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Venus was her name

30 Apr

When I was a little girl, my mother worked part time in a ratty little flower shop behind the house. When she wasn’t busy daring me to touch the dead bodies when we delivered flowers for funerals, she was trying to convince me to stick my fingers in the mouths of Venus Fly Traps. And not to mention the time she gave me a Venus Fly Trap to give my grade 4 teacher. She said she thought it would be a “neat” gift-frankly, I think it was a little passive aggressive fuck you to a teacher she didn’t much like.

Either way.



“When you really trust someone, you have to be okay with not understanding some things.”

14 Mar

When she’s gone my mind begins to fill up with all the things that can happen, slowly like I’m filling a pitcher from a drowsy tap. Images fill with bruises and indignity, how well do I know this other mother? Where have they been all day? What might be happening-what could be happening, the things I know that DO happen.

It’s not paranoia, not really, despite being impossible to explain to other parents, women and men who didn’t spend their childhood in a currency usually left to adults. In my brain lies a summer I can never leave behind, and it colors everything. I’m not paranoid, knowing that the worst can happen.

Rationally, I know it likely won’t. But it could, it can and I worry for all those reasons, even if it’s buried in my brain somewhere and the other mother laughs when I call and says “Man, don’t WORRY! She’s great!” I can’t tuck her away in my back pocket and hope nothing ever happens. I have to let her free-but that freedom costs. It huddles in the corner and whispers to me about boyfriends, neighbours, people she might meet. It whispers that they could be holding her down right now, taking pictures, ignoring her crying, hurting her.

It whispers of all the horrible things that happened to me, and more. “Be the person your mother wasn’t!” my body shouts, “Make sure she never hurts!” but then she walks in the door, eyes lit with 5 year old joy and frosty air and I know my fears are relatively misplaced, and that people, most people are good people who wouldn’t help someone else abuse a child I know this and try to wear the callous off my heart.

Pregnant I foresaw this. I felt her tiny feet in my ribs and knew that, if a daughter, I would place the little girl I was over top of her-I would make a transparency of my childhood and hover around it, waiting for the chance to erase the potential of what could be. I would protect her from everything that tried to destroy me.

I can’t though, you know? I can’t protect her from the world anymore than I can get North Korea to stop being asshats. She is in the world, on her own terms and while I can still guide and try to shape that world, I cannot prevent the bad things as I could when she was just an infant. That lesson they warn us, as parents that will hurt the most, it hurts doubly, knowing exactly, in technicolor, what terrible things could happen to her.

I might not ever get past it, the tenseness in my chest when she’s not home when she was to be home, the quiet worry when she walks out the door, into the hands of another woman, the possibilities of caution, the frank terror some of this holds for me, trusting someone, not just with me, but with my child, with the creature that turned beneath my heart such a short time ago.

Letting go of this, my worst fear, my scared little girl trying to make sure the worst doesn’t happen to my daughters-it’s a struggle. And maybe I’ll never grow past it and will always freeze up with momentary agony, remembering, wondering.

But maybe not. Maybe she’ll just come home, smelling of smoke and hay and joy, as a kid should.

Since Niobe Asked

21 Feb


My eyes are hazelish. It really does seem to depend on the day, and I’m sure a non crappy webcam would do a better job. Today they’re veering more toward gold-brown, other days it’s more golden green. It’s a crap shoot.

Both girls got brown eyes-never blue, not even for a day. Just steady, unwavering brown. I find it amusing that my eyes, like their owner, can’t make up their own damn mind either.

” Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever… “

31 Dec

In about 12 hours, it will be a new year on my neck of the woods.

I was gifted “Madness” by Marya Hornbacher this year, and have been reading it in bits. It’s painful, too painful. The mirror of who I was, who I could be, how bad it could get, could have been, sometimes is. How absolutely difficult this all is somedays, how heavy the burden I am.

I can’t read it all in one sitting. Hearing my thoughts echoed, but by someone even sicker than I will (hopefully) ever be-it’s salt in a wound I fear won’t heal.

I nearly died this year, by my own hand. I nearly lost my family, by my own doing, sowing the seeds years ago by refusing treatment, by neglecting myself, by not learning.

I have bipolar. And I have let it get to where it’s been.

Someone with cancer doesn’t get better by just laying back and hoping, by only taking the chemo, and still eating garbage and sleeping too little. They rest. They follow the doctor’s advice. The try and fix what they can fix, those things within their power. They play an active role in their recovery.

I spent time believing that my meds were all I needed to worry about-that if I took them religiously, all the voices would stop, my anxieties about cars and people would diminish, my paranoia’s would trickle away to nothing. I believed that i would suddenly know how to handle all the problems that had festered in my mind, hidden by 3 years of madness, and years prior by the onset of all this mess. I thought 4 pink pills would solve everything, and I’d be happy, fun and easy to love. I thought, I thought…maybe I figured I could hold the box open so long as I wasn’t the one looking in it.

2008 wasn’t a happy year. Or in many respects even a good year. It’s been the hardest I’ve had things in a long while-full of fear, loathing. I’ve seen my own death in my hands for the first time since about 1993, closer than ever, fluttering behind the lights in an ER. I’ve sat alone in the aftermath, with only voices reaching from a distance to sustain, to hold me.

Lessons are learned from this. Lessons are cobbled together-that yes, it’s good to have people to fall back on, who support you. But it’s even better to learn how to support yourself, how to learn to live a good, honest, worthwhile life that draws people to you, that draws you to yourself.

It’s ok to love yourself as much as anyone else.

I don’t think I truly wanted to die this year. I don’t think that’s what I’ve ever really wanted. I just wanted it all to end-the noise in my head, the chaos that has surrounded me, the crushing weight of real life-the things people do everyday, without pause or fear. These things are not easy for me, and may never be easy.

And that is ok. I can work with that.

But you know? It’s not all bad.

I have two fabulous daughters-daughters who continually delight, frustrate, awe and move me. Their love-their joy, the incredible wonder they provide me every day-it reminds me why I fight, why I struggle with this, why I don’t just lay down and let it take me. I see the women they will become, and know that they deserve the best me I can possibly be, even if she’s still not enough when they’re 16. I have a husband that loves and advocates for me, even when I can’t. Even after a tough year, I know that love is there, regardless of how muddled and difficult I’ve made that. I know I am fought for.

But love isn’t always enough, and 2008 has brought me that realization-that love is a fine, wonderful thing, but so is respect, courtesy, care, gentleness, the things I cannot be-the things I can write but have trouble acting or saying. I have to be better. I have to find the kinder, better version of me that had been buried for so very long.

Tonight, weather permitting, I will go out to a club for New Years Eve for the first time ever, and out for NYE period for the first time since 1998. I want to bounce and dance and sing with fever and joy at finally being able to do what everyone else has accepted and done for so long-go out and have fun. I can do this now-now, finally at 31, I can set foot out that door and just have fun.

It’s been a long time coming, and a hard road. It’s still uphill, and always may be. But without the land mines and lions and tigers and bears, I’ll take it.

Happy Year my friends. Fill it with all kinda of awesome, will you? That’s my plan.

Tresspassers William

28 Nov

Don’t know why….digging the sappy sad alt-country/folk shit lately. This song is just lovely, squishes all the right parts to the heart.



“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. “

24 Nov

When I was small, time flowed like golden syrup. Leaves hung in their buds for ages, full to bursting, seams dripping with the sugars of life. A summer breeze lingered, its sweat beading on your skin under a dark sun, heavy in the sheltered sky. I dreamed in my backyard, underneath the slyly growing birch tree, my initials carved with Joey’s with bottlecaps dredged from the gravel drive beside my dirty white house, low slung porch on the rear. I dreamed of my future, of my singular answer to the question everyone asked with that terrible smirk on their face.

“What will you be when you grow up little girl?”

I had as many answers as pebbles in that driveway. On Tuesday, under the maple hiding from the rain, I would be an artist, my fingers catching minutes and transferring them, chastised to the page. On Saturday, digging earthworms from beneath the wild strawberries, I would be a paleontologist, my world rooted in one millions of years old, pale scratchings against the earth, dusty with hope. Maybe an inventor, standing on my front porch on gray April morning, trying to invent wipers for my glasses, or a removable film. Perhaps a teacher as I stood in front of my cuddle friends, Papa Smurf, Lion, Garfield, Holy Hobbie, my ragged chalkboard stapled to the wall behind my door.

My world was a flower spiraling open then, a multitude of paths leading outward, into a glorious center, a future I couldn’t see but could stand warm in, the reflected moments shining back at me. I would be something-I would be the person I could best be, and nothing would stop me.

Life it seems, has different ideas.


I never finished school. I never settled on any one thing that I wanted to do. I didn’t have the perseverance to write every day. I’m not that good an artist. I couldn’t sit through the biology, the sciences, the math (oy the math) to do anything remotely like digging up a dinosaur. I surfed through my life on charm, wit and a perverse lust for knowledge-so long as you’re enraptured with learning, you’ll never look stupid and useless.

But knowing the rhythm of someone’s life in the 14th Century or that Ron Jeremy is a trained pianist or having pity for Catherine of Aragon-these aren’t skills you can transfer to the real world. These are bits of useless knowledge, gathered up like oregano just a little short for the pot. A love of learning doesn’t translate to much.

I had a talk with my boss today, who was frank and said she couldn’t trust my work. She’s right. She can’t. My attention to detail, a monkey on my back since, shit, when did they start judging school work? it has been worse since August. Something died on that gurney in the ER 3 months ago, someone died. Since that day, I haven’t been who I was, and my ability to really focus in on my work has been sparse at best. So she put it to me-is the job, as it stands now, too much for me?

I couldn’t respond at first. Nothing in my life has prepared me to have to say “Yes, I can’t do this. Yes, I am weak and lazy and unfit.” I’ve never had to ask someone to take work away, generally being the yes girl. But I haven’t been her since August, maybe even before that. I’ve been overwhelmed, and stressed and terribly unhappy.

She was blunt-the job is only going to get bigger, and what parts do I want, do I really want to do. The answer I didn’t give was “None-I want a new job.” but I know what things I’d like to keep, and what I’d like to be rid of. But what got me was that I heard, for the first time, what was really being said.

“You are too ill to do this job.”

It wasn’t implied to be mean, or to belittle. It was more to let me know that it was ok to back down. It was ok to be tired and stressed and sick of it. That it was ok to acknowledge my illness and handle it, instead of ramping myself up to such a state that someone would have to send King Kong up after me. While she was saying it with her ass in mind, I heard a message for me-to take this chance, and slow down, sit back.

I had such dreams for my life as a child-but they never included an illness that seems to worsen each year, and attempt to destroy me. In my world, you never get fired, you never quit because something is hard. You stick it out. You make the best of it. You deal with it, suck it up princess.

This has not served me well. Sure, 8 years employment for a bipolar is great. But I’m tired of sucking it up, of working twice as hard just to look like I’m doing the minimum. I’m tired of fucking around to avoid tasks I can’t stand. I’m tired of being pressured to be someone I’m not. I’m quite done with doing a job I’ve never planned for, never daydreamed about under maples.

I’m pondering now, what will work. I know she’s right-I’m not suitable for most of the job, not now. But other parts of it? I am.


Sometimes, riding the bus home, I see a new baby, a nervous new mother, shielding the child in a sling or carrier, her hand behind a head. I begin to dream about being the woman standing there to catch that baby, handing that slippery package to hands and a breast, the blood of new life running between my fingers as tears of joy run ragged edges down faces around me. I dream of guiding the bereft through their loss, holding still fingers in mine. I dream of the babies I’ll bring into this world, how they’ll turn to children, to women and men, to mothers and fathers, the circle turning and turning.

I still dream. Of life.


31 Oct

We walk to the school, full of virus and tiredness and the drudgery of another day with kids and the cost of a day off.

But the sun shines, and the morning is clear.

Our first parent teacher conference. 10 minutes of a life, to hear of how the last 5 years of our life have impacted Vivian, how our hard work has turned out.

Inside, I remember my first elementary school, how tall it all seemed at first, until my last year there, when it all seemed rather short, the colors muting on the walls, the work becoming work, the teachers more stern and less loving. The pegs, the shoes, the alphabets and books and sheer joy of learning plastered on the walls-why does it stop? Why do we lose that love so early?

We sit on tiny chairs, touch the tiny tables we never see her use, see her touch everywhere, her drawings, her glued masterpieces, parts of her life we don’t share-the beginning of the drawing away that I’m becoming accustomed to, but yet not, my body feeling the disconnect still after 5 years of closeness. she has always been here, always been with me, been mine. Now-now she thrives on her own, without me, almost in spite of me.

It’s a delicious and terrifying experience, all at once.

She sits with us, timidly, with nothing but good things to say. She begins, telling us how wonderfully intelligent she is, how curious and STRONG she is. She stumbles, looking for a word, but settles almost helplessly on “She’s …special-she’s just special.”

We’ve thought this all along. In our arms, a few weeks old, grinning like a fool at us, tiny and fragile. Examining in close details the beetles in the backyard a little over a year old. Talking to her newborn baby sister at 19 months, nose pressed in close to greet her. 3 years old and explaining to me what each dinosaur does. 4 and running free in the field beside us, watching the world, pulling at the ripe raspberries in her hands.

We all believe our children to be special, to have that certain slant of magic that will make them someone. I’m always ready to accept that my daughters will be nothing more than their normal, average selves. But Vivian-she makes me believe she will be so much more-that she holds the key to something extraordinary-new worlds, new flesh. She makes me believe that she is special-more than I ever believed myself to be. She makes me believe that people can fix the mistakes of others, that things shattered can be healed.

She makes me believe, and nothing can be more awesome than that.


It makes you puff up a little, when the teacher says your kid is nothing like any of the others, and not in a Dennis the Menace kind of way. You look at each other and say “DAMN! We’re doing something right!” and you don’t worry so much about her watching “THEM!” in the afternoon while you write a blog post or coloring in a coloring book or eating chicken nuggets for the 5th day in a row. You look at the huge mess of books in their room and the playroom and shrug, because it matters only in the best of ways. She’s smart-she’s whip smart and vivacious and warm and giving and loving and fucking amazing.

And we’ve done this, created and nurtured this.

We done good.

“Perseverance is the most overrated of traits, if it is unaccompanied by talent; beating your head against a wall is more likely to produce a concussion in the head than a hole in the wall. “

29 Oct

When did we stop eating?

Or rather, when did we stop eating for the sake of eating, for the wet juice of a warm peach down our throat? For the subtle play of a good marinara on our tongue? for the sweet taste of fresh baked warm bread and creamy butter? When did we stop eating to savour the moment, and the food?

I can remember, clearly, shucking corn as a child on the step of our back porch, mere hours after plucking it from the corn field of a family friend, in the heat of late summer. The kernels were a lovely creamy yellow, and the silk flew in the air around me, picked up by warm wind. Later, as I bit into a cob, covered in margarine, salt, pepper, that day seemed so perfect. From field to plate to mouth, an explosion of taste and memory in my mouth, covering my tongue. Perfection.

I can remember the Swiss Bakery down the street from my house, the nicest, kindest people you’d ever meet, friends of my parents, who would hand me soft warm cookies when we entered the bakery, of even better, the odd time, a silky, flaky Napoleon would be gently pressed into my hands, the cream like a blanket under the pastry, the sugary smells wafting. Such a rare and wonderful treat.

I now sit in an office where most of the women, and a rather disturbing number of men talk constantly about calories, weight ins, all the stuff they can’t eat, slam the doors on someone offering a piece of pizza. The obsessive single mindedness of it all-when we were teenagers, we were full of music, books, movies, other people. What changes that we get full up on NOT eating? How do we gain satisfaction from losing a pound, or looking increasingly anorexic? Where’s the enjoyment in only drinking coffee all day?

Where did we go wrong? When did we stop eating for enjoyment, for sustenance, and begin looking at everything with points in our eyes? Why can’t we look at a fabulous bowl of pasta, of a nice thick piece of rye bread with a growl in our belly instead of a “ugh-can’t eat that?”


You are meant to eat. Your body wants food. Confusing your body with crazy chemicals that make people like me ill doesn’t help. Thinking you can pull a fast one with the fat-your body has evolved to desire specific things-it knows better. Thinking that fake sugar will be as good or better than sugar-why? Why are chemicals preferable to a few calories?

Why do we sacrifice so much for so little? For a body we’ll never be happy with anyway? Why is it so hard to do what’s easier-ACCEPT OURSELVES.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a fatty. I believe in HAES (Health At Every Size). I believe that exercise, and normal eating is more important that only eating 3 carrot sticks a day. I believe that loving who and what we are is much more meaningful than being able to not eat friend foods for months at a time. I believe that remembering how to desire the cold snap of a cucumber or the rich love of a chocolate cupcake is vastly more important than fitting into a size 10 pant for a few weeks.

I believe that standing and looking at ourselves, and saying ‘YES” means more than any weight loss ever could.

I’ve had two children. My body had never been a temple I had been comfortable with-skinny or chubby, But after creating, growing, protecting and birthing two magical little people, my body took on a whole new dimension. It had meaning. This belly that’s so distraught, with it’s stretch marks and dis colorings-it makes a place where life grew, and began. These arms, losing their definition through misuse and just general busyness-they’ve held infants growing into toddlers growing into children. These hips, so broad and strong, they’ve pushed new life into our horrid and wonderful world, I have felt their movements, bringing life to create and pushing it out into the light.

My body means more than my pant size. My body is a beautiful, awe worthy thing. My body deserves fresh summer corn and cupcakes. My body deserves the pleasure of just eating for itself.

As does yours.

You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.”

16 Oct

Never watch Law and Order SVU if there’s no plot synopsis.

Last night, that plot was bipolar, and I really wasn’t prepared.

I saw myself, fully, for the first time ever. Or as full as a healthy person can portray. I wish I could hate it, but I can only regret it while I use it, while I gladden myself with movement and change.

Stabler confronts his mother, speaking hard about his childhood, her threats to leave, to die, as she makes a sand castle, two planes, two people, one never listening, incapable of feeling for the people near to her.

Later, she says she’s lived the life she wanted, and paid a terrible price for it.

It’s cheesy to see one’s self on a TV, to face your demons on network television, but suddenly, vividly, I saw what I’ve been doing to my family, to the people in my life, for years. Sure, the TV version is always the most extreme, but what’s better? A slow death, or a fast one?

The voids I’ve left in lives, the utter wrung outness I give to people, squeezing them dry of everything inch of life, of passion, all the while demanding more, telling them they’ve stolen mine. I’ve made people raw, I’ve started down a path that would have destroyed everything in my life, made ruin of my children.  All because I circled on myself, my own orbit, my planet around I the sun.

Oh how I saw that last night. How my heart cracked and shuddered, with that awful realization of who I have been, what this disease makes me into. What it could become, who I could be. Who I do not ever want to be.

I could be worse. I’ve never spent thousands of dollars on a spending binge-I’ve been too poor for that. But I’ve ran multiple credit cards up to the edge, destroyed my credit. I never ran around sleeping with everyone, but hey, I was never that attractive. Likely, without marriage to tether me, I could have at times. I’ve always felt one step away from catastrophe.

Then I fell into it, and came out of it and now I’m sitting here wondering how anyone could last though all of that, how I could possibly be in anyway redeeming, worthy of lasting through the hell that I’ve been lo these many years.

How crushing to discover you’ve been not only bad, but horrid. Like a haze clearing from an early morning highway, I can see the road ahead, and the carnage I’ve left in my wake, and no amount of apologizing, no amount of trying could ever make it right.

And that scares me, as does the image of my future, bereft of those I love.

I’ve made changes. I know that if I stick to this path, my future is open and wide and full of love. But it’s hard, and I’m frightened of my very easy weakness. I’m frightened of myself.

Last Night

11 Oct

Went to my first show in literal years. No anxiety. No clutching at my chest or cold sweats. Amusement at the youngin’s, lost in memory remembering myself, years past.

The bands? They rocked. Too bad I’m old and my feet hurt too much to stick around for the encore. 😛

Opportunity: You say Party! We say Die!

I can’t tell you: Winter Gloves

Awesome night. It felt so fucking good to feel human again, let bass rumble through my chest and the beer sweat in my hand as I watched so many heads bobbing and hands dancing in the air.

It’s about fucking time.

Carry Me

25 Sep

Did she hold me now? Three hours ago? 12? Did they leave me in her room, snuffling, comatose little child beside her as colostrum poured from her breasts? Did she look out the window, perhaps at the rain, as they wheeled me away from her 17 year old unfinished hands, clutching at her elbows as she suddenly felt emptier than ever? Was I alone, screaming in a room, my echoes covered by those of a multitude of other lives I’d never touch again, their mothers waiting in their rooms, warmed by the slow engorging of their breasts, the blissed tiredness of their labours?

Did I know she had left me? Did my small trembling fists know what had happened, that she had signed a paper releasing me from her, just another cord to slice through? Did I feel the gulf then, as I do now, wavering and shimmering, a golden forest of time, of pressure, of regret between us.

Does she think of me today, now? Does she drink the beer she drank for years, not knowing, or is she at peace, knowing I survived, knowing that I have grown strong and tall, if not a little knicked and torn in place?

Did she love me, ever?


Do you love your mother
The way I love mine
Expecting nothing of her
’cause she was changing all the time
I couldn’t take my mother
And I’ll never hate my home
But I learned to rock myself child
And get on

Do you feel your mother
The way I feel mine
I tried to change the nature
But now I like it ’cause it’s mine
And I let you love me up
And I let you bring me home
And I could go away
But I don’t wanna

I don’t wanna be too smart
I don’t wanna talk too fast
I don’t wanna look too precious
First impressions never last
There’s always complications
Weird vibrations
Have patience

Do you love your mother
’cause God I love mine
In a dream she let me love her
Gotta hand it to my mind
In case you never meet her
I’ll tell you what it is
She was lonely like a woman
But she was just a kid

Oh mama
What are ya doin’
Yeah yeah yeah
Carry me


Today I turned 31 at around 2:15am. And it hit me, mid afternoon, that I’ve never known when my mother said good-bye to me, when the finality of all she had done and decided had hit, when she last touched me, held my fingers. I’ve never known, and when I met my biological mother, I was too young to think of these things, to young to understand the heartbreak of saying goodbye to your first born.

All my life, I have felt lonely on my birthday. I have always craved as much fuss and bother as I could get, and rarely, if ever, have had it. I figured this had much more to do with losing my adoptive mother than with being adopted. But what if? What if a body retains that initial abandonment, what if it remembers that hand leaving, tears trailing, months of unwillingness swirling in the womb. What if the body remembers what the brain dare not?

I don’t much like my biological mother. Or much of my biological family for that matter. Blood isn’t thicker than water in my case. But when I met her, I wanted, more than anything, to find a mother, my mother. I wanted to be embraced, welcomed. I wasn’t, not as I needed, and perhaps finding her at 18 wasn’t the best of ideas, but there was something poetic about meeting her around the age of when she lost me. I couldn’t grasp the enormity of it-bearing life at that age!

I’m sure it hardened her. She told me that for years, she would get stinking drunk on my birthday, wondering where I was, how I was, and that the year she found me, that was the first time she didn’t have to drink herself to sleep, wondering. Turns out I was 40 minutes down the road after all, blissfully ignorant in the arms of two parents who loved me more than I could wish. But she never told me how it all felt, how long her labour was, how scared she had been, if she saw me, or if they took me before she could.

My narrative is incomplete. I feel the echoes of that part of my life, my beginning on every birthday. It no longer hurts, I don’t know if it ever did. But it was a space yearning to be filled, a place that will likely never know fullness. A place to honor what she gave, the arms she left barren, the people who she gave such joy to.

Happy Birth Day to you Mother. I hope your womb has healed.

Some days are worth nothing more than another hour snoring.

24 Sep

Ever have a year where you completely understand that the universe is out to assrape you as many times as possible to teach you various lessons about your life?

I think I’m having that year. And while I encourage change, as painful as it may be, since it always turns out for the best, I’m not really pleased with the universe at large.

Today was the first time, ever, I’ve gotten written up at work, and folks, that’s a HUGE thing for me. I knew it was coming. All things considered, I have NOT been present at work the last few months. I’ve shown up, did the bare minimum. But I haven’t been the me they hired. I haven’t been able to focus, or see through all the black shit swirling in my brain enough to really do my job.

I basically got called on all my shit today. I wish I could be surprised, or even indignant, but I’m not. It was all true. What killed me was being perceived as someone who couldn’t do her job, someone less than able.

Someone worth getting rid of.

I’m on a 30 day “plan”. It terrifies me. I’m so woefully under confident in myself when it comes to work skills, mostly because I fell into what I’m doing and any true “skills” analyzing data have been self taught over the last few years, along with an inherent ability to see the forest for the trees. I’m also scared because I don’t know how to condense 8 years with one company doing a large variety of things, from UAT to reporting to ISO reviews, into a coherent resume. I’m scared because I think I might NEED that resume sooner than later.

I’m scared because I had already started looking around at other things anyway.

I’m burned out where I am. My boss is being supportive-she understands what’s been going on, but she can’t make excuses any longer. I just feel….worn down. I have this huge craving to go work at fucking Walmart as a cashier just to have no real stress anymore, to just sit and smile and talk all day long.

As if right?

I’m over the shock. I know myself-I know I can pull shit together and make it happen. But what if at the root of all this is not wanting to anyway?

Anyone need a virtual assistant? I give good excel…..

(and Happy Birthday to me right? This just HAD to happen the day before my birthday, while suffering through labour worthy cramps. Go ME!)

About the hair….

3 Sep

At some point, when I have both the time and the money, I wish to get my hair cut. Part of my “change will do me good” campaign of terror.

Problem is, with my fat head, it’s VERY easy to go wrong. My hair is longish-about the middle of my back I suppose. Like this:

Hey look! I have a giant head!

Hey look! I have a giant head!


Pardon the fat face-at least I missed all the chins.

I have enough of a wave in my hair to irritate me, and it turns into housewive hair if it’s too short.

What should I do, those of you with some fashion sense and ability to make good hair choices. See that halo? THAT is the main reason I need to cut a significant chunk of dead off. When my hair is losing the fight, it become FUZZ.

Letting go on the bus and other irritants.

19 Aug

The bus ride to work, my sorta favoured, sorta hated morning ritual. I would have walked, but the clouds moved in and I knew, like clockwork, the rain would start if I walked. Not that I mind rain. But I mind rain when not going home. I mind feeling slightly damp, like a wet sheepdog all day.

I don’t really mind the bus. It’s time to read or listen to music. Walking is better for music since there’s no engines or voices to compete, but just having 30 minutes where I’m immobile and unable to do more than read, talk or the phone or text is rather decadent these days. And I do love reading certain novels over and over again, with this weeks love being the Taltos series by Steven Brust. (Which is completely fantastic-the man has a gift he really does. And note to anyone who cares-his new book, Jhegaala is out and I have a birthday coming up. No pressure though.)

I digress.

Lately I have been trying to be better, to sweeten my disposition if you will. I’ve been nasty, and well, I don’t want to be that way anymore. This has been going fairly well. But this morning, despite the sunshine making it’s lazy way through the windows and the cool air on my skin, I found myself kinda foul, and fighting it. It’s hard people! When everything in your says “BAH!”, it’s difficult.

I took to looking at the window and ordering myself to find something I liked about everything I saw. Which honestly, is fairly easy to do. Lovely houses, vintage cars, beautiful gardens. Perked me up a bit.

But truly, TRULY, I couldn’t get past the two giggling, 20 odd year old girls who spent the entire bus ride whining about various body pains and taking up multiple seats with a variety of stuff. They were on last night, doing much the same. Architects blocked them out nicely. Some mornings, like this morning, I didn’t want headphones in.

So listen I did.

I fought with myself, reminding myself they’re really just kids. But my head kept screaming a frantic, freaking out scream “They’re training to be NURSES!”

The entire bus ride was this internal fight with myself, half of me reminding myself not to judge, judging is bad, and the other half had her hair standing on end like a harpy, bouncing upside and around screaming ARGH! People shouldn’t talk this much at SEVEN AM!


I am not worthy. I need to continually remind myself that I am not inherently better than anyone else, that I have no corner pocket on being a good person. Through gritted teeth if need be. I need to focus on good things, breaking the habit of years like stealing carrots from gerbils. I have no real right to focus only on the bad things, to focus solely on how grating their voices were, how repetitive the conversation, how irritating it was for the louder and whinier of the two to sit at the back of the bus like a queen, taking up 6, count them SIX seats with her size 4 butt. I have no real right to be annoyed by people who are really doing nothing to me, aside from keeping me from sitting something with leg room unless I want a fight.

Not that I was keeping track of my annoyances or anything.

Obviously, I need to learn how to deal with and how to integrate the things that annoy me into my daily life, to breathe them in and let them go. It’s foolish to assume nothing will bother me. Of COURSE something will bother me. I’m human (I think). But I need to better learn to let things flow past me-through me and around me. I will be better served by focusing on the good (they’re young! Lucky creatures, and full of life) rather than the bad things (they annoyed the SHIT out of me)

Learning to let go is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.

I owe it all to something beige.

15 Aug
The machine that saved my liver, and likely my life.
The machine that saved my liver, and likely my life.

 On a Monday  I attempted to take my own life, for reasons that had very little to do with living. Reason thankfully prevailed, and I found myself in the ER.

The great thing about suicide attempts, likely the only thing is that you do not wait. AT ALL. Those are magic words my friends, and you can feel everyone growling at you in the waiting room. You are whisked away into the back, never to be seen again. Quickly surrounded by very concerned and hurried nurses and doctors, all of whom had that look on their face I’ve seen a few times before.

I don’t much care for that serious look from medical staff. While it means I won’t be waiting, it also means I might be dying.

I’d seen it before-bleeding out after birth, the nurses would get that pinched look, the worried, no small talk or friendly sarcastic banter look. The stern questions and answers. Red cheeks.

They scurried around me questioning questioning when did you take them? How many? How many? When? What do you weight? How many?

Your liver. The stern lecture about my poor, unfortunate liver. (Apparently, Tylenol and your liver are not BFF’s. Apparently they are more like, say, Yoko vs the Beatles.) I heard this lecture a few times. I appreciate it. But at the time, I didn’t much care.

It was easy to be flippant at first, as they missed the vein, somehow on my arms that cause most nurses to drool. As they reassured me that this kind of thing happens, that no, I wasn’t a fucking idiot, and yes, I’d be fine. They heard me when I said I didn’t want to die.

They handed me that first cursed cup of charcoal, that horrid, disgusting singular reason to never EVER do that again. As I was drinking it I could feel my neck getting rubbery, my body detached and light. They started the IV up, gravol and whatever they were giving to neutralize the tylenol’s affect on my liver. Dizzy, swimming in dizzy.

I was awake, yet felt asleep. I managed to finish the charcoal, only to be given another cup with the admonishment to not let it settle. It took much longer to finish that one, as I’d find myself almost paralyzed, lying against the flat pillow, staring without seeing the nurses in front of me, as the odd smell of cupcakes wafted past me continually.

A man came in, followed by corrections officers. They moved me out of the ER and into Acute care, telling me I’d be just fine. I remember, vaguely, passing out.

And waking with a start an hour or so later with the most intense urge to completely rid myself of my stomach.

If you ever plan to try and kill yourself, and you use pills, don’t. If I thought the charcoal was bad going down, I was very misinformed as to how it would feel coming up. I felt like some kind of demon wrestling with her conscience as it spewed across the floor, tearing my throat apart. It was, simply awful.

I made it over to the bathroom after that, managing to flush in time to get the rest of it out. Decorating the walls, floor, myself even the seat with black specs. Which were there for hours after I noticed.

Back to bed. Collapse. Sporadic checks by changing nurses.

Wake up 6 hours later faced with the sweetest LOOKING mental health nurse who turned out to BE Satan. I’m glad I wasn’t actually suicidal, because she was hateful and passive aggressive. How does the bipolar woman who just ate a fistful of drugs tell the nurse that it had nothing to do with bipolar, not really?

She doesn’t. She plays the part, and waits for the awful woman to go away.

No one talks to me for hours after this, except the sainted soul who brings trays of food full of, well, stuff I can’t eat. I’m not suffering through the agony of eating eggs in public no matter how hungry I am.

I beg two on-call docs to go home. They point to the IV and remind me what it’s doing, and that it takes about 20 hours. AND I need to see my pdoc.

My shrink shows up, finally. Ironically enough, I had an appointment with her that day anyway. She gives me the look I’m very much used to now, the “no matter how old you are, you’re still a foolish child” look. I shrug. I explain things as much as I can. I repeatedly tell her I’m not actually depressed, just a moron, and it won’t happen again. I refuse to spend another night-on night and day in Acute Care was really bad enough, and by this point, I felt bad that I was taking up the bed. She glared. I glared. I won.

I watched that fucking IV like a hawk. The two books I brought with me weren’t exactly suitable subject matter and I had finished them, and was left listening to the teenage boys next to me talk about anal sex, pro (“I just popped it in there and surprised her! snurt!”) and con (“dude, that’s TOTALLY an exit man“) before their mother came back from some heart test to demand someone do something for something they hadn’t figured out. Very meta.

Once that IV ended, I bored a hole in the head of any nurse until mine finally came and released me. One more blood draw and I was free.

And then I was.


This is flippant, sarcastic and likely sounding a little bitchy. I know it shouldn’t. I know I should have something deeper to say about nearly dying, about dancing that tedious line for the second time in my life, for willingly trying to end my own life, destroy myself.

That’s the problem. I don’t have anything deep. I didn’t emerge into the cloudy day thinking I’d start over, I’d be a better person. Frankly, the only thing on my mind was how fucking stupid I was, and how close I had been to seriously harming myself. I could have died. An hour later, two hours, maybe if I had fallen asleep instead of stared at a picture of my daughters, I would be dead, my ashes perhaps now floating into your eyes. All I could do was curse at myself and remind myself that I was a fool, and nearly a dead one.

I know that isn’t very melodramatic or interesting. But it’s the truth. It was a turning point for me, a bitchslap in the head, a hand around my throat, a reminder.

I want to live. I want to LIVE!

I want to raise my daughters into women. I want to love my family. I want to produce magical art. I want to be someone worth knowing. I want to be alive.

I’ve never known that feeling clearly before. So used to the feeling that I was just there, a thing, with no purpose and charge. Not that I feel possessed by purpose or anything, but I have a clearer understanding of how fragile the line between here and not here is.

It’s not very wide. If it was a fence, it would be chain link, porous and easily circumnavigated. Think of string, floss even. It’s that brittle. I felt my fingers pushing that boundary, for the second time in my life, probing it, thinking about it.

I’m curious you know, but not THAT curious.

Facing it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t weird. It just was. I’ve come out of it curiously unaffected because it only reinforced what I believe-that dying is merely part of living, and nothing more.

But I’m not ready, not just yet. It can wait awhile still.

“If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. “

14 Aug

There’s a new me growing, and I like her.

She’s kinder. She’s happier. She more willing to open her eyes and see past what presents.

She’s talks to herself nicer. She reminds patience, nudges herself that she doesn’t know the book unless she’s read it.

She talks to people. She wants to know them.

She notices things.


The last week or so of my life has been, with the exception of one week when I was younger, the hardest of my life. I can’t even begin to describe the agony, of all of it.

Then something strange occurred.

All of you stood up, and wrapped me in your support. Not agreement, not consent. But strength. A core I could fall back into slightly, and be supported by.

You helped me remember that people aren’t bad. That sometimes strength is letting go, allowing others to be strong for you. You helped me look inside myself and realize that hey, I like me, or rather that there is a person there worth liking, and loving. That I mattered.

I cannot thank you for this, not in any way that is meaningful. I feel that I have birthed myself again, and all of you have been my doulas, my protectors. The glow I have held inside me, my firelight, is filled by the light that all of you sent to me, unasked, unexpectedly.

I feel so proud to know each and every one of you, my friends, some of you I’ve never even met, voices I’ve never truly heard. But where it matters, how it matters, you are friends.

I am blessed to have this in my life, and it warms me even as I sit here.

So thank you. Know that each of you have made a difference this week, and your spirits, your voices, are each a tiny piece of a new beginning for me. And I delight in this.

You make me better.

Yes, it was me.

6 Aug

In my head I am:

foolish:crazy:sad, heartbreakingly sad: devoted: angry: broken: wrong: deceitful: mean-spirited: shut-off: lonely: dire: lost, whirlygig lost: confused: pained: accosted: pried open.

Mostly, I feel alone.

All of you are here for me, I know that. But I believe I’ve done gone done something terribly horribly wrong, and I’ve lost my marriage forever. It feels broken. I’m told it can’t be fixed.

And yes Virginia, it’s my fault. For once I will admit that loudly, with no sarcasm, and no fences. I fucked myself.

I have been so proud to have had a marriage that worked, to come home to the faces of my family. But I’ve never been able to say it, not enough. I’ve never been able to appreciate the love and support I have received these many years from my husband. I’ve been able and eager to point out shortcomings. But so inept at saying “Thank you-you’ve been here for me and I love you for it.”

Does it matter now if I say it? I don’t know. I do know that I woke up yesterday knowing I was wrong. That I had somewhere, made massive mistakes, and that I wanted to fix things. In my madness, I was unable to see the goodness in front of me. And I have hurt him so very much, and I have scarred him and now I fear he’s closed off to me forever. And I do love him-I love him so much that I cry every time I utter or think the words, and think what the rest of my life could be without him. He has been my guide, my rock and my protector. And now I think I’ve lost him and I can’t bear the thought.

I am not a good person. I have taken my husband for granted, I have heaped derision upon him, I have blamed him. I have said things I did not mean to try and get at him. I have been a fucking horrible, rotten wife and now it’s time to pay the toll it seems.

I don’t know what will happen, but when I see the closed down look in his beautiful brown eyes, I truly want to die. No one is worth dying for, but I just can’t imagine living without him.

I am trying to be strong. I am trying to be positive, keep my head up. But I ache with fear. I’ve never loved anyone like I love him.

I want to change. I want to be a better person, a happier person, a person who doesn’t leap to the insult first. I know I’ve become callous and foul over the last year. I’ve been wanting to change that about me anyway. I want to be better. I want to treat him better, as he deserves.

Dew Dandy

3 Aug

sitting, comfortably

pressed against concrete singing

(Sweet About Me) under my breath

keeping time on my jeans

hunched ladies from my neighbourhood happen by

stop, staring at my obliviousness and ask

Are you ok?

Just dandy, never better

left the kids at home and whistle

it’s so quiet without them I felt like singing.

knowing glances wander down the way.


air like this, it’s like the earth is

making love to you without touching

the embers of a day, bluebrown in the sky twilight

asking for nothing aside from the sweat

beneath your eyes. air like this sweet, riding the ends

of summer rings and whispers yesterday


thing about having kids, thing about being

just dandy in the dew lit night is

you count back and think

has it really been 5 years since I was untethered

wandering under skies like these at will

void of hurry or worry, winkin or nod. Has it

really been so long since cigarette smoke

twined it’s way around my body and I

fell effortlessly in love with the world.


Has it really been so long since I watched the same sun

rise and fall?


air like this you see

seduces, trollop. Linens and silks and

morning glories, waved underneath our noses

combed through our hair painted on red lips. air

like this is fire, burns colorless yet gasping.

air like this, is enough to remind us

on a cloudy muggy night that

all things, all matter of anything

are perfectly understandable.

Paranoid Bipolar

1 Aug

They hate me.

They snicker and sneer behind my back. They can’t stand me. I’m too loud. Too fat. Too lazy. They think I’m wasteful, slothful, devious and mean. They wonder what I do all day. I will be fired, any moment. They tolerate me.

I stumble away from work, walk to the bus. Those people driving by are disgusted, staring at my fat, my face. I wait for the honk, the yell, the throw. The bus driver snickers when I get on the bus, as it moves with me. No one sits with me because I revolt them.

I come home, fight with all this to trust and love my husband, my kids. I fight these voices in my home, repeating silently that I am worthy of love, that he won’t destroy me, that I’m not wrong to love, that nothing will go wrong.

In my head I list them. He could die. He could fall for someone else. One of the kids could get sick. They could get lost. Snatched. Raped. Murdered. The house could burn down, the roof collapse, one of us could get TB, the bloating and the breathing could be ovarian cancer and I don’t have a will. The water-too much fluoride, too much chlorine. The things that could happen-Russia could use it’s nuclear weapons, Iran could attack, we’re much too close to the US for me to not worry-how would I survive with two kids through a nuclear winter with roving gangs-let these things not happen til they are very very older and able to understand why we scavenge for roots and things.



When I was first diagnosed Bipolar, there were a few things I didn’t really “get”:

  • That I was anxious. I never connected the inability to go out in public, meet people inside clubs or meet new people period as a bad thing. This anxiety grew slowly through a few years, and really didn’t bother me much until the last few years before diagnosis. Then came the clarity of Lithium, and my horror at being so accustomed to being trapped within myself. Going out, even if just to a movie, without the resulting panic, is a sweet thing.
  • That I DID experience mania: I, like many other people, had this vision of mania/hypo-mania to be a crazy fun time-that if I was manic to any degree I would be happy. Since that never happened, I never truly considered bipolar. Until I read about Dysphoric Mania (or mixed states). Shortly before being hospitalized, I was blowing up into these terrific rages involving broken dishes and walls, where I’d hardly remember what had happened. I remember distinctly having to walk slowly away from my husband, my urge to HURTPAINBADNOW was so strong. That scared the hell out of me. But I didn’t believe any of this was mania. Mania was fun! Giggles and poops! I know better now, and realize that my brand of bipolar rarely errs on the side of fun. I might have 2-4 weeks of productive happy horny hypo-mania in a year.
  • That I’m paranoid. That I can be paranoid. I always assumed my paranoia was a natural outgrowth of events in my childhood. But as it gets worse for me, I realize it’s instead part of this disease. Doesn’t give me permission to let it win. But it lets me realize that I am indeed paranoid because of the kink in my brain.

Here’s the rub. When you’re paranoid, you don’t know what is legitimate, and what’s delusional. You actually feel NUTS instead of just ill. You don’t know if someone IS out to get you, or if you just think they are. It’s fucking annoying actually, and it’s messing with my bullshit meter.

I think. Or maybe the BS meter is right on target.

But I can’t tell.

Paranoia is like trying to walk on Jello. You know there’s a floor there somewhere, but everything under your feet has decided to be difficult, toddler like. You can’t truly explain any of it to someone because they’ll just give you “that” look, like the one I get about hating olives or wet wool. I can’t truly to talk to anyone about the delusions in my head. The constant weight of thought.

When I was pregnant with Vivian, I was completely convinced that someone was going to break into the house while I was home alone, so I refused to turn a fan on, and often stayed awake until Mogo got home. In hindsight, I should have thought a little harder about that. I have those thoughts a lot again now, with the saving grace that I’m never home alone. But I worry.

And I’m quiet.

Likely I should be louder about it. I tell my doctor, but she’s usually of a mind to leave things be until they are really intrusive. (and besides, after getting a long lecture about narrowly avoiding kidney failure when I put my lithium dose up by myself, I’m trying to be good) She doesn’t seem concerned about all this, and frankly, I’d like to avoid the anti-psychotics again, especially since I’m extremely sensitive to them. But this feels like it’s becoming a problem. I’m even turning away from the internet because I start thinking those same stupid bad thoughts that I do of people in real life. I thought you were all immune.

So yeah-Bipolar and Paranoia go hand in hand like me and slushies. Who knew.


25 Jul

It seems that each breath I pull in lately is halting, reminding me of the harshness of my mother’s machine driven pulse. It scares me. My chest locks up, pulls down, and I shudder to breathe, worrying each time that this time will be the one that keeps me from breathing forever, this is the one that doesn’t just end in stars behind my eyes, but with a cosmos, a big bang, one that casts me out and aside.

The thought of living with this for the rest of my life is, frankly, enough to make me not live the rest of my life.

Every moment lately has been spent worrying about my breathing. Or knowing that I should go to the ER, but that they’ll dismiss me as having something I’ve already been tested for (asthma-nope, heart problems-all good, blood pressure-perfection,chest issues-all clear, anxiety-I’ve taken enough Ativan to know it’s NOT anxiety. Plus, panic attacks don’t last for weeks)

Even worse is having to go as an overweight person, since most doctors seem to get giddy when faced with a fatty-AWESOME! There’s the reason! Why do further testing? It MUST be that weight! That weight which has never bothered me in the past 5 years. The weight that doesn’t keep me from doing anything. It’s a convenient excuse, a box to check off on a form.

It terrifies me, keeps me up at night, thinking that they don’t look close enough because I’m fat. And now, without a family doctor again, I have to rely on the ER, rely on over worked EMERGENCY doctors for a chronic condition. Sit in a waiting room for hours listening to an old lady with gas pain complaining about the wait. Feel the judgement. Hell is the full hospital waiting room in a town with no doctors.

There’s the what if’s as well. What if it’s something bad? Something the missed? What if they never figure it out, and I have to live the rest of my live struggling to breathe? Since my oxygen levels are ok, the figure it’s nothing harmful.

Feel like you are being suffocated. Now imagine that all day long-when you finally get a breath, it starts all over again. Is that something to dismiss as “I’m sure it’s just anxiety” or “I think I saw a spot on the X-Ray, must be bronchitis!”

Tell you the truth, it scares me, and it saddens me. Because I have no advocate in my health care system, and I pay for it. Because this could be anything.