no choice of mine. No matter who or what I wish to be, somewhere inside of me sits a cog that fits ever so perfectly into the droning gears of the machine of life. I wish I didn’t fit, I wish I didn’t have to, but I do, and it’s my lot in life.
Just like it’s yours.
We forget those little desires and dreams of greatness that we all nurse deep within us. Who’s kidding who? Each of us at one point wished to be a ballerina, an astronaut, a rock star, a famous writer, an actor; each of us dreamed of greatness, of a life of envy and regard. Yet here we are, doing what it takes to pay the bills, because someone somewhere pointed out just how fucking tired we must be, struggling to climb those stairs. We forget our dreams because to remember them is to be conscious of how much it is that we want but do not have, that we may never have. We become accustomed to the simplicity of life: eat, sleep, work, play, pay.
We acquiesce.
So precious few of us ever achieve what we really desire. We learn to settle, to stop wishing for more. We learn to make peace with all that we’ve come to acquire, regardless of how short we’ve fallen from the heights we once dreamed we’d reach.
I’m at a point in my life where I need to struggle daily to ensure my bills get paid. Sometimes I begin living on the depths of my freezer, embracing the canned goods that fill my cupboards in wealthier times. Sometimes I crack open my jar of change in the hopes that the $18.49 in loose change is going to get me through for three more days. And that’s the way my life is, because that’s the price I pay for this: The chance to live my dream, if even just the tiniest bit, of being a writer for a living. Through it all, I mostly struggle to keep my pride and my integrity, if not my unending fear of what might never be.
Ultimately, the time will come when this isn’t getting me through anymore. That time’s nigh, my friends, and it saddens me. Soon, I’ll have to give up this dream and return to the mundane existence of the 9-5 world. Soon, I’ll have to work under another’s directive, because, soon, I just won’t have the steam remaining to live with this kind of uncertainty. And this is why dreams break and fall away from us, because the demands of life, from a system that truly serves few besides the wealthiest, are far too overpowering to avoid.
And what does it really do to us, these realizations of loss and failure and reality that come in dark places, like deserted staircases and empty halls? The realizations of just how much we’ve given up for that greatly sought-after myth of security?
Well, fucked if I know. I’ve never had the privilege of being on the other side of that myth of security, and maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I should’ve given up long ago, let myself be sucked into the beliefs of laying down a retirement package, buying the house, getting married, and becoming stable. Maybe that’s what it’s all about. Maybe I’m just a romantic, content now to live on dreams and love and all that comes with. Maybe I missed the memo, that life is for living and dreams are for dreaming. But as hard as all this is, the mental struggle to keep the faith against the odds, to realize that the negative balance in my bank account shouldn’t reflect my actual worth… I can’t help but to believe I’d make the same choice all over again.
I just hope it’s all worth it.

Thoughts on a Saturday morning, before coffee, no less

Do you ever have those dreams that are all too real, you wake up, and your mood’s already shot?
I’m supposed to have a nice day today. Got someone coming by about 1 for an hour, then I have to head out to my father’s 64th birthday — a crib tournament. Oh, “whee.” What freaks me out is the Guy’s disappointed he can’t go (he of gimpy leg and crutches). I suppose that’s a good sign — he actually wants to meet my folks, which is likely happening Monday. Whack, hey? A late-night rendezvous with the Guy is scheduled this evening, and I’m sure that’ll be up to its regular real-good-stuff, but I’m still grumpy.
I don’t recall the contents of the dreams, just “dead Dad” as synopsis would suffice. I suppose this is one of the reasons you want to listen to your voicemail before bedding down for the night: You have one of these all too real dreams, and the message indicator’s blinking at you, it’s a little disconcerting.
Anyhow, I know my mood will shift. The big pressing question is, it’s an unpredictable Wet/West Coast day: Do I take my little ol’ scooter all the way the hell out to the burbs, some 45 klicks, and risk the rain? If I do, I imagine the “Warm me up NOW” demand on the Guy could certainly provoke fun and games when I get home.
Oh, dilemmas. Anyhow, like you care. All right, then: Smut, smut, smut, smut. Happy?
No, last night was another good night with the guy — kissin’ like fiends and, well, yes, okay, we had the dirty s-e-x thing, too. The Guy’s kicked the codeine, and it seems like my evil tricks do indeed stir the creature from its dark depths all too well. I wasn’t planning on fucking the boy, but hey, sometimes the best laid plans should be laid aside in favour ofgetting laid. So, we did.
It’s fun, this relationship journey. It’s like you carry a mental notepad and keep score of every little thing you learn. (Well, if you don’t, you should.) I’m forming this hierarchy of things I can do to rile the Guy, and lord knows he’s got his list on me.
But there’s this other list, this list that continues growing of things we both share loves for. Writing, reading, film, they’re all at the top of the list. We’re both very, very passionate about words, and he’s incredibly invested in my writing, which rocks me all the day long. But then there’re those inconsequential little things that really add up to “a hill of beans” in this big ol’ world. Both of our favourite frozen pizzas are McCain’s International Sicilian thin-crust pizza (which those bastards don’t sell at the Canadian Superstore.) We’re both big Anthony Bourdain fans. We both dislike mushrooms. We both can cook well. We’re both cute but a bit on the geek-chic-y side of things with glasses. Yada, yada, yada.
Maybe it’s true, maybe opposites do attract. But do they stay united? I’ve never found that they did. I’m enjoying the fact that not only do we share passions for the word, for each other, et cetera, but we share inconsequential little likes and loves, as well as very similar life experiences. Some days, it freaks me out a tad. I feel like Jim Carrey in Truman, as if I’m beginning to realize the joke’s on me.
Up there in the cosmos, Ed Harris as god, chortling a “hardy-har-har” as he watches with grand amusement while I begin to realize, yes, it really is all too very good to be true.
But just because I feel that way, doesn’t mean I actually believe it. I just continue to be the more cautious one in this relationship, but the caution’s starting to fade a little. The Guy makes a point of telling me how much he digs me, and often, because he’s finally in the position where he doesn’t need to be the analytical one anymore. He gets to read this shit and see, “Hey, she’s analysing it and being cautious. Cool.” He sits back, enjoys the knowledge that I’m not running into this as some madly possessive swooning chick who’s already searching out wedding bands (and that’s NEVER gonna happen, babe). Most guys don’t get the experience, probably, of having an articulate girlfriend who can reason out all the beginning stages of fear/apprehension/knocking down walls in a relationship. I suppose it’s an interesting experience at his end.
And, honestly, as a chick, this is a bit of a rare experience at my end, as well. Not a lot of guys tend to be so forthcoming about their feelings — and not in a I’m stalking you kind of way, and not in an I’m needy kind of way, either. No, he’s pretty casual in how he expresses his feelings, and it keeps it comfortable and simple.
I think keeping most of the in-between-evenings contact confined to email means we don’t feel too tethered to the other just yet. Our only phone contact this week was when I knew he was having a lousy day and I left a message to the effect of, “I’m sorry for the day you’re having, you’re in my thoughts. I’m looking forwards to seeing you, and I hope your day’s improving.” His only contact with me was essentially a “I was thinking of you and wanted to hear your voice” type message. Yes, both were voicemails, and I suppose we probably both felt fuzzy afterwards. Then, it’s back to email until we happen upon each other. I keep my life, and albeit limited to crutches, he keeps his.
But, when we’re together, dude says all the right things, and I try to, too. Okay, well, no, we’ve both said ridiculously bad things at times — we’re both painfully irreverent, and it sometimes means ludicrous things get said in bed that are followed with five-minute laughing fits, which I love — but they’re bad things said in the right way.
So, sharing passions should be the backbone of a relationship, but the commonalities make it fun. This is fun. I’m enjoying it. And I know I’ll never have to be forced to eat mushrooms when he cooks for me. Wicked.
But Jesus, was that a depressing dream. Hey, I know. I’ll make bacon for breakfast. Bacon fixes EVERYTHING. Right?