waiting on the front porch

she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco

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Location: montreal, quebec, Canada


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

“Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.” -G.B. Stern

i am sitting in my messy bedroom, at my messy desk, in my bare feet with my goddess scarf tied around my messy hair. this is what i see around me: a martini glass filled with the remainders of this morning's smoothie, my favourite red coffee mug, a silk journal, my mother's backyard radio, a cat sprawled on the autumn balcony. my bathrobe and favourite slippers lie around my chair. a cd met made me while i was away is playing on my stereo; i am wrapped in one of my best friend's sweaters; i am enjoying my breath.

i am tired...i know that last night's all-nighter is waiting to seduce me to bed in only a few hours, but i am overfull with gratitude right now. i feel it spilling out of me, making my scalp tingle, making me want to send out a blessing to this incredible, incredible universe.

something i truly, truly believe is that each of us is where we need to be at any and every given moment; i am the first one to admit that i become a doubting toby when things go wrong. and then magic happens, just when my resolve is starting to slip.

that story was due today. for those of you who missed my frantic post, (which disappeared, because i had something different and vastly more important to say), the story that i had been trying to write for days disappeared this morning around 11 am when my computer crashed. i think i was just delirious enough from lack of sleep to laugh at the whole situation, take a few minutes to drink yet another cup of coffee, and find something in my archives that i dusted off to hand in instead.

i was made an "object lesson" in my prose workshop when t.f., my prof, related to the class the contents of my frantic messages to him, and advised everyone present to make multiple copies of their work to avoid my situation. t.f. didn't do it maliciously - he is one of those amazing human beings with a gentle presence, winsome wit and something genuine to impart, and in a month is becoming one of my top three teachers ever, which says A LOT - and the class was sympathetic. he also, graciously, is allowing me to resubmit a third story in late november.

which means more work, but i am just pleased that i'm not going to be judged on the merits of something i wrote a year and a half ago.

lately - for the past four or five days - i have been outside just around sunset, even if i'm cooped up inside for the rest of the time. what a gift that has been.

today was perfect - the sky was this shade of blue that was as delicate as an eggshell, the trees were all tousled together in autumnal reds and golds and greens, the breeze on my face was as gentle as a lover's hand. it was wonderful just to ramble through my neighbourhood, looking at all the brick houses and seeing signs for the pet parade coming up, a labyrinth walk i must make time for, and remembering to buy toilet paper before i got home. and there's a specific "sign" that when i see it, i have told myself that it's my mother checking in with me - i think only two people in the world besides me know what it is - and it was EVERYWHERE tonight. it was so beautiful.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?" -William A. Ward

i owe a great deal of thanks to the loving loving people who love me in my life. there have been a few people who i have leaned on, if not obviously, then in my head, and their support has sustained me through the last few days when it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did. met - my lover, my partner, my best friend: thank you, baby, for sending me home with junk food and checking in to cheer me on...for making me laugh, and knowing and loving me so completely. you are incredible. john - you always ALWAYS appear just when i need you. you know the exact right thing to say to get me out of my crazy insecure paranoid tree and i'm so glad you exist in the world, my friend; my cosmic twin. my friend wo, who gave me hugs-for-strength last night, and e, who rubbed my head and told me i could do it.

to my virtual sisters, jessie, susannah, and ruby. through our conversations, i feel that we share an inexplicable bond. we all seem(ed?) to be going through the same sort of struggles - and when i closed my eyes at times last night i could see your sweet faces. (and just because i mentioned them by name doesn't mean i don't appreciate my blog-family in its entirety. i leaned on ALL of you at some point...)

j. my sister. my mother. this morning, around 3 when my body was humming with caffeine and i could feel the silence that seeped in from outside and into my bones, i made a list. just of the names of people who i knew would be rooting for me. you were all on it. i am so blessed.

"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night." -Elie Wiesel

when i got home from my CRAZY day, (which never really finished from yesterday, it was more of a blurry segue) i had two emails waiting for me. one was from my partner...and it was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes....it was one of those moments when i didn't know i needed to hear exactly THAT from that person. but i did, and he instinctively knew that....and i'm just so incredibly in love.

the second was from my other cosmic twin, one of my soul brothers, a person i knew for YEARS before i actually got to know him would be my kindred spirit. we haven't talked in a looooooong while, too long, and he sent me the most beautiful words:

i love you bee...i guess i haven't told you that in a while too. a few weeks ago i went to see cat power and the whole time i thought of you and raised a glass to you with my smile! i really want to spend a few days with you...just the two of us...getting drunk and talking about the poetry that hides in our finger tips. but, who knows when that will happen. i just wanted to say that i was thinking about you and i miss you. talk to you soon...i promise...

what a strength-giver. what inspirational people i have in my life. it's been so wonderful to receive the love that i have been in the past...few hours? i am brimming.

thank you, thank you, thank you. have a beautiful, wonderful night. may these words give whoever needs them some peace.

this too, shall pass...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

this too, shall pass...
this morning, i'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

the story i'm supposed to have ready for tomorrow hasn't been going well; the essay which is also due is pretty much a write-off (no pun intended) - although i did just get an extension on it; i'm behind on my readings for my other classes; i got yelled at by a woman in student accounts for not paying my tuition (at 8 in the morning??)...

i'm just a little tired, is all. i can't seem to match up my energy with my desire and i need to find my stride; it's here somewhere. i just wish there was someone i could turn to for answers. every so often i think to myself, bee, you're doing this on your own; some day you're going to be pretty damned proud of yourself.
last night, though, when i'd finally given up on the words visiting and was lying in bed, listening to the wind move through the trees and waiting for sleep, all i felt was worry.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

how do i know this is true? by looking inside myself.
~lao tzu

there are a lot of pink elephants in the room with me at any given moment - things about myself that i don't want anybody to notice, so i never talk about them. sometimes i even forget they're there.
my loved ones probably wouldn't even consider the things i hide from most people flaws, per se; they're just personality quirks that make up bee, but to me they cause me to flame in embarrassment (i'm a big blusher).
some of the things that cause me to blush are: my klutziness (i routinely cut the tip of my left thumb off when i cook); being put on the spot; emotions (of which i have LOTS); my messy tendencies; my physical body. i have trouble sometimes owning how and what i feel. (and my inner voice just piped up: sometimes? hah! bee, be honest. okay, a lot of the time.)
i am the girl who is adaptive to any and all situations, to the point where i can go entire relationships without making a decision.

i have come to believe that my refusal to honour the person i am, all parts of me, is behind my panic attacks, my anxiety, and a large part of my depression. somewhere along the line i started making value judgments about my own character, until i had completely lost any sense of who i actually was - not someone completely good or completely bad, but just someone.

last weekend i had a heart-to-heart with my godmother. my godmother is pretty rad, all things considered, but she also kicks my ass in some uncomfortable ways. she's a sex therapist, someone who's very open to everything; try as i might i have never been good at hiding things from her. coming up against your own short-comings can be brutal if you're not prepared.
during the course of our conversation (i was telling her how alone i was feeling) she said, "of course. because you're facing the emptiness that's always been inside you."

and there it was: the biggest pink elephant of them all.

i asked her to explain what she meant, and she wouldn't go into a lot of detail, but her basic train of thought was that all people are born with a space inside them that needs to be filled; certain people have bigger spaces than others.

i have known this about myself for a long time and been unable to articulate it. this space that i have in me lurks like the biggest, dirtiest secret of them all. the kicker is, i know that everybody who loves me sees it, and doesn't care either way, or accepts it as part of who i am.
this space in me, the emptiness that needs to be filled, makes me givegivegive of myself until i have nothing left. i love seeing my loved ones happy, but if i am honest, i have to say that sometimes i give knowing it will exhaust me.
this space makes me apologize for my feelings. it makes it uncomfortable for me to be alone sometimes.

it makes it hard to do a lot of things.

lately i have been trying a different approach. instead of running from the space, or pretending it doesn't exist, i have been trying to make friends with it.
last week i submitted some poems to my class workshop, and i included a poem i had written about my c.p.
in 27 years, i have never written ANYTHING about my c.p., which is strange when i think about it, considering how i have always used writing to heal all my hurts. what made c.p. any different?

this past week i have been flexing my wings a little bit, owning myself a little bit more. it's been a continual and often bumpy process over the past few months as i figure out what i've been hiding from, turning and facing it, and beginning the process of self-acceptance. good lord, sometimes i want to run away screaming.
sometimes i do.

but i can feel something in there. it is still bending in the wind a little bit, but a root has taken hold in my heart. it feels like peace; it is growing in the space that used to be empty.
it feels weird, as all new growth does, but it feels good as well.

i want to own myself. the self who hasn't swept her floor in a few days because she's been too stressed out; the self who has nothing for breakfast but black coffee most days; the self who takes on far more than she can handle and then gets down on herself when she can't; the self who has a different laugh for almost every mood; the self who has a writing 'uniform'; the self who can be embarrassingly silly and loud and lovable, all the same.

with that, i offer you a poem. i hope you had a good weekend, and are finding some peace in the form that you need it.

today is a most unusual day. we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have.
~william arthur ward


The summer I am seven, my mother
devises a plan: to make me walk
to the end of the drive way and back,
three times a day:
Heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe

The sparrows watch me from their elm, churring
softly to each other, grading my progress.

I have to concentrate to bend the slow foot,
To not let it drag over the cobblestones, the bright
blades of grass, to not crush
the potato bugs and centipedes that scurry
from my approach, this lurching shadow

with one thin leg, one broken wing
held close to my waist underneath
my jacket; my face burning,
imagining the eyes that watch from
behind curtained windows.

To the edge of the curb, which I toe
like a finish line, a ribbon of merciful cement,
and then turn, and back up the incline
to the front steps, the door with its summer wreath,
and my mother, smiling,
who takes my tear-stained face in her hands
and kisses it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

dear, oh dear. i've been tagged by both jessie and ruby to do a book meme (which is what now? oh.), and since i'm just about to start writing that short story, but am finishing taking a bit of a breather, i thought it was the perfect way to warm up my brain.

first, though, a disclaimer: this is brutal for me, like picking which child i want to save from the oven.

1. A book that changed your life:
bridge to terabithia by katherine paterson
steppenwolf by herman hesse
26a by diana evans
letters to a young poet by rainer maria rilke
school girls - young women, self esteem, and the confidence gap by peggy orenstein
no logo by naomi klein
possession by a.s. byatt
adventures in the skin trade by dylan thomas
literally every book written by alice munro
see? see what i mean?

2. A book you've read more than once:
the god of small things by arundhati roy
running in the family by michael ondaatje
you went away by timothy findley
how green was my valley by richard llewellyn

3. A book you'd want on a deserted island:
the narnia series (because i've been meaning to reread them forever)

4. A book that made me giddy:
three day road by joseph boyden

5. A book you wish had been written:
...mine is a good sentiment to echo. but i know it will be written.

6. A book that wracked you with sobs:
bridge to terabithia (kindreds, ruby? i think so.)
the velveteen rabbit by margery williams
i know this much is true by wally lamb
the lovely bones by alice sebold

7. A book you wish had NOT been written:
the fountainhead by ayn rand. good fucking lord.

8. A book that you are currently reading:
all the books i'm reading currently are for school - but life of pi by yann martel is one that i picked to read for school. i don't think i like it though.

9. A book you've been meaning to read:
the world by jeannette winterson
east wind, west wind by pearl s. buck
the jungle by upton sinclair

10. now, for the tagging: (but i'm not forcing anyone...)
claire, john, scott, j, spiky zora jones, *jeannette...that's enough for now....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

i'm feeling a lot better. A LOT, in terms of stress and mental well-being. the effects of the medication have finally got under control, and with any luck, the posts will stop being so crazy and morbid...right about now.
thank you for sticking with me, but i'm done now.

what i love about september, and being a fourth-level university student? the unbelievable immediacy of the workload. i'm a big geek in that i like to get all the projects i can out of the way early, so that i don't have to worry about them when exams and such are waiting around the corner. but holy crap on a stick is this a little nutty. i haven't tried to pull of a full course load while working 20 hours a week before and having a bit of a social life (which, i think, by the end of the year will equal bee falling asleep on her boyfriend's couch). this week i handed in 5 poems for a workshop. next wednesday i have a 4,000 word short story due and a 4-5 page essay. on oct 3, i have a psych exam, and then on the 10th i have a 10-12 minute oral poetry presentation.

and i'm a big geek in that i like to get a's, so i'm lamenting all the time-management courses i didn't take.

i'm set, though. i've got a muse in the form of a 15-pound, grey and white cat who likes to sleep on my desk while i write; i've got an apartment that desperately needs cleaning if i get distracted (one more reason why i'm not allowed to get 'down' during the school year - i'm turning into one of those people who tell themselves that dishes are for chumps); and i don't really have enough money to go out. so - school work it is!

today is also the day when HOPEFULLY my tattoo gets coloured in. i say hopefully because the first time we went there, the artist was 2 1/2 hours late; the second time we went she canceled on us (for a valid reason); and so....third time's a charm. i can feel it. on that note, i have got to put myself in the shower because i am under strict instructions not to be late for my ride.

ciao, bellas.

image used in this post can be found here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

i'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth, but i'm hanging on. there's something to be said about that.

i have a mammogram today. my sister informed me that it is basically radiation. i wasn't aware of this, somehow, and it's making me very apprehensive. i don't even nuke my food, for god's sake, why would i nuke my boobs?
i'd skip the damn appointment, but i've been waiting for 2 months. it seems silly to wait until the day of to cop out.

the medication situation is evening out. yay! i don't feel like i'm certifiable anymore, just mildly kooky: in essence, the usual.

my stress, however, is through the roof. once again, the usual for september. i've had panic attacks pretty much every day since saturday; is it sad that i'm used to them now, and know not to freak, but just ride them out? probably, but all the people i've been talking to tell me that there's only a few more days of this left and then i'll be as blissed out as a hindu cow.
yay to that, too.

it's raining like mad outside. i haven't slept at all - unless you count a few piddly hours between 10:30 and 1. sleep is for chumps.
i'm listening to dave matthews band and trying to crack some poems out of their shells. i have at least four that are due tonight.

i'm wearing my sassy red dress. it's not my writing overalls, but i'm hoping it will do the trick.

i've just got a lot of stuff on my mind. i'll go and buy that lipstick tonight so i can write on my walls, this too shall pass.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

i've been talking to some friends over the past few days, before i realized how sleep = amnesia and put myself to bed, and they've been calming me down. hoobey tells me that his girlfriend is on the same medication i am on and she experienced the same acclimitization i am. which feels good - to know that i am not alone.
j let me talk. this woman has known me almost half my life and been one of my best friends almost as long. i love her more than i can say, and the fact that she's been reading the blog and then called me to check in means a lot. she also just listened, without interrupting, to my reams of confusion. i wish she wasn't so far away.
wo reassured me that the medication i am on is a doozy - one of the big ones, and it's very difficult, apparently. i don't remember it being so difficult 3 years ago; that's why i jumped on taking it again, but it makes sense: it treats a variety of symptoms from social anxiety to panic to depression, so it's understandable that it would be a transition. she told me to be gentle on myself.
my godmother told me to write on a wall with a tube of lipstick, this too shall pass. and it will.

on a softer note, i love my cat. before i curled into bed last night, i grabbed him from the couch and brought him with me; where to my surprise he settled right in. he either spooned with me or lay by my head all night, and when i woke up intermittently he was always watching me, purring. it's funny because in the book i finished last week for class, oryx and crake, the crakers use a similar purring technique to heal their wounded.
i think atwood might be onto something.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

it don't feel right,
it don't feel right
i can't feel anymore
things don't feel right overhead
lately i haven't been seeing clear
seems to me nowadays things have changed
i don't know if i've done the same

part of this blog's mandate for me is to provide honest testimony, to myself and to others, about who i am and what i'm doing at any given moment. it's hard for me to be honest with myself - sometimes i don't even know what's going on with me, which makes it hard to communicate with others.
it's hard for me to look back and see how down i can get, how confused; it's hard to look behind my veiled words and remember the exact situations they were inspired by.

this is why i have to crack open and share what's going on with me, now.

i started taking the anti-depressants the day before yesterday, and the adaptation to being back on medication has not been easy. the first night my hands were vibrating; my jaw couldn't stop clenching; my heart raced. i felt like i wanted to die.
at work yesterday i kept thinking i was going to pass out or be sick. by the time i got home, i was full of this really unhealthy energy - i should have been exhausted, i was exhausted, but i couldn't get down. i went for this really long walk in the hopes that i would get some of my restlessness out and be able to study afterwards - no such luck.

literally, my skin felt like it's been on fire for two days. it itches and i have constant hot and cold flashes. my fingers are numb. i don't have an appetite. i couldn't sleep last night; towards dawn i had the craziest nightmare.

you know those dreams that seem real? this was one of them. i've had weird, bad-feeling dreams in the past few years, but this was a full-fledged nightmare. in the dream, i'd just got home from work (today?) and was pouring myself a drink in the kitchen. and then i started seizing.
even when i was considered an epileptic, growing up, i'd never had a typical grand-mal seizure. i had one last night. in the dream, i could feel my brain spark - i remember that feeling. then i fell, catching my head on the table - the reason i know this is as i was falling my consciousness split and i could watch everything that was happening.
afterwards i just lay there. that was the other weird thing about the dream - i didn't wake up abruptly. there was this space after i watched myself seize when my spirit was trying to fit back inside my body, to get myself help, and i couldn't.

i'm stressed about a few things, which might have something to do with it.
i haven't been able to lock myself into a chair and do work in three days - so i have a lot due in the next week and none of it started. i thought my lost cat had been turned in to the spca, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. i have my first mammogram on tuesday; when the nurse booked me for the appointment two months ago, she told me two things: 1. i was the youngest person to book for a mammogram in the history of the clinic; 2. it would hurt a lot, because my breasts are so young. so, yay. i also realized that i won't be able to go to physio as flood's changing his schedule to days and there's a conflict, so i'm worried about how i'll feel physically by next week.

my skin just doesn't fit, you know? i'm trying - i thought this was the right thing for me to do to become better-adjusted and better prepared for the winter. i thought i'd tried everything else to no avail. i'm worried now that i'm making a HUGE mistake by continuing to take the medication.

i feel like....that i need help, but nobody can help me with this. i don't know what i need. have i mentioned how indecisive i've been lately?

Friday, September 15, 2006

i'm finding it impossible to find the words to describe the state of mind i'm in. nothing fits.

i've been an asshole to the people who i love in the midst of my confusion and i'm losing sleep over it.

i know things will settle down but i'm not finding blogging to be the refuge from it all the way it used to be.

this could be for an hour, the rest of the day, the rest of the weekend, or a bit longer, but i need some time. to think, to sort out, to make some decisions that actually feel right for who i am.

this isn't as out of the blue as it may seem. i'm sorry.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

loving montreal as i do, it was hard to live here today.
i was right down the street from dawson college when the shootings happened. a lot of my friends either went there or know people who work there or attend. everybody i ran into after 12:45 was edgy, cellphone turned on, waiting for a call. any call.
i couldn't believe how many people i talked to who told me that someone they knew (or someone once removed) was missing.

i love this city, with all my heart. i've told people that i was born in my hometown, but i chose to live here, so it means that much more. it seems like lately she's been through a lot - there was the bombing of the school in outremont just last week - and my heart wants to protect a city. to heal the hatred that lives here.

there don't seem to be adequate words right now - how could there be? there is sadness, instead, and thoughtfulness. but no words.

a week ago, i was sitting in a bar, drinking a catch-up beer (and a catch-up shot) with some old friends i hadn't seen all summer. true to form, i was one of the last to leave the table, so i was also privy to the last conversation of the evening.
the last conversations always tend to be the most interesting, in my books. it's when the gloves come off, in the most non-combative sense of the term - people have been talking for a few hours so the shyness has worn thin, the beer has flowed, and if you're an intellectual geek the way my friends tend to be, philosophy oozes from the pores.
i think it was my girl friend who sparked the debate. i can't remember the origins, but 'genderfication' (is that a word? did i just make that up?) came up. she said, and i agreed, that female students are treated differently. (i wish i hadn't been slightly intoxicated because i am searching for more specifics than that and they are not coming up.)
now, for the record, for once i'm not trying to open up the feminist debacle. i just honestly believe that teachers (both male and female) treat male and female students differently, and that it's impossible to fully understand what each person goes through if you haven't gone through it yourself.
i'm not saying you can't empathize with a certain person or situation, but if you haven't truly LIVED it, you can't really ever GO there.
i can speak for a white, female, (dis)abled perspective. i know intimately the challenges and privileges i deal with on a day to day basis. it seems somewhat (very) disrespectful to me to approach someone whose life i have NOT lived, and tell them i know exactly what they have gone through.

three of my best friends in the entire universe have markedly different world-views than i do.
my high-school best friend comes from a muslim, indian family. she is very progressive thinking,(as is her family, to a certain extent), and i have watched her grow up, toeing the line between traditional values and what she, a a modern canadian teenager, wanted for herself.
another good friend of mine is a young, white, gay american male. different influences, different country, different value system. we have spoken on a number of occasions about the discrimination he faced growing up, and being identified as 'gay' and 'other' before he was willing to self-identify as those things.
the last best friend identifies as black, and grew up as part of an immigrant family in urban montreal. he has dealt with issues of racism growing up that i wouldn't have been able to fathom ten years ago.

there are all places in which we intersect - where the growing pains we have endured as human beings are similar. but i would feel incredibly presumptious telling any of them i know what they are going through, never having experienced racial or sexually-oriented discrimination.

this particular viewpoint set off some firecrackers, especially among the men at our table. (we were evenly split for this 'last conversation' at 2 and 2.) the comment was made that we all bleed the same colour, and that it is this 'refusal to understand' that is behind the problems in the world. (i'm paraphrasing; it's been a week; i was intoxicated, so the quotes are not exact.)

in my psych class, we've talked a lot this week (ironically enough) about experiential differences. apparently, to the psych world, no ONE person experiences life or the world in the same way as another. even siblings, even monozygotic twins, can have markedly different viewpoints, temperaments, and opinions, due to the different cues they get from the people around them. this makes sense to me, only in my own case: i grew up with an even-tempered, athletic, extroverted sister. i was the passionate and stubborn, artsy and bookish, eccentric and shy one. of course our parents, and the world at large, treated us differently. of course we grew up differently. of course we have different world views now.

i've been simmering this question on the back burner of my mind since, wondering if i've been going about this the wrong way. i can't decide.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

oh, my god. i got home from physio today and called up the internet people and they had me do all the normal troubleshooting things that they had me originally do A MONTH AGO when my internet crapped out, and in my head i was like, yeah, yeah, when are you going to shoot me up to second-level tech support, i've done all this before when lo and behold, the lights lit.

on my dsl modem, that is. (who would have thunk that i'd be so excited about technology?) and so now i'm writing to you FROM MY DESK for the first time in a month. this means i feel comfortable talking about whatever, whenever...like how flood and i got into a discussion about sex and stress today. (i seem to be the person that everybody comes to with sexual dysfunction issues. it's a trend i've noticed). how i really, genuinely enjoy his company - i think we're starting to be great friends, outside of the whole therapist-patient relationship. as he said once, "it's therapy for the both of us."

so, i'm excited about my internet being back up for a big reason. it crapped out almost a month ago, as i've been saying - the start of a huge depression for me. the 21st was met's and my 3 month anniversary - which we didn't really celebrate because we were really busy, but i LOVE to celebrate things like that; i'm such a romantic that there is no occasion too small, really.
so we didn't celebrate and we didn't recoup the celebration, which bummed me out a bit. it was no big deal, but then a few days later i found myself alone, with no support close by able to help me, and that's when my technology backfired.
and it stayed backfired.
i think in the back of my head (i've been studying the behaviourists in psych this week, so i'm all about the pavlovian response right now) i associated being cut off as really truly being cut off.

and it only makes sense that as i have been making a concerted effort (only the past couple days, it's true) to really change my thinking and pattern of thought, that my preferred means of communication would re-emerge.

what's the effort i've been making? a few days ago, as i mentioned, i went to therapy. i was really emotional on the walk there because of the night before and when jamie closed the office door, i burst into tears in front of him for the first time ever. it only makes sense - i have been bursting into tears in front of complete strangers all week, and we walked through it - the whole mess about soccer, and then also something i don't think i've mentioned here recently - my guilt.
i feel guilty a lot - too much. feeling guilty about not being there for my sister when she called, in tears, the night of the anniversary; feeling guilty because during my freak-out at the internet cafe, my wonderful boyfriend had taken time away from his insane workload to talk me down for two hours.
now, i know he's a big boy and can make his own decisions; i won't lie when i say i try to protect him from my own craziness. especially when i know that he's stressed out as it is. bottom line, i was feeling guilty about being the reason behind making him more stressed out.
jamie let me vent for a while, and then he said, "you could look at it that way. OR, you could look at it like, 'wow. someone really loves me.' "
and just like that, it clicked.
isn't it funny how you can work, and work and work towards some little bit of illumination, and it never comes until you're stretched taut as skin? and then it just falls in your lap like a ripe apple.
i realized that i've been looking at things ALL wrong. the fact is, i have an amazing man who loves me. i have friends (both real, and virtual. thank you for your support) who, while having their own lives, make sure to check in and make me know i'm loved. i have a sister who truly gets me. it's BEAUTIFUL in montreal right now - clear skies, sunny, fall is here.
in the past few days i've been concentrating on living in the moment. which is HARD for me. i'm always skipping ahead to the next bill, the next pay cheque, the next assignment, the next etc., and so it's been pretty rewarding, although harsh, to rein myself back. to pull away from the precipice of worry and think about what's good, about my moment, right now.

like today? the sun was shining. i listened to good music all day, walking around; stared down some lewd construction workers until they blushed; had a massage; fixed my shoes; GOT MY INTERNET BACK. all moments with lots of goodness. my poetry workshop is tonight, also good.

the muzzle is off, ladies and gentlemen.

p.s. i have mentioned met a bit more than usual in this entry because i have got a few emails asking me if we are "all right". we are more than all right; however, i want to respect how private HE is. it's a weird tightrope to walk, especially when your loved one reads your blog.

now, i'm incredibly late for class. yay!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

i don't really mean what i wrote, about wanting to move home. this living-on-my-own thing is an experiment i committed to for a year, i'm not going to crap out in month 3.

one of the strongest people i know, my sister, told me over the phone a few days ago that i'm being very brave, doing the physical and emotional work i am doing right now, and doing it on my own. i bring this up because lots of people have come to me and told me what they get from me - a sense of calm, of courage, of passion and ethics - that i don't feel in myself. which makes me wonder - who is right? are they, and am i not truly seeing myself; or am i throwing up a very convincing glamour?

this is who i see: someone who gives a lot, but not necessarily for the right reasons; someone who's scared of silences; who doesn't take nearly the same risks she used to; someone who is not very good at taking care of herself in the grown-up way; someone who can't communicate what she's feeling unless it's absolutely exploding out of her; someone who's scared of her own truth.

what is my own truth? right now, i'm tired. i have to be up in eight hours so i can go to therapy. from there i plan on yelling at the internet people, then going to class, then coming home and eating leftover rice and trying to write some poems and reading margaret atwood. i'll try not to think about money, or that this week i'm starting anti-depressants.
but that won't be so bad, actually. i always forget, does neo take the blue pill or the red pill? well, i'll be taking plenty of red.

i think i'm going to write myself a love letter. i need one. i'll post it later.

i'll let you in on a little secret: i'm thinking of packing it all in. not the blog; my life in montreal.

i could sublet my apartment, drop out of school, and move home.

the idea hit me on the walk to the internet cafe, which i am now sitting in, wishing i hadn't worn the wool sweater i am currently melting in.

you'll have to excuse me. yesterday i was told by my sister (who had consulted a homeopath) that the pain i am currently experiencing could be due to a protein deficiency - my muscles, looking for protein, are eating THEMSELVES. apparently. left to their own devices, i could be in a wheelchair in 10 years.

oh, joy. oh fucking, fucking joy.

i am so angry right now. i was about to apologize, but fuck that. i am angry.

i am angry at my body. i am angry that no matter what i seem to do for it it might get worse. i am angry about how self-conscious i get about it. who cares what i look like? i do.

today met and i went to play soccer. or, rather, he did. my hip hurt a bit, but quite honestly, i could have pushed through it. but i got the crippling stage fright i was completely expecting the second we stepped up on the field. the stage fright went along these lines: you'll look different. what if you miss the ball - people will look at you. i think half the time i'm expecting elementary school bullies to come out of the people who love me, which is absolutely ridiculous.
i was going to spectate, but then i got the overwhelming urge to run away. why? because i kind of wanted to play, pain and all, but i was too shy to. and i didn't want to just watch. so i 'ran' away - i took a walk around the park, did some yoga, sat under a tree.
i talked with my mother, and for the first time in a long time, could see her next to me. instead of all the bits i normally visualize (the birthmark on her shoulder, her shade of pink lipstick) i got the whole picture this time: my whole mother, smelling like vanilla and baby powder, holding my left hand in hers, smoothing it out, the way she did. i could hear her laugh, and i put my head on her shoulder and she tucked my hair behind my ear and i asked her what i should do.

she didn't really have an answer for me.

the truth of the matter is i'm terrified. of what's happening to me, of being on my own, of not making rent, of failing school, of being dependent on other people, of loneliness, of depression, of the depths in me that are so deep and so black that i don't want to explore anymore.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

i've almost given up on getting internet back in my actual apartment, ever. NO-ONE can tell me what's going on now - apparently there's a server problem, and they'll be able to give me a better idea on MONDAY. sigh.
i hate bell sympatico. i'm done protecting their stupid identity.
i HATE you, bell. i wish i could quit you.

it's a rainy day in montreal. a cold rain, the kind that makes me think i'm going to go home and make hot chocolate and write that first page of a story that's due on wednesday. i'm kind of intrigued by the workload i have, already. i've never been under this type of immediate pressure before. i have to read hundreds of pages by next week, (i believe just under 1000. i'm NOT kidding), and write three assignments, start prepping my first poetry workshop, and oh, yeah. work AT MY JOB, 12 hours a week.

i like being busy, though. busy bee, that's me. i like waking up and knowing how much time i should allot to various tasks throughout the day. i'm a pretty chaotic person, one who likes being spontaneous and impulsive and flying by the seat of her pants quite often, but i've found that discipline is the name of the game at the moment. it works to stabilize me, and gives me the groundwork to stay crazy, if i want to.
i get up in the morning and make a few cups of coffee. i feed the bean. i drink the coffee and put on some music and usually read the fiction i need to read to stay afloat in my classes. (right now, it's oryx and crake, by margaret atwood, and a midsummer night's dream.) then i get a shower and walk to the shuttle and take the bus to campus. or, on weekends, i clean my house.
but there has only been one week of this, so my routine can change at any moment.

i've been listening to "to the teeth" lately non-stop. specifically to the songs soft shoulder, providence (prince and ani. BRILLIANT.), going once (which provided the inspiration for the title of this blog), and cloud blood. i voraciously love these songs - have since i heard them, although to be honest it took me a while to warm up to the album as a whole.

i like walking in the rain without an umbrella. people look at you funny. it's like everyone is supposed so be protected from the elements, when really, it's way more liberating to just get wet.

p.s. my heart is with two people right now. my sister, whose friend died mountain climbing in the arctic a few weeks ago, and who is attending his memorial service today. and with my "other mother", a woman who adopted me no questions asked the second we met each other, whose own sister died unexpectedly a few days ago.
life is so, so precious. and so, so short.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

the past few days have been intense for me, to say the least. yesterday was the first day of classes - an entry level psych class that promises to be pretty fluffy, but i need it as a breadth requirement; and my most-looked-forward-to of all poetry workshop*. there was a 9 hour break in between them which i filled up with both kinds of therapy, a house-cleaning, and a long shower. i was up and moving from 6 am until 2 am. and i got up this morning at 5. the insomnia is back, ladies and gentlemen.

both therapies yesterday (by which i mean psychological and physiological) centred around pain. flood, my physiotherapist, has been on vacation for a while, so i haven't been treated in two weeks. this meant dread, and aches built up as the weeks progressed. for some reason, my left forearm seized up, my hip was tight, my back was affected - they all felt like they were burning. for days. i couldn't sleep; i was nauseous.

admission i am making for the first time here: sometimes i'm worried that i'm creating this. that most of my pain, if not all of it, is psychosomatic - is this normal, i wonder? can it all be projected by a tender part of the brain?

it's real. flood reassured me of that yesterday when his hands found me for the first time in a while. my body was in a prolonged spastic state, basically.

i've had nightmares about it, because not only does my body itself worry me, but i worry about burdening other people with it. there are not many people in my 'real' life who i trust with these feelings. i don't want to be the person always in pain. i don't want the pain, period.

i was alone throughout most of the day today - i've spent most of the time since 10 around campus as i live too far away to commute. and i've been THINKING. being sad, and a bit despairing, until i realized that i was fighting feeling sad and a bit despairing. i was telling myself, "no, i shouldn't be feeling this way. i should accept it. i should be at peace with it."

when that's not exactly my truth right now. it's hard for me to admit that to people, to myself, and it's why i'm blogging about it right now - i want to be held accountable. i AM sad. and a bit despairing. my body might wear out earlier than i want it to, so i might not be able to be an 80-year-old grandma drinking gin on the porch with my beautiful sister in the house we wanted to share.

mortality weighs on me tonight. september 8 is the day that my mother actually died, but today is the day that the doctors broke it to my sister and i. today is the day when i realized that the scaled-back meals that the candy stripers handed out to her meant not that my mother wasn't eating, but that she didn't need to be nourished. it's a weird time for me. little firebombs of memory keep going off, and i just want to hide, a bit.

i started to write out this phrase: this is what i want, and then erased what i had written. i know EXACTLY what would comfort me right now, and i know it's a bandaid solution, but it's right there in front of me, so tactile i can almost touch it. i can't write it down yet, though. i have problems owning what i want. but not what i'm feeling, not anymore.

i am feeling a little sad, yes. and i'm hurting a little bit now. but hopeful, too, again. maybe.

*my poetry workshop is my DREAM class. however, that might change. but i'll be less ambiguous later.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

the internet saga (as in, my lack of it) promises to finish on wednesday. i'm still sort of aghast that, through company error, my connection was cancelled and it's taken them two bloody weeks to fix. but whatever.

it's a rainy day in montreal. the sky hovers grey and close around the cars, the wet road, the shivering maple trees. it's a day for solitude, black coffee, iron & wine. i'm wearing fall clothes for the first time this year, and it doesn't feel weird. well, maybe a little.
school starts in two days, so i have brought myself downtown to buy school supplies. i need certain kinds of notebooks (3-subject ones are the only ones that work to keep me organized), and certain pens (black, fine point).

i'm looking forward to school. in retrospect, it makes sense that i had the summer "off", considering how burnt out i was last april. i'm also glad i had the time and space to pore over everything that i dealt with: my family and their secrets; my body and my spirit...my brain, though, feels like a knife that's been too long at the grindstone: sharp, gleaming, aching to be used.

what i did on my summer vacation:

  • spent the first 3 days in a catatonic state, smoking dope and playing videogames. went to hometown for 3 days and cried a lot because i wouldn't see my friends for months. headed back to montreal and spent one day with met, one day at a going-away party drinking my face off, and exactly 3 hours packing for 6 weeks away.
  • went to b.c for 6 weeks (which is exactly 4801 kms. away from montreal). saw all the family i haven't seen in most of my life. got to know a whole lot of pointy family skeletons. picked up every 3 days and moved somewhere new. had a drunken fall on my hip that still whispers to me. almost got arrested. discovered a love for the telephone that i didn't know i had, as met and i talked for MULTIPLE hours a day.
  • came back to montreal in the middle of june. basically hit the ground running looking for apartments and jobs, while spending the least amount of time possible in my former apartment with my (at the time) extremely hostile ex-partner. the apartment took its sweet time in manifesting itself, so i literally had to hire a moving company without having any place to move to. signed a lease on june 29, picked up the keys june 30. moved in july 1.
  • set up my apartment and LOTS and LOTS of doctor's appointments to keep myself occupied over the next few months. inertia set in. started physiotherapy, and psychotherapy. realized i have a lot to do. actually, realized that i had initially STARTED the healing process in the wrong way, so had to tear back through layers of psychic scab to get to the source.

in the past week, the ex (formerly known as the hobbit) moved back to our hometown, and in stereotypical bee fashion, i have been a bit melancholy since. when he and i first started dating, his family was simply pleased that he'd found a girl, considering how shy he was. not only that, but a girl who stuck with him, considering how 'challenging' he was. they adopted me right away, and to a girl whose own family was in pieces, that was balm to my spirit. the hobbit was, at the time, the first person i had truly trusted with all the crazy, crooked parts of myself, and he loved them and helped me sew them back together.

when we broke up, (or, to be fair, when i broke up with him) i lost our relationship (which hadn't been working in months, if not years), the person i had known and loved, and the support of his family - a mother who checked up on my grades and sent me 'thinking of you cards'; a father who kissed my cheek and invited me to hang out in 'his' room; sisters who teased and bummed me cigarettes and confided in me secrets i was sworn to keep from their brother.

it hurt a lot to let that go, but for a long while, as he lashed out at me, i was able to bury the longing under defensive anger.

but in the week before he moved, under the guise of going over old belongings, (the old, 'who wants what') we hung out a number of times, and patched up the shaky structure of our friendship. my bike got a flat the first night i was riding out to meet him, so he met me in the no-man's-land where i'd found myself and fixed my tire. when i got really depressed last week he was the ONLY person who heard it in my voice, the only person i didn't have to explain it to, and came immediately (again) to my rescue.

i suppose i realized how solid of a friend he is (well, not yet, but hopefully will be) and i missed that.

i also got a job, which is, funnily enough, exactly what i was projecting for, and a little bit what i wasn't. i'm not going to get into too much detail about what exactly i do, or where i work, for obvious reasons, but i can't explain it, there's something about the space that makes me incredibly sad. it's owned by a husband and wife team, and i don't like the way he treats her.

i'm trying to just think of it as something i need to do in order to sustain the life i want, even though after next thursday i have no other shifts scheduled for september.

i'm excited for tomorrow - when i finally crack open the cans of paint i've been meaning to, and get ready for the year. this is my last full year as an undergrad, i believe, and that thought is fucking incredible. i want that piece of paper.